May 18, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Vint Cerf, touted as one of the “fathers of the Internet” and now vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, speaks at AFCEA International/George Mason University Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

Is the emergence of robotics raising a generation of meat puppets? Are you a meat puppet?

While the questions posed by Bob Gourley, co-founder of Cognitio, drew a little laughter from attendees at the AFCEA International/George Mason University Critical Issues in C4I Symposium, they should provide serious fodder for discussion on the people whose jobs are about to be replaced by robots. 

“I hope you laughed at that the term, but I hope that that makes it memorable for you,” Gourley said of slang adopted from sci-fi novels. “I hope it leads to a serious thought … about the people whose jobs are being displaced, because it’s going to be in the millions.” 

May 12, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Defense Department's continued collaboration to streamline the whole of the military's information technology networks and systems, known as the Joint Information Environment, tops leaders' agendas and fiscal spending plans—now available with a caveat for decision makers, officials said.

May 10, 2016
By Ray Rothrock

Let’s face it—we have a lot to learn about cybersecurity. For weeks, the FBI and Apple squared off in an epic and public battle over encryption—the Holy Grail for cybersecurity warriors. “Help us break the iPhone,” said the FBI. “The risk is too great, too many will be harmed,” Apple retorted. But the battle was over before the parties fully engaged. The FBI found someone to hack the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters and said, “Never mind, problem solved.”

Does this make you feel secure? With attacks launched every day, I don’t think so.

May 6, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Intelligence and cybersecurity experts discuss emerging cyber threats at an AFCEA EPIC presentation, with growing concern over wearables and the Internet of Things.

Should private companies be able to—and maybe more importantly—hack back? 

The question drew enthusiastic responses from panelists and the audience during at presentation Thursday by AFCEA’s Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) on intelligence and cybersecurity.  

April 7, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) prototype makes a dry run in Portland, Oregon. Officials christened Sea Hunter on Thursday.

The Defense Department's futuristic research agency reached a huge milestone in its robot sea vessel program Thursday, christening the unmanned prototype "Sea Hunter" and entering a two-year extended test phase.

March 23, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. Air Force leaders discuss the defense of key terrain in cyber operations during a panel at AFCEA's inaugural TechNet Air 2016 symposium in San Antonio.

When it comes to the Air Force's cyber protection teams, or CPTs as they are better known, officials are at the stage now where they’re building the aircraft while flying it. 

It is all part of a growing effort to mature defensive cyberspace operations, and CPT members still are writing the playbook on how they define, map, prioritize and help defend key terrain. 

March 24, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. James Holmes, USAF, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements for the Air Force, gives the final keynote at AFCEA's TechNet Air symposium.

AFCEA TechNet Air 2016

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 3

Quote of the Day:
“We want to think deeply and thoughtfully about what is the right mix between combining what humans do best and what machines do best, not just in the combat arena … but in the process we use for command and control.”—Lt. Gen. James Holmes, USAF, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements for the Air Force

The changing world has produced a reemergence of great powers.

And the U.S. Air Force seeks to stop it.

March 22, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Deborah Lee James, secretary of the U.S. Air Force, addresses the inaugural AFCEA International’s three-day TechNet Air 2016 symposium in San Antonio.

AFCEA TechNet Air 2016

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:
"Our military's technological superiority is being challenged in ways that we've never experienced before, and we can't take these developments for granted. If we do, that could put American lives at risk in the not-too-distant future."—Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James

The secretary of the Air Force’s candid assessment of the U.S. military’s declining superiority was not anything that hasn’t been uttered before. And yet, her words rang eerily poignant and ominous, given today’s ever-increasing global instability.

March 23, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office speaks about the Defense Department's costliest program during AFCEA's TechNet Air 2016 symposium.

AFCEA TechNet Air 2016

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 2

Quote of the Day:
“With the F-35, we're making it as flexible as we can to give it a long life so when the threat changes, whether it's a high-intensity conflict or an overfly to collect [human intelligence] data, the platform is going to be able to survive.”—Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office

Perception isn’t always reality, but that doesn’t make for the most compelling headlines, said Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office.

March 24, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force, discusses future programs at AFCEA's TechNet Air symposium.

Every military operation conducted around the world is enabled by space as well as cyber operations, domains closely linked and threatened alike. “As it is with cyber, and as the world is certainly witness to, our space domain is critically important,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force.

March 22, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Members of the Air Force's Task Force Cyber Secure talk about challenges to securing weapons systems during the TechNet Air symposium.

Cyber right now is the the cat’s meow—a notion sure to keep funding flowing for technological solutions, at least in the near term, to counter the emerging threats, according to Col. Gary Salmans, USAF, senior materiel leader of the Cryptologic and Cyber Systems Division within the Air Force Materiel Command.

March 15, 2016

Coming on the heels of Virginia's big push to reduce the number of commuters last week on area roads with Virginia Telework Week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is updating guidance to include the latest technology available to strengthen remote-access data security, especially as the number of teleworkers trends upward. 

March 10, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy leaders address C4ISR capability gaps and needs during an AFCEA DC Chapter breakfast. From l-r, Maj. Gen. Martin Whelan, USAF; Brig. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, USAF; Maj. Gen. Jody Daniels, USA; and Capt. Jeff “Caesar” Czerewko, USN. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Adversaries have caused less of a disruptive aftermath on some U.S. military operations than a homegrown technology solution: big data.

Once viewed as a tremendous asset, troops can now be mired in the vast amount of information collected from ever-improving sensors of all kinds, impeding some missions in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, better known as C4ISR. The quagmire drives leaders to seek solutions.

March 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

As the air superiority gap narrows between the U.S. military and its pursuing adversaries, airpower and information dominance will command center stage for discussions at this month’s TechNet Air 2016 symposium in Texas.

Air operations not only require accurate information and effective communications, coordination and security, but they must also be better than challengers campaigning to usurp the lead once commanded by the United States.

March 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
The Predator provides near-real-time infrared and color video to intelligence analysts and controllers on the ground and the ship. The U.S. Air Force chief scientist is leading two follow-up Autonomous Horizons studies examining the possibility of advancing autonomous technologies.

The U.S. Air Force science and technology community is returning to a proactive approach to developing transformational technologies. The shifting focus will provide a smoother transitional path for cutting-edge capabilities, get technologies into the hands of warfighters more quickly and help project air power around the globe.

February 25, 2016
By Joel Dolisy

OK, your New Year’s resolutions are probably distant memories, but resolutions to improve agency IT security should be yearlong endeavors. Before gearing up to move forward with implementing new fiscal year 2016 IT initiatives, it is a best practice to conduct a security audit to establish a baseline and serve as a comparison to start thinking about how the agency’s infrastructure and applications should change, and what impact that will have on IT security throughout the year.

It’s critical to maintain a consistent focus on security all year long. Security strategies, plans and tactics must be established and shared so that IT security teams are on the same page for the defensive endeavor.

February 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
A U.S. sailor of Coastal Riverine Squadron 10 mans a crew-served weapon aboard a patrol boat in the Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti. (U.S. Navy photo)

It has been less than smooth sailing of late for the U.S. Navy as the superiority gap the sea service once held over adversaries rapidly narrows, its top officer says.

The onus to secure the maritime domain, both in a militaristic approach as well as commercially, falls to the United States as it jockeys to fortify global sea-based activity in an increasingly complicated environment. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, USN, penned a strategy that directs renewed focus on how the Navy might outmaneuver and outsmart its competitors.

January 28, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Slide over cyber commands, the Defense Department could bear a new warfighting domain. The DOD is tinkering with the notion of recognizing the electromagnetic spectrum as a new warfare domain.

Such a policy change would come on the heels of the paramount decision in 2006 when the DOD added a fifth domain—cyberspace—to its arsenal. Though it has been a decade, cyber warfare is an area in which operators still wrestle with daunting guidelines to carry out warfare in the manmade field.

Given that, is the Pentagon ready for a sixth domain?

January 12, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
DISA officials present agency needs to industry during an AFCEA DC Chapter breakfast that included (l-r) Tony Montemarano, David Mihelcic, John Hickey and Alfred Rivera. Photo by Mike Carpenter.

Not all the news surrounding shrinking federal budgets is bad news. Dwindling coffers mean the government increasingly relies on ready-made products and services from private industry for solutions to both carry out day-to-day operations and prepare for the future.

January 12, 2016
By J. Wayne Lloyd

The season to hunt white-tailed deer draws to a close, and being an avid hunter, I’m already planning for the next season using information gleaned from this go-around in addition to maps, data from trail cameras, temperature input, moon phase and the movement patterns of game. While planning tools are plentiful, they mean little without automation on the back end to make sense of it all.

Deer hunting can be much like cyber hunting, the methodology organizations use when traditional security solutions fail to keep out intruders.