Defense Operations

January 12, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
DISA officials present agency needs to industry during an AFCEA DC Chapter breakfast that included (l-r) Tony Montemarano, David Mihelcic, John Hickey and Alfred Rivera. Photo by Mike Carpenter.

Not all the news surrounding shrinking federal budgets is bad news. Dwindling coffers mean the government increasingly relies on ready-made products and services from private industry for solutions to both carry out day-to-day operations and prepare for the future.

December 30, 2015
By Lesley M. Rahman
Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida clear and secure the Eastern Range for the 2013 United Launch Alliance-built Delta IV Heavy liftoff from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket was carrying the sixth WGS satellite for the U.S. military.

Satellite communications have never been more vital to the security of our nation, or under such assault. Recent increases in aggressive and targeted interference have put the continuous connectivity of government satellite communications in question. As an example, slightly more than a year ago, the Chinese accessed a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data systems for more than 12 hours—imagine how damaging this could have been if they controlled a more critical mission asset.  

January 6, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center will host a two-day technical interchange meeting with industry to identify and align mutually beneficial research and development investments, officials announced.

The meeting, beginning March 31 and held at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, seeks to enhance government-and-industry communication and provide industry with critical information to quickly respond to emerging requirements, according to the FedBizOps announcement.

January 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
A U.S. Army soldier kneels atop a cliff overlooking the Arghandab River Valley in Afghanistan to provide security for his squad members as they climb up the cliff from the valley below. Army researchers aim to identify and develop persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies to provide tactical-edge warfighters the data they need for rapid-fire decision making.

U.S. Army researchers recently kicked off a concept development effort designed to improve the ability to monitor an area for long periods, enhancing the means to provide soldiers at the tactical edge with the critical situational awareness intelligence needed for rapid-fire decision making.

January 1, 2016
By Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)

Global discussions about maritime issues tend to focus on the Atlantic Ocean, with its attached Mediterranean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean, with the South China Sea. Endless conversations take place about the emerging conflicts, the flow of refugees, the competition over vital hydrocarbons and the geopolitical impact of the two “major oceans.” Yet the 21st century will be more about the Indian Ocean than either of the other two—and the sooner we fully realize that in the United States, the better.

December 8, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
A diver descends along a deep water mooring buoy off of the coast of Guam to conduct inspection, maintenance and repair of various underwater assets.

Move over Charlie, the seas could be getting a new kind of tuna.

LGS Innovations secured a contract to support a program launched by the Defense Department’s futurist research arm to develop the Tactical Undersea Network Architectures, or TUNA, program.

December 10, 2015
By Cyndi Thomas
With electronic attack, adversaries now can deny use of command and control systems across all domains. Illustration courtesy NCI Inc.

The United States' dependence on valuable space assets and the nation's critical need to maintain superiority in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) disciplines have also made these fields somewhat of an Achilles' heel. The country had long held technological and capabilities advantages over the rest of the world. Those days are gone.

December 1, 2015
by Lt. Col. Dave Waller, USAF, Maj. Ernest Jenkins, USA, and Lt. Cmdr. Christina Hicks, USN

Think back to a recent deployment—of having to use multiple email accounts for each and every classified network and what a chore it was to move even unclassified information between these networks. This process is frustrating and inefficient, but it is exponentially more vexing for network and system managers.

U.S. personnel and coalition partners alike feel the brunt of an information bottleneck caused by an antiquated system that impedes combat operations and has prompted calls to U.S. Defense Department leaders to improve information-sharing capabilities for successful collaboration among coalition partners.

December 1, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
A Marine Corps F-35B taxis during night flight operations at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona. With its advanced sensor suite, the F-35B may assume an additional role serving warfighters on the ground as an information source for the Marine Corps Enterprise Network.

The U.S. Marine Corps is working to network its force for connectivity on the move in all domains—land, sea, air, space and cyberspace. With all these elements required to work together during operations, the Corps is tasked with establishing this networking en masse instead of piecemeal. Information elements and capabilities as diverse as streaming video and cybersecurity must be integrated so that no weak links hamper operations anywhere in the battlespace.

December 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Army Rangers fire at an enemy bunker during a night live-fire training exercise. While live training always will be integral to Army readiness, the service intends to rely more heavily on gaming and simulation.

The U.S. Army Operating Concept: Win in a Complex World,” which was released last year, acknowledges a great deal of uncertainty about the future. The operational environment, enemy, locations and coalitions involved all are unknown. But one thing is certain: Superior training will be required to win. To that end, the service is preparing to initiate or expand training for complex environments—cyber, mega-city and subterranean warfare—where it seldom, if ever, trains today.

December 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carries soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division on a mission in Afghanistan. The Afghan Mission Network provides unprecedented data sharing and operations planning capabilities among coalition partners and serves as the basis for the Mission Partner Network in development today.

When the deputy commanders of five U.S. regional commands wrote a memo in February urging Defense Department officials to step up the pace on fielding the department’s interoperable coalition warfighting network, they set off a flurry of activity designed to improve data sharing and operational effectiveness with U.S. warfighting partners around the world.

December 1, 2015
By Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)

Two things have me thinking about heresy. One is the upcoming end of a very turbulent international year—always a good time to think holistically about truly controversial ideas. The other is a series of hearings the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services might convene early next year to focus on the Defense Department and the future of security in the United States.

December 1, 2015
By Maj. Ryan Kenny, USA

Public outrage over police misconduct has boosted the number of appeals for police departments across the United States to equip patrol officers with body cameras. As a result, the U.S. Justice Department announced a $20 million endeavor to supply law enforcement nationwide with the devices. Amid such efforts, now is a good time to examine the pros and cons of equipping U.S. troops with body cameras.

November 30, 2015

The U.S. military and the Australian Defense Force noted improved connectivity while testing an advanced Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) waveform technology during the Talisman Sabre 2015 joint training exercise, according to news statements.

The militaries tested a high-performance IP satellite broadband system developed by Hughes Network Systems LLC. The HX System is designed for carrier-grade IP broadband for maritime, air and ground-based mobile networks and video, voice and data trunking for mesh networks.

November 19, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman

Maintaining peace—and avoiding miscalculations—in the Asia-Pacific region ultimately may rely on effective command, control and communications (C3), offers the commanding general of the U.S. Marine Forces Pacific. Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, USMC, told the Thursday breakfast audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015, being held in Honolulu, November 17-19, that maintaining connectivity among expeditionary forces and allies will be vital to respond to emerging challenges in the vast region.

November 18, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, walks among the audience as he gives Monday’s keynote luncheon address during TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015.

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:

“If you’re not resilient in communications, you’re not relevant.”—Rear Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
 

November 1, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer refuels and resupplies in the South China Sea. The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is expanding its roles and relationships in the Asia-Pacific region amid new and growing threats.

The U.S. Pacific Command is strengthening its international relationships among allies and friendly nations in the region as new threats begin to dominate the security agenda. Existing alliances are being improved and even expanded, and countries that have not worked with the United States in the past are finding common ground and increasing cooperative efforts across the vast Asia-Pacific region.

November 17, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman

Longtime allies are becoming closer, new allies are emerging and some relationships have soured among the dozens of nations comprising the Asia-Pacific region. What has not changed is that the United States remains at the hub of regional peace and security, but its relations with some other nations have changed—some for the better.

November 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
 The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) successfully conduct a flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. An assessment by the Pacific Command chief information officer suggests that cybersecurity should be decentralized for information systems used for warfighting.

Establishing a Mission Partner Environment, a warfighting network and operating environment that allows for greater data sharing and mission planning with partner nations, is a top priority for the chief information officer of the U.S. Pacific Command. As part of that effort, the office has categorized the different types of information systems—and who should control the cyber operations for each—and has created a prototypical virtual enclave that may be adopted for the Navy’s Next-Generation Enterprise Network.

November 1, 2015
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Why should people be concerned about the Asia-Pacific region? Just because it comprises more than half the Earth’s population, has 36 nations that speak 3,000 languages, spans the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic, is transited by a third of the world’s maritime trade and includes six nuclear powers should not necessarily be cause for alarm.

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