U.S. counterterrorism experts in the Pacific region have turned to media outreach to combat terrorists and their allies who exploit mass media, including the Internet, to further their goals. Examples of these efforts were described by two U.S. military officers in a panel focusing on multinational operations at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2009, being held in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 2-5. Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, USN, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, Pacific, related how experts helped host a national media conference in the Philippines to help promote better media coverage.
While the push forward for better collaboration and information-sharing capabilities will require technical advances, the experts at today's NATO workshop in Brussels, Belgium, are struggling with an even bigger challenge than connecting the bits and bytes.
Unmanned aerial systems were the topic of the final panel session of MILCOM 2009. Although it seems UAVs have been around for a long time-and are essential in current operations-the ground truth is that a number of challenges remain to be resolved before these aircraft can be used to their full potential. Among the challenges is how to reduce weight, size and power needs. In the area of research and development, a number of programs are underway that will increase UAVs' effectiveness on the field. Although the U.S.
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard is simply enthralled with the opportunities social networking platforms offer. Adm. Thad W. Allen, USCG, opened the final day of MILCOM 2009 by explaining that it took some time for him to move into the Web 2.0 realm, but now that he's there, he understands that it is a domain that all military leaders must learn to use. "We have to understand that the changes in technology, computation and so forth have created what I call a fundamental change in our social atmosphere.
MILCOM 2009 panelists discussing network centricity and coalitions explained the differences that exist in the methodology during operations that comprise more than just U.S. joint forces. Expectations as well as information must be managed, and this can be difficult in an environment that involves different languages as well as different cultures. Malcolm Green, chief of communication services, NC3A, shared that the International Security Assurance Force's (ISAF's) concept of communications involves each country operating in Afghanistan using its own infrastructure.
A person recognizable to anyone who has been in military information technology for a few years offered MILCOM 2009 attendees insights into where the Defense Information Systems Agency is headed. Tony Montemarano, component acquisition executive, DISA, revealed that the agency is working on a campaign plan in which the word "convergence" is used time and time again. The plan, which is in the midst of final modifications, comprises three lines of operations: enterprise infrastructure, command and control, and information sharing.
The Honorable Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Defense, said that strategic convergence will distinguish the 21st from the 20th century in both threats and solutions. Speaking at the MILCOM 2009 luncheon today, Chertoff used the binary versus the quantum approach as an analogy to describe national security threats as well as the changes that must occur to deal with them. "In the 1990s, we had the tendency to view the world through a binary lens.
Richard J. Byrne, vice president, command and control center, The MITRE Corporation, wrapped up the unclassified discussion on the first day of MILCOM 2009 by proposing that today's acquisition problems should be viewed in a different manner. Rather than thinking about how to improve what the U.S. government is doing, perhaps agencies-the U.S. Defense Department included-need to come at the problems from an entirely new direction-a very complex direction. Complexity theory can be applied in a number of areas-from acquisition to cyberthreats, Byrne explained.
Lt. Gen. Ted F. Bowlds, USAF, commander, Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, delivered the luncheon speech at MILCOM 2009. Gen. Bowlds stated that the world is changing so fast that it is impossible to predict what innovations will develop as well as threats the U.S. will face in the next 10 to 15 years. "Five years out is about all we can go," he said. Although irregular warfare is the buzzword today, in the spectrum of conflict, it doesn't represent any more than 10 percent to 15 percent of the threat today, he said.
BOSTON - October 19, 2009 - MILCOM 2009 opened today with a speech by David Gergen, CNN commentator and editor at-large for US. News and World Report. Gergen, who has worked for four U.S. presidents, pointed out that the relationship between president and military has changed over the past two decades. The differences have evolved as the men who occupied the Oval Office and held the position of commander-in-chief of the military themselves did not have first-hand military experience.
MILCOM 2009's first panelists spoke about the practical challenges of the convergence of communications capabilities. Representatives from U.S. government agencies as well as local law enforcement agreed that plans for emergencies and special security events must involve collaboration and preparation, but they also admitted that a plan is just that-a plan. Everyone involved in the command and control of these activities-from the cop on the beat to the person in charge-must be ready for the unexpected.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, USA, chief information officer (CIO)/G-6 policy, and Maj. Gen. Nickolas Justice, USA, program executive officer, Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), had a lot to say about innovation in the U.S. Army at the Gov 2.0 Summit last week.
The ultimate goal of government 2.0 should be a user-friendly government, whether that user is the citizen availing him or herself of services or the user is the government agency using these tools to collaborate and share information, said panelists at a discussion after lunch on Thursday at the Gov 2.0 Summit. For the defense and intelligence sectors, those internal capabilities are most attractive, but even behind the secure networks, challenges of culture still exist.
When Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, came on board at the Defense Department a couple of months ago, he got the directive from Sec. Gates to use social media to engage-not just push out messages. But within days of starting, Floyd found that most of those social media channels had been shut down, he explained at the Gov 2.0 Summit Thursday afternoon.
From politics to national security to data transparency to important new public service applications, the Gov 2.0 Summit, co-produced by O'Reilly and TechWeb, covered a wide range of issues facing government as it tries to balance security, transparency and the new media environment.
LandWarNet closed with a keynote address by Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff. Outlining his views on command and control, the general noted that the Army is in a critical time of transformation and conflict. He added that the service has undergone rapid change during the last eight years.
The general noted that a critical lesson learned from the past several years is that vital technological and operational changes are made on the ground by soldiers at the tip of the spear. More data is now available to warfigthers than ever before, but it must be made available to a variety of personnel across all echelons, he said.
One of the key issues at this year's LandWarNet conference and symposium is cyber security and operations. Among the challenges to security is the use of military computer networks for purposes they were not originally designed for. Speaking at a panel on the state of Army cyber security and operations, Brig. Gen. Steven W. Smith, chief cyber officer, Army CIO/G-6, noted that "The NIPRNET was never designed at a command and control network, but it sure is now." The service must facilitate cultural change and newly launched initiatives to ensure the security of its networks, he said.
The theme of this year's LandWarNet conference and symposium is leveraging the global network enterprise to enable full spectrum operations to the warfighter. Gen Carter F. Ham, USA, launched the event by discussing the Army's need to leverage the network and cyberspace to enable command and control. He explained that this was a historic time for Army signals as the service establishes a new unified command devoted to cyberspace.
Because this is a very dynamic time for the signals community, he said that communications personnel must be fully engaged in the enterprise from the beginning. Signals personnel help build and maintain the systems on which full spectrum operations rely.
This is my take on the AFCEA, Northcom and George Mason University conference on "Inter-agency, Allied and Coalition Information Sharing," which was covered on SIGNAL Scape last week.
No, we still can't connect the dots as well as hoped and never will, but conferees agreed that what matters most is the thoughtful and trusting use that humans could make of what information manages to flow through IT systems, however improperly they may be connected. Technology is neither the roadblock nor the solution to building an information sharing network.
The Obama administration can take certain key steps to improve the ability to recognize and deal with national security threats, according to recommendations in "Nation at Risk," a report issued by The Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Jeff Smith of Arnold & Porter LLP, a steering committee member for the report, presented it yesterday at the AFCEA SOLUTIONS conference on information sharing.