June 2010

June 24, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A new website has launched to help keep the public current with the latest information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of New Hampshire's Coastal Response Research Center were developing an open-source, Web-based, geographical information system (GIS) platform as an internal site so stakeholder organizations could see a common operational picture of an oil spill in near real-time when the recent event occurred.

June 18, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A factor as simple as purchasing desktop computers instead of laptop units may be a key clog holding back the flow of telework among U.S. federal government employees. A recent study has determined that only 23 percent of federal employees telework regularly or exclusively, compared to 64 percent of private-sector employees. And, 93 percent of federal employees state that being able to telework would make working for an organization more desirable.

June 18, 2010

When military data is lost, stolen or compromised, the potential dangers are obvious. Lost personal data can lead to identity theft, lost operational data can lead to mission cancellation or failure and lost technical data can lead to other compromised systems and even further damage. While loss of data is bad enough, sometimes the loss is not mitigated in a timely fashion. When this happens, it is often not because of a stealthy hacker or a missing hardware audit. It is because somebody did not report the incident out a fear of potential personal consequences. We need to change that mindset. Not accepting responsibility and warning others of a network or data breach can put missions and lives at risk.

June 15, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

U.S. government agencies fail to employ the policies that have been put into place to protect sensitive data when it is in transit, according to a recent survey of 200 government information technology (IT) and information security officials.

June 10, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Rarely does a week go by that doesn't include a military-sponsored exercise, experiment or demonstration. As participants ready for the event, excitement mounts. During the event, there don’t seem to be enough hours in a day to accomplish tasks as troops immerse themselves in the job at hand and the days fly by all too quickly. Enter the Joint Systems Integration Center (JSIC). Rather than sponsor its own exercises, experiments or demonstrations, JSIC members become flies on the walls of event sites around the world and create Joint Systems Baseline Assessments (JSBAs).

June 15, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Connections

The Art of Exploitation University and Cyber Center of Excellence will instruct government information assurance personnel about adversaries’ tricks of the trade using hands-on training and real-life threats.

June 15, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

June 15, 2010
By Helen Mosher, SIGNAL Connections

Low-Light Security Camera

June 2, 2010
By Lt. Col. Patricia S. Collins, USA, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

One of the most significant challenges the U.S. commander in Afghanistan has faced is the technical capabilities needed for command and control. The commander has not been able to obtain the most current information at the right time to make the most timely, effective decisions. This has been largely because of the lack of a single, classified network that facilitates information sharing across all coalition partners.

To solve this problem and support NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, the Afghanistan Mission Network (AMN) has been implemented, which consolidated and fully integrated the information domain. Initial operational capability occurred on October 23, 2009; full operational capability is scheduled to take place on July 10, 2010.

June 2010
By Clarence A. Robinson, Jr., SIGNAL Magazine

The Signal Regiment faces daunting challenges in providing and maintaining an always-on network for widely scattered U.S. Army forces. Commercial Internet protocol for voice, data, video and network operations is essential to both combat prowess and the Army’s transformation into an expeditionary force.

June 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

A small coastal patrol group is enforcing maritime security over an area four times the size of the continental United States. Armed with a few cutters and a handful of international agreements, the U.S. Coast Guard’s 14th District force is waging a war against the conditions that can breed piracy and terrorism.

June 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The National Security Directorate staff working at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is tackling some of the most difficult problems facing the nation and the world by building upon a strong foundation of fundamentals. From basic research to full-fledged fielding, the scientists run the gamut of project development, serving clients in a variety of disciplines—even some that may not typically come to mind as associated with an energy laboratory. The man in charge of it all sees good times ahead for the projects, whether they are conventional or offbeat.

June 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Scientists are pushing sensing to the theoretical limit by applying new methodology to established technology. A developmental sensor can help locate and identify chemical, biological and other dangers, but the real breakthrough is the ability to detect nanoscopic amounts of material without requiring sophisticated software or fancy equipment. Instead, humans will be able to see the readings with the naked eye. The advancement means that users in the field will be able to employ the sensor to save lives.

June 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Magazine

The French army soon will deploy a tactical battlefield communications and data network that aims to provide battalion command posts with on-the-halt satellite and line-of-sight connectivity. The system is part of France’s ongoing efforts to convert its military into a fully network-centric force. In addition to extending high-bandwidth networking down to mobile command posts, the program also lays the foundations for a future fully mobile communications capability.

June 2010
By Henry S. Kenyon, SIGNAL Magazine

A prototype virtual operating system will allow researchers to load experiments into supercomputers quickly without having to modify their programs substantially to operate on a specific platform. The software uses a technique called virtualization to enable a machine to run multiple operating systems, something current supercomputers cannot do. This capability would allow high-performance computers to operate a wider range of software, from highly specialized modeling and simulation programs to commercial applications.

June 2010
Reviewed by Dr. R. Norris Keeler, SIGNAL Magazine

While extensive work has been published on the U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons programs, very little has been said about Soviet electronics and its related espionage until author Steven T. Usdin’s book, Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley. Usdin has brought readers into this intriguing world in a thorough and insightful way by revealing how the two U.S.-born spies nearly created a Soviet version of Silicon Valley.

June 2010
By Linton Wells II, SIGNAL Magazine

Last Fall, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate asked a radical question: “How can we restore Internet connectivity to American citizens after a disaster?” Too often, he noted, the government treats citizens after disasters as victims instead of as sentient creatures who could solve many of their own problems if given the tools.

June 2010
By John S. Kostoff, SIGNAL Magazine

An emerging virtual training solution will mitigate the challenge many small-unit joint operators face when preparing for deployment from various locations. The Tactical Joint Training and Experimentation Network addresses live-asset training gaps by extending a strategic joint training network. This network links disparate aircrews located in a simulator with live, small-unit ground forces to rehearse joint tasks.

June 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

The attire may be different and the swashbuckling kept to a minimum, but for today’s pirates the aim is the same as in centuries past: loot and lawlessness. Piracy is a lucrative alternative for starving people who live in regions with no civil authority to provide economic or political stability. As a result, the populace in countries surrounding the Gulf of Aden—particularly Somalia—are turning to barons of corruption who now have a multitude of impressionable young men willing to fight extraordinary odds even to their deaths. Unfortunately, the solution to this problem is as complex as the cause.

June 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

Actionable knowledge will be available to commanders at lightning speed as the U.S. military and industry institute more adept methods to sift through terabytes of raw intelligence data. With the help of language-crunching software, intelligence analysts will be privy not only to crucial data about people, organizations, locations and weapons but also to the relationships among them. The key that unlocks the door to this obscure information is technology that enables computers to recognize and collate words and their meanings. In a matter of minutes, it then organizes the data in a way that would take weeks for a human analyst to accomplish.

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