News Briefs

April 13, 2016

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a partnership with the NASA Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) to develop new technology solutions through publicly crowdsourced prize competitions.  

Crowdsourcing and incentive prizes across industry have led to the successful creation of advanced technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and improved data analytics. The DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is expanding its efforts to solicit innovations like these through its partnership with NASA, according to an S&T statement

April 7, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate announced today the implementation of a new technology to streamline and improve secure information sharing between the DHS and its partners. The Backend Attribute Exchange will simplify user identification and verification between different organizations for the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) by eliminating redundancies while ensuring proper security.

March 31, 2016

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the final version of a document outlining its process for developing cryptographic standards and guidelines. NIST Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines Development Process (NISTIR 7977) is part of NIST’s “effort to ensure a robust, widely understood and participatory process for developing cryptography,” the institute said in a written announcement.  

March 29, 2016

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, California, today announced it will receive a first-of-a-kind brain-inspired supercomputing platform for deep learning developed by IBM Research. Based on a breakthrough neurosynaptic computer chip called IBM TrueNorth, the scalable platform will process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses and consume only 2.5 watts of power—the energy equivalent of a hearing aid battery.

March 2, 2016

The Defense Department announced today that it will invite vetted hackers to test the department’s cybersecurity under a unique pilot program. The “Hack the Pentagon” initiative is the first cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government.

February 29, 2016
Georgia Tech researchers built the "Rescue Robot" to determine whether or not building occupants would trust a robot designed to help them evacuate a high-rise in case of fire or other emergency. (Credit: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech)

People may trust robots too much for their own safety, a new study suggests. In a mock building fire, test subjects followed instructions from an “Emergency Guide Robot” even after the machine had proven itself unreliable and after some participants were told the robot had broken down.

The research was designed to determine whether or not building occupants would trust a robot designed to help them evacuate a high-rise in case of fire or other emergency. But the researchers were surprised to find the test subjects followed the robot's instructions even when the machine’s behavior should not have inspired trust.

February 8, 2016

The U.S. Coast Guard published guidance February 5 that allows mariners to use electronic charts and publications instead of paper charts, maps and publications. Combining the suite of electronic charts from the U.S. hydrographic authorities and the Electronic Charting System (ECS) standards published this past summer by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, electronic charts can provide mariners with a substitute for the traditional official paper charts. 

The Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, NVIC 01-16 establishes uniform guidance on what is now considered equivalent to chart and publication carriage requirements.

December 17, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC), Ashburn, Virginia, has released a report, "Harnessing Big Data within the Federal Government – Findings and Recommendations of ATARC’s Big Data Innovation Lab," which offers five recommendations for government to consider while developing big data strategies.

The recommendations are:

December 11, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today announced its first Innovation Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) aimed at non-traditional performers such as technology startups to offer solutions to some of the toughest threats facing DHS and the homeland security mission. Awarded through Other Transaction Solicitation HSHQDC-16-R-B0005, the first call for proposals is looking for solutions to improve situational awareness and security measures for protecting

November 30, 2015

The U.S. military and the Australian Defense Force noted improved connectivity while testing an advanced Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) waveform technology during the Talisman Sabre 2015 joint training exercise, according to news statements.

The militaries tested a high-performance IP satellite broadband system developed by Hughes Network Systems LLC. The HX System is designed for carrier-grade IP broadband for maritime, air and ground-based mobile networks and video, voice and data trunking for mesh networks.

October 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
A JLENS aerostat is seen here on White Sands Missile Range. Earlier today, a JLENS aerostat detached from its mooring and has since been grounded.

Earlier today, a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) surveillance system aerostat detached from its mooring station in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and apparently explored the fall foliage northeast of Washington, D.C., over Pennsylvania.

The hot-headed hooligan has since been grounded. It is likely deflated and in the vicinity of Moreland Township, Pennsylvania.

October 22, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Defense Department has approved the Navy CANES program for full deployment.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, recently approved the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) for full deployment, U.S. Navy officials have announced. The program puts in place a robust and secure networking environment across ships and submarines that can fulfill the Navy's vision of information dominance. 

September 25, 2015
By George I. Seffers
President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China hold a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, last year. Today, the two announced a historic agreement designed to curb cyber aggression.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that neither country will “support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors,” according to a White House announcement released today.

September 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers

As part of its efforts to provide practical solutions to real-world cybersecurity challenges, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is requesting comments on a draft guidance to help organizations better control access to information systems.

September 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
More than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk,” are tracked as they orbit the Earth. They all travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.

The Space Fence System, including the large-scale digital radar and turn-key facility, were deemed technically mature and provided evidence that all requirements will be met through the program's critical design review (CDR) conducted by the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor on the program, has announced. 

The Space Fence S-band radar system design will detect, track and catalog space debris more than 1.5 million times a day to predict and prevent space-based collisions. The three-day CDR featured the demonstration of a small-scale system built with end-item components that detected and tracked orbiting space objects. 

September 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
To determine facial examiners' skills in matching whether faces in two images are the same person, researchers pushed the boundaries by adding inverted images and photos with backgrounds to the standard face-matching of closely cropped head shots.

Trained forensics examiners from the FBI and law enforcement agencies worldwide were far more accurate in identifying faces in photographs than nonexperts and even computers, according to a new assessment. The assessment provides “the first strong evidence that facial forensic examiners are better at face recognition than the rest of us,” Jonathon Phillips, a face recognition researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), said in a written announcement.

September 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. State Department has unveiled a new initiative called “Global Connect,” which seeks to bring 1.5 billion people who lack Internet access online by 2020. Catherine Novelli, undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment, announced the initiative during a keynote address at the UN Headquarters on “Development in the Digital Age,” which was delivered on behalf of John Kerry, secretary of state.

September 16, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The Lawrence Livermore-Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute agreement to promote supercomputing supports President Barack Obama's plan to spur the economy.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will combine decades of expertise to help American industry and businesses expand use of high performance computing (HPC) to help fuel the economy.

Livermore and Rensselaer look to bridge the gap between the levels of computing conducted at their institutions and the typical levels found in industry. Scientific and engineering software applications capable of running on HPC platforms are a prime area of interest.

September 2, 2015
By George I. Seffers
MUOS-4 will enable near-global coverage for a new secure military communications network offering enhanced capabilities for mobile forces.

The U.S. Navy’s fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-4) satellite is talking from space to the satellite control team at the Naval Spacecraft Operations Control facility after its Florida launch this morning. MUOS-4 will enable near-global coverage for a new secure military communications network offering enhanced capabilities for mobile forces.

September 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers

Electrical and computer engineers at North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating less-expensive, low-power embedded computing devices useful in everything from thermostats to automobiles and a wide range of defense or security-related systems.

The researchers made two prototype systems with power converters using the new technique and compared them to dozens of other compatible power converters on the market. They found that none of the other converters could match the prototypes’ combination of low cost and high efficiency.

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