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April 2011

Dialing Up the Bandwidth Battle Against IEDs

April 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

More than 70 percent of U.S. casualties on the battlefield result from attacks with improvised explosive devices, frequently controlled by a radio link. The weapons likely will remain a persistent threat worldwide for years to come, but work is ongoing to counter them. Already, upgrades to current capabilities are entering battle zones, and development is underway on a complex system of systems to advance defeat tactics. During the next few years, military members can expect improved protection that includes the jamming of more frequency bands and a networked toolset connecting dismounted soldiers, vehicles and fixed installations, all focused on bringing troops home safe and sound.

Coast Guard Logistics Learns Social Media

April 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

A future U.S. Coast Guard acquisition strategy may owe its design to social media such as a wiki and an interactive blog site. That is not to say that those activities will define the architecture of the new acquisition strategy; that particular decision is well in the future. What the Coast Guard is doing right now is using social media to develop its new acquisition strategy transparently and collaboratively.

Neutralizing the Network to Defeat IEDs

April 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The key to defeating improvised explosive devices may lie in attacking the network that procures, develops and emplaces the weaponry rather than focusing on the device itself. Eight years of combating both the devices and their effects has broadened the mission of those tasked with rendering these weapons null in the realm of asymmetric warfare.

Battling Bombs at Home

April 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Army National Guard is continuing down a path blazed by other institutions to create counter-improvised explosive device training lanes around the country. Citizen soldiers will use the locations to improve their tactics against the oft-fatal threats, and partners also can take advantage of the ranges to upgrade their skills. The goal is to increase the number of rehearsals warfighters participate in while requiring less time away from home and less money outlay for travel.

On the Ground in Kandahar

April 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

A forest of antennas is making life even trickier than usual for military signalers at Regional Command–South in Afghanistan. In addition to dealing with a harsh environment, deadly enemies, battle-zone operations and the regular hiccups inherent in systems and networks, communicators in the combat area are fighting against the very tools designed to help them. Personnel in the information-sharing realm have discovered that international signal towers set up in the area are proving to be one of the most time-consuming problems of their deployment.

A Critical Piece of the National Security Puzzle

April 2011
By Kent R. Schneider, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Coast Guard plays a vital role helping tie together pieces of the national security community. The Coast Guard is unique in that, while it is a military service, organizationally it sits within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and clearly has homeland security/counterterrorism, public safety and law enforcement roles. This positioning within several national security communities allows the Coast Guard to provide an invaluable coordination and linking function.

Connectivity Builds Independence In Afghanistan

April 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

The road to stability in Afghanistan is being paved with telecommunications systems. Through the strategic use of technology, the country already is experiencing improvements in connectivity that will continue to progress until the governance, industrial and the socio-economic state of the country all reap the benefits. If plans, activities and cooperation continue as they have for the past few months, Afghanistan will be poised by the middle of this decade to take its place among the most economically stable and technologically savvy countries in the world.

With NGEN, It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

April 2011
By Capt. Joseph A. Grace Jr., USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

In the late 1990s, the U.S. Navy decided it needed to change the way it handled information technology. So, it created the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet, or NMCI. Yes, for many, it was seen as a four-letter word. With the NMCI, the Navy elected to outsource the entire program to industry—the company EDS. The process took many years of study and analysis, as well as dealing with policy, procedure, culture wars and a host of other common barriers to any new concept. From congressional oversight to acquisition nightmare, every potential roadblock emerged. Yet, the NMCI was implemented, and one lesson from that implementation applies very much today as the Navy seeks to upgrade its information technology.

Robotics Research Gives Life to Artificial Limbs

April 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Army is giving soldiers who have lost limbs a higher quality of life, including allowing some to remain on active duty or to return to combat if they choose. In part because of research conducted through the Army’s Advanced Prosthetics and Human Performance program, individuals who have lost limbs are jumping out of airplanes or commanding troops in combat.

U.S. Coast Guard Rides Waves of Change

April 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Coast Guard increasingly is extending its operations, often venturing far from the homeland to combat the rising tides of piracy and terrorism. While the nation’s oldest seagoing service is most known for protecting the U.S. shoreline, its homeland security as well as law enforcement and defense capabilities are in high demand, leading to debate over its appropriate role.

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