News Briefs

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.

April 27, 2009

Ion Tiger, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) research program at the Naval Research Laboratory, is merging UAV technology and fuel cell systems that are more efficient and reduce noise. An Office of Naval Research-sponsored program, the Ion Tiger UAV tests a hydrogen-powered fuel cell design that has more endurance in flight distance and payload weight than battery-powered designs. The UAV also features a low heat signature and no emissions.

April 18, 2009

U.S. Air Force officials named Barksdale Air Force Base as the preferred alternative for the location of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) headquarters. The AFGSC is a new major command focused on the nuclear and global strike mission. A final decision about the permanent headquarters location is expected this summer and will be made after the environmental impact analysis process required by law is complete.

April 21, 2009

The Boeing Company and the Australian government demonstrated the ability to simultaneously command and control three robot aircraft from an airborne command platform. The demonstration featured three ScanEagle unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) controlled from a Royal Australian Air Force Wedgetail 737 airborne early warning and control aircraft. Operating 120 miles from the Wedgetail, the ScanEagles were assigned tasks such as area search, reconnaissance, point surveillance and targeting. The aircraft demonstrated extended sensing; persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and the transmission of real-time video imagery of ground targets.

April 15, 2009

The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier delivered 300 sets of the AN/PSQ-20 Enhanced Night Vision Goggles (ENVG) to the 10th Mountain Division, the first unit other than special forces to receive them. The ENVG incorporates image intensification and long-wave infrared sensors into a single integrated system. It has a thermal camera that increases mobility and situational awareness regardless of light, weather or battlefield conditions, and it offers faster threat recognition.

April 16, 2009

Commercial satellite support for U.S. military forces in the Middle East and Asia is being boosted by an Intelsat orbiter that is being moved halfway around the world to cover the region. The international satellite consortium, responding to a U.S. Defense Department request in February, is repositioning its Galaxy 26 U.S. domestic satellite from its 93°W slot over the Western Hemisphere to a new location over the Indian Ocean. The Galaxy 26 orbiter will provide vital bandwidth for unmanned aerial vehicles conducting surveillance operations throughout its area of coverage, which ranges from Germany to Southeast Asia.

April 17, 2009

An innovative environment will support a virtual collaborative zone within the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. The FCS Advanced Collaborative Environment (FCS ACE) is a secure Web environment that enables government and industry participants to work together and access product, technical and program management information. A $4.3 million contract win allows Alion Science and Technology to help streamline and improve business processes and control investment costs for FCS ACE's entire life cycle.

April 5, 2009

The U.S. Army is enhancing its mobile ground-based radars designed to detect incoming enemy artillery rounds. The AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder weapon-locating radar is a long-range system that is being deployed across the service to locate the sources of enemy mortar, artillery and rocket fire, and to relay that data for counterfire by friendly units. As part of the Army's Reliability Maintainability Improvement (RMI) program, the entire inventory of AN/TPQ-37 and AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder systems will be modified with a modular, air-cooled transmitter and new common radar processors.

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