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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: