News Briefs

August 17, 2012

A new robotic hand, developed by Sandia National Laboratories, mimics the capabilities of a human hand and could help disarm improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The Sandia Hand project aimed to create a cost-effective product for wide distribution to the troops with the flexibility and durability necessary to save lives in the field.

August 13, 2012

The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory trained Marines-for the first time ever-using multiple unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) in a convoy. Seven Marines were trained on the Oshkosh Corporation's UGV, which uses the company's TerraMax technology to operate autonomously. TerraMax integrates high-power computers, intelligence, drive-by-wire technology and distributed sensing systems. One operator supervised the control of two vehicles, even in black-out mode during night operations.

July 25, 2012

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate has unveiled an open source cybersecurity tool for information sharing across the Internet. Open Secure Socket Layer (OpenSSL) version 2.0 is a free, publicly available security application that meets all federal security guidelines and is now available for government agencies. All agencies using cryptographic software validated for Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 can now use the new version, which applies to cryptography that protect sensitive or valuable data within the federal government.

July 23, 2012

The U.S. Army's System of Systems Integration Directorate (SoSI) is seeking participants for the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 13.2 event, which is scheduled to take place at Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range in May 2013. Only mature solutions that focus on SoSI-identified network gaps will be considered.

July 18, 2012

Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen who think they represent the best-of-the-best of military communicators have an unusual opportunity to prove it. The Joint Communications Unit (JCU)-comprising elite military signaleers who support special operations forces-is looking to take on 100 new members over the next few years. Applicants will have to pass mental, physical and skills tests, but selection will result in intense, advanced technical certifications. Unit members also receive special pay benefits. The lowest rank in the JCU is an E-5. Most positions are for enlisted members, with some mid-grade officer billets.

July 12, 2012

On Wednesday, the Defense Department (DOD) issued its long-awaited cloud computing strategy. Officials also announced in a memo from Teri Takai, chief information officer for the DOD, that the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) will oversee the new strategy as "enterprise cloud service broker." The designation means that all department components are required to obtain cloud-computing capabilities through DISA or to obtain a waiver from Takai's office as the DOD's designated review authority.

July 9, 2012

Materials researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories have developed a new class of nanoporous materials that could lead to more effective and less costly radiation detectors for homeland security inspectors. The new material works with plastic scintillators to make them glow brightly in the presence of charged particles or high-energy photons. Sandia officials say though more work is needed, they are currently seeking commercial partners to license the technology.

June 28, 2012

The Graph500 executive committee has announced specifications that will better represent ways to rate the large-scale data analytics that are key to high-performance computing. This single-source, shortest-path specification to assess computing performance will measure the closest distance between selected items. The move is oriented toward enormous graph-based data problems. Graph500 rates machines based on their ability to solve complex problems with seemingly infinite components instead of ranking machines based on speed. Big data has been a problem for the public and private sectors and is important in fields such as cybersecurity.

June 25, 2012

Organizations in Asia, Europe and the United States have created cybersecurity principles to guide government agencies as they establish policies to protect data and networks. The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, DIGITALEUROPE and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) developed the guidelines to ensure that international collaboration, cooperation and trade will not be compromised as the result of stringent cybersecurity policies.

June 18, 2012

Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is actively seeking partners to conduct research in the newly opened Cybersecurity Technologies Research Laboratory (CTRL). SNL held the grand opening for the facility at the Livermore Valley Open Campus on June 12. The CTRL offers the capability to run experiments and freely discuss a wide range of cyber research issues. Additionally, U.S. and international users can collaborate without some of the unrelated restrictions that are often associated with a national laboratory.

June 13, 2012

Federal agencies and emergency response organizations are invited to challenge one company to solve their most difficult remote communications and interoperability problems. RapydConnex will award free technology assessments and the scope of preliminary solutions to qualifying entrants. To be considered for the award, organizations fill out the challenge form. Experts at RapydConnex will assess each submission to determine those that best match the company's solutions. Submissions must be received by August 31, 2012, and winners will be notified no later than September 14, 2012.

April 23, 2012

The U.S. Defense Department has revamped its Telework Program for the civilian work force. Leaders at each Defense Department component now are required to promote telework within their organizations and to take all possible steps to overcome artificial barriers to program implementation. In addition, they must authorize telework for the maximum number of positions without compromising mission readiness and integrate telework into continuity-of-operations activities. These alterations to the former telework policy evolved out of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.

April 19, 2012

More than 70 percent of energy security professionals believe smart grid security standards cannot keep pace with the ever-changing technology and threats, according to a recent survey sponsored by nCircle and EnergySec, a public-private partnership funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The online survey, conducted in March, questioned 104 participants in the energy and utility industry about current smart grid security measures.

April 12, 2012

The Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) has been approved for full production and fielding. The MIDS JTRS is a software-based terminal that provides interoperable and secure tactical datalinks and programmable networking capabilities. Two vendors produce the system for both the U.S. Navy and Air Force. MIDS is the first member of the JTRS radio family to be approved for full production. The MIDS JTRS will soon attain initial operation capability on the Super Hornet, JSTARS and Rivet Joint platforms.

March 28, 2012

The next generation of the Software Communications Architecture (SCA 4.0) has been approved for use. The SCA 4.0 includes technology that tailors the operating system size for a radio and its mission. By adopting the SCA 4.0, memory and processing overhead are reduced significantly; architectural enhancements improve security by enabling faster boot-up times and reconfiguration of the radio. The latest version also enables radio frequencies to be reprogrammed and permits a waveform written for one radio to be ported to another radio with interoperability ensured.

March 22, 2012

The U.S. State Department hosted TechCamp Bangkok in the city of the same name on March 20 and 21. More than 60 civil society leaders from throughout Thailand came together for hands-on training in areas such as social media, online organization, digital safety and mobile applications. This event was the sixth TechCamp, a program that supports Civil Society 2.0, which is designed to build the digital literacy of civil societies worldwide.

March 13, 2012

If your job depends on staying up-to-date on the latest from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), there's a mobile app for your iPhone or iPad. The free app, available through the iTunes store, provides access to new reports, testimony, video and podcasts. GAO representatives say the agency plans to release a similar app for Android smartphones and tablets in the next several months.

February 27, 2012

Teaming with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, the APIC Corporation recently announced a scientific breakthrough that could lead to computer chips powered by light pulses rather than electronics. Photonic chips could offer greater performance at a small percentage of today's power usage. The team made germanium act as a laser, which means it could be used as the light source on a new generation of photon-powered computers. Photons use a fraction of the power currently needed and do not generate heat as electronic power, eliminating the current need to cool computers and data centers.

February 21, 2012

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is looking for the next members of its National Advisory Council (NAC). The NAC provides external guidance on issues ranging from terrorist response to federal preparedness. The agency is seeking applications and nominations from qualified individuals in both the public and private sectors in emergency management, emergency response and cybersecurity. In addition, FEMA is seeking applications from state and local elected officials. Deadline for applications is Friday, March 9, 2012. More information is available online.

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