The U.S. Army is moving closer to putting high-energy laser weapons on individual vehicles to improve its short-range air defense capabilities. The weapons meet the Army’s need for counter-rocket, artillery and mortar fire and protection for unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems—the latter of which is particularly important, given their abundance. Laser systems offer substantially lower cost per fire than traditional weapons, and their stealth firing characteristics make them valuable countermeasures for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
A prototype microwave defense system known as MAX POWER, which deployed in 2012 to Afghanistan, proved useful in neutralizing the threat of improvised explosive devices. The system houses high-powered vacuum tubes to generate microwaves that detonated roadside bombs before they could harm soldiers.
Originally developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, MAX POWER has transferred to the Army. In an agreement with the AFRL, the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at New Jersey’s Picatinny Arsenal is looking to see what it can do with MAX POWER’s hardware.
As U.S. Army leaders assess the future of tactical communications and networking programs, the service is moving forward with several measures to extend improved capabilities to soldiers at the platoon and squad levels.
Service officials spent most of the summer participating in a major review of the Army’s network modernization strategy. Gen. Mark Milley, USA, the Army chief of staff, informed Congress in May that he had directed a “rigorous and painful review” of tactical communication programs out of concerns that systems being developed may not be sufficiently hardened against electronic attacks.
While I might not go so far as to pen an open letter to President Donald Trump, consider this a note for anyone with a need to know how the procurement process works for defining and moving ahead on military expenditures. It’s safe to say the behemoth process borders on the absurd and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars.
There are two types of government procurement issues many might find infuriating and prevent warfighters from getting the best industry offers. The two problem areas include the small business set-aside and the absurdity of asking for revolutionary capabilities but telling businesses how to do it using an evolutionary process.
Both procedures just get in the way of progress.
The U.S. Army is strengthening network operations by giving soldiers true ownership responsibilities, according to service officials. A new training effort teaches soldiers the elements of network operation at their home bases before deployment, reducing the need for contractors to provide support in the field. It empowers soldiers to operate networks more efficiently as they assume greater responsibility for the task at the unit level.
The U.S. military faces a critical stage in establishing an effective and commanding position in the new technologically advanced environment of regional networking. Commanders and staff always are seeking the “next best” solution to attain supremacy over adversaries in the pivotal domains of command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or C5ISR.
Some of that effort is shouldered by the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF), which began seeking out and quickly supplying cutting-edge materiel solutions during the early days of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq about 15 years ago.
What will you be doing in 20 years? Have you planned that far ahead? As anyone who thought floppy disks or landlines would stand the test of time knows, predicting that far out is a challenge, especially when it comes to technology. But the U.S. Army has done just that, outlining its vision for an effective, modern enterprise network in the strategic document “Shaping the Army Network: 2025-2040.”
The U.S. Army is working to compress large amounts of geospatial data into an amount that is manageable on a handheld device. Imagery from the GeoGlobe database currently seeing use in Afghanistan soon may become available in PDF format, placing crucial imagery and information directly into the warfighter's hands. In his article "U.S. Army Expands Combat-Proven GeoGlobe" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I. Seffers discusses how 3-D terrain visualization imagery will go compact for handheld applications.
U.S. Army researchers have enhanced the Talon robot with an array of technologies to make the system more autonomous. Upgrades include inertial navigation and Global Positioning System technologies, a 306-degree camera system and laser radar, upgraded power distribution boards, an e-stop system, Ethernet radios, control computers and software for running the system. The combination of enhancements allow improved obstacle detection and 3-dimensional mapping.
PacificTech-Sauer J.V., Jacksonville, Florida, was awarded a more than $9 million firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of an operational communications facility to be used as the Joint Communication Unit Headquarters and Information Operations Facility at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah, Georgia, is the contracting activity.
The U.S. Army has linked military radios and chat systems with cell phones, instant messaging and other commercial products that can facilitate communications among the U.S. military and NATO allies. Using Lync 2010, a Microsoft collaboration product, the capability will enable warfighters in command posts or on patrol to know who is online and the best way to reach them-either by computer, radio, chat or phone.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA, chief information officer/G-6 of the Army, addressed media members at LandWarNet today during a roundtable focused on the recent Apps for the Army competition. Various competition winners also attended to share their experiences. Gen. Sorenson reiterated comments he made yesterday saying that this quick-development contest could serve as a precursor for rapid deployment in the future. He sees the process applying even to larger systems. The general also mentioned that in the future there could be a contest involving industry participation in which they are given guidelines but not many specific requirements.
Increased situational awareness continued as the focus of importance here at LandWarNet. Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA, the chief information officer/G-6 of the Army, gave a high-level view of the current path of the Army enterprise, emphasizing that everything done comes down the requirement for shared situational awareness. All other pieces must support the effort to provide the warfighters with the information they need. To support soldiers and joint troops, the Army is working to test, field and deploy systems faster. Army leadership is standardizing processes, technologies and guidelines so industry can provide exactly what the military requires. The general also stated that industry is increasingly focusing on applications.
The solutions to the Army's network problems have no easy answers, according to opinions from the first panel here at LandWarNet. Leaders in industry addressed five questions about how to improve or address various facets of the Army enterprise, but rarely did any of the responses provide straightforward solutions. For example, employing plug-and-play capabilities can benefit the Army, but using this business model can result in "lowest common denominator" technology and stifle innovation, according to Barry R. Hensley, vice president of the Counter Threat Unit at SecureWorks. Elizabeth A. Hight, vice president, U.S.
By mid-decade, the U.S. Army should be able to pull together all of its sensor and weapons systems into a single net-centric platform for air defense. This technological family reunion will foster an interoperability that makes future gatherings flow smoothly, both in theater and elsewhere. Like getting grandma and Uncle Joe wired into e-mail or Facebook, the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) program will connect Army forces for quicker data access, and faster action. In this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Henry S.
The popularity and growth of social media networks and blogs offers federal agencies new tools to get their message to the nation's citizens. However, the openness of social media platforms also presents a security challenge. A panel of government and commercial media experts pondered the implications of widespread adoption of social media platforms at AFCEA's Homeland Security Conference. The U.S. military has recently adopted social networking as an extension of its public affairs activities. Col. Kevin V. Arata, USA, director of the Army Online and Social Media Division, explained that the service wanted to formalize how it approached social media.
Army Technology Live is the U.S. Army RDECOM's blog. Its purpose is to inform the public about Army initiatives and technologies and to showcase the work produced by the Army technology team. Pretty cool, right? Well, now the self-described "science and technology command" has launched a free iPhone application so that fans can have access to the blog anywhere and anytime. The app downloads current news features, including entries to the Army Technology Live blog, the official RDECOM Web site, job listings, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and more.
"We are in a dynamic environment with an adversary that's extremely adaptive. The only constant is change, and we have got to be able to adapt our TTPs [tactics, techniques and procedures] with enough agility to counter what we're facing on the battlefield as the war evolves."--Brad Mason, chief of Army Forces Command's G-3/5/7 Strategic Initiatives Division
Some people live and breathe the Army 24/7. Now anyone can be all Army, all the time with the U.S. Army iPhone app. Army soldiers and fans can get the latest news about the military branch thanks to the new application. The free tool lets users access the news sections available on www.army.mil, including full-length articles with photos. In addition to news, users can view Flickr photos, videos, the Army's social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the Army Live blog and much more. Soldiers can make sure they stay on top of their Army game by accessing Army fact files, uniforms, ranks, recruiter locations--even the Army song.