U.S. Congress has approved full funding for the prelaunch processes to continue on the tri-agency Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite system, developed to help monitor for potentially disastrous sun storms. The funding ensures systems are a go for a January space launch. It is set to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9, built by the private space technology company founded by Elon Musk.
SIGNAL Online Exclusives
If a key weather satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) goes down before its replacement launches, the agency needs to mitigate the forecasted gap in data collection by relying on commercial weather data, according to a U.S. congressman.
NASA has awarded its long-awaited Commercial Crew Development contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to build the next generation of spacecraft that will deliver astronauts to the International Space Station beginning in 2017. The two firms will build, deliver and launch space capsules of their own design to provide human access to low Earth orbit. Currently, U.S. astronauts can reach the space station only by purchasing seats aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft for $70 million each.
The total potential contract value will be $6.8 billion for spacecraft certification over the life of the contracts, according to Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator. Boeing will receive $4.2 billion, and SpaceX will receive $2.6 billion.
The U.S. Defense Department is primed to take a first step toward the realization of the colossal concept of connecting its entire network system under the Joint Information Environment (JIE).
For more than a year, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), along with the Army, Air Force and defense contractor Lockheed Martin, has worked on the joint regional security stacks (JRSS), a key upgrade to streamline network operations and, officials say, improve security.
The U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network, or NGEN, is on schedule to complete its transition on October 1, according to Navy and contractor officials. While the transition has not been without unexpected challenges, it has been relatively seamless to the user, the officials note. The transition has reached 74 percent of its seats and more than 90 percent of its overall activity, they add.
As implemented, the NGEN program should be “flexible and agile” enough to address changing Navy missions and force structure, the officials offer. This agility includes the ability to modify the contract if necessary.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed five experts as new board members for the First Responder Network Authority, a nascent independent board tasked by Congress to develop the first-ever nationwide EMS network.
Better known as FirstNet, the endeavor falls under the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and will be a wireless public safety broadband network to provide better communications technology for police, fire and rescue personnel.
Pritzker appointed Thursday the following individuals:
Garrett Anderson already is a statistic. He is a wounded combat veteran. He is an amputee. He suffers from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. But for his two daughters’ sake more than his own, Anderson says he’s working to avoid being counted in the daunting statistic that plagues 9.2 percent of U.S. veterans: unemployment.
Despite feeling overwhelmed, Anderson went back to school and attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is working toward a degree in social work.
U.S. Navy officials have revealed that the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program office and the Office of Naval Research are experimenting with cloud computing to help reduce hardware on ships.
College students of today are studying for jobs that have yet to be conceived—an insight into the rapidity at which fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are transforming.
“The kids in school now, the jobs they’ll be doing in five years haven’t been invented yet,” says Erica Bertoli, Outreach coordinator at the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) in Maryland.
U.S. border patrol agents watched on surveillance videos as suspected drug smugglers chatted on cellular phones. But when agents sought phone records for investigations into the suspected nefarious activity along the Texas-Mexico divide, commercial service providers came up empty-handed. There simply were no logs. How were the smugglers evading commercial providers?
U.S. Customs and Border Protection turned to Lockheed Martin for its LUMEN Active Defense technology of sensors that can help detect rogue cellular base stations devised to circumvent cellular service providers.
Foreign fighters, general Middle East unrest and how to handle the unfolding events in Ukraine led interests during the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation (AUSMIN) 2014 discussion this week. The issues have particular relevance for Australians recently, who lost 38 citizens in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17, and have dealt with photos of one its citizen families, including a 7-year-old child, holding a severed head as its fights in Iraq.
The business world is taking a cue from the gaming world, increasingly using a system of incentives and old-fashioned competition to spur employee engagement. Gamification, which started out on video game screens with top score designations and leaderboards, is now helping companies meet real-life objectives.
“We’re taking what we know from games … and applying that to non-game contexts,” said Mike Campanelli, senior systems engineer at RadiantBlue Technologies, in a presentation from the AFCEA Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee to the entire Intelligence Committee.
Systems entered in the U.S. Navy’s 17th annual RoboSub competition, held July 28-Aug. 3, are far more sophisticated than the toys that competed in the first competition, which was launched in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“In the earlier days when we first did this, the systems were considered to be some kind of toys,” says Steve Koepenick, an autonomous systems expert with the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, which hosts the competition. “They are now tools. They’re part of the kit that our sailors and Marines take into theater with them. That’s reflected in the competition and the things the students are trying to do.”
The U.S. military’s increased reliance on global positioning satellite (GPS) technologies has triggered adversarial forces to improve upon technology to disrupt the warfighters’ usage in the age-old war games of one-upmanship.
U.S. Army engineers developed technology prototypes aimed at weaning U.S. forces from reliance on GPS systems. The Warfighter Integrated Navigation System (WINS), while intended to serve as a backup to GPS usage, not as a replacement, can operate independently and free of a satellite link and still give warfighters precise positioning and timing data.
The United States military has for decades invested in sophisticated and expensive technologies that take years, sometimes even decades, to develop. While those systems provide an advantage on the battlefield, the nation can no longer afford to continue the same strategy, according to Dr. Arati Prabhakar, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department’s premier agency for developing advanced technologies.
A resurgence of activity has hit the mergers and acquisition market this year, with companies operating in big data analytics and cybersecurity seeing a lot of the action, experts say.
"We believe [big data analytics] is going to be an enduring problem," said David Wodlinger, principal with Arlington Capital Partners, a leading investor firm in defense technology and the aerospace market. "Data is getting created at such an astronomical rate, the quality of sensors are getting so much better … that the market for companies that have the capabilities to analyze these massive amounts of data is going to be hot now and going to be hot for the foreseeable future.
A small form factor device that will allow communications from low-level unclassified networks up to high-level secret classified networks has completed the development stage and is in the process of transferring to its new program. Created at the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), the Tactical Army Cross Domain Information Sharing (TACDIS) tool is an easy-to-connect cable that will enhance situational awareness at the top to protect troops at the tactical edge.
The U.S. Navy's pet project for a carrier-launched unmanned aerial vehicle came under fire by experts this week, who told a congressional subcommittee that the sea service’s proposal is redundant, already obsolete and will leave naval forces with a vulnerable platform.
The Navy has dedicated years toward the creation of what it calls a "persistent, aircraft carrier-based intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting and strike capability to support carrier air wing operations" platform, which has become known as the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system.
The U.S. Defense Department Office of the Inspector General (IG) launches today a social media and poster campaign to spread the word of whistleblower protections afforded to defense contractors and subcontractors.
On July 1, 2013, amendments to Title 10, section 2409, extended whistleblower protections to employees of Defense Department subcontractors, no longer just to employees of prime contractors and federal employees.
The missile system claimed by a Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser to be responsible for the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine is manufactured in Ukraine and is in use by both Ukrainian and Russian military forces. If the missile system is confirmed as the cause of the crash, determining which side fired it could be difficult, especially if Russia provided the type of missile to rebel forces in eastern Ukraine.