Defense Operations

November 20, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Two B-1B Lancer aircraft prepare to land during a Bomber Task Force deployment at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam in October. The move to that type of bomber mission has proven to be successful so far, says Pacific Air Forces leader Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, USAF.

The U.S. Air Force’s shift away from continuously present bomber squadrons in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility has actually resulted in more bomber flights, reports Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, USAF. In April, the service ended Continuous Bomber Presence missions in the Indo-Pacific Theater, which it had conducted with squadrons deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, since March of 2004.

November 19, 2020
By Julianne Simpson
Credit: Shutterstock/K_E_N

The complexity of multidomain operations presents both challenges and opportunities in the effort to obtain an information advantage. To overcome these challenges and exploit the opportunities to gain an edge, the Army is modernizing.

November 6, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Information Systems Agency provides a wide array of communications support for warfighters around the globe, including modernized electromagnetic spectrum operations tools and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. Credit: U.S. Defense Department Photo/Gunnery Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe

Despite the global pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has never stopped providing warfighters with critical connections needed to conduct multidomain warfare and never let up on the daily battles in cyberspace, says Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the agency’s director and the commander of Joint Forces Headquarters for the Department of Defense Information Systems Network.

Adm. Norton made the comments during an AFCEA TechNet Cyber webinar on November 5. The webinar is part of a series of webinars leading up to the TechNet Cyber conference scheduled for December 1-3.

November 4, 2020
By Kim Underwood
U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division conduct live fire range training in cold weather conditions at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, in Bridgeport, California, in preparation for their deployment to Norway's high north above the Arctic circle. Credit: USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Jacqueline Parsons

Over the past several years, the U.S. military has focused on growing its cold-weather operation capabilities. The U.S. Marine Corps, through host and NATO ally Norway, has maintained a presence in the region to train and develop the skills necessary to operate in extreme conditions.

November 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
An aurora borealis appears in the night sky over the USS Thomas Hudner during an exercise in the Arctic. U.S. and allied forces are paying greater attention to operations in the Arctic and the North Atlantic in the face of an increased Russian threat.  U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy is adapting its Atlantic forces to interoperate better with those of its NATO allies while also incorporating navies from non-alliance countries. This approach includes incorporating a more expeditionary nature into U.S. forces while also extending the areas NATO and non-NATO forces operate to confront a growing multidomain threat from Russia. Traditional North Atlantic naval activities now extend into the Arctic Ocean, where changing conditions have opened up new threat windows.

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

The U.S. military is striving to develop concepts supporting broad-spectrum joint operations for future conflicts, yet hurdles remain. Military operations today are much more complex than ever before. Technology is driving change, and threats are evolving rapidly. U.S. forces could find themselves in an increasingly reactive role rather than one that drives the agenda for future operations.

November 1, 2020
By Shaun Waterman

We live in perilous times. The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated an unprecedented international economic contraction. A World Bank report in June called the COVID-caused global recession the most far reaching since 1870.

In particular, the defense sector faces an uncertain future. The pandemic is threatening to change the way Americans think about security and raise questions about U.S. defense spending—which significantly exceeds the combined defense budgets of all its adversaries.

November 1, 2020
By Maj. Gen. Jennnifer Napper, USA (Ret.)

In the book Bracketing the Enemy, John R. Walker writes about the World War II practice of having forward observers accompany infantrymen on the front lines to send targeting information back to artillery gunners. This innovation helped the United States win crucial battles because gunners benefited from timely and accurate information instead of guessing target locations.

October 30, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Department's new electromagnetic spectrum strategy looks to bolster the nation's associated operational environment and security. Credit: Shutterstock/Fouad A. Saad

The U.S. is facing an increasingly congested, constrained and contested electromagnetic spectrum. Adversaries are challenging the United State’s dominance across the air, land, sea, space and cyberspace domains, which threatens our reliance on the spectrum. And because the United States depends on electromagnetic spectrum for much more than warfighting purposes, our nation’s economic wellbeing is at stake, says Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

October 22, 2020
By Julianne Simpson
Katie Arrington, chief information security officer for Acquisition and Sustainment, U.S. Department of Defense, says there’s no point in developing software if it’s not secure, during a webinar on securing the federal software supply chain.

Anyone moving through the ecosystem of software development and cyber over the last few decades has heard cool words to describe it: Waterfall, Cobalt, Agile, DevOps and now DevSecOps.

DevSecOps may be the latest term but the idea behind it remains constant: Security should be a priority from the start.

October 20, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Bulgarian Chief of Defense, Adm. Emil Eftimov (l) visits Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium in August, meeting with Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Tod Wolters (second from l) and his staff. To aid the decision making of SACEUR leaders, advanced geospatial information system technologies are needed. Credit: NATO Photo by SMSgt Frederic Rosaire (FRA)

The strategic importance of NATO’s military forces in Europe remains high, especially in the rear area of Europe, as NATO works to strengthen the alliance and improve deterrence measures against adversaries, including Russia. Because deterrence relies on situational awareness, data and information that feed a clear operational picture are critical components, say Leendert Van Bochoven, global lead for National Security and NATO, IBM, in The Netherlands; and René Kleint, director, Business Development Logistics & Medical Service, Elektroniksystem-und Logistik (ESG) GmbH, in Germany.

October 16, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
An aurora borealis appears in the night sky over the USS Thomas Hudner during an exercise in the Arctic. U.S. and allied forces are paying greater attention to operations in the Arctic and the North Atlantic in the face of an increased Russian threat. Credit: U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy is adapting its Atlantic forces to improve interoperability with its NATO allies while incorporating navies from non-alliance countries. Traditional North Atlantic naval activities now extend into the Arctic Ocean, where changing conditions have opened up new threat windows.

October 19, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Department of Defense has selected a mobile power program from Army Futures Command to increase the speed at which on-the-move power capabilities are delivered to the battlefield. Credit: Army photo by Dan Lafontaine, CCDC C5ISR Center Public Affairs

U.S. Army researchers plan to demonstrate in December and March capabilities that could lead to a secure, mobile power grid capable of automatically providing electricity from the best available source, including batteries, vehicles or diesel generators.

October 15, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are critical for countering small unmanned aircraft systems, Army officials say. Credit: U.S. Army photo/Spc. Derek Mustard

The U.S. Army’s joint strategy document for countering small unmanned aerial systems should be headed soon to the Secretary of Defense for approval, Army officials say, and artificial intelligence and machine learning are crucial to the vision.

During a telephone discussion with reporters, Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, USA, director of the Joint Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office and director of fires, G-3/5/7, described artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as “critical” to the military’s efforts to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

October 8, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Air Force Airmen monitor computers in support of the Advanced Battle Management System Onramp 2 exercise. Multiple exercises took place this fall to prove some of the initial concepts of joint warfighting across all domains. Credit: Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hernandez

The U.S. military is rapidly pursuing Joint All-Domain Command and Control to confront near-peer adversaries, including China and Russia. Innovative computing, software and advanced data processing, as well as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud and 5G communications, will be needed. Leaders also understand they must shed some of the military’s old practices to succeed.

October 13, 2020
By Technical Sgt. Bonnie Rushing, USAF
Technical Sgt. Bonnie Rushing, USAF, is accustomed to busting through barriers but says a culture change is necessary to help other women do the same.

Challenge after challenge, women overcome barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields and organizations. Allow me to tell you my story. I am Technical Sgt. Bonnie Rushing in the United States Air Force and I am a woman warrior. I faced challenges from the very beginning of my time in the military, during training, and in operations. Not only have I overcome every obstacle along the way, I have come out on top. Let me take you through my journey as a woman warrior and plead for your aid in continued culture change.

October 9, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army soldier shouts orders as his unit prepares to assault an objective during exercise Saber Junction in Germany this year. NATO faces its own organizational challenges as it strives to increase the resiliency and effectiveness of its logistics in the face of a newly emerging threat picture. Credit: NATO

New challenges facing the West have compelled NATO to refresh domestic capabilities that have long been overlooked, alliance leaders say. These capabilities focus largely on logistics, but they also encompass new areas of concern such as cybersecurity and the supply chain.

October 9, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, USA, director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), speaks with a U.S. Airman assigned to the 4th Medical Group at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, in August. The director is leading the DHA's efforts to improve the care of warfighters, including through the use of advanced technology, where appropriate. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kylee Gardner

For the last six months, the U.S. military has been on the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic, providing necessary supplies and medical support across the country. Meanwhile, internally, the U.S. Defense Department has faced the threat of the virus with its warfighters. More than 55,000 Defense Department personnel have had the COVID-19 virus, and there have been 79 deaths—including one active-duty member, seven reservists or National Guard personnel and 71 dependents, retirees or family members, reported Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, USA, director, Defense Health Agency (DHA). 

October 8, 2020
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Defense Department officials released a new data strategy. They envision building a larger community of data leaders, via a deliberately expanded department data council that brings in the combatant commands, agencies and field activities. Photo: greenbutterfly/Shutterstock

The Department of Defense has published a new Data Strategy focused on accelerating the Department’s transition to a data-centric organization that uses data at speed and scale for operational advantage and increased efficiency, according to a department press release

October 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, pictured speaking at the Pentagon in April, explained to reporters yesterday that the department has not heard anything back from the Federal Communications Commission about the disputed Ligado ruling. Credit: DOD photo by Marvin Lynchard

The Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud effort has been tied up in the Court of Federal Claims since a preliminary injunction was issued in February. And although that has prevented the DOD from implementing Microsoft Azure cloud computing solutions, the department is not sitting idle, according to Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy.

“Cloud for me has always been first and foremost about supporting the warfighter,” Deasy told a group of reporters yesterday during a virtual Defense Writers Group meeting. “And when we got put on hold with JEDI, that didn't mean we were going to stop working on figuring out ways to support the warfighter.”

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