News Briefs

February 15, 2008

Railgun Blasts Away
The U.S. Navy has successfully test fired what it claims is the world’s most powerful electromagnetic railgun. The 10-megajoule weapon fired a test projectile at a target at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. A joule measures the work done by the force of one Newton acting on an object to move it a distance of one meter in the direction the force is applied. The goal of the Navy’s program is to develop a larger 32-megajoule railgun that will serve as a testbed for a 64-megajoule weapon envisioned for the service’s next-generation warships. A 64-megajoule railgun would be capable of firing a projectile more than 250 miles and hitting a target at speeds up to Mach 5.

DHS Offers Billions in Grant Money
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released application guidance for 14 federal grant programs worth more than $3 billion. The purpose of the funds is to strengthen prevention, protection, response and recovery capabilities at all levels of government with an emphasis on improving preparedness and countering the threat of improvised explosive devices. Infrastructure Protection Program applications are due March 17, 2008, and Homeland Security Grant Program applications are due May 1, 2008.

High-Speed Ship Work Underway
The U.S. Navy has awarded three $3 million contracts for preliminary design work on the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), a collaborative effort between the Navy and U.S. Army. Austal USA, Bath Iron Works and Bollinger Shipyards Incorporated are each leading teams that will develop the initial plans. The service expects to choose one of the three later this year to move into the second phase of the project. Once complete, the JHSV will transport soldiers or Marines and their gear to harbors that are not accessible with Navy vessels. The first ship, an Army vessel, is anticipated to be delivered in 2011.

Cyberspace Command Prepares Personnel for Virtual Battle
The U.S. Air Force is grooming airmen to fly in cyberspace. The cyberwarriors will plan, direct and execute both offensive and defensive actions in and through cyberspace. In addition, they will collect data and target systems or networks as well as develop tools and weapons. As a first step, the Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional) is adapting current career fields and introducing new ones to meet warfighting needs. It also is standardizing guidance and establishing training for professional development. The cyberspace cadre will comprise officer, enlisted and civilian personnel, and all airmen will begin to receive fundamental cyberspace training.

Director of National Intelligence Selects First IARPA Director
Dr. Lisa Porter has been named the first director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). The announcement represents an integral step in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence 500-Day Plan for Integration and Collaboration, an initiative to promote information sharing in the intelligence community. IARPA’s research efforts seek breakthrough discoveries and are designed to augment ongoing mission-specific research in science and technology. Porter joins IARPA from the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

Military Explores Next Generation of Quick-Deliver Technologies
The U.S. Defense Department announced the selection of 10 Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) projects including seven new efforts for fiscal year 2008 and three from the end of fiscal year 2007. The 2008 projects are the Combat Autonomous Mobility System, Communications AirBorne Layer Expansion, Collaborative On-Line Reconnaissance Provider/Operationally Responsive Attack Link, Hard Target Void-Sensing Fuze, Joint Force Protection Advanced Security System, Multi-Function Threat Detector and Shadow Harvest. The 2007 projects are Global Observer, Joint Surface Warfare and Zephyr. The JCTD business model replaced the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration model in fiscal year 2007 and provides more resources earlier in the two-year Defense Department budget cycle.

Operations Center Equipment Receives Green Light
The German military has approved new information technology and communications equipment for its Air Component Command Headquarters/Air Operations Center. Developed by the EADS Group, the equipment is integrated into deployable shipping and storage containers supporting a communications tower. The system is designed to support a range of operations and features servers, workstation personal computers, printers, electronic projectors and videoconferencing systems.

Students Step Into Military Boots
More than 60 Washington, D.C.-area high school students glimpsed the inner workings of the U.S. Defense Department during the Chief Information Office Council’s Information Technology Job Shadow Day. The students, divided into small groups, visited organizations such as the Office of the Defense Department Chief Information Officer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the departments of the Air Force and Army, the NationalDefenseUniversity’s InformationResourceManagementCollege, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the Defense Department Washington Headquarters Services. The program, co-sponsored by the Association For Federal Information Resources Management and Junior Achievement, is designed to offer a rare lesson in the world of federal information technology.

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