Defense Operations

November 1, 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann

 

The Defense Business Board is the highest-level committee advising the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Its report on “Data Center Consolidation and Cloud Computing” offers advice on what directions the Defense Department should follow.
 

However, the Defense Business Board (DBB) report is incomplete. It does not offer actionable solutions; it only raises policy-level questions. As components are formulating budget requests through fiscal year 2018, they will find nothing in this report to guide them on what type of realignments are needed to advance the Defense Department toward cloud computing.

November 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

Unmanned underwater vehicles mimic nature and collaborate on tasks.

Robotics experts are using the swarming behavior of insects and fish as a model for software that will operate the next generation of underwater robots. Fleets of robots not only will be able to navigate to a common goal, but they also will have the means to deal autonomously with unanticipated factors, much as insects and fish can change behaviors based on the circumstances.

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
Northrop Grumman Corporation's X-47B is one contender for the U.S. Navy's carrier-based UAV program. The program is important to industry because it is currently the only large UAV platform being developed by the U.S. military.

The next five years will be as exciting as the last decade--but in a different way.

Unmanned vehicles will undergo an array of changes in the coming years brought about by the war in Afghanistan winding down, budgets tightening and the national strategy shifting toward the Asia-Pacific region. Adjustments may include the retirement of some unmanned air systems, a stronger focus on refining existing unmanned planes rather than fielding new ones and increased research and development of land and maritime technologies.

November 1, 2012
By Capt. Mike Stephens, USAF, and Frank Klucznik
 Gen. Stephane Abrial, FRA, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (ACT), observes part of the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise (CWIX) 12 held in June. The exercise helped validate the effectiveness of the new Tactical Edge Data Solutions (TEDS) joint capability technology demonstration (JCTD).

A new message exchange framework offers
 potential across department and coalition assets.

Different command and control systems are closer to enjoying Web interoperability as a result of experiments performed in coalition exercises. Protocols and processes developed by defense information technology experts can enable data to be exchanged among the services as well as in coalition operations.

November 1, 2012
By Rita Boland
Ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Republic of Korea Navy, and the U.S. Navy maneuver through the Pacific Ocean during a trilateral exercise. PACOM’s J-6 directorate is working to enhance coalition communications in its area of responsibility.

A premier cyber center and the next phase of the Joint Information Environment are altering the technical landscape for U.S. forces.

Cybersecurity remains the foremost concern for the man tasked with overseeing U.S. military communications technology in the Asia-Pacific area as the national defense strategy shifts focus to that region of the globe. New opportunities for technologies and programs are opening, but cyber issues continue to hold top billings in importance, and moves to shore up operations predate the recent official guidance.
 

November 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Existing efforts are ramped up to achieve bigger results sooner.

The new U.S. strategic thrust toward the Asia-Pacific region is boosting longtime efforts in both coalition building and force projection. Bilateral alliances are evolving into multinational operations, and U.S. forces are increasing their forward deployed presence in quantity and capability.

October 19, 2012
By Beverly Mowery Cooper

 

Sequestration, the U.S. government’s across-the-board deficit reduction mandate, is programmed to go into effect on January 2, 2013, despite universal warnings about the consequences of this action. Under this policy, fiscal year 2013 domestic discretionary spending will see an 8.4 percent cut in appropriated funds, and non-exempt defense spending will suffer a decrease of 9.2 percent. Defense agency budget actions could range from decreasing output to reducing personnel costs, and cuts in the personnel budget would most likely be through furloughs because terminating staff costs money. While operational defense forces in the field would not be cut, their training, equipment, facilities and logistics support could be cut.

November 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers
The Ground Based Sense and Avoid System will allow military operators to fly unmanned aircraft in the same airspace as commercial aircraft so that warfighters can train and prepare for the next conflict.

A new crash avoidance 
system will allow both 
manned and unmanned
 planes to operate 
in U.S. airspace. 

The U.S. Army is developing a collision avoidance system that will allow unmanned and manned aircraft to fly in the same airspace more easily and safely. The first-of-its kind system will enable service operators returning from the war zone to fly drones in the same U.S. skies as civilian aircraft, keeping the warfighters proficient and ready for the next conflict.

October 1, 2012
by Kent R. Schneider

 

Since the U.S. General Services Administration scandal over a training conference in Las Vegas, reinforced by concerns regarding two expensive Department of Veterans Affairs conferences, fear has spread across government and industry that government-related conferences are now a thing of the past. This is just not the case—nor should it be.

If government leaders make bad decisions with respect to conferences—or other areas within their job scope—they should be held accountable. Controls should be in place to minimize future abuses. Organizations that support government in conferences that recommend or support such abuses similarly should be penalized.

October 5, 2012
By Max Cacas

A smart robot with the ability to work side-by-side with human warfighters is the goal of a new Army Research Laboratory (ARL) program involving industry and academia.

At the heart of ARL’s Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance (RCTA) is $63.2 million in funding designed to advance basic research in key areas linked to the development of autonomous robots, according to Jon Bornstein, chief of ARL’s Autonomous Systems Division and manager for the RCTA.

October 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

The newly reconstituted Joint Staff office is not just picking up where the previous version left off.

October 1, 2012
By Capt. Charles A. Barton III, USAF

GPS vulnerabilities could be addressed with upgraded long-range navigation.

In an instant, one million people in Tel Aviv are vaporized. Hamas, the terrorist extremist group backed by Iran, has detonated a dirty bomb—a conventional explosive with radioactive material—and is attacking Israel with long-range rockets. Concurrently, the U.S. Air Force loses all communication with its Navigation System Timing and Ranging Global Positioning System satellites. Intelligence reports indicate that Iran has launched multiple antisatellite missiles that have destroyed several navigation satellites, effectively disabling the Global Positioning System.

October 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

A key release for Blue Force Tracker brings new benefits to two theaters.

October 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Air Force soon will begin installing a new system to aid intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planning and tasking.

Possibly as early as this month, U.S. Air Force officials will begin installing a prototype system that supports the command and control of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information. The system dramatically reduces manual labor and cuts the planning development process from hours to minutes, allowing warfighters to focus on the mission.

October 1, 2012
By George I. Seffers

Military radio experts reveal emerging trends in acquisition and technology.

October 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

People, not necessarily technology, come together in a plan to foster creativity in acquisition.

The head of technology information at the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization has initiated a plan to improve how coalition members procure capabilities by focusing first on personnel, not technology. Through the new approach, government, industry and academia will re-frame conversations and have more meaningful dialogues, which should lead to deploying apt solutions more quickly.

September 21, 2012
By Rita Boland

 

The U.S. Defense Department has some hard decisions to make regarding where and how to optimize future research to counter chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons. A new report outlines the challenges that military officials must tackle with department and other partners, warning that the amorphous nature of threats limits the ability to identify or mitigate them all individually.

September 25, 2012
By George I. Seffers

By 2015, U.S. Army officials hope to begin fielding elements of a new electronic warfare system designed to significantly improve operational effectiveness in the electromagnetic spectrum. The system is expected to better address electronic warfare in an era of remotely detonated explosives, but it is only one element in the service's plans to overhaul the full spectrum of electronic warfare capabilities.

September 1, 2012
By Rita Boland
 
Stephen Guerin of Simtable showcases his solution to the common operational picture portion of the second PlugFest mash-up challenge. Guerin won first place in the event.  
September 1, 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann

The benefits of virtualization can be extended to thrifty end-users either through public clouds or via private clouds. The time has come to reach out to the millions of user devices that operate in thousands of separately programmable silos that require spending money on labor-intensive overhead. U.S.

Defense Department projects can be brought into a consolidated cloud environment where much lower costs and increased security can deliver immediate benefits.

The May 21, 2012, issue of Forbes magazine describes how start-up firms acquire information technologies without spending much money. These firms use commercial cloud services instead of setting up their own data centers.

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