News Briefs

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.

December 7, 2017
 
The U.S. Army conducts a demonstration of robotic and autonomous systems at Fort Benning, Georgia. Service officials want to design a Remote Combat Vehicle more lethal and maneuverable than an Abrams tank. Photo credit: Patrick A. Albright

Within five years, the Army would like to start testing remote combat vehicle (RCV) prototypes that are as light and as fast as a Stryker but provide the same level of firepower as an M-1 Abrams tank, according to a service press release.

While the holy grail is the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV), the Army thinks it can more quickly field a limited number of RCVs, and importantly, the results of that testing could help inform the requirements for the NGCV, which is slated for fielding in 2035.

December 6, 2017
 
The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a study through March 31 on the Waterways Analysis and Management System.

The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking input from mariners for a study of navigation requirements in the Pacific Seacoast System. 

The Waterways Analysis and Management System (WAMS) study will review the short-range Aids to Navigation (ATON) system that covers American waterways from the Canadian border to the Mexican border and around Alaska, Hawaii and the Marianas Islands.

Interested mariners and maritime stakeholders can provide input by taking the survey, which will be available online until March 31, 2018.

November 16, 2017
 
The damage-sensing network is integrated into a conceptual composite UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter.

For the first time, researchers have successfully developed and tested networked acoustic emission sensors that can detect airframe damage on conceptual composite UH-60 Black Hawk rotorcraft, according to an announcement from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The discovery could lead to onboard features that immediately alert the flight crew to the state of structural damage, such as matrix cracking and delamination as they occur, giving the crew more time to take corrective actions before catastrophic failure.

November 15, 2017
 
DARPA’s Nascent Light-Matter Interactions (NLM) program aims to develop theory-anchored models that could yield new structures for materials with never-before-seen electromagnetic properties. This artist's concept depicts an example of how an engineered material might be able to convert, generate, or harvest electromagnetic fields exploiting interactions that could have far-reaching effects in areas such as sensing, thermal control, frequency conversion and dynamics.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a new program designed to better understand and ultimately improve metamaterials. The program could lead to improvements in a number of areas, including imaging, thermal control and frequency conversion.

October 17, 2017
 
The AgilePod, the first physical system to be trademarked by the Air Force, is a multiintelligence pod. A new effort to develop a suite of platform-agnostic AgilePods in various sizes is currently in progress, teaming AFRL with industry partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Dixon)

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) engineers have embarked on a new miniature version of the AgilePod in an effort to increase the platform’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, according to an AFRL announcement.

October 17, 2017
 
The Department of Homeland Security needs innovators who can use existing data to identify biothreats, such as viruses, bacterium, pathogens and biological toxins. (Photo courtesy of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has launched the Hidden Signals Challenge, a $300,000 prize competition to identify novel uses of existing data to uncover emerging biothreats. The challenge calls upon innovators from a wide variety of fields to develop concepts that will identify signals and achieve timelier alerts for biothreats.

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