Technology

January 18, 2018
Kimberly Underwood
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Gen. Stephen Wilson, USAF, vice chief of staff for the Air Force, and Air Force Maj. Gen. William Cooley, commander, Air Force Research Laboratory, discuss the process to update the service's research priorities.

While the Air Force is coming up with a budget and a five-year plan in the next few weeks, it also will tackle a much larger effort, the development of a long-term research and development plan to the year 2030. The examination of research priorities will include a look at how the service spends research dollars and how it can modernize business tactics. The Air Force is partnering with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, respectively, along with several public universities for the planning effort dubbed #AF2030.

January 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
“The most important thing I will predict is that we will stop talking about the technology of cognitive computing. It will be simply a behavior that will be built into any newer system,” says Sue Feldman, a co-founder of the Cognitive Computing Consortium.

Millions of hits result from searching Google for the phrase “how cognitive computing will change the world,” reflecting the public’s big appetite for information about the emerging technology. But some experts foresee a time when the extraordinary is ordinary.

January 5, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
NASA’s new GOLD mission, launching on January 25, will provide important observations of the ionosphere, and how it impacts technologies operating in near-space. NASA photo

During the last several years, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has been developing a mission to explore near-space, where the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere meets space. The effort, known as the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, will come to initial fruition with the launch of observation equipment on January 25.

January 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Marines exit a vehicle onto the beach during a recent amphibious landing exercise at Kin Blue Beach in Okinawa, Japan. The Marines need advanced technologies that will not limit their mobility.

How does the U.S. Marine Corps, which is facing multiple challenges in a changing operating environment, repel daily threats? With sound strategies as well as direction, preparation, doctrine and of course innovation, says one Marine Corps official. However, U.S. enemies, who continue to change and create a unique environment, are also armed with technology.

January 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Navy is adding high-energy lasers to the fleet aboard the DDG 51 Flight IIA “in the shortest time frame possible,” says a Naval Sea Systems Command spokesperson.

The U.S. Navy has identified laser weapons as an urgent capability need, and after many years of development, it is moving rapidly to deploy advanced laser capabilities in the near term to the fleet. The Navy is pursuing the highest-powered lasers, beginning with 60-kilowatt systems and aiming for 150-kilowatt-class systems, to be used on guided missile destroyers. Through its Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems, the Navy would be the first service to have a program of record for laser energy weapons.

January 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Laser weapons could be integrated into all future Marine Corps vehicles, such as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, says Jeff Tomczak, deputy director of the Science & Technology (S&T) Division at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. Oshkosh Defense

U.S. Marine Corps operations are demanding. Weapons need to be ruggedized and mobile for quick assaults. And high-energy laser weapons such as those the Navy is developing will be large and draw high levels of power. For the Marines to be able to employ these laser weapons, the technologies must be as efficient and as small as possible, says Jeff Tomczak, deputy director of the Science & Technology (S&T) Division at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

For lasers—and really all weapon systems—in Marine Corps applications, the focus primarily is to make capabilities as light and as expeditionary as possible. Tomczak emphasizes that weapon size matters when warfighters have to get gear ashore.

January 1, 2018
By Maj. Ryan Kenny, USA

As businesses, governments and militaries wrestle with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, managing machines that learn is a challenge common to all.

AI will not merely displace blue-collar tasks; it will affect every management level. Managers will outsource many mundane, time-consuming, attention-taxing and less rewarding tasks. The bigger challenge, however, is integrating AI systems into their teams and determining how teams will collaborate with AI systems to increase insights, improve decision making and enhance leadership.

January 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

This is my first article as the new author of Incoming. I want to thank AFCEA for the opportunity to write this monthly piece, and I hope I will continue the tradition of offering thought-provoking articles on timely topics important to the information technology and communication community. I also want to thank my predecessor, Maj. Gen. Earl D. Matthews, USAF (Ret.), for his work and excellent contributions that were informative and certainly advanced thinking on a wide variety of issues. Well done, Earl.

December 20, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
The reduced size of the STT provides size, weight and power-constrained platforms with the same Link 16 access as legacy Link 16 terminals but at one-third the size and weight.

While significant improvements in range, speed and lethality of kinetic weapons have been made in recent years, the increased ability to engage an adversary has far outpaced the ability to identify friend from foe. This competing dynamic has contributed to slower progress in the expansion of situational awareness and poses long-standing challenges associated with the fog of war. As a result of this lag, it is increasingly important to arm individual platforms with multiple sources of communications to boost both lethality and survivability.

December 11, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
A multipurpose canine handler with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, applies medical dressings to a realistic canine mannequin during medical training at Stone Bay on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Photo by Cpl. Bryann K. Whitley, USMC

U.S. Marine Corps soldiers in the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) are adding a new tool to the doghouse: a “robot dog” for hands-on canine medical training. The realistic dog mannequin simulator, used recently for the first time at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, will help the soldiers improve their canine medical skills, according to a report by Cpl. Bryann Whitley, USMC. 

December 11, 2017
 
By using laser-generated, hologram-like 3-D images flashed into photosensitive resin, researchers can build complex parts in a fraction of the time of traditional layer-by-layer printing. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

By using laser-generated, hologram-like 3D images flashed into photosensitive resin, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), along with collaborators at UC Berkeley, the University of Rochester and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have discovered they can build complex 3-D parts in a fraction of the time of traditional layer-by-layer printing, according to an LLNL press release.

The novel approach is called “volumetric” 3-D printing, and is described in the journal Science Advances, published online on December 8.

December 7, 2017
 
The U.S. Army conducts a demonstration of robotic and autonomous systems at Fort Benning, Georgia. Service officials want to design a Remote Combat Vehicle more lethal and maneuverable than an Abrams tank. Photo credit: Patrick A. Albright

Within five years, the Army would like to start testing remote combat vehicle (RCV) prototypes that are as light and as fast as a Stryker but provide the same level of firepower as an M-1 Abrams tank, according to a service press release.

While the holy grail is the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV), the Army thinks it can more quickly field a limited number of RCVs, and importantly, the results of that testing could help inform the requirements for the NGCV, which is slated for fielding in 2035.

December 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
U.S. special forces operate in extreme and austere environments, requiring a wide range of capabilities, including undergarments that warm the body in cold weather and cool the body when it is hot.

Special operations forces require a variety of systems—everything from satellites to submarines—to accomplish their mission, and officials are looking outside traditional circles for solutions. By the end of this month, they expect to decide on a path forward for problem solvers who fall outside of the norm and their new methods and ideas touching on biotechnology, machine learning and the Internet of Things.

December 1, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
A rendering of Lockheed Martin’s combined fiber laser shows the power the weapon would offer to the Army. Lockheed Martin

The U.S. Army is moving closer to putting high-energy laser weapons on individual vehicles to improve its short-range air defense capabilities. The weapons meet the Army’s need for counter-rocket, artillery and mortar fire and protection for unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems—the latter of which is particularly important, given their abundance. Laser systems offer substantially lower cost per fire than traditional weapons, and their stealth firing characteristics make them valuable countermeasures for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

December 1, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor

Defense Information Systems Agency mission partners will soon be able to take advantage of cloud computing and storage at up to 70 percent cost savings. The agency’s milCloud 2.0, a commercial-grade private cloud for defense customers scheduled to achieve initial operational capability next month, spreads out costs among many customers and makes infrastructure upgrades more affordable. MilCloud 2.0 also will offer customers much-needed agility, an important feature for warfighters who must respond dynamically to ever-changing threats.

December 1, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Army is looking at what it can do with MAX POWER, the Air Force Research Laboratory-developed microwave technology. AFRL

A prototype microwave defense system known as MAX POWER, which deployed in 2012 to Afghanistan, proved useful in neutralizing the threat of improvised explosive devices. The system houses high-powered vacuum tubes to generate microwaves that detonated roadside bombs before they could harm soldiers.

Originally developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, MAX POWER has transferred to the Army. In an agreement with the AFRL, the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at New Jersey’s Picatinny Arsenal is looking to see what it can do with MAX POWER’s hardware.

December 1, 2017
By Jennifer A. Miller

The U.S. Defense Department is implementing one of the world’s largest enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and the process could be going better. This is the case for many organizations that decide to adopt the software. After all, ERP software can cause network failures, resulting in significant lost opportunities and resources.

ERP software allows the integration of business management applications and automation of office functions. As a taxpayer and a steward of tax dollars, I have questioned the department’s choices of ERP software and implementation techniques. I have also studied a rarity—an ERP implementation success in a government organization.

November 16, 2017
 
The damage-sensing network is integrated into a conceptual composite UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter.

For the first time, researchers have successfully developed and tested networked acoustic emission sensors that can detect airframe damage on conceptual composite UH-60 Black Hawk rotorcraft, according to an announcement from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The discovery could lead to onboard features that immediately alert the flight crew to the state of structural damage, such as matrix cracking and delamination as they occur, giving the crew more time to take corrective actions before catastrophic failure.

November 15, 2017
 
DARPA’s Nascent Light-Matter Interactions (NLM) program aims to develop theory-anchored models that could yield new structures for materials with never-before-seen electromagnetic properties. This artist's concept depicts an example of how an engineered material might be able to convert, generate, or harvest electromagnetic fields exploiting interactions that could have far-reaching effects in areas such as sensing, thermal control, frequency conversion and dynamics.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a new program designed to better understand and ultimately improve metamaterials. The program could lead to improvements in a number of areas, including imaging, thermal control and frequency conversion.

November 1, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
High-power electromagnetic weapons will be critical nonlethal tools for cyber and electronic warfare applications, explains Mary Lou Robinson, Air Force Research Laboratory lead of the High Power Electromagnetics Division at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

As cyber attacks and electronic warfare become ever-growing concerns in the battlespace, the need for electromagnetic technologies such as high-power microwave weapons becomes crucial to defend against threats.

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