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November 2010

Properly Equipping The Force

November 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier is working with a focused fervor to carry out its responsibility to refine the development of and supply virtually every piece of equipment soldiers wear or carry. As troops engage in persistent conflicts around the globe, they require a new set of technologies to achieve their missions. To ensure victory on the battlefield, these tools must make forces more lethal, survivable, sustainable and agile. Office personnel are working to ensure they do just that, whether the situation calls for a new uniform or a state-of-the-art technical device.

Helping Soldiers Take a Load Off

November 2010
By Rita Boland

The great green Hulk of comic-book lore becomes superstrong when angered. Now, the U.S. Army is investigating a tool with a similar name that will allow warfighters to extend their strength, enabling them to carry heavy weights without straining their bodies—and without the need to take on a broccoli-like hue. By equipping troops with an exoskeleton, developers believe they can help reduce military members’ burdens and assist them in better conducting their missions.

Networking Keeps Business Moving in Bulgaria

November 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The Bulgarian government and the industry members who support it are battling to move the country’s federal technology forward as the worldwide economic downturn continues. Though times are difficult, public- and private-sector personnel are forming partnerships to advance programs crucial to military and other operations. Entities within the country as well as outside of it, including NATO, are coming together as part of these efforts. By keeping an eye on better times ahead, people in the nation’s information technology field hope to weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.

Speculation on Spectrum

November 2010
By Kent R. Schneider, SIGNAL Magazine

Be honest. When was the last time you thought about the frequency spectrum? For most of you, the answer is probably, “not lately.” We take spectrum for granted. As with water and air, we figure there always will be spectrum when we need it. Just as we have found in recent years that there isn’t always enough clean water and air, we are starting to realize there may not be enough spectrum to meet all requirements.

Waveform Navigates Radio Labyrinth

November 2010
By Maryann Lawlor

Work on the Soldier Radio Waveform is focusing on increasing the number of nodes—currently up to 36 radios—that can stay connected in a chaotic environment. Recent testing indicates that it shows great promise for keeping warfighters at the platoon level connected to their squad leader with both data and voice even when communications among the entire squad are lost. The waveform searches for other available radios from the same squad, then hops back through the nodes to create a path for data and voice communications.

Warfighters May Chat With Confidence

November 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

Members of a tactical operations center soon may be able to count on chatting as a reliable means of second-to-second communications with each other and those in other centers. As part of a Small Business Innovation Research project, the Space and Naval Warfare Center–Pacific is exploring readily available commercial solutions that would enable numerous centers’ members to keep up to date even after systems go down. If fielded, the system also would increase bandwidth usage efficiency and communications dependability.
Research into the capability is being conducted as part of the larger Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program. The most recent development includes the move to the second phase of a contract with CoCo Communications Corporation, Seattle, and comprises continued research and new testing of a distributed chat capability.

Improving Alliance Cybersecurity

November 2010
By Linton Wells II, SIGNAL Magazine

Cyberdefense is far from being a challenge just for the United States—there are many international aspects to this issue. In this column last month, I cited the important Foreign Affairs article “Defending a New Domain” by Deputy Secretary of Defense Bill Lynn, which addresses U.S. Defense Department cyberstrategy head on.
Alliance relationships depend on shared trust, especially in networked environments. Lynn’s article notes that, “Some of the United States’ computer defenses are already linked with those of U.S. allies, especially through existing signals intelligence partnerships, but greater levels of cooperation are needed to stay ahead of the cyberthreat. Stronger agreements to facilitate the sharing of information, technology and intelligence must be made with a greater number of allies.”

Situational Awareness In Hand

November 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

In an effort to improve situational awareness down to the squad leader level, the U.S. Marines Corps and Army intend to provide the next-generation situational awareness software on ruggedized handheld platforms similar to smart phones or personal digital assistants. The Joint Battle Command-Platform is the second increment of Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below software that was fielded more than a decade ago. The new platform is intended to provide integrated, on-the-move, timely, relevant command and control and situational awareness information at all echelons, enabling units to become more survivable and lethal. It also will improve combat effectiveness, reduce risk of fratricide, improve latency, security and interoperability within the joint environment, and provide an integrated network with increased bandwidth and a more user-friendly interface.

Dynamic Spectrum Access Bursts Into Airwaves

November 2010
By George I. Seffers

Radio technology being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency uses electromagnetic spectrum so effectively that it has gained White House attention and is being touted by government officials for possible commercial use both domestically and internationally.

Bulgaria's High-Technology Industry Emerges From The Cocoon of Communism

November 1, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

Bulgaria’s technology sector enjoyed healthy growth rates in the late 1990s and the early part of this century, but that growth has largely flatlined due to the worldwide banking crisis and resulting recession. With the downturn in the economy, the government has scaled back spending in some high-profile military and advanced technology efforts. In the summer of 2009, for example, the government killed a planned nanotechnology center in an effort to save 50 million Bulgarian lev, which equals roughly $33 million. The cancellation occurred just months after the government announced an agreement with IBM to build the center.

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