Defense Operations

November 1, 2017
By Jennifer Miller

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.

October 30, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Various offices work closely to provide key sustainment for the Army, panelists explained at MILCOM.

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.

October 24, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, Army CIO/G-6, speaks at MILCOM 2017 in Baltimore.

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.

October 23, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
 Brig. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director C4/CIO, speaks at MILCOM in Baltimore.

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).

October 20, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gerard Holodak, USA, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, fires a confined space, light anti-armor weapon at Alaska’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Classified Wi-Fi will improve the agility and operational flexibility of Army command posts by allowing commanders and staff to stay securely connected and make faster, more informed decisions on the battlefield, Army officials say. Photo by Staff Sgt. Westin Warburton, USAF

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.

October 23, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Robert Tarleton, director, MILSATCOM Systems Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, speaks at MILCOM 2017.

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.

October 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
An aviation support equipment technician directs an MV-22B Osprey on the deck of the USS San Diego in the South China Sea. Operations in the vast Indo-Asia-Pacific region are increasing in complexity concurrent with rising challenges.

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.

October 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
An Australian signalman communicates during Exercise Talisman Saber 17. The joint exercise with the United States is a vital part of Australia’s efforts to improve communications and information systems interoperability as it modernizes its force.

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.

October 1, 2017
By Ryan Larson

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.

October 1, 2017
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

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.

September 27, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
The USS O’Kane stands ready in Hawaii. The new radar system the Navy is testing would help safeguard the fleet from both ballistic and cruise missile threats. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

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. 

September 21, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
Operation Overmatch pits innovation against reality in a virtual environment.

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.

September 5, 2017
By 1st Lt. Maxim Yershov, USA
The military offers enlisted and officer personnel many educational opportunities to further their careers. One such option is preparing for and taking the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, or ITIL, exam. Staff Sgt. Timothy Watkins, USA, 52D Signal Battalion, Stuttgart, Germany, is pictured.

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.

September 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
A U.S. Army soldier gives a playful head rub to a to a local boy while on patrol near Forward Operating Base Salerno in Afghanistan. Human intuition may one day help artificial intelligence distinguish between safe and dangerous scenarios.

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.

September 1, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.)

The discussion about creating a space-oriented military branch has surfaced again. An amendment to the House version of the fiscal year 2017-2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) calls for a separate Space Corps by 2019. The Space Corps would fall under the Department of the Air Force but operate as an independent service, similar to the Marine Corps’ relationship to the Department of the Navy.

I really can’t believe we are having this discussion again.

August 9, 2017
By George I. Seffers
The Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminal, a Desert Storm-era system, could save lives on the modern battlefield, says the NETCOM commander.

The Russian military has been using a clever—and lethal—propaganda technique against Ukrainian soldiers. They spam the soldiers’ cellphones with demoralizing messages and then take advantage of the resulting confusion to geolocate the soldiers’ cellphone signals and launch an attack.

August 9, 2017
By George I. Seffers

Lt. Gen. Mark Bowman, USA (Ret.), former director of command, control, communications and computers/cyber for the Joint Staff, paints a dire picture of future warfare. The next war, he says, will begin with wave after wave of cyber and electronic warfare attacks that our nation is not prepared for. Although the Army is making strides in training the cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA) force, the service may not be able to address all scenarios in a training environment.

August 9, 2017
By George I. Seffers
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors offer critical capabilities, but they also burden the U.S. Army's networks.

As the Army’s forward deployed footprint has grown smaller in places such as Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the demand for sensors capable of sending data back to the United States for processing has increased significantly. While those sensors provide valuable information, they also place a heavy load on the service’s networks, said Mark Kitz, chief engineer, Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S).

August 8, 2017
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command, speaks at TechNet Augusta 2017.

On the multi-domain battlefield of the future, U.S. forces can expect to see more robots, pilotless ships and planes, and driverless convoys, as well as cyber and other game-changing capabilities, said Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Gen. Nakasone made the comments during the afternoon keynote address at AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2017 in Augusta, Georgia.

“We are witnessing a fundamental change and transformation in the character of war," he said. “This transformation is being driven by technology and demographics, socioeconomic and political changes.”

August 8, 2017
By George I. Seffers
Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr. (l), commander, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, speaks at TechNet Augusta 2017.

Army officials have multiple pilot projects in the works to help define formations that will integrate cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA).

According to Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison, Jr., USA, commander, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, the Army has initiated one pilot project with the Army Pacific Command and is seeking to begin another within the continental United States to better define formations that will integrate cyber, electronic warfare, signal and intelligence capabilities.

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