Defense Operations

November 19, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The latest littoral combat ship to be commissioned, the USS Sioux City, is "a capable and lethal and tough ship,” designed to combat asymmetric threats, says Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, USN. Credit: LCS Team Freedom

The U.S. Navy added another ship to the fleet on Saturday with the commissioning at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, of the USS Sioux City, the Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), known as LCS-11.

The 387-foot LCS-11 has one of the largest flight decks of U.S. surface combatants, and offers reconfigurable spaces topside for flexible armament of guns and missiles, for the medium caliber 57-mm Mk 110 deck gun and Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), according to Lockheed Martin, the LCS Freedom-variant industry team lead.

November 15, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
A Young AFCEAN-sponsored panel previewing the future of military data intelligence features (l-r) Brandon Lester, SRC Technologies; Mike Henry, The MITRE Corporation; Vincent Lee, Leeward Community College; Robert J. Runser; NSA Hawaii; and Chuck Weissenborn, Symantec. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two of the many technologies that will change the way the military operates, according to a panel of experts. However, despite the revolutionary innovations that lie ahead, humans always will need to be the controlling factor in any operation.

These experts offered their views of the future on the second day of AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu. In a panel sponsored by the Young AFCEANs, the five experts presented a younger generation’s perspective on the advantages and pitfalls of a data-centric battlespace.

November 15, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Maj. Gen. John P. Johnson, USA, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific, describes how the Army is working toward the broader picture of improved international partnerships at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018 in Honolulu. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

Dynamic changes are driving nations together to face burgeoning challenges throughout the Indo-Pacific region, and the U.S. Army is doing its part to build an infrastructure of supporting nations across the vast region. How the service is doing this within the context of the Indo-Pacific Command’s focus was the topic of the keynote breakfast on the second day of AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu.

November 14, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018 panelists discussing coalition interoperability are (l-r) Capt. Ron Gumbert, USN (Ret.), Gartner; Capt. Allen Edmiston, USN, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Mark Fox, Amazon Web Services; Frank T. Quick, MITRE National Security Sector; and Lt. Col. Van Thai, USAF, DKI APCSS.

The pursuit of coalition interoperability has become more difficult as new technologies emerge, potential operations become more diverse and vastly different militaries look at cooperative actions. This kaleidoscope of coalition operations was the focus of a panel at AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu.

One of the biggest problems facing the quest for interoperability is that no one knows precisely what it should be.

November 7, 2018
By Julianne Simpson
Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, DISA, gives the luncheon keynote at the Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in May. Photo credit: Michael Carpenter

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) provided in-depth information about its acquisition and procurement plans at its annual Forecast to Industry event with the theme of  “Trusted Partnerships.”

“Our theme embodies the way we work closely with you—our industry partners—to develop solutions for DOD and our warfighters. Working together expands our capabilities and we could not do it without you,” said DISA Director Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, to an audience of around 1,000. The event was also live streamed.

“As I see it, that trusted partnership is incredibly important for us to fulfill our vision of connecting and protecting the warfighter in cyberspace,” Adm. Norton stated.

November 2, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
United Launch Alliance's Delta IV rocket, carrying the Air Force’s WGS-9 satellite, launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on March 18, 2017. Although the Air Force has its sights on further WGS missions 11 and 12, they don’t include plans to support X-band capability. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

The U.S. Air Force is pursuing an overarching effort known as SMC 2.0, spearheading agile acquisition, reorganizing internally and working to define a hybrid flexible architecture for satellite systems to better protect the United States. The support of X-band capability, however, is unclear, leaders say.

For the Navy, use of satellite based X-band frequency is a vital defense component; the service’s continued reliance on X-band will extend well into the future. For example, the Navy is pursuing improvements to its active phased array X-band radar under its Future X-band Radar program that aims to create a next-generation technology by 2027.

November 2, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Col. James Reynolds, USAF, emphasizes that the Air Force can’t develop satellite communications like they did in the past, signaling a move away from single providers in some cases.

While the U.S. Air Force will always have purpose-built and single-provider satellite communications, it wants to move into more flexible constructs that would allow warfighters to jump between multiple providers, frequency bands and systems.

October 31, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
To meet the STEM employment gap, Barbara Borgonovi, vice president, Integrated Communication Systems, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, advises the military and the industry to alter how they identify, hire and retain talent. Credit: AFCEA/Katie Helwig

In the information age, military operations are becoming more and more dependent on network-based capabilities. Meeting the rising communication technology challenges of the future means having a workforce versed in science, technology, engineering and math, leaders suggest.

Barbara Borgonovi, vice president, Integrated Communication Systems, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, shared that talented workers are needed to fill employment gaps at defense companies as well as in the military. She refers to the challenge as the talent imperative.

To fill positions, industry and the government need to change how they identify, hire and retain talent, Borgonovi said.

November 1, 2018
By Lt. Col. Jon Erickson, USAR
Soldiers demonstrate the Command Post Computing Environment prototype at Aberdeen Proving Ground. With a new single tactical server infrastructure plus a common software baseline, it will provide soldiers an underlying core command post system. U.S. Army photo by Dan Lafontaine, PEO C3T

The Warfighter Information Network–Tactical program delivered a digital transformation, enabling maneuver elements to move faster and provide commanders with vital battlefield information in near real-time. Its flexibility facilitated communications in Iraq’s urban environments and Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain. Although a powerful improvement over Mobile Subscriber Equipment, the technologies are not powerful enough to combat adversaries wielding cyber capabilities.

November 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Army’s C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards, also known as CMOSS, allows military vehicle communication components to share a common platform. Curtiss-Wright

A suite of open architecture standards developed by the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center enables the convergence of hardware and software to improve the Army’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities. The C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards, referred to as CMOSS, allows the communication components of military vehicles to share a common platform. The open architecture applies necessary Army baseline as well as industry standards.

October 31, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
 Rear Adm. Christian "Boris" Becker, USN, commander of SPAWAR, speaks at MILCOM. Credit: Katie Helwig

To be the Navy the nation needs, the service must grow, leaders have decided. As part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress approved the Navy’s growth to 355 ships.

October 30, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, the Army CIO/G-6, is turning his attention to the service’s enterprise. Credit: Katie Helwig/AFCEA

The U.S. Army has spent the last year undertaking some of the most significant changes for the service in decades: outlining a modernization plan; defining six modernization priorities; standing up eight cross-functional teams; and creating the Futures Command, among other efforts.

One year ago, Army Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, USA, identified the services’ six modernization priorities, which included long-range precision fires; next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift platforms, a modern Army computer network, air and missile defense capabilities, and improved soldier lethality.

October 30, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander, Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and commander, Air Force Space Command, offers that the SMC 2.0 effort is all about shifting SMC's cultural mindset to be more innovative in satellite communications. Credit: Katie Helwig/AFCEA

The United States is facing a strategic inflection point in terms of how it will pursue satellite communications in an increasingly contested, degraded or operationally limited space environment. In response, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center developed an overarching effort, dubbed SMC 2.0, spearheading agile acquisition, reorganizing internally and harnessing innovation to keep the military and the country safe from adversarial attacks.

October 16, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Last week, Canadian Forces Lt. Gen. Christian Juneau, deputy commander of the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples (l); Adm. James Foggo, USN, commander of the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples (c) ;and Lt. Gen. Rune Jakobsen, commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters in Bodo, Norway, outline plans for Trident Juncture, one of the largest joint defensive exercise that NATO has ever held.

Between October 25 and November 7, 50,000 military participants from 31 nations will conduct a defensive live exercise in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea. One of the largest exercises ever, the NATO event, Trident Juncture 18, is meant to ensure that NATO forces “are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction,” according to a statement from the alliance.

September 26, 2018
By Shaun Waterman
Federal CIO Suzette Kent discusses the role of identity mangement in federal IT modernization during AFCEA’s Federal Identity Summit.

Identity isn’t mentioned in the President’s Management Agenda — the Trump administration’s blueprint for modernizing the federal government. But it is central to almost everything the federal government wants to accomplish in IT transformation and digitizing citizen services, Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent told AFCEA’s Federal Identity Summit Wednesday.

“Identity and how we control access to information in the federal government ... is central to all the strategies that we’re talking about and the things that we’re doing” with regard to IT modernization, she said in a keynote address.

September 19, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
To leverage innovative combat support equipment and technology, the two-year old Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) is now holding an annual Installations Weapon and Tactics Conference, modeled after Air Combat Command’s WEPTAC conference. This year’s event in San Antonio brought together senior Air Force leaders and mission support officials, and included an industry day organized by the Society of Military Engineers. U.S. Air Force photo by Malcolm McClendon

The need for increased efficiency drove the U.S. Air Force to pursue its biggest reorganization in the last 25 years, the creation of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, or AFIMSC. The restructuring pulled together 150 capabilities, centralizing how the service delivers installation support, expeditionary support and resources.​ AFIMSC encompasses civil engineering, financial management and financial services, installation contracting, security forces and services activity, which includes recreation, lodging, child care, fitness and other support.

September 1, 2018
By Lt. Col. Christopher Treff, USAF
Select personnel from 15 Air National Guard Engineering and Installation organizations are installing more than 600 miles of cabling in support of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Command and Control facility (C2F) construction project. U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Cunningham

U.S. Strategic Command headquarters, the lynchpin for U.S. nuclear deterrence, is undergoing the technical renovations it requires to fulfill its current mission and facilitate growth for future operations. The new command and control facility under construction integrates the latest technologies and meets the growing demand to continue to evolve as needs emerge.

September 1, 2018
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

President Donald Trump’s recent call for a U.S. Space Force that would potentially be on par with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard shows a renewed recognition of the importance of space. This presidential proclamation has been met with varying responses. Regardless of one’s position on the topic, it begs for a discussion that is long overdue. The Commission to Assess U.S. National Security Space Management and Organization, often referred to as the Rumsfeld Commission, put into place more than 17 years ago a solid set of findings and recommendations on national space policy. Some of the recommendations have been adopted, while others have fallen by the wayside for a variety of reasons.

August 23, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Maj. Gen. John Morrison Jr., USA, commanding general of the Army Cyber Center of Excellence, moderates a panel at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Army is making multiple changes to the way it educates soldiers fighting in the cyber and electronic warfare domains. Rather than training soldiers on step-by-step processes, the service is educating personnel to come up with their own solutions on a technologically complex battlefield.

August 23, 2018
By George I. Seffers
David May, senior intelligence advisor, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, Georgia, speaks during a panel at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Army is poised to implement five force design changes related to the integration of multidomain capabilities, including intelligence, cyber and electronic warfare. The integration of such capabilities is designed to allow commanders to act more quickly on the cyber-era battlefield.

David May, senior intelligence advisor, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, Georgia, explained the changes while serving on a multidomain panel at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference.

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