Defense Operations

March 3, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The USS Abraham Lincoln is part of a pilot program that will facilitate the integration of more comprehensive capabilities to the greater fleet. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Aja Jackson

The U.S. Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, and Space Systems, or PEO C4I &SS, is pursuing an aggressive information warfare digital metamorphosis to support the Navy’s distributed maritime operations around the globe.

The PEO C4I & SS is employing industry best practices and incorporating sailor input as part of its so-called Information Warfare Digital Execution Plan (IWDEP), which will provide sailors with a framework of technologies and processes to enable coordinated information warfare effects.

March 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard officers speak during a panel at WEST 2020.

The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are ready to engage in combat in a contested zone if it were to break out tomorrow, high-ranking officers say. However, peer rivals are pushing to eliminate that advantage and turn the tables in the near future.

A group of officers from the three services waxed and waned about the services’ chances in future combat during a panel discussion at WEST 2020, the conference and exposition in San Diego March 2-3 co-sponsored by AFCEA International and USNI. The flag officers were unanimous about the ability of U.S. maritime forces to respond to a crisis tomorrow, if necessary.

March 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Panelists discuss manning, training and equiment at WEST 2020. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Failure in just one of a troika of military disciplines will doom the Navy in future combat operations, said a panel of experts. The Navy and the Marine Corps will need to tap their best potential expertise and resources to guarantee the success of manning, training and equipping the force.

March 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Aaron Weis, Department of the Navy chief information officer, addresses WEST 2020. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Navy has gone past wanting a new information architecture to needing one at the risk of losing a future combat operation. The sea service faces a grim future unless it quickly turns around current information technology trends that are doing it more harm than good.

March 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
At WEST 2020, the sea service chiefs discuss the impact of the coronavirus on operations. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The global progression of the coronavirus has caused the sea services to cut back on some activities and cancel others as they increase their surveillance of the disease’s spread. Their efforts include monitoring cross-border activities that could involve the spread of the virus into the United States.

March 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. Michael M. Gilday, USN, chief of naval operations, speaks at WEST 2020. Photo by Michael Carpenter

All the U.S. sea services are calling for transformational changes as they confront increasingly capable adversaries. But each service views a different course to achieving a force that can address growing threats from different peer rivals worldwide.

These different perspectives were presented by the opening speakers at WEST 2020, the conference and exposition in San Diego March 2-3 co-sponsored by AFCEA International and USNI. Each of the sea service chiefs described the challenges they face and what they must do—and have—to meet them.

March 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Army Rapid Capabilities Office uses the Network Integration Evaluation exercises to gain soldier feedback on electronic warfare prototypes. The service expects to make advances this year on reintroducing sophisticated electronic warfare technologies back into the force.  Original image by Sgt. Maricris C.McLane, 24th Press Camp Headquarters. Edited by Chris D’Elia.

This year the Army will take several steps in the march toward reintroducing cutting-edge electronic warfare systems capable of countering near-peer competitors.

March 1, 2020
By Jim Mazzei
Sgt. April Vance, USMC, a field radio operator with Headquarters Regiment, 1st Marine Logistics Group, adjusts the communications network during a field training exercise at Camp Pendleton, California. Field radio operators employ a range of frequencies to establish communications, including ultrahigh frequencies, upper-very-high frequencies and high frequencies.  U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Staff Sgt. Rubin J. Tan, USMC

As the components of the celestial network that ties commanders to troops enter into middle age and in many cases retirement, the U.S. Defense Department must take quick action to protect warfighters’ safety and homeland security. The challenge military leaders and procurement officers face is the urgency of the need. After all, communications satellites aren’t cellphones or drones and can’t be bought at the local tech store. Instead, meeting U.S. military communications capabilities needs by 2025 will require changing the location of a satellite already in orbit.

February 24, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Dana Deasy, the Defense Department’s CIO, speaks at AFCEA’s 2018 Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore. Credit: Michael Carpenter

 

The U.S. Department of Defense officially adopted a series of ethical principles for the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Recommendations were provided to Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper by the Defense Innovation Board last October.

These principles will apply to both combat and non-combat functions and assist the U.S. military in upholding legal, ethical and policy commitments in the field of AI, according to the Pentagon.

February 12, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Soldiers from the Army’s 6th Ranger Training Battalion help a simulated wounded victim during a mass casualty exercise February 5 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The service’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget request seeks to support increased soldier lethality, readiness and modernization of capabilities. U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.

Released this week, the Army’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request of $178 billion adds focus to supporting Joint all-domain operations. While the Army’s funding for FY 2017-2018 centered on readiness and recovery, addressing "must-pay" bills and filling gaps in its force structure, the Army’s heavy focus for FY 2019-2020 is on increasing lethality and implementing six modernization priorities. For FY 2021, however, the service is shifting to support the U.S.

February 7, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
“Defensive cyber operations will be our number one priority,” says Brig. Gen. Joseph Matos, USMC, J-6, U.S. Space Command, speaking of the command’s vital role in defending U.S. space-based assets and operations.

Last August 30, the U.S. Space Command become the 11th unified combatant command of the U.S. Department of Defense. In that role, the command will be conducting defensive, and when necessary, offensive cyber capabilities to protect key space-based assets and guard its part of the military’s network, called the DODIN.

February 5, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Maj. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, USAF, assistant deputy CIO, Digital Transformation, and assistant deputy chief of staff for Cyber Effects Operations, speaks at the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Cyberspace Symposium.

Modernizing information technology across 700,000 U.S. Air Force personnel is not a simple venture. Updating legacy systems, moving applications and data to the cloud, enabling the use of mobile devices, securing appropriate licensing and supplying powerful computing are complex undertakings. The pursuit of a digital transformation is a vital effort of the service, said Maj. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, USAF, assistant deputy chief information officer, Digital Transformation, and assistant deputy chief of staff for Cyber Effects Operations.

February 4, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Christopher "Wedge" Weggeman, USAF, deputy commander, Air Combat Command (ACC), speaks at the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Cyberspace Symposium 2020.

For the last year, the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command has aggressively pursued revamping its organization to combat increasing threats, including cyber threats. The command is looking at how to unite its traditional air component capabilities with cyber mastery and provide its piece of Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2.

These abilities are key especially as threats from adversaries are “only increasing in scope and scale,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher "Wedge" Weggeman, USAF, deputy commander, Air Combat Command (ACC), speaking at AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Cyberspace Symposium 2020 in Colorado Springs on February 4.

February 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
While the push for shared spectrum comes from the private sector to support 5G, the Defense Department has to maintain access to warfighters. Warfighters from a spectrum management team in East Africa conduct radio frequency surveys.  Airman 1st Class Brennen Lege, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.

Accessible radio frequencies are crucial for warfighter training, testing and operations. Ensuring access to the necessary electromagnetic spectrum for U.S. Defense Department missions is not an easy task, especially in a time of growing demand across the military and commercial sectors, explains Col. Frederick Williams, USAF, acting director of the Office of Spectrum Policy and Programs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, or OSD. The military operates in a wide range of spectrum bands, both on an exclusive and shared basis. In the last several years, Defense Department operational requirements for spectrum access have increased.

February 1, 2020
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The current National Defense Strategy looks at the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Consequently, the military services are thoughtfully making strategic adjustments and adapting their operational concepts to meet new and emerging threats. Those changes are especially significant in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

January 13, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Three U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, fly in formation during Exercise WestPac Rumrunner January 10. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Senior Airman Cynthia Belío)

More than 60 aircraft and 300 personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps participated in 18th Wing’s first WestPac Rumrunner exercise January 10. In addition to air tactics and joint interoperability, Airmen were tasked with ensuring continuous airpower by using tactics derived from Pacific Air Force’s agile combat employment concept of operations, or ACE.

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).

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. 

March 14, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Gaining experience with information operations in Afghanistan and hosting several pilot programs will help the rise of the U.S. Army’s information warfare capabilities and aid the transformation of the Cyber Command into an information operations warfare command, says Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commanding general, Army Cyber Command. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The Army is transforming its Cyber Command to meet the challenges of a multidomain battlefield. Just over eight years old, the command, located at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, will evolve by 2028 into something possibly called the Army Information Warfare Operations Command, which will fully incorporate cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.

December 20, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, USA, speak with Maj. Gen. Brian Winski, USA, commanding general, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) & Fort Campbell, near Bastogne, Belgium, on December 16 as part of the events for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. The leaders announced today the official creation of the U.S. Space Force, the newest branch of the military in 70 years. DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

For the first time in 70 years, the U.S. military will be adding another service to its organization, the Space Force. The move becomes official with the signing of the S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 by the president later today, announced Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, USA. The top two military leaders briefed the press at the Pentagon and broadcasted the event online December 20.

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