Defense Operations

March 23, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor
The WASUB team prepares for the Undersea Defence Technology 2015 competition.

A team of students from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, will use this year's Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) exhibition to present a revolutionary man-powered submarine. The group, known as WASUB, designed the craft to break the world speed record for a single-person propeller-driven submarine.

March 1, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
Two U.S. Air Force space and cyber airmen work in the Global Strategic Warning and Space Surveillance Systems Center at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado. The Air Force aims to change the nature of its cyber work force as it transitions deeper into the information age.

The U.S. Air Force is striving to become a multi-domain warfighting unit in the air, in space and in cyber, according to its chief information officer. However, attaining the same degree of supremacy in cyber that it currently enjoys in the air domain may prove a far more daunting task.

As do its sister services, the Air Force operates under a decades-old, traditional model. That model does not serve information technology needs well, and the issue has become more crucial as cyber continues to increase in importance.

March 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
U.S. Air Force aircraft of the 4th Fighter Wing fly over Kuwaiti oil fires set by the retreating Iraqi army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. NATO air power has not been challenged in recent conflicts, but with resources and capabilities dwindling, NATO officials are sounding warning bells about the future.

In recent decades, air power has been NATO’s first, and sometimes only, military response to a threat. But tightened budgets and dwindling resources are placing air power in a death spiral driven by declining readiness, a shrinking force structure and an ever-smaller residual fighting capacity, say NATO’s foremost experts on air and space power.

February 26, 2015
By Ed Bender
U.S. soldiers work on a Mission Event Synchronization List in the Joint Cyber Control Center during Operation Deuce Lightning in 2011.

While it has always been important to strive for interoperability among and across systems within the U.S. military branches and other Defense Department (DOD) agencies, the need now is more critical than ever for the oldest and largest government agency in the United States.

Why now? One primary driving force for a refocus on interoperability is the creation of the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). Formally established in May 2010, CYBERCOM’s focus, among other things, is to “lead day-to-day defense and protection of DOD information networks,” according to the agency’s mission statement.

February 12, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
(l-r) Gordon R. England, former secretary of the Navy; Ellen Lord, president and CEO, Textron Systems Corporation; and Jerry DeMuro, president and CEO, BAE Systems, discuss the challenges of defense information technology acquisition at West 2015.

West 2015

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily

Day 2 

Quote of the Day:

“In the past, we would defeat a challenge with the turn of a firing key. But today, the firing key alone is not enough.”—Adm. Philip S. Davidson, USN, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command

 

February 11, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman

Information technology systems, elements and methodologies are becoming more of a factor in U.S. naval aviation. Virtual capabilities are supplanting physical training, and new architectures may allow faster incorporation of new technologies.

Some of these approaches were outlined in a panel discussion at West 2015, being held in San Diego, February 10-12. Vice Adm. David A. Dunaway, USN, commander, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), was blunt in his assessment of the current NAVAIR budget environment.

“The current cost profile is prohibitive,” he declared. “It’s a going-out-of-business profile.”

February 11, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work describes the difficulties facing the U.S. military to the audience at West 2015 in San Diego.

West 2015

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily

Day 1

Quote of the Day:

“The force does not get hollow by the flip of a switch, but by inadequate resourcing combined by two wars and today’s security environment.”—Adm. William E. Gortney, USN, commander of the U.S. Northern Command and commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command

 

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

After more than 13 years of continuous war, the U.S. military is entering a new era with a smaller force that faces new and expanding roles and challenges. As with all the services, the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ challenges are complicated by budget tightening amid an evolving and broadening security environment.

Our traditional national security competitors and threats are still active on the global scene. Additionally, new threats and concerns have emerged. One only has to take a quick visual scan around the world to see the hot spots and areas of emerging tension that beg for presence and engagement that only naval forces can bring.

February 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. Marines learn about network and communication technology available at the 2014 Agile Bloodhound demonstration in Hawaii.

Thirteen years of sustained U.S. combat troop presence in war zones overseas compelled the U.S. Marine Corps to set aside its expeditionary nature and dig in alongside its U.S. Army counterpart for long deployments and occupying missions. The longest war in U.S. history—the Afghanistan War—had Marines conducting yearlong assignments to expunge terrorists, train foreign armies and security forces and help rebuild nations torn apart by the punishing battles.

February 9, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
DISA's photo illustration of its new online collaboration tool for secure web conferencing.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is rolling out a new open source collaboration service to facilitate secure Web-based conferencing and chats throughout the Defense Department, and is expecting to save millions of dollars the over the legacy enterprise, officials say.

The new capability, called the Defense Collaboration Services (DCS) removes the need for licenses to use it while still providing secure voice and video exchange, among other services, says, Karl Kurz, DCS program manager at DISA.

May 23, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has unveiled a drone and a mini bomb-detecting bot that operate on secure software that officials say make them hack-proof. The High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) is protective software built into operating systems from inception to negate security vulnerabilities to just about anything that works on network computers.

“The technology that we are developing here is to make it so those kinds of systems are not easily hackable. In fact, they are provably invulnerable to large classes of attacks,” says Program Manager Kathleen Fisher.

February 5, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert, USN, speaks at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo in Washington, D.C. on February 4.

The technological lead the U.S military has over its adversaries could be a fleeting one as repeated budgetary cuts have bled funding from research and development coffers while rivals grew their technology prowess, said the U.S. Navy’s top military officer.

Adversaries rapidly grew near-matching technology “and we’re not—not as quickly as I would like,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, USN, the chief of naval operations, warned attendees at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo in Washington, D.C.

January 30, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Mark Orndorff, the mission assurance executive and program executive officer for mission assurance and network operations (NetOps) at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), bids farewell to colleagues today as he retires.

Ornorff’s permanent replacement has yet to be publicly named. Until then, John Hickey, the program manager for Defense Department mobility at DISA, will serve as the interim mission assurance executive.

"I've been with the government for over 36 years and with DISA for over 21 years," Orndorff said.

January 28, 2015
By Ed Bender
In this file photo, Marines develop their private cloud, focusing on ensuring the right access for the right people.

With 2014 in the rearview mirror, federal agencies now are looking ahead to what the next year will bring. For information technology (IT) professionals working in the U.S. Defense Department and intelligence community, 2015 will be the year of the cloud, application stacks, security challenges and centralization. How will each of these trends develop and impact government information technology infrastructures? Here is a look at a few changes in IT that will affect federal IT pros in 2015.

April 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
The U.S. Marine Corps is developing a private cloud computing environment to provide better information services to the tactical edge. Here, communicators set up a Support Wide Area Network System during a training exercise.

As they put the necessary pieces in place, Marines are mindful of tight resources and are seeking help from industry.

For the past year, U.S. Marine Corps technical personnel have been implementing a strategy to develop a private cloud. The initiative supports the vision of the commandant while seeking to offer better services to troops in disadvantaged areas of the battlefield.

December 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
The X-47B unmanned air vehicle takes off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. The U.S. Navy recently conducted the fifth series of at-sea tests, proving that a manned and unmanned aircraft can maintain a takeoff and landing pattern aboard an aircraft carrier.

U.S. Navy officials have, for the first time, proved that the unmanned X-47B aircraft and an F/A-18 Hornet can operate at the same time within the same aircraft carrier-controlled landing pattern. Manned and unmanned aircraft flying from the same flight deck may change the way warfighters operate in the decades to come. They would improve carrier air wing proficiency by providing persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting and strike capabilities, offering warfighters greater flexibility and reducing danger to aircrews.

December 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

A developmental U.S. Navy project aims to provide a creative solution to the challenge of how to move unmanned underwater vehicles to their proper point for submersion. The project is creating a bio-inspired seacraft that will use flight to reach its destinations.

January 15, 2015
By Ralph Wade

The changing nature of threats and diversity of adversaries bring unique challenges to maintaining a strong national security posture. This trend will continue in 2015, as nation-states, extremist groups and individual actors bring a distinctive set of intelligence challenges. By making the best use of our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) technological capabilities, coupled with innovative commercial information technology, we can equip our military leaders with an integrated ISR enterprise to evaluate and anticipate threats so they more fully and quickly understand proper courses of action, whether on a battlefield or at home.

January 13, 2015

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is reorganizing to focus on five Cs: cyber, cloud, collaboration, and command and control, Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr., USAF, DISA director, announced Monday at a luncheon event hosted by AFCEA's Washington, D.C. Chapter.The transformed agency will include four centers—business and development, implementation and sustainment, resource management and operations—that will centralize many functions within the agency.In addition to the reorganization, DISA announced Monday that the Joint Force Headquarters DoD Information Network should achieve an initial operating capability Thursday and will provide an operational capability within the cyberdomain.

January 14, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The Twitter and YouTube accounts for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) are back online after hackers, stated to be in support of the Islamic State militant group, broke into the accounts and posted menacing messages.

Military officials still are investigating the breach, which occurred Monday and prompted officials to suspend the accounts.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the hack was “a violation, it wasn’t a big deal,” but it illustrated that militant groups are technologically capable.

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