News Briefs

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.

August 12, 2015

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has formed an international alliance with about a dozen telecommunications companies and universities to model and measure wireless channels at much higher frequencies than those used today to hasten the development of future cellphones and other devices.

August 3, 2015
By George I. Seffers

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper announced today that he has selected Jason Matheny to be the next director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), effective immediately.

July 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army has announced the procurement of Motorola’s WAVE technology to enhance radio interoperability.

The U.S. Army is procuring Motorola’s WAVE software technology to fill a need for a unified application that links two-way radios, smartphones, telephones and personal computers together for seamless communications. The $14.1 million contract provides the Army with unlimited access to the capability. WAVE will act as the glue to patch together devices normally incapable of communicating with one another.

July 22, 2015
By George I. Seffers

Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of homeland security, and Sarah R. Saldaña, director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on Thursday presided over the unveiling of an expanded ICE Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Virginia.

The center, known as C3, will provide ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with enhanced operational and training capabilities to meet the growing cyber mission of the agency and increasing workload of criminal cases with a cyber nexus.

July 14, 2015

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program is signing up a new round of industry collaborators for the test bed used to evaluate advanced broadband equipment and software for emergency first responders.

So far, 39 telecommunications companies have signed new, five-year cooperative research and development agreements to participate in the test bed program, according to Dereck Orr of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

June 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) on June 23 identified CryptoWall as the most current and significant ransomware threat targeting U.S. individuals and businesses. In the 14 months since the malicious software first appeared, the IC3 received 992 CryptoWall-related complaints, with victims reporting losses totaling more than $18 million, according to the FBI warning.

The financial impact to victims goes beyond the ransom fee itself, which is typically between $200 and $10,000. Many victims incur additional costs associated with network mitigation, network countermeasures, loss of productivity, legal fees, IT services and/or the purchase of credit monitoring services for employees or customers.

June 8, 2014
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army has received permission to move the WIN-T Increment 2 into full-rate production and fielding.

Following a Defense Acquisition Board program review in May, the U.S. Army has received approval to proceed to full-rate production and fielding of its mobile tactical communications network backbone, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2. WIN-T Increment 2 is serving as the tactical Internet connection in overseas operations in Afghanistan, Africa and Iraq and is currently fielded to 12 brigade combat teams and four division headquarters.

June 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers

A NATO coalition of scientists and researchers recently experimented with a variety of underwater robots in a joint scientific mine countermeasures sea trial. The May 20-29 experiment involved NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), the Royal Netherlands Navy Defence Diving Group, NATO’s Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence and the United Kingdom Royal Navy Maritime Autonomous Systems Trial Team.

May 21, 2015
By George I. Seffers
DHS S&T has awarded two Innovation Prizes to companies offering solutions for first responders.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS's) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate today announced the winners of the S&T’s first innovation prize competition: The Vreeland Institute Inc., Copake, New York, and Certa Cito LLC, Rochester, New York. The competition, “Indoor Tracking of the Next Generation First Responder” focused on the challenge of keeping track of first responders when they are inside buildings, tunnels and other structures.

May 19, 2015

Mobile data traffic generated by cellphones and tablets will approach almost 197,000 petabytes by 2019, according to Juniper Research. That is the data equivalent to more than 10 billion Blu-ray movies.

May 4, 2015
By George I. Seffers

NATO today initiated Dynamic Mongoose, this year’s biggest antisubmarine warfare exercises in the North Sea, with a focus on detecting and defending against submarines. Eleven nations, more than a dozen surface vessels and four submarines are participating in the annual Dynamic Mongoose exercise. 

The event, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow ships under NATO command to conduct a variety of antisubmarine warfare operations. The submarines will take turns trying to approach and target the ships undetected, simulating an attack.

May 12, 2015
By George I. Seffers

A new study from Juniper Research, Hampshire, United Kingdom, suggests that the rapid digitization of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, almost four times the estimated cost of breaches in 2015.

May 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews announced today he will lead a delegation of 20 American companies on a Cybersecurity Trade Mission to Bucharest, Romania, and Warsaw, Poland, May 11-15. Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte also will participate in the mission.

The trade mission is designed to help U.S. companies launch or increase their business operations in Central and Southeast Europe, specifically connecting them with businesses and government leaders in Romania and Poland. It also will introduce or expand the market presence of U.S. cybersecurity companies.

April 28, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

Although cybersecurity has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention lately, 90 percent of companies recently surveyed admit that their organizations have invested in a security technology that was ultimately discontinued or scrapped before or soon after deployment. The survey also revealed that the most important metrics are the least reliable. For example, although 70 percent of respondents said return on investment and total cost of ownership are critical metrics for investment and measurement of a technology’s economic benefits, the same number said it is difficult to calculate these metrics.

Pages