May 2011

May 31, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

As chat capabilities threaten to overtake voice radio as the preferred means of communication on the battlefield, military officials in Afghanistan are countering the proliferation of chat rooms available on the coalition network. Chat capabilities offer several advantages over voice communications, according to military officials in Afghanistan. But thousands of chat rooms available to warfighters have proven to be too much of a good thing.

May 26, 2011

A series of raids, both CONUS and OCONUS, on the hideouts of known cyber criminals has resulted in the discovery of a number of information documents. These documents indicated that the cyber crime and terrorism communities have ceased global operations involving the exploitation of unsecured wireless networks. But don't let that fool you.

May 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The proposed Orion spacecraft, nearly left for dead in the wake of NASA’s decision to rely on commercial vehicles for manned orbital access now is at the heart of the space agency’s plans to send humans to deep space. NASA has tabbed a version of Orion to serve as the basis for a new spaceship known as the multipurpose crew vehicle, or MPCV. This spacecraft would be designed to carry humans beyond Earth orbit, potentially on missions to Mars or the asteroids.

May 18, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

One hundred teams from around the country gathered in Virginia last week to compete in the ninth annual Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) finals. The event gives students in seventh through 12th grades the chance to experience math and science in action with the hope that practical application will encourage them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their higher education and careers.

May 16, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

May 16, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Connections

Firebird Spycraft

May 16, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Connections

For the first time, the United States and NATO plan to test an operational link between the NATO missile defense system and the U.S. system, which is in the early stages of deployment to Europe.

May 16, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

The battle against damage to equipment from sand and dust has gained ground with the unveiling of the first device that simulates exposure to both in a single chamber.

May 13, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

On Sunday, France became the fifth nation to officially join the Afghan Mission Network, the system used by NATO nations and coalition forces to conduct warfighting operations in Afghanistan. France now will be able to fully share information with other nations, including such data as human intelligence and full-motion video.

May 2, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Anti-submarine warfare tactics developed by anonymous gamers today could be part of the “brains” of an unmanned, autonomous enemy sub tracker now under development for the U.S. Navy.

May 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

Future aircraft that break into several pieces mid-flight may represent a technological advantage rather than a catastrophic incident. The U.S. Air Force is looking to develop unmanned aircraft that introduce a new set of capabilities not available with humans in the cockpit. Among these many future possibilities are transformer-type vehicles that split into separate flying segments and then reattach when their mission is completed.

May 2011
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

One would not transport a tribe from the Amazon jungle to an apartment house in Chicago and expect life to continue as before. One also would not lift thousands of applications that populate the U.S. Defense Department’s network and place them into clouds and expect no operations to be interrupted during the transition.

May 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

Faced with budget restrictions amid broadening mission requirements, the Netherlands military is adopting new tacks as it sets sail into a strong network-centric future. Its already sophisticated systems are being modernized to meet a growing international mission set that relies heavily on interoperability in joint and coalition operations.

May 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Joint and coalition relationships that begin long before forces meet on the field have become a cornerstone of defense policies and officials in the military’s cybersecurity training arena are working to make sure the same holds true in the newest battlespace domain as well. Troops from the various armed forces branches already are attending education courses together, no matter which service sponsors the class, and in some cases coalition partners also are participating.

May 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

The story of the technology marketplace in the Netherlands is much like that of other countries in Europe and around the world. The economic downturn has led to slashed government budgets, greater outsourcing and a need for companies to expand internationally. One thing that sets the Netherlands apart, though, is the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency, which has an office in The Hague, as well as in Brussels, Belgium, and offers opportunities not found elsewhere.

May 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, is calling for greater international cooperation on cyber defense. “We don’t have a U.S. network, a Canadian network, a Mexican network. It’s all one network. We all operate that, and we have to have international partners to protect it,” Gen. Alexander emphasized.

May 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

Unmanned ground systems on the battlefield provide critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data and help counter improvised explosive devices. Now, ground robots are positioned to expand into armed missions in Afghanistan.

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

With our military stretched among three fronts, our volunteer force is bearing a tremendous burden of OPTEMPO, reduced budgets and political posturing. A recent experience I had with our disabled veterans highlighted the reasons why we do what we do. It may be a good reminder to us all.

May 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

Persistent surveillance has been pegged as a crucial capability in current and future operations. Mind’s Eye is one of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) newest and most aggressive efforts to improve conditions for warfighters on the ground. The agency is working with the U.S. Army, industry and academia to create a way to educate video collection devices. Although existing cameras and sensors capture activity in an area, the mounds of visual data they collect are overwhelming to analysts and warfighters alike. Once visual intelligence is achieved, these information mountains will become actionable knowledge molehills that can be sent to commanders and perhaps directly to warfighters’ handheld computers in the field.

May 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

The combatant command that propelled U.S. military transformation now is in the midst of a revolutionary transition of its own. U.S. Joint Forces Command, scheduled to be disestablished by the end of August, is making this journey led by its commander, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, USA. Gen. Odierno is applying the tactical expertise he gained while leading U.S. troops in Iraq from combat to sustainment operations to the portentous task of evolving his command into a completely new organization. Guided by the plans he and his staff developed, the general now is executing the implementation stage to make the transition as smooth as possible.

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