Technology

February 19, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Marines’ Systems Command and Recruiting Command have partnered to create a computing tool aimed at making recruitment of the next generation of Marines easier. Photo courtesy of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command

The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia has unveiled a computer system aimed at giving Marine Corps recruiters state-of-the-art tools for the enlistment process.

Working with the Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC), the MCSC developed the Marine Corps Recruiting Information Support System II, known as MCRISS II. The system uses a customizable platform that recruiters can access across government-issued cellphones, laptops and tablets.

February 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Rear Adm. Boris Becker, commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, speaks during a panel at West 2019. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, advanced manufacturing, blockchain, 5G, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, data science, cloud computing and cybersecurity all have one thing in common: information.

Rear Adm. Boris Becker, USN, commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, made that point during a panel session at the AFCEA-USNI West 2019 Conference in San Diego. “It’s information in warfare and information as warfare,” he added.

February 6, 2018
Kimberly Underwood
A soldier from Company B, 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced, tears down a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) satellite dish during a demonstration on November 29, 2018, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Army leaders are working to bring advanced communications technologies into an integrated network. U.S. Army photo by Amy Walker, PM Tactical Network PEO C3T public affairs

Army leaders are tackling the integration of modern network capabilities to push out broadly across the Army force structure over the next decade.

Maj. Gen. David Bassett, USA, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO-C3T) and Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, USA, director, Network Cross-Functional Team (Network CFT) are overseeing the effort and have developed an iterative plan to bring together network transport, mission command applications and services, all easily deployed to soldiers.

February 4, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
Virtual Reality Land Training (VRLT) technology enables soldiers to train in a variety of environments, including urban streets. (Photo by BiSim)

The British Army is exploring how virtual reality can be integrated into soldier training. Virtual Reality in Land Training (VRLT) technology allows soldiers to train in complex and hostile simulated scenarios that are difficult to recreate on a training ground. The system will place troops in the middle of an urban firefight, intense crowd control situation or within a building filled with enemy soldiers.

Virtual reality enables training situations to be set-up quickly, re-run and analyzed to demonstrate the most effective approaches to real-life battlefield challenges. At the end of the pilot program, recommendations will be proposed about how to best exploit the technology for soldier training.

February 1, 2019
By Lt. Col. Brandon Baer, USA; Lt. Col. Vince Morris, USA; and Kathryn Bailey
1st Lt. Zachary Johnson, USA (l), uses a Nett Warrior end-user device during air assault training as part of Exercise Saber Junction 2018 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. 1st Lt. Johnson is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, one of several units evaluating the Integrated Tactical Network (ITN) during operational exercises to help inform design decisions for future Infantry, Stryker and Armor formations.  U.S. Army photo/Spc. Rolyn Kropf, USA

The U.S. Army’s current tactical network environment is not optimized to provide expeditionary, mobile, hardened or simple intuitive network capability under all conditions. Its full range of communication capabilities provides the communications backbone across all echelons, but if commanders face a disconnected intermittent limited situation such as during an electronic warfare attack, they must have the ability to turn to alternate communication methods or pathways.

This multipath diversity is especially critical during expeditionary, early entry, early phase operations when soldiers rely heavily on effective communications to initiate their missions before vehicles and other high-capability systems join the fight.

February 1, 2019
By Maj. Ryan Kenny, USA

What’s smaller than small? Nano. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter. At a scale smaller than a grain of salt, a blood cell or a virus, resides the nanoverse. Nanoparticles range from one to 100 nanometers. For perspective, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.

Many believe the development of nanotechnologies will forever change our world. Rather than taking what the planet provides, we can make what we want, beginning at the smallest scales. From microprocessors to minuscule organ-on-a-chip devices, the forefront of creation begins with some of the tiniest objects. With nano, a new era in capabilities is moving from the horizon to the now.

January 30, 2019
By Steven Boberski
The U.S. Defense Department has started to integrate unified communications into its Everything Over Internet Protocol strategy, but a wide range of computing platforms, telecommunications systems and other collaboration technologies result in a web of technologies that cannot integrate or interoperate. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

When the Department of Defense (DOD) launched its Everything Over IP initiative nearly 10 years ago the focus was to bring traditional telecommunications technology—phone calls, streaming video and even faxes—to the digital world.

At that time, unified communications (UC), especially in the government workplace, was a relatively new concept. Remember, this was a time when voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones were still seen as cutting edge. Now, though, UC has become not just a business tool, but a strategic offering that can connect employees in disparate locations, including the frontlines.

January 29, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Marines with 1st Marine Logistics Group (MLG) work together to secure a concrete bridge support column during a 3D concrete printing exercise at Camp Pendleton, California in December.  The 1rst MLG worked with the Marine Corps Systems Command’s Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell and the Army Corps of Engineers, to print the concrete bridge parts and evaluate the technology for future Marine Corps applications. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Bliss

Using a special 3D printer called ACES, or Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures, U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Logistics Group, along with the Marine Corps Systems Command’s Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell and the Army Corps of Engineers, created a concrete footbridge in December.

The Marines printed and assembled the bridge during the service’s annual Steel Knight exercise to demonstrate the ability to use concrete 3D printing in an operational environment, the service reported. The Marines trained on how to operate ACES and incorporate new equipment into the process.

January 25, 2019
By Chris Balcik
A soldier fires an M240B machine gun during combined arms live-fire training. Soldiers in combat face a great deal of emotional and physical stress, but wearable technologies can monitor their health and performance. Photo by Army Spc. Hannah Tarkelly

The military continues to focus its efforts on developing the most sophisticated technologies and capabilities needed to sustain tactical advantage and achieve mission objectives. But the most critical component to success on the battlefield continues to lie with the warfighter.

January 24, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
In late February, DARPA is planning to launch a new type of antenna that could enable missions that usually require large satellites, the agency reports. Credit: DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA’s) development of a new type of membrane reflect-array antenna as part of its Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration (R3D2) program is ready to be space qualified, the agency reports, and anticipates that R3D2 will be launched in late February.

The agency stated that the antenna could enable multiple missions that usually depend on large satellites. R3D2 was produced with a “tissue-thin Kapton membrane” or a polyamide film, which allows the antenna to compact during launch and then deploy to a full size of 2.25 meters in diameter once it reaches low-Earth orbit, according to DARPA.

January 24, 2019
By Beverly Cooper
SIGNAL Magazine Editor in Chief Robert K. Ackerman (l) discusses data protection with Jonathan Alboum, Veritas Technologies and Sherry Bennett, DLT Solutions.

Moving data to the cloud is on the horizon for many, but before making the move, organizations need to clean their data house. This includes determining who owns what data, what data they should delete and what data they should store elsewhere. A modernization process, such as moving to the cloud, necessitates that a company review data protection efforts as well as ensure its data strategy includes data governance.

January 10, 2019
By George I. Seffers
A new online wargame will help researchers study data associated with nuclear proliferation. Credit: Razvan Ionut Dragomirescu/Shutterstock

Later this month a team of researchers plans to release an online wargame that will use machine learning and data analytics to study nuclear conflict escalation and the strategic stability of nations in an artificial world.

January 9, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
A new virtual platform offers electronic caregiving. Credit: SameDay Security

A division of Las Cruces, New Mexico-based SameDay Security Inc., has introduced a virtual home health care assistant that the company claims will “quickly deliver an immersive end user experience.” The electronic interface, known as Addison Care, uses visual, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The system runs on Amazon Sumerian, a service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“Designed to transform the home into a full-time health and wellness environment, Addison appears on 15-inch media screens throughout a residence and provides support to consumers with features including medication management, care plan adherence, social experiences and emergency response,” a company official stated.

January 7, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
Research at Sandia National Laboratories may help shape the future of quantum computing. Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

Four newly announced projects led by Sandia National Laboratories aim to advance quantum computing technology, according to an announcement from the laboratories.

The efforts include: a quantum computing testbed with accessible components on which industrial, academic and government researchers can run their own algorithms; a suite of test programs to measure the performance of quantum hardware; classical software to ensure reliable operation of quantum computing testbeds and coax the most utility from them; and high-level quantum algorithms that explore connections with theoretical physics, classical optimization and machine learning.

January 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The cloud landscape will continue to evolve as the commercial industry continues to invest heavily in cloud service offerings, including data storage, such as this Microsoft data center.  Microsoft

Heavy hitters in the commercial cloud industry, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, are pushing cloud-computing capabilities to what they refer to as the intelligent edge. They are connecting Internet of Things devices and mobile applications with ever-expanding cloud capabilities and the advanced computing of artificial intelligence to create a so-called intelligent cloud, pushing out the results of advanced processing and data analysis to a user’s fingertips.

January 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. A program to develop mission planning software is one of several already benefiting from the Air Force’s agile software development efforts.  Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Castelan

Steven Wert, recently named the U.S. Air Force’s Program Executive Officer Digital, is on a mission to fundamentally alter the service’s processes for developing and fielding software through development operations, commonly known as DevOps. The methodology merges software development and technology operations functions, allowing the two to work more closely to reduce the time needed to create new systems. Working closely with the end users is key to what Wert describes as a “release cadence” of weeks or months instead of years.

January 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA (Ret.)

Welcome to the first of a new monthly column I will be writing for SIGNAL!

First, let me say what an honor and thrill it is to be asked by SIGNAL Magazine to contribute a regular column. SIGNAL and the entire AFCEA community have long served as a critical public square for airing the important technological issues that confront the Defense Department, and I look forward to participating in that discussion.

December 11, 2018
Posted by Julianne Simpson
NIST researcher Jelena Senic drives a robot used to measure the performance of different antenna beam patterns. Photo Credit: NIST

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers have developed a method for assessing and selecting optimal antenna design for future fifth-generation (5G) cellphones and other wireless devices and base stations.

5G systems will avoid crowded, conventional wireless channels by using higher, millimeter-wave frequency bands. Because transmissions at these frequencies lose a lot of energy along the way, received signal strength can weaken. One solution is “smart” antennas that can form unusually narrow beams and quickly steers them in different directions.

December 10, 2018
By Paul Parker
The U.S. defense community is buzzing about open source containers, but the technology presents security concerns. Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

Open source containers, which isolate applications from the host system, appear to be gaining traction with IT professionals in the U.S. defense community. But for all their benefits, security remains a notable Achilles’ heel for a couple of reasons.

First, containers are still fairly nascent, and many administrators are not yet completely familiar with their capabilities. It’s difficult to secure something you don’t completely understand. Second, containers are designed in a way that hampers visibility. This lack of visibility can make securing containers extremely taxing.

Layers upon layers

December 7, 2018
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Researchers injected a magnetorheological (MR) fluid into hollow lattice structures built on LLNL’s Large Area Projection Microstereolithography (LAPµSL) platform, which 3D prints objects with microscale features over wide areas using light and a photosensitive polymer resin. Photo by Julie Mancini/LLNL

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed a new class of metamaterials that can almost instantly respond and stiffen 3D-printed structures when exposed to a magnetic field. The development has huge implications for next-generation helmets, wearable armor and countless other innovations.

These new “field-responsive mechanical metamaterials” (FRMMs) use a vicious, magnetically responsive fluid that is manually injected into the hollow struts and beams of 3D-printed lattices. Unlike other shape-morphing materials, the structure of the FRMMs does not change.

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