June 2014

May 1, 2014
By Lt. Col. Jan Norris, USA, 
and Whitney Katz
The full Joint Airborne Command and Control/Command Post (JACC/CP) system, which consists of four pallets with seats and work stations for as many as 16 users, sits in the cargo hold of a C-17 with soldiers deploying to a distant operation. Unlike the C-130, both ground troops (paratroopers) and battle staff can occupy the aircraft simultaneously with the JACC/CP.

The ability to communicate en route directly with ground elements during an airborne theater insertion has taken a giant leap forward with a communications system boarding a C-17 Globemaster III. A long-distance deployment across the vast Asia-Pacific region has opened the door to en route command and control over secure or unsecure links.

June 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
A Pleiades satellite image clearly shows buildings, including Olympic venues, in Sochi, Russia. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is employing its own intelligence products to help personnel from other intelligence organizations locate and identify structures worldwide that might be the source of hostile cyber activity.

The borderless world of cybersecurity now is benefitting from geospatial intelligence products. The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has joined the fight against cybermarauders by providing imagery to help cyberwarriors track down online adversaries. Experts defending the United States from cyber attack abroad have a new tool in their kit by being able to see the facility from which digital malefactors are plying their wares.

June 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
Smoke drifts into the sky from buildings and houses hit by shelling in Homs, Syria. Many Jihadi fighters leaving Syria will funnel through the Balkans and may pose a threat to other parts of the world.

In the coming months, extremists fighting in the Syrian civil war likely will begin returning to Europe, funneling through the Balkans where they can find cheap weapons, like-minded allies and temporary accomplices in the form of organized criminal groups. Conditions are ripe, according to experts, for those individuals to spread across Europe, launching terrorist attacks on major cities.

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
Virginia National Guard soldiers from the Fairfax-based Data Processing Unit respond to a simulated cyber attack during a cyberdefense exercise.

Cybersecurity remains a priority for the U.S. Defense Department, with officials protecting resources for it in the face of overall budget constraints. Guidance from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 directs a mission analysis of cybercapabilities not only in the active military, but also across partners, to help forces maintain their edge in protecting the nation.

June 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
Russian Topol-M ballistic missile. Russia and China have the capability to fit ballistic missiles with maneuverable reentry vehicle warheads capable of shifting course in flight. Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin, via Wikicommons.

The U.S. missile defense program now trails emerging ballistic missile threats from rival nations that are outspending the United States in quests to move ahead and stay ahead, defense analysts caution. Emerging technologies such as maneuverable re-entry vehicles, a type of ballistic missile warhead capable of shifting course in flight, essentially render existing U.S. antiballistic missile defense capabilities ineffective.

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
Seaman Alex Snyder, USN, right, explains the functions of the helm on the navigation bridge of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to Maj. Gen. Chen Weizhan, deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army, Hong Kong Garrison, center, and Col. Li Jiandang, Hong Kong Garrison liaison officer during a distinguished visitor embark.

China and Russia represent two of the most robust, comprehensive concerns to worldwide stability. Almost every major geostrategic threat—cyber attack, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, capable military forces, political influence, economic power, sources of and high demand for energy—is resident in those two countries that often find themselves at odds with the United States and its allies.

June 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
Col. Karlton D. Johnson, USAF, is the U.S. Forces Korea J-6 and senior communicator for U.S. forces in Korea.

A new facility for cybersecurity is allowing U.S. Forces Korea to coordinate efforts with other U.S. commands as well as Republic of Korea civilian government and military forces. The Joint Cyber Center serves as the focal point for increasing international cooperation between U.S. and Korean forces in their defensive measures against increasing cyber aggression from North Korea. It blends activities from the local J-2, J-3 and J-6 along with input from other forces worldwide.

June 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
The Centers for Academic Excellence-Cyber Operations program is succeeding, NSA officials say, but enthusiasm at some schools has been dampened as a result of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The first graduates are emerging from centers of excellence for cyber operations that teach the in-depth computer science and engineering skills necessary to conduct network operations. The program better prepares graduates to defend networks and should reduce the on-the-job training needed for new hires, saving both time and money.

June 1, 2014
By James C. Bussert
A crewmember aboard a Chinese trawler tries to snag the towed acoustic array of a U.S. Navy ocean surveillance ship in international waters in the South China Sea.

China’s encroachment in the South China Sea for more than 40 years has much more impact on freedom of navigation and international confrontations than on pursuit of resources. While it has been staking territorial rights to oil- and gas-rich island regions also claimed by multiple countries, the Middle Kingdom has been employing maritime forces ranging from fishing boats to Coast Guard and People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessels in ways that suggest expanded control over oceangoing traffic.