Defense Operations

August 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
The Air Tasking Order Management System will allow commanders to plan, organize and direct joint U.S. Air operations for B-2 bombers and other airborne platforms.

U.S. Air Force officials are upgrading the battle command system used for managing all airborne platforms, including fighters, bombers, tankers, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and cruise missiles. The modernized system will provide warfighters with faster access to real-time operations and intelligence information, better planning and collaboration tools and enhanced situational awareness while dramatically reducing sustainment costs.

August 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers

 

Despite small pockets of resistance, officials across the U.S. Defense Department and military services support the convergence of multiple networks into one common, shared, global network. Lessons learned from the theater of operations indicate the need for the joint environment, which will provide enterprise services such as email, Internet access, common software applications and cloud computing.

August 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
Marine Corps communications operators link with their counterparts during an exercise. A major part of the Corps transition to NGEN involved seeking input from warfighters, officials say.

 

The steady march toward the U.S. Navy’s Next-Generation Enterprise Network underwent a leap ahead as the U.S. Marines undertook a full transition before the contract for the new system even was awarded. The multiyear effort saw the Corps methodically absorb functions of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet predecessor so the service was positioned for a smooth adoption of the new network.

July 11, 2013
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Army is currently delivering a new and improved Coalition Joint Spectrum Management and Planning Tool (CJSMPT) to divisions scheduled for deployment in Afghanistan. The software automates the spectrum management process, dramatically reducing the amount of time and paperwork associated with spectrum allocation and mission planning in a tactical environment.

For operational security reasons, Army officials cannot reveal exactly which divisions will be receiving the systems or when, but for the next few months, they will be working to get the system out to Afghanistan.

July 16, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The two companies heading a consortium that did not win the U.S. Navy’s $3.5 billion Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) have registered a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). This move effectively stops all work on NGEN until the GAO rules on their protest, which must occur by October 23.

July 1, 2013
By Max Cacas

Rear Adm. Robert Day Jr., USCG, assistant U.S. Coast Guard commandant for command, control, communications and information technology, sees the Joint Information Environment as an opportunity to resolve some of the most pressing information technology problems in the years to come as he faces a future with more challenges and fewer resources. He says a military-wide common operating environment will establish “enterprisewide mandates that programs cannot ignore.”

July 1, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

Today’s financial skimping will lead to military forces and equipment that are short on readiness for future conflicts. Cutbacks in training and travel to conferences where service members network, learn about the latest in technologies and benefit from educational courses is one way to meet mandated budget cuts; but in the long term, they will result in service members who are ill-prepared to meet the challenges of what some believe will be a volatile future. Simultaneously, reductions in maintenance of vehicles, networks and ships will result in higher repair bills much like a car that is not routinely taken to the shop ends up costing the owner more to fix in the long run.

July 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

On-the-move communications go digital for 
troops in regular or disadvantaged locations. 

July 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
 The National Security Agency is wrapping up the Fishbowl pilot program, which distributed 100 Android devices to users. The program now transitions to the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Project Fishbowl spurs industry to
 meet military
 and intelligence 
community needs.

U.S. intelligence and defense officials are wrapping up a mobile device pilot program known as the Fishbowl project and are planning over the next year to expand on the capabilities it provides. Doing so is part of a larger strategy to wean the agency and the Defense Department off of government-designed mobile device technology, which will save time and money while providing secure, cutting-edge electronics for high-level government officials and to individual soldiers.

July 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
The National Security Agency's Information Assurance Directorate is responsible for securing data for the entire national communications system.

Amidst dire threat warnings, cyber warriors grow increasingly adept.

While many cybersecurity experts preach the gloom and doom of more advanced adversaries attacking U.S. networks, one government official contends that U.S. network defenders can meet the challenge. Training, education and technological improvements are showing dividends in a better-prepared cyber workforce.

July 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) command center at Fort Meade, Maryland, is the focal point for the agency’s efforts to maintain network connectivity throughout the U.S. defense community. DISA’s information assurance work has taken a new turn as capabilities such as commercial communications technologies and the cloud have altered the cyberscape.

From handheld
 to the cloud,
 new technologies are driving new approaches to data assurance.

The increasing use of readily available and inexpensive commercial technologies by the military is changing the way the Defense Information Systems Agency provides information assurance. As these technologies are integrated into the Defense Department information infrastructure, the agency is adjusting its approaches to providing security for its networks and the data that reside on them.

July 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
Sandia National Laboratory’s Cyber Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) is focusing on enhancing enterprise security through an emphasis on collaboration internally and externally. CERL sits in a non-restricted area allowing easy access for academic, industry and government personnel.

Protection is as much about 
who you know as what you know.

The tasks critical to success in the realm of information assurance have become so robust that a breadth of expertise is now necessary to stop cybercriminals. To that end, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, opened a new research facility called the Cyber Engineering Research Laboratory to promote the collaboration required to safeguard networks. An accessible external location, coupled with a synergistic internal mindset, enables advancements and maturity of concepts essential to success in the cyber realm.

July 1, 2013
By Max Cacas
Eric Forsythe, Ph.D., team leader and flexible electronics display deputy project manager  with the Army Research Laboratory, poses with some of the equipment used to produce the flexible displays at the Army's Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University.

Recent developments in advanced materials bring the Army closer to next-generation displays for a new breed of warfighter mobile devices.

A coalition of military, academic and industry scientists is approximately one year away from the first working prototypes of mobile devices using newly developed flexible display technologies. The goal is to demonstrate that manufacturing the displays can be done economically, and in quantity, so that they can be widely adopted by mobile device makers, benefitting both the military and consumers. Project managers ultimately hope to introduce mobile devices that are lighter, more reliable and less expensive.

July 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
Law enforcement agencies and private contractors may play a larger role in solving nation state-sponsored hacks affecting national security.

Industry officials foresee 
changes in network security.

Cyber industry experts predict a number of coming developments in the cyber realm, driven in part by government strategy and funding uncertainties. The future may include a greater reliance on law enforcement to solve state-sponsored hacks, increased automation and more outsourcing.

June 27, 2013
By George I. Seffers

Cyber Symposium 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 3

Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, who directs the National Security Agency (NSA) and commands U.S. Cyber Command, wrapped up the final day of the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium with a strongly-worded defense of the U.S. intelligence community, which is under fire following recently-leaked documents concerning the collection of data on the online activities of ordinary citizens in the United States and abroad. The general deviated from the topic of cyber long enough to address the controversy.

July 1, 2013
By Kent R. Schneider

This time it is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that has demonstrated bad judgment and lack of a full understanding of the rules governing large meetings. The revelation of extravagant IRS spending on meetings follows similar issues with the General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This waste shines a light on bad judgment for sure—but it also reveals a larger problem. For the most part, government personnel who are planning and coordinating government-run events do not do this as their primary function. They do not run events often enough to fully understand the travel and conference policies or the ethics and gift regulations.

July 1, 2013
By Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN

As the Global War on Terrorism winds down in the minds of American military strategists, the rush to put this chapter of our history behind us without further reflection is palpable. Yet, by turning our focus to more easily understood conflicts, we risk missing the very real lessons of the past 10 years that likely will remain relevant in the coming decades.;

June 26, 2013
By George I. Seffers

Cyber Symposium 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 2

The Joint Information Environment (JIE) took center stage during the second day of the AFCEA International Cyber Symposium in Baltimore. The conference devoted one full panel to the joint environment, but presenters throughout the day stressed the JIE’s importance to the future of the U.S. military and coalition partners, discussed some of the challenges to achieving the vision and vowed that the department will make it happen despite any remaining obstacles.

June 27, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

 

The U.S. Navy has awarded the $3.45 billion Next-Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract to replace the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) to a consortium headed by HP. Other team members include AT&T Government Solutions; IBM Global Business Services Federal; Lockheed Martin Services; and Northrop Grumman Services.

The ability to incorporate innovative technologies is a key element of the contract, according to Victor S. Gavin, program executive officer for Navy enterprise information systems. The government will have a much greater opportunity to transition to more innovative technologies—at cost—as they come into being, he says.

June 26, 2013
By Rita Boland

Soldiers in austere environments are closer to enjoying cellular capabilities in part because of a program bridging the developments in Nett Warrior and the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T). The Multi-Access Cellular Extension (MACE) project develops the foundational architecture to integrate the equivalent of commercial cellular technologies into future force networks to enable communications by filling in gaps in fixed infrastructure.

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