News Briefs

October 9, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Defense Department's premier research agency put a call out for technology that can detect and identify from great distances dangerous biological and chemical substances. 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a broad agency announcement for the development of the small devices for the new Spectral Combs from UV to THz (SCOUT) program, according to the agency.

October 7, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released a proposal to secure the border entitled “Blueprint for Southern Border Security.” The proposal calls for a broad mix of technologies, including radar, manned or unmanned aircraft, aerostats and unattended ground sensors. The technologies deployed should be as varied as the terrain.

October 6, 2014
By Ali Cybulski

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, (ISC)², a nonprofit that educates and certifies information security professionals, is sharing a series of weekly security awareness tips. The series will include tips for more secure software as well as advice targeted at conference attendees, parents, teachers, senior citizens, homeowners and CEOs.

The first set of tips provides guidance for conference attendees, including:

October 2, 2014
By George I. Seffers
NATO deploys unmanned systems to gather data in support of counter-mine operations.

Multiple autonomous underwater vehicles equipped with modern sensors relevant to NATO minehunting missions are being employed at sea during the Multinational AutoNomy Experiment (MANEX ‘14), held September 22 to October 13, 2014, along the Italian coast, between Framura and Bonassola, in the Ligurian Sea.

September 12, 2014
By Rita Boland

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has transitioned the first technology in its Transition to Practice (TTP) program to commercial market two years ahead of schedule. The effort involves Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Quantum Secured Communication, which was picked up by the company Allied Minds. That private-sector entity exclusively licensed the technology in August 2013 and formed Whitewood Encryption Systems Incorporated to bring it to market. The product is a next-generation encryption system that leverages the quantum properties of light.

September 15, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is seeking information from small businesses as potential sources to provide cyber-related support services; to conduct activities; and to create products to improve the U.S. Defense Department's cyber systems. Specifically, the agency's omnibus indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract will support the U.S. Cyber Command's ability to operate resilient, reliable information and communication networks; counter cyberspace threats; and assure access to cyberspace.

September 4, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The National Capital Region joins two cities already part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) program to detect and deter nuclear and radiological threats with the award of a $30 million federal grant, which it will receive over the next five years.

August 27, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Service members can get expedited travel screening at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck airports using their Defense Department identification number when booking flight reservations. The security approach is available to all members of the U.S. armed forces, including the reserves, the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard.

August 26, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The release of new high-quality positional information on space debris of unknown origin will help satellite owner-operators better protect their space assets. The U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) now can run a program that shows where space objects are and where they will be, as well as the potential for these objects colliding. This information has been added to Space-Track.org.

August 22, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is preparing recommendations to help organizations leverage the benefits of mobile apps while managing their risks. The publication’s authors are seeking public comments about the draft of "Technical Considerations for Vetting 3rd Party Mobile Applications." The deadline for comments is Sept. 18.

While apps can improve productivity, they also can introduce vulnerabilities that put sensitive data and network resources at risk. The draft publication describes tests that software security analysts can employ to find and understand these security gaps before the app is approved for use.

August 21, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The number of application centers offering screenings for admittance into the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program has grown, and travelers can enroll for the PreCheck program at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Denver International Airport (DEN) and the off-airport IdentoGO Center by MorphoTrust, in Raleigh, North Carolina. There are now 302 enrollment centers in the nation and more than 486,000 registered passengers.

August 21, 2014
By Rita Boland

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has initiated two $10 million projects to create separate cloud computing testbeds called Chameleon and CloudLab. Through the efforts, the academic research community will develop and experiment with novel architectures and architecturally enabled applications of cloud computing.

August 14, 2014
By George I. Seffers

Some of the hackers who have persistently attacked Lockheed Martin’s networks have “gone quiet” in recent months, officials told reporters yesterday at an Arlington, Virginia, media summit hosted by the company’s recently restructured Defense and Intelligence Solutions division. “We’ve seen a number of the adversaries—I wouldn’t say they’ve disappeared—but they’ve gone quiet,” said Darrell Durst, Lockheed Martin’s vice president, cyber solutions. “I think we have been able to counter a number of the adversaries relative to our networks.”

August 13, 2014
By Maryann Lawlor

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now offers an app for Apple devices that expedites the entry process for U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors into the United States. The Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app enables travelers with a smartphone or tablet to submit their passport information and customs declaration form as well as upload a self-photo prior to CBP inspection.

August 12, 2014
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Army is introducing new cyber features into its semiannual Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) to better identify, understand and defend against threats. Cyber considerations will be introduced earlier in the process at the laboratory in Aberdeen Proving Ground before technologies hit the ground at the event itself. For the first time, the federated labs on the campus of Aberdeen’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or C4ISR, campus will take a coordinate system-of-systems approach to lab-based risk reduction.

August 4, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. Defense Department officials are turning to science and engineering to reduce drastically the time it takes to develop military platforms—from ships to aircraft and ground vehicles.

July 31, 2014
By George I. Seffers

A recently announced study by Juniper Networks found that 51 percent of government information technology decision makers plan to adopt software-defined networking (SDN) within the next two years. Twenty-five percent of government respondents to the Software-Defined Networking Progress Report said improved performance and more efficient networks will be the primary benefit, while 18 percent cited simplified network operations.

July 23, 2014
By Cyndy Hogan
A Wave Glider SV2 moments before deployment.

The Wave Glider ocean drone collected and transmitted weather data during one of Asia’s biggest typhoons this month. This information will allow scientists to better predict intensities of typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes with the goal of saving lives and minimizing property damage. The drone, from Liquid Robotics, was piloted remotely through the path of category 5 Typhoon Rammasun, navigating sustained winds of 145 mph and gusts up to 175 mph with waves more than 45 feet. It gathered real-time wave, temperature, conductivity and current data from the surface of the ocean, even as seaports and transportation systems in multiple countries were closed due to the storm.

July 21, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Information and Technology awarded its fourth and final contract for its Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) contract to help veterans navigate technical access to health care services.

July 16, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Information and Technology awarded a contract for technical management support services for its Health Products Support (HPS), an effort to provide seamless benefits and services to U.S. veterans.

Under the contract, Creative Computing Solutions Incorporated (CCSi) will provide the VA with two teams of subject matter experts to improve processes and manage the system workload and increased operational tempo.

The contract is part of the VA’s Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) contract vehicle. CCSi won the contract with a one-year base period of performance and the option of extending for two more years.

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