The Army’s road to readiness runs through Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) and the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, in the opinion of Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, CECOM’s commanding general. The advantages of the command—aside from the beautiful 144 miles of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay in Aberdeen, Maryland, and the 400 American bald eagles that also live there— is that it may be the one place in the military where research and development in science and technology; technology development; testing; acquisition; fielding; and sustainment are all at one installation.
The cyber domain consists of servers, undersea cables, satellite and wireless networks that link global communications. This allows accelerated technical change that we can use to our advantage, stated Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. However, the low-cost entry to access the same technology the military uses leaves open the possibility for embedded attacks on the technology we depend on, he added while speaking at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific.
Technology is rapidly changing, providing opportunities as well as challenges. The military must be prepared to use the technology and understand the implications of the new technologies both in their hands and in the hands of the adversaries. “If we don’t incorporate the threat that we are going to face, we will be shooting at the wrong duck," said Brig. Gen. Paul H. Fredenburgh III, USA, director, Command, Control, Communications and Cyber (C4), U.S. Pacific Command, leading a panel on cyber resilience and assured command and control at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific.
In the surfing community, a wave of consequence is one that is impactful and takes a commitment to get in to it. “But when you put that commitment into the wave, it makes a difference,” said Lt. Gen. Bryan P. Fenton, USA, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command, who explained that he needs strong industry partnerships to help make a difference.
Information technology’s impact on our culture is far deeper and more profound than many realize. While the technologies we have at our fingertips make many things easier, they also blur the distinction between right and wrong, especially for younger generations.
Will Bates, supervisory special agent, FBI Honolulu Cyber Squad, stated that the age of cyber crime suspects keeps going down. “It is easy to conduct the intrusions, and often parents have not emphasized that accessing things online without authorization is also wrong. Bates joined three others on a panel that looked at cultural aspects of technological advances.
In the next few years, the U.S. Navy may finally realize a dream it has had since World War II: the ability to vertically launch and recover a fixed-wing aircraft from a ship deck. A prototype unmanned aerial system is now capable of hovering and launching vertically with a pair of nose-mounted, counter-rotating propellers, and then transitioning to high-speed horizontal flight as the propellers shift to propulsion mode and push air over its large fixed-wing surfaces. If the aircraft becomes operational, it will provide Navy ships a long-range, high-endurance surveillance and strike platform—something smaller surface units lack, absent an aircraft carrier or an amphibious assault ship.
In a few short decades, the world will be vastly different. The military environment is no exception, given that a force built for and in the industrial age will continue providing national security in an increasingly unstable and uncertain world. The dramatic and potentially unforeseen advances in technology will be countless. Leaders will need help figuring out how to conceptualize and capitalize.
This includes the Air Force. The force of 2050 will no longer be confined to space, sky and cyberspace. Training, tools and tactics will change.
An evolving Army needs equipment to be successful on the battlefield. It sounds simple, but it requires an orchestra of contracts, logistics support, parts, repairs and maintenance, all beginning with research and development and testing. For sustainment to happen, it’s a “team sport,” according to a panel of Army leaders at the recent MILCOM conference in Baltimore on October 25.
The Department of Defense is seeing its adversaries utilize off-the-shelf technologies, mobile networks and commercial applications that the U.S. military itself is not using as well. With this recognition, the “winds of change” are beginning to blow through the agency. The U.S. Army in particular must dust off some of its aging procurement processes and leverage commercial technology to regain the advantage over its peer adversaries, warned Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, Army chief information officer (CIO)/G-6 at the MILCOM 2017 conference in Baltimore on October 24.
The challenges involved with being the CIO for the Marine Corps include balancing the service’s evolution with its technology needs and finding the right technologies for warfighters on a tight budget with changing operational needs. “There is a lot of change going on in the Marine Corps and that change is fantastic,” said Brig. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director C4/Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Secure Wi-Fi for classified operations is now available to the U.S. military, thanks to recent policy, hardware and software improvements.
This is of great importance, especially to the Army, which faces challenges with command-post networks. Given size, weight and power constraints, these networks lack mobility, explained Paul Mehney, director of public communications for the Army's Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T). The Army needs more rapid network initialization and faster command-post setup and teardown.
To increase interoperability and performance, U.S. military satellite communication programs will turn more and more to working with international partners. At the same time, leveraging commercial satellite technologies will also reduce costs dramatically.
This is a necessary strategy given that adversaries are increasing their hostile activities in space and cyberspace, warned Robert Tarleton, director, Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) Systems Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, speaking in Baltimore at MILCOM, co-sponsored by AFCEA and IEEE.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet is focusing on improving personnel capabilities and increasing interoperability with other nations to carry out its mission amid changes and growing threats. With no indication that it will receive more resources now or in the near future, the Pacific Fleet is innovating and adding external partnerships to its arsenal of proficiencies for being proactive rather than reactive to events in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Australia is drawing on relationships with its closest allies to improve the interoperability of communications and information systems with nontraditional partners. Large-scale programs among allies as well as formal alliances are creating the basis of efforts to ensure bilateral collaboration in contingency operations. These efforts come amid Australian programs to modernize the country’s communications and networking technologies across the spectrum of military operations.
Agroterrorism, a subset of bioterrorism, is defined in a Congressional Research Service report as “the deliberate introduction of an animal or plant disease with the goal of generating fear, causing economic losses or undermining social stability.” The word is rarely used, and fortunately, an event is even more rare. Rarer still are common understanding and readiness among U.S. agencies facing this threat. However, recent legislation and a survey of the nation’s emergency management capabilities underscore the need to prepare even for low-probability but high-impact acts of agroterrorism.
The Indo-Asia-Pacific area is diverse, expansive and challenging for the United States and our international partners. The 36 countries within the U.S. Pacific Command’s area of responsibility encompass about half the Earth’s surface and contain half the world’s population. The region lacks a common culture, religion or language. In fact, about 3,000 languages are spoken there. It hosts the three largest global economies—the United States, China and Japan—and the world’s largest Muslim nation, Indonesia. Furthermore, it is now home to five nuclear powers: Pakistan, India, China, Japan and North Korea. The region has seven of the world’s 10 largest armies, accentuating centuries of deeply held animosities.
The U.S. Navy’s new Air and Missile Defense Radar system, known as AN/SPY-6(V), successfully acquired and tracked short-range ballistic missile and antiship cruise missile targets at the same time during a recent test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company helped develop the technology for the Navy.
The U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) and Army Game Studio are introducing an online multiplayer game that enables soldiers to help design the future battlespace. Called Operation Overmatch, the technology allows warfighters, research personnel and leaders to configure future concepts of vehicles and equipment, execute missions and complete objectives in a virtual complex environment.
Operation Overmatch was created with the help of Early Synthetic Prototyping (ESP), a process and set of tools that facilitates the radical transformation of development and acquisition decisions by designing and assessing emerging technology in a game environment.
The military services offer warfighters extensive opportunities for professional development. Unfortunately, many fail to explore all available options. They lose the advantage of professional growth, and the country misses out on innovative thinkers who could help meet ongoing and future challenges.
The strategic focus for the realignment of military force has changed since the months immediately following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The complexity of asymmetric warfare and engagement in proxy wars has forced the U.S. Defense Department to ensure that only the most qualified members remain in the military.
U.S. Defense Department officials insist on having a person in the loop to control robotic systems on the battlefield for a reason: Human intuition can mean the difference between life or death. Some human perspective also could make artificial intelligence systems better at a variety of battlefield tasks, including intelligence analysis and threat recognition.