Defense Operations

October 21, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo

As part of its transformation back to a maritime force, the U.S. Marine Corps is focusing on greater integration with naval and joint forces. This will require information technology systems that are extremely mobile, can work anywhere and operate in a denied environment, according to the Marine Corps deputy chief information officer (CIO).

October 15, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers assigned to the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment train with howitzers in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Enhancing the ability to harness myriad data streams is instrumental to modernizing the Army’s fires mission thread for future battlefield operations. Photo by Army Spc. Josselyn Fuentes

As part of its effort to modernize the fires mission thread, the U.S. Army is overhauling two systems critical to providing sensor data to weapon systems to more effectively engage battlefield targets.

Those two systems are the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) and the Joint Automated Deep Operations Coordination System (JADOCS), which will be replaced by the Joint Targeting Command and Coordination System (JTC2S). The updated systems will provide critical information to weapon systems through the data fabric being developed under the Rainmaker project.

October 13, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, USA (Ret.) (c) , and his wife, Linda (l), speak in 2013 with David Thorne, former U.S. ambassador to Italy, during a ceremony at the Italian army headquarters in Rome, when Gen. Odierno received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. The general passed away last weekend at age 67. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade

The former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Raymond Odierno, USA (Ret.), died October 8 at age 67 after battling cancer. He was chief of the service from 2011-2015, the 38th such leader since the position began in 1903.

Over his 35-year illustrious career, Gen. Odierno led troops in every echelon and deployed to lead overseas operations in Germany, Albania, Kuwait and Iraq. He is most known for his leadership during Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

October 8, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Master Sgt. Michael Lesterick, USMC, carries an Afghan evacuee’s luggage as they board a plane at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, September 1, 2021. The Department of Defense, including its combatant commands, such as the U.S. Transportation Command, is still supporting the evacuation of American citizens, special immigrant visa applicants and other at-risk individuals from Afghanistan. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kyle Jia

The U.S. Transportation Command relied on key command and control technologies during the intense, perilous 24/7 operations during the evacuation of Afghanistan, its J-3 operations leader Maj. Gen. Corey Martin, USAF, stated. And while the evacuation of approximately 124,000 people from Afghanistan following the fall of the Afghan government and takeover by the Taliban in August was tactically successful, the general can see where “more nimble” technologies could be added to make mobility operations more fluid.

October 5, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Air Force is adding first responder network capability to 15 of its bases, which will help public safety personnel communicate during operations or emergencies, such as weather-related disasters, like Tyndall faced in 2018 with Hurricane Michael. Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Henniger

Under an agreement with the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center and telecommunications carrier AT&T, the Air Force will add FirstNet to 15 of the service’s bases to better support base first responders. For the next 21 years, AT&T will deliver FirstNet connectivity to the facilities, the company reported October 5.

Built in response to first responder and public safety needs following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet is the nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform for police, fire, emergency medical and public safety personnel. It was constructed in 2018 with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority.

August 18, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Credit: Shutterstock/Olivier Le Moal

The Defense Information Systems Agency intends next month to award a contract for its Thunderdome zero-trust architecture and to begin implementing a prototype within six months. The new architecture is expected to enhance security, reduce complexity and save costs while replacing the current defense-in-depth approach to network security.

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

In this infocentric age of all-domain warfare, DISA truly has a challenging mission and critical role in the defense community. DISA must focus on security and serving customers ranging from the president of the United States to the combatant commanders and the individual warfighters on the tactical edge. DISA is a critical player in the world of joint, all-domain command and control (C2).

September 28, 2021
By George I. Seffers
DISA supports JADC2 in more ways than many people might realize, according to Brian Hermann, the agency's program executive officer for services development. Credit: Titima Ongkantong/Shutterstock

The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency’s Thunderdome project may be the new kid on the block supporting the Defense Department’s command and control vision, but the agency’s legacy systems also could prove pivotal.

“I think there’s more to DISA’s role in JADC2 than is obvious,” says Brian Hermann, program executive officer for services development at the agency commonly known as DISA. Joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, focuses on data to allow warfighters to make faster decisions than potential adversaries.

September 24, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Army leaders and officials visit General Dynamics Mission Systems manufacturing facility in Taunton, Massachusetts, on September 21 to preview the new pilot program the service is pursuing to equip armored vehicles with effective communications technologies in 2025. Credit: PEO C3T

The U.S. Army is moving beyond a forward-operating base ideal and is preparing for communications and operations geared instead toward near-peer competition in a contested environment. This winter, the Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications- Tactical, PEO C3T, will conduct a new pilot program that will begin to identify what kinds of communications and network technologies could successfully be applied to moving armored vehicles to support soldiers in such an environment. The work is part of PEO C3T’s Capability Set 2025 (CS25) iterative effort to harness industry innovation and add tactical communication solutions in two-year sprints.

September 21, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
An airman from deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, examines an F-15E Strike Eagle during preflight inspections at Tinian International Airport, Tinian during Pacific Iron 21 in August. To conduct such agile, more lethal movement of forces and airpower in the region, more software solutions are needed. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Sutton

The U.S. Air Force’s Pacific Air Forces, or PACAF, held Pacific Iron and several other exercises and events this spring and summer to test and confirm the ideal solutions needed and constructs in which to conduct agile combat employment, known as ACE. And while the leader of PACAF is not quite yet ready to declare that the major command has reached initial operating capability (IOC) for ACE, officials are in the process of revamping its draft concept of employment to improve ACE deployment and have identified key software capability needs.

August 10, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 525th Fighter Squadron completes agile combat employment (ACE) maneuvers during Operation Pacific Iron 2021 at Northwest Field, Guam, in July. The austere conditions of the former World War II airfield offered ideal conditions for airmen to train in ACE. Credit: Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra Minor.

In preparation for a contested near-peer environment, the U.S. Air Force is working to send forces and assets to austere locations on short notice as part of its agile combat employment concept. The service’s ability to support the greater Joint Force’s dynamic force employment will provide a range of air-related military options and quickly deployed forces when needed in response to emerging requirements. To sharpen its skills in providing a more lean, agile and lethal force that can generate airpower from smaller and more dispersed locations in the Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility, the service’s Pacific Air Forces, also known as PACAF, conducted Operation Pacific Iron 21 during the month of July, ending last Friday.

August 31, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The last U.S. military member to leave Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, USA, commander of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport August 30, closing out two decades of U.S. military involvement in the country. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Alex Burnett

Yesterday, the Pentagon announced the end to the nearly 20-year mission in Afghanistan that started shortly after the terrorist attacks in America on September 11th, 2001. The U.S. military completed its evacuations from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul under active threat from the Taliban and ISIS terrorists, following the August 15 collapse of the Afghanistan government and the August 26 attack that killed 13 U.S. warfighters and 60 Afghanistan citizens. Gen. Frank McKenzie, USMC, commander of U.S. Central Command, called it a costly war.

August 25, 2021
By Shaun Waterman
A soldier dons the Capability Set 3 (CS 3) militarized form factor prototype of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) during a Soldier Touchpoint 3 live fire test event at Fort Pickett, Virginia, in October 2020. U.S. Army photo by Courtney Bacon

As the strategic focus of the U.S. military shifts away from the counterinsurgency operations of the war on terror and toward great power competition, so the focus of its biometrics programs is changing as well, Defense Department officials told AFCEA’s 2021 Federal Identity Forum and Expo Tuesday.

July 14, 2021
The Air Force is concentrating on governance, configuration management and customer focus to improve its IT networking capabilities. Credit: Shutterstock/

The U.S. Air Force’s recent IT modernization efforts are focusing on speeding up access to data across the service’s enterprise network by removing redundant and often contradictory devices and procedures to improve warfighter’s user experiences and speed operations.

Achieving this goal is the culmination of years of networking initiatives and data migration projects that transformed the way the service managed its IT operations, Douglas Dudley, director of Air Force programs for Akima LLC, told Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine’s editor in chief during a SIGNAL Media Executive Video interview.

August 19, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Shutterstock/Pachenko Vladimir

The U.S. Army needs to conduct five essential tasks to achieve the kind of information advantage that will allow commanders to make faster, more effective decisions than their adversaries. Those tasks are to enable decision making, protect friendly information, inform and educate domestic audiences, inform and influence international audiences and conduct information warfare.

The tasks were approved as part of a larger “logic map” during a February forum of one-, two- and three-star generals, according to Brig. Gen. Paul Craft, USA, commandant, U.S. Army Cyber School. Gen. Craft moderated a panel during the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.

August 18, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command, addresses the audience at TechNet Augusta 2021. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. military services may take slightly different paths to achieving information advantage but will likely reach their desired destinations, according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Gen. Fogarty made the comments during a morning keynote presentation on the second day of AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.

August 18, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF (r), pictured with Gen. Jay Raymond, USSF, chief of Space Force Operations, takes leadership of the U.S. Space Force’s newest command, the Space Systems Command (SSC), during a ceremony last Friday. He has outlined several key initial priorities for SSC, including budgetary funding from Congress and having lawmakers understand how SSC “must be postured and empowered” to keep pace against adversaries. Credit: Van Ha, SSC Public Affairs

The commander of the U.S. Space Force’s new Space Systems Command, or SSC, is prioritizing the budgetary funding, technology preparations and partnerships as a few of his early goals. Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, set the stage for the SSC’s future during the U.S. Space Force’s official stand up of the new field command last week. The command—which was redesignated from the U.S.

August 17, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, deputy chief of staff, G-6, speaks at TechNet Augusta 2021. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. is in the final stages of developing its unified network plans, according to Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, deputy chief of staff, G-6.

Gen. Morrison made the comments on the first day of the 2021 AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia, the organization’s first in-person conference since the coronavirus pandemic.

August 13, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, commander, Space Systems Command, pictured at the podium during the official stand up ceremony of the U.S. Space Force’s new Space Systems Command August 13, takes the reins as the command’s first leader.

The U.S. Space Force officially stood up the Space Systems Command, or SSC, today. Leaders spent the last year developing the new field command redesignated from the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base.

The SSC stand up cleared one of the last hurdles with the U.S. Senate’s July 26 voice vote approval of SSC’s first commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, to become lieutenant general. The commander, who had most recently served as the deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), took lead of SSC during a ceremony at the base today; Lt. Gen. John Thompson, USAF, the commander of SMC, retired July 27.

August 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Two U.S. Army specialists join a Fijian Army sergeant in planting Dilo trees as part of a coastal and reef revitalization project in the Republic of Fiji. The U.S. Army works with local officials domestically and overseas in projects to support environmental concerns to avoid or repair damage.

Despite being equipped to lay waste to the countryside, the U.S. Army is cleaning up waste and practicing conservation as part of a broad effort of environmental measures. The service is actively pursuing environmental policies that range from preserving endangered species to reducing its carbon footprint by converting its fleet of tactical vehicles to electric power. These efforts are undertaken both at U.S. bases and installations and overseas during training and actual deployments.

Understanding environments is a principal task for every soldier, says Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, USA, director of the Army staff. At the tactical level, the Army must have a deep understanding of the environment.

August 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. John R. (Bob) Wood, USA (Ret.)

All of the U.S. military services are modernizing their forces to counter the rise of peer rivals and the onset of new game-breaking technologies. The Army, in particular, is facing difficult decisions as it tailors its structure for a new type of combat. Yet its challenges actually could open the way for the Army to set the pace for the rest of the U.S. military, and there is historical precedent for this possibility.

August 1, 2021
By Kevin Keeney and Michael Young

By design, the DoD Data Strategy compels transformational change in the way data is collected, analyzed and leveraged. The mechanics may be different depending on domain or joint all-domain mission, but as referenced in a previous SIGNAL special interest editorial, the strategy’s endgame is to ensure that trusted information gets to the right destination at the right time. As the largest and oldest service at the tactical terrestrial layer of the joint force, the Army has enduring data imperatives: speed, scale and resilience. Executed diligently, these imperatives facilitate an information advantage for ground forces in garrison and in theater.

August 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

Connectivity is at the heart of today’s modern military operations. To conduct complex, distributed multidomain operations at speed and scale, U.S. and allied forces need seamless connectivity to enable real-time communications and high-fidelity data flows.

But the military services have wrestled for decades with the challenge of communicating and sharing data securely with each other, let alone with non-DoD partners and allies. To take a few examples:

August 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

“Decision dominance … is the ability for a commander to sense, understand, decide, act and assess faster and more effectively than any adversary,” Army Futures Command Commander Gen. John “Mike” Murray, USA, told the Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Next virtual conference in March.

In modern warfare, against near-peer adversaries, victory will no longer be guaranteed by strength of arms alone. Speed and accuracy of decision making will be more critical than ever, and in many circumstances, decisive.

July 27, 2021
By Maj. James Torrence, USA
While some tout the idea that U.S. forces could pre-emptively degrade their own technological capabilities in a peer, or near-peer conflict, doing so would lead to losing, says an Army signal officer. Credit: Andy Gin/Shutterstock

The novel 2034 by James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman perpetuates a fundamental misunderstanding of how technology should be employed and managed in future conflicts.

The continuing narrative is that we should purposely degrade our systems in a conflict with a peer competitor because of the possibility of a degraded spectrum, cyber attacks, space-based detection and jamming. But if we preemptively degrade our technology in a peer conflict, we will lose.

In the novel, after a conflict with the Chinese Navy in which the U.S. technical systems were incapacitated, U.S. ships preemptively disabled “any interface with a computer, a GPS or [any interface] that could conceivably be accessed online.”

July 16, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center and other Army partners prepare for the Network Modernization Experiment 21 event by readying vehicles and equipment for the event held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey in May. Credit: Jasmyne Douglas, Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst PAO Office

The U.S. Army is employing blockchain-related capabilities to provide information trust on the future battlefield. The advanced solution, being developed in support of to be part of the Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T, Capability Sets 25 and 27, also relies on machine learning and zero trust applications. Computer engineers at the service’s tactical communications research and development arm, the Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center, at Aberdeen, Maryland, tested the solution in May during the Network Modernization Experiment 21 (NetModX 21), held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

July 1, 2021
By Lt. Col. Christopher M. Richardson, USA, Sgt. Maj. Willie Allen, USA, and Capt. Dallas R. Villareal, USA
Lot 9 Satellite Transportable Terminal (Increment 2) faces backward in an attempt to lock onto the satellite due to the malfunctioning of the sensor and encoder assembly. Capt. Dallas R. Villarreal, USA

Officials with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment have found a unique solution to a software challenge while fielding the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2. The validation of the process could pave the way for other units to implement the fix if they encounter a similar issue.

Mission command is the critical component in ensuring success under a large-scale combat operation. As the senior sustainment commander and sustainment coordinator within the Army’s only forward-stationed Stryker Brigade, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, unfettered access to all elements within the regiment is required.

July 15, 2021
Interview by Mark Senell
Credit: Shutterstock/Olivier Le Moal

The digital transformation is no longer simply an enabler—it’s the “trunk of the tree” that provides the foundational structure for everything we do, according to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, USA (Ret.). “It shapes what we are and how we operate.”

June 30, 2021
By Sandra Jontz and Kimberly Underwood
In this image from December 2020, former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Barbara Barrett, walks with Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Brown, before a ceremony unveiling the newly decorated Space Force hallway at the Pentagon. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Space Force (USSF) this week plans to announce the first transfer to its ranks of 50 sister-service members who are leaving the Army, Navy and Marine Corps to become Space Force guardians, said Lt. Gen. Nina M. Armagno, USSF, director of staff of the Office of the Chief of Space Operations of the Space Force

“It’s important to know that as we grow, we’re bringing over missions, systems and personnel from our sister services, and this week, we’re going to announce the first 50 interservice transfers,” she said during an interview this week.  

June 30, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Following her tenure as commander of Office of Naval Intelligence, Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, USN, stepped into the role of commander of Naval Information Forces in May. Here the vice admiral is pictured speaking during a ceremony in May 2021 with now-retired Vice Adm. Brian Brown, USN, looking on. Credit: U.S. Navy/Robert Fluegel

Three years ago, the Navy established its Information Warfare Enterprise and took steps to bolster its information warfare, or IW, given rising threats from adversaries. To support persistent surveillance of the maritime and information battle space, the service is now supplying IW expertise within meteorology, oceanography, intelligence, cyber, cryptology, network, space and electromagnetic spectrum operations, reported Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, USN, commander, Naval Information Forces.

June 29, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Navy SEALs conduct dive operations training in the Atlantic Ocean, May 29, 2019. A proposed reserve force of combat-ready, active-duty special operators could allow the Navy Special Warfare Command the agility it needs to respond to the full spectrum of missions around the globe while experimenting with new tactics, techniques and procedures. Credit: Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Jayme Pastoric

Rear Adm Hugh Wyman Howard III, USN, commander, Navy Special Warfare Command, made the case today that keeping a combat-ready active-duty force in reserve for combat or contingency operations around the world will provide opportunities for greater experimentation with tactics, techniques and procedures.

June 29, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Marines and sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS New Orleans execute small boat drills in the Philippine Sea. Greater integration between the Navy and Marine Corps is leading to more joint operations in support of maritime security. Credit: Lance Cpl. Grace Gerlach, USMC

The U.S. Marine Corps is shifting its emphasis to become more of a force integrated with that of the U.S. Navy, leaders of both services said. The two services will focus more on coordinated rather than complementary operations that will be supported by advanced communications and networking technologies.

These were among the points discussed in the opening panel session at West 2021, the two-day virtual conference cosponsored by AFCEA International and USNI. Being held June 29-30, the event’s focus is on the promise and progress of naval integration.

June 23, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Space X’s Falcon 9 first stage rocket returns to Earth on June 21, landing on the Just Read the Instructions droneship after launch of the military’s GPS III-5. Space X is preparing for a June 25 launch of key satellite and experimental equipment for the Space Development Agency, as part of a greater Transporter 2 mission set. Credit: SpaceX

The Space Development Agency is progressing in its promise to quickly build and operate advanced space systems that address urgent communication and mission needs for the military. The agency, known as SDA, has a plan as part of its Tranche 0 effort to provide proliferated low-earth-orbit constellation of satellites and sensors that will connect to the military’s tactical legacy datalinks and weapons systems to deter against advanced threats. As part of this effort, SDA is ready on June 25 to launch via Space X's Falcon 9 rocket three optical communication-based experiments across multiple satellites.

June 17, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. James C. Slife, USAF, (c), commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, explains AFSOC history and capabilities to Lt. Gen. Timothy D. Haugh, USAF, commander 16th Air Force during a visit in April at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The Air Combat Command and 16th Air Force are working to further evolve the Air Force’s information warfare approach, now that it has successfully integrated capabilities into the two-year old Numbered Air Force. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Ai

The U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command and the 16th Air Force are taking further steps to advance the service’s information warfare operations. Championed by Air Combat Command’s (ACC’s) so-called A2-6 leaders, the “accelerate information warfare” approach requires the correct data management strategy, the right teams and problem-centric operations, officers say.

June 17, 2021
By Julianne Simpson
Credit: dotshock/Shutterstock

The idea of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) is spreading far and wide across the U.S. Department of Defense and its surrounding ecosystem.

June 7, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The new strategy for Joint All-Domain Command and Control will bring together the “disparate communities within DoD to work together for a common cause,” says Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Cyber; and chief information officer, The Joint Staff (J-6), on Friday during a press conference at the Pentagon.

The U.S. military’s sweeping effort to build a common command and control system to unite warfighting across all domains—sea, land, air, space and cyberspace—now has a formal policy to guide its further development. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has officially signed off on the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy, reported Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Cyber; and chief information officer, The Joint Staff (J-6), on Friday during a press conference at the Pentagon.

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.

June 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
The USS John Finn launches a missile during the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem 21 in April. Integrating unmanned systems into the fleet is one of the challenges facing the Navy as it modernizes to meet growing adversarial threats.  U.S. Navy photo

Back to basics may be the mantra for integrating innovation into the U.S. Navy. The long-held goal of network-centric warfare is more important than ever, and standards definition may hold the key for successful naval innovation.

The need for innovation is emphasized by advances by peer adversaries around the world. To keep up with ever-increasing challenges, the Navy is looking toward new weapons, unmanned systems and advanced dataflow to unify its operations against potential foes’ growing capabilities.

June 2, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
At Fort Carson, Colorado, modified Bradley Fighting Vehicles, known as Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrators, and modified M113 tracked armored personnel carriers, or Robotic Combat Vehicles, were used for the Soldier Operational Experimentation (SOE) Phase 1 to further develop learning objectives for the Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) concept. Credit: Jerome Aliotta, CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center

The U.S. Army released its annual budget last Friday, requesting $173 billion for fiscal year 2022. The amount reflects $3.6 billion in cuts from the service’s enacted FY2021 budget. The need to reduce expenditures had Army officials evaluating which priorities to continue to pursue and which efforts to drop. Funding for the service’s six modernization priorities and its so-called 31+4 signature efforts were not included in the cuts.

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

The sea services have issued a coordinated strategy for U.S. maritime dominance on the high seas. Titled “Advantage at Sea,” the strategy outlines much needed highly desirable goals to ensure freedom of navigation and international security over three-quarters of the Earth’s surface with a rightfully dominating focus on China. It serves as a high-level naval strategy under which is tucked the respective service strategies. Pursuing it comes at a cost, and one blunt question is whether the United States and its allies are prepared to pay that cost, politically and financially. 

May 21, 2021
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, highlights agency priorities and focus areas during a virtual luncheon session hosted Thursday by AFCEA's Central Maryland Chapter.

Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, (JFHQ-DODIN), highlighted agency priorities and focus areas that could provide a peek into his much-anticipated new action plan to further modernize the Defense Department.

Now a few months into his new role as DISA/JFHQ-DODIN commander, Gen. Skinner is looking to 2022 and beyond with a focus on data centricity, he said Thursday during the AFCEA Central Maryland chapter’s May virtual luncheon.

May 19, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Data science and management are the first priorities when adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning, says the commander of U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command. Credit: agsandrew/Shutterstock

If the United States is going to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to maintain a technological advantage, data science capabilities are a must, says Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, USA, commander, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM).

Gen. Barrett made the remarks while serving on a panel of women cyber leaders on the final day of the AFCEA TechNet August Virtual Event Series, held May 18-19.

May 19, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, USA (Ret.), senior strategic advisor at Deloitte Consulting, stresses that diversity is important for the Army to pursue when recruiting younger soldiers as well as with leadership. “Soldiers want the leadership to be attuned to this,” he says. “They want the leadership to look like them, whether it's gender, ethnicity, you name it. They want a diverse workforce.” Credit: Shutterstock/travelview

The pandemic propelled an immediate shift to remote working, with the U.S. Army quickly adding to its digital infrastructure to support its personnel, with a 400 percent increase in remote network capabilities, reports Deloitte Consulting. Going forward, the service must now negotiate how to lead a workforce that in many cases wants to stay remote. The Army faces other challenges in recruiting and retaining soldiers and civilians, especially going into the era of multidomain operations, or MDO, the consultants say.

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.