Whether by the casual hackers in a coffee shop or the state-sponsored experts in a cutting-edge cyber war room, our network and information defenses will always be engaged. Into this fray the new cyber command leads a combined force of expertise, experience, technology and vision drawn from the various Army groups that have held the line so far.
Years from now, engineers and scientists across the U.S. Defense Department may double-click an icon on their desktop computer screens and access the phenomenal processing power of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Defense Department Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Those computers are currently capable of processing 350 trillion calculations per second.
Public and private organizations should pay close attention to cybersecurity regulations in the legislative pipeline and adhere both to the rules and intent.
An open-source, business-oriented, social networking tool helps organizations’ employees be more productive by making it easier to share information. The tool helps employees build their careers by marketing their own value and establishing a positive reputation, and it helps them make more informed decisions by following relevant information from colleagues, groups and Internet sources.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is evaluating three smart phone-based Pashto and Dari language translation devices the U.S. Defense Department is developing for use in Afghanistan.
Computer companies reveal how much energy office equipment wastes when it is left running overnight.
Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic System Generation II
Many of today’s original ideas about a global command and control system can be traced to Vice Adm. Jerry Tuttle, USN (Ret.), who served as director, Space and Electronic Warfare, from 1989 until his retirement in 1994. Faced with the need to restructure the Naval Telecommunications System to handle dramatically increased message traffic, Tuttle could have proposed buying bigger pipes. Instead, he created the Copernicus concept for evolving the Navy’s networks. His immediate objective was to restructure the Naval Telecommunications System and then to extend it to other parts of the Navy as well as to other military departments. Copernicus concentrated on the Navy’s immediate needs for increased bandwidth and for integrated communications.
The United States has the world’s largest and most costly networks, but these networks must be configured better to support the warfighters in the era of cyberwarfare. According to Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, the U.S. Defense Department operates more than 15,000 networks; however these networks have no economies of scale, and many do not meet minimum commercial standards for availability or connection latency. Most children of Defense Department workers have better connectivity and functionality in their homes than their parents have at work.
Researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Electronic Warfare Associates Incorporated have partnered to implement a new intrusion detection architecture designed to defend against advanced persistent threat. The architecture, a component of the Network Attack Characterization, Modeling and Simulation Testbed, is an Army Research Laboratory computer network defense enclave that secures against cyber adversaries by providing rapid flexible responses to new threats. The program was launched in 2008 to combat the growing threat of cyberwar by improving intelligence sharing and computer network defense tactics among the U.S. Defense Department, cleared defense contractors, universities and private companies.
Open information sharing in diverse environments is critical. A new initiative in Afghanistan called UnityNet can help bring unclassified information to bear to support U.S. and coalition strategy there and elsewhere around the globe.
UnityNet’s goal is straightforward: networking people together in a unity of effort for a common cause. The key points are people and unity of effort. This is not about technology; it is about changing behavior.
Instead of a NASCAR winner-take-all competition, the race to secure information systems is more of a traffic jam where getting ahead depends on the lane you’re in. Operators consistently crawl along by putting patches in place and upgrading antivirus software, yet that annoying lane-changing system attacker keeps bobbing and weaving its way to the front of the gridlock daring you to catch up. But information superhighway menaces are being quashed by a collaborative effort among government organizations to ensure that the United States is in the correct lane when it comes to staying ahead of information security troublemakers.
It is almost impossible to overstate the importance computer networks and Internet-oriented applications play in today’s federal arena. After all, Pentagon officials constantly stress the military superiority inherent in net-centric warfare in which voice, data, satellite images and video provide essential battlefield information in real time. In this electronic enclave, U.S. fighting forces always stay at least one step ahead of the enemy.
This month’s SIGNAL Magazine includes a focus on information security, which, these days, I can only think about in the context of the larger cybersecurity problem. There finally is a preoccupation with discussing cybersecurity on an international basis. The important question is, “How much of this dialogue is being converted to action/implementation?” This is a timely subject for me, as I have written this commentary while sitting in an international conference on Regional Collaboration in Cyber Security being held in Singapore.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are a phase closer to putting chemical detectors into the hands of everyone who wants them. Developers have finished demonstrating a miniaturized sensor that can fit into the now-omnipresent personal cell phone. Early testing shows promise for small, inexpensive technology, and over the next year or so project personnel plan to test its real-world application. The cell phone platform would enable crowd sourcing to reduce false positive readings, and it would support instant alerts that would send out timely notifications. The goal of developers is to improve public safety, enhance homeland security and ultimately save lives. In this next round of development, researchers with the program have to figure out how the network will support the technology and determine whether applications that seem strong in the laboratory will function in the field.
The U.S. federal information technology work force is sandwiched between two major trends it must address to continue successful operations—the retirement eligibility of the Baby Boomer generation and the emergence of Web 2.0. The former threatens to empty hundreds of thousands of positions across the government, while the latter is shifting how the work force thinks about and uses technology. Solutions for both these issues converge in the Net Generation (sometimes referred to as Generation Y or the Millennial Generation), the demographic of youth currently preparing to enter institutions of higher learning and the job market. However, this population group is not a panacea for the government’s problems, because the ideas held by these young adults will challenge the status quo.
The federal government has approved commercial products to operate on a defense cloud, marking the first time industry online offerings with this level of security are accessible to the military via such an environment. The accreditation, which took approximately two years, means that military organizations can route sensitive data through online software products. As more clients migrate to the cloud and employ the technology, the cost of use will drop. This creates a benefit for anyone wishing to take advantage of the offerings, which include a suite of products designed to enhance communications across Web, social and contact center touch points.
When the U.S. Army needs to determine if an area on the battlefield is safe or is threatened by hidden menaces, it may be calling on its own custom-made mosquito air force to probe the area and report back to headquarters. Army researchers are developing life-size robotic sensor platforms based on small flying insects.
A different approach to focal plane array technology is leading to better and less expensive infrared sensors for a broad range of applications. For users in the battlespace, this development will mean higher resolution images in systems that require less maintenance even in demanding conditions.