October 3, 2013
By Rita Boland

The latest advancement in graphene research shows promise for improving electronics and biological or chemical sensors by pushing or pulling liquid droplets across the surface. By placing long chemical gradients onto the graphene, scientists can control the substances’ flow. Through this capability, scientists can create larger puddles, making it easier to detect dangers such as nerve agents or bacteria in water.

August 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
This rendering proposes a virtual window screen across the rear ramp of an armored vehicle. It would give troops riding in the vehicle a critical picture of their surroundings, which they currently lack.

Researchers are developing new ways of enabling troops inside personnel carriers to see their outside environment without increasing their vulnerability to hostile fire. The goal is to provide enhanced 360-degree situational awareness from sensors installed on a vehicle as well as from other off-board cameras in the area.

Service members sitting inside certain armor-protected military vehicles are often similar to sardines, encased in a metal box with no means for ascertaining their surroundings. These all-metal, no-window platforms put troops at a definite disadvantage, unable to eyeball threats or opportunities.

June 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
A U.S. Marine Corps F-35 aircraft is escorted by two Marine F/A-18 Hornets as it flies toward Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Later this year, the Defense Department will establish a program of record to ensure communications between different generations of fighter aircraft, and that program will feed into the Joint Aerial Layer Network vision.

The concept connects disparate networks to provide greater information to warfighters.

U.S. military officials envision one day being able to network together virtually all airborne assets, providing data to warfighters in the air, on the ground and at sea, even under the most harsh conditions. Major milestones in the coming months and years will bring that concept closer to a fielded capability.

May 9, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Software enables users to access and control information from different vehicles.

A new software tool incorporated into common control systems can allow different users to exploit data from a variety of unmanned aerial systems (UASs). The tool ultimately may permit forces to control unmanned systems launched by other services in joint operations.

April 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Future conflicts likely will be fought in degraded information technology environments, which will require the U.S. Navy to develop and exploit new capabilities to continue to operate in contested cyberspace. Technologies such as a flexible information grid, assured timing services and directed energy weapons must be part of the naval information system arsenal if the sea service is to maintain information dominance through the year 2028.

April 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
The U.S. Army is striving to develop a multifunction electronic warfare, or MFEW, system that will provide a defensive electronic attack capability.

Melding the disciplines of spectrum combat will enable greater flexibility and more capabilities.

The growth in battlefield electronics has spurred a corresponding growth in electronic warfare. In the same manner that innovative technologies have spawned new capabilities, electronic warfare is becoming more complex as planners look to incorporate new systems into the battlespace.

March 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
Artist’s rendering of the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System scheduled for fielding to the U.S. Army in 2014. The system will provide enhanced connectivity to the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, the service branch’s premier intelligence enterprise.

The plug-and-play technology will close large capability gaps in the field.

The U.S. Army is developing the first airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform fully enabled to connect analysts with the Distributed Common Ground System-Army. That system will help remedy problems currently hindering soldiers from having all data feed into a single repository. With the new aircraft, the process will be streamlined from the flying support, so information reaches ground commanders faster to facilitate more timely decision making.

February 20, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The Long Beach Police Department dive team adopts new homeland security equipment.

The Long Beach, California, police department dive team is now using a newly acquired search and recovery system to help protect the local port, shipping lanes and critical infrastructure.

February 1, 2013
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.
The Gorgon Stare sensor system is being mounted in Afghanistan on USAF/General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This system from Exelis and Sierra Nevada Corporation can zoom in on and transmit up to 64 different images to soldiers on the ground.

Industry opens up an array of real-time imaging

Sweeping advances in sensor technologies are enabling wide-area airborne persistent surveillance on both manned and unmanned aircraft. Emerging sensor systems can provide high-resolution mosaic imagery for large swaths of the battlefield while focusing on individual objects.

These intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor systems are winning their spurs on the battlefield in Afghanistan. They are meeting combat commanders’ urgent operational requirements to provide city-size area coverage. These sensors simultaneously can focus on and track individual vehicles and dismounted hostiles.

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A new computing architecture emphasizes shared resources.

The nation’s intelligence community has embarked on a path toward a common computer desktop and a cloud computing environment designed to facilitate both timely sharing of information and cost savings. The implementation could result in budget savings of 20 to 25 percent over existing information technology spending within six years, but the ramifications could include large cultural changes that result both in lost jobs and business for industry partners.

August 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

August 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman


An image from a corrugated quantum well infrared photodetector (C-QWIP) shows traffic flowing along a highway near Kings Island theme park in Mason, Ohio. Note the white "hot" spots on the tires and engines in some of the vehicles and the sharp detail of the rock-lined pond in the foreground.

August 2010
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine


The Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, in conjunction with several partners, is developing a chemical sensor that would fit into smart phones. The sensors would promote public safety and homeland security by crowd sourcing the sensors and would enhance private safety by alerting smart phone users to toxins in their areas.

April 2006
By Robert K. Ackerman

A soldier with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team looks for insurgents during a nighttime raid in Mosul, Iraq. Operations in Iraq have impelled the U.S. Army to speed advanced sensor development and deployment to warfighters.
An Army directorate develops a wide range of new sensors to serve the warfighter.

April 2006
By Maryann Lawlor

April 2006
By Rita Boland

Argonne National Laboratory scientist Susan Hammond tests a biochip in an Argonne-developed portable slide reader. Argonne researchers are developing a rapid, portable biological sensor that could provide greater protection for deployed troops as well as for first responders.
Argonne National Laboratory project could improve force protection and homeland security.