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August 2012

Air Force Seeks Solution for Satellite Radio Costs, Delays

August 2012
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr., SIGNAL Magazine

One of the nation’s most critical multibillion-dollar next-generation satellite communications programs is being restructured. After shifting to a fixed-price contract, the U.S. Defense Department is inviting new industry competition for the Air Force’s advanced beyond-line-of-sight terminal program.

Securing Military Devices

August 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

The Defense Information Systems Agency's Host-Based Security System is evolving to handle today's wide range and high number of cyberthreats as well as to accommodate the prevalence of emerging mobile platforms. With a new contract in place, the experts who employ the system to keep networks safe will train more often in realistic scenarios, preparing them for attacks that would disrupt operations.

Medicine Joins Disaster Response

August 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

Sharing medical information among public and private entities during emergency situations is entering a new age. A consortium of partners has laid the foundation for a national center that will develop protocols and methodology necessary to enhance current capabilities for handling crisis situations.

A Taste of Reality Puts the Focus on Critical Infrastructure

August 2012
By Kent R. Schneider, SIGNAL Magazine

As I write this, we are experiencing some nearly unprecedented oppressive weather in the Washington area. About one week ago, we had a series of violent thunderstorms that caused extensive damage and knocked out power to more than 1.5 million electrical customers—comprising millions of people—in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Many communications systems also failed, either because of damaged infrastructure or loss of power. This includes telephone, cable and cellular systems along with their accompanying processing and switching facilities. Credit and debit cards, along with ATM cards, were useless in many places just when people needed them to buy vital goods for surviving the blackout. More seriously, the 911 emergency call system ceased to function in areas where it was needed the most. And, in some locations, potable water was a problem because power was lacking for pumps and water treatment.

Aerospace Giant Beefs Up Defense Business With Mergers, Huge Contract Wins

August 2012
By Michael A. Robinson, SIGNAL Magazine

No one can accuse Dennis Muilenburg of shying away from a big challenge. Muilenburg is the president and chief executive officer of Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security division. The unit counts $32 billion in sales and a global work force of 62,000. He must navigate the division through uncertain waters amid potentially large government budget cuts and increased competition.

Solar Storms Test Earthbound Preparedness

August 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Magazine

A predicted increase in the number and intensity of solar storms is forecast for 2013, and solar weather experts are advising both the public and private sector to make preparations.

Communications Electronics Can Be a Strategic Offensive Weapon

August 2012
By David J. Katz, SIGNAL Magazine

The United States and its allies have at their disposal an existing defense capability that can be employed as an effective weapon at the highest levels of conflict. The West's installed base of expertise in communications electronics can be harnessed as a strategic offensive weapon to constrain nation-states that seek to bypass the overwhelming superiority that the United States and its allies possess in conventional warfare.

Old Defense Department Silos Must Be Swept Out

August 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann

In last month’s column, I reported that there were 2,904 separately funded fiscal year 2012 information technology budgets. Many of these would be set up to operate their own and incompatible networking, storage, server, operating systems, middleware or control commands.

A Message From the Chairman

August 2012
By Al Grasso, SIGNAL Magazine

Having experienced more than a decade of hot and humid Washington, D.C., summers, I thoroughly enjoyed the pleasant start we experienced this year. Warm temperatures, cooling breezes and clear skies made for delightful days and evenings. It doesn’t get much better than that. Unfortunately, the political climate in no way resembles that pattern. The storm clouds of dissent have moved from the horizon to a perch directly overhead, and there are no clearer skies in the forecast.

WildCAT Prowls for Wireless Predators

August 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

A new technology aimed at finding unauthorized wireless devices on critical infrastructure networks could be fielded within a matter of months.

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