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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. Army’s tactical radio programs will meet a series of major milestones in the coming months, moving systems toward deployment into the hands of warfighters. Once fielded, the systems and their associated software will extend transmission range, provide on-demand satellite communications at the lowest levels and allow an alternative when satellite signals are degraded or denied.
The U.S. Army is evolving and positioning its fleet of ground satellite communications terminals to ensure that units can successfully respond to multiple military or humanitarian contingencies anywhere in the world. Both commercial and military satellites are giving the Army greater flexibility in networking links and in the missions that can be conducted with network connectivity.