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Event Coverage

Washington Insider Shares Views on Obama, Gates, Acquisition and Afghanistan

October 19, 2009
By Maryann Lawlor

MILCOM 2009 opened today with a speech by David Gergen, CNN commentator and editor at-large for US News and World Report.

Army Innovation on the Edge

September 17, 2009
By H. Mosher

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA, chief information officer (CIO)/G-6 policy, and Maj. Gen. Nickolas Justice, USA, program executive officer, Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), had a lot to say about innovation in the U.S. Army at the Gov 2.0 Summit last week.

Panel moderator Dr. Linton Wells, Transformation Chair and distinguished research professor at National Defense University, asked them why pursue innovation on the edge. Gen. Sorenson took the opportunity to explain challenges faced by the military in today's enviroment. "If you look at warfare today, it has dramatically changed from when your father or grandfather fought it," he said. "We have to function in environments that are asymmetrical, where the enemy is not in uniform and may be in front, behind, around you." He made a distinction between strategic operations and tactical operations but noted that the two are no longer separate. "You now have tactical forces doing strategic operations," he explained. "They have to have the best situational awareness at that front edge. The only way to do that is to make sure that data [they need to complete the mission] is available accessible and accurate."

Gen. Justice had a different perspective on why innovation matters most on the front line. "It's all about money," he said. "If I can get my warfighters to solve my problems for me, then I don't have to go back to the Pentagon to ask for the money to address these capabilities."

Gen. Sorenson said that in his experience, he'd run across soldiers with intuitions or experience to discern what was needed. When that happens, he continued, "You get some magic." He is always astonished to find that warfighters are "using systems in ways that were never imagined when we wrote the requirements for it."

DoD Wrestles With Social Media Identity

September 10, 2009
By H. Mosher

When Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, came on board at the Defense Department a couple of months ago, he got the directive from Sec. Gates to use social media to engage-not just push out messages. But within days of starting, Floyd found that most of those social media channels had been shut down.

User-Friendly Government

September 10, 2009
By H. Mosher

The ultimate goal of government 2.0 should be a user-friendly government, whether that user is the citizen availing him or herself of services or the user is the government agency using these tools to collaborate and share information, said panelists at a discussion after lunch on Thursday at the Gov 2.0 Summit. For the defense and intelligence sectors, those internal capabilities are most attractive, but even behind the secure networks, challenges of culture still exist.

Crisis Response and Geospatial Services

September 9, 2009
By H. Mosher

From politics to national security to data transparency to important new public service applications, the Gov 2.0 Summit, co-produced by O'Reilly and TechWeb, covered a wide range of issues facing government as it tries to balance security, transparency and the new media environment. The theme in the afternoon was the wide range of applications that can be built using geospatial technology.

LandWarNet Show Daily--Thursday

August 21, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

LandWarNet closed with a keynote address by Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff. Outlining his views on command and control, the general noted that the Army is in a critical time of transformation and conflict. He added that the service has undergone rapid change during the last eight years.

The general noted that a critical lesson learned from the past several years is that vital technological and operational changes are made on the ground by soldiers at the tip of the spear. More data is now available to warfigthers than ever before, but it must be made available to a variety of personnel across all echelons, he said.

If the sharing of battlefield information had not been managed properly, it would have crippled the Army's operational efforts, Gen. Chiarelli shared. However, he credits the success of systems such as FBCB2 and the Command Post of the Future (CPOF) for providing soldiers with increased situational awareness. The tactical ground reporting system (TIGR), is making its way to troops in the field. It is a virtual notebook designed to provide soldiers and commanders with data and information to make more efficient decisions.

But despite these developments, there have been challenges. The general noted that communications personnel resisted the development and deployment of command and control systems such as FBCB2, CPOF and TIGR. He added that the Army also takes a "cookie cutter" approach to computer security and warned that it is individual soldiers who suffer from bad decisions and lack of foresight about the implications of some policies.

LandWarNet Show Daily-Tuesday

August 18, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

The theme of this year's LandWarNet conference and symposium is leveraging the global network enterprise to enable full spectrum operations to the warfighter. Gen Carter F. Ham, USA, launched the event by discussing the Army's need to leverage the network and cyberspace to enable command and control. He explained that this was a historic time for Army signals as the service establishes a new unified command devoted to cyberspace.

Army Ponders Cyber Security

August 18, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

One of the key issues at this year's LandWarNet conference and symposium is cyber security and operations. Among the challenges to security is the use of military computer networks for purposes they were not originally designed for. Speaking at a panel on the state of Army cyber security and operations, Brig. Gen. Steven W. Smith, chief cyber officer, Army CIO/G-6, noted that "The NIPRNET was never designed at a command and control network, but it sure is now." The service must facilitate cultural change and newly launched initiatives to ensure the security of its networks, he said.

Technology Is Neither Bottleneck Nor Solution

June 1, 2009
By Helen Mosher

This is my take on the AFCEA, Northcom and George Mason University conference on "Inter-agency, Allied and Coalition Information Sharing," which was covered on SIGNAL Scape last week. No, we still can't connect the dots as well as hoped and never will, but conferees agreed that what matters most is the thoughtful and trusting use that humans could make of what information manages to flow through IT systems, however improperly they may be connected.

Leadership and Information Sharing

May 21, 2009
By H. Mosher

The Obama administration can take certain key steps to improve the ability to recognize and deal with national security threats, according to recommendations in "Nation at Risk," a report issued by the The Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Jeff Smith of Arnold & Porter LLP, a steering committee member for the report, presented it yesterday at the AFCEA SOLUTIONS conference on information sharing.

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