SIGNAL Online Exclusives

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.

April 3, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Tethered aerostats with Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDSs) that fly over separate forward operating bases in Afghanistan received capability upgrades recently with the addition of new Kestrels. Unlike the former versions, the revamped technology includes electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) features, enabling users to have a 360-degree view of targets in a city-size area after sundown and during the day. The addition of nighttime data gathering is growing in importance for coalition forces in Operation Enduring Freedom as insurgents adapt their techniques to attack after dark when detection is more difficult.

March 16, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Industry has 10 days to respond.

The U.S. Navy has released its updated draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) that originally was scheduled for December 2011. The Navy opted to delay RFP release to  update sections L and M. Section L deals with instructions, conditions and notices to offerors, while Section M addresses evaluation ratings.

March 21, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Technical advances in the field of virtual reality, also known as virtual worlds (VWs), are making it possible for the U.S Navy to tap into the collective expertise of its best submariners to design and build the next generation of attack submarines.

March 15, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) wrapped up its annual review earlier this month, during which the organization's program managers had a chance to showcase their work to authorities from defense, government, academia and the general public. Already personnel have identified areas where research will adjust to meet identified needs with more detailed plans expected soon. This year's event included a new interactive feature as well as the continuance of a unique effort that began in 2011.

Thursday, March 8, 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Battery charger takes center stage during Senate budget hearing.

It’s not often that objects as small as battery chargers and solar blankets become the center of attention at a U.S. Senate budget hearing where multibillion-dollar programs are discussed, but for a few minutes of the March 8 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, U.S. Army officials touted the need for such items to take a load off of the backs of soldiers.

February 22, 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

February 13, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

As expected, President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 defense budget request reflects significant changes in the force structure of the military, adjustments in major weapons systems, and a proposal for two consecutive rounds of base realignment and closure (BRAC).

The fiscal 2013 proposal, contained in the president’s budget message delivered today to Congress, calls for a $525.4 billion topline budget—a reduction of $5.2 billion from the current fiscal year. In addition, the budget calls for $88.5 billion for overseas contingency operations, primarily the war in Afghanistan, which is down $26.6 billion.

February 10, 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months and the intervention of high-level Pentagon officials helped the NATO nations to move forward on the Alliance Ground Surveillance system. The surveillance system is designed to provide commanders with a more comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground.

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

First installation planned for fleet destroyer in late FY2012 

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, has selected Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems Corporation to develop and produce the Navy's next-generation tactical afloat network, Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES).

February 3, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The former head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says he believes a forthcoming period of budget restrictions should provide the impetus for the DHS to shift its intelligence efforts away from overseas threats and focus instead on domestic security.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

 

January 23, 2012
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Army deployed four large unmanned ground systems to Afghanistan earlier this month to assess their ability to lighten the load for combat troops.  

January 26, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta today offered the first glimpse into changes in store for the U.S. military that will come to pass if the president's 2013 Pentagon budget is approved by Congress. Those changes include reductions for two major branches of the military, adjustments in some major weapons systems, and asking Congress for authorization to begin a new round of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

January 18, 2012
By Rita Cooper, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

With the military's current mandates to increase efficiencies, virtualization offers multiple benefits to the armed forces. Projects underway at the National Security Agency are advancing its use, but the government needs to reconcile security requirements with available capabilities before warfighters enjoy the full benefit of the technology.

January 10, 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

With the new year only a few days old, one of the information technology industry’s biggest security firms is out with its annual predictions of the top cybersecurity threats for 2012. 

David Marcus, director of security research with McAfee Labs and a principal co-author of the study, says threats against industrial and industry networks top the list. “A lot of people don’t realize that SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition] and industrial systems are just as vulnerable to cyberattack as any other network,” he says.

January 5, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Out with the old (Cold War systems), in with the new: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta says that ISR, space and cyber will be new priority areas as the Defense Department embarks on a strategy befitting the new global security environment.

Speaking at a January 5 Pentagon press conference, Panetta defined the future military as “a smaller and leaner force” with reductions coming in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps. This force will be more agile and flexible, ready to deploy quickly, and it will feature new technologies and other advances. The Army and Marine Corps will not need to be sized to support “long-term stability operations,” Panetta observed.

December 23, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Officials in the Tampa FBI office recently awarded a badge and credentials to a non-agent for what, according to their research, is the first time in the bureau’s history. Sgt. Joel Tavera, USA, received the honor in recognition of the sacrifice he made serving his country and to pay tribute to his persistent spirit. But he set the process in motion with a little playful cheek.

December 15, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Navy’s rescheduling of the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) request for proposals (RFP) should not delay the program, according to a Navy official. After slating an RFP release for December 21, the Navy changed course and extended the RFP release date to sometime in late January 2012 at the earliest.

Navy officials say that the reason for delaying the RFP is to update sections L and M. Section L deals with instructions, conditions and notices to offerors, while Section M addresses evaluation ratings. The updated sections, which will contain the latest revisions since the release of a draft RFP in September, are being released to industry for review and comment.

December 19, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Although still in the planning stages, next year’s National Level Exercise will likely include analysis of the role of social media during a major cyber event, according to sources participating in the exercise. 

The annual National Level Exercises (NLEs) are multi-agency events involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Defense Department, various state and local governments and many others. The NLEs are designed to improve the national response to major catastrophes, including earthquakes, terrorist attacks and nuclear incidents. Next year’s exercise, NLE 12, will focus on cyber issues.

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