Defense Operations

May 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
An F-16 Viper takes off at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in March 2020. F-16 Vipers from the 20th Fighter Wing have played a primary role in demonstrating agile combat capabilities in joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) experiments. Leaders from the Joint All-Domain Strategist course visited Nellis in March to learn firshand from the military’s JADC2 efforts.  U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob Gutierrez

To prepare, operate and fight in joint warfare against near-peer adversaries across all domains will take adroit leaders who provide effective decisions in near or real time. The Air Command and Staff College, or ACSC, has set a course to do just that: prepare leaders to thrive and fight with joint operations in a contested environment on a global scale using joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2. Leaders in the class learn to plan and execute multidomain operations against possible threats on land, sea, air, space and cyberspace to lead through the challenges of the expected future operational environment in 2030 and beyond.

May 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The focus in the U.S. military is on all-domain operations, in which U.S. forces will operate in a highly integrated manner in what previously were autonomous or semi-autonomous domains. This approach is evolving from a time when the individual services brought specific capabilities to their respective battlespace and often employed them in various concentrated roles.

May 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

To successfully overmatch near-peer adversaries in the 21st century, the U.S. military requires decision advantage. Multidomain operations coordinate and bring to bear assets across all five domains of land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace. Information dominance—getting the right information from the right sensors or systems to the right decision makers at the right time—is the key to victory on the multidomain battlefield of the future.

Joint All-Domain Command and Control, JADC2, is the path the Department of Defense has mapped out to achieve decision advantage.

April 21, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Capt. Zachary Schofield (center), USA, assistant product manager with Wideband Enterprise Satellite Systems, demonstrates an inflatable satellite antenna (ISA) to soldiers at Camp Humphreys, South Korea in 2019. The Army’s Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) has a global support program in place to ensure communications equipment readiness. Credit: Amburr Reese, CECOM Public Affairs

The U.S. Army’s Communications and Electronics Command, or CECOM, located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is engaging in a robust asset management program to make sure command, control, communications, computing, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) technologies are ready for troops around the world, said Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo, USA, CECOM commander.

April 14, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying SpaceX’s Starlink L-23 payload launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, April 7. As the United States increases its posture in space, it needs better space intelligence to support its missions, experts say. Credit: U.S. Space Force photo by Airman First Class Thomas Sjoberg

The United States military has to broaden its space-based intelligence capabilities, to provide astute situational awareness and analysis to conducting space-related missions, as the threats to the domain rise. Those in the sector have been warning that space had become a threatened domain for the last decade, said Lara Schmidt, principal director, Strategic and Global Awareness Directorate, The Aerospace Corporation. Today there are about 70 nations operating in space in one way or another.

April 13, 2021
 
Effective supply chain management with government customers requires clear communications, says Zach Conover, general manager for Akima LLC’s subsidiaries Truestone, Lynxnet and Aperture Federal. Credit: Shutterstock

The COVID-19 pandemic and the strains it put on the global supply chain is making businesses rethink how they supply their government customers, said Zach Conover, general manager for Akima LLC’s subsidiaries Truestone, Lynxnet and Aperture Federal. Akima is an Alaska native-owned government contractor providing services such as facilities maintenance and repair, information technology support, logistics and supply chain operations, and systems engineering.

April 13, 2021
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Army 1st Lt. Nancy Gomez fires an M777 howitzer during a direct-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, Feb. 4, 2021. U.S. Army Europe and Africa will soon receive a new Multi-Domain Task Force and a Theater Fires Command, the Army has announced. Credit: Kevin Payne, Army

U.S. Army Europe and Africa will receive two new units—a Multi-Domain Task Force and Theater Fires Command—in the coming months and retain three sites previously scheduled to be returned to the German government due to growing operational requirements in the European theater.

The units will add approximately 500 Soldiers, 35 local national positions and 750 family members to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. The Theater Fires Command is expected to activate 16 Oct. 2021 and the Multi-Domain Task Force is expected to activate on 16 Sept. 2021. The sites that will be retained are Mainz Kastel Station and Mainz Kastel Housing in Mainz-Kastel, and Dagger Complex in Darmstadt.

April 7, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Operations officers stand watch in the combat information center of the USS John S. McCain as the destroyer transits the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. Navy's contribution to the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) system is a high priority for Adm. Michael M. Gilday, USN, the chief of naval operations. Credit: U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy’s contribution to the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is one of the service’s three most important initiatives, according to the chief of naval operations (CNO). Adm. Michael M. Gilday, USN, said that Task Force Overmatch is essential for the Navy to put itself “in a position of advantage” for C2 of a hybrid fleet of manned and unmanned vehicles in the air, on the sea and under the sea as well as in decision-making against peer adversaries.

April 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Glen Vanherck, commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and commander, U.S. Northern Command speaks to reporters on March 31, emphasizing the need to increase the commands’ domain awareness by adding over-the-horizon radar capabilities, space assets and undersea capabilities to provide additional awareness of near-peer adversary threats.

Along with the other U.S. Combatant Commands, the Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command “achieved its objectives” in an experiment last week to improve joint all-domain operations and the related use of joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, capabilities. The goal is to improve the integration of sensing and information capabilities to achieve information dominance and decision superiority, said the leader of the commands.

April 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood and Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) 2nd Marine Regiment stationed in Kuwait perform live fire training. The 22nd MEU supports the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, from the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean. On the Joint Staff, the J-6 leader is preparing a strategy to guide the necessary development of joint all domain command and control, for operations anywhe

The U.S. military services are meeting the challenge of upgrading without losing needed capabilities as they march toward the goal of a common command and control system. By focusing on this approach, they are positioning themselves for convergence under an all-encompassing strategy formulated by The Joint Staff. In effect, their efforts represent a devolution from multiple branches to a single outcome that will unify all elements of the military.

April 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The U.S. military needs the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) capability to maintain battlespace superiority against peer and near-peer competitors in the future operating environment. In its simplest form, JADC2 is about speed and information from any sensor to any shooter through any C2 node. A host of factors from innovative new capabilities to culture change and funding will play a significant role in determining the success of this vital endeavor.

April 1, 2021
By Henry S. Kenyon

Facing renewed challenges from peer and near-peer adversaries, the U.S. Department of Defense is returning to a command and control concept embracing joint and allied operations with the added domains of space and cyberspace adding to the mission space. But while this reorientation appears to revisit older Cold War-era strategies on the surface, it is the end result of careful analysis by the Pentagon to make up for operational deficiencies and neglected capabilities from two decades of counterinsurgency-oriented warfare.

March 29, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Last July, pilots from the 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, train on the newest version of the Apache AH-64 helicopter during training conducted by Apache Program Manager, Program Executive Office Aviation (PEO Aviation). The PEO is standing up a new office to leverage open architecture systems on its aviation platforms. Credit: PEO Aviation photo by Capt. Joshua Hughes, USA, 1-229 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion.

The U.S. Army has pursued the development of open architecture system standards for several years and now is increasingly fielding such systems across its programs, including amongst its aviation and communications capabilities. The service, which worked with tri-service partners, the Navy and Air Force, will benefit from the systems being on the battlefield, as they cut costs, improve software reuse and portability, bring greater ease of use, and increase size, weight and power, or SWAP, savings, said Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).

March 26, 2021
By George I. Seffers
A soldier helps set up a tactical command post to test communications in Germany, July 8, 2019. The Army is releasing a flurry of documents, including a pending posture statement, outlining its modernization plans for 2035. Credit: Army Sgt. Patrick Jubrey

U.S. Army officials expect soon to release a multidomain operations (MDO) posture statement that will complement both the new MDO vision document released by the Army Chief of Staff and the posture statement from U.S. Cyber Command.

The MDO posture statement will detail how the Army intends to achieve its MDO vision for 2035. It will be released soon, possibly as early as April, according to Army officials conducting a March 26 telephonic media roundtable.

March 17, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The United States already is losing positional advantage to China in the Western Hemisphere, in our own “neighborhood,” warns Adm. Craig S. Faller, USN, commander, U.S. Southern Command, testifying before Congress on March 16.

China is using the COVID-19 pandemic to progress its goal of global dominance. The adversary is using its vaccination program and assistance to poorer countries in the democratic Western Hemisphere to cement the use of China’s 5G communications and information technology, especially in the Caribbean and Central and South America, leaders say. The problem is that what starts as a veiled commercial interest ends with a significant military application and connection—given that the commercial companies, like Huawei, are all state owned, explained Adm. Craig S. Faller, USN, commander, U.S. Southern Command.

March 11, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Speaking at the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Cyberspace Symposium on March 9, Maj. Gen. Kevin Huyck, director of operations, U.S. Northern Command, says the data-centric capabilities of Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, are a clear tool to not only defeat adversaries, but also to deter and deny actions before ever needing to engage in battle.

For the military commands that protect the United States on a 24/7 basis, the ability to have real-time information from a sophisticated sensor network is essential. Given the growing threats of U.S. adversaries to the homeland, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) are already harnessing the capabilities that Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) offers, including enhanced sensing, artificial intelligence, data integration and information convergence.

March 12, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft assigned to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group takes off June 18, 2019, from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The First Air Force, based at Tyndall will now be providing command and control in support of the U.S. Space Command. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bailee A. Darbasie

The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force announced a reorganization plan today that will add duties to the First Air Force. In addition to its current role, the Numbered Air Force (NAF) also will be the air component to the U.S. Space Force Command.

Under Air Combat Command, the First Air Force, based at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, is responsible for protecting the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by providing air component support to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. Now the NAF will also be providing command and control over the Air Force efforts supporting U.S. Space Command.

March 8, 2021
By George I. Seffers
A soldier fires an FGM-148 Javelin during live-fire training in Jordan, Aug. 27, 2019, as part of Eager Lion, a major U.S. Central Command exercise that aims to integrate forces in a multilateral environment. The Joint Communications Support Element supports all of the combatant commands, special operations forces and other departments and agencies and is modernizing to meet the demands of multi-domain operations. Credit: Army Spc. Shadrach Hicks

The Joint Communications Support Element (Airborne), which stays on standby to deploy anytime and anywhere within 72 hours, is modernizing for multi-domain operations.

March 4, 2021
By George I. Seffers
China is often first in the information operations competition, keeping the United States and its allies and partners in the Asia Pacific on defense. Credit: andriano.cz/Shutterstock

With its rapid-fire information operations campaign, China effectively outguns the United States and its partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region, according to three military officers from the United States and Australia.

March 3, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat sails alongside the USS Nimitz as a U.S. Navy helicopter lands on the flight deck. The United States and its Indo-Pacific allies are working to improve their communications interoperability as they face growing challenges in the vast region. Credit: U.S. Navy

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is placing a greater emphasis on communication, especially with allies and partners, as it faces growing threats across the vast region. The scope of those threats and the need to confront them in a coalition approach was described by three officers from the United States and Australia on the third day of TechNet Indo-Pacific, running virtually March 1-3.

March 2, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Paratroopers secure their location in preparation for the extraction of senior Afghan and coalition military leaders following a key leader engagement in southeastern Afghanistan, December 29, 2019. Complex policies for connecting networks and sharing data remains a significant barrier for working with allies and coalition partners, military officials say. Credit: Army Master Sgt. Alejandro Licea

With a new Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy document wending its way through the Pentagon, multiple high-ranking officers indicate that complex networks and related policies related remain the top impediment to working with allies and partner nations.

The strategy is being spearheaded by Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the director of command, control, communications, computers/cyber, and the chief information officer for the Joint Staff, J-6. According to Brig. Gen. Robert Parker, USA, J-6 deputy director for the Joint Staff, the document has been sent to the chief of staff and vice chief of staff for approval and could land on the desk of the secretary of defense in the coming days or weeks.

March 3, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cyber and chief information officer, the Joint Staff; J-6, pictured working at the Pentagon in December, sees allies and partners, and the associated Mission Partner Environment, as crucial aspects of joint all domain warfighting. Credit: Photo courtesy of The Joint Staff Public Affairs

The U.S. Department of Defense is progressing in its efforts to address how it will fight in a joint all-domain warfighting environment. At the center of that work is how to build a Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) platform, and one in which allies and partners can effectively communicate and operate as well, explained Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cyber and chief information officer, the Joint Staff, J-6.

March 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
The USS Wilbur (l) conducts replenishment at sea with Japanese and French ships. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is expanding its exercise and training activities with allies and partners to boost its deterrent capabilities across the vast region.  U.S. Navy courtesy of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

“The erosion of conventional deterrence vis-à-vis China” is the greatest danger the United States faces in the Indo-Pacific region, says the head of the vast area’s command. Adm. Philip Davidson, USN, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), added that “without a valid and convincing conventional deterrent, China will be emboldened to take action to supplant the established rules-based international order.”

February 24, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Joseph Lengyel (l), USAFG, chief of the National Guard Bureau, speaks with Col. Hall, USAG from the Louisiana National Guard during a 2020 tour of the state’s Public Safety warehouse supporting the COVID-19 response in Baton Rouge. The Space Force could have a guard component, but the Defense Department needs to complete a study on the viability. Credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Toby Valadie

In the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), lawmakers asked the Department of Defense to study the personnel structure of the Space Force, including a possible guard component, similar to the other services’ National Guard forces. That study is still pending, explained Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, but the possibility remains for creation of a Space Force National Guard.

February 22, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Another way specific joint warfighting roles and missions could be defined is through the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, says Air Force Chief Gen. Charles Brown (c). Gen. Brown recently visited Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, with David Foskey (r), 573rd Manufacturing Squadron director and Georgia Congressman Austin Scott (l) for an update on the base’s propeller overhaul for the C-130, a key aircraft for joint warfighting. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton

With the U.S. military’s push to be able to operate across all warfighting domains—sea, air, land, space and cyberspace—simultaneously with all of the services, the allocation of combat roles presents a potential sticking point. Top leaders at the Pentagon’s Joint Staff are optimistic, however, that the designation of each service’s roles and missions in Joint All Domain Operations, or JADO, can be resolved through several processes. The Joint Warfighting Concept, the budgetary process and top-level discussions with officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), among other activities, will all help in that allocation decision-making.

February 16, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Army is in the process of building requirements for a broad portfolio of electronic warfare solutions, reports Col. Daniel Holland, USA, Army Capability Manager for Electronic Warfare, Cyber Center of Excellence, Fort Gordon, Georgia.

Over the last several years, the U.S. Army has worked pointedly to build up its electronic warfare capabilities. From the early days of only having small groups of electronic warfare soldiers that ventured to counter radio-controlled improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army has since retooled its efforts. The service is pursuing a broad campaign of development, is continuing to identify capability gaps and has successfully fielded more advanced tools to operate and dominate in the electromagnetic spectrum.

February 8, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Gen. John Raymond, USSF, chief of space operations, is seeing increased cooperation among the new U.S. Space Force and international partners.

The formation of the U.S. Space Force has led to more advanced cooperation in the space domain with existing and new partners, according to the force’s chief of space operations. Gen. John Raymond, USSF, noted that some nations even followed the U.S. example in giving space an increased priority as a warfighting domain.

Speaking at a Defense Writers Group media roundtable, Gen. Raymond stated that the United States is stronger as a nation with a stable and secure space domain. “The United States is a spacefaring nation, and we’ve long known that access to space and freedom to maneuver in space underpin all the instruments of our national power,” he declared.

February 3, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Military officials intend to counter-drone systems twice a year, with the first demonstration taking place in April, and fielding the first systems next year. Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

The U.S. military should begin fielding low-cost, low-collateral counter-drone systems as early as next year, officials told reporters in a February 2 conference call.

The Army has been designated the lead service for deploying systems to counter small unmanned aerial system (C-sUAS) technologies across the department. The service recently released its C-sUAS strategy . The strategy provides the framework for addressing sUAS hazards and threats in a variety of operating environments, including the U.S. homeland, host nations and contingency locations.

February 2, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost (l), USAF, who is now the commander of Air Mobility Command, greets the since retired Gen. Paul Selva, USAF, who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, before they flew the third and fourth delivered KC-46A Pegasus refueling aircraft in January 2019, from Boeing at King County International Airport in Seattle. Credit: DOD Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. James McCann

The U.S. Air Force plays a vital role to the rest of the U.S. military in providing airlift response, mid-air refueling, aero-medical evacuation and global air mobility support for military operations, as well as during humanitarian crises. To perform these missions, the Air Force depends on a variety of tanker and cargo aircraft including the KC-135, KC-10 and KC-46. However, in addition to these more traditional roles for the air fleet, the service is employing the aircraft more and more as flying communications nodes for the growing and ever-important mission of enabling Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) and Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2.

February 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
A sailor keeps watch aboard the USS John S. McCain as the guided missile destroyer asserts navigational rights and freedoms under international law in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) routinely conducts freedom of navigation operations as part of its mission to ensure free and secure passage in the vast region.  7th Fleet

The push toward multidomain operations is geared toward meeting the multifaceted threat U.S. forces face worldwide, but its effects already are being felt in the Indo-Pacific region. Three nation-state adversaries, each with its own flavor of threat, are influencing U.S. efforts in that vast region to maintain peace and security.

February 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Navy operations specialist communicates with bridge wing watchstanders aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Sterett. The Navy is moving full speed ahead on its modernization efforts, but it needs more rapid insertion of information technologies into the fleet and ashore.  U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy is looking for speed—not speed of platforms or vehicles, but of innovation. Introducing new capabilities into the force rapidly is vitally important to maintain the combat edge necessary to deter or defeat adversaries that are building up steam in their efforts to confront the U.S. military.

This will require tapping industry for innovative information technology advances. Ensuring that speed of capability may require working with the commercial sector to steer it into the right areas to suit naval needs. Ultimately, software-defined systems may hold the key to keeping ahead of the deployment curve in technology-based systems.

February 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
An eight-ship joint coalition formation flies over Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, during exercise Cope North 2020 in February 2020. Guam is proving to be a strategic hub for the United States’ efforts in the Indo-Pacific region, the military’s priority theater.  U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr.

Always strategic, the island of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean in Micronesia is playing a growing role in the contested, troublesome, near-peer competition environment. The Defense Department is investing more into the military facilities of this U.S. territory, including adding networking and bandwidth solutions; joint all-domain command and control; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solutions as well as additional U.S. forces. The measures will add key communications and advanced capabilities to the island as well as increase the military’s power projection abilities.

February 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The director of operations of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron speaks to the aircrew of a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer during a Veterans Day flyover at Asan Invasion Beach on Guam, November 11, 2020. Communications capabilites, whether they are for a ceremonial flyover or for vital military operations are necessary to Guam and the vast and remote Indo-Pacific region, and are something that the Defense Information Systems Agency is investing in heavilly.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka

Given the remoteness of the Indo-Pacific region and the growing role of Guam in the theater, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, has been heavily investing in information technology and communications capabilities for the U.S. territory.   

February 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The Indo-Pacific region continues to increase in importance and activity. A broad range of actions must be taken to preserve democracy and freedom in this most critical region. The threat to the democratic ideals respected around the world is not abstract but real, and it comes from multiple sources. Stopping the march against human rights violations, promotion of destructive economic, geopolitical activity and threatening military actions requires proactive, not reactive, measures. These measures must be thoughtfully and rapidly implemented.

January 14, 2021
By Maryann Lawlor
U.S. Army soldiers and Defense Department contractors collaborated at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, during Project Convergence 20 to initiate testing exercises for new multidomain operations weapons systems. U.S. Army photo by Daniel J. Alkana, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The U.S. Army is focusing on how to change its processes to be faster and more agile. One fundamental shift is in its approach to leveraging commercial solutions as well as those the other services and other organizations such as government laboratories have developed. These nearer-to-prime-time technologies would be available faster than PowerPoint capabilities.

January 13, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Ocean Sciences Division tests the Mantas unmanned surface vehicle’s ability to conduct a detailed survey near Panama City Beach, Florida. The Navy is relying on help from the NRL and other laboratories to build a cadre of unmanned vehicles as a fleet multiplier. Credit: NRL/Daniel Parry

The Naval Sea Systems Command has made great progress in advancing the service's vision of developing a family of unmanned surface and undersea vehicles. To accomplish this task, it is nurturing an effort to add unmanned vessels, improving autonomous capabilities and supporting the open architectures required to share them across various platforms.

January 7, 2021
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Caption: The U.S. Defense Department has released a new strategy for countering the proliferation of small unmanned aerial systems. The strategy is designed to provide the framework for addressing the threat to within the United States and internationally. Credit: Lobachad/Shutterstock

The U.S. Defense Department released today its strategy for countering small unmanned aircraft systems, which have become a growing threat both for the homeland and abroad.

January 7, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
An unarmed Minuteman III launches during a developmental test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, last year. The U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) is modernizing both its weapon systems and their accompanying Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3). Credit: Air Force photo

The U.S. Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3) system needs be to upgraded as greatly as the weapons that have underpinned U.S. strategic deterrence for 75 years, says the head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). Adm. Charles R. Richard, USN, STRATCOM commander, told a media briefing, “The NC3 is as important to the strategic deterrence mission as the delivery systems and the weapons complex. And, we are in equal need to recapitalize it alongside the delivery systems.”

January 7, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Navy is exploring advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence handle the rapidly increasing amount of sensor data flooding naval intelligence systems. Credit: U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy is looking for speed—not faster platforms or vehicles but innovation. Introducing new capabilities into the force rapidly is vitally important to maintaining the combat edge necessary to deter or defeat adversaries who are building up steam in their efforts to confront the U.S. military.

Accomplishing this task will require tapping industry for novel information technology advances and ensuring its success may entail working with the commercial sector to steer it into the right areas to suit naval needs. Ultimately, software-defined systems may hold the key to staying ahead of the deployment curve in technology-based systems.

December 31, 2020
By George I. Seffers
U.S. military leaders intend to use new satellite constellations designed for Internet of Things purposes to enable greater SATCOM on the battlefield. To do that, Army researchers are developing advanced ground terminal technologies. Courtesy photo by United Launch Alliance

Technological leaps in ground station capabilities will enable the U.S. Army to use new Internet of Things satellite constellations to boost combat communications. Innovative capabilities offer lower latency, higher throughput and greater network resilience with ease of use.

Recent Army experiments, including the Network Modernization Experiment and Project Convergence, have included a range of technologies for enhancing and protecting satellite communications (SATCOM). The capabilities will support the service’s modernization goals such a more resilient network, long-range precision fires, and air and missile defense.

January 1, 2021
Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper, USA (Ret.)

First things first: Happy New Year, and let this be the beginning of a return to normalcy!

The best part of walking a trade show floor is seeing the unexpected: prototypes of new technology, novel ways to solve the government’s challenges and coincidental meetings with new contacts. As the year unfolds, indications are that trade shows will follow the 2020 model: default to online gatherings while holding out hope for in-person events. In some cases, there will be hybrid meetings featuring both elements.

Is the symbiotic government-industry-academia relationship prepared for this long term? Are existing channels supportive enough for all sides to exchange information and meet the government’s national security needs?

December 23, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Army MSG Pavel “Pasha” Palanker, a 17-year combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient facing severe PTSD offers ways to handle stress during the holidays and pandemic. Photo courtesy of the AFCEA Gold Vault Chapter

For U.S. military veterans fighting post-traumatic stress disorder or other combat related injuries, the holidays can be a difficult time, especially in an environment already complicated by the global pandemic. In particular, for U.S. Army MSG Pavel “Pasha” Palanker, a 17-year combat veteran, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor recipient, the times have proven to be quite challenging.

December 18, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Leaders, speaking at AFCEA NOVA's recent Information Technology Day, see the growth of the one-year-old U.S. Space Force as the service works to strike its own path from the U.S. Air Force.

The U.S. Space Force plans to have a mix of about half military and half civilian workers, reaching roughly 16,000 personnel. As of the end of last week, 2,206 enlisted and officer personnel had transferred into the new service, reported Brig. Gen. Shawn Campbell, USAF, deputy director of Personnel, U.S. Space Force. Almost 60 more field-grade officers will move into the Space Force shortly, after Congress approves these non-space operators, who will work in intelligence, cyber, engineering or acquisition roles.

December 16, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A soldier attaches long-range radio equipment to a Humvee. A GAO report warns that adversaries could take control of the electromagnetic spectrum in the battlespace if the Defense Department doesn't establish effective plans and oversight of its EMS efforts. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo

The U.S. Defense Department’s new electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) strategy will fall short of countering enemy EMS activities without specific organizational and process oversight, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO is recommending greater oversight and specific metrics be built around designated leadership to ensure that the department’s own goals are met.

December 2, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The vast troves of personal data on U.S. citizens are now being weaponized by foreign adversaries, panelists warn.at TechNet Cyber. Credit: Meranna/Shutterstock

Massive amounts of sensitive information on U.S. citizens are being collected, created, shared, bought and sold, and in some cases used as a weapon by the country’s adversaries, according to a panel of experts speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.

The information is gathered and sold by companies such as Facebook and Google and the producers of a wide range of applications, programs and technologies. 

December 3, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Information Systems Agency's Joint Service Provider, which supplies crucial information technology to the nation's top military leaders, such as Gen. Mark Milley, USA, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, is looking for industry innovation in network and communications capabilities. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Marisol Walker

The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) Joint Service Provider, or JSP, is looking for industry help. The JSP is the information technology (IT) service provider supporting the highest authorities at the Department of Defense, including the Office of Secretary of Defense, all of the U.S. military department heads, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Staff, and most of the other senior DOD leaders within the Pentagon and throughout the national capital region, explained Sajeel Ahmed, the JSP’s vice director at DISA. Over the next year, the JSP will be issuing industry solicitations for network hardware, cybersecurity solutions and communications technologies.

December 2, 2020
By George I. Seffers
A Marine uses a radio during a field exercise at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan, in 2017. A resilient network is a key component for the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept. The Pentagon is developing a strategy to enable JADC2. Credit: Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carl King

Pentagon officials are developing a strategy related to the joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) concept that should be delivered soon to the combatant commands, according to Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, the Joint Staff's chief information officer and director of command, control, communications and computers, also known as the J-6.

Gen. Crall made the comments during the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.

December 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
A U.S. Marine with Marine Rotational Force-Europe 20.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, and Norwegian soldiers pause for surveillance during Exercise Thunder Reindeer in Setermoen, Norway, in May 2020.  USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Chase W. Drayer

Given adversarial threats in the Indo-Pacific region and Europe, especially from Russia and China, the Arctic region’s strategic importance is increasing. As such, over the last several years, the U.S. military has focused on growing its cold weather operation capabilities. Beginning in 2016, the U.S. Marine Corps in particular, through host and NATO ally Norway, has maintained a presence in the Kingdom of Norway to train and develop the skills necessary to operate in extreme conditions.

December 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Marines participating in the Thunder Reindeer exercise in Setermoen, Norway in late May practice their cold weather survival skills while living in the Arctic. Credit: USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Chase Drayer

Even in the summer, Norway offers challenging, rugged terrain that helps hone the cold-weather survival and mountain warfare skills of the U.S. Marines. In May, Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, along with the Marine Forces Europe and Africa, deployed to northern Norway above the Arctic Circle as part of Marine Rotational Force-Europe (MRF-E) 20.2. The warfighters worked directly with the Norwegian Army to advance their skills and improve allied interoperability, says Lt. Col. Brian Donlon, USMC, commander of 3rd Battalion, who leads the MRF-E contingent.

December 1, 2020
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Most experts agree: defense information technologies increasingly will come from the commercial sector. Traditional contractors will continue to manufacture systems requested by the military, but now nontraditional firms will be providing the defense community with systems fueled by innovative capabilities. The result will be hybrid information systems and hardware that will owe their origin to the private sector.

So, if the commercial sector is to be the source of military communications capabilities, why do we need a defense organization such as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) dedicated to providing information system services to the defense community? The answer lies in two words: defense and community.