Defense Operations

September 14, 2012
George I. Seffers

Northrop Grumman, Linthicum Heights, Maryland, is being awarded a $33,158,857 modification to a cost plus fixed fee contract. The Advanced Rotary Wing Multifunction Sensor (ARMS), Multifunction RF program Phase II, will be the detailed design/build phase which aims for a tower demonstration of a controlled flight into terrain sensor and a multifunction sensor suite, and support of integration of radar data into the synthetic vision avionics backbone. This phase seeks to provide the detailed design of the multiple sub-array aperture based on the concepts developed in Phase 1.

September 14, 2012
By Paul Christman

In May, the White House issued the Digital Government Strategy to improve the way government uses new technologies and to speed up the adoption of technical tools that can significantly improve operational efficiencies and productivity. From a technology perspective, one thing is clear – data center consolidation is a critical milestone in the execution of the White House’s vision for technological innovation and improved citizen services. Now, agencies have a new perspective on how to benchmark their progress to achieving the goals of the 25 Point Implementation Plan.

George I. Seffers

ViaSat, Carlsbad, California, is being awarded a $34 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT) Cryptographic Module development and production. The MIDS-LVT provides secure, high capacity, jam resistant, digital data and voice communications capability for U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army platforms and other foreign users worldwide. The MIDS-LVT Cryptographic Module will replace the communication security and transmission security hardware in the MIDS-LVT; thereby extending the operational life of the MIDS-LVT product line. This contract will procure MIDS-LVT Cryptographic Modules for MIDS users worldwide.

January 9, 2015
By George I. Seffers

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are investigating so-called side channel signals, low-level emissions from a computer that could allow savvy cyber attackers to illegally access information. By learning more about the signals, researchers may be one day be able to help mitigate the threat.

The Georgia Tech team has developed an algorithm for measuring the strength of the leaks, which will help prioritize security efforts. They now are studying smartphone emissions, which they say may be even more vulnerable. So far, they have looked only at Android devices.  

January 7, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

As China, Russia and Iran continue to develop capabilities that could circumvent U.S. missile defenses, technology under development by one defense industry contracting giant has piqued the interest of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

Recently, China reportedly has conducted at least three flight tests of a hypersonic maneuverable glide vehicle that skims the Earth’s atmosphere—technology that adversaries pursue to “find a seam” in U.S. missile defenses, said Mike Trotsky, vice president of air and missile defense business development, Missiles and Fire Control, Lockheed Martin.

December 29, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. military can get a bird’s-eye view of a battlefield or humanitarian mission via use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Now, it wants to get into buildings without having troops actually step foot inside.

The Pentagon’s main research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), circulated a Broad Agency Announcement for its Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program, focused on acquiring algorithms that would let small, autonomous assets access buildings and navigate the “labyrinth of rooms, stairways and corridors or other obstacle-filled environments,” according to the agency.

December 5, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The first wave of testing of the U.S. Defense Department’s joint regional security stacks now underway at military bases in Texas and Europe shows the hardware and software tasked with improved protection of the department’s network, expected to deliver unprecedented cyber situational awareness, is on track to deliver as anticipated, according to the department's acting chief information officer.

November 18, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published for public review draft recommendations to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive federal information residing on the computers of contractors and other nonfederal organizations working for the government.

January 1, 2015
By James Kadtke and Linton Wells II

Technology developments increasingly have strategic effects. They help determine winners and losers in economies, how nations interact and how our children think. The pace of innovation is accelerating while becoming more globalized. A number of prestigious studies have raised serious concerns that this increasing competition will result in a loss of U.S. technological pre-eminence. These trends are particularly worrisome for future U.S. military capabilities, which have been based on technological dominance for decades.

November 6, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

If it’s said good things come in small packages, imagine the edible delights that might come from a 3-D printer.

One day, it might not be left to the imagination as scientists from the U.S. Army’s Natick Research Center are studying just that—printed food. (We wonder if the heated toner smell will be optional.)

The Army has not begun printing food; in fact, it does not yet have a printer. But it has the idea and the funding for next year to research the potential capabilities of 3-D food printers.

December 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
CERDEC officials are investing in nine key initiatives they believe will enable U.S. forces to continue to dominate on the battlefield.

Article updated December 3, 2014.

With a number of uncertainties coloring their activities, officials at the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center are preparing their program objective memorandum, laying out several key projects and goals for the coming years. The leaders are calibrating efforts to align with expected congressional funding as well as with the capabilities soldiers require for mission success.

November 3, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy’s Task Force Cyber Awakening, which was established in July, is expected to deliver its first report to the service’s leadership this month, task force officials say. The report will include recommendations for improving the service’s cyber posture, both ashore and afloat.

October 29, 2014
George I. Seffers

Terry Halvorsen, the Defense Department’s acting chief information officer, is expected very soon to release a new policy revising the role the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) plays in brokering cloud services. The changes are designed to speed cloud service acquisitions by preventing bottlenecks created by having only one agency act as broker. DISA no longer will be the sole acquisition agency, but it will continue to ensure network access to cloud service providers is secure and reliable, agency officials say.

October 24, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. Defense Department’s experimental “pathfinder” hosted payload satellite program might be the feasible short-term middle ground sought between commercial satellite providers and the federal government, which have haggled over high costs for commercial-based bandwidth services.

The U.S. Air Force plans to use hosted payloads on commercial systems to gain affordable access to space. The Space and Missile Systems Center awarded an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract under the Hosted Payload Solutions (HoPS) program this July, which created a pool of qualified vendors to fulfill federal needs for various hosted payload missions.

October 27, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The future of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is purple—or Pentagon parlance for the military services working together in a joint environment.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, USA, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calls for improved development and the sharing of ISR data and technologies, not just among the U.S. military services, but also with industry and foreign militaries.

October 28, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
Northrop Grumman Corporation and DARPA are recognized by Guinness World Records for developing the world's fastest integrated circuit amplifier and reaching an operating speed of 1 terahertz. Pictured from l-r are Dale Burton, Arati Prabhakar, Philip Robertson, Dev Palmer and William Deal.

A five-year project funded by the Defense Department’s research arm and developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation has netted the world’s fastest integrated circuit amplifier and a place in the record books.

October 15, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
An unmanned boat from Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock operates autonomously during a demonstration of swarmboat technology being developed by the Office of Naval Research.

With its developing fleet of autonomous “guard dogs,” the U.S. Navy is becoming more lethal and protective using the same technology.

The sea service is capitalizing on a first-of-its-kind autonomous technology, with software originally developed by NASA for the Mars Rover, which can transform just about any surface vessel into an unmanned platform able to protect other ships or “swarm” hostile vessels, officials say.

October 14, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF), which quickly fields technologies to meet urgent warfighter needs, intends by the end of November to open an office in Kuwait that will serve warfighters in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Furthermore, officials are considering the possibility of opening an office in Iraq.

October 8, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

After much anticipation and preparation, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), along with the U.S. Army and Air Force, successfully migrated network traffic through the first of several Joint Regional Security Stacks (JRSS) at Joint Base San Antonio, according to an agency press statement released Wednesday.

The JRSS upgrade is a step toward the realization of the colossal concept of connecting the entirety of the Defense Department’s network system under the Joint Information Environment (JIE).

November 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Navy’s technology plans are moving away from systems to focus on capabilities. Changes aim to ensure that the fleet has the functionality to be operationally ready at all times.