News Briefs

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.

October 6, 2017

Explosives trace detection experts from industry, academia and government laboratories will gather in Washington, D.C., on October 24 and 25 to discuss advances in trace detection technologies.

The two-day event put on by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will include presentations from S&T Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), the Transportation Security Administration and sponsored organizations performing research and development. Commercial companies, government laboratories and universities will present current research.

September 27, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
The USS O’Kane stands ready in Hawaii. The new radar system the Navy is testing would help safeguard the fleet from both ballistic and cruise missile threats. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

The U.S. Navy’s new Air and Missile Defense Radar system, known as AN/SPY-6(V), successfully acquired and tracked short-range ballistic missile and antiship cruise missile targets at the same time during a recent test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company helped develop the technology for the Navy. 

August 30, 2017
Defense Collaboration Services will offer training sessions this fall for DOD superusers.

Defense Collaboration Services (DCS) will offer superuser training several times over the next few months, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) announced on August 30. The training is designed to help frequent DCS users to improve their collaboration expertise across the Department of Defense. 

The training is available to anyone in the DOD, including contractors. The class will be offered four different times: September 5 at 3 p.m.; October 3 at 9 a.m.; November 7 at 11 a.m.; or December 5 at 3 p.m. (Eastern time).  

Upon completion of the training, DCS will issue a certificate designating the employee as a DCS superuser. 

August 17, 2017
The Homeland Security Department is testing a new contact-free fingerprinting technology at select airports.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to evaluate new identity verification technology that can reduce the time it takes for travelers to pass through security. Proof-of-concept testing is taking place in select TSA Precheck lanes at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and Denver International Airport.

August 16, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Researchers at the Army Research Laboratory in Orlando are creating a virtual grenade launcher training platform that will allow for repeated virtual rounds before going out to the real firing range.

The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is creating a virtual MK-19 trainer that will help shorten training set-up time and decrease ammunition costs, according to the Army. Researchers at the ARL in Orlando, Florida, are merging the weapon with existing hardware and software algorithms to create a training experience that blends real-time vision with virtual reality.

Once it is ready for full use in the field, the training platform will help soldiers expedite training on the weapon.

The concepts proven by the MK-19 trainer represent “the future of training for soldiers,” said Dean Reed, software developer and team lead at the ARL in Orlando.

August 10, 2017

Cybersecurity solutions company Comodo has launched a new research service called Comodemia for university, government and nonprofit educators and researchers. It gives users access to the Comodo Threat Intelligence Laboratory's cybersecurity data repository, one of the largest in the world.

Comodo's threat data comes from millions of endpoints in more than 220 countries. In the first quarter of this year, the lab detected and cataloged more than 25 million malware incidents. By the second quarter, the total grew to 97 million incidents as the company expanded its research program.

August 3, 2017
A U.S. Marine trains at Range 10 at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii. Next year, the Defense Information Systems Agency will upgrade telecommunications for military forces in Hawaii.

U.S. Defense Department personnel stationed in Hawaii will experience less latency and more communication features with the implementation of the Pacific Enterprise Services–Hawaii (PES-HI) Program in 2018.

PES-HI, which will be managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), will upgrade legacy analog communications to an almost-Everything over Internet Protocol (IP) technology base, according to a DISA announcement. Improvements include enterprise services, such as Voice and Video over Internet Protocol and web conferencing as well as collaboration services, including chat and presence.

July 24, 2017
SwellPro's waterproof drones shoot video both above and below the water. In an effort to keep airspace safe, NASA is funding research into UAV system detection and tracking.

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State) are launching a project to find new ways to detect and track unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace. The project seeks to research and develop high-performance communications, networking and air traffic management (ATM) systems, including navigation and surveillance for both manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The work is supported by a three-year, $1.33 million grant from NASA’s University Leadership Initiative.

July 24, 2017
Army researcher Anthony J. Roberts powers a radio-controlled toy tank with hydrogen harvested from a unique chemical reaction. U.S. Army photo by David McNally

U.S. Army scientists and engineers recently designed an aluminum nanomaterial that produces high amounts of energy when it comes in contact with water, or any liquid containing water. Since the nanomaterial powder has the potential to be 3-D printed, researchers envision future air and ground robots that can feed off of their very structures and self-destruct after mission completion. Another possible application of the discovery that may help future soldiers is the potential to recharge mobile devices for recon teams.

July 20, 2017

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) opened the Army Cyber-research Analytics Laboratory (ACAL) on July 19, a facility that unlike any other lab, provides industrial and federally-funded partners—including universities—access to highly-sensitive live cyber-security data, the service has announced.

The new research space was developed as a result of a partnership with Army Cyber Command and represents an extension of ongoing collaborative efforts with the Defense Department’s science and technology community, said Philip Perconti, ARL director.

July 17, 2017
IARPA), the research arm for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has announced the Functional Map of the World (fMoW) challenge, which officially kicks off in August.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the research arm for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has announced the functional Map of the World (fMoW) Challenge, which officially kicks off in August. The challenge invites experts to develop deep learning and automation technologies to classify points of interest from satellite imagery. The goal is to promote research in object identification and classification to automatically identify facility, building and land use.

July 13, 2017
In late October, companies will have the opportunity to present cyber solutions to the U.S. Defense Department's Rapid Reaction Technology Office.

The U.S. Defense Department’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) will conduct a solutions meeting in late October in McLean, Virginia, according to a recent announcement posted on the FedBizOpps website. Companies will provide short technical presentations to government representatives about their technologies and products with the potential to be selected for pilot projects or experimentation if the technology appears to match the department's cyber needs.

The RRTO is interested in:

July 10, 2017

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) will host two proposers’ day conferences later this month in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in anticipation of new solicitations. 

The first, for the Homomorphic Encryption Computing Techniques with Overhead Reduction (HECTOR) program, will be held on July 26. The second, for the Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators (FELIX) program, will be held the next day. Both will begin at 9:00 a.m.

June 9, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman

Diverse sciences ranging from forensics to nanoscale chemical sampling and storage are among the research opportunities being targeted by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to support future U.S. intelligence community activities. Some of these research areas are offered in a series of proposers’ days in advance of broad agency announcements, while others have passed that step and are in the request for information stage.

May 31, 2017
By Julianne Simpson

As the Defense Department and other government agencies begin to recognize the benefits of working with smaller, innovative technology companies, the potential for insider threats and cyber attacks grows. And now, all federal contractors face a deadline to implement a step to protect against these outside cybersecurity risks and threats from the inside.

Beginning today, all cleared government contractors must complete insider threat employee awareness training prior to being granted access to classified information and every year thereafter. The mandate is part of NISPOM Change 2, a U.S. government regulation that requires insider threat programs for cleared federal contractors.

May 25, 2017
The Internet of Things poses some risks to military forces, a draft report from NATO's Parliamentary Assembly points out. The report will be discussed at the assembly's spring session and will be updated over the summer.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has published a draft report titled "The Internet of Things: Promises and Perils of a Disruptive Technology." The report urges governments to take a more proactive role in defining the future of the Internet of Things (IoT).

"Policy makers, including national parliamentarians, need to start to proactively shape an IoT environment that remains open, innovative and secure. We have to find the right balance," the document states.

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