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April 2012

Financial Considerations May Define Future Warfighting Capabilities

April 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The defense budget cuts proposed for the foreseeable future offer the potential for both weakening the military and triggering a renaissance in innovation. And, that is just for the current reductions in the budget; if further draconian cuts are imposed, then no amount of innovation will make up for what some experts describe as a devastating evisceration of U.S. defense capabilities.

Retaking Command and Control

April 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

Now that information systems have redefined how a military leader exercises command and control, they are being retasked to free that leader from constraints imposed in the process of innovation and revolution. The technology revolution has been established; now the cultural struggle is underway.

Geospatial Intelligence Embarks on Dual-Hatted Mission

April 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is juggling several different directions as it plans for the next five years. But, rather than face having to choose which direction to pursue, the agency has mapped a course in which all of the different paths aim for a common destination.

Geospatial Apps at Hand

April 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

Handheld mobile devices will be the next delivery vehicles for geospatial intelligence if the agency responsible for processing and delivering the vital information has its way. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency already has developed apps for a variety of different mobile platforms, and it is working with the commercial sector to expand the menu it is about to offer to individual users in the field.

Situational Awareness During Homeland Disasters

April 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

In the battle to share information effectively among local, state and federal partners, the National Guard Bureau has employed a tool designed to give personnel an edge. This geospatial information technology is deployed across the United States and its territories, enabling better coordination during emergency situations. With Google Earth as its base, it already has proved valuable in large-scale responses, and officials are planning future improvements.

Air Force Establishes Alternative Energy Firsts

April 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The entire U.S. Defense Department has put a strong emphasis in recent years on the need to develop alternative energy technologies not only to reduce dependence on foreign oil, but also to ensure its own energy security. Airmen have responsibility for more than 100 of these projects, and even personnel typically associated with the most dangerous missions have embarked on research. Special operations troops are determined to remain on the cutting edge as their headquarters base leads the way in confirming the viability of some new offerings.

How Geolocation Has Changed

April 2012
By Kent R. Schneider, SIGNAL Magazine

I joined the U.S. Army in 1968. Having been trained as a Signal officer, I went to the field in the early 1970s with maps in hand, and I used acetate and grease pencils to prepare overlays for troop movements, command post and signal site locations, and the ever-important radio line-of-sight calculations. One of the greatest technology developments of the time was the marking pen—we got rid of grease pencils and we had color!

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance in the Littoral Fight

April 2012
By Lt. Daniel T. Murphy, USN, SIGNAL Magazine

The next time U.S. forces fight in the littorals—whether it be in the Persian Gulf, Africa, Asia or elsewhere—adversaries, if they are smart, will adopt the land tactics that have made insurgents effective in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, if the U.S. military is smart, it will bring to the asymmetric maritime fight the same force-multiplying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools that have kept casualty rates surprisingly low in the ground fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Solar Powers Missions and Saves Lives

April 1, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Magazine

U.S. MARINES fighting the war in Afghanistan have embraced solar power as a way to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on batteries and generators at the front lines. The use of solar energy and renewable energy sources is part of a plan by the Corps to cut by half its reliance on non-renewable energy sources by 2025.

Now May Be the Time for Defense Department Enterprise Email

April 1, 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

Email is the most attractive application for leading to implementation of a Defense Department enterprise-wide strategy. Email features are generic and functionally identical. It is shared across all components. It is mature. A shared directory of addresses and the security requirements are identical and do not require innovation. Implementing email as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) by an organization such as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) would offer immediate cost reductions of at least 50 percent. This would serve as a precedent for similar enterprise-wide efforts that could follow.

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