News Briefs

May 4, 2011
By Max Cacas

The Pentagon has begun to reassign some organizations within the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) as part of its planned shutdown as a four-star combatant command later this summer. Among the organizations reassigned, and their new homes:

  • Joint Enduring Capabilities Command to the U.S. Transportations Command
  • Joint Warfare Analysis Center to U.S. Strategic Command
  • Joint Personnel Recovery Agency to the Air Force
  • The NATO School to U.S. European Command
  • July 12, 2010
    By Rachel Eisenhower

    The Signal Corps 150th anniversary celebration continues in style as top officials take to the U.S. Army Signal Regiment's Facebook page to send out special birthday wishes. Click the links below to see the video messages from:

    Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, USA, deputy commanding general, initial military training, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

    June 8, 2010
    By Rachel Eisenhower

    The recently formed Interagency Alternative Technology Assessment Program (IATAP) announced last Friday it plans to collect and review oil spill response solutions.

    The U.S. Coast Guard's Research and Development Center has been providing on-site support for the oil spill response and issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) along with interagency partners calling for the submission of new technology solutions. The BAA requested white papers addressing several key problem areas: sensing and detection; wellhead control and submerged response; traditional and alternative technologies; and damage assessment and restoration.

    May 19, 2010

    The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has awarded 11 contracts totaling $6.6 billion as part of its Solutions for the Information Technology Enterprise, or SITE. The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts will last five years and extend across the defense intelligence enterprise and the intelligence community. Six large companies were awarded contracts: BAE Systems Information Technology Incorporated; General Dynamics Information Technology Incorporated; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation; Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); and Systems Research and Applications Corporation (SRA).

    April 26, 2010

    The Defense-wide Information Assurance Program has published an Information Assurance (IA) Policy Chart on the Information Assurance Technology Analysis Center (IATAC) website.  The program's goal for the publication is to capture the large breadth of applicable policies, some of which IA personnel may not know, in a convenient organizational scheme. The IA Policy Chart uses color, hatching, fonts and hyperlinks to provide additional assistance to professionals who need to understand the IA policies to build, operate and secure the GIG. Background notes on the effort also can be found on the IATAC site.

    April 8, 2010
    By H. Mosher

    The Department of Defense yesterday launched the Open Government Plan, its latest salvo aimed at increasing transparency and opportunities for engagement and collaboration. From Elizabeth McGrath, DoD Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer:

    April 5, 2010

    U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) is looking for solutions to communications interoperability problems along the U.S. southern and northern borders. To entice community governments to tackle these problems, the OEC is offering up to a total of $25.5 million. The Border Interoperability Demonstration Project (BIDP) is a one-time competitive grant program open to local, tribal and emergency responders along the U.S.-Mexican and Canadian-U.S. borders.

    February 26, 2010
    By Katie Packard

    The U.S. Defense Department has announced its policy on "Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-Based Capabilities"--in less formal words, its social and new media policy. This is the DOD's first official policy on new media. It states that the NIPRNET default will be open access so that all of the DOD can use new and social media. Under this policy, prohibited content sites such as gambling sites will still be blocked, but otherwise there will be open access across the department.

    February 22, 2010
    By Katie Packard

    President Obama's Open Government Initiative is underway, and the government wants to hear from you. What are your ideas on open government? Help the government draft open government plans by sharing your thoughts on how each agency can be more open and transparent.

    February 23, 2010
    By Katie Packard

    Or rather, insignia. The U.S. Navy's chief of naval operations has approved officers and enlisted to wear the Information Dominance Corps Warfare insignia once they have completed a qualification program.

    The warfare insignia was created to provide a common link among the IDC communities and to institute a rigorous qualification program to identify the Navy's information dominance professionals. The IDC will consist of more than 44,000 active and Reserve Navy officers, enlisted and civilian professionals who specialize in information-intensive fields.

    January 29, 2010

    Although the U.S. Navy has been in the cyber arena for many years, today the service officially moved into the operational cyber domain as Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, USN, took command of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. At the commissioning/re-commissioning of this new command and revitalized fleet, Adm. McCullough officially became the Navy's primary connection with the other armed services and joint community as well as the Navy's leader in the cyber operational and tactical realm. Prior to the Commissioning Orders and Assumption of Command ceremony, CNO Adm.

    November 25, 2009
    By Katie Packard

    Beginning this month, 14 government agencies across the U.S. are part of a pilot program testing a new multiband radio that enables first responders to talk to each other across frequency bands. The DHS's Science and Technology Directorate developed the radio, which resembles current single-band emergency communications equipment but works on five frequency bands and can work on four additional bands used exclusively by the U.S. Defense Department, National Guard and Coast Guard.

    September 17, 2009

    The U.S. Navy will down select between the two littoral combat ship (LCS) designs it has been considering for the past several years. The service is canceling the current LCS seaframe construction solicitation, and a new solicitation will be issued. The decision will be made in fiscal year 2010. During the down select, one prime contractor and shipyard will be awarded a fixed-price incentive contract for as many as 10 ships. Two ships will be ordered during fiscal year 2010; options for additional vessels will extend through fiscal year 2014. The award winner also will provide combat systems for up to five additional ships that a second source will provide.

    September 2, 2009

    Gen. James N. Mattis, USMC, will step down as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation during a change-of-command ceremony on September 9. Taking over the reins is Gen. Stephane Abrial of the French air force. The ceremony will take place on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower , Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. Gen. Abrial is the former chief of staff of the French air force. This is the first time in the organization's 60-year history that a non-U.S. officer has been permanently assigned as one of NATO's two Supreme Allied Commanders. Gen. Mattis will remain as the commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command.

    August 19, 2009

    The stars were in perfect alignment--or it was the perfect storm of open schedules? Call it what you will, but when technology assessors and warfighters meet for one week in one place, the results are the same: a mutual learning experience that will benefit warfighters on the front lines. Members of USJFCOM's Joint Systems Interoperability Center (JSIC) are hosting four members of the Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Gravely, an under-construction guided missile destroyer, this week to gather warfighter input on some next-generation technology they are examining.

    August 7, 2009

    The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) have entered into a partnership to streamline acquisition of commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) services. Announced yesterday, the agreement will lead to a hybrid of GSA's multiple award schedules and indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contracts. Officials of both organizations are lauding this collaborative effort as "historic" and agree that the Future Commercial SATCOM Access contract will be worth $5 billion over a 10-year period. The partnership has been years in the making, GSA and DISA officials allowed.

    July 17, 2009

    A major disaster recovery exercise is concluding today in Washington D.C. The week long event was held by AT&T to test, evaluate, refine and improve how the company restores communications in the wake of a natural or manmade disaster. The network disaster recovery (NDR) exercise filled the capitol's Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium with equipment trailers and personnel providing satellite and broadband fiber optic communications links.

    June 17, 2009

    The Defense Business Board task group created to review the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) will hold public meetings next week at the Hyatt-Arlington in Arlington, Virginia. The first is scheduled for June 25 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; the second on June 26 from 9 a.m. to noon, resuming from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The group will invite experts who have testified before Congress on the NSPS to the first event and will listen to select members of the public for additional information about previously submitted written comments at the second. The public can attend and provide comments until June 26, but those received after June 18 (that's tomorrow!) may not arrive in time for consideration.

    June 17, 2009

    The U.S. Air Force's venerable fleet of B-52 Stratofortress bombers is joining the network-centric force. They are being outfitted with the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system, which will provide the aircraft with enhanced situational awareness and mission flexibility. The CONECT modification involves the installation of a digital communications infrastructure into the B-52 that enables the aircraft to link to the Air Force's digital communications network and contact command and control centers, ground forces and other platforms.

    April 24, 2009

    The U.S. Air Force is redoubling its efforts to reach out to small businesses. David Van Buren, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, and Ronald Poussard, director of the service's small business programs, explain that this effort seeks to remove the "check-the-box" mentality often associated with small business outreach. Innovation, agility, responsiveness and efficiency are some of the attributes small companies offer, but Van Buren also says, "We don't have enough competition now.

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