Technology

August 10, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Dana Deasy, who became the U.S. Defense Department’s chief information officer nearly 100 days ago, has been charged with creating the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) will see major progress next year, says Dana Deasy, the department’s new chief information officer. The joint center will accelerate the delivery of AI-enabled capabilities and develop tools and technologies that will offer benefits across the military.

August 10, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The commercial sector continues to implement new electronic warfare (EW) technology, pushing towards multifunction, multi-domain applications. Sierra Nevada’s mobile land-based system, called Modi, defends against unmanned vehicle threats as well as traditional EW threats. Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.

As electronic warfare is re-emerging as a key battlefield function, the commercial sector is striving to offer advanced technologies. Land-based systems are needed to combat both ground and airborne adversarial threats, while airborne electronic warfare tools provide maneuverable tactics to marque aircraft.

The focus of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC’s) dismounted electronic countermeasure system, known as Modi, has evolved from defeating radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (RCIEDs) to being a multi-function electronic warfare (EW) tool, explained Jerry Coburn, director, business development, SNC, during a recent interview with SIGNAL Magazine.

August 7, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
A new fabrication process enables the creation of soft robots at the millimeter scale with features on the micrometer scale as shown here with the example of a soft robotic spider with moving body parts and colored eyes and abdomens. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Researchers have developed an integrated fabrication process that for the very first time enables the design of soft robots on the millimeter scale with micrometer-scale features. To demonstrate the capabilities of their new technology, they created a robotic soft spider from a single elastic material with body-shaping, motion and color features.

The research team members are from Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Boston University. The study is published in Advanced Materials.

June 12, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Tom Miller (c), CEO of ClearForce, stands with the judges who declared his firm’s technology the winner in the second AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank Competition. Flanking Tom are (l-r) Glenn Hernandez, CISO, OpEdge Solutions LLC; Manoj Bhatia, president, Network Runners Inc.; Maria Horton, CEO of EmeSec; and Bill Jones, senior vice president of DSA’s Integrated Solutions Group. Photo credit: Elizabeth Moon

A small business with a prestigious board of directors is the second firm selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank competition June 7 to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, ClearForce of Vienna, Virginia, won against three other firms with its proprietary technology for seeking out employees who might be motivated to commit insider crimes deliberately as well as accidentally.

May 23, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman

A company designing networked drones for disaster relief is the first small business selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank competition to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, LTAid of Vancouver, Washington, is building unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can serve emergency responders as well as warfighters in theater.

“The demand for logistics outstrips the ability of logistics,” said LTAid’s Chris Thobaben during the competition. “We look to revolutionize a small piece of the supply chain, but it’s the most critical piece.”

August 6, 2018
By Andrew Kelleher
The NSA has had significant, and perhaps surprising, influence on the standards for destroying no-longer-needed data. Credit: PRILL/Shutterstock

Never before has there been such an intense focus on data security and privacy. With data breaches increasing exponentially and the European Union’s recent implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data security has been at the forefront of news stories over the past several months, with both businesses and consumers suddenly paying very close attention. With this increased attention has come an understanding that data continues to exist even when it is no longer needed or used. Due to this newfound understanding and GDPR’s “Right to be Forgotten,” the eradication of data has new urgency and has become critical to a successful data security program.

August 1, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Researchers at Boeing's new Aerospace & Autonomy Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts to continue to develop autonomous aircraft systems.

The Northeast is drawing in companies and military organizations seeking innovation. The Boeing Co. announced that it would be opening the new Boeing Aerospace & Autonomy Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to an August 1 statement.

The center will focus on “designing, building and flying autonomous aircraft and developing enabling technologies,” the statement said. The facility will house employees from both Boeing and its subsidiary Auora Flight Sciences, purchased last year. Aurora creates flight autonomy software, among other innovations.

August 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 18.1 conduct a patrolling exercise in May at the U.S. Army’s Novo Selo Forward Operating Site in Bulgaria. RadioMap technology, developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and transitioning to the Marine Corps, will offer radio-frequency situational awareness to such warfighters on the move. Photo by Lance Cpl. Angel Travis, USMC.

The U.S. military is moving an advanced radio-frequency mapping capability from the laboratory into the hands of warfighters. Developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the technology will give land-based forces vital situational awareness of the radio spectrum as they fight on an increasingly digitized battlefield.

Facing daily threats in an ever-changing operating environment, warfighters need a quick way to assess the digital topography. And for modern-day soldiers and Marines fighting in dense urban environments, this means having a read on the spectrum.

August 1, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. soldiers conduct a communications check during an exercise. The Army is implementing a plan for restructuring its battlespace network after years of ad hoc changes in Southwest Asia. Army photography by Lt. Col. John Hall, USA.

The U.S. Army will be ditching some programs, re-engineering others and seeking innovative technologies to fill networking requirements created by a new operational reality, say the service’s information technology experts. Having a deliberate period of acquisition now, the service is able to incorporate flexibility and innovation into its plans to meet new requirements.

August 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, and senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground, is working to improve the Army’s readiness.

To ensure greater supply availability of certain technologies, the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command is pursuing a concept not widely used in the military, reports Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, USA, commander of the organization and senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The command has started a pilot program that will allow the service to option intellectual property rights in specific hardware and software contracts, Gen. Taylor says.

August 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

Much discussion is underway on artificial intelligence (AI) and what it means for society. Debates rage over the ethics of decisions being made without a human in the process.

Arguments continue about the legality of machine-made choices and the consequences in a world where data is delivered, debated and decided at machine speed. There is talk about slowing down the technology and even some conversations about legislation to limit the development and application of AI.

August 1, 2018
By Jennifer A. Miller

Robotic process automation, or RPA, is a new type of business process technology leveraging artificial intelligence. Its uses span the realms of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy.

If you are not familiar with RPA, then think of the way that Microsoft Excel allows users to record steps when creating a macro. The concept is the same with RPA. Results include efficiencies in both public and private-sector organizations. The possibilities for RPA application are all around us.

July 25, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Lead Engineer Dan Lenhardt of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) explains the new speech recognition platform that the center developed to facilitate hands-free computer interaction for soldiers on the move.

The U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, known as CERDEC, has unveiled new mission command software that provides improved real-time command and control capabilities.

CERDEC, a part of the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command, has been developing capabilities under its Expeditionary Mission Command (EMC) Science and Technology Objective (STO). This year, it is rolling out 15 new capabilities, including software advances such as the Tactical Computing Environment (TCE) and the Single, Multimodal, Android Service for Human-Computer Interaction software known as SMASH.

July 20, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
An improved command post platform is one of many capabilities that the Expeditionary Mission Command at the U.S Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center is rolling out to help soldiers communicate and be connected on the move. Photo credit: U.S. Army Fort Carson Public Affairs

The division at the U.S Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) that covers Expeditionary Mission Command (EMC) technologies has been busy. It has completed the development of more than 15 projects as part of its science and technology objectives.

July 13, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Internal Revenue Service must include technological innovation as it tackles its Congressional mandates, such as tax reform, says Kevin Bierschenk, acting director, Enterprise Program Controls, IRS.

Faced with a decreasing workforce, budgetary challenges and the annual mammoth effort of collecting, processing and enforcing the nation’s taxation, U.S. Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is also implementing the tax reform Congress mandated in December under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the largest tax reform in 30 years. At the same time, the bureau must innovate to continuously improve the taxpayer experience and lessen the burden of filing taxes, said IRS leaders at the IRS Fiscal Year 2018 Industry Conversation event on July 10 in Washington, DC.

July 9, 2018
By Shaun Bierweiler
It may be a great time for government agencies to leap into open source, but looking first is always advised, says Shaun Bierweiler of Hortonworks. Credit: Sambeet/Pixabay

In February 2018, the Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Digital Service (DDS) relaunched Code.mil to expand the use of open source code. In short, Code.mil aims to enable the migration of some of the department’s custom-developed code into a central repository for other agency developers to reduce work redundancy and save costs in software development. This move to open source makes sense considering that much of the innovation and technological advancements we are seeing are happening in the open source space.

July 3, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
Advances in manufacturing techniques will deeply impact a variety of businesses such as building construction. They will be particularly useful as part of emergency response efforts to reconstruct homes quickly. Credit: Shutterstock/benik.at

As the tentacles of technology reach further and deeper into mainstream uses, their influence on the job market, man-machine interactions, government agencies and the military will grow exponentially. Capabilities once thought of as fodder for science fiction have become science fact at such unpredictable speeds organizations will need to understand the implications quickly if they hope to take advantage of the benefits they offer and not fall behind the curve.

July 1, 2018
By Christopher J. Balcik
Samsung’s GearVR would immerse warfighters in a training environment that better leverages mobile platforms.

The U.S. Defense Department is accelerating its investments in live, virtual, constructive and mixed-reality training, which will result in the rapid development of new immersive military applications. As the mobile revolution intersects with new data science technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, these expenditures will enable warfighters to be better prepared regardless of the scenario.

July 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

I wasn’t sure how to define this article. I tossed around some ideas, but none seemed quite right. Are we winning the technology race? Are we still the best and brightest? Is the United States losing ground because it is too late to adopt technology? Instead, I will answer questions I have been asked as I travel the globe. These frequently asked questions come from governments, allies, industry, academia and the media.

July 1, 2018
By Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan White, USCG

Ever-expanding reviews and policies aren’t the only way to control enterprise information technology projects. Instead, management should establish clear standards and incentivize project managers to choose enterprise-friendly designs that streamline external reviews and eliminate the delays and costs associated with compliance.

Information technology projects have distinct requirements: cybersecurity, privacy and Section 508 compliance. These necessary requirements add a significant burden and can cause slowdowns and cost overruns. Other external challenges come from the budgeting process, procurement and configuration management.

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