Defense Operations

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.

October 28, 2015
By George I. Seffers
A JLENS aerostat is seen here on White Sands Missile Range. Earlier today, a JLENS aerostat detached from its mooring and has since been grounded.

Earlier today, a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) surveillance system aerostat detached from its mooring station in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and apparently explored the fall foliage northeast of Washington, D.C., over Pennsylvania.

The hot-headed hooligan has since been grounded. It is likely deflated and in the vicinity of Moreland Township, Pennsylvania.

October 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens manages the first issuance of mobile devices to recruits during the launch of eSailor at Recruit Training Command this spring. The program provides sailors entering boot camp with wireless mobile technology for training and communications and will eventually offer access to medical records and a means to take advancement exams. The beta test will provide information on how to fully implement wireless technology throughout the fleet

U.S. Navy leaders are embracing more than technology advances in mobility as they seek to bridge the divide between the military and private industry. A major philosophical change is sweeping through the sea service as leaders strive to follow industry’s lead, adopting not only technology but also business acumen.

“Here’s the bumper sticker: access to information anytime, anyplace, from any device,” says Dan DelGrosso, the technical director in the Navy’s Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS).

September 30, 2015
By George I. Seffers

As part of its efforts to provide practical solutions to real-world cybersecurity challenges, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is requesting comments on a draft guidance to help organizations better control access to information systems.

August 13, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Marines conduct civil-military operations and collect, process, analyze and share information using software from a smartphone.

The Defense Department’s much-anticipated capability solution to access classified voice and email up to the secret level from mobile devices finally migrated from the pilot stage and now is operational within the department and several federal agencies, says Kimberly Rice, program manger for the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) Mobility Program Management Office.

August 5, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
The Army completed the bulk of migration to the DOD Enterprise Email in July 2013. Size limitations will be enforced for mailboxes beginning October 1.

Get ready to clear out the email inbox—because size matters.

Effective Oct. 1, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) will enforce size limits of military mailboxes. Each of the U.S. Army's more than 1.4 million Defense Department Enterprise Email (DEE) accounts has a storage limit, with most lumped into the basic class that has a maximum storage space of 512 MB. Business class users have a maximum storage limit of 4 GB. While most workers adhere to size restrictions, as of July 31, more than 75,000 Army personnel stored more than 4 GB of email and more than 7,700 mailboxes exceed 10 GB of storage each, according to an Army statement. That level of heavy use slows the systems and increases costs.

August 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform a six-ship formation flyover during an air show. Researchers want to know which indicators of personal performance—heart rate or body sway, for example—begin to synchronize when a team works well together.

U.S. Air Force researchers intend next year to provide a system on the commercial market that will significantly improve collaboration capabilities among groups, whether special forces, cyberwarfare, medical or sports teams. The combat fitness tool will categorize teams or individuals as being in red, yellow or green zones, offering an easy-to-understand assessment of readiness levels that will allow commanders to decide if a person needs a break, whether a team’s workload should be rebalanced or if one team is better prepared than another to tackle a specific mission or task.

August 1, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
Soldiers at the U.S. Army Cyber Operation Center at Fort Gordon monitor networks for possible attacks by adversaries. The Army is striving to bring signal, cyber and military intelligence together in a partnership to meet challenges in the changing information environment.

The U.S. Army is working to team with industry and the other services to update its information technologies amid a greater emphasis on cyber. A multiyear plan establishing short- and long-term goals serves as the campaign map, but obstacles remain if the Army is to achieve its aims.

Challenges include integrating cyber and signal in a way that does not reduce the effectiveness of either key discipline. New commercial technologies must be incorporated early in their development and more quickly. And the new networking environment must be secure and interoperable with the rest of the Defense Department’s networks.

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