Technology

June 24, 2019
Posted by Gopika Ramesh
The Stampede supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas in Austin is funded by the NSF and specializes in high performance research and development and data analysis. Credit: Texas Advanced Computing Center

Artificial intelligence (AI) research has enabled breakthroughs across almost every sector. The National Science Foundation (NSF), a leading funder of activities that support AI research and innovation, is joining other federal agency partners to announce the release of the 2019 update to the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research and Development (R&D) Strategic Plan.

The strategic plan was developed by the Select Committee on AI of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The 2019 plan offers a national agenda on AI science and engineering.

June 17, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
Afsaneh Rabiei examines a sample of composite metal foam. Her pioneering research has led to armor plating that weighs far less than steel and is capable of stopping armor-piercing .50-caliber bullets. Credit: North Carolina State University

A composite metal foam (CMF) material developed by researchers at North Carolina State University can stop ball and armor-piercing .50 caliber rounds as well as conventional steel armor, even though it weighs less than half as much, the university recently announced. The finding means that vehicle designers will be able to develop lighter military vehicles without sacrificing safety, or can improve protection without making vehicles heavier.

Previous research has resulted in CMF material capable of shredding bullets.

June 13, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
The U.S. Air Force has successfully launched the AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon from a B-52 Stratofortress for the first time. Credit: Airman 1st Class Victor J. Caputo/U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force successfully conducted the first flight test of its AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, on a B-52 Stratofortress aircraft on June 12 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, the service has announced.

June 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
A scientist at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) holds a demonstration battery built in the shape of an Army star. This new battery technology, constructed with a water-based electrolyte, is lightweight, flexible and safe from explosive reactions, making it more suitable for battlefield applications than conventional batteries. Army Research Laboratory photo

The proliferation of soldier electronic devices may be powered by a new generation of batteries based on substances as exotic as water. Other technologies are part of the mix as scientists strive to eliminate the need for individual soldiers to carry power-supply bricks in their kit.

The new power sources may take the form of conformal constructs that are shaped to fit on a soldier’s body. Even vest straps could be power sources that support a host of different electronics technologies essential to infantry operations.

June 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
An Air Force Academy cadet peers into a wind tunnel used for measuring effects on hypersonic research vehicles. Development of new hypersonic craft is speeding up, but considerable research remains to overcome some technological challenges.  U.S. Air Force photo

The use of hypersonic weapons and vehicles for offensive and defensive military operations is accelerating as advanced research picks up in technologically sophisticated countries. However, speed increases are accompanied by growth in the number of technological challenges that must be overcome to build successful systems.

June 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The fifth generation of wireless technology, or 5G, is widely being promoted as a transformational technology, but its uses for the military are just starting to be defined, experts say. Credit: jamesteohart/Shutterstock

News about the coming 5G wireless network is seemingly everywhere, with advertisements referring to it as revolutionary or transformational. And indeed, the suggested “superpowers” of the fifth generation of wireless technology are quite impressive: great speed, improved latency and tremendous capacity in terms of bandwidth. 5G will provide connectivity to many more devices, support video and other digital images at much higher capacities and broaden the era of the Internet of Things. 5G will become the basis for critical infrastructure and the platform that enables the use of autonomous vehicles, which will alter daily life.

June 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. companies are building laser communications networks that offer low latency, security, speed and global coverage.  Thales Alenia Space

Laser communications, also called optical communications, is not a new capability. The photon- or light-based technology relies on lasers to transmit data through space by satellite. Experts venture that optical communications will provide unprecedented communication speeds, security, reliability and low latency. The capability’s high-data rates apply to ground, air and space applications, making it a versatile tool. For warfighters, this technology offers an alternative to traditional radio frequency-based communications.

June 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Europe has a laser communications system in operation, the SpaceDataHighway. Credit: Airbus

While American companies are working to build a laser communications infrastructure and market, Europe already has a laser communications system in operation, the SpaceDataHighway. The system can transfer customers’ imagery, video, voice and other data from Earth observation satellites, manned aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles via optical communication geostationary earth orbit (GEO) relay satellites, explains Justin Luczyk, director of business development for Airbus Defense and Space Inc.

June 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Currently in development, the X-60A will serve the hypersonic flight test and suborbital research communities with an air-launched single-stage liquid booster.  Original image by Generational Orbit. Edited by Chris D’Elia.

Achieving and maintaining hypersonic flight—Mach 5 and above—remains a major challenge, but officials at U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory envision a day when hypersonic technologies are developed and deployed much more quickly and affordably than is currently possible.

The X-60A hypersonic flight test vehicle is central to that goal. The Generation Orbit system will be used to test technologies at hypersonic speeds. The idea is to increase the frequency of flight testing while lowering the cost of maturing hypersonic technologies in relevant flight conditions.

June 1, 2019
By Shaun Waterman

Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor is one of the most advanced fighter jets on the planet—not to mention one of the fastest. But over the past few years, as other nations began to test-fly and deploy their own fifth-generation fighters, Lockheed Martin realized that its software development practices were holding it back, delivering new capabilities to the Raptor too slowly to maintain its dominance.

June 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Technology has given U.S. forces an immutable edge for more than three decades. No nation dared confront the most powerful military in the world head-on. But over time, the technological benefits enjoyed by our military have waned, and adversaries are rapidly cutting into our technological warfighting strength.

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

Ever since British polymath Alan Turing posed the question, “Can machines think?” in 1950, mathematicians and computer scientists have been actively exploring the potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

To be sure, much of the buzz around AI since then has been more hype than reality. Even today, no one credibly argues that machines can match the suppleness and complexity of human intelligence. But we are at a point where machines, when tasked for specific use, can do many things humans can do—such as learn, problem-solve, perceive, decide, plan, communicate and create—and some things even humans can’t do. And that’s a huge leap from where we were only a decade ago.

May 22, 2019
By Julianne Simpson
Yuvi Kochar, former chief technology officer for The Washington Post, speaks to attendees at the AFCEA-GMU C4I and Cyber Center Symposium about how CTOs can leverage technology to drive business outcomes.

“The whole business of being a CTO has changed,” said Yuvi Kochar, managing director, technology and operations, CAQH, a nonprofit alliance creating shared initiatives to streamline the business of healthcare.

During his keynote address at the AFCEA-GMU C4I and Cyber Center Symposium, the former chief technology officer (CTO) of The Washington Post, discussed how he first became a CTO in 2000 for a small startup in Boston. “My first job was all about building technology and operating it. And that was good enough,” Kochar said.

Over time though, he’s seen the job transform into a more business-centric role. “Technology is taking more and more of a backseat,” he related.

May 16, 2019
By George I. Seffers
From l-r, Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL editor in chief, moderates a TechNet Cyber luncheon plenary with speakers Tony Montemarano, DISA executive deputy director, and Jeffrey Jones, executive director, JFHQ-DODIN. Photo by Michael Carpenter

If cyber is the ultimate team sport, as many in the U.S. Defense Department like to say, then artificial intelligence (AI) would likely be the number one draft pick for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

Anthony “Tony” Montemarano, DISA’s executive deputy director, stressed the importance of AI during a luncheon plenary on the final day of the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore. “We’ve heard about it time and again. Artificial intelligence is probably the most significant technology we have to come to grips with.”

May 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
From l-r, Mathew Gaston, director of the Emerging Technology Center at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, Stephen Wallace, DISA’s systems innovation scientist with the Emerging Technology Directorate, and and Fletcher Previn, chief information officer at IBM Corp., discuss artificial intelligence during a session of TechNet Cyber. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Asked which technology will be most critical to artificial intelligence in the coming years, experts agree: artificial intelligence, hands down.

Two experts from academia and industry—Mathew Gaston, director of the Emerging Technology Center at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, and Fletcher Previn, chief information officer at IBM Corporation—participated in a fireside chat at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber 2019 conference and predicted artificial intelligence will be the number one technology most critical to national security in the next several years.

April 26, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
From l-r, Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC (Ret.), president and CEO of AFCEA International, presents the winner’s trophy to Mike Fong, CEO of Privoro, after his company’s technology was chosen as the top competitor in the championship round of AFCEA International’s small business innovative shark tank. Also present are John Kreger of MITRE, chairman of the AFCEA Homeland Security Committee and Tina Jordan, AFCEA vice president of membership.

A simple piece of wraparound electronic hardware that shields a mobile phone’s sensors from hackers emerged as the top technology in the final competition of AFCEA International’s small business innovation shark tank. The technology allows its user full access to a phone while blocking the smartphone’s cameras and masking surrounding audio.

Developed by Privoro, an Arizona-based startup, the technology is known as SafeCase. Mike Fong, company CEO, described to the audience at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington how a user simply places his or her iPhone into the SafeCase unit, and then chooses the degree of jamming desired.

April 23, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Engineers from the 517th Software Engineering Squadron, including (l-r) Carl Stuck and Scott Vigil, project directors; David Jolley, director; and Brent VanDerMeide, flight director, have created a new software development platform. U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromer

A new software development system built by the Air Force will help developers get digital tools out to warfighters faster. Engineers at the 517th Software Engineering Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, created a workflow system and software development methodology to improve the development testing and fielding of new software products.

Nicknamed “The Pipeline,” the new continuous development software platform enables paired programming and test-driven development with automated test and evaluation, Todd Cromar of 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs reported. It features a development secure operations, known as DevSecOps, a faster, more secure software development methodology, Cromar noted.

April 18, 2019
By Cameron Chehreh
The steps required to get artificial intelligence efforts off the ground are clear and tangible—invest in the right infrastructure, develop strong industry and government partnerships and prioritize training and hiring for AI skillets. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

Over the next five years, artificial intelligence (AI) will redefine what the U.S. federal government can achieve with technology. AI will help ensure our nation stays competitive, effectively serves its citizens and maintains safety for Americans at home and abroad.

April 9, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Industry solutions across manufacturing, materials and mobility applications are wanted for the government’s $5.2 million High Performance Computing Energy Innovation Program. Credit: Shutterstock

The Department of Energy and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are working to advance high performance computing by lowering adoption risks and conducting related technology development. Under the High Performance Computing Energy Innovation Program, known as HPC4EI, they are pursuing three initiatives involving the manufacturing, materials and mobility applications of high performance computing, and are seeking industry solutions as part of a $5.2 million request for proposal solicitation. The laboratory, known as LLNL, is managing the HPC4EI Program in conjunction with other laboratories.

April 1, 2019
By Grimt Habtemariam
The Defense Department’s cloud computing strategy recognizes mission and tactical-edge needs along with the requirement to prepare for artificial intelligence. Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

In every recent discussion I have had with government and defense leaders around IT modernization, the conversation quickly leads to cloud and its role in enabling agile ways of working for government. Many agencies have already developed cloud migration targets and are looking at how they can accelerate cloud adoption.

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