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International

Meet Col. Mike Warlick, USMC (Ret.), Vice President for Regional and Chapter Outreach

January 15, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

Col. Mike Warlick, USMC (Ret.), always enjoyed running and found that it was a sport at which he excelled even though he preferred baseball. But although running the mile in 4 minutes 34 seconds is still his high school’s record, Col. Warlick’s personal and professional life has not been about running but rather building strong foundations.

Obstacles Loom for Pacific Realignment

January 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The shift of U.S. power to the Asia-Pacific will not be successful without an infusion of new technology and a dedicated effort to defeat a wide range of adversaries. The new strategic emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region poses a new set of challenges, mandating solutions that run the gamut from technological capabilities to cultural outreach and diplomacy.

On the military side, direct challenges range from dealing with cyberspace attacks to providing missile defense in a large-scale conflict. On the geopolitical side, centuries of conflict and confrontation among neighbors must be overcome if a region-wide security environment enabling economic growth is to be implemented.

The technological response will require moving game-changing—or even disruptive—technologies into theater faster and more effectively. Strategically, both government and the military must build more extensive coalitions among a large number of nations, some of which historically have not trusted each other.

These points were among the many discussed at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2012, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 13-15. Titled “Rebalancing Toward the Asia-Pacific—Challenges and Opportunities,” the conference featured a multinational roster of speakers and panelists from across government, the military, industry and academia.

One challenge that faces modern military forces anywhere in the world is cyberspace, and the threat in that realm is extending into new areas with potentially greater lethality. A new type of player has emerged among cyber malefactors, and many traditional adversaries are adopting new tactics that combine both hardware and software exploitation. These threats no longer are confined to customary targets, as even systems once thought sacrosanct are vulnerable to potentially devastating onslaughts.

NATO Addresses Its Info-Centric Future

January 1, 2013

Challenges and solutions abound as the alliance puts its reorganization to the test.

The recent reorganization of NATO’s information organization represents the leading edge of a series of new approaches toward operations and procurement by the 63-year-old alliance. At the heart of this effort is NATO’s “smart defense” initiative, which seeks to do more with less. By design, it must involve industry and cooperative efforts early in the development of any program.

New technologies and capabilities highlight NATO’s latest thrust into information-centric operations, as the alliance has consolidated development, procurement and management functions into its NATO Communications and Information Agency, or NCIA. This agency is tasked with leading NATO into a future dominated by mobile communications, cloud computing and big data.

The gains envisioned by this reorganization and the smart defense initiative could be tempered by a number of traditional and new threats. As NATO moves into the cloud and relies on big data, the cyberthreat becomes more dangerous and a greater obstacle to be overcome, for example.

These and other points were discussed at TechNet International 2012, held in Rome, Italy, October 23-25. Organized under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Defense, the event was held in partnership by the NCIA and AFCEA Europe and included the NCIA Industry Conference. Titled “Creating Tomorrow’s C4ISR: Partnership–Imagination–Innovation,” the conference featured leaders from NATO, nations’ militaries and industry who offered candid assessments of the challenges and opportunities that are defining NATO’s new approach to command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR).

Military Tracks Earthquake-Related Radiation Contamination

December 6, 2012
By Max Cacas

To monitor the possible effects of radiation on Americans who were in Japan during the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the U.S. Army Public Health Command has launched the Operation Tomodachi Registry website. The site provides location-based radiation dose estimates for the approximately 70,000 department-affiliated adults and children who were in one of 13 mainland Japan locations at the time of the disaster, which included the release of radiation into the environment. It will serve as a public clearinghouse for information on the U.S. Defense Department's response to the crisis in which U.S. troops assisted their Japanese counterparts in relief efforts. The Operation Tomodachi website will be used to build a model for future exposure registries that could be used to manage a range of other events or activities where the potential for environmental exposure to harmful chemical or biological agents is possible. It will be managed as part of the Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System. Names, locations and radiation exposure information for service members, civilian contractors, employees and their family members is contained in a secure database.

 

New Ships Sail in the Persian Gulf

December 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

Through a foreign military
 sales program that sends ocean vessels to Iraq, officials hope to facilitate stability in the area.

Though operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn officially have come to an end, U.S. military support to the nation that contained the conflicts has not. The U.S. Navy has completed its transfer of platforms to its counterpart in the Middle East via a program to arm the developing sea service for its maritime challenges. Training and other support activities will continue in this effort designed to shore up maritime security in the region as well as to improve relations between the recent partners.

By the end of this year, the U.S. Navy plans to have delivered all 14 of the purchased ships for a total of 12 35-meter coastal patrol boats and two 60-meter offshore support vessels (OSVs) to the Iraqi navy through an approved Foreign Military Sales program. The patrol boats are fast-attack vessels that can reach speeds of 30 knots and are armed with a 30-millimeter gun weapon system built to operate in littoral waters. They are designed to accommodate a crew of 25 members. Since 2010, these coastal craft have been delivered incrementally, with one delivered that year, five delivered in 2011, and three provided this year in March.

The two OSVs were delivered late in 2012. These multifunctional ships support oil production platforms through command and control functions associated with the security of those platforms and other afloat forces. Sailors also can transport platform crews and supplies on the OSVs and assist other patrol boat crews with provisions, repairs and refueling. Each vessel is equipped with guns and fast-attack boats as well as a vertical replenishment deck to facilitate the transfer of people and supplies.

U.S. Technology Training for Kids in the Pacific

November 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Department of State is hosting its first-ever Youth TechCamp in the Pacific region later this month. Coordinated in conjunction with Pasifika Nexus and the University of the South Pacific, Youth TechCamp Fiji will offer six days of training to as many as 300 youths from various Pacific islands. Local and international technology experts from the fields of digital content creation, mobile applications and social activism will participate as well. Organizers aim to enable future leaders from the region to contribute to policy development, encourage local content creation and leverage connection technologies in positive ways.

Members of the public can join the conversation about this event through the Youth TechCamp Facebook page or on Twitter with the hashtag #TechCamp.
 

 

Budgetary Pressures No Hindrance to
Turkish Military

November 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The need to upgrade the force prevails over 
austerity measures typical of other nations.

Turkey is pursuing a military modernization effort that runs unabated in the face of the global economic crisis. The NATO nation that sits astride Europe, Asia and the Middle East views internal and external threats as a greater danger than fiscal challenges, and it is continuing several programs that will introduce major new platforms built by Turkish industry.
 

Turkey’s annual national defense budget is about $15 billion. However, that is augmented by another $8 billion from the country’s Defense Industry Support Fund. Its military force, which is largely conscript, will shrink in numerical size but increase in professionalism and power through materiel upgrades.

Maj. Gen. Armağan Kuloğlu, TUA (Ret.), is a senior adviser to the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies in Ankara. An army veteran who also served as a deputy undersecretary in the Ministry of Defense, Gen. Kuloğlu explains that Turkey’s military mission is to be able to react to security problems and crises that may arise, particularly in the face of growing uncertainties. These include both internal and external security concerns, he points out.

External concerns are highlighted by Turkey’s strategic location. Its waterfront borders are the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Aegean Sea to the west and the Black Sea to the north. Its southern and southeastern land borders abut Syria, Iraq and Iran. Just last month, the violence afflicting Syria spilled over into Turkey as Syrian forces lobbed artillery shells into a Turkish village, killing several people and prompting retaliation from Turkey.

The Armada
 Down Under

November 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

Spain and Australia are shoring up their maritime cooperation through an agreement to send a Spanish Navy ship to operate with the Royal Australian Navy next year. The decision enhances the existing relationship between the nations, while emphasizing the importance of stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Turkish Groups Provide 
Industry, Government Bridge

November 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A major aim is to serve as a forum for the nation's defense companies to alleviate concerns over fiscal austerity.

Non-governmental organizations serve a valuable role in bridging industry and the military in Turkey. The NATO stalwart has developed its own high-technology defense sector, which now is expanding its export market penetration. This sector also stands to play a major role as NATO develops a technology acquisition architecture in which its member nations play complementary roles rather than competing ones. Because of the need for close coordination between government and industry, non-governmental organizations carry out essential missions in the defense establishment.

Representing a nation that historically has stood at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the Turkey Chapter of AFCEA International reflects a very active defense industrial community supporting the needs of both the Turkish government and its trading partner nations. Founded in November 1989, the chapter itself has a unique history, according to Col. Ismet Bora Büyüköner, TUA (Ret.), president of the AFCEA Turkey chapter.

“The AFCEA Turkey Chapter was founded at the directive of the Turkish Ministry of National Defense and the Turkish General Staff, under the leadership of the Undersecretariat of the Turkish Defense Industries,” he outlines.

The chapter has been approved as a scientific purpose association by the defense ministry, which means that members of the Turkish Armed Forces are allowed to become AFCEA members with permission from superior officers. Membership in the chapter is open to individuals and companies that “operate in the field of communications, electronics and information technology,” according to the chapter,’s website.

Building Bridges Across the Pacific

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers

Cutting-edge warfighter technologies, ranging from nanoscience products to micro air vehicles, are advancing through the combined efforts of multinational top researchers within the Asia-Pacific region. This technical collaboration is driven in part by a U.S. Air Force research and development office in Tokyo, which is building international relationships while optimizing the intellectual talent within one of the world’s most active arenas for scientific breakthroughs.

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