Defense Operations

January 1, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon
The goal of the Army's Robotics Limited Demonstration, held by the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, was to get a snapshot of the state of the art in unmanned ground systems (UGVs), such as this Irobot 710 Warrior UGV.

The U.S. Army is looking at the current state of the art in ground robots to revise its requirements for a future unmanned squad support platform. A number of robots were recently evaluated by the service to collect data on their ability to carry supplies, follow infantry over rough terrain and fire weapons in a tactical environment. Army officials say the results of this demonstration will help refine the service’s operational needs and goals before the Army considers launching a procurement program.

January 1, 2014
By Nicole Woodroffe

Few people go more than a few days without updating their Facebook status, “checking-in” at some location on their social media application or tweeting their opinions on Twitter. Service members are no exception. However, they must take extra precautions to avoid the legal pitfalls of compromising operational security or making inappropriate remarks when posting anything on public websites. The legal ramifications for improperly posting information or photos on nonsecure websites, compromising operational security, varies greatly depending on an individual’s situation, what information is disclosed and the results from the disclosure.

January 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
Historical trends indicate that major defense programs like the Joint Strike Fighter could be endangered by deeper than expected budget cuts.

Historical trends during military drawdowns indicate that current Defense Department budget cuts could last for more than a decade. This situation could endanger major acquisition programs and negatively impact the ability of the United States both to pivot forces to the Asia-Pacific region and to maintain a presence in the Middle East, experts say. But the department may have a short window of opportunity to reconcile strategy with lower budgets.

December 11, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Defense Department has launched a contest to push the boundaries of software development with the goal of creating programs that can analyze, diagnose and repair flaws they detect in computer networks. The Cyber Grand Challenge, managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will see teams from industry, academia and the private sector develop software programs and compete against one another in a series of competitions in 2016 for a $2 million prize.

January 1, 2014
By Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, USA (Ret.)

Bored soldiers often invent ways to pass the time. Out on the wide steppes of Central Asia, the conscript regiments of the old Imperial Russian Army found themselves and their men isolated in hundred-man wooden stockades. Their mission involved border defense, keeping watch for bands of horse brigands who raided by day and for parties of well-armed smugglers who slipped across by night. These furtive foes might appear one day in 300. In the long, dreary, dusty interim, glum Russians practiced marching and marksmanship, cleaned weapons and uniforms and stared out at the endless, flat, grassy horizon.

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Pacific Fleet is feeling the pain of budget cuts, and its commander is looking toward industry to provide it with necessary capabilities under tight budgetary conditions. Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, described the approaches he wants industry to take along with the fleet’s requirements on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“We’re looking to our partners in industry to develop the new technologies and capabilities we need,” Adm. Harris declared. “And, we have do it in a fiscally constrained environment.”

December 6, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013: Online Show Daily, Day 3

Quote of the Day:

“The number one question in the Pentagon today is, ‘What am I not going to spend money on?’”—Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The network-centric U.S. Navy could find itself without its core information assets during a conflict in the vast Asia-Pacific region. So, the U.S. Pacific Fleet is embarking on an effort to learn how to function without some of its most important technology capabilities.

Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, outlined that scenario on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Adm. Harris said the fleet is planning for operation in a disconnected, intermittent, low-bandwidth environment, or DIL.

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Future defense information technology is likely to focus on a set of services instead of specific elements. Accordingly, bidders likely will consist of industry teams bringing diverse expertise to the acquisition table.

This view was offered by Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, at the breakfast during the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Halvorsen cited the Navy’s Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) acquisition as an example of the future. The winning bidder was a consortium that comprised several different companies

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Reductions in defense funding are having a greater effect on the force than simply instilling fiscal belt-tightening. Already strapped for cash, the services are exploring innovative ideas for cost-efficient information technology acquisition.

Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, discussed the effect of the budget cuts at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Halvorsen observed that, while each of the military departments is in a different information technology environment, all of the staffs in the services are taking corresponding cuts. “We will have to communicate more effectively,” he offered. ”We won’t have less work.”

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The move to the cloud that is gripping all elements of government and industry offers great potential for the U.S. Navy, according to its chief information officer. Terry Halvorsen told the breakfast audience on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the move to the cloud is one of the best areas for gaining effect in Navy information technology.

However, other elements must fall into place for this move to be successful. Halvorsen said it must be but it must be coupled “with how you look at and structure applications,” adding the Navy has too many applications.

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Information Enterprise (JIE) promises to be the core of force networking, and it will be at the heart of coalition interoperability. An approach to networking allies and nontraditional partners in the JIE may loom in social media.

Establishing communities of interest within the JIE was broached by Randy Cieslak, chief information officer, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Cieslak cited the concept during a panel discussion he was moderating on the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Defense spending must shift its outlook away from what it needs and toward where it can afford not to spend money, according to a Navy information technology executive. Terry Halvorsen, Department of the Navy chief information officer, told the breakfast audience at the final day of TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the department must become more outcome focused and determine the risk of not doing something.

“The number one question in the Pentagon today is, ‘What am I not going to spend money on?’” Halvorsen stated.

December 5, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 Online Show Daily: Day 2

Quote of the Day:

“You may have to make the job fun. What motivated me to get where I am today is not necessarily what will motivate the leaders of tomorrow.”­­­­—Cindy Moran, director, network services, Defense Information Systems Agency

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

An evolving mission network connecting U.S. and Australian forces is being expanded to include other trusted allies with an eye toward adding coalition partner nations. The network is built around a risk-managed approach for sensitive information sharing.

Known as Pegasus, the network expands on the two nations’ Improved Connectivity Initiative (ICI). Maj. Gen. Mike J. Milford, Australia Military, chief technology officer, Chief Information Officer Group of the Australian Department of Defence, outlined details of the network to the Wednesday breakfast audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Now that allied forces have accepted coalitions as a requisite for future military operations, they must undergo a cultural sea change for cybersecurity. Accepting nontraditional partners demands a new way of viewing cybersecurity that entails greater flexibility at its most philosophical level.

“We have realized the value of fighting on a single network instead of multiple networks,” said Maj. Gen. Mike J. Milford, Australia Military, chief technology officer, Chief Information Officer Group of the Australian Department of Defence, at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. “Now, we are moving from a risk averse approach to a risk management approach.”

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The recent humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) effort in the wake of the Philippine typhoon demonstrated new capabilities and vulnerabilities for the broad networking necessary for successful operations. Information was shared to a degree greater than at previous emergencies, but this opened the door to potential information assurance problems.

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The revolutionary nature of cyberspace pales in comparison to the dynamic differences that characterize its work force. Not only do younger workers have different professional goals than their progenitors, but also same-generation technology-savvy workers may have varying outlooks on how to innovate and exploit new capabilities.

A Wednesday panel at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, wrestled with the challenges facing leaders in cyber fields. Senior Master Sgt. Torry Hickson, USAF, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Pacific, stated that an organization dealing with cyber needs a mix of young and old people. This will combine leadership built of wisdom with an innovative spirit with technology knowledge.

December 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:
"If you allow the United States to operate out of sanctuary, we will beat the crap out of you." - Lt. Gen. Stanley T. Kresge, USAF, vice commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, addressing potential adversaries
.

The recent U.S. strategic pivot toward the Pacific has placed that region at the forefront of change in the military. Where in the recent past activities in the area of responsibility (AOR) for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) defined military needs, now the requirements for the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) are emerging as the leading edge of the defense technology sword.

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Pacific Air Forces will benefit greatly from combining its A-3 and A-6, said its director of communications and chief information officer. Col. Michael Finn II, USAF, told the audience at the opening panel discussion at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the Pacific Air Forces would have “a lot of synergy combining the -3 with the -6.”

The concept of cyber readiness has a different perspective from the operations side and the cyber side. This consolidation helps provide warfighting integration across the entire network, Col. Finn said.

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