Information security is more than just a fact of life-it is a guarantor of life. Government, the military, the commercial sector and the public are so dependent on cyberspace that any interruption or degradation can be chaotic or even catastrophic. And, scarcely a day goes by without the public learning of either some new intrusion into key government systems or a discovered threat to personal information. SIGNAL Magazine's July 2009 issue examines the challenges of achieving information security from the burgeoning menace to potential solutions-and their own ramifications.
This is the first in what will be a series of video interviews featuring senior leaders of military, government and industry as they share their philosophy on leadership and the techniques that have worked for them.
This inaugural episode features Deborah H. Alderson, President, Defense Solutions Group, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
Every service has faced changes brought about by new technologies and new missions, but the Air Force is wrestling with nothing less than a total overhaul of its structure and activities. Its legacy mission was fairly clear-cut: maintain air superiority and provide support to ground forces where needed. But now, experts are building a new force of unmanned combat air vehicles that vie in importance with piloted craft. And, the Global War on Terrorism and the information technology revolution have struck at the very heart of the Air Force's raison d'etre.
Research and development is the seed corn of our technology driven world. With the commercial sector providing many of the military's new technologies, the old lines delineating military and commercial technologies are blurring into nonexistence. The defense community is working with academia and the private sector to an ever greater degree, and the rapid pace of commercial information technology innovation is increasing the importance of laboratory research.
Dorobek makes an excellent point when he says that e-mail really did revolutionize the way we communicate, but hasn't done much toward the effort to collaborate. But since we've gotten in the habit of using e-mail to collaborate, for lack of better tools in the '90s, we're still using e-mail to collaborate even though better tools are out there.
The value of the virtual realm for training has been recognized for some time, but now artificial reality is being exploited for many other applications. Web 2.0 capabilities have opened new doors in cyberspace, and people and organizations are embracing the new world of virtual collaboration. The only limits to using this make-believe realm may be those of human imagination. SIGNAL's May issue looks at ongoing efforts to explore collaboration in the virtual world.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has had to juggle technologies to maintain effective service to its customers-the defense community. Both civilian and military Defense Department organizations depend on DISA for vital connectivity around the clock and around the globe. While the agency has been able to tap commercial capabilities to a greater degree, its customer demands-especially for bandwidth-have been growing faster than expected.
The U.S. Marine Corps finds itself in the unique position of sharing attributes of all the other military services. That has helped the Corps procure technologies in that it can learn from and adapt some systems developed by other services. However, the Corps has its own unique situations and requirements, so it finds itself pursuing Marine-specific solutions to modern challenges. SIGNAL's April issue looks at Marine Corps technologies as the multifaceted service girds for the fog of future combat.
When it comes to military technologies, it's all about the warfighter. The men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan know firsthand their greatest technological needs, and their counterparts back home are striving to provide them as quickly as possible. The combat experience also is providing grist for the design mill as engineers plan for the future. SIGNAL looks at the efforts underway to develop new warfighter technologies as well as what may lie ahead.
The networked world is beginning to discover that sharing is not always beneficial. Marauders always have been the bane of cyberspace, but now a new set of threats has emerged to imperil more than just the usual targets. Ordinary citizens now are menaced by sophisticated organizations seeking to damage society or to loot it of its funds-or both. And, as always, the network-centric military is under assault by increasingly frequent and effective cyberagents operating under foreign government control.