Defense Operations

July 17, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Dana Deasy, the Defense Department’s CIO, pictured speaking at AFCEA’s 2018 Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore, is stressing the role of cloud and artificial intelligence as part of DOD’s new Digital Modernization Strategy. Credit: Michael Carpenter

On Friday, the Defense Department released its DOD Digital Modernization Strategy, aiming to greatly improve the military’s digital environment. The strategy aims to modernize the DOD’s joint information enterprise environment by advancing its fixed and mobile networking capabilities,; DOD-wide enterprise information technology (IT) services, coordinated technology refresh efforts, joint cybersecurity capability and access to data.

July 15, 2019
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Using the Army’s cyber-enabled Counter-Unmanned Aerial System, soldiers were able to detect and counter small drones during training. Credit: U.S. Army

Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (3/1 CD) recently tried out a cyber-based prototype that complements electronic warfare systems designed to combat enemy drones, the Army has revealed in an online article.

Using the Army's enhanced cyber-enabled Counter-Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) capability, soldiers were able to detect and counter common, small drones during their training. The new prototype alerted soldiers to the presence of a drone and provided a means to target it, for protection across the brigade.

July 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA (Ret.)

Just about everybody who has worked for the Defense Department has encountered this: A new technology is deployed—a software application, new hardware, a piece of gear or a tool—and after using it, people discover it falls short of expectations. Perhaps it was difficult to operate. Or maybe it didn’t do what was needed. Or it might have done what was needed but did it poorly. Or it worked well enough for some use cases and not others.

July 1, 2019
By Anders Klintäng

There has been a quiet revolution in the television industry thanks to the vision of Adde Granberg, chief technology officer and head of production at Swedish Television SVT.

When we watched Lindsey Vonn retire in February of this year after an amazing career as an alpine skier, a quiet revolution happened behind the cameras. What looked like a normal, well-produced live TV event on the surface was, in fact, the world’s first remotely produced large-scale live TV production. In the world of live TV production, this is almost considered a quantum leap.

June 28, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. David Goldfein, USAF, chief of staff of the Air Force, speaking at the Mitchell Institute Strategic Deterrence Breakfast event on June 26, warns of increasing posturing of Russia and China in the Arctic region.

With Russia and China pursuing “rapid and comprehensive” nuclear weapon modernization efforts, instead of denuclearization, the United States must remain vigilant in its commitment to update its defensive tools to protect the nation, said Gen. David Goldfein, USAF, chief of staff of the Air Force.

The chief of staff spoke at the Mitchell Institute’s Strategic Deterrence Breakfast Series on June 26. He confirmed the necessity of the United States’ nuclear deterrence triad, the combination of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), ballistic missile submarines and the aircraft bomber fleet, which serve as the backbone of our national security.

June 19, 2019
Posted by Gopika Ramesh
The Wave Relay MANET assists the CRS(I) in communications by eliminating the need for fixed infrastructure. It is helpful for applications that require complete mobility. Photo credits: Persistent Systems.

The U.S. Army chose New York-based Persistent Systems Wave Relay mobile ad hoc networking technology (MANET) to equip the Common Robotic System-Individual (CRS(I)) program of record. The company will be part of the QinetiQ North America (QNA) team supporting the CRS(I) program. The Army made the selection in March, the company reported.

Weighing less than 25 pounds, the CRS(I) is a backpackable robot that dismounted users can carry with sensor suites for viewing and detecting threats to improve situational awareness on the battlefield.

June 19, 2019
Posted by Gopika Ramesh
A U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal is assembling an AN/PRC-117G radio on the flight deck of an amphibious assault ship. The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) adds updated firmware to the radio, giving warfighters more advanced satellite communications.” Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tawanya Norwood.

The U.S. Marine Corps recently began using a next-generation narrowband satellite communication system called the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) to help warfighters in connecting to networks on the battlefield and communicate in a tactical environment.

MUOS works by using antennas that let Marines access SATCOM networks while also providing them with secure and nonsecure internet access. The system applies to both mobile or stationary marines and was fielded in the first quarter of 2019. It includes updated firmware to the AN/PRC-117G radio system and one of three antenna kits.

June 17, 2019
By Brian Wright
An agreement to share the Citizens Broadband Radio Service spectrum will benefit the U.S. Defense Department and the rest of the country. Credit: GDJ/Pixabay

Anyone who has worked in the Pentagon or on almost any military installation can attest to wireless connectivity problems. Whether dealing with a dearth of cellular service, inadequate Wi-Fi or security blockers, service members and civilians have felt the frustration of not being able to access information or communicate effectively.

June 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s distributed planning software tool, known as RSPACE, offers some automation to Air Force planners developing air missions. Credit: BAE Systems

Air Force officers in charge of creating air tasking orders have long developed mission plans at air operations centers, known as AOCs, or centralized hubs in a specific command. The Air Force is looking at diversifying and decentralizing how and where those plans are created to add depth and resiliency to the process. This may be needed as designing air battle plans against potential peer threats will only grow in complexity in the future, experts say.

June 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army specialist monitors satellite communications (SATCOM) at an observation post in Afghanistan. The Army is looking to leap ahead in connectivity by unifying its entire system of networks through modernization, particularly SATCOM.  U.S. Army

The U.S. Army is going for a clean sweep in its efforts to modernize its network. Instead of taking an item-by-item approach, the service is striving to modernize its entire network enterprise by introducing new and compatible technologies from bases to battlefields.

“The Army is going to be doing a huge modernization, and the network is on the priority list,” says Col. Enrique Costas, USA, project manager, Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems (PM DCATS). “And we are going to achieve a lot of these successes with the help of industry and our sister services—it’s a joint fight and it’s a joint environment.”

May 30, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
A new agreement between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Air Force is meant to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence in Air Force operations. Credit: Shutterstock/Yousif Al Saif

On May 23 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, known as MIT, announced that it had signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to carry out fundamental research on artificial intelligence.

The MIT-Air Force AI Accelerator program is aimed at bringing rapid prototyping, scalability and the use of advanced algorithms and systems into Air Force operations.

“MIT and the U.S. Air Force have signed an agreement to launch a new program designed to make fundamental advances in artificial intelligence that could improve Air Force operations while also addressing broader societal needs,” a university official stated.

May 22, 2019
By Julianne Simpson
David Sanger, national security correspondent for The New York Times, discusses cyber at the AFCEA-GMU C4I and Cyber Center Symposium.

Cyber is fundamentally changing the national security landscape. David Sanger, national security correspondent for The New York Times and author of The Perfect Weapon, used his keynote address on day two of the AFCEA-GMU C4I and Cyber Center Symposium not to explain what is happening, but why this is happening.

To illustrate the new age of weaponizing information, Sanger described the differences between Watergate and the hack of the DNC in December 2016. The Russians didn’t have to do anything the Watergate hackers did.

May 21, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The new 87th Electronic Warfare Squadron at the U.S. Air Force’s 53rd Wing will provide key electronic warfare and cyber assessments to combat and mobility air forces at the major commands across the globe. Pictured are Air Force F-16 aircraft from a recent combat exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah on May 1. U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw

On May 17, the 53rd Wing of the U.S. Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida celebrated the establishment of its new 87th Electronic Warfare Squadron that will join the wing’s 53rd Electronic Warfare Group.

May 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, chief information officer/G-6, U.S. Army, speaks about network security and capabilities at TechNet Cyber. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, chief information officer/G-6, U.S. Army, suggests the possibility of an Internet of Strategic Things in addition to the Internet of Tactical Things.

“We’ve had some really good discussions about the Internet of Things. That was a thing a couple of years ago. And then we started talking about the Internet of Tactical Things. I think what’s on the horizon is more of a discussion of the Internet of Strategic Things,” Gen. Crawford told the audience on the second day of the AFCEA TechNet Cyber 2019 conference in Baltimore.

May 14, 2019
By Beverly Cooper
Karl Kurz, DISA Unified Capabilities Portfolio (l) and Kevin Tate of the DOD Office of the Chief Information Officer discuss the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions during a panel at TechNet Cyber.

When the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) request for quotes was released last month, it gave industry a way to leverage a variety of cloud solutions in support of defense missions. The goal of this enterprise cloud strategy is to help the Department of Defense (DOD) standardize, centralize and save money, as well as to enhance DOD capabilities. It is a path toward a multivendor, multicloud environment, according to Kevin Tate of the DOD Office of the Chief Information Officer.

May 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, DISA, and commander, Joint Force Headquarters–Department of Defense Information Network, speaks at West. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The Defense Information Systems Agency is a combat support agency, and as such, is charged with supplying key information technology to warfighters and civilians around the globe. The agency provides voice, data, video, spectrum, computing and other communication capabilities to combatant commands, the Joint Staff, the services, offices and agencies in Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

May 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Officials from the Mission Partner Engagement Office are available at industry conferences to field questions from mission partners about Defense Information Systems Agency services.  David Marin/DISA

By definition, the Defense Information Systems Agency Mission Partner Engagement Office’s role is to engage with customers. So it makes sense that the office is working to improve how it helps the myriad of Department of Defense and intergovernmental employees that need the information services provided by the combat support agency known as DISA.

April 17, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
Ground operations are the new frontier for Link 16 systems. Unlike their larger airborne and naval predecessors, these nodes spend more time receiving transmissions from platforms such as aircraft. Credit: ViaSat

Communications requirements are changing in tandem with new modes of military battlefield requirements. Until a few years ago, voice had been the predominant communications medium. Variable message format messages were adopted as the digitally aided close air support standard, however even with a concerted effort by the U.S. Defense Department to standardize requirements, there continues to be longstanding issues with interoperability, including significant loss of key data and slow refresh rates. 


April 12, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Col. Dave Burton, USMC, program manager, Intelligence Systems, USMC Systems Command, notes that organizational changes are helping the Marines bring forth signals intelligence capabilities.

In an era of complex geopolitics of peer and near-peer adversaries racing to advance electronic warfare (EW), the U.S. Marine Corps, like the other services, is centering on improving its signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic warfare operations. The service is examining its training and how it integrates the capabilities into its battalions. 

The Marine Corps’ efforts in so-called SIGINT and EW was the focus of this year’s Signals Intelligence Day held on Capitol Hill and organized by the Association of Old Crows Advocacy’s Signals Intelligence Industry Partnership. 

April 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force is becoming more of a software company with hardware components, and is buying capabilities, says Col. Chad Raduege, USAF, director of cyberspace and information dominance, Air Combat Command.

Last year, the Air Force announced it was moving the 24th Air Force, which specializes in cyber operations, and the service’s Cyber Mission from the Air Force Space Command to the Air Combat Command. This spring, the Air Combat Command is working on the merger of those cyber components with its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities from the 25th Air Force and integrating cyber into its operations.

The move, which started eight months ago, signifies a shift in the Air Force’s emphasis on putting cyber into everyday operations, said Col. Chad Raduege, USAF, who has been nominated for appointment to brigadier general, director of cyberspace and information dominance, Air Combat Command (ACC).

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