As part of the Army’s efforts to eventually unify its tactical and enterprise networks, the service is developing three pilot technologies designed to simplify the planning and management of its tactical network.
With plans for future U.S. Army soldiers to work with a cadre of autonomous systems, scientists at the Army Research Laboratory are examining the intricacies of communication to support effective operations between groups of soldiers and robotic systems. They are finding ways to measure communication and study conversational processes to understand human-autonomy team performance, trust and cohesion.
Satellites are the military communicator’s easy button. As long as the operating environment is permissive, communications planners can easily establish high bandwidth links that satisfy the demands of data-hungry commanders and their staffs. But this go-to solution is a hollow one, as any adversary that can contest the electromagnetic spectrum or the space domain can knock satellite communications out of the fight. Jamming, spoofing and other means of electronic warfare can render satellites ineffective, while missiles and lasers can destroy satellites from the Earth or from space.
Srini Iyer is the chief technology officer and head of ManTech’s Innovation & Capabilities Office.
Q. How can the military secure data at the edge to ensure reliability?
Did you know, in 2020, there were a staggering 36 billion records exposed as a result of data breaches, according to a recent report from Risk Based Security? COVID-19 was of course the catalyst for these infringements, as the pandemic gravely impacted industries all over the globe and opened the door for cyber criminals to attack.
To maintain America’s advantage over potential adversaries, the Department of Defense last year outlined a data strategy directing that military leaders must “recognize that data is a strategic asset that must be operationalized in order to provide a lethal and effective Joint Force that, combined with our network of allies and partners, sustains American influence and advances shared security and prosperity.”
The U.S. Army for the first time has demonstrated during its Network Modernization Experiment the integration of three capability cards—one for positioning, navigation and timing, another for mounted mission command, and a third for the TSM tactical communications waveform. The capabilities are associated with the service’s open suite of standards and were integrated onto a Stryker combat vehicle.
“No Comms, No Bombs” is the mantra of Military Signals Divisions (Brigades or Corps), and they’re right: Communications is an integral part of any Army, Navy, Air or Space Force.
Luckily the reverse: Comms => Bombs, is not true and comms go far further in the modern military than providing time and location information for bombing. No Comms also means no search and rescue, no logistics support, no tactical awareness, ...
Examples of communications go:
Around for several decades, the technology of combined-fiber, high energy lasers are advancing to the battlefield from laboratory or exercise demonstration. The advent of the production of the technology, advanced battery capabilities and higher laser power—along with a mounting unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) threat—are all combining into more demand and use by the U.S. military. The transition of laser weapon systems to the battlefield brings with it concept of operations and tactics, techniques and procedures that will improve warfighting, said Michael Jirjis, lead, Directed Energy Weapons Experimentation, U.S.
Technology is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. IT professionals today, whether in government or industry, must stay current with new technology trends and skills to secure the jobs of tomorrow. And given the speed of change and progress, IT professionals must constantly be learning, unlearning and relearning technologies to remain relevant. Having a support system with like-minded technologists and the opportunity to network with a diverse group of government, industry, academic and scientific experts can help immensely. That’s where AFCEA’s Technology Committee comes in.
Entrepreneurs are leading advances in artificial intelligence, chip-level Internet of Things cybersecurity, and satellite capabilities. In 10-minute intervals, representatives from five startup companies pitched these emerging aerospace-related technologies during Starburst Accelerator’s virtual Los Angeles Selection Committee meeting on July 14. The entrepreneurs are vying for partnership agreements, venture capitalist seed funding and a chance to join Starburst's Accelerator program. Headquartered in Paris, with offices in Los Angeles, Singapore, Munich, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Seoul and Mumbai, Starburst has been uniting startups and investors in the aerospace industry for the past eight years.
The next onslaught on the power grid may come not from a cyber adversary but from our warmest neighbor. Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are exploring how to protect the grid against a coronal mass ejection from the sun that could physically damage the nation’s electrical infrastructure and knock out power for several weeks with resultant societal chaos and massive economic losses.
Vice Adm. William Galinis, USN, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, indicated that digital twins are instrumental in the design of a broad array of ships, including next-generation attack submarines, destroyers and amphibious warships.
With social media platforms representing one of the main conduits for adversarial propaganda, researchers are examining how information spreads across the digital environment and how it spills into action outside of the online presence. A recent breakthrough in sentiment analysis—with an algorithm that can detect sarcasm—from the University of Central Florida as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s SocialSim project, aids in this understanding and in defense.
Across the globe, ministries of defense are continually challenged with meeting the demands of armed forces who need access to the right intelligence products to protect citizens, defend borders and support humanitarian missions.
While the need for rapid decision-making has never been greater, decision makers often lack the timely information required to inform their choices. In dynamic military environments, situations and plans change quickly and intelligence can become outdated. The problem becomes even more complex during joint and multinational operations.
The next-generation battlefield has gone digital. The United States Air Force (USAF) is taking a major defensive leap into that new reality with its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) initiative.
With only months remaining before this fall’s Project Convergence 2021, U.S. Army researchers aim to integrate roughly 20 systems with the service’s fledgling artificial intelligence-enabled targeting technology known as FIRES Synchronization to Optimize Responses in Multi-Domain Operations.
During large-scale combat operations and operations in austere environments, the modern warfighter must remain light and agile and enjoy ease of communication with both higher and lower echelons. These requirements highlight the necessity for and relevance of devices such as the Global Rapid Response Information Package.
Have you heard of GAMECHANGER? It is not a game but a tool everyone associated with the U.S. Defense Department will likely find helpful. And the intriguing name matches the tool!
After 15 months of enduring a deadly pandemic, the world is beginning to take stock of the looming unknown future. The shape of things to come remains uncertain, but what is certain is that research and development will lead us into that future.
Two things the pandemic has brought home about research and development: first, the new normal will require changes in technology that will be born of research and development advances; and second, the future economy will be more technology-oriented than today’s, which will require a surge in research to develop new capabilities. These are broad umbrella outlooks, but achieving them will require more specific and nuanced efforts.
The U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command seeks to conduct missions no one else can, and officials expect artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to assist in that effort, Rear Adm. Hugh Wyman Howard III, USN, the organization’s commander, told the audience today during the 2021 WEST virtual conference.
The Department of the Navy (DON) has set a course to add a “large number” of air, surface and subsurface unmanned platforms to operate in all domain alongside manned systems. In March, the Navy and the Marine Corps published the Unmanned Campaign Framework to guide their investments in and integration of unmanned platforms. The service should not stray from this effort, despite cultural, operational and funding barriers, said a panel of experts, led by moderator Capt. George Galdorisi, USN (Ret.), director, Strategic Assessments and Technical Futures, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, speaking at the virtual West 2021 conference.
Entrepreneurs pushing the edge of technological advancement are offering solutions in technical data management software, decentralized identity, aircraft digital parking assistance, spacecraft on-orbit servicing and travel technology. In 10-minute intervals, company representatives pitched their emerging, aerospace-related technologies at Starburst Accelerator’s Paris Selection Committee meeting on June 23, which was held virtually.
The U.S. Air Force’s innovation arm, AFWERX, is looking for state-of-the-art data, sensor and communication solutions in three concurrent competition areas: the Aircraft Maintenance Operations Challenge; the Flightline Security Challenge; and the Airfield Maintenance and Repair Challenge, which are all part of a greater effort called the Revolutionizing USAF Flightline Operations Challenge.
Quantum computing and cryptography are hot topics in the world of emerging technology. But how feasible are they on a large scale?
“Right now those things are energy intensive and expensive and time consuming,” said Bill Halal, founder of TechCast, during the virtual AFCEA/GMU C4I Center Symposium.
Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have constructed a miniaturized acoustic amplifier, which they claim is the world’s smallest. The new acoustic, 276-megahertz amplifier is 0.0008 square inch (0.5 square millimeter). The Sandia researchers made the amplifier with thin-film semiconductor materials that are only 83 layers of atoms thick—1,000 times thinner than a human hair, the laboratory reported. In addition, the researchers were able to successfully harness the use of sound waves for the acousto-electric chip that includes the radio-frequency amplifier, circulator and filter.
Both soldiers and combat commanders likely will get hands-on experience in the coming months with one of the Army’s hottest new artificial intelligence systems known as FIRESTORM.
The artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled system, formally named FIRES Synchronization to Optimize Responses in Multi-Domain Operations, still is in the science and technology phase and is not yet a formal program of record. It ingests data from sensors and other systems, uses One World Terrain to map the battlefield and recommends the best weapon system to engage specific targets, saving commanders precious time for making decisions. Prior technologies took almost 20 minutes to relay data back to warfighters. FIRESTORM takes 32 seconds.
Imagery is yielding to meaning as extended reality heads down a new path of evolution. Where developers traditionally have concentrated on improving graphics to the point of realism, they now are shifting their focus to a different kind of realism that emphasizes meaning over appearance.
This approach is opening new doors for applications of extended reality, also known as XR. Uses such as automated driving, design for manufacturing, augmented reality and firefighting assistance already are growing in popularity and effectiveness, and varieties of those applications are on the horizon. In a few years, XR may be able to aid fighter pilots and the vision impaired.
Researchers at the Institute for Creative Technologies built the Rapid Integration and Development Environment, a test bed for evaluating modeling and simulation technologies for internal use. But the system, which plays a role in creating the Army’s Tactical Computing Environment, is finding users across the Defense Department and in the defense industry.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is using a 3D visualization tool to design innovative space probes, including the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and its Ingenuity helicopter. The same tool can help researchers plan work in space’s complex environment.
The mixed reality, computer aided design (CAD) 3D visualization tool is known as ProtoSpace. It has been crucial to the lab’s collaborative development of spacecraft, says the technical lead for ProtoSpace, Benjamin Nuernberger.
The Defense Department (DoD) is continuing to build out a truly data-centric approach based on the DoD Data Strategy, presenting new opportunities for transforming the way data is collected, analyzed and leveraged.
The U.S. Navy and Marines Corps are harnessing virtual platforms and advanced methods to teach cyber and communications skills. In some cases, the services are looking to a “blended model” of instruction from both industry and military cyber experts that produces multitudes of trained personnel for a single investment. Additionally, to create a powerful cyber force, technical training needs to be as realistic as possible, with high-fidelity cyber training ranges that can meet high standards for mission rehearsals and training on a daily basis and can be accessed anywhere in the world.
As the Department of Defense (DoD) transitions to 5G mobile technology for its warfighter and facility-based communications, the agency must take several considerations into account such as security and the ability to interoperate with other systems.
One of the biggest attractions of 5G is the promise of high-speed wireless data rates, but that’s just part of the picture, Chris Thomas, an information technology (IT) communications strategist and systems architect at Dell Technologies, told SIGNAL Magazine Editor in Chief Robert K. Ackerman during a SIGNAL Executive Video interview.
The U.S. Army already is fielding its Common Infrared Countermeasures system to some units and will deliver the system simultaneously to all types of aircraft, Army officials told reporters during a recent telephonic roundtable.
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have “entangled” two small mechanical drums and precisely measured their linked quantum properties. Similar entangled pairs may someday perform computations and transmit data in large-scale quantum networks.
The NIST team, which was led by physicist John Teufel, used microwave pulses to entice the two tiny aluminum drums into a quantum version of the Lindy Hop, with one partner bopping in a cool and calm pattern while the other was jiggling a bit more. Researchers analyzed radar-like signals to verify that the two drums’ steps formed an entangled pattern—a duet that would be impossible in the everyday classical world, according to a NIST press release.
The unexpected pivot to a largely remote workforce has put unprecedented pressure on communications capabilities and systems, and this pressure extends beyond voice and conference access. Government and military agencies are increasingly working to interconnect information, people and resources, but to do so efficiently, they must leverage existing unified communication solutions, platforms and processes. As agencies adapt, the goal is to ensure continued access to data through secure and reliable methods.
Personnel with the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Tactical Networking Center continually push to improve interoperability of waveforms used jointly across the military to save costs, enhance communications and ultimately fight more effectively.
For some time, engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory have been developing network collaborative autonomous technologies. Munitions that operate in coordination with unmanned aerial vehicles, decoys and other systems make decisions, shift course and achieve a mission. The researchers have successfully designed platforms to support such capabilities, as well as developing and integrating the complex subsystems that support the networking, collaborative operations and autonomy.
The U.S. Army is pursuing research into advanced technologies to further the service’s ability to conduct multidomain operations. Some of this research aims to improve existing capabilities by exploiting innovations, while others work toward basic breakthroughs in exotic areas. Many of these Army research efforts aim to draw from industry advances as they evolve.
For largely tactical multidomain operations (MDO), research underway at the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEWS) focuses on the office’s specialties as stated in its name. Yet, these efforts would have far-reaching effects throughout the Army and the defense community as a whole.
The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence published its final report this spring, grimly declaring that “America is not prepared to defend or compete in the AI [artificial intelligence] era,” and warning that “within the next decade, China could surpass the United States as the world’s AI superpower.”
The new, lighter-weight equipment being delivered to the Army’s prototypal enhanced signal battalion allows the unit to move faster and communicate better, which ultimately should enable warfighters to shoot more effectively.
The 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced (ESB-E) is an immediate response force that provides worldwide contingency, force projection and forced-entry signal support to the XVIII Airborne Corps for power-projection operations during war and operations other than war.
As software eats the world, artificial intelligence (AI) will replace work that requires traditional knowledge. The stakes are high in the AI arms races in both the commercial and military worlds. AI promises to improve predictive analytics of dynamic systems, identify inefficiencies and recommend improvements, and in general, make processes more intelligent. The Defense Department recognizes these competitive benefits, and many early military adopters race to develop in-house solutions.
We live in a connected world. The ability to pass power, signals and data from one place to another is the lifeblood of that connection—the nervous system of our networked lives.
Although we tend to think of these networks as ethereal and invisible, in reality they all, at some point, need to be plugged in so they can be connected to the electricity that powers them, the information they carry or the signal they will broadcast. Coaxial copper wire, fiber optic cable, power lines: You name it, it all needs to be connected.
We might take those connections for granted, but without them, nothing would function.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global will launch the second round of Global-X, a nine-month international science challenge worth up to $500,000, to encourage groundbreaking research from around the world.
The purpose of the Global-X Challenge is to discover, disrupt and help drive basic and applied research for later development and delivery of revolutionary capabilities to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the commercial marketplace and the public. ONR Global is interested in receiving white papers and proposals on the following challenge topics:
Over the next couple of years, the U.S. Army will experience a significant shift in its approach to network modernization and will progress toward a unified network for both enterprise and tactical purposes, according to Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, the service’s deputy chief of staff, G-6.
Gen. Morrison made the comments earlier today during the TechNet Augusta Virtual Solutions Series. “That unifying architecture is something that the Army is working very, very hard on. Over the next two years, we will make a shift in the way that we’ve been approaching our modernization efforts,” Gen. Morrison stated.
U.S Army improvements in networking capabilities are showing significant progress toward goals in the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) system, say officers tasked with improving tactical connectivity. Yet along with these gains comes the realization that other challenges must be met to ensure an effectively networked force in the future.
The Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team announced today the approval of the Tactical Space Layer (TSL) abbreviated capability development document.
The document validates the need and provides the source for desired capabilities to execute rapid experimentation and prototyping efforts for tactical space-based sensors with supporting ground-based equipment. The accelerated TSL will deliver solutions necessary to shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline and equip the Army multidomain operations (MDO)-capable force by 2028 to the MDO-ready force by 2035.
The 11 combatant commands of the U.S. military are on the front lines of protecting U.S. national security. They hold the toughest problem sets, from protecting and defending the United States or its interests abroad, deterring aggression, carrying out missions, providing humanitarian assistance or building cooperation with other nations.
The U.S. Army is conducting a series of major tests on the interoperability of joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) technologies prior to the Project Convergence 2021 experiment this fall.
Army officials are leading a series of communications exercises, commonly referred to as COMMEXes, in its new Joint System Integration Laboratory (JSIL). The lab uses a realistic and scalable tactical network architecture comprised of current and future tactical radios, software applications and transport systems to provide a system-of-systems integration and testing environment for emerging communications and networking technologies, according to an Army fact sheet.
The U.S. Department of Defense is looking at additive manufacturing technologies to rapidly prototype and build equipment components and increasingly, to potentially make replacement parts in the field.
While additive manufacturing, the ability to build plastic and metal parts by depositing a fine spray of material, has been used by the aerospace and defense sectors for some time, the capability is now becoming more portable. One such project is the U.S. Marine Corps’ X-Fab effort, which uses a shipping container loaded with compact additive manufacturing equipment that can be shipped anywhere in the world to make replacement parts.