Defense Operations

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.

January 12, 2015

URS Federal Services Incorporated, Germantown, Maryland, is being awarded a $35,951,345 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee with firm-fixed-price provisions, performance-based contract (N65236-12-D-4806) for a ceiling increase and period of performance extension to July 10, 2016, to provide submarine C5I and NC3 system engineering, technical, logistics and management support services including test and evaluation, certification, modernization, repair, refurbishment, overhaul and logistics support for all classes of submarines to include Virginia Class, Los Angeles Class, Seawolf Class, SSBN Class, SSGN Class and Ohio Class Replacement program.

January 12, 2015

Science Applications International Corporation, McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $7,179,527 modification (003748) to multi-year foreign military sales contract W31P4Q-05-A-0031 (Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany) for systems and computer resources support. Fiscal 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 research, development, testing and evaluation, operations and maintenance (Army), and other procurement funds in the amount of $7,179,527 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is February 20, 2017. Work will be performed at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

January 12, 2015

Six3 Intelligence Solutions Incorporated, McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $12,783,597 firm-fixed-price multi-year contract for intelligence support services in Afghanistan with an estimated completion date of July 9, 2016. One bid was solicited with one received. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $9,587,697 are being obligated at the time of the award. The Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Illinois, is the contracting activity (W560MY-15-C-0004).

January 9, 2015
By George I. Seffers

Besides having one of the coolest names in the Defense Department, Bonny Heet may arguably have one of the coolest jobs as well—program manager for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

The SBIR program and its sister program, the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, encourage domestic small businesses to engage in federal research and development with an eye toward commercialization. Heet reports that 11 federal agencies, including the Defense Department, participate in the SBIR program. Special Operations Command is one of only 13 Defense Department component agencies that have a SBIR program.

January 7, 2015

Exelis Incorporated, Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded an $8,976,038 modification (P00577) to previously awarded contract F19628-02-C-0010 for Globus II sustainment support. The company also was awarded an $8,446,234 modification (P00580) to sustain the infrastructure of the C-6 radar at Eglin Air Force Base, Florid, to include the weapon system management and engineering; field service team; radome maintenance; and requirements definition, analysis and modeling. A third modification (P00576) for $8,090,014 will cover Distributed Space Command and Control-Dahlgren system sustainment.

January 7, 2015

Technical Communications Solutions Corporation, Swampscott, Massachusetts, was awarded a $8,622,068 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales (Jordan) contract for the installation of fiber optic cable that will satisfy the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) fiber optic-last mile (FO-LM) and fiber optic-long haul (FO-LH) requirements, and shall include the installation, testing and sustainment activities required for the JAF FO-LM and the FO-LH cable links. Work will be performed in Jordan, with an estimated completion date of January 6, 2016. One bid was solicited with one received. Fiscal 2015 other procurement funds in the amount of $8,622,068 are being obligated at the time of the award.

January 7, 2015

Argon ST Incorporated, Smithfield, Pennsylvania, is being awarded a $6,532,838 modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-12-D-6216) for the procurement of five AN/SLQ-25A/C countermeasure decoy systems and spares that provide improved naval defense for current threat torpedoes in support of the Undersea Defensive Warfare Programs. The AN/SLQ-25A/C is a digitally controlled, modular design, electro-acoustic softkill countermeasure decoy system. It employs an underwater towed body acoustic projector, which is deployed astern by a fiber optic tow cable including dual tow capability, enhanced torpedo countermeasures, and the littoral fiber optic tow cable.