SIGNAL Content

Industry Lays Foundations for Future Military Radios

November 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

A major U.S. Defense Department research program is developing lightweight, miniaturized, low-power radios for dismounted infantry and support equipment. The program, which is part of an initiative to replace the current generation of military radios, has drawn competing design teams from across the defense industry.
Interoperability is a key issue in the move toward advanced software definable radio systems. Lessons learned from operation Desert Storm indicated a need for greater communications between the services during combat, necessitating the development of radios sharing common waveforms usable by all the services and that can be rapidly reprogrammed in the field.

Tactical Web Takes Shape

November 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

In the near future, U.S. Army units will benefit from high-speed, high-capacity data networks that will connect every unit, from individual infantrymen to headquarters units. However, to realize this vision, hurdles such as managing mobile ad hoc networks and providing beyond-line-of-sight communications in a fluid combat environment must be addressed.

A Semiconductor Base in Peril

November 2003
By Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman

The changing composition of the semiconductor industry, combined with foreign government action that has leveraged market forces, has resulted in the shift of chip manufacturing from the United States to offshore locations, particularly China and East Asia. This migration has substantial national security ramifications, as the transformation of this nation's military into a network-centric force requires high-end semiconductor chips to provide the processing power for numerous defense applications.

What Makes AFCEA Work?

February 2004
By Ray Miller, Regional Vice President, Virginia Region

Being an AFCEAN for many years gives one a unique perspective on what makes AFCEA International so successful. As with any good organization, AFCEA comprises several elements that work well together. And, as for any organization that has continued to thrive over several decades, an examination of AFCEA's successes should help pinpoint areas to make the association as a whole even stronger.

Information Technology Needed to Reach The Far Horizon

February 2004
By Capt. Jim Hickerson, USN (Ret.)

With the Pacific Command's area of responsibility covering 51 percent of the Earth's surface, making information technology work to break the distance barrier is essential to the security of the Asia-Pacific region. This fact was emphasized to more than 3,000 attendees throughout AFCEA's TechNet Asia-Pacific 2003 Conference and Exposition. Held November 4-6 in Honolulu, the 18th annual event examined topics such as getting timely information to the correct person; sharing information; information security; policy, strategy, doctrine and organizational transformation; and the government/military/industry team. Senior military speakers and panelists discussed these themes as the requirements necessary to defeat "the tyranny of distance."

DISA Shines as Change Beckons

January 2004
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

It's time for us to admit that operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom both were victories for the command and control capability provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA. The military's communications provider rose to the occasion and served up a platter of bandwidth to information-hungry network-centric forces. The result was two overwhelming victories that reinforced the concept of information as the linchpin for U.S. military supremacy.

Outsider Opens A New Market

March 2004
By Henry S. Kenyon

Shrinking military budgets and stagnating sales are placing pressure on European defense firms to survive by merging. Companies seeking to do business on the Continent must be especially enterprising to find opportunities in this tight market.

Preparing for a Network-Centric World

March 2004
By Henry S. Kenyon

Future warfighters will benefit from enhanced information technology infrastructure and hardware as well as support services being developed by the U.S. Defense Department. As a part of its ongoing transformation efforts, the military is changing established cultural and business practices to meet the computing needs of widely dispersed U.S. forces.

Restructured Satellite Program Aims for Liftoff

March 2004
By Henry S. Kenyon

The first satellite of a long-awaited U.S. Defense Department surveillance and early warning system is back on track to orbit in less than three years. The spacecraft, with sophisticated infrared sensors to detect, track and analyze missiles in flight, is part of a new generation of highly capable spacecraft poised to form the core of the United States' future global surveillance and early warning architecture.
Space is the watchtower of modern nations, and reconnaissance and observation platforms are the sentries. Designed to support national and theater ballistic missile defense systems, the new satellites will enhance warfighters' global and regional situational awareness.

Building Jointness In the Urban Jungle

By Maryann Lawlor

The combatant command that develops future fighting strategies is teaming with the U.S. Marine Corps to prepare the U.S. military to fight in a battlespace that looks more like Metropolis than Middle Earth. Combining insights gleaned from current operations in Iraq with reasonable predictions about future capabilities, the two organizations are co-sponsoring a four-day war game that will explore warfighting concepts for the 2007 and 2015 time frames. While game warriors primarily will examine concepts for future conflicts, lessons learned from the event about innovative tactics could be employed in current operations.

Information Systems Agency Undergoes Organizational Overhaul

March 2004
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Defense Department's primary information technology support agency is doing its part for military transformation by undertaking a major reorganization. By overhauling its organizational structure, the Defense Information Systems Agency aims to maintain the high level of support to its customers that it has been providing in current operations and in the global war against terrorism. The reorganization will help the agency take advantage of opportunities in five areas and position it to become the department's primary provider of end-to-end global network-centric solutions.

Advanced Surveillance Spawns New Challenges

March 2004
By Robert K. Ackerman

The boom in battlespace surveillance and reconnaissance applications has triggered a search for new technologies that could both help and hinder network-centric warfighters. Many revolutionary sensor systems in the laboratory pipeline offer the potential of widening the supremacy gap that the U.S. military owns over potential adversaries. However, using them effectively will require new data fusion techniques, advanced security measures, enhanced training and education, and greater bandwidth capacities.

Precision Guidance Reaches Small Munitions

March 2004
By Robert K. Ackerman

A new approach to guided munitions may empower small warheads with the same targeting precision employed by larger glide bombs and missiles. The technology takes a low-cost approach to guidance that could improve precision for artillery rounds, mortar shells and grenades for as little as $100 per warhead. Mass-production ultimately could open up the technology for bullets at an even lower cost.

Sensors Bolster Army Prowess

By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.

Flush from recent combat success in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Army officials are touting a new generation of sensors to help gain battlefield advantages while protecting soldiers from a wide range of threats. Robotic and unmanned sensors are being used to avoid placing soldiers-already operating under hazardous battlefield conditions-directly in harm's way, especially inside darkened enemy caves and tunnels.

Warfighting Concepts Take the Right Path

March 2004
By Jeffrey J. Becker

Futuristic operational concepts are making their way from the laboratory to the warfighter faster through a process that is more often associated with technology than theories. During the past year, the U.S. Joint Forces Command has been focusing on field experimentation with prototypes of concepts that address the unique challenges the joint military environment poses. The experimentation program, known as the Joint Prototype Path, helps identify the pros and cons of proposed concepts and allows military personnel to become familiar with approaches that are being considered for the future.

The United States Is Vulnerable to Cyberterrorism

March 2004
By Col. (S) Bradley K. Ashley, USAF

Today's battlefields transcend national borders. Cyberspace adds an entirely new dimension to military operations, and the ubiquitous dependence on information technology in both the government and commercial sectors increases exponentially the opportunities for adversaries as well as the potential ramification of attacks.

Artillery Eyes Provide Sight to Ground Forces

January 2004
By Cheryl Lilie

A "camera in a bullet" is being developed that will allow infantry troops to see beyond obstacles that obstruct their view. The device, fired like an artillery shell, takes aerial images of the surrounding area as it descends then relays them to ground forces in a matter of seconds. Built from commercial off-the-shelf products, it would provide ground commanders with a cost-effective and timely situational awareness tool in combat.

The Dawning of a New AFCEA Age

January 2004
By Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.)

Since 1946, AFCEA has prided itself on the role it plays in being a conduit between government and industry. Our association has served to help move the finest technology offered by the Free World into the hands of its warfighters. This has been accomplished because of the ethical environment that AFCEA creates to allow frank "roll-up-the-sleeves" dialogue. This environment enables government to be exposed to the great advances that information technology (IT) is making in the commercial sector. I am convinced that AFCEA has played a key role in making the use of COTS, or commercial off-the-shelf, equipment an accepted practice for government IT professionals.

Commercializing Tactical Communication Sites

January 2004
By Edward Griswold

The very situations that call for rapidly deployable military communications gear also mandate commercial equipment for long-term theater operations. A fast, agile, mobile military requires communications equipment that can be quick to move and quick to set up. However, in exchange for this tactical mobility, these equipment components are more vulnerable to the elements. This makes any stay for extended periods hard on the equipment.

Independent Testing Keeps the Bugs at Bay

January 2004
By Henry S. Kenyon

A third-party testing and verification regimen allows program managers and directors to save time and money by efficiently integrating commercial systems into mission-critical environments. When it is initiated at the beginning of a program, the practice offers an additional means of detecting faults in systems before they are deployed.

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