International Contracts

July 15, 2008

Tracking Ships from Space

A concept demonstration satellite has been launched carrying equipment sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS). The project tests the feasibility and effectiveness of automatic identification system (AIS) message reception and reporting from space for ship tracking and other navigational activities. The satellite should transmit operational data in approximately two months. The satellite testing marks increment three of the project. The NAIS will improve U.S. maritime domain awareness by employing the integrated network of AIS equipment and user interface services that display and exchange AIS-equipped vessel information. Collected data will enhance security through collision avoidance and through detection, identification and classification of vessels up to 2,000 nautical miles from shore.

A New Spin on Electrons

Scientists have used a single-photon technique to observe the evolution of individual electron spins in semiconductor nanostructures. The work is contributing to the new field of semiconductor spintronics, which exploits the spin of electrons and makes them perform like miniature magnets. Experimentation is underway to assess the benefits of electronic devices using spintronics to power quantum computers made of diamond. The capability may allow the U.S. Air Force, which is funding the research, to reduce electronic power consumption by creating low-power electronic devices that feature massively improved processing speeds.

FCS Delivery Accelerates

The U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) will be delivered by fiscal year 2011, three years earlier than scheduled. Initially intended for distribution to heavy brigade combat teams, the technology now will reach infantry brigade combat teams first. The adjustment is a result of Army studies that found that infantry units have the most capability requests and are in the most demand in Afghanistan and Iraq. The change in schedule will not result in any changes to program costs. The Ground Soldier Ensemble, which is not part of FCS, also will have an accelerated delivery date to coincide with the FCS deliveries.

Manned and Unmanned Systems Team Up

The Office of Naval Research is working with industry to develop a mission management system that will enable U.S. Navy ships, helicopters and unmanned vehicles to collaborate when hunting mines in shallow coastal waters. The goal is to automate the management of unmanned remote multimission vehicles so that fewer operators are required while the vehicles can work as teams. In addition to reducing workload, the system would also facilitate communications between the unmanned vehicles and manned MH-60S airborne mine countermeasures helicopters. The program, called Team-based Execution of Autonomous Missions (TEAM), aims at having a simulated demonstration of the capability by the end of 2009 that depicts the system’s ability to command and control a mine-hunting team from a single littoral combat ship.

Report Focuses on the Business of Cybercrime

A new report sheds light on the underground economy that supports cybercriminals. The Finjian second quarter 2008 Web Security Trends Report focuses on the commercialization of cybercrime and outlines its organization, operation and the benefits reaped from stolen data. Among the findings, tactics such as crimeware drop zones and reseller campaigns for distributing crimeware are illustrated. The report also outlines the growing trend of hierarchical cybercrime organizations replacing loose clusters of hackers trading stolen data online.

Robotics Consortium Comes Online

An organization focused on quickly passing new robotics developments to warfighters has begun operations. Composed of more than 70 participating organizations, the Robotics Technology Consortium Incorporated will support research in a community that includes traditional and nontraditional government contractors, small and large businesses, for-profit and not-for-profit entities, and academic institutions. The consortium’s goal is to shorten the time between the research stage and getting technology into the hands of military personnel. The organization’s members will advise the U.S. government about developing ground robotic systems and will perform research and development.

Versatile Radio Programs Join Forces

A formal agreement to collaborate and share information has been signed between the Joint Program Executive Office for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) and the Software Defined Radio Forum. As a result of the agreement, industry participants will be granted greater access to the U.S. Defense Department’s requirements, processes, and science and technology for JTRS programs. The agreement also is a vehicle for forming partnerships among the two organizations’ members to explore new technologies and processes in the wireless arena. It enhances the organizations’ previous relationship by extending collaboration in joint conferences and workshops; exchanging technical papers, data, reports and comments; and sharing other activities of mutual interest.

Air Force Designates CyberspaceTechnicalCenter of Excellence

The secretary and chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force have designated the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Center for Cyberspace Research as the Cyberspace Technical Center of Excellence (CyTCoE). The CyTCoE will be the Air Force’s center for cyberspace education, training research and technology development. Staff will develop Air Force education and training in support of cyberoperations. They also will work with cyberspace subject matter experts and develop and strengthen relationships with, and maintain awareness about the activities of, various cyber-related research, education and training communities in the military and civilian sectors.


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