The U.S. Coast Guard plays a vital role helping tie together pieces of the national security community. The Coast Guard is unique in that, while it is a military service, organizationally it sits within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and clearly has homeland security/counterterrorism, public safety and law enforcement roles. This positioning within several national security communities allows the Coast Guard to provide an invaluable coordination and linking function.
As you know, AFCEA’s primary mission is to promote effective and ethical communication among government, industry and academia. We help inform government on the capabilities that exist in industry to meet its needs, and we help inform industry of government requirements so it can plan investments in research and development and product and service advancement. Recently, we have received several requests to help government obtain visibility of capabilities in industry and academia, large and small, within specific priority areas of interest.
We are seeing a global trend to provide tighter coordination of defense, intelligence, and security planning and operations. In the United States, people refer to the security function as homeland security, while in other countries around the world this function is simply called security or internal security. In many nations, the law prohibits the integration of defense and security to minimize the use of military forces within the nation’s borders except under specific circumstances. But with the growth of the global terrorism threat and asymmetric warfare, the need to achieve synergies among these assets and the need to attend carefully to the seam between defense and security has become apparent to most.
As we move into the New Year, I want to give you a sense of the AFCEA focus for 2011, and a request.
I spent some time last month in
Be honest. When was the last time you thought about the frequency spectrum? For most of you, the answer is probably, “not lately.” We take spectrum for granted. As with water and air, we figure there always will be spectrum when we need it. Just as we have found in recent years that there isn’t always enough clean water and air, we are starting to realize there may not be enough spectrum to meet all requirements.
The intelligence community faces many challenges. Some are unique, but others are symptomatic of problems throughout government. These issues address the need for consistency and reason in intelligence as well as in government decision making. My examples all pertain to the
The fundamental nature of warfare has changed. Asymmetric warfare has become the prominent threat. Non-state actors, often difficult to identify, have become the primary warfighters in many cases. The cyber domain has been recognized as one of the most dangerous and potentially harmful warfighting domains. And, defense and security budgets are strained by a troubled global economy. Does this sound familiar? It is the environment no matter where you sit on this globe.
This month’s SIGNAL Magazine includes a focus on information security, which, these days, I can only think about in the context of the larger cybersecurity problem. There finally is a preoccupation with discussing cybersecurity on an international basis. The important question is, “How much of this dialogue is being converted to action/implementation?” This is a timely subject for me, as I have written this commentary while sitting in an international conference on Regional Collaboration in Cyber Security being held in
The U.S. Army has become a fount of innovation. Under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Jeff Sorenson,
This edition of SIGNAL Magazine includes a focus report on joint operations, and AFCEA holds its Joint Warfighting Conference, partnered with the U.S. Naval Institute, this month at the
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is in the final stages of planning and executing its Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) move from
Probably no other area is receiving more attention and more discussion in the global security community than cyberspace. The realm of cyberspace is so critical to every part of society that it finally has been recognized as both a major asset and a threat environment. It could have tremendous impact on defense as well as crucial industries such as finance, energy, water and others if denied to nations or companies. As a result, every nation is trying to define its roles and vulnerabilities in cyberspace, and alliances such as NATO are creating organizations and procedures to strengthen their position.
No, the title is not a redundancy. Given all the recent events in homeland security, it appears the whole process will undergo yet another round of reviews. I don’t think any of us would question that security is better today than in 2001. But is it good enough? Probably not.
This next set of reviews will bring about many questions. For example, do the gaps we have seen result strictly from communication and collaboration failures, or are there process shortfalls as well? How do we address each of these problems? Can technology improvements help?
AFCEA increasingly is engaged in the effort to improve the acquisition process, particularly as it supports the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and information technology communities. The association addresses this critical topic in this edition of SIGNAL; it has supported some workshops to discuss specific aspects of the problem; and it has held two conferences in the past several months on acquisition.
This is a time when everyone needs to be part of the cyber debate. Our dependency on the cyber environment is greater than ever. Cyber is being recognized as a priority domain for warfare.
I want to depart from my usual Commentary format this month to give you early notice about the upcoming AFCEA International membership survey. The information we derive from this survey is critical to us in our planning and budgeting process for the coming years.
It is fitting that this month’s SIGNAL Magazine includes a focus in on the U.S. Army. The month of August also features the 2009 LandWarNet Conference, the Army’s premier forum for information sharing and training in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) and information technology. LandWarNet 2009 will be held August 18-20 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center,
The preeminence of the expanded use of cyberspace, the desire for more openness in government, and the demands for faster and better information sharing within and among enterprises—particularly in the context of inter-agency and coalition information sharing—have changed fundamentally the demands of information security. The wider reach of our networks and the quest for timely, relevant information have improved decision-making but have made us more dependent on cyberspace and more vulnerable.