Innovative pioneers looking to bring their ideas and concepts to reality are pushing the edge of aerospace capabilities. In some cases, the technologies are the result of university research, while others come from markets outside of defense. The entrepreneurs purport that their technologies will be, if not groundbreaking, useful and more efficient. The entrepreneurs presented their nascent products and discoveries at a pitch meeting hosted by The MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia on October 11 as part of Starburst Aerospace Accelerator’s annual East Coast Selection Committee event.
Historically, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has been the driver of technological innovation, inventing remarkable capabilities to empower warfighter mission effectiveness and improve warfighter safety. Yet over the past 25 years, a transformational shift has taken place in several key technology sectors, and technology leadership in these sectors is no longer being driven by the military, but rather by the private sector.
The move away from technologies meant for a static battlefield environment continues for the U.S. Marine Corps, as the service fields technologies needed for operating in austere environments.
Leaders want ruggedized and resilient technologies that are low in size, weight and power for soldiers on the move. The technology gaps to fill come across all aspects of command, control, communications and computing, or C4. Marine Corps leaders identified the service’s top technological needs during the Modern Day Marine event September 25-27 at the Marine Corps Quantico base.
This summer, the U.S. Marine Corps accepted delivery of five compact laser weapon systems, and is now considering many aspects of the weapon’s functionality. The service is looking for reliable, cost effective protection against the growing threat of unmanned aerial vehicles.
The director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Steven Walker, pictures the future battlefield as a mosaic of lower-cost, less complex systems linked together in a vast number of ways to create desired, interwoven effects tailored to any scenario. The agency, known as DARPA, is standing up a new program office and investing in an array of technologies, from artificial intelligence to robotics to systems for hypersonic flight and space, to make that picture a reality.
The Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is applying both traditional and innovative infrastructure protection methods to its worldwide networking for U.S. defense installations. In some cases, conventional methods can hold services together. But in others, especially with cross-border telecommunications, DISA must secure its commercial connectivity without the benefit of the authorities inherent in a host country agency.
New ways of commercial networking widen the threat picture. Variety is the spice of vulnerability as networks evolve with innovative approaches. Having the right information for a network architecture is vital to moving information across global ranges, according to DISA officials.
In a world where the U.S. Defense Department is facing asymmetric threats, department leaders are counting on long-term research and development to provide primary solutions to protect the nation. For the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which has helped create technologies that have changed the course of history, the pressure is on to find the next significant contribution, says the laboratory’s director, Ralph Semmel. “When you look back in history, we had nine of those [groundbreaking technologies], so we are holding ourselves to a very high bar,” Semmel says. “But the key is that we don’t know which technology is actually going to turn into a defining innovation.”
The impact of world events on military operators in the field have made missions exponentially more demanding, and in tandem, the very simple concept of connectivity has transformed into a complex and challenging task. As new events occur around the globe, military and government users in remote and often hostile environments require instant and reliable connectivity empowered by robust intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor data. Resilient and secure satellite communications capabilities warfighters rely on also must be accessible at a moment’s notice.
One of the fundamental ingredients to a secure future is having a sustainable and engaged technology-savvy workforce. This means we must be preparing our youth for today’s and tomorrow’s technologies. We need to cultivate the next generation of technology innovators and masters.
While traveling this spring and summer, I met and spoke with many high school and college-age students. I heard quite a bit about their desire to better understand and be more involved in cybersecurity. Specifically, they asked about authentication solutions for mobile applications, better identity management, and how to protect and understand their data.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are powering a new generation of technology that can identify computer users by the way they handle their keyboard and mouse.
Known as behavioral biometrics, the technology provides a way to continuously authenticate users—guarding against credential theft and account takeover, two of the most common forms of online attacks.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Unprecedented insight generated at the edge and in the data center. Hardened, comprehensive end-to-end security. These are just a few of the technology possibilities and requirements driving public sector transformation forward.
At Intel, we’re focused on accelerating innovation and insight, with secure edge-to-cloud solutions, throughout the public sector.
How are we doing this? It starts by taking a wholistic approach to the opportunities and challenges within the public sector.
Biometric databases held by the Defense Department, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security will be able to communicate with each other seamlessly for the first time ever once a new standard for encoding biometric information is approved next year, DOD officials told the audience at the AFCEA Federal Identity Forum in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday.
A special operations officer who needed secure network connectivity to transmit data anywhere on the globe gained the capability in less than a minute by using Cyberspace Operations Infrastructure, or CSOI.
That officer was able to send data securely across the open network because CSOI uses the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption mode. A 128-bit header uses a series of standards built out in the 1990s initially to secure drones. It also is used to cloak energy grids and older military architectures that will not attain IPv6, according to Robert Osborne, chief technology officer at IMPRES, the developer of CSOI.
The need for next-generation networking solutions is intensifying, and for good reason. Modern software-defined networking (SDN) solutions offer better automation and remediation and stronger response mechanisms than others in the event of a breach.
But federal administrators should balance their desire for SDN solutions with the realities of government. While there are calls for ingenuity, agility, flexibility, simplicity and better security, implementation of these new technologies must take place within constraints posed by methodical procurement practices, meticulous security documentation, sometimes archaic network policies and more.
When neither the original parts nor the original cast were available to repair the U.S. Air Force’s AN/TRC-194 antenna, experts from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) stepped in with their 3D printing technology.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research arm of the U.S. Defense Department, will invest $2 billion in a multiyear campaign called “AI Next” to accelerate the next wave of artificial intelligence technologies. The agency, known as DARPA, plans to explore new theories and applications that could allow machines to adapt to changing situations.
The commercial satellite industry is harnessing a perfect storm of technological advancements, cost reductions and increased emphasis on mobile communications to provide greater global connectivity. Innovation is reaching all aspects of the industry, from satellite manufacturing, satellite launch services and satellite ground equipment to satellite services, industry officials report, driving cost savings and performance gains.
As edge technologies continue to get smarter, faster, and more connected, incredible opportunities have emerged for the public sector to accelerate time to value and reduce costs. These mission-specific solutions are also simpler and faster to deploy!
In the coming months, researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory expect to take a series of small steps that will ultimately result in a giant leap in laser-enabled Mars telecommunication capabilities. Their technological progress will contribute to a telecommunications infrastructure around the planet that will support both human and robotic expeditions.
Mars is expected to be a veritable hotbed of activity in the relatively near future. NASA’s InSight lander is scheduled to touch down in November to study the planet’s deep interior using seismology and various sensors. The planet also is drawing commercial interest. SpaceX plans to land its Red Dragon spacecraft in 2020.
As they field the remainder of their new and improved target handoff systems, the U.S. Marines are planning further enhancements and applications, including possibly using the technology to control an unmanned aircraft or its sensor payload.