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March 2011

GPS Meets Google Earth

March 30, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Members of the 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2 SOPS) deployed a novel tool to Afghanistan last month, giving warfighters the ability to combine Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities with Google Earth. The resource enhances situational awareness and information sharing, and developers intend it to assist with planning efforts.

Tsunami Short-Circuits Military Communications in Japan and South Korea

March 23, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

For three days following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, hardwired telephones offered the only lines of communications between the U.S. military and its forces in Japan and South Korea, according to military officials at the Next-Generation Mobile Technologies Symposium in Washington, D.C., on March 17. In fact, because landline telephones have proven so reliable in times of disaster, the U.S. Marine Corps will not convert entirely to Internet protocol-based communications.

Unique Commercialization Process May Be Implemented Across Government

March 16, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A unique process for identifying, certifying and fielding technologies for homeland defense has captured White House attention and could be implemented across other departments, according to Thomas Cellucci, the government’s only chief commercialization officer.

New Products

March 15, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Connections

Chem-Bio Contingency Planner

A newly improved software product allows development of comprehensive response and detection plans in case of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attacks. Previous versions of HG_Flow.Protect software have been used to formulate disaster response plans for buildings that may be potential terrorist targets. Now, Hygie-Tech, the software provider, has added a new module to capture meteorological data so that the program can be used to plan responses to attacks in open areas, such as sports arenas. HG_Flow.Protect uses a computational fluid dynamics model to generate visualizations from 3-D laser scans of airflows, gas flows and particles. The product provides accurate detail down to the one-millimeter scale. It can be used to formulate contingency plans for public buildings and open areas that may be vulnerable to CBRN attacks.

BlackBerry Secure Text

A $600 commercially available kit is all it takes for criminals to intercept text messages, which is why SRA International recently launched One Vault Messenger, an encryption solution for short message service transmissions for BlackBerry smart phones. First launched last year, the One Vault suite of products is a hardware-anchored voice security solution for an off-the-shelf BlackBerry. One Vault Messenger leverages existing technologies to defend against unwanted surveillance and hacking.

Quantum Cyber Security

Homefront Help

March 15, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

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 website, when available. Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information.

Jammies for GIs

When sick and wounded troops are evacuated out of war zones, they often arrive at military hospitals with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, and those are often damaged from battle or purposely cut to treat wounds. This leaves injured warfighters little recourse other than to use their own money to purchase the basic personal effects they require. Enter Jammies for GIs. Despite the name, the group does more than hand out nightwear. It works to provide a clean change of clothes, entertainment and other goods to those who came to harm fighting for their country.

Event Assesses Technologies in Battlefield Network Environment

March 15, 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Connections

Military and private-sector participants are attempting to replicate the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)-led Afghanistan Mission Network (AMN) for CWID 2011 with an emphasis on joint fires and coalition interoperability.

Mobile Marches from Classroom to Battle

March 15, 2011
By Rachel Eisenhower, SIGNAL Connections

Commercial smart phone capabilities have found their way into the classroom and the battlefield, and the U.S. Army’s Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications initiative is using pilot programs to determine how these mobile platforms will change the way soldiers communicate and access information in the next 10 years.

Foreign Workers Pose Technology Security Threat

March 11, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Dual-use U.S. technology may be improving other nations’ militaries as a result of efforts by foreign technology workers in the United States, according to a U.S. government report. U.S. government agencies should tighten their processes and monitoring of visas and foreign workers’ access to controlled technologies, the report recommends.

Myth-busting Memo Guides Government Acquisition

March 2, 2011
By Jordan Garegnani, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A memorandum to federal officials about information sharing during government acquisition processes is opening the lines of communication between agencies and vendors. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo includes guidelines for comprehensive communication plans, awareness campaigns, education modules and discussion forums, all of which aim at facilitating dialogue.

Fewer Data Centers Can Be a Good Thing

March 2011
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

According to Vivek Kundra, the federal chief information officer, the U.S. Defense Department was operating 772 data centers as of July 30. 2010. The Office of Management and Budget defines a data center as any room that is greater than 500 square feet and is devoted to data processing. Kundra called for a 38 percent reduction in the number of data centers by 2015. Though such calls are driven by budget considerations, the metric of counting how many data centers can be eliminated is misleading. From a budget standpoint, only the reductions in the Defense Department’s $36.3 billion fiscal 2011 information technology expenses will matter.

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