Cyber right now is the the cat’s meow—a notion sure to keep funding flowing for technological solutions, at least in the near term, to counter the emerging threats, according to Col. Gary Salmans, USAF, senior materiel leader of the Cryptologic and Cyber Systems Division within the Air Force Materiel Command.
In its enduring space race to narrow the materializing gap between the United States and peer competitors, the Air Force’s fiscal year 2017 budget emphasizes sustaining mission capabilities and improving space resilience by investing in command and control programs, situational awareness technologies, expendable launch systems and satellite communications.
As the air superiority gap narrows between the U.S. military and its pursuing adversaries, airpower and information dominance will command center stage for discussions at this month’s TechNet Air 2016 symposium in Texas.
Air operations not only require accurate information and effective communications, coordination and security, but they must also be better than challengers campaigning to usurp the lead once commanded by the United States.
Growing threats to national security in the space domain have prompted U.S. Air Force leaders to revamp plans and programs to adapt to a new reality of reinforcing system and network resiliency and shifting its people and resources to focus on warfighting functions. Government space capabilities, augmented by commercial systems, will play critical and active roles to secure U.S. and allied interests in and through the increasingly contested domain of space, requiring the Air Force and the Defense Department to proactively plan how to enable more coordinated and integrated space enterprise operations.
The long period of air supremacy enjoyed by the United States and its allies may be coming to an end. Advances in capabilities by potential adversaries place our air forces at a crucial point in their existence. Increased investments in acquisition and innovation are necessary to once again widen what now is a contracting gap in air power.
The U.S. Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber, now designated the B-21, is designed to exploit technologies from its progenitor the B-2, according to Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. Some design similarities are apparent in the artist’s concept of the B-21 just released by the Air Force.
“The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology,” James stated.
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 3
Quote of the Day:
“Innovation is a contact sport; it is not for the weak of heart.”—Jay M. Cohen, principal, The Chertoff Group, former chief of naval research
The U.S. Navy is counting on industry and academia to generate new capabilities that can meet sea service needs rapidly in a dynamic threat picture. Achieving this goal effectively will require overcoming cultural inertia and an acquisition architecture that is stacked against speed and innovation.
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 2
Quote of the Day:
“I want industry to look at the Pacific Fleet as a laboratory.”—Adm. Scott H. Swift, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
The book on establishing and maintaining naval supremacy may need wholesale revision as planners confront the challenges facing the U.S. Navy. What worked in the past might be, at best, obsolete, and at worst, counterproductive as the Navy deals with two potential peer rivals and possible conflicts ranging from asymmetrical sparring to overt maritime control.
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 1
Quote of the Day:
“We assume the information environment is a contested space.”—Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, USMC, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force
The threat picture facing the United States and the Free World continues to grow in size and complexity, while funding to address its multifaceted nature remains tight. The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps are struggling to meet modernization needs as they concurrently deal with new requirements such as cyber capabilities.
The stresses facing the U.S. Navy are magnified in the Asia-Pacific region where most of the forward-deployed fleet will find itself in the near future. Two peer rivals, maritime challenges to international law and diverse threats confront the Pacific Fleet to an increasing degree.
Adm. Scott H. Swift, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, described some of these challenges and potential solutions to the Thursday luncheon audience at West 2016, being held in San Diego February 17-19. Adm. Swift noted that 60 percent of the Navy will be forward in the Pacific as a result of the U.S. strategic shift.
The U.S. Defense Department's fiscal 2017 budget carves out the same appropriation that it did last year for its futuristic research arm, asking Congress to again allocate $2.97 billion to pay for a range of seemingly science fiction endeavors, such as launching swarms of autonomous drones to a program to turn chemical weapons into fertilized dirt and efforts to address memory deficits caused by traumatic brain injuries.
The annual funding pays for hundreds of ongoing programs that leaders at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, have placed into three key strategic areas driving their work, said director Arati Prabhakar. The three are:
The U.S. Navy can expect to receive from 87 percent to 94 percent of its funding every year through 2021, according to the deputy chief of naval operations (CNO) for integration of capabilities and resources. However, this also means the sea service will not receive full funding, and it must make do with carefully selected priorities.
Vice Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy, USN, described the budget conundrum during his keynote luncheon address at West 2016, being held in San Diego February 17-19. The Budget Control Act will inhibit funding until 2021, which comes amid a time of challenges.
Countries must abandon a fortress mentality and reach out to each other to confront international threats, according to the former supreme allied commander Europe. Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.), dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, decried old defense thinking during his keynote address opening West 2016, being held in San Diego February 17-19.
In a complex world rife with a plethora of threats, North Korea looms as the worst, according to the former supreme allied commander Europe. Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.), dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, described the Hermit Kingdom in harsh detail during his keynote address opening West 2016, being held in San Diego February 17-19.
“They have a young, untested, untried, morbidly obese leader that has nuclear weapons,” Stavridis said in referring to Kim Jong Un.
Non-submariners can get a rare sneak peek into the bowels of a submarine’s control centers during the upcoming sea services conference in San Diego next week. Well, sort of. It’s not a peek into an actual boat's radio control room, for example, but an opportunity to see and touch equipment that simulates a variety of shipboard systems.
The modern technology-intensive fleet the U.S. Navy is putting to sea will require a new skill set for sailors who increasingly will be harder to recruit. The Navy needs the same high-technology talent coming out of high schools and colleges that the commercial sector seeks rigorously, and this competition likely will intensify for the foreseeable future.
It has been less than smooth sailing of late for the U.S. Navy as the superiority gap the sea service once held over adversaries rapidly narrows, its top officer says.
The onus to secure the maritime domain, both in a militaristic approach as well as commercially, falls to the United States as it jockeys to fortify global sea-based activity in an increasingly complicated environment. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, USN, penned a strategy that directs renewed focus on how the Navy might outmaneuver and outsmart its competitors.
The United States always has been a maritime nation, but now more so than ever. The globalization of the world’s economy and communications has increased the importance of maritime operations. The multitrillion-dollar international economic engine that has brought prosperity to billions of people moves most of its international commerce by sea.
One of today’s leading topics of discussion is the government-industry relationship. Simply put, will we ever get it right? I now have had the chance to look at this question from both sides of the fence, and the picture is no prettier from the industry vantage point.
Slide over cyber commands, the Defense Department could bear a new warfighting domain. The DOD is tinkering with the notion of recognizing the electromagnetic spectrum as a new warfare domain.
Such a policy change would come on the heels of the paramount decision in 2006 when the DOD added a fifth domain—cyberspace—to its arsenal. Though it has been a decade, cyber warfare is an area in which operators still wrestle with daunting guidelines to carry out warfare in the manmade field.
Given that, is the Pentagon ready for a sixth domain?