Defense Operations

February 6, 2013
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Army is finalizing its official report on the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 13.1 even as it prepares for the next iteration of the event and Capability Set 14. Soldiers are tweaking processes to make the exercises more valuable while working closer with industry to speed fielding as much as possible under tight acquisition regulations.

February 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
U.S. Air Forces Europe (USAFE) fire emergency personnel will soon receive the Advanced Disaster Management Simulator that will offer them more realistic simulations of disaster scenarios.

Emergency responders working under U.S. Air Forces Europe are preparing to receive an advanced simulation trainer that they expect will greatly improve the realism and efficacy of their training. Though procured mainly for firefighters, the system can be employed to exercise many types of crisis situations. Other organizations around the world already are using it for different purposes while benefitting from one another’s efforts. Anytime one user makes an improvement, that knowledge is shared with everyone, creating a constantly evolving capability.

February 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
Two Tobyhanna Army Depot electronics experts set up a lightweight counter mortar radar system for rotation testing in an anechoic test chamber. This test removes the need for actual live-fire exercises and saves the Army tens of thousands of dollars for each system deployed to the field.

The march of digitization has changed the mission of a longtime U.S. Army maintenance and repair depot from fixing broken radio systems in a warehouse to supporting troops using the newest software-driven communications devices in the field. This support ranges from testing or even manufacturing new gear in partnership with industry to integrating new information systems in combat zones.

February 1, 2013
By Lt. Ben Kohlmann, USN

The Defense Department has a spending problem and must be reined in. The solution, however, goes far beyond simplistic budget cutting efforts such as across-the-board sequestration. It involves a fundamental cultural shift from both our appropriators and our subordinate-level commanders.

The past 10 years have been a financial boon for the military. This was true even as the rest of the U.S. economy was beset by recession and increasing unemployment. In 2001, the Defense Department base budget was $290.5 billion (in fiscal year 2012 dollars). By 2011, this amount had risen to $526.1 billion, excluding the funding required to sustain the Iraq and Afghan wars.

February 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
The Joint Cyberoperations Range can include live training, such as a fighter jet flying over a training range, along with virtual and constructive cyber training.

A cyberspace operations facility grows with the burgeoning mission.

The U.S. Defense Department’s network operations training and education capabilities must continually evolve in the ever-shifting cyber realm. To meet that need, one of the department’s premier cyber ranges harnesses the power of simulation to support a full array of training, education, certification and military exercises for the warfighters.

February 1, 2013
By Clarence A. Robinson Jr.
The Gorgon Stare sensor system is being mounted in Afghanistan on USAF/General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This system from Exelis and Sierra Nevada Corporation can zoom in on and transmit up to 64 different images to soldiers on the ground.

Industry opens up an array of real-time imaging

Sweeping advances in sensor technologies are enabling wide-area airborne persistent surveillance on both manned and unmanned aircraft. Emerging sensor systems can provide high-resolution mosaic imagery for large swaths of the battlefield while focusing on individual objects.

These intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor systems are winning their spurs on the battlefield in Afghanistan. They are meeting combat commanders’ urgent operational requirements to provide city-size area coverage. These sensors simultaneously can focus on and track individual vehicles and dismounted hostiles.

January 31, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
John Smart, president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, tells the keynote luncheon audience that dramatic change is evolutionary and inevitable.

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 2

Quote of the Day: “How can you help me make the least-dumb decisions quicker?”—Terry Halvorsen, chief information officer (CIO) for the Department of the Navy, requesting cyber security solutions from industry

February 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 3

January 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 1

Quote of the Day:“’Flat’ is the new ‘up’ in this defense budget environment.”— Robert O. Work, undersecretary of the Navy

The military services are facing potentially crippling constraints if sequestration takes place in March. Defense officials foresee the likelihood of draconian budget cuts being imposed that will cripple the force just as it is being counted on to assume new strategic missions. In most cases, the services will have to choose to sacrifice some capabilities so that others will remain part of the force. In worse-case scenarios, the U.S. military may be unable to meet its obligations when a crisis emerges.

January 23, 2013
By George I. Seffers

Over the past month, the U.S. Army has consolidated two directorates in an effort to continue improving agile acquisition. Combining the offices is designed to allow more efficient and effective cooperation, enhance long-term planning capabilities and boost the service’s ability to acquire an overall system of systems.

January 1, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

The shift of U.S. power to the Asia-Pacific will not be successful without an infusion of new technology and a dedicated effort to defeat a wide range of adversaries. The new strategic emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region poses a new set of challenges, mandating solutions that run the gamut from technological capabilities to cultural outreach and diplomacy.

On the military side, direct challenges range from dealing with cyberspace attacks to providing missile defense in a large-scale conflict. On the geopolitical side, centuries of conflict and confrontation among neighbors must be overcome if a region-wide security environment enabling economic growth is to be implemented.

January 1, 2013
By George I. Seffers
The Texas Advanced Computing Center has supported research to develop next-generation hurricane models. Environmental science and technology is one area of research that could benefit from big data initiatives.

A multi-agency big data initiative offers an array of national advantages.

U.S. government agencies will award a flurry of contracts in the coming months under the Big Data Research and Development Initiative, a massive undertaking involving multiple agencies and $200 million in commitments. The initiative is designed to unleash the power of the extensive amounts of data generated on a daily basis. The ultimate benefit, experts say, could transform scientific research, lead to the development of new commercial technologies, boost the economy and improve education, all of which makes the United States more competitive with other nations and enhances national security.

January 1, 2013
By Rita Boland
A tank fires during Wolfhound Maul. The event included a combined arms live fire exercise that simulated combat conditions in the most realistic manner possible.

An unprecedented choice allows soldiers to use communications and intelligence assets in more meaningful ways.

Military operational decisions are moving further down the chain of the command, and a group of Stryker soldiers has taken a large step toward improving the training small units receive. Troops with this battalion had a chance to practice with capabilities never before available to them in an environment that simulates combat better than any facility they have at home. The results are new levels of preparation and confidence for whatever challenges they may be called on to handle next.

December 4, 2012
By Rita Boland

U.S. Pacific Command’s J-5 gives perspective on regional changes, troop rotations, China and extremists.

Military activities in the Asia-Pacific region have become more focused since the release of a defense strategy a few months ago that places renewed attention on the global area. Through U.S. Pacific Command's (PACOM's) recent theater campaign plan, leaders are telling the subordinate military-service components to report back in a year on how efforts are working while deconflicting duplicate programs.

December 21, 2012
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Navy’s next-generation tactical afloat network recently received approval to enter the production and deployment phase, Navy officials announced this week. The San Diego-based destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) was selected for first installation. The program was approved for limited fielding of 29 CANES units with 23 installations, eight of which are expected in the 2013 fiscal year.

Ultimately, CANES will be deployed to more than 190 ships, submarines and Maritime Operations Centers by 2020. Officials say they hope to reach a full-rate production decision in the 2014 fiscal year.

December 13, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

NIE efforts do not pan out as expected; neither do some other rapid procurement approaches.

The U.S. Army’s Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) events are not working as well as anticipated in moving new technologies into the force, say two Army officials. This lack of success is accompanied by drawbacks in rapid acquisition strategies that may lead to a change in traditional acquisition approaches for communications and information systems.

Bryon Young, executive director, Army Contracting Command - Aberdeen Proving Ground, explains that the NIE process creates problems by attaining some of its goals.

December 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
This experimental antenna developed by LGS Innovations mimics a spherical antenna by arraying circuit boards bearing printed structures. Without having a series of electrical connections, the boards nonetheless resonate as if the construct was a spherical antenna.

Scientists bend, not break, the laws of physics.

Faced with limitations imposed by physics, laboratory researchers are generating antenna innovations by tweaking constructs to change the rules of the antenna game. Their efforts do not seek to violate long-held mathematical theorems or laws of physics. Instead, they are working to find lawful ways of working around limitations that long have inhibited the development of antennas that would suit user needs with fewer tradeoffs.

December 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

Academic investigations are establishing the future
 of transmission technology for troops and civilians.

Improving antennas for defense or commercial purposes has as much to do with mathematics as it does with hardware. Researchers in the Wireless Networking and Communications Group at the University of Texas at Austin are exploring algorithms along with other properties that should improve communications systems on the battlefield.

December 1, 2012
By Max Cacas
The Argos multiple-antenna array prototype combines 64 standard cellphone antennas into one base station that can send data directly to 16 different devices at the same time.

Beamforming could help increase capacity of cellphone networks 
to meet the demands of data-hungry smartphones and tablets.

Multi-antenna technology that could increase data capacity and maximize existing spectrum use for cellular network providers is in the early stages of development. Although widespread use of this technology will require new devices and possible network changes, the concept has shown the potential to ease mobile device congestion from smartphones and tablets. This research is underway at a time when wireless carriers worldwide are scrambling to keep up with demand for mobile data and, in some cases, are attempting to obtain additional electromagnetic spectrum.

December 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
Three 100-foot towers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, provide the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate with new capabilities to perform radar research. The actual radars atop each tower were relocated from Rome, N.Y., as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure.

U.S. Air Force researchers use 3-D printers and
 other cutting-edge concepts 
to create
 the next 
innovations.

There is no Moore’s Law for antennas because size reduction and performance improvement will always be subject to the limitations imposed by electromagnetic physics and material properties. But steady advances in computer technologies, such as electromagnetic modeling and simulation and 3-D printing, enable antenna technology researchers to push the limits of possibility on behalf of the warfighters.

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