News Briefs

April 9, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
The U.S. Department of Energy has released a request for proposals for at least two next-generation exascale supercomputers. Credit: dlohner/Pixabay

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry today announced a request for proposals potentially worth up to $1.8 billion for the development of at least two new exascale supercomputers, to be deployed at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories in the 2021-2023 timeframe. Among other benefits, the systems will help nuclear security, a major piece of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

April 3, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
U.S. Army CERDEC is extending the registration deadline for its technical interchange with industry at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Credit: U.S. Army CERDEC

The U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, is extending the registration deadline for its technical interchange with industry to 5 p.m. EST, April 13.

The meeting, which is an opportunity for industry to learn about CERDEC's core mission and research and development activities, is scheduled for May 2-4 at the Myer Auditorium at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

Those interested should register immediately at https://www.cerdec.army.mil/industryday/.

April 2, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
SpaceX, which is pioneering the ability to re-use rockets for launches, just obtained governmental approval for a new satellite-based broadband system. Photo courtesy of SpaceX.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the application of Space Exploration Holdings LLC’s proposal to provide broadband satellite services to the United States. The company, known as SpaceX will build, deploy and manage a nongeostationary orbit (NGSO) system of 4,425 satellites. SpaceX’s proposed global fixed-satellite service (FSS) was authorized to operate in the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) frequency bands, according to an FCC statement. 

March 20, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Air Force Tech Sgt. Matthew Coutts launches a Raven B Digital Data Link drone during a demonstration in Southwest Asia in January. The Navy is developing a video game-based tool to evaluate the skills of potential unmanned vehicle operators. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Kleinhol

The rapid increase in the use of unmanned vehicles has created a demand for the U.S. Navy to find talented drone operators. Typically, the Navy has assigned aviators to operate drones, but this has taken away from their traditional aviation assignments, according to an article from Warren Duffie of Office of Naval Research (ONR) Corporate Strategic Communications.

March 16, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
As war brutally impacts the smallest citizens of the world, the International Committee for the Red Cross sought to develop an application to tell the story using augmented reality. Credit: Shutterstock/AGorohov

A new smart phone application is illustrating the devastation that war has on the smallest citizens of the world. Introduced last week by the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Committee of the Red Cross, the application, called Enter the Room, uses augmented reality to create an immersive experience for users to see how conflicts impact children. The organization claims that it is the first use of augmented reality in humanitarian aid.

March 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Under the High-Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) program, the Navy is swiftly pursuing laser weapons for use on surface ships. The technology will combine the lethality of a laser weapon with surveillance capabilities and an integrated optical dazzler, a non-lethal device that disables sensors or humans visually. Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin, artist rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS System

The U.S. Navy’s first-of-its kind high-energy laser weapon contract will supply one 60-150 kilowatt system for an Arleigh-Burke class ship, the DDG 51 Flight IIA, and another as a land-based test unit. The award of the $150 million contract, to Lockheed Martin Corp. in late January, signals the move of laser weaponry from science and technology research to fielding and use on Naval ships. In a highly competitive field against three other companies bidding on the contract, Lockheed Martin was not able to discuss the award until now.

February 13, 2018
Posted By George I. Seffers

Russia, Iran and North Korea are testing more aggressive cyber attacks against the United States and partner nations, according to the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community delivered to Congress today by Dan Coats, director of national intelligence.

“The use of cyber attacks as a foreign policy tool outside of military conflict has been mostly limited to sporadic lower-level attacks. Russia, Iran and North Korea, however, are testing more aggressive cyber attacks that pose growing threats to the United States and U.S. partners,” the report states.

February 13, 2018
Posted By George I. Seffers
NASA’s Terra spacecraft provides an image of Moscow. IARPA has launched a program intended to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to build 3-D models of satellite imagery. Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has established a multiyear research plan to build 3-D models that leverage satellite imagery to support the nation’s military, humanitarian and intelligence missions. The Creation of Operationally Realistic 3-D Environment (CORE3D) program is intended to significantly reduce the time it takes to build 3-D models.

February 5, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The military wants smaller, lighter and ruggedized servers, routers and other equipment that contain cybersecurity measures in order to take their networks into battle. Here, soldiers are taking a look at the PacStar Tactical Fidelis Cybersecurity System. Photo Credit: Pacific Star Communications.

As the military, including the U.S. Army, works to update network command systems, size, weight, power and capability improvements are central, especially when paired with cybersecurity protections. The network improvements provide key flexibility and operations for tactical missions and command posts.

February 1, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network is fully operational, DOD reports. The network defense headquarters spent three years improving capabilities and building capacity to be able to secure and defend the military’s global network. DOD U.S. Strategic Command photo by Adam Hartman, of Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Allshouse using an intrusion detection system aboard the USS Ronald Reagan.

In the U.S. Cyber Command, the part of the cyber force that defends Defense Department networks, systems and vital information is fully up and running, the DOD reported.

The Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) reached readiness after three years of building its capacity and capabilities to secure, operate and defend the DODIN, according to a DOD statement. To achieve full operational capability, JFHQ-DODIN participated in a number combatant command exercises and managed daily network operations to address and counter “significant” cyber threats, DOD said. The unit also deployed its six cyber protection teams to support high-priority military operations.

February 1, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
As part of the ‘ Wingman’ program, the U.S. Army is developing the Autonomous Remote Engagement System, which is mounted on the Picatinny Lightweight Remote Weapon System and coupled with an M240B machine gun. The system will employ both vision-based automatic target detection and user-specified target selection to reduce the time needed for target identification. Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo.

The Army is pairing traditional weapons and vehicles with autonomous systems, an effort they characterize as the first step toward weaponized robotics. The goal is to be able to use robotic vehicles to leverage capabilities during enemy stand-offs.

Dubbed the ‘Wingman’ Joint Capability Technology Demonstration program or JCTD, the program already has seen success with Army engineers at the Detroit Arsenal, autonomously piloting a revamped Humvee that can accurately hit targets with a mounted 7.62 milometer weapon system, according to Sean Kimmons of the Army News Service.

January 31, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Army soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division participate in a 4-mile division run at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The use of fitness trackers by some soldiers is inadvertently revealing their location and outline of military bases. Army photo by Sgt. Caitlyn Smoyer

Although GPS-enabled activity-tracking applications like Strava may help warfighters keep fit, the applications may also reveal important information about military bases or soldier locations. One application revealed a concentration of U.S military personnel at a base overseas when shared as social media postings.

Given the rising concerns, officials at the Pentagon announced at a January 29 press conference the DOD would be looking into the issue, according to a report from Jim Garamone of DOD News.

January 25, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
While the migration to the Joint Regional Security Stacks will transition ownership of security architecture from the Air Force to DISA, the squadron will retain operational control of traffic flow for Air Force networks. U.S. courtesy photo

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) now offers service product packages to mission-partner authorizing officials to provide a holistic view of their information systems risk posture. The packages help ensure compliance for mission partners who have programs and systems hosted within the DISA computing ecosystem.

Control Correlation Identifiers (CCIs) within the service packages allow high-level policy framework requirements to be decomposed and associated with low-level security settings to determine compliance with the objectives of that specific security control.

January 24, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Transatlantic communication cable systems such as the TAT-14, which connects the United States to France, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom, are susceptible to attack, according to a recent report. Photo: Sprint Corp.

Undersea fiber optic communications cables are minimally protected and have locations that are public knowledge. This puts these vital communication links at risk of nation-state and terrorist attacks that could cause immense harm.

January 18, 2018
Kimberly Underwood
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Gen. Stephen Wilson, USAF, vice chief of staff for the Air Force, and Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley, commander, Air Force Research Laboratory, discuss the process to update the service's research priorities.

While the Air Force is coming up with a budget and a five-year plan in the next few weeks, it also will tackle a much larger effort, the development of a long-term research and development plan to the year 2030. The examination of research priorities will include a look at how the service spends research dollars and how it can modernize business tactics. The Air Force is partnering with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, respectively, along with several public universities for the planning effort dubbed #AF2030.

January 18, 2018
Kimberly Underwood
Photo courtesy of Proofpoint

Only half of federal civilian agencies are complying with federal regulations addressing email security, including email spoofing, according to a recent report from Sunnyvale, California-based Proofpoint.

In October, the Department of Homeland Security issued its domain-based message authentication reporting and conformance (DMARC) standard, Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 18-01, to improve the security of digital messages sent by federal agencies or from federal websites, explained Robert Holmes, author of the report.

January 10, 2018
 
The U.S. Army has kicked off a new effort to modernize expeditionary command posts. Credit: U.S. Army

The U.S. Army intends to improve expeditionary command-post capabilities by providing mobile, scalable and survivable platforms, the service announced. The Army recently authorized the implementation of the Command Post Integrated Infrastructure, or CPI2, effort in December to address mobility issues and to ensure communications hardware and mission-command application integration across platforms.

The Army has established several technological goals, which include:

• Leveraging secure wireless technology for rapid connectivity.

• Improving mobility.

December 19, 2017
 
A DHS pilot project has secure mobile apps used by first responders. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

A Department of Homeland Security Science pilot testing project helped identify and secure a variety of mobile apps used by first responders.

December 11, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
A multipurpose canine handler with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, applies medical dressings to a realistic canine mannequin during medical training at Stone Bay on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Photo by Cpl. Bryann K. Whitley, USMC

U.S. Marine Corps soldiers in the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) are adding a new tool to the doghouse: a “robot dog” for hands-on canine medical training. The realistic dog mannequin simulator, used recently for the first time at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, will help the soldiers improve their canine medical skills, according to a report by Cpl. Bryann Whitley, USMC. 

December 11, 2017
 
By using laser-generated, hologram-like 3-D images flashed into photosensitive resin, researchers can build complex parts in a fraction of the time of traditional layer-by-layer printing. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

By using laser-generated, hologram-like 3D images flashed into photosensitive resin, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), along with collaborators at UC Berkeley, the University of Rochester and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have discovered they can build complex 3-D parts in a fraction of the time of traditional layer-by-layer printing, according to an LLNL press release.

The novel approach is called “volumetric” 3-D printing, and is described in the journal Science Advances, published online on December 8.

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