Defense Operations

January 11, 2022
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
John Mark Norris, a 578th Software Engineering Squadron electronics engineer, installs a new high frequency radio prototype in the C-5 System Integration Lab at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, for an over-the-air voice test call to Rome, New York. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Electronic Warfare and Avionics Program Office at Robins is working to rapidly develop and field a replacement airborne high frequency radio to meet evolving warfighter needs in a contested environment. Credit: Robins AFB

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Electronic Warfare and Avionics Program Office at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, will transform legacy airborne high frequency radio systems into assured, anti-jammable radio communications capabilities for a near-peer environment. The effort will modernize high frequency radios across Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft under a multiyear contract with BAE Systems, the base stated in a report from Holly Logan-Arrington, Robins Public Affairs.

December 22, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Air Force is deploying robotic process automation capabilities on a wider scale across the service. Initiatives like the Air Force Materiel Command’s Robotic Process Automation Roadshow, held in December 2021 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, helped to provide the associated tools and understanding to airmen. Credit: Michele Ruff, Air Force Materiel Command

Building off some early successes with robotic process automation, or RPA, the U.S. Air Force is deploying the capability on a greater scale. Assisted by the Air Force Robotic Process Automation Center of Excellence, the service most recently has been testing out the application of RPA in its Department of the Inspector General, or IG.

December 15, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Col. William Young, USAF, commander of the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing, speaking at the standup of the new wing in June at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, says the wing’s application of the STITCHES technology will be critical to being able to dominate operations in the electromagnetic spectrum. Credit: Air Force photo by Lt. Karissa Rodriguez

The U.S. Air Force’s 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing is leveraging the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA's) System-of-Systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems, also known as STITCHES. The integration tool chain, which enables machine-to-machine communications, can integrate command and control, and fires platforms quickly—an important capability for electromagnetic spectrum operations.

The government-owned, software-only middleware solution connects heterogeneous weapon systems, other platforms and subsystems that were not originally designed to cross-communicate.

December 13, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
British Army Brigadier Paul Tedman, U.S. Space Command’s deputy director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, speaks to personnel across the Defense Department space enterprise during the command’s Global Space Security Cooperation Planning Workshop at Fort Carson, Colorado, on December 7. Operating for the last 2.5 years, the command is examining how to enhance its roles across functional and service component lines. Credit: USSPACECOM Photo by Amber Martin

As the unified combatant command responsible for conducting operations in, from and to space, the U.S. Space Command works to deliver space combat power for joint and the combined force; defends U.S. interests in space with its allies and partners; and deters conflict—and if necessary, will defeat aggression. The Defense Department stood up the command’s functional aspects shortly after its establishment in August 2019 so that it could perform this mission right away.

December 10, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Daniel Hokanson (r), USA, chief, National Guard Bureau, speaks with soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery Regiment, at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center, Guernsey, Wyoming, in August 2021. Armed with a new chief data officer, Martin Akerman, the guard aims to unite its data from all of its components to better support its warfighters and decision-making. Credit: U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Kristina Kranz

The U.S. National Guard Bureau has put in place its first chief data officer. In his role as CDO, Martin Akerman, the former director of data strategy for the Department of the Air Force, is leading the National Guard’s Digital Modernization “from the ground up,” the service reported.

November 22, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, USAF (l), U.S. Space Force director of staff, speaks with Georgia Institute of Technology President Angel Cabrera and Devesh Ranjan, associate chair for Research and Ring Family Chair and professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Credit: Allison Carter, Georgia Tech

The two-year-old U.S. Space Force is growing its research and development community through partnership agreements with select U.S. institutions. Following the latest memorandum of understanding executed on Veterans Day with the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, the Space Force’s cadre of academia partners now stands at 11 universities.

The Space Force’s University Partnership Program includes:

November 19, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Two MQ-9 Reapers are parked on the flight line during the Air Force’s Exercise Agile Combat Employment Reaper on September 20, 2021, on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Hawaii. Reapers joined on MCB Hawaii from multiple bases across the continental United States for the exercise. Experts purport that cutting the MQ-9 Reaper program would harm U.S. capabilities and ability to protect itself. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Adrian Salazar

The U.S. Air Force would be foolish to cut its MQ-9 Reaper program, as the unmanned aircraft provides key strike and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, capabilities that will still be very much needed into the future, an expert claims. Amidst great budgetary pressures, the service is proposing to cut the program in 2035.

November 16, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. National Guard has a vested interest in growing its partnership with foreign countries, says Guard Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson, USA. In October, Gen. Hokanson (l) met with Arnold Kammel, policy director, Austrian defense ministry, and Austrian Ambassador Martin Weiss (r), at the Pentagon.  U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jim Greenhill

The U.S. National Guard has an ever present international mission, with the U.S. state-based militaries growing their relationships with other nations. In some cases, the partnerships with certain countries have been established for decades, shares Gen. Daniel Hokanson, USA, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The adjutant generals, or leaders of the U.S. state guards, work with a country’s military, their top military leaders and oftentimes directly with the president or ruler of a nation. The partnerships serve as a way to share information, techniques and how the U.S. National Guard responds to national events, medical or natural disasters.

November 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Galt speaks in 2017 to U.S. Armed Forces service members in Mongolia during the annual Khaan Quest, the Mongolian-hosted exercise designed to strengthen the capabilities of the U.S., Mongolia and other partner nations in international peacekeeping operations. Galt emphasizes the need for strengthening U.S. partnerships, given the threat that China presents in the Indo-Pacific region. U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Rosas

The People’s Republic of China is engaging in coercion, lawfare, militarization, human rights violations, imperialism and cyber espionage, say experts. These actions are part of a well-funded and well-organized whole-of-government thrust to be the dominant power in the world, and how the United States addresses these efforts may well determine the status of the world in the 21st century.The threat to the Indo-Pacific region, to the U.S.

November 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.), and Brig. Gen. Paul Fredenburgh, USA (Ret.)

As China continues to push the envelope and flex its economic, diplomatic and militaristic muscles toward an endgame of global dominance, other nations looking to curb the world’s most populous nation’s advancements are developing smart strategies of their own—chief among them is the alliance between four key democracies in the Asia-Pacific region.

October 28, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Brig. Gen. Robert Parker, USA, deputy director, J-6, and Joint All-Domain Command and Control Cross-Functional Team chair, discusses JADC2 at AFCEA’s TechNet Cyber in Baltimore. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The Joint All-Domain Command and Control Cross-Functional Team (JADC2 CFT)  is adding a sixth working group to examine and resolve data transport issues and also intends to develop a scorecard to help assess how well systems conform to the Defense Department’s joint all-domain warfighting goals.

Brig. Gen. Robert Parker, USA, deputy director, J-6, and JADC2 CFT chair, broke the news on both fronts during a keynote presentation at the TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore, and during an exclusive interview with SIGNAL Magazine following his presentation.

October 28, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, U.S. Amy deputy chief of staff, G-6 addresses the audience at TechNet Cyber in Baltimore. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Army seeks to enhance the effectiveness of local cybersecurity defenders—and ultimately the joint force cyber warriors—by revamping organizational design, fielding the best technologies and improving training, Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, U.S. Amy deputy chief of staff, G-6, told the audience at the TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore.

“Here’s my thesis: we have a lot of folks that are doing cybersecurity work, but we are not optimized across the entire joint force to conduct cybersecurity operations,” Gen. Morrison declared.

October 27, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, USAF, director, DISA, and commander JFHQ-DODIN, discusses the reorganization of DISA during the opening keynote of TechNet Cyber 2021 in Baltimore. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Faced with supporting complex warfighting in a future near-peer environment, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, a combat support agency that provides key communications, computing and information technology on a global scale, has reorganized to better position the whole of the Defense Department for the future fight.

“The problem statement that we really looked at hard and continue to look at is: ‘Is DISA’s organizational design too complex for best value?'” explained Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, USAF, director, DISA, and commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN). “Is that true? And if that is true, then what do we need to do to improve?”

October 28, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Kelly Fletcher, who is performing the duties of the DoD CIO, addresses attendees at TechNet Cyber 2021 in Baltimore. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The Department of Defense's Office of the Chief Information Officer, or DoD CIO, is pursuing several efforts to make sure the U.S. combatant commands have the fundamental tools to enable artificial intelligence and machine learning to aid their operational command and control.

October 27, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Miter, USAF, a 274th Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controller, controls aircraft during Exercise Bold Quest 20.2 at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in October 2020. Led by the Joint Staff, Bold Quest is a multinational exercise being used to demonstrate joint all-domain command and control capabilities.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joel Pfiester

The U.S. Defense Department is poised to advance its joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) vision with an array of major accomplishments in the coming months. Those achievements include the completion of an implementation plan, a practical demonstration of JADC2 capabilities, the fielding of initial technology and a series of briefings to allies.

October 26, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Australian, British, Japanese and U.S. ships and aircraft transit the Bay of Bengal in the northeastern portion of the Indian Ocean. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is one of the first to host advanced data analytics teams made that include personnel with data and artificial intelligence experts. Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Haydn Smith

The U.S. Defense Department is deploying teams of data and artificial intelligence experts to the various combatant commands as part of its efforts to implement the joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) vision. The combatant commands host some teams for relatively short visits—a matter of days—while others will remain onsite for three years.

Kathleen Hicks, deputy secretary of defense, launched the AI and data acceleration (ADA) initiative. The teams include both data and artificial intelligence experts. The chief data officer and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) coordinate and lead the effort.

October 25, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
An airman from the Weapons Load Crew at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, prepares for operations. The service is shifting how it projects air power in response to near-peer threats. Credit: Air Force photo

In a near-peer environment, the assumption of homeland safety may not be valid. Dangerous capabilities, such as hypersonics, in development by adversaries, call into risk the safety of U.S. facilities. Allies, like those in the Middle East, who face daily threats already have protective measures, suggests Gen. Mark Kelly, USAF, commander, Air Combat Command, or the ACC. China, who is advancing hypersonics and is considered the greatest threat to America, has its own considerable protections.

The general, who spoke during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Aerospace Nation virtual event on October 25, said he would like to see additional defenses for U.S. Air Force bases on the homefront.

October 21, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo

As part of its transformation back to a maritime force, the U.S. Marine Corps is focusing on greater integration with naval and joint forces. This will require information technology systems that are extremely mobile, can work anywhere and operate in a denied environment, according to the Marine Corps deputy chief information officer (CIO).

October 15, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers assigned to the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment train with howitzers in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Enhancing the ability to harness myriad data streams is instrumental to modernizing the Army’s fires mission thread for future battlefield operations. Photo by Army Spc. Josselyn Fuentes

As part of its effort to modernize the fires mission thread, the U.S. Army is overhauling two systems critical to providing sensor data to weapon systems to more effectively engage battlefield targets.

Those two systems are the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) and the Joint Automated Deep Operations Coordination System (JADOCS), which will be replaced by the Joint Targeting Command and Coordination System (JTC2S). The updated systems will provide critical information to weapon systems through the data fabric being developed under the Rainmaker project.

October 13, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, USA (Ret.) (c) , and his wife, Linda (l), speak in 2013 with David Thorne, former U.S. ambassador to Italy, during a ceremony at the Italian army headquarters in Rome, when Gen. Odierno received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. The general passed away last weekend at age 67. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade

The former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Raymond Odierno, USA (Ret.), died October 8 at age 67 after battling cancer. He was chief of the service from 2011-2015, the 38th such leader since the position began in 1903.

Over his 35-year illustrious career, Gen. Odierno led troops in every echelon and deployed to lead overseas operations in Germany, Albania, Kuwait and Iraq. He is most known for his leadership during Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

October 8, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Master Sgt. Michael Lesterick, USMC, carries an Afghan evacuee’s luggage as they board a plane at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, September 1, 2021. The Department of Defense, including its combatant commands, such as the U.S. Transportation Command, is still supporting the evacuation of American citizens, special immigrant visa applicants and other at-risk individuals from Afghanistan. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kyle Jia

The U.S. Transportation Command relied on key command and control technologies during the intense, perilous 24/7 operations during the evacuation of Afghanistan, its J-3 operations leader Maj. Gen. Corey Martin, USAF, stated. And while the evacuation of approximately 124,000 people from Afghanistan following the fall of the Afghan government and takeover by the Taliban in August was tactically successful, the general can see where “more nimble” technologies could be added to make mobility operations more fluid.

October 5, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Air Force is adding first responder network capability to 15 of its bases, which will help public safety personnel communicate during operations or emergencies, such as weather-related disasters, like Tyndall faced in 2018 with Hurricane Michael. Credit: Staff Sgt. Alexander Henniger

Under an agreement with the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center and telecommunications carrier AT&T, the Air Force will add FirstNet to 15 of the service’s bases to better support base first responders. For the next 21 years, AT&T will deliver FirstNet connectivity to the facilities, the company reported October 5.

Built in response to first responder and public safety needs following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet is the nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform for police, fire, emergency medical and public safety personnel. It was constructed in 2018 with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority.

August 18, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Credit: Shutterstock/Olivier Le Moal

The Defense Information Systems Agency intends next month to award a contract for its Thunderdome zero-trust architecture and to begin implementing a prototype within six months. The new architecture is expected to enhance security, reduce complexity and save costs while replacing the current defense-in-depth approach to network security.

October 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

In this infocentric age of all-domain warfare, DISA truly has a challenging mission and critical role in the defense community. DISA must focus on security and serving customers ranging from the president of the United States to the combatant commanders and the individual warfighters on the tactical edge. DISA is a critical player in the world of joint, all-domain command and control (C2).

September 28, 2021
By George I. Seffers
DISA supports JADC2 in more ways than many people might realize, according to Brian Hermann, the agency's program executive officer for services development. Credit: Titima Ongkantong/Shutterstock

The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency’s Thunderdome project may be the new kid on the block supporting the Defense Department’s command and control vision, but the agency’s legacy systems also could prove pivotal.

“I think there’s more to DISA’s role in JADC2 than is obvious,” says Brian Hermann, program executive officer for services development at the agency commonly known as DISA. Joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, focuses on data to allow warfighters to make faster decisions than potential adversaries.

September 24, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Army leaders and officials visit General Dynamics Mission Systems manufacturing facility in Taunton, Massachusetts, on September 21 to preview the new pilot program the service is pursuing to equip armored vehicles with effective communications technologies in 2025. Credit: PEO C3T

The U.S. Army is moving beyond a forward-operating base ideal and is preparing for communications and operations geared instead toward near-peer competition in a contested environment. This winter, the Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications- Tactical, PEO C3T, will conduct a new pilot program that will begin to identify what kinds of communications and network technologies could successfully be applied to moving armored vehicles to support soldiers in such an environment. The work is part of PEO C3T’s Capability Set 2025 (CS25) iterative effort to harness industry innovation and add tactical communication solutions in two-year sprints.

September 21, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
An airman from deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, examines an F-15E Strike Eagle during preflight inspections at Tinian International Airport, Tinian during Pacific Iron 21 in August. To conduct such agile, more lethal movement of forces and airpower in the region, more software solutions are needed. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Sutton

The U.S. Air Force’s Pacific Air Forces, or PACAF, held Pacific Iron and several other exercises and events this spring and summer to test and confirm the ideal solutions needed and constructs in which to conduct agile combat employment, known as ACE. And while the leader of PACAF is not quite yet ready to declare that the major command has reached initial operating capability (IOC) for ACE, officials are in the process of revamping its draft concept of employment to improve ACE deployment and have identified key software capability needs.

August 10, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 525th Fighter Squadron completes agile combat employment (ACE) maneuvers during Operation Pacific Iron 2021 at Northwest Field, Guam, in July. The austere conditions of the former World War II airfield offered ideal conditions for airmen to train in ACE. Credit: Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandra Minor.

In preparation for a contested near-peer environment, the U.S. Air Force is working to send forces and assets to austere locations on short notice as part of its agile combat employment concept. The service’s ability to support the greater Joint Force’s dynamic force employment will provide a range of air-related military options and quickly deployed forces when needed in response to emerging requirements. To sharpen its skills in providing a more lean, agile and lethal force that can generate airpower from smaller and more dispersed locations in the Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility, the service’s Pacific Air Forces, also known as PACAF, conducted Operation Pacific Iron 21 during the month of July, ending last Friday.

August 31, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The last U.S. military member to leave Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, USA, commander of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, boards a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport August 30, closing out two decades of U.S. military involvement in the country. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Alex Burnett

Yesterday, the Pentagon announced the end to the nearly 20-year mission in Afghanistan that started shortly after the terrorist attacks in America on September 11th, 2001. The U.S. military completed its evacuations from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul under active threat from the Taliban and ISIS terrorists, following the August 15 collapse of the Afghanistan government and the August 26 attack that killed 13 U.S. warfighters and 60 Afghanistan citizens. Gen. Frank McKenzie, USMC, commander of U.S. Central Command, called it a costly war.

August 25, 2021
By Shaun Waterman
A soldier dons the Capability Set 3 (CS 3) militarized form factor prototype of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) during a Soldier Touchpoint 3 live fire test event at Fort Pickett, Virginia, in October 2020. U.S. Army photo by Courtney Bacon

As the strategic focus of the U.S. military shifts away from the counterinsurgency operations of the war on terror and toward great power competition, so the focus of its biometrics programs is changing as well, Defense Department officials told AFCEA’s 2021 Federal Identity Forum and Expo Tuesday.

July 14, 2021
 
The Air Force is concentrating on governance, configuration management and customer focus to improve its IT networking capabilities. Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel.com

The U.S. Air Force’s recent IT modernization efforts are focusing on speeding up access to data across the service’s enterprise network by removing redundant and often contradictory devices and procedures to improve warfighter’s user experiences and speed operations.

Achieving this goal is the culmination of years of networking initiatives and data migration projects that transformed the way the service managed its IT operations, Douglas Dudley, director of Air Force programs for Akima LLC, told Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine’s editor in chief during a SIGNAL Media Executive Video interview.

August 19, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Shutterstock/Pachenko Vladimir

The U.S. Army needs to conduct five essential tasks to achieve the kind of information advantage that will allow commanders to make faster, more effective decisions than their adversaries. Those tasks are to enable decision making, protect friendly information, inform and educate domestic audiences, inform and influence international audiences and conduct information warfare.

The tasks were approved as part of a larger “logic map” during a February forum of one-, two- and three-star generals, according to Brig. Gen. Paul Craft, USA, commandant, U.S. Army Cyber School. Gen. Craft moderated a panel during the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.

August 18, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command, addresses the audience at TechNet Augusta 2021. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. military services may take slightly different paths to achieving information advantage but will likely reach their desired destinations, according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command.

Gen. Fogarty made the comments during a morning keynote presentation on the second day of AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.

August 18, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF (r), pictured with Gen. Jay Raymond, USSF, chief of Space Force Operations, takes leadership of the U.S. Space Force’s newest command, the Space Systems Command (SSC), during a ceremony last Friday. He has outlined several key initial priorities for SSC, including budgetary funding from Congress and having lawmakers understand how SSC “must be postured and empowered” to keep pace against adversaries. Credit: Van Ha, SSC Public Affairs

The commander of the U.S. Space Force’s new Space Systems Command, or SSC, is prioritizing the budgetary funding, technology preparations and partnerships as a few of his early goals. Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, set the stage for the SSC’s future during the U.S. Space Force’s official stand up of the new field command last week. The command—which was redesignated from the U.S.

August 17, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, deputy chief of staff, G-6, speaks at TechNet Augusta 2021. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. is in the final stages of developing its unified network plans, according to Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, deputy chief of staff, G-6.

Gen. Morrison made the comments on the first day of the 2021 AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia, the organization’s first in-person conference since the coronavirus pandemic.

August 13, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, commander, Space Systems Command, pictured at the podium during the official stand up ceremony of the U.S. Space Force’s new Space Systems Command August 13, takes the reins as the command’s first leader.

The U.S. Space Force officially stood up the Space Systems Command, or SSC, today. Leaders spent the last year developing the new field command redesignated from the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base.

The SSC stand up cleared one of the last hurdles with the U.S. Senate’s July 26 voice vote approval of SSC’s first commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, to become lieutenant general. The commander, who had most recently served as the deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), took lead of SSC during a ceremony at the base today; Lt. Gen. John Thompson, USAF, the commander of SMC, retired July 27.

August 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Two U.S. Army specialists join a Fijian Army sergeant in planting Dilo trees as part of a coastal and reef revitalization project in the Republic of Fiji. The U.S. Army works with local officials domestically and overseas in projects to support environmental concerns to avoid or repair damage.

Despite being equipped to lay waste to the countryside, the U.S. Army is cleaning up waste and practicing conservation as part of a broad effort of environmental measures. The service is actively pursuing environmental policies that range from preserving endangered species to reducing its carbon footprint by converting its fleet of tactical vehicles to electric power. These efforts are undertaken both at U.S. bases and installations and overseas during training and actual deployments.

Understanding environments is a principal task for every soldier, says Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, USA, director of the Army staff. At the tactical level, the Army must have a deep understanding of the environment.

August 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. John R. (Bob) Wood, USA (Ret.)

All of the U.S. military services are modernizing their forces to counter the rise of peer rivals and the onset of new game-breaking technologies. The Army, in particular, is facing difficult decisions as it tailors its structure for a new type of combat. Yet its challenges actually could open the way for the Army to set the pace for the rest of the U.S. military, and there is historical precedent for this possibility.

August 1, 2021
By Kevin Keeney and Michael Young

By design, the DoD Data Strategy compels transformational change in the way data is collected, analyzed and leveraged. The mechanics may be different depending on domain or joint all-domain mission, but as referenced in a previous SIGNAL special interest editorial, the strategy’s endgame is to ensure that trusted information gets to the right destination at the right time. As the largest and oldest service at the tactical terrestrial layer of the joint force, the Army has enduring data imperatives: speed, scale and resilience. Executed diligently, these imperatives facilitate an information advantage for ground forces in garrison and in theater.

August 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

Connectivity is at the heart of today’s modern military operations. To conduct complex, distributed multidomain operations at speed and scale, U.S. and allied forces need seamless connectivity to enable real-time communications and high-fidelity data flows.

But the military services have wrestled for decades with the challenge of communicating and sharing data securely with each other, let alone with non-DoD partners and allies. To take a few examples:

August 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

“Decision dominance … is the ability for a commander to sense, understand, decide, act and assess faster and more effectively than any adversary,” Army Futures Command Commander Gen. John “Mike” Murray, USA, told the Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Next virtual conference in March.

In modern warfare, against near-peer adversaries, victory will no longer be guaranteed by strength of arms alone. Speed and accuracy of decision making will be more critical than ever, and in many circumstances, decisive.

July 27, 2021
By Maj. James Torrence, USA
While some tout the idea that U.S. forces could pre-emptively degrade their own technological capabilities in a peer, or near-peer conflict, doing so would lead to losing, says an Army signal officer. Credit: Andy Gin/Shutterstock

The novel 2034 by James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman perpetuates a fundamental misunderstanding of how technology should be employed and managed in future conflicts.

The continuing narrative is that we should purposely degrade our systems in a conflict with a peer competitor because of the possibility of a degraded spectrum, cyber attacks, space-based detection and jamming. But if we preemptively degrade our technology in a peer conflict, we will lose.

In the novel, after a conflict with the Chinese Navy in which the U.S. technical systems were incapacitated, U.S. ships preemptively disabled “any interface with a computer, a GPS or [any interface] that could conceivably be accessed online.”

July 16, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center and other Army partners prepare for the Network Modernization Experiment 21 event by readying vehicles and equipment for the event held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey in May. Credit: Jasmyne Douglas, Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst PAO Office

The U.S. Army is employing blockchain-related capabilities to provide information trust on the future battlefield. The advanced solution, being developed in support of to be part of the Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T, Capability Sets 25 and 27, also relies on machine learning and zero trust applications. Computer engineers at the service’s tactical communications research and development arm, the Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center, at Aberdeen, Maryland, tested the solution in May during the Network Modernization Experiment 21 (NetModX 21), held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

July 1, 2021
By Lt. Col. Christopher M. Richardson, USA, Sgt. Maj. Willie Allen, USA, and Capt. Dallas R. Villareal, USA
Lot 9 Satellite Transportable Terminal (Increment 2) faces backward in an attempt to lock onto the satellite due to the malfunctioning of the sensor and encoder assembly. Capt. Dallas R. Villarreal, USA

Officials with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment have found a unique solution to a software challenge while fielding the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2. The validation of the process could pave the way for other units to implement the fix if they encounter a similar issue.

Mission command is the critical component in ensuring success under a large-scale combat operation. As the senior sustainment commander and sustainment coordinator within the Army’s only forward-stationed Stryker Brigade, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, unfettered access to all elements within the regiment is required.

July 15, 2021
Interview by Mark Senell
Credit: Shutterstock/Olivier Le Moal

The digital transformation is no longer simply an enabler—it’s the “trunk of the tree” that provides the foundational structure for everything we do, according to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, USA (Ret.). “It shapes what we are and how we operate.”

June 30, 2021
By Sandra Jontz and Kimberly Underwood
In this image from December 2020, former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Barbara Barrett, walks with Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Brown, before a ceremony unveiling the newly decorated Space Force hallway at the Pentagon. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Space Force (USSF) this week plans to announce the first transfer to its ranks of 50 sister-service members who are leaving the Army, Navy and Marine Corps to become Space Force guardians, said Lt. Gen. Nina M. Armagno, USSF, director of staff of the Office of the Chief of Space Operations of the Space Force

“It’s important to know that as we grow, we’re bringing over missions, systems and personnel from our sister services, and this week, we’re going to announce the first 50 interservice transfers,” she said during an interview this week.  

June 30, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Following her tenure as commander of Office of Naval Intelligence, Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, USN, stepped into the role of commander of Naval Information Forces in May. Here the vice admiral is pictured speaking during a ceremony in May 2021 with now-retired Vice Adm. Brian Brown, USN, looking on. Credit: U.S. Navy/Robert Fluegel

Three years ago, the Navy established its Information Warfare Enterprise and took steps to bolster its information warfare, or IW, given rising threats from adversaries. To support persistent surveillance of the maritime and information battle space, the service is now supplying IW expertise within meteorology, oceanography, intelligence, cyber, cryptology, network, space and electromagnetic spectrum operations, reported Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, USN, commander, Naval Information Forces.

June 29, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Navy SEALs conduct dive operations training in the Atlantic Ocean, May 29, 2019. A proposed reserve force of combat-ready, active-duty special operators could allow the Navy Special Warfare Command the agility it needs to respond to the full spectrum of missions around the globe while experimenting with new tactics, techniques and procedures. Credit: Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Jayme Pastoric

Rear Adm Hugh Wyman Howard III, USN, commander, Navy Special Warfare Command, made the case today that keeping a combat-ready active-duty force in reserve for combat or contingency operations around the world will provide opportunities for greater experimentation with tactics, techniques and procedures.

June 29, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Marines and sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS New Orleans execute small boat drills in the Philippine Sea. Greater integration between the Navy and Marine Corps is leading to more joint operations in support of maritime security. Credit: Lance Cpl. Grace Gerlach, USMC

The U.S. Marine Corps is shifting its emphasis to become more of a force integrated with that of the U.S. Navy, leaders of both services said. The two services will focus more on coordinated rather than complementary operations that will be supported by advanced communications and networking technologies.

These were among the points discussed in the opening panel session at West 2021, the two-day virtual conference cosponsored by AFCEA International and USNI. Being held June 29-30, the event’s focus is on the promise and progress of naval integration.

June 23, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Space X’s Falcon 9 first stage rocket returns to Earth on June 21, landing on the Just Read the Instructions droneship after launch of the military’s GPS III-5. Space X is preparing for a June 25 launch of key satellite and experimental equipment for the Space Development Agency, as part of a greater Transporter 2 mission set. Credit: SpaceX

The Space Development Agency is progressing in its promise to quickly build and operate advanced space systems that address urgent communication and mission needs for the military. The agency, known as SDA, has a plan as part of its Tranche 0 effort to provide proliferated low-earth-orbit constellation of satellites and sensors that will connect to the military’s tactical legacy datalinks and weapons systems to deter against advanced threats. As part of this effort, SDA is ready on June 25 to launch via Space X's Falcon 9 rocket three optical communication-based experiments across multiple satellites.