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April 2010

Online Security Treasure Hunt Uses Competition to Find Talent

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.

Public Web Sites Are a Treasure Trove of Sensitive Data

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).

No Easy Answers on Social Media in Defense Department

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.

Turkey Looks Inward to Develop Information Technologies

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

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

Ensuring Good Connections

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.

Tactical, Satellite Based Technologies Drive Marine Corps Networking Plans

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.

Homefront Help

April 15, 2010

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's Web site, when available.

Soldiers to Scholars

Veterans still looking for a way to serve their country and community can find a solution in Soldiers to Scholars, and they can earn the money to obtain their degree at the same time. This organization matches veterans to act as mentors and role models with at-risk, inner-city children. The founder believes that the values of respect for oneself and others, teamwork, education and family these youths need are those that many who served in the armed forces exemplify.  

New Products

April 15, 2010

Wireless Microwave Technology

Commercial and government wireless carriers require seamless connectivity between handheld devices and the fiber optic network. Developed for North American and Japanese service providers, the FlexiPacket Microwave capability combines Carrier Ethernet transport with microwave radio technology to replace existing proprietary mobile backhaul platforms. It uses standard gigabit Ethernet interfaces to connect directly with existing base stations and seamlessly provide a wireless extension of packet-based, optical-fiber networks. For more information, contact

Virtual Shelter Design Software

This software application allows users to design their own shelter applications. Developed by shelter manufacturer DHS Technologies, the Virtual Tactical Application Program (VTAP 2.0) allows users to build two-dimensional and three-dimensional renderings of a Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter (DRASH) system complex as it would appear in the theater of operations. VTAP 2.0 features a menu that offers a variety of shelter and trailer formats that can be added to the virtual footprint. For more information, visit

Tactical Ground Communications Offer Both Promise and Peril

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.

Global Changes Gang Up on Plans, Forecasts

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.


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