Defense Operations

October 17, 2019
By George I. Seffers
M1A2 Abrams tanks take part in a May 2019 exercise in Poland. U.S. Army officials plan a massive exercise, Defender-Europe early next year. It will be the largest of its kind in 25 years.  Photo Credit: Sgt. Thomas Mort

Defender-Europe 2020, a massive, first-of-its-kind exercise to take place next spring, will test the Army’s ability to rapidly project power forward, effectively operate with other nations and engage in multidomain operations, service officials revealed at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.

October 17, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
An Atlas V rocket carrying a Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite for an Air Force mission lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in January. DOD is proposing the creation of the U.S. Space Force to protect the space domain. Credit: United Launch Alliance

To build the Space Force, the proposed sixth service of the U.S. military, the Defense Department will initially pull from all the services, not just the Air Force, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Steve Kitay. It will truly be a joint warfighting service, he stressed.

October 16, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Army paratroopers sling-load a ground mobility vehicle to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during a September 2019 Saber Junction exercise in Germany. Army officials intend to invest heavily in multidomain operations in the coming years. Credit: Army Sgt. Henry Villarama

The U.S. Army is committing to the multidomain operations (MDO) concept with a $700 million dollar budget plan for fiscal years 2021-2025. The investment includes cyber, cloud and information warfare.

“Multidomain operations is our fighting concept, and it serves as the foundation of the Army Modernization Strategy. The MDO is how the Army supports the joint force in the rapid and continuous integration across all domains of warfare—land, sea, air, space and cyberspace—to ultimately deter, and win the fight should deterrence fail,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the audience at the Association of the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.

October 15, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
A Philippine airman acts as a gunner for a U.S. Marine during a surface-to-air missile simulation in a joint exercise. The U.S. Into-Pacific Command is seeking new technologies that will enable U.S. and partner forces to interoperate advanced capabilities in the battlespace. Credit: Lance Cpl. Brianna Tuck, USMC

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is confronting technologically proficient adversaries with a combination of innovation and cooperation as it prepares for operations ranging from disaster relief to military force countermeasures. The command has a technology wish list that encompasses virtually all of its missions and is heavy on building cooperation among current and new allies and partners.

Deterrence is the name of the game for INDOPACOM, says its commander, Adm. Phil Davidson, USN. He describes the strategy’s goal as knitting together allies and partners to assure them of the way ahead, thereby deterring adversaries in the region.

October 10, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force has reactivated a flight test squadron to take on testing of the next-generation bomber. Credit: Graphic courtesy of the Air Force

Air Force leaders at Edwards Air Force Base in California held a reactivation ceremony on October 4 for the 420th Flight Test Squadron, which will fall under the Air Force Test Center's 412th Test Wing. Notably, the squadron will be conducting analysis of flight and ground testing of the service’s next-generation bomber, the B-21 Raider, a key future weapon system for multidomain operations.

September 18, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Speaking yesterday at the Air Force Association’s ASC 2019 conference, Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, USAF, commander, U.S. Space Command, and commander Air Force Space Command, explains that the new combatant command will comprehensively train combat-ready space warfighters.

The U.S. military’s 11th combatant command, the U.S. Space Command, which the Defense Department stood up on August 29, is taking shape. Led by Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, USAF, who is also the commander of the Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, the Space Command has a singular focus of protecting and defending the space domain, Gen. Raymond explained.

The commander spoke with reporters at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber conference on September 17 at National Harbor, Maryland.

October 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Army Futures Command executed a radio rodeo with industry throughout June to determine the network requirements needed to enable autonomous vehicle support in contested, multidomain environments. The newly created command has overhauled the way it communicates its needs to industry, allowing companies to more quickly design and deliver systems to meet those needs.  U.S. Army illustration courtesy of CCDC GVSC

The U.S. Army’s recently created Futures Command achieved full operational capability in July, but improving communications with industry and delivering technologies into the hands of soldiers may be its most buzzed about achievement.

There’s a common phrase in military circles about building the plane while flying it. That phrase could easily describe Futures Command’s efforts to carry on the mission at the same time officials were hiring staff, deciding on a headquarters location, building that headquarters, educating others on the command’s mission, and handling myriad other tasks and challenges associated with establishing a brand-new command.

October 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
NATO members participating in the 2019 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise test communication equipment to ensure partner communications can interoperate during combined operations. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is working to speed innovation into NATO forces to help improve interoperability along with seizing key military advantages.  Supreme Allied Commander Transformation photo

NATO is accelerating its efforts to input innovation into its operational capabilities. This effort is aided both by industry and academia and by different nations that bring new technology applications to the alliance table. But even the best ideas are encountering speed bumps, and adversaries are moving quickly to exploit their own technological advances.

September 26, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force is conducting a new program, called Air Force Explore, to find “remarkable” ideas to apply to persistent awareness, resilient information sharing and rapid, effective decision-making, among other areas. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Janweb B. Lagazo

Calling it a unique new call to action, the U.S. Air Force is searching for transformational solutions that advance the principles of its Science and Technology 2030 strategy. The service’s effort, called Air Force Explore, is soliciting solutions from interested parties nationwide, according to an Air Force statement.

September 17, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force Special Operations Command's (AFSOC’s) development of a 60-kW laser weapon system is on track, says AFSOC’s new commander, Lt. Gen. James Slife (l), at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference yesterday.

In a world where a swarm of drones can take out an oil production (WC) system, the military needs advanced tools, including lasers to defeat asymmetric threats. For the past few years, the U.S.

August 23, 2019
Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force is standing up a new Information Warfare Numbered Air Force this fall, which will help support the service and the U.S. Combatant Commands, says Gen. Mike Holmes, USAF, commander, Air Combat Command, at an Air Force Association event on August 23.

The U.S. Air Force is in the process of standing up a new Numbered Air Force (NAF) within the Air Combat Command, which will bring together the service’s information warfare capabilities.

Last year, the service announced it was moving its 24th Air Force, which specializes in cyber operations, and its Cyber Mission from the Air Force Space Command to the Air Combat Command. The Air Combat Command (ACC) is in the process of merging those cyber components with its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities from the 25th Air Force, which will all be under the new Information Warfare NAF, explained Gen. Mike Holmes, USAF, commander, ACC during an Air Force Association breakfast event on August 23.

August 22, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Synthetic Training Environment will assess soldiers in enhancing decision-making skills through an immersive environment. U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Damon "DJ" Durall

International partners and allies are showing interest in the U.S. Army’s Synthetic Training Environment, or STE, which will combine an array of technologies such as gaming, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality to converge live, virtual and constructive training.

August 22, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Army’s PEO for command, control and communications-tactical, speaks at TechNet Augusta. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Engaged in a concerted modernization effort, the U.S. Army is making strides in overcoming a persistent challenge—interoperability, according to Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Army’s program executive officer for command, control and communications-tactical.

The Army’s network modernization plan and strategy calls specifically for officials to “define and develop the Mission Partner Environment to improve network joint interoperability and coalition accessibility.” Simply defined, interoperability is the ability to effectively communicate or share data with international partners and allies or even with other U.S. military services.

August 22, 2019
By Beverly M. Cooper
Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, USA, STE cross-functional team director, Army Futures Command, addresses the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The second revolution in training for the Army environment is underway with the Synthetic Training Environment (STE) (see video below), which will be the first holistic training strategy for the Army, according to Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, USA, STE cross-functional team director, Army Futures Command. The first revolution occurred in the 1980s with the live combat training centers, she said during a keynote address at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference.

August 21, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Gregory Garcia, the Army’s deputy chief information officer/G-6 and chief data officer, speaks at TechNet Augusta. Photo by Michael Carpenter

U.S. Army officials expect in the coming weeks or months to release a data strategy that will be closely aligned with its existing cloud strategy and are also building an enterprise cloud office, according to Gregory Garcia, the Army’s deputy chief information officer/G-6 and chief data officer.

Garcia made the remarks during an address and fireside chat on the second morning of the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.

“We have a data strategy that’s going to be processed in the next weeks and months. That’s going to get after making sure data is visible, accessible, understandable and interoperable,” he said.

August 21, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Brig. Gen. Christopher Eubank, USA, commandant, Army Signal School, speaks on a panel at AFCEA TechNet Augusta. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The future Army signal soldier will possess a more well-rounded skillset and be better able to solve problems for warfighters, according to Brig. Gen. Christopher Eubank, USA, commandant, Army Signal School and 39th chief of signal.

Gen. Eubank made the comments while serving on two panels and in a short interview with SIGNAL Magazine during the AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2019 conference in Augusta, Georgia.

August 20, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Gen. Paul Funk, USA, commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, speaks at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

A U.S. Army strategy document currently being developed and due to be published this year will emphasize the need to dominate in the information realm, Gen. Paul Funk, USA, commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), told the audience on the first day of the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.

August 19, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Sailors stand watch in the Fleet Operations Center at the headquarters of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. The Navy has created a new special assistant position to coordinate service cyber efforts ranging from strategy to security. (Photo Credit: U.S. Navy Photo)

The U.S. Navy is creating a new position emphasizing a cultural and operational change in cybersecurity to deal with increasing online threats that have already plagued the service and its contractors. The new position, special assistant to the secretary of the Navy for information management, will be established and filled in the next couple of weeks with a cyber expert from private industry, says Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Modly.

August 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers participate in live-fire training during Exercise Saber Guardian in Varpalota, Hungary on June 5. U.S. Army Europe and Romanian land forces lead Saber Guardian, which is designed to improve the integration of multinational combat operations. Army Spc. Joseph Knoch

The Integrated Tactical Network is the name of the Army’s envisioned future network, and integration is the name of the game for one of the service’s premier research and development centers.

The mission for the newly named Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center remains largely the same, but seamless integration of those eight closely related technology areas is now a primary focus, according to Michael Monteleone, who directs the C5ISR Center’s Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate.

August 1, 2019
By Chief Warrant Officer 2 Cory Jodon, USA
Spc. Dillon Anton, USA, and Spc. Matthew Perry, USA, 601st Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Combat Aviation Brigade, set up and validate a Combat Service Support Very Small Aperture Terminal (CSS-VSAT) in preparation of Combined Support Exercise at Storck Barracks, Germany.

For more than a decade, the U.S. Army has been improving the Logistics Information Systems Network, which is specifically designed to sustain and maintain warfighters deployed across the globe. However, although the technology has far exceeded the service’s goals, today’s management practices are almost identical to those used when the network was created in 2004. With the increase in cybersecurity policies and advances in capabilities, the need for highly trained, designated network and systems administration personnel has become abundantly clear, and the requirement for better management processes even more evident.

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