SIGNALScape

Ishpi Receives Coast Guard Cyber Contract

March 4, 2013
George I. Seffers
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Ishpi Information Technologies Inc., Mount Pleasant, S.C., has won a $6.7 million dollar multi-year task to provide the United States Coast Guard with subject matter expertise in the areas of information systems security and analysis, certification and accreditation, risk management, and information assurance training support to the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Information Technology Service Center. 

DARPA Awards Structural Logic Contract

March 4, 2013
George I. Seffers
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HRL Laboratories L.L.C., Malibu, Calif., is being awarded a $10,150,974 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract under the Structural Logic program, which seeks revolutionary structural designs that make up the basis for modern military platforms and systems by passively adapting to varying loads and simultaneously exhibiting high stiffness and high damping over a wide dynamic range. The goal of the Structural Logic Phase II is to demonstrate that this radically new approach to structural design can be applied to relevant and real world tactical systems. During Phase I of the program a wide range of relevant tactical applications were evaluated for the Structural Logic concepts and technologies including: space, armor, aerodynamic, hydrodynamic and civil engineering structural systems. The government has selected a hydrodynamic application, in particular a high-speed boat for the Phase II demonstration. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity. 

Contractor to Conduct UAV Risk Reduction Flights for Six Countries

March 4, 2013
George I. Seffers
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Canadian Commercial Corp., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, is being awarded a $9,839,099 firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for services and supplies for land and sea-based modeling, testing and risk reduction flights for the U.S. Navy and the governments of Australia, Spain, Japan, South Korea and Norway. In support of these efforts, the contractor will utilize a Vindicator II System comprised of contractor-owned unmanned air vehicles and high-speed maneuvering unmanned surface vehicles, as well as a contractor-owned helicopter radar signature simulator. The Naval Air Systems Command, Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Modeling and Simulation Can Ease Budget Crunch

February 28, 2013
George I. Seffers
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As the U.S. government wrestles with its myriad budgetary woes, training, modeling and simulation can provide substantial savings in a variety of ways, according to officials speaking on the Training, Modeling and Simulation panel at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

“With the economic turmoil that we find ourselves in today, where we have to simultaneously reduce costs while protecting the homeland, I believe we are now in a period where modeling and simulation and virtual reality methodologies are not really an aid to live training, they are indispensable,” said Sandy Peavy, chief information officer, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Homeland Security Department (DHS).

Peavy reported that her organization is using a modified version of a U.S. Army-developed virtual reality hologram. Since the Army already had invested heavily in the system, the DHS was able to modify it for a modest $1 million, and now the Army is integrating some of the DHS modifications into its own system.

Additionally, David Boyd, who leads the DHS Office of Interoperability and Compatibility, suggested that modeling and simulation can aid the development of FirstNet, a nationwide public safety broadband network that will cost an estimated $7 billion. “We look at modeling and simulation as a way to reduce costs and as a way to look at everything from network scenarios to communications the scenarios,” Boyd said.

He added that there are “a number of issues” with FirstNet, including the fact that it will use LTE protocols, which do not support mission critical voice capabilities and do not meet all of the needs of emergency responses. FirstNet will require the construction of additional towers, an immensely expensive task. “One of the things we have to be able to model is what happens when you overload [the system]. We don’t care what happens on a normal day. We care about what happens when a disaster occurs.”

Top Information Technology Officials Peer into the Future

February 28, 2013
George I. Seffers
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Top information technology officials from a variety of government agencies identified cloud computing, mobile devices and edge technologies as the technologies that will be critical for accomplishing their missions in the future.

Luke McCormack, chief information officer, Justice Department, cited cloud-as-a-service as vital to the future. He urged industry to continue to push the barriers of stack computing, and he mentioned edge technology as an emerging technology. “Edge is going to be really critical to perform missions,” he said. He cited the Google Glass project as an indicator of what the future will bring.

Mobility could be the future of training and simulation, suggested Sandy Peavy, chief information officer for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She revealed that her office is putting together a pilot program introducing tablet computers into the training environment, and ideally, she would like trainees to be able to access simulation on the mobile device of their choice. Peavy also reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is providing special agents with iPhones and experimenting with other devices. “If I’m going to be able to provide just-in-time training, then mobile technology is the key.”

Richard Spires, chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security, also cited mobility as a key future trend, but he also brought up metadata tagging, saying that it helps to understand the data itself and to establish rules for who sees what information. Metadata tagging is especially important as the department grapples with privacy concerns.

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