SIGNAL Online Exclusives

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.

December 16, 2011

This holiday season, don’t fall prey to a criminal’s cyber scam. Protect yourself by following a few simple guidelines when shopping online and giving to charities. Actually, these rules are good all year round as well.

November 30, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

NASA's final space shuttle mission did not mark the end of U.S. space travel. Instead, scientists and engineers now have their sights set on exploring deeper into the solar system with plans to enable trips to Mars and asteroids. A plethora of projects are testing how to supply the food, liquids and fuel necessary for such journeys.

December 5, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

When it comes to Internet content consumed on a mobile device, there may be an app for that … but there’s an important distinction that must be recognized.  

“One of the biggest challenges we see is that many people think of mobile as little Web,” says Gwynne Kostin, director of mobile, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, General Services Administration (GSA).

December 9, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The small form factor of increasingly popular mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets is posing new challenges to those developing applications, or apps, for these items.

November 17, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The community could mitigate smaller reductions with a new approach by veteran officials.

The U.S. intelligence community faces the possibility of devastating budget cuts if the congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction does not reach an agreement by November 23, 2011. The community is not ready for the massive reductions that would be imposed if that congressional committee fails to reach agreement, says a senior defense official.

November 14, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

November 28, 2011

Here’s an interesting look into the inner workings of international cyber criminals by virtue of covertly recorded conversation snippets. The characteristics of similar processes in Western governments, particularly here in the United States, are well known because they are described in detail in the media. Our processes exist to provide accountability, budget constraint, quality assurance and fair competition. The bad guys have a slightly different take on how to go about things.

November 4, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

November 10, 2011
George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

U.S. Army officials are planning improvements to the Army’s mobile cloud computing platform commonly used in Afghanistan. The next version of the Battle Command Common Services (BCCS) system will mark the Army’s first attempt to align the cloud platform with the Common Operating Environment. It will improve interoperability between the operations and intelligence communities, ultimately improving situational awareness for warfighters.

November 3, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

It may take a village of computer experts to build the next generation of networks as access, identification, applications and security concerns weigh heavily on planners and managers alike. New networking trends such as the proliferation of social media are complicating efforts to find solutions to thorny problems such as cybermarauders, who are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

November 2, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The future is in the East, and the United States must adapt to ensure that it can meet the challenges of the Asia-Pacific region in the 21st century. These challenges are complex and diverse, and the U.S. military must carry out an increasingly changing mission under tightening budget constraints.

November 2, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and the U.S. Air Force have created a coordinated strategy for certifying commercial launch vehicles to send their payloads into space, including Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle missions. The document will provide commonalities across the organizations while allowing each to specify its own criteria. Through the effort, more companies will compete for the contracts.

October 26, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Defense Department has struggled for years to find ways to deploy mobile devices without introducing new vulnerabilities to its networks. But a recently released report from researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, predicts an explosion of cell phone threats in the coming months and reveals newly emerging vulnerabilities, including weaknesses in mobile device browsers.  

October 13, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Group 4 has reduced its time to process Government Purchase Card acquisitions from months to 3.2 days with a combination of technology and employee involvement. The resulting system not only lessens the time from request submission to purchase completion, it also walks users through processes to eliminate mistakes and can create various reports automatically for a variety of purposes.

October 20, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A new U.S. Army generator technology is saving fuel and lives in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan. Known as a microgrid, the technology links smart generators to provide the appropriate amount of power when it is needed.

A 1-megawatt system already has been deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, where it has replaced several generators and is conserving fuel while providing uninterrupted power to its users. Fuel saved translates to potential lives saved, as convoys carrying fuel to U.S. Afghanistan outposts have come under increasing fire from Taliban guerillas.

October 3, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A researcher at the University of Texas at Dallas has discovered a new way to anticipate the actions of computer viruses, possibly heralding a new generation of tools and strategies to combat malware that attacks networks, servers and individual personal computers.

An added bonus: those tools take advantage of computing capabilities and instructions already “baked into” a wide range of computer chips now in use.

September 15, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

A February exercise will test concept of networking unmanned systems.

September 9, 2011
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The federal agency responsible for oversight of the nation’s telecommunications is trying to adapt to changing technologies.

The Federal Communications Commission is in the midst of a rulemaking process for Docket No. 11-82, which would extend the commission’s rules under Part 4 of the Communications Act to telecommunications networks based on voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology, and broadband networking services provided by Internet service providers (ISPs).