April 2010

April 27, 2010
by Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A competition for students age 18 and older in California, New York and Delaware seeks to turn hackers into viable assets for the nation's cybersecurity needs. The U.S. Cyber Challenge's (USCC's) Security Treasure Hunt, taking place from April 12 to May 20, aims to find 5,000 people to compete to find security flaws and vulnerabilities on a target system. The top performers from each state will receive all-expenses-paid trips to Cyber Challenge summer camps. They also could be exposed to government, industry and academia officials searching for their skills to fill critical roles.

April 16, 2010

Every day there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of people searching the Internet for classified military data and the identities of military personnel and their families. However, they are not hacking into sensitive databases or trying to breach Pentagon networks. They are simply looking in locations that are filled of this type of free information: social networking sites and personal web pages. There is one small group of these data seekers that you would want to be the very first to find this kind of online treasure. They are the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC).

April 14, 2010
by Helen Mosher, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Even as government 2.0 advocates hailed the U.S. Defense Department's newly framed social media policy upon its announcement, questions persisted over the value of such a policy in the wake of cybersecurity threats. But Sumit Agarwal, who was named deputy assistant secretary of defense (public affairs) for outreach and social media in January, says that with so many people using social media on their own, enforcing a closed posture on these tools may be as ill-advised as not doing so.

April 15, 2010

Wireless Microwave Technology

April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010
by Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Connections

To support its global operations, the U.S. Marine Corps is relying on a tactical communications system linked by satellites to theater and national headquarters. Several mobile tactical systems and an innovative space-based networking capability are providing warfighters with reliable, high-bandwidth communications wherever they deploy.

April 15, 2010
by Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Connections

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set out to complete its National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) within 18 months of publishing the final version. Instead, by January 2010—the halfway point—the OEC had completed 80 percent of the plan’s milestones and was well on its way to finishing the final 20 percent long before the deadline.

April 15, 2010
by Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Connections

An advanced, indigenous base is building many of the country’s military enablers.

April 2010
By Linton Wells II, SIGNAL Magazine

Dramatic changes are swirling around tactical ground communications. These offer many opportunities, even as they are sure to leave frustrated soldiers in harm’s way carrying too much weight, with too little spectrum and not enough interoperability. Overcoming these obstacles is industry’s purview, and it can make a difference.

April 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman and Maryann Lawlor

The information revolution that is sweeping the globe is forcing radical changes in the national security arena. Previous notions of strategic and tactical military planning are being swept away as both time and power have new definitions. And, that information technology realm itself is a major player in the concept of national security.

April 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Defense Information Systems Agency is confronting the uncertain future of warfare by aiming to provide its customers with whatever choices they may need to deal with whatever future they may face. The goal is to allow them to choose their information services instead of force them into systems that might be ineffective when a new type of conflict emerges.

April 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Magazine

U.S. Marine Corps forces operating in Afghanistan rely on two related tactical communications systems to maintain connectivity with rear echelon forces. These two pieces of equipment are a man-portable switching module designed to manage voice, data and video transmissions, and a vehicle-mounted system for on-the-move communications. The equipment is now undergoing upgrades to support Marine forces more efficiently in the field.

April 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Marine Corps is on the lookout for off-the-shelf technologies to support its warfighters’ operational needs as they deploy around the world. Because the service is called on to perform both combat and humanitarian missions—often simultaneously in the same region—readily available equipment capable of being applied to a variety of situations is on many commanders’ checklists. Some commercial gear that currently is being used by the Marines and the other U.S. military services includes portable geolocation systems, handheld translators and tents equipped with photovoltaic cells.

April 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

A brand new way of doing business and a contract estimated to be worth more than $5 billion over 10 years is bound to cause some discussion. And that is exactly what is happening in vociferous debate and hushed tones between government agencies and the companies that supply the satellite communications lifeline to today’s warfighters. At issue is the wisdom of moving from buying time on commercial satellites from a limited number of providers to the ability to purchase megabits per month the same way agencies buy office supplies.
The genesis of this new line of reasoning began in 2008. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Arlington, Virginia, and the General Services Administration (GSA), Washington, D.C., launched their initial discussions about commercial satellite communications (COMSATCOM) services. The Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition (FCSA) program is the result of two years of cost analysis, requirements reckoning and acquisition strategy meetings that resulted in an announcement last August that the two organizations were creating a common marketplace for COMSATCOM.

April 2010
By Col. George Franz, USA; Lt. Col. David Pendall, USA; and Lt. Col. Jeffery Steffen, USA, SIGNAL Magazine

The International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan, is implementing an information-sharing architecture that will create and enable a comprehensive common operating picture, derived from multiple systems, networks and classifications. It is designed to be the most decisive information and knowledge management effort ever executed within Afghanistan. This level of battlespace management and synchronization never has been attempted on this scale within NATO or the coalition force.

April 2010
By Kent R. Schneider, SIGNAL Magazine

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is in the final stages of planning and executing its Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) move from Arlington, Virginia, to Fort Meade, Maryland. Our nation remains at war, with a surge occurring in Afghanistan and pending withdrawal being planned and prepared in Iraq. The recently published Quad- rennial Defense Review will drive a course change in critical defense domains. Cyberspace has become a focus for our nation, and it has gained priority in governments around the world as a warfighting domain.

April 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

With fuel serving as the ammunition of the mobile force, the Defense Information Systems Agency has created a new capability that allows logisticians to track and manage different types of this valuable resource. A new version of the agency’s Web-based Global Combat Support System-Joint has been deployed to fulfill this top priority of the U.S. Central Command J-4.

April 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The latest version of an F/A-18D aircraft simulation has arrived at the only Marine Corps forward-operating location that houses a permanent squadron of the aircraft. Similar devices reside at stateside bases, but this newest version has enhancements that especially benefit users operating in restricted spaces. In addition to providing better training to Marines immediately, the simulator comes with a support contract that will keep it current with aircraft upgrades. The support process directly involves users so that alterations made to the device actually benefit aircrews in the way they need.

April 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

A major U.S. intelligence agency is building its new headquarters facility around a network-centric architecture dedicated to information access and dissemination. The new construct allows the agency to accommodate the technology advances that have changed missions radically over the years.

April 2010
By James C. Bussert, SIGNAL Magazine

China’s growing blue-water naval strength soon may be augmented by the country’s first aircraft carrier. A series of seemingly unconnected steps over the past two decades have positioned the People’s Republic to begin construction and incorporation of a modern carrier into its fleet.