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September 2012

Advancing 
Afghanistan's
 Cybersecurity

September 1, 2012
By Rita Boland
An instructor from Georgia teaches a class to a group of Afghan cyberprofessionals.  
An instructor from Georgia teaches a class to a group of Afghan cyberprofessionals. The Afghans traveled to Turkey as part of a NATO program to improve cyberdefense in their home country.  

Sixteen Afghan cyberprofessionals set out along the fabled Silk Road earlier this year, but unlike those who traversed the routes during times past, they peddled no wares nor carried any desires to conquer. Rather, they journeyed to Turkey in search of skills that will help them turn a developing nation dealing with a vast array of cyberthreats into a place of stability with the technology capabilities necessary in the modern world.

NATO spearheaded this SILK-Afghanistan education effort that allowed Afghan representatives to attend a two-week course at Turkey’s Middle East Technical University (METU). That school was chosen both for its expertise and for the relative ease of logistics in hosting the event in Turkey. The Afghan students work in various institutions in their native nation, including universities in the city of Kabul and in other provinces, the country’s Ministry of Higher Education and the Afghan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Students also were chosen because of their roles in setting up the Afghan national database and because of a desire to enhance cooperation between two ministries in the government.

Dutch Navy Sails 
Into New Era,
 New Challenges

September 1, 2012
By Max Cacas
 
The Holland features the I-Mast 400 from Thales Nederland, a new comminications mast that can be built modularly, saving time and money in the shipyard. The 52-ton, 370-foot radio mast also is designed so that most equipment maintenance can be conducted inside the mast structure, reducing the number of crew needed for this work.  

The Dutch Navy is building a new class of oceangoing patrol vessels designed to meet the range of missions expected in the decades ahead. These concerns include illicit trafficking, drug smuggling, human trafficking, weapons smuggling and piracy.

The first of the four ships in the Holland class, the HNLMS Holland, was commissioned in July 2012. The ship requires only 50 crew members, has a weight of 357 tons—enabling operations in the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, and has space for a pair of Fast Raiding Interception and Special Forces Craft (FRISC) and an NH-90 helicopter. It also has enough room onboard to support noncombatant humanitarian operations when needed.

Prior to the development of the Holland class of ships, the Dutch naval fleet was composed primarily of destroyers, frigates, submarines and a range of support vessels designed primarily for fleet-to-fleet combat.

NATO Support Agency 
Continues Evolution

September 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers

NATO recently consolidated three support and acquisition agencies into one to create effectiveness, improve efficiencies and increase savings. The organization will continue to evolve as the NATO mission transforms, including changes expected following the withdrawal from the war zone in Afghanistan.

The NATO Support Agency (NSPA), Capellen, Luxembourg, was officially established on July 1 under the leadership of Rear Adm. Michael Lyden, USN, (Ret.), who will serve as the general manager. The NSPA combines three previous organizations, the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency, the NATO Airlift Management Agency and the Central Europe Pipeline Management Agency. The NSPA is a fully customer-funded organization, operating on a no-profit/no-loss basis. It focuses on providing integrated multinational support solutions for its stakeholders.

The support agency’s written mission is to provide responsive, effective and cost-efficient logistics support services for systems and operations. It is designed to provide needed assistance in times of peace, crisis and war to the NATO member nations, the NATO military authorities and partner nations, both individually and collectively. It also aims to maximize the ability and flexibility of armed forces, contingents and other relevant organizations to execute their core missions.

Among other tasks, the mission includes in-service support of weapons systems, as well as communications and electronics systems. “We do operational logistics and real-life support, like running some of the base functions in Afghanistan. We do fuel work. We do airlift. A big piece of our mission is geared toward the current mission in Afghanistan,” Adm. Lyden says.

Universities Develop New-School Biometrics

September 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers

 

 
The Center for Advanced Studies in Identity Science (CASIS) is helping to usher in a new school of biometrics known as identity science, which goes beyond traditional biometrics of iris scans, fingerprints, palm prints and facial recognition.  

The Center for Advanced Studies in Identity Science (CASIS) is helping to usher in a new school of biometrics known as identity science, which goes beyond traditional biometrics of iris scans, fingerprints, palm prints and facial recognition.

Even as biometrics technology becomes more integral to everyday life, researchers working indirectly for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warn that some tough challenges have yet to be overcome. Refining facial recognition in crowds, coping with obscurants, finding answers with less than perfect data and addressing flat funding hinder progress.

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