Defense Operations

December 21, 2012
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy’s next-generation tactical afloat network recently received approval to enter the production and deployment phase, Navy officials announced this week. The San Diego-based destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) was selected for first installation. The program was approved for limited fielding of 29 CANES units with 23 installations, eight of which are expected in the 2013 fiscal year.

Ultimately, CANES will be deployed to more than 190 ships, submarines and Maritime Operations Centers by 2020. Officials say they hope to reach a full-rate production decision in the 2014 fiscal year.

December 4, 2012
By Rita Boland

U.S. Pacific Command’s J-5 gives perspective on regional changes, troop rotations, China and extremists.

Military activities in the Asia-Pacific region have become more focused since the release of a defense strategy a few months ago that places renewed attention on the global area. Through U.S. Pacific Command's (PACOM's) recent theater campaign plan, leaders are telling the subordinate military-service components to report back in a year on how efforts are working while deconflicting duplicate programs.

December 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
This experimental antenna developed by LGS Innovations mimics a spherical antenna by arraying circuit boards bearing printed structures. Without having a series of electrical connections, the boards nonetheless resonate as if the construct was a spherical antenna.

Scientists bend, not break, the laws of physics.

Faced with limitations imposed by physics, laboratory researchers are generating antenna innovations by tweaking constructs to change the rules of the antenna game. Their efforts do not seek to violate long-held mathematical theorems or laws of physics. Instead, they are working to find lawful ways of working around limitations that long have inhibited the development of antennas that would suit user needs with fewer tradeoffs.

December 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

Academic investigations are establishing the future
 of transmission technology for troops and civilians.

Improving antennas for defense or commercial purposes has as much to do with mathematics as it does with hardware. Researchers in the Wireless Networking and Communications Group at the University of Texas at Austin are exploring algorithms along with other properties that should improve communications systems on the battlefield.

December 1, 2012
By Max Cacas
The Argos multiple-antenna array prototype combines 64 standard cellphone antennas into one base station that can send data directly to 16 different devices at the same time.

Beamforming could help increase capacity of cellphone networks 
to meet the demands of data-hungry smartphones and tablets.

Multi-antenna technology that could increase data capacity and maximize existing spectrum use for cellular network providers is in the early stages of development. Although widespread use of this technology will require new devices and possible network changes, the concept has shown the potential to ease mobile device congestion from smartphones and tablets. This research is underway at a time when wireless carriers worldwide are scrambling to keep up with demand for mobile data and, in some cases, are attempting to obtain additional electromagnetic spectrum.

December 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
Future armored vehicles could include antennas integrated into the armor coating and other technologies designed to rid the service of whip antennas.

U.S. Army officials

 seek to replace the

 commonly used 
device.

For decades, the U.S. Army has relied on the ubiquitous whip antenna for an array of air and ground communications, but those antennas often interfere with one another and are plainly visible to enemy soldiers in search of a target. Now, service researchers are using a wide range of technologies that could begin replacing the pervasive whip, providing more efficient, effective and reliable combat communications. Options include antennas embedded with vehicle armor, transparent antennas integrated into windshields and smart antenna technology capable of determining the optimal direction to focus transmission power.

December 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
Three 100-foot towers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, provide the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate with new capabilities to perform radar research. The actual radars atop each tower were relocated from Rome, N.Y., as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure.

U.S. Air Force researchers use 3-D printers and
 other cutting-edge concepts 
to create
 the next 
innovations.

There is no Moore’s Law for antennas because size reduction and performance improvement will always be subject to the limitations imposed by electromagnetic physics and material properties. But steady advances in computer technologies, such as electromagnetic modeling and simulation and 3-D printing, enable antenna technology researchers to push the limits of possibility on behalf of the warfighters.

December 1, 2012
By Max Cacas
LASR director Alan Schultz engages one of the lab's humanoid robots in the Prototyping High Bay.

A new facility allows scientists to test innovations 
for autonomous and unmanned systems.

A new manmade realm allows robots to learn how to scale sheer cliff walls, go from the ocean to the beach or cross hot, burning desert sands. In this environment, researchers can examine the machines’ every move and how they interact with human warfighters. And one day, these robots also may help save sailors’ lives at sea.

December 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Marines communicate digitally over a network. The Next Generation Enterprise Network, or NGEN, will take a new approach to networking yet evolve from the existing Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

The program may be revolutionary, but its product is evolutionary.

Despite its sea-change approach to acquisition, the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network program is being designed to evolve from its predecessor, the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, in bids submitted by the two teams vying for the multibillion-dollar contract. The two bidders are focusing their efforts on the transition between the two networks, which is a process that will take several years.

December 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
Vice Adm. Kendall Card, USN, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance and director of naval intelligence, once commanded the USS Abraham Lincoln, during combat operations and in support of tsunami relief efforts in Sumatra, Indonesia.

The U.S. Navy is on a course designed to rule the information arena.

With information operations growing increasingly critical to combat operations, the United States cannot afford to be anything less than number one in the data wars. And the U.S. Navy is implementing several measures to ensure information dominance. Measures include dramatically reducing the number of data centers and legacy networks, further developing the Information Dominance Corps and building an unmanned vehicle capable of being launched from sea. These efforts all are under way while the Navy also is modernizing networks both ashore and afloat.

November 1, 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann

 

The Defense Business Board is the highest-level committee advising the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Its report on “Data Center Consolidation and Cloud Computing” offers advice on what directions the Defense Department should follow.
 

However, the Defense Business Board (DBB) report is incomplete. It does not offer actionable solutions; it only raises policy-level questions. As components are formulating budget requests through fiscal year 2018, they will find nothing in this report to guide them on what type of realignments are needed to advance the Defense Department toward cloud computing.

November 1, 2012
By Kent R. Schneider

Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” the new strategic guidance for the Defense Department, begins with a letter dated January 3, 2012, by President Obama. In this letter, the president states, “Our nation is at a moment of transition…. As commander in chief, I am determined that we meet the challenges of this moment responsibly and that we emerge even stronger in a manner that preserves American global leadership….

November 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

Unmanned underwater vehicles mimic nature and collaborate on tasks.

Robotics experts are using the swarming behavior of insects and fish as a model for software that will operate the next generation of underwater robots. Fleets of robots not only will be able to navigate to a common goal, but they also will have the means to deal autonomously with unanticipated factors, much as insects and fish can change behaviors based on the circumstances.

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
Northrop Grumman Corporation's X-47B is one contender for the U.S. Navy's carrier-based UAV program. The program is important to industry because it is currently the only large UAV platform being developed by the U.S. military.

The next five years will be as exciting as the last decade--but in a different way.

Unmanned vehicles will undergo an array of changes in the coming years brought about by the war in Afghanistan winding down, budgets tightening and the national strategy shifting toward the Asia-Pacific region. Adjustments may include the retirement of some unmanned air systems, a stronger focus on refining existing unmanned planes rather than fielding new ones and increased research and development of land and maritime technologies.

November 1, 2012
By Capt. Mike Stephens, USAF, and Frank Klucznik
 Gen. Stephane Abrial, FRA, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (ACT), observes part of the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise (CWIX) 12 held in June. The exercise helped validate the effectiveness of the new Tactical Edge Data Solutions (TEDS) joint capability technology demonstration (JCTD).

A new message exchange framework offers
 potential across department and coalition assets.

Different command and control systems are closer to enjoying Web interoperability as a result of experiments performed in coalition exercises. Protocols and processes developed by defense information technology experts can enable data to be exchanged among the services as well as in coalition operations.

November 1, 2012
By Rita Boland
Ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Republic of Korea Navy, and the U.S. Navy maneuver through the Pacific Ocean during a trilateral exercise. PACOM’s J-6 directorate is working to enhance coalition communications in its area of responsibility.

A premier cyber center and the next phase of the Joint Information Environment are altering the technical landscape for U.S. forces.

Cybersecurity remains the foremost concern for the man tasked with overseeing U.S. military communications technology in the Asia-Pacific area as the national defense strategy shifts focus to that region of the globe. New opportunities for technologies and programs are opening, but cyber issues continue to hold top billings in importance, and moves to shore up operations predate the recent official guidance.
 

November 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Existing efforts are ramped up to achieve bigger results sooner.

The new U.S. strategic thrust toward the Asia-Pacific region is boosting longtime efforts in both coalition building and force projection. Bilateral alliances are evolving into multinational operations, and U.S. forces are increasing their forward deployed presence in quantity and capability.

October 19, 2012
By Beverly Mowery Cooper

 

Sequestration, the U.S. government’s across-the-board deficit reduction mandate, is programmed to go into effect on January 2, 2013, despite universal warnings about the consequences of this action. Under this policy, fiscal year 2013 domestic discretionary spending will see an 8.4 percent cut in appropriated funds, and non-exempt defense spending will suffer a decrease of 9.2 percent. Defense agency budget actions could range from decreasing output to reducing personnel costs, and cuts in the personnel budget would most likely be through furloughs because terminating staff costs money. While operational defense forces in the field would not be cut, their training, equipment, facilities and logistics support could be cut.

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
The Ground Based Sense and Avoid System will allow military operators to fly unmanned aircraft in the same airspace as commercial aircraft so that warfighters can train and prepare for the next conflict.

A new crash avoidance 
system will allow both 
manned and unmanned
 planes to operate 
in U.S. airspace. 

The U.S. Army is developing a collision avoidance system that will allow unmanned and manned aircraft to fly in the same airspace more easily and safely. The first-of-its kind system will enable service operators returning from the war zone to fly drones in the same U.S. skies as civilian aircraft, keeping the warfighters proficient and ready for the next conflict.

October 5, 2012
By Max Cacas

A smart robot with the ability to work side-by-side with human warfighters is the goal of a new Army Research Laboratory (ARL) program involving industry and academia.

At the heart of ARL’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance (RCTA) is $63.2 million in funding designed to advance basic research in key areas linked to the development of autonomous robots, according to Jon Bornstein, chief of ARL’s Autonomous Systems Division and manager for the RCTA.

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