Cool App-titude: America's Army Comics

April 16, 2013
By Rachel Eisenhower

America's Army iPad Android appThe America's Army comics from the U.S. Army, designed to highlight the reality of being a soldier, are now available for the iPad and Android tablets. The free app features the first two issues of the comics, which follow the saga of courageous U.S. soldiers deployed to the fictional war torn region of Czervenia.

Readers can enjoy the story through animated panels, authentic sound effects and musical scores.

The app was developed by the same team that created the successful America's Army PC game—the Software Engineering Directorate of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center. While the America's Army game is more than a decade old, the app is a relatively new offering and will continue to be updated with new issues and features.

"Comic books and the Army have been around for a long time," Marsha Berry, Army Game Studio public game director, explains. Both the game and the comic include the latest Army technology and emphasize that there is more to being a soldier than just guns.

Download the app from the iTunes App Store or Googly Play.

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Guest Blog: The Next Generation of Defense IT--Network Modernization

April 15, 2013
By Anthony Robbins

At no time has information technology (IT) modernization and its role in protecting our nation been more important than it is today. The defense IT community has a full plate—from mandated efforts to consolidate data centers by migrating to the cloud by 2015, to improving IT security, to responding to the growing pressures and implications of mobility (not to mention sequestration, budget cuts and political pressures everywhere). The modernization of government IT systems needs to happen quickly.

What often stalls IT innovation has very little to do with technology and a lot to do with leadership. As government leaders need to increase productivity, functionality and return on investment from their IT networks, it is important to look at technology as an enabler of leadership and transformational change. Common challenges include:

  • Understanding how to invest in IT tools, systems and infrastructure with declining budgets
  • Managing the increasing cost of current IT infrastructure
  • Dealing with the high rate of IT systems that miss original intent or service level agreements
  • And, of course, responding to increasing security threats

The Defense Department spends more than $40 billion annually on IT, more than $250 billion in the last seven years or so. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars—a lot of money. Modernizing IT systems and infrastructure, like most change or transformational agendas, comes down to leadership. There is an opportunity right now for a more aggressive leadership platform as it relates to the modernization of IT by the Defense Department, especially around the network.

Aggressive thought leadership and action can help in today’s complex environment. Examples of this involve following commercial best practices, the use of open standards, the OpEx vs. CapEx debate and more aggressive training around IT acquisition models.

iRobot Awarded Man Transportable Robotic System Funds

April 15, 2013
George I. Seffers
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iRobot Corp., Bedford, Mass., is being awarded a $28,776,935 modification to previously awarded contract for the procurement of Man Transportable Robotic System production systems, depot level repair parts, spare kits, depot repair services, parts supply, training, engineering enhancements, configuration management and approved accessories. The Man Transportable Robotic System is a small robotic vehicle used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians to conduct remote reconnaissance, render safe, and/or dispose of explosive devices. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity. 

L-3 to Provide Transceivers to Egypt

April 15, 2013
George I. Seffers
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L-3 Communication, San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $10,505,889 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract to procure high frequency transceivers and components for RT-1606 systems and accessories in support of Egypt. The Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity.   

NASA, Air Force Seek Space Processor for Future Missions

April 12, 2013

NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory are asking industry for solutions to meet future high-performance space computing needs in the coming decades.

The Air Force Next Generation Space Processor Analysis Program is seeking two to four companies to perform a year-long evaluation of advanced space-based applications that would use spaceflight processors for the 2020 to 2030 time frame. The call for research and development proposals came in a broad agency announcement, which will involve a competitive selection process with plans to award a cost-reimbursement contract with approximately $2 million to be shared by the selected companies over one year.

Awardees will begin with three months of studies to determine and define the required computing performance for these advanced applications and to compare their findings with the government's preliminary requirements. During the following nine months, the selected companies will develop spaceflight processing architecture solutions to a set of NASA and Air Force requirements.

A chosen team may develop the spaceflight processor following the initial phase of research. Depending on the availability of funds, that contract award could be roughly $20 million over a four year period.

Holy Robotic Batwings!

April 12, 2013
George I. Seffers
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Researchers at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, have developed a robotic batwing that could one day lead to more dynamic, dexterous and sophisticated wings for aircraft. The National Science Foundation, which supports the research, announced the breakthrough in its online publication Science Nation, along with a video. Unlike the wings of birds or insects, batwings are more like the human hand with many joints and skin, allowing bats to change the shape of their wings in-flight, researchers say.