Guest Blogs

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.

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 5, 2015
By Ed Bender

Outside the world of government, video traffic is mostly about watching clips on YouTube and streaming a favorite Netflix series. Within the government, particularly the U.S. Defense Department, video traffic—more specifically videoconference calling—often is far more mission critical.

November 4, 2014
By Chris LaPoint

When a mission-critical application experiences an outage or severe performance degradation, the pressure on the agency and its information technology (IT) contractors to find and fix the problem quickly can be immense. Limited holistic visibility into the status of the underlying IT infrastructure in a high-stakes situation can result in interdepartmental finger-pointing and delay in resolution, so narrowing down the root cause of the problem wherever it exists within the application stack (appstack) and enabling the appropriate IT specialists to quickly address the underlying problem is essential.

October 20, 2014
By Anthony Robbins

Network modernization is becoming a priority for defense agencies—and for good reason. Much of our defense network infrastructure was conceived 20 years ago and put into place almost a decade ago.

While the networks remain the same, the technologies that depend on them have advanced, and innovation can no longer be supported by outdated and ineffective infrastructure. Near real-time access to data enabled by the latest technologies and Internet-connected sensors can improve situational awareness for warfighters. They also build the foundation for more advanced communication and intelligent tactical networks that are crucial to the missions of our military.

September 23, 2014
By Chris LaPoint

When your personal applications are slow, there’s no doubt it’s frustrating. The news clip buffers, the song won’t download, a game takes ages to start up, etc. But when apps perform slowly for military, intelligence or other critical government entities, national security might, in fact, be at risk.

August 25, 2014
By Chris LaPoint

“There's an app for that” is truer than ever these days. As bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and bring-your-own-app (BYOA) concepts are increasingly infiltrating government agencies, public sector information technology departments must consider the impact these apps and devices have on their own environments. In this blog post, we’ll look at two security strategies in use at agencies today and how to balance security and flexibility in today’s mobile environment.
 

Security Strategy 1: Pure Separation
 

July 31, 2014
By Jessica Gulick

Innovation comes in many forms. From gradual evolution or through disruptive processes; as a result of revolutionary thinking or from a confluence of ideas from different entities that share a common goal. Today, we’re seeing more and more innovation blossoming from partnerships among seemingly disparate groups all looking for similar outcomes, whether they concern peace, productivity or profit.

July 3, 2014
By Chris LaPoint

Thousands of military information technology security personnel probably sat down at their computers this morning and opened a spreadsheet listing hundreds of rules for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) compliance. They then might have spent hours logging onto information technology devices, looking at configurations and laboriously going through them line by line to ensure each setting matched the rules in that spreadsheet.

In six months, they’ll do it all over again.

June 4, 2014
By Chris LaPoint

It is impossible to protect a network you don’t even know exists. Identifying and protecting networks are a few of the many challenges the U.S. military faces today. Thousands of small networks exist across the Army alone—just one of the organizations attempting to consolidate, eliminate and standardize its service while following the evolving Joint Information Environment (JIE) standards. Ongoing changes in the tactical networks—the mobile battlefield—should provide the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) with an increased ability to discover and address vulnerabilities in these networks.

May 27, 2014
By Anthony Robbins

Ongoing budget cuts place the Defense Department in a challenging situation, tasked with continually supporting warfighters on an increasingly tight budget. The most direct route for the department to accomplish mission goals and support warfighters is through information technology innovation. And so to quote Gen. William L. Shelton, USAF: “If there was ever a time for innovation, this is it.”

April 30, 2014
By Chris LaPoint

When it comes to large federal organizations, tension always exists between local and central personnel who have different priorities, available resources and levels of control. In the case of complex computer networks such as those of the U.S. Defense Department, that tension is especially apparent between the information technology (IT) professionals who keep the systems running at the local level and the folks at headquarters who oversee all of an agency’s operations.

April 23, 2014
By Matthew Smith

Whether a well-established company or one just getting started with cybersecurity risk management programs, those in the industry often can use a little help navigating the cumbersome and technical systems. This snapshot features pointers to clarify existing guidance and help organizations manage cybersecurity risk.

August 30, 2013
By Paul Christman and Jamie Manuel

 
Recently at the AFCEA International Cyber Security Summit in Bethesda, MD, Army Maj. Gen. John A. Davis, Senior Military Advisor for Cyber to the Under Secretary of Defense, said  “Cyber partnerships such as those with the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency and external partnerships such as those with industry, international allies and academia represent a transformation in the way DOD approaches cybersecurity.”
 
For years, the U.S. Defense Department, not surprisingly, took a “do it alone” posture when it came to sharing information and protecting its networks and communication infrastructures from security attacks.
 

April 12, 2013
By Dr. Louis S. Metzger

The latest Incoming column from Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN, titled “Link Warfighters to Technologists at the Lowest Possible Level” (SIGNAL Magazine, April 2013), resonated with observations I’ve made and conclusions I’ve reached over the years. I’ve been involved with the research and development and acquisition communities for a long time, including serving as the Air Force chief scientist from 1999 to 2001. Perhaps my adding to Lt. Kohlmann’s advice will help it gain additional traction, and stimulate further discussion and activity.

March 25, 2013
By Michael Carter

The current driving force in the military and defense environment is to keep legacy systems operating longer, or the replacement of legacy systems with new systems that emulate one or more legacy systems with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. However, there is insufficient budget to fund development of these COTS systems, and the burden of development falls upon private industry. The current sequestration environment adds another burden on industry to perform to the needs of the military, but without the benefit of nonrecurring engineering (NRE) costs being reimbursed.

March 14, 2013
By Rick Hansen

The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program recently implemented a simplified sign-on capability that enables federal, state and local law enforcement to collaborate. The flexible environment is based on the Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management guidance and facilitates the use of Common Access Cards and Personal Identity Verification cards for use across organizational boundaries. RISS is working with several state law enforcement agencies to provide them with federated identification for access to resources within their state that are hosted on the Regional Information Sharing Systems Law Enforcement Cloud (RISSNET).

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.

June 11, 2012
By Dan Ward

The Air Force Chief of Staff had but three critical requirements for the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM): "It should work; it should hit the target; and it should cost under $40,000 each." The former Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Jacques Gansler held on to this handwritten request, as reported in "Aligning Acquisition Strategies With the Times," written earlier this year by SIGNAL defense editor Max Cacas. Could such a simplified approach possibly lead to developing an effective new capability?

May 25, 2012
By Jonathan Cisneros

I always look forward to Memorial Day just for the fact that we get to celebrate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and not to mention, it always falls on my birthday or the day after. For those who have lost their lives and for the Wounded Warriors that now have long roads to recovery, we owe them the homage and the support they ultimately deserve. As we all get ready to bust out our grills, head to the pools and begin our shopping sprees, we should all take a moment and thank those who have given us the freedom to do these activities. Today I am greatly appreciative of the opportunity I have to help our Wounded Warriors and their families.

Pages