SIGNAL Online Exclusives

December 16, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The first satellite built by the U.S. Army in more than five decades launched last week, ushering in a new phase of space use for the military branch. Officials with the program intend experiments with the demonstration technology to lead to a number of identical satellites that could be deployed together in low Earth orbit to simulate tactical communications capabilities and to evaluate nanosatellite performance.

December 9, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The Air Combat Command (ACC) is executing a plan that delivers more combat power through an innovative Combat Air Force (CAF) information-sharing capability. The U.S. Air Force Portal will host this dynamic method to accelerate the resource allocation decision-making process.

November 29, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive


December 2, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

U.S. military command and control (C2) systems developers are closer to enhanced interoperability after the release of C2 Core Version 1.0 in October. The core is an open, Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based data exchange standard developed by the C2 community for capability implementation. These data standards change the current approach to military-systems design that results in unique interfaces, often with multiple standards for similar data, for each information exchange.

November 18, 2010
By Beverly Cooper, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The silver anniversary of the first PC virus is approaching in January, but even after 25 years, no victory celebration is on the horizon. That first virus, distributed on a 5 1/4 floppy disk, was called the Brain, and it originated in Pakistan as a way to curtail pirating. This boot sector infection, which was fairly harmless, spread around the world in 1986 on floppy disks, introducing the world to a new type of vulnerability. Malicious programming distributed as computer viruses has become exponentially more dangerous since the early attacks as the Internet has provided the platform for rapid, stealthy spread of these and other nefarious cyberattacks.

November 10, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Representatives from more than a dozen nations came together last week to wrap up the two-year Multinational Experiment 6 (MNE6), share their conclusions and solidify their plans for the future. In the vast majority of cases, action on the event’s categories of the four main objectives involves developing concepts and doctrine. However, in at least one case—logistics—MNE6 resulted in a concrete solution that has already been fielded in Afghanistan.

November 3, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The General Services Administration (GSA) is establishing 15 virtual meeting centers across the United States for use by government personnel. Scheduled to open in 2011, the centers will be available to representatives from all federal agencies, military and civilian, and should help reduce greenhouse emissions and travel.

October 13, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

October 21, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Air Force Personnel Center is transferring virtually all human resources-related information technology responsibilities to the Defense Information Systems Agency, becoming a customer rather than a human resources systems owner, according to Robert Berger, deputy director, Personnel Data Systems at Air Force Personnel Center.

October 5, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. military’s leading agency in creating mind-boggling devices that literally save warfighters’ lives is joining the app generation in a big way. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated its Transformative Apps program in April of this year; by the time the Broad Agency Announcement closed at the end of August, DARPA had been inundated with hundreds of tactical app ideas from places that ranged from companies to soldiers in the field.

September 30, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Within a year or two, the U.S. military could field a portable, laser backpack device that will provide a three-dimensional (3-D) map of buildings. The reconnoitering pack could be used by reconnaissance scouts to form a 3-D, interactive image of buildings that other troops might have to access at a later time.

September 21, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The U.S. Marine Corps now has its first fully assembled Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system and is working to overcome past difficulties to put the asset in warfighters' hands. Plans to upgrade multiple radar capabilities with the single system hit some snags over the past few years, but developers are back on track after finding solutions to the problems.

September 24, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

September 17, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Trawling the Internet can be a dangerous activity, but the security status of different types of websites is not the same, Sorin Mustaca, data security expert, says. However, when more than 3,300 people responded to a survey about Internet security on the Avira GmbH website, more than a third of the respondents said when it comes to security, all websites are equally dangerous. Mustaca, who works for Avira, says in reality, some sites and computer activities are riskier than others, but Web devotees can take simple precautions to protect themselves from e-predators.

September 1, 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

The Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) is working to keep U.S. citizens safe from dirty bombs by conducting exercises on the other side of the world. Members representing the initiative recently wrapped up a three-scenario tabletop exercise in Mongolia to help the country prevent terrorists from obtaining its nuclear or radiological material.

September 9, 2010
By Rachel Eisenhower, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Give two cents—get big prizes. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), in partnership with ChallengePost, launched on September 7 at the Gov 2.0 Summit 2010 in Washington, D.C. The free online challenge platform invites the general public to propose solutions to government challenges, including the U.S. Army’s push for new training and simulation tools utilizing artificial intelligence.

August 5, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Open-source, social networking tool is designed to help employees get the job done.

August 12, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

August 19, 2010
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Years from now, engineers and scientists across the U.S. Defense Department may double-click an icon on their desktop computer screens and access the phenomenal processing power of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Defense Department Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Those computers are currently capable of processing 350 trillion calculations per second. 

July 29, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive

Speed was the focus of the Trident Warrior 2010 (TW10) U.S. Navy experiment: increasing the speed of communications, assessments and especially acquisition. Participants in the event evaluated nearly 100 technologies that touched upon areas such as networks; coalition information operations; command and control; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. With the support of the U.S. Marine Corps, early feedback about the experiment reveals that TW10 resulted in resolution of some maritime domain awareness doctrine issues.