News Briefs

April 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

A China-based company has set up an OpenDaylight Lab in Shenzhen, China, joining an expanding global community effort aimed at creating open sources for companies to further software-defined networking (SDN). The industry is aiming to do this via more transparent approaches that reduce risk to unproven products. The Shenzhen lab from Huawei is the first of its kind in Asia, joining the approved OpenDaylight Community Labs list.

April 8, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. Army leaders of the Brigade Modernization Command (BMC) at Fort Bliss, Texas, supported middle and high school students vying for top spots in the fields of science and technology during a recent competition. Brig. Gen. John W. Charlton, USA, commanding general of the BMC, lent support by providing soldiers from his command to help judge the first 5-STAR Innovation Cup science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competition.

April 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy has successfully demonstrated the Autonomous Aerial Cargo and Utility System (AACUS), which allows current, full-size helicopters to be remotely controlled by a tablet device. Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, USN, chief of naval research, recently revealed that two young Marines at Quantico, Virginia, were able to land a full-size helicopter autonomously on an unprepared landing site with just one touch on a mini-tablet.

April 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The Obama administration has announced a series of efforts to promote successful entrepreneurship in the United States and around the world. The steps include the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, a group of successful American businesspeople who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas and experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. The administration also intends to attract the best and the brightest by publishing proposed rules intended to make the United States more attractive to foreign entrepreneurs.

April 4, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) may ultimately eliminate the need for an information security classification process specific to the U.S. Defense Department, according to Teri Takai, Defense Department chief information officer. FedRAMP seeks to provide a governmentwide, standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. Takai voiced full support for the program on April 2 at the Security Through Innovation Summit, Washington, D.C., presented by Intel Security.

April 7, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Once the Joint Information Environment (JIE) is in place, the U.S. Defense Department may be able to deploy secure mobile apps much more quickly than it can with today’s cumbersome process, according to Teri Takai, Defense Department chief information officer.

April 2, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

A cybersecurity survey of federal information technology (IT) professionals revealed that 53 percent of the U.S. Defense Department IT professionals polled tagged careless and untrained insiders as their top cybersecurity threat source, a hazard that topped threats from foreign governments—with 48 percent of the vote—and terrorists—31 percent. Overall, federal government respondents said that attacks and threats by malicious intruders and careless and untrained insiders are the leading dangers to their agencies’ computers and networks, according to the industry-funded survey.

April 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) remains plagued by decades-old problems of unreliable and vulnerable networks and computer systems, putting the veterans they serve at risk, according to a recent government report. Despite years of documented weaknesses, the VA still has failed to shore up vulnerabilities, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

During the past six years alone, computer security incidents at the VA doubled, from 4,834 in 2007 to 11,382 in 2013, GAO investigators write. Incidents included unauthorized access, denial-of-service attacks, installation of malicious code and improper usage of computing resources, among others.

April 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

High school students from six schools across the nation will split $50,000 in scholarships after competing in the CyberPatriot VI competition, a culminating tournament in which participants tested strategies to defend computers and networks against cyber attacks. CyberPatriot kicked off in November, with roughly 1,600 students from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada, and Defense Departments Dependents Schools in Europe and the Pacific vying for a chance to prove their concepts the best at the National Finals Competition, which wrapped up March 29, 2014.

The 2014 winning teams are:

Open Division:

March 21, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
Marines speak with a potential employer a Hiring Our Heroes Veterans Event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the Pacific Views South Mesa Club at Camp Pendleton, Calif. in September 2012.

The unemployment rate for veterans of recent conflicts—that is, those who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts—dropped a bit last year, according to Labor Department statistics.

In 2013, the unemployment rate fell to 9 percent from 9.9 percent for post-2001 veterans. The corresponding rate for all veterans fell to 6.6 percent from 7 percent in 2012, according to Labor secretary Thomas E. Perez.

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have focused their White House efforts on finding employment opportunities for veterans.

March 27, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Thales recently announced the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Qatar Armed Forces to assist in the development of an Optionally Piloted Vehicle-Aircraft (OPV-A), a high-performance intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance system. The OPV-A will be a hybrid between a conventional and unmanned aircraft capable of flying with or without a pilot on board. Unimpeded by a human’s physiological limitations, an OPV-A is able to operate under more adverse conditions and/or for greater endurance times. The airframe, to be selected by the Qatar Armed Forces, will be integrated with a mission systems capability to enable the optionally piloted capability.

March 26, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Defense industry leaders desire greater government involvement in the defense acquisition process, according to a recent survey released by the Government Business Council (GBC). Of the 340 survey participants, 85 percent of respondents noted positive outcome from more government involvement in the acquisition arena. Forty-three percent identified the disconnect between government and industry expectations as a “significant problem,” and 60 percent noted the same challenge in the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) community.

March 20, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Changes–if any–to the U.S. military retirement system will be a long time in the making if they come at all, a senior military leader told his sailors.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, USN, chief of naval operations, spoke with troops in Florida this month and shared cautionary words that might allay service members’ concerns following news media articles on a report presented by the Defense Department to a commission tasked with reviewing the military’s compensation and retirement systems.

March 12, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

Recent analysis of 2012 airborne radar data NASA collected remotely suggests the data could predict large sinkholes before they occur, such as one that caused evacuations near Bayou Corne, Louisiana. Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) examined interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) imagery of the Bayou Corne area and determined that the ground surface layer showed significant malformations at least a month before the collapse, moving mostly horizontally about 10 inches toward where the sinkhole eventually formed.

March 7, 2014
By Jim Sweeney

Gen. Tom Lawson, RCAF, chief of the Defence Staff, outlined four priorities for the Canadian Armed Forces in a speech last month at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. The highest priority is delivering excellence in operations. That is followed, Gen. Lawson said, by preparing the armed forces for tomorrow’s challenges, providing warfighters with training and professional development, and caring for warfighters and their families.

March 5, 2014
By Helen Mosher

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is requiring the U.S. Defense Department to rewrite and resubmit the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for 2014, saying that it "has more to do with politics than policy and is of little value to decision makers." Among his criticisms: The QDR is written to reflect the current funding level in the president’s budget without identifying unfunded resources the Defense Department still needs, and it only provides five years of guidance instead of the required 20 years and assumes a higher risk than can be accepted under current requirements.

March 3, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is asking for the public’s help to create an online, interactive tool that uses federal travel data to increase government agencies’ budget transparency and accountability. GSA Travel Data Challenge participants will be given sample GSA travel data sets to develop a tool that can be updated with data from additional agencies. However, challenge solvers are not limited only to the information provided; in fact, they are encouraged to be creative and use other public data sets that would improve a user’s understanding of travel options.

February 27, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

The Port of Honolulu will host a demonstration of a portable hydrogen fuel cell unit in 2015 with the goal of developing a commercial-ready technology to provide sustainable power to ports worldwide. Hydrogen researchers at Sandia National Laboratories working with several partners will produce a self-contained unit that can fit in a 20-foot shipping container and consist of four 30-kilowatt fuel cells, a hydrogen storage system and power conversion equipment that can be transported anywhere power is needed.

February 27, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Who can you trust? The answers to that question can be both difficult and essential for society in general, but particularly vital for the intelligence community. So what if an algorithm existed that could identify neural, psychological, physiological and behavioral signals to determine a person's trustworthiness? Thanks to a new competition from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), that could be possible.

February 24, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan

The Obama administration has launched a voluntary Cybersecurity Framework, meant to serve as a how-to guide for industry to manage cyber risks. The framework, developed by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology during the past year with input from organizations and individuals from around the world, offers broad guidelines to strengthen “the security and resiliency of critical infrastructure in a model of public-private cooperation,” according to a White House press release.

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