Defense Operations

April 1, 2016
By Julianne Simpson

This is the second in a series of interviews with signaleers, one for each of SIGNAL Magazine's seven decades, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of AFCEA International.


March 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

This is the first in a series of interviews with signaleers, one for each of SIGNAL Magazine's seven decades, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of AFCEA International.

August 4, 2016
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army's organic industrial base helps equip the force with a wide range of equiment, including Stryker vehicles.

The workload for the Army’s organic industrial base facilities—depots, arsenals and ammunition plants—is nearly the same as it was prior to conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

August 4, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Gen. Dennis Via, USA, commander, Army Materiel Command, discusses the worldwide threat and the need for cybersecurity at TechNet Augusta.

The Army Materiel Command (AMC) is modernizing and deploying pre-positioned stocks in Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific to ensure the service can rapidly and effectively respond to threats as they occur. Those so-called activity sets include the latest in communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) equipment.

August 2, 2016
The MUOS-4 satellite launched last year; the MUOS-5 satellite experienced a difficulty on its way to its geosynchronous orbit and has been delayed.

A new U.S. Navy communications satellite, which launched in late June, experienced a difficulty on its way to its geosynchronous orbit and has been delayed, a Navy official says. The fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) satellite experienced a failure of the orbit raising propulsion system during a transfer maneuver five days after its June 24 launch, says Steven A. Davis, a spokesman with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

August 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Then-Col. Kevin Nally, USMC, took command of the Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School, Twentynine Palms, California, in 2009. Retired Brig. Gen. Nally, who now serves as the chief information officer, U.S. Secret Service, stresses the importance of mentorship.

The After Active Duty blog series examines the challenges, rewards and lessons learned for those who have transitioned from active duty to the private sector and the role AFCEA played in this progression.

July 25, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Rear Adm. Carlos Rodolfo, PRT NA (Ret.) has spent years supporting students, in part through AFCEA, after being recognized for his own student accomplishments.

The After Active Duty blog series examines the challenges, rewards and lessons learned for those who have transitioned from active duty to the private sector and the role AFCEA played in this progression.

Rear Adm. Carlos Rodolfo, PRT NA (Ret.), was studying science and electrical engineering in 1974 at the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School when AFCEA recognized him for being the top student in his class. That moment sparked a lifelong commitment to AFCEA and its efforts to promote education.

July 1, 2016
By David Young
The key to improving government information technology may lie in adopting contractor-owned, contractor-operated, or COCO, systems.

When government agencies conduct business, they like to keep their cards close to the vest. Some describe agency dealings as vague, secretive or tight-lipped. This stealthy nature reflects the heavy load of sensitive information the government handles. However, agencies that are too inwardly focused can fall behind when it comes to innovation, efficiency, productivity, customer service and long-term planning. They can become stagnant—or worse, a liability. 

June 21, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
A high school student explains her team's hovercraft project to Rear Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, while Norton visits the Engineering and Aerospace Sciences Academy (EASA) in McMinnville, Oregon.

There is a noticeable distinction between women in STEM in the military and women in STEM in the civilian world, says Rear. Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director of warfare integration and deputy director for Navy cybersecurity. For a while, jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics were just about all that were open to women seeking a career in the armed forces. Times have changed, and the U.S.

July 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

I suspect it is no surprise to the men and women who read SIGNAL Magazine that the U.S. Air Force is facing readiness and modernization challenges after 25 years of continuous combat. What you readers might not realize, however, is that our Air Force is actually smaller today than it was when it became a service in 1947. And, according to recent congressional testimony, it sits at about 50 percent readiness. Across the board, our service members proudly carry out their missions as the world’s premier fighting forces. But if we are asking them to execute the published National Security Strategy, we owe it to these patriots to provide proper resources. 

June 2, 2016
By Joel Dolisy

No one needs reliable connectivity more than the nation’s armed forces, especially during the heat of battle. But reliable connectivity often can be hampered by a hidden enemy: latency and bandwidth concerns.

The military heavily relies on voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) for calls, web conferencing, high-definition video sharing and other bandwidth-heavy applications. While this might sound more like the communication tool for a business boardroom, it is equally applicable within the military and compromised systems come with potentially life-altering consequences.

June 1, 2016
By Col. Patrick C. Dedham, USA
Col. Leon-Rodance Ndinga from the Republic of Congo comments during a tabletop exercise at AE 2015 in Botswana. AE is an annual 10-day communications seminar designed to increase interoperability between partner nations to support United Nations and African Union peacekeeping, disaster response and humanitarian assistance missions.

Fears of new terrorist attacks and growing violence in many African countries highlight a key tenet of U.S. Africa Command’s theater campaign strategy—to work with partner nations across the continent to improve readiness, interoperability and capabilities to support humanitarian assistance, disaster response and peacekeeping operations.

June 1, 2016
By Alexander Bordetsky, Stephen Benson and Wayne P. Hughes
The LCS USS Independence conducts maneuvers with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during Rim of the Pacific 2014.

As the U.S. Navy embraces its evolving “forward ... from the sea” strategic concept in a post-Cold War geopolitical reality, it is operating more in contested littorals and facing increasingly compressed decision cycles. Sanctuaries sanitized of threats have become the exception, not the rule. As a result, the sea service has emerged as a global enforcer—combating pirates, taking out terrorists and responding to disaster-ravaged areas—a role that has brought its missions closer to coastlines.

May 26, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
An Estonian soldier tests the THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle during a spring battlefield exercise.

Machine has not quite fully replaced man yet, but a new development in unmanned technology is coming close. An emerging system successfully tested in Europe this spring might help keep infantry troops safer while also lightening their transport load. 

The Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System, or THeMIS, developed by Estonia-based company Milrem, is an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that can be adapted to a number of battlefield missions, from logistical support to reconnaissance and surveillance, border patrol, medical evacuation and high-technology weapon systems.

May 20, 2016
By Beverly Mowery Cooper
Lt. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., USAF, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, spoke at the AFCEA International/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

Weapon system acquisition costs and schedules are trending exponentially, and unsustainably, up and to the right. The Air Force can move down the cost/schedule curve to benefit value delivered to the warfighter, and the key is communications and dialog, according to Lt. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., USAF, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

Industry must keep the Air Force honest for starters, the general explained. “If we are asking for something industry cannot do, they need to tell me that from the beginning,” he stated during his address to the AFCEA International/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

May 12, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Defense Department's continued collaboration to streamline the whole of the military's information technology networks and systems, known as the Joint Information Environment, tops leaders' agendas and fiscal spending plans—now available with a caveat for decision makers, officials said.

May 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
A U.S. Army soldier with the 101st Airborne Division sets up radio communications inside an abandoned fortress in Afghanistan’s Parwan province. Warfighters’ lives often depend on adequate access to radio spectrum. An NSF effort to improve spectrum access will benefit all users, including military, government and industry.

National Science Foundation officials are awarding several grants in the coming months earmarked for research on enhancing access to the electromagnetic spectrum. The grants are part of an effort to identify bold new concepts that could significantly improve the efficiency of radio spectrum usage for all consumers, including the military, government agencies and industry.

The foundation aims to award grants for its Grand Challenge, which falls under the Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum (EARS) program, by the end of September, reveals Thyaga Nandagopal, the EARS program manager. Officials expect up to eight awards totaling $10 million. Each grant will have a limit of $1.5 million for three years.

May 1, 2016
By Richard DeSalvo
Soldiers use a Stryker vehicle integrated with Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 Soldier Network Extension capability to extend radio networks and provide advanced network communications at the tactical edge.

In decades past, designers assumed there always would be plenty of spectrum to go around and built their systems accordingly. Strategists and tacticians did the same when crafting operational plans. Availability, the potential for interference and the need to defend against an attack were considerations but not driving factors. 

May 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, USAF (Ret.)

Implementing the Joint Information Environment (JIE) is a huge challenge but well worth the effort. It represents an opportunity to create an integrated environment for information protection, transmission and sharing. Achieving this objective would enhance our nation’s joint warfighting capability and save resources in the process. Unfortunately, doing so has been a struggle.

April 21, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
Terry Halvorsen, Defense Department chief information officer (CIO), describes the major changes that must be implemented in information technology procurement on day 2 of the Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS) 2016.

Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium 2016
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 2

Quote of the Day:
“We have to change the way procurement is done. Government is losing out on the best of industry.”—Meg Whitman, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise