SIGNAL Online Exclusives

August 13, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The 2012 Olympics may be over in London, but the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has laid down a competitive challenge of a different sort—this time for the world's robotics experts.

This fall, the Pentagon's top science and research organization officially launches the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The goal, according to DARPA's broad agency announcement posted on FedBizOps, is "to develop ground robotic capabilities to execute tasks in dangerous, degraded, human engineered environments."

August 2, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The failure of a cloture motion on Thursday ended any chance of the U.S. Senate passing the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 before the August recess.

Four high-ranking federal officials on Wednesday had urged the U.S. Senate to pass the cybersecurity bill by Friday, August 3. The four officials—John Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, commander, U.S. Cyber Command, and director, National Security Agency; Jane Holl Lute, deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; and Eric Rosenbach, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, had called for the Senate to pass the legislation quickly.

August 2, 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

MORPHINATOR prototype will be designed to discombobulate cyber attackers.

The U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) is building a prototype network capable of morphing over time to confuse cyber intruders and thwart attacks on military networks. The Morphing Network Assets to Restrict Adversarial Reconnaissance (MORPHINATOR) prototype is scheduled to be available in the 2014 fiscal year and will be capable of pulling a cyber bait-and-switch on unsuspecting network intruders.

July 18, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The agency sets lofty goals for its personnel to serve customers.

July 24, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive
The iRobot Packbot 510 equipped with the User Assist Package.
July 13, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

July 5, 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Systems and technologies undergoing scrutiny at the U.S. Army’s next Network Integration Evaluation this fall will first have to pass muster in the service’s newly opened laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The new lab facility is expected to reduce the risk associated with some new technologies and systems. It also is designed to save time, money and integration headaches during future evaluation exercises.

June 15, 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

UPDATED 6/18/2012: The U.S. Defense Department announces winner of new defense network operations contract.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has announced that Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions Division, Manassas, Virginia, has won to the potential $4.6 billion Global Information Grid Services Management-Operations contract.

June 17, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The new plan lists goals and objectives for exploiting commercial technologies.

Advanced 4G mobile service, the use of personal mobile devices and its own dedicated apps are among the objectives of Version 2.0 of the U.S. Defense Department’s Mobile Device Strategy. Released Friday, June 15, 2012, the strategy lists three major goals and several subset objectives designed to bring the benefits of mobile systems to the department.

June 25, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

As U.S. military organizations and the private companies that support them struggle to adjust to decreases in funding, they are searching for efficiencies even in seemingly small matters. One area easily overlooked is office printers, but by making thoughtful selections through a well-planned process, information technology administrators can cut costs while simultaneously enhancing security.

June 11, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

As recently as a few years ago, Second Life was a vital, flourishing virtual community in which users carried on their lives, interacting with others and “living” fully imagined existences within the memory of a large computer server.

In fact, Second Life caught the imagination of the U.S. military, and in some cases, members of the services began using Second Life for real-world collaboration and to solve problems shared by all services.

May 30, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

More cyber attacks launch from within the United States than anywhere else according to the latest threat report from McAfee, but the implications of the statistics are less obvious than they appear. Cybercriminals from other nations are routing their aggression through vulnerable U.S. Internet protocol (IP) addresses because outdated domains make easy targets. So while the country might not be the biggest breeding ground for hackers, its infrastructure has troubling weaknesses.

May 21, 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

May 24, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Army is making good on the mantra "train as you fight" by connecting units in garrison with the same mission command systems they use during deployments. Breaking through the bureaucracy inherent in putting these tactical technologies on a strategic network means that soldiers will be better prepared for their work in theater.

May 11, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

In recent weeks, federal officials have alerted the operators of natural gas pipelines that their computer networks have been the targets of a series of cyber attacks.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirm that their Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, along with the FBI and other agencies, have been working with pipeline companies to answer the threats.

May 3, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

 Hard and fast objects form the foundation for the Pentagon’s newest effort at a C4 enterprise.

The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Information Enterprise (JIE), launched by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Operational Deputies, will be built on “five big rocks,” according to the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., USN, told the audience at the AFCEA NOVA Naval IT Day on May 3 that big rocks must serve as the foundation so that little rocks can be implemented atop them.

April 24, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The situation in Afghanistan is good but not great, and corruption is the biggest problem facing the nation, according to Maj. Gen. John A. Toolan Jr., USMC. Gen. Toolan commanded the II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) and Regional Command (Southwest) concurrently between 2011 and 2012.

April 13, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. State Department wants to spend as much as $1 billion over the next five years to expand its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to be used primarily for embassy security and to protect transportation routes.

The agency’s formal request for proposal (RFP), issued in March, seeks bids for “real-time air surveillance of fixed installations, proposed movement routes, and special events thereby improving security in high-threat or potentially high-threat environments.”

April 18, 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Defense and State departments released a joint report to Congress this week recommending that the country relax export controls on communications satellites that do not contain classified components and remote sensing satellites with performance parameters below certain thresholds. The recommendation also includes the systems, subsystems, parts and components for those satellites, if they also fall below certain performance thresholds. Additionally, it recommends returning to the president the authority to decide export control jurisdictional status of satellites.

March 29, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Future homeland security efforts will require greater cooperation among different organizations.

Securing the homeland will require closer cooperation among military and civilian government organizations as diverse threats adopt each others’ tactics and techniques. Terrorists, smugglers and other organized crime entities have learned from each other and, in some cases, are joining forces to threaten Western democracies in new ways.

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