Defense Operations

October 9, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army soldier shouts orders as his unit prepares to assault an objective during exercise Saber Junction in Germany this year. NATO faces its own organizational challenges as it strives to increase the resiliency and effectiveness of its logistics in the face of a newly emerging threat picture. Credit: NATO

New challenges facing the West have compelled NATO to refresh domestic capabilities that have long been overlooked, alliance leaders say. These capabilities focus largely on logistics, but they also encompass new areas of concern such as cybersecurity and the supply chain.

October 9, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, USA, director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), speaks with a U.S. Airman assigned to the 4th Medical Group at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, in August. The director is leading the DHA's efforts to improve the care of warfighters, including through the use of advanced technology, where appropriate. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kylee Gardner

For the last six months, the U.S. military has been on the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic, providing necessary supplies and medical support across the country. Meanwhile, internally, the U.S. Defense Department has faced the threat of the virus with its warfighters. More than 55,000 Defense Department personnel have had the COVID-19 virus, and there have been 79 deaths—including one active-duty member, seven reservists or National Guard personnel and 71 dependents, retirees or family members, reported Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, USA, director, Defense Health Agency (DHA). 

October 8, 2020
Posted by: George I. Seffers
Defense Department officials released a new data strategy. They envision building a larger community of data leaders, via a deliberately expanded department data council that brings in the combatant commands, agencies and field activities. Photo: greenbutterfly/Shutterstock

The Department of Defense has published a new Data Strategy focused on accelerating the Department’s transition to a data-centric organization that uses data at speed and scale for operational advantage and increased efficiency, according to a department press release

October 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, pictured speaking at the Pentagon in April, explained to reporters yesterday that the department has not heard anything back from the Federal Communications Commission about the disputed Ligado ruling. Credit: DOD photo by Marvin Lynchard

The Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud effort has been tied up in the Court of Federal Claims since a preliminary injunction was issued in February. And although that has prevented the DOD from implementing Microsoft Azure cloud computing solutions, the department is not sitting idle, according to Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy.

“Cloud for me has always been first and foremost about supporting the warfighter,” Deasy told a group of reporters yesterday during a virtual Defense Writers Group meeting. “And when we got put on hold with JEDI, that didn't mean we were going to stop working on figuring out ways to support the warfighter.”

October 1, 2020
By Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper, USA (Ret.)

“We’ve always done it this way.”

When statements like this become commonplace within teams, they can corrode even the best of organizations. Innovation is stifled, work becomes routine and experts disengage and move on.

Yet in many organizations, the resistance to change is an enduring part of its culture—to the delight of adversaries and competitors.

October 1, 2020
By Brian Kerg

As a way to provide sea denial in support of naval operations, expeditionary advanced base operations are the Marine Corps’ bid for success in disrupting the fait accompli strategies of great power competitors. While highly promising, this concept possesses a critical vulnerability: signature management.

Detection or denial of command and control systems will hamstring expeditionary advanced base operations. Any misstep in communications discipline will reveal the locations of expeditionary advanced bases, putting them at risk. But emerging communications techniques and technologies provide viable solutions to signature management, validating the concept and ensuring the sea services will maintain a critical edge.

September 22, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Space Force will grow to about 16,000 warfighters, civilians and contractors. Top military leaders, including, Gen. John Raymond (l), commander of United States Space Command and Air Force Space Command; Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett (c); and previous Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein, sign memorandums to authorize the service last December. Credit: Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, Photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnett

The new fiscal year brings a more solidified U.S. Space Force. Beginning October 1, the service will stand up its three field commands: the Space Systems Command, the Space Operations Command and a Space Training and Readiness Command, reports Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, USSF, deputy chief, Space Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear, U.S. Space Force.

Gen. Saltzman spoke virtually to AFCEA International’s Northern Virginia or NOVA Chapter on September 18, 2020. “Our goal is to be able to increase the decision cycle as fast as possible so that we can provide operations, decisions and warfighting capabilities at an operationally relevant speed,” Gen. Saltzman emphasized.

September 22, 2020
By Julianne Simpson
U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announce a new memorandum of understanding between the two organizations during a virtual event hosted by the Mitchell Institute.

A new memorandum of understanding was announced today by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, USSF, during a Mitchell Institute virtual event.

September 18, 2020
Posted by: Julianne Simpson
Members of AFC and ACC tour the future facilities of the Software Factory. Credit: ACC

The Army Futures Command (AFC) has named Austin Community College District (ACC) as the home for its new Software Factory. The first of its kind, the Software Factory at ACC will provide a training pipeline for soldiers and ACC students. It’s designed to help students rapidly scope and solve real-life problems through advanced software development processes.

September 17, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
A DIA employee tests wireless telecommunications technologies during the Joint Innovation Battle Lab 2019. During the pandemic, the agency has shifted its workforce environment to ensure mission success. Credit: Defense Intelligence Agency photo by Public Affairs Specialist Jordan Bishop

The secure nature of providing foreign military intelligence to the U.S. Department of Defense and the intelligence community requires careful stewardship of information and employees in an unclassified and classified environment. Once the COVID-10 pandemic hit, shuttering businesses and altering daily life, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, known as DIA, immediately had to examine and prioritize how to perform that work.

September 15, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, USSF, the chief of Space Operations, is emphasizing the digital nature of the new Space Force.

With space a contested domain, the U.S. military’s newest service, the Space Force, must be bold and faster in its operations, reports Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, USSF, chief of Space of Operations, U.S. Space Force.

The leader, who is responsible for organizing, training and equipping the service’s space force as well as providing space-based capabilities, is spearheading a digital-based vision for the service. Part of this new force design is making sure that electronic- and computing-based capabilities underpin its structure.

September 3, 2020
By Shaun Waterman
Photo credit: Pixabay

The global economy—and especially more technologically advanced countries like the United States—are increasingly dependent on space-based capabilities like GPS and satellite communications.

“When considering our daily lives,” explained retired Canadian Gen. Robert Mazzolin, now chief cybersecurity strategist for the Rhea Group, a global engineering firm. “There’s not an operation or activity that’s conducted anywhere at any level that’s not somehow dependent on space capabilities,” he went on.

September 9, 2020
By Shaun Waterman
A GPS III satellite circles the earth. Photo Credit: United States Government, GPS.Gov

​​On both sides of the Atlantic, NATO and European leaders are struggling to address the threat posed to vital space systems by foreign hackers, cyber warfare and online espionage. Huge swathes of the global economy are utterly dependent on orbital capabilities like GPS that look increasingly fragile as space becomes more crowded and contested.

September 2, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Robert Work (c), the former 32nd deputy secretary of defense, and moderator Troy Schneider (l) discuss how the military can better champion artificial intelligence during the AFCEA Washington, D.C. Chapter's AI/ML Tech Summit on September 2.

To fully counter the threats posed by adversaries, the Department of Defense needs to harness autonomous and robotic systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The nation’s military is falling short of pursuing those systems on the large scale necessary, an expert says. Moreover, the department needs to holistically consider the purpose for which it is harnessing artificial intelligence, or AI, across the services, says Robert Work, the former 32nd deputy secretary of defense.

September 1, 2020
By Carine Claeys
An artist’s concept shows the full operational capability Galileo satellite on station above the Earth. With the constellation forming the backbone of Europe’s positioning, navigation and timing assets in space, Europe has geared up to address the growing threat picture confronting its space systems.  ESA

The European Union has established the basis of an organizational structure to safeguard its important satellite assets, particularly those that provide vital positioning, navigation and timing data. As its Galileo constellation has grown in size and significance, the European Union is establishing the necessary organizational infrastructure to build and coordinate a collective effort to secure space against a broad range of threats.

September 1, 2020
By Maj. Ryan Kenny, USA

The first lesson of economics is scarcity. When supply is low and demand high, prices soar, and some will go without. In the U.S. Defense Department, both the demands and costs for reliable, resilient, and robust communication services continue to grow. As the services consider options to privatize aspects of communication, both the opportunities and challenges require thorough consideration.

August 28, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Mark Kelly, USAF, is now the new commander of Air Combat Command. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Salazar

The U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command, headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia and known as ACC, has a new leader. In a ceremony broadcast via video on August 28, Gen. Mark Kelly, USAF, took over the command from retiring Gen. Mike Holmes, USAF. Gen. Kelly also received his fourth star at the event, promoting him from lieutenant general.

Most recently, Gen. Kelly served since August 2018 as the deputy chief of staff for ACC operations at the Pentagon. The deputy chief of staff determines the requirements, capabilities and training necessary for the service to conduct its missions.

August 27, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
The U.S. Navy’s PEO C4I and Space Systems is focusing on parallel development of digital assets and capabilities to speed innovation to the fleet. Credit: U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy is focusing on parallel development of its new digital assets and capabilities as it works to rush advanced information innovations to the fleet. With the need for better technologies increasing coincidental to the rapidly evolving threat picture, the service has opted for concurrence as its main tool for implementing both upgrades and innovations.

August 27, 2020
Posted by: Julianne Simpson
M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers from Battery B, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment “Battlekings,” 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, sit ready to fire at Fort Stewart, Georgia, September 11, 2014. Credit: U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Richard Wrigley

A first-of-its-kind Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) pilot seeks to leverage small business innovators to help increase the rate of fire of self-propelled howitzer systems. A new program, the Special Program Awards for Required Technology Needs (SPARTN), is combining government and industry best practices to introduce a whole-of-Army, collaborative approach to solution innovation.

August 26, 2020
Posted by: Kimberly Underwood
The Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC's) Wideband Global Satellite-10 (WGS-10) is encapsulated in the Delta IV rocket for its launch in March 2019 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SMC just completed a test of a key anti-jamming technology that it plans to add to satellites WGS 1 through WGS 10. Credit: Van Ha, SMC Public Affairs.

On August 26, the U.S. Space Force announced that its Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) had successfully completed a key test of an anti-jamming capability designed for its Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) Communication platform.

The new solution, known as MAJE, or Mitigation and Anti-Jam Enhancement, includes both software and hardware upgrades for the Global SATCOM Configuration Control Element (GSCCE) ground system, which is operated by the U.S. Army.

“MAJE will double the anti-jam SATCOM capabilities for six Geographic Combatant Commands,” added Col. John Dukes, USAF, SMC’s Geosynchronous Polar Orbit Division senior materiel leader.

Pages