U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced that the U.S. Army has committed to a multivendor, multiaward acquisition process—set to be finalized by the end of this month—that will allow multiple companies to compete for the Joint Tactical Radio System Manpack and Handheld Rifleman Radio contracts. The new acquisition approach also will allow the Army to select multiple contractors to each make a percentage of the radios. Prior to this decision, the Army was pursuing a single-vendor process for each of its next-generation radio contracts.
To ensure the integrity of its mission to protect the nation’s information technology infrastructure, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has initiated a review of its development process for cryptographic standards and guidelines amid reports of leaked classified documents.
A team led by Sandia National Laboratories scientists has created a tunable plasmonic crystal that could increase the bandwidth of high-speed communication networks and enhance high-speed electronics. The researchers accomplished the effect by making the plasma-containing crystal agile in transmitting terahertz light at varying frequencies. “Usually, electromagnetically induced transparencies in more widely known systems like atomic gases, photonic crystals and metamaterials require tuning a laser’s frequencies to match a physical system,” the scientists explain. “Here, we tune our system to match the radiation source. It’s inverting the problem, in a sense.”
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) closed data center operations in Dayton, Ohio, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and transferred the functions of these centers to other Defense Enterprise Computing centers (DECCs) on October 1. The reallocation of operations from Dayton and Chambersburg enables the agency to consolidate and converge existing information technology infrastructures to gain financial and operational efficiencies across the enterprise, according to an agency announcement. It also supports the adoption of the Joint Information Environment (JIE), a major U.S.
One of the U.S. Army’s top priorities is ensuring the right information is available in any environment down to the lowest tactical level on the battlefield. Oshkosh Defense, recently demonstrated its command, control, communications and computers (C4) and systems integration capabilities to connect soldiers to the network on its MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). Oshkosh integrates C4 equipment and a full range of weapons and other systems in the initial vehicle design process to reduce potential system conflicts or interference.
Defense sector-specific solutions are driving growth in the cybersecurity market and will continue to do so through 2016. According to a Research and Markets report, the escalating amount of data stored in defense information systems and the increased number of cyberthreats are a major driver of this trend. As a result, companies are focusing on developing security products dedicated specifically to the defense sector.
The U.S. Army National Guard has integrated the Company Intelligence Support Team (COIST) workstation with its counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) training to improve operations in the field. The information pre-posted in the workstation enables intelligence teams to synthesize data more quickly into a complete intelligence brief that describes terrain and weather effects as well as enemy forces and tactics. COIST offers access to a One Station Remote Viewing Terminal, a Tactical Ground Reporting system, real-time aerial reconnaissance video feeds from a RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial system (UAS) and other tools. Feeds from the UAS improve units’ ability to watch over convoys, which is important for early warning of IEDs.
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and personnel aboard the USS Lake Erie successfully conducted an operational flight test of the latest version of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System. The test demonstrated the intercept of a medium-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile. At approximately 7:33 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, a medium-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, and flew northwest toward a broad ocean area. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have created prototypes of cube-shaped robots the size of a child’s building block, which can climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground and move while suspended upside down from metallic surfaces. Built without external moving parts, the M-Block robots feature an internal flywheel that can reach speeds of up to 20,000 revolutions per minute. The edges and surfaces of the M-Block include magnets that enable cubes to attach to each other. Designed with beveled edges, a slight gap forms between their magnets when the blocks near each other.
Industry and government personnel believe that event cancellations and travel restrictions are having a negative impact on innovation and collaboration. According to one survey, the massive decrease in conferences that facilitate intelligence gathering and networking will adversely affect government contractors’ abilities to provide the most up-to-date information, solutions and best practices that government agencies require.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking ideas and technical proposals for how to best develop a fully reusable unmanned aircraft that would provide access to space faster, easier and at a lower cost than current satellite launch vehicles. According to Jess Sponable, manager of the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program, the agency aims to build on proven technologies to create a reliable, cost-effective space delivery system that can be used to launch payloads into space, return to Earth and repeat the process the next day. Technical goals include the ability to fly 10 times in 10 days achieving speeds of more than Mach 10.
Eight emerging cybersecurity technologies ready for transition into commercial products will be unveiled at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel on October 9. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate is hosting the event, which will feature intrusion detection, removable media protection, software assurance and malware forensics capabilities.
The U.S. Army is replacing the swivel-chair approach to viewing situational awareness information in combat and tactical vehicles with a standardized family of build-your-own tactical computers. In addition to enabling tactical computers to interoperate, the family of systems reduces the basic configuration computer cost by as much as 36 percent while increasing performance by more than 350 percent.
A recent survey of government employees reveals that federal agencies benefit financially from the flexibility mobile devices afford the work force. Responses from more than 200 federal employees at the management level indicate that 81 percent connect to work remotely at least once a week, 54 percent connect at least once a day and 45 percent connect several times a day. Respondents estimate that, in addition to their full-time work schedule, they spend more than another full workday—nine hours—each week checking their mobile devices for messages and email.
The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) have signed an architecture-sharing and modernization agreement, which enables the Air Force to take advantage of Army excess information technology capacity. The arrangement will help the Air Force save the approximately $1.2 billion it would have spent to upgrade to multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) routers and regional security stacks.