Defense Operations

April 20, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
Lt. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, USA, director, Defense Information Systems Agency and commander, Joint Force Headquarters, Department of Defense Information Network, gives the keynote luncheon address amidst attendees at Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium 2016
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:
“It’s cyberwarfare, and it’s daily. It’s happening on our networks.”— Lt. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, USA, director, Defense Information Systems Agency and commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network

April 21, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

The technology to solve many defense and national security challenges may be at hand, but it never will achieve its full effects without major changes in the way industry and government interact. Old practices must be swept away both in policy and in attitude for the Defense Department be able to fully exploit the strengths of private sector innovation.

April 7, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) prototype makes a dry run in Portland, Oregon. Officials christened Sea Hunter on Thursday.

The Defense Department's futuristic research agency reached a huge milestone in its robot sea vessel program Thursday, christening the unmanned prototype "Sea Hunter" and entering a two-year extended test phase.

April 20, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

Cybermarauders have become so malevolent that today’s environment is nothing less than “cyberwarfare,” according to the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Lt. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, USA, told the keynote luncheon audience at Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS) 2016, being held in Washington, D.C., April 20-22, that cyber has changed considerably over the past few years.

April 20, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is undergoing a reorganization, effective May 1, that aims to refocus efforts more efficiently for government and contractors alike. Traditional portfolios have been rearranged to reflect new emphases and service patterns.

Tony Montemarano, executive deputy director, DISA, outlined those changes during the opening session of the Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS) 2016, being held in the Washington, D.C., Convention Center, April 20-22. Montemarano was blunt about the challenges facing DISA in this new era.

April 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
The Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg, foreground, escorts the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt as they pass the Rock of Gibraltar in the Strait of Gibraltar last March. The Theodore Roosevelt deployed from Norfolk, Virginia, to then make a homeport shift to San Diego at the end of its deployment.

While operating at sea, even the most technologically advanced U.S. Navy vessels sometimes fail to deliver on-demand geospatial intelligence services that anyone with a smartphone on land readily can access. To help bridge intelligence gaps, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has teamed with the service to augment geospatial capabilities at sea.

Keeping the Navy from drifting into a sea of woes is not helped by the continuing fiscal constraints that hamper Defense Department modernization, even as the economy rebounds from a defeating recession.

April 1, 2016
By Col. Jeff Worthington, USA

Technological advances and the insatiable desire for information and constant connectivity have placed demands on the U.S. military’s signal officers to fulfill missions that transcend their training. Signal officers learn to take care of their units’ needs, not the emerging mission communication requirements of a whole military base, let alone deployed coalition and joint forces operating in increasingly complex environments.

Undoubtedly, technology upgrades over the past 15 years have increased the precision, effectiveness and even lethality of the nation’s warfighters. They also have made signal officers’ jobs exponentially more difficult. Not that the Signal Corps laments the improvements—much. 

April 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Innovative uses for geospatial systems are exploding across the government and commercial landscape. What once was largely the purview of military planners and operators now is creating adherents in fields where geospatial systems can help understand the past, comprehend the present and predict the future.

April 1, 2016
By Paul A. Strassmann

When tackling long-term planning for future military engagements, experts must take demographics into account as they try to anticipate events before they erupt and surprise decision makers. 

Thirty-year projections of conditions will originate from today’s decisions. Defense plans must address the longer life span of ships, aircraft and combat equipment as well as the retirement of people just now entering into military service. Planners also have to anticipate how troops will cope with a different global population composition.

March 23, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office speaks about the Defense Department's costliest program during AFCEA's TechNet Air 2016 symposium.

AFCEA TechNet Air 2016

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 2

Quote of the Day:
“With the F-35, we're making it as flexible as we can to give it a long life so when the threat changes, whether it's a high-intensity conflict or an overfly to collect [human intelligence] data, the platform is going to be able to survive.”—Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office

Perception isn’t always reality, but that doesn’t make for the most compelling headlines, said Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, USN, deputy program director at the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office.

March 24, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force, discusses future programs at AFCEA's TechNet Air symposium.

Every military operation conducted around the world is enabled by space as well as cyber operations, domains closely linked and threatened alike. “As it is with cyber, and as the world is certainly witness to, our space domain is critically important,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force.

March 22, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Members of the Air Force's Task Force Cyber Secure talk about challenges to securing weapons systems during the TechNet Air symposium.

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.

March 8, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
SBIRS High features a mix of four geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) satellites, two highly elliptical earth orbit (HEO) payloads and associated ground hardware and software.

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.

March 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

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.

March 1, 2016
By Rory Welch
Operators staff the East Coast Satellite Operation Center (ESOC) in Northern Virginia. The ESOC flies the majority of Intelsat’s global satellite fleet, which provides mission critical support for the full range of the company’s government and commercial customers.

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.

March 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

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.

February 26, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

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.

February 19, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
Key sea service leaders comparing perspectives in a town hall format are (l-r) Vice Adm. Charles D. Michel, USCG, vice commandant, U.S. Coast Guard; Adm. John M. Richardson, USN, CNO; Gen. Robert B. Neller, USMC, commandant, U.S. Marine Corps; and moderator Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

West 2016

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.

February 18, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
Vice Adm. Ted N. Branch, USN, deputy CNO for Information Warfare, describes how the Navy is embracing that warfighting doctrine in his morning keynote address on Thursday at West 2016 in San Diego.

West 2016

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.

February 17, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.), dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and former supreme allied commander Europe (SACEUR), describes the global threat picture to attendees at the opening keynote address in West 2016.

West 2016

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.

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