News Briefs

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.

February 6, 2012

Got a good idea for a small satellite? NASA has issued a broad agency announcement seeking low-cost flight demonstration proposals for small satellites, which generally weigh less than 400 pounds and are usually launched as secondary payloads. The NASA Edison SmallSat Demonstration Program says this solicitation will focus on the communications capabilities of these small spacecraft. Executive summaries of these proposals are due no later than March 4, 2012. For more information, visit: www.nasa.gov/oct.

February 7, 2012

The British Ministry of Defence recently announced plans to develop a Royal Navy missile defense system, known as Sea Ceptor, capable of intercepting and destroying enemy missiles traveling at supersonic speeds. The £483 million ($761.3 million) contract to develop the system will be awarded to a U.K. company. Sea Ceptor will use a U.K.-developed missile that can reach speeds of up to Mach 3 and will deal with multiple targets simultaneously, protecting an area of approximately 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometers) over land or sea. It will be developed under a demonstration contract expected to continue for five years.

February 2, 2012
By H. Mosher

The U.S. Defense Department has awarded $18 million to six programs to reduce the energy demand of future expeditionary outposts. The assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs will administer the funds, which are granted programs aimed at developing and rapidly transitioning energy technologies for the combat force. Defense Department-led teams representing the military services and the Department of Energy will receive the money but are seeking support and innovation from small businesses.

January 31, 2012

Elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan are now using the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Rifleman Radio combined with the GD300 wearable computer. The radio enables intrasquad communications, and the GD300's Tactical Ground Reporting (TIGR) tactical app allows soldiers to share text messages, situation reports and other information.

January 20, 2012

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic Training Participant Manual now is available in Braille and PDF screen reader versions. They contain the same nine units of the course and 13 hazard annexes as the other versions. The screen-reader format can be accessed online.

January 23, 2012

The U.S. Army is planning to test a new long-endurance multi-intelligence unmanned vehicle in Afghanistan this summer. Developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation, the aircraft resembles a small blimp. It is designed to carry multiple intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) payloads for more than 21 days at altitudes of more than 22,000 feet. Other vertical take-off and landing vehicles the Army is exploring include the Boeing A160 Hummingbird. The study of innovative unmanned aerial systems (UASs) is being financed by overseas contingency operations funds.

January 12, 2012

A computer scientist at Sandia National Laboratories has developed and deployed DNSViz, a visualization tool to help government and global network administrators better understand Domain Name System Security (DNSSEC) and troubleshoot problems. DNSSEC is mandated for all federal information systems. The tool offers a single graphical representation of the components that work together to enable DNSSEC to function properly. DNSViz actively analyzes domain name by performing pertinent DNS lookups. The tool is running on Sandia servers monitoring a list of 100,00 names and performing an analysis twice a day.

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