The U.S. Army is focusing on how to change its processes to be faster and more agile. One fundamental shift is in its approach to leveraging commercial solutions as well as those the other services and other organizations such as government laboratories have developed. These nearer-to-prime-time technologies would be available faster than PowerPoint capabilities.
The Naval Sea Systems Command has made great progress in advancing the service's vision of developing a family of unmanned surface and undersea vehicles. To accomplish this task, it is nurturing an effort to add unmanned vessels, improving autonomous capabilities and supporting the open architectures required to share them across various platforms.
The U.S. Defense Department released today its strategy for countering small unmanned aircraft systems, which have become a growing threat both for the homeland and abroad.
The U.S. Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3) system needs be to upgraded as greatly as the weapons that have underpinned U.S. strategic deterrence for 75 years, says the head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). Adm. Charles R. Richard, USN, STRATCOM commander, told a media briefing, “The NC3 is as important to the strategic deterrence mission as the delivery systems and the weapons complex. And, we are in equal need to recapitalize it alongside the delivery systems.”
The U.S. Navy is looking for speed—not faster platforms or vehicles but innovation. Introducing new capabilities into the force rapidly is vitally important to maintaining the combat edge necessary to deter or defeat adversaries who are building up steam in their efforts to confront the U.S. military.
Accomplishing this task will require tapping industry for novel information technology advances and ensuring its success may entail working with the commercial sector to steer it into the right areas to suit naval needs. Ultimately, software-defined systems may hold the key to staying ahead of the deployment curve in technology-based systems.
Technological leaps in ground station capabilities will enable the U.S. Army to use new Internet of Things satellite constellations to boost combat communications. Innovative capabilities offer lower latency, higher throughput and greater network resilience with ease of use.
Recent Army experiments, including the Network Modernization Experiment and Project Convergence, have included a range of technologies for enhancing and protecting satellite communications (SATCOM). The capabilities will support the service’s modernization goals such a more resilient network, long-range precision fires, and air and missile defense.
First things first: Happy New Year, and let this be the beginning of a return to normalcy!
The best part of walking a trade show floor is seeing the unexpected: prototypes of new technology, novel ways to solve the government’s challenges and coincidental meetings with new contacts. As the year unfolds, indications are that trade shows will follow the 2020 model: default to online gatherings while holding out hope for in-person events. In some cases, there will be hybrid meetings featuring both elements.
Is the symbiotic government-industry-academia relationship prepared for this long term? Are existing channels supportive enough for all sides to exchange information and meet the government’s national security needs?
For U.S. military veterans fighting post-traumatic stress disorder or other combat related injuries, the holidays can be a difficult time, especially in an environment already complicated by the global pandemic. In particular, for U.S. Army MSG Pavel “Pasha” Palanker, a 17-year combat veteran, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor recipient, the times have proven to be quite challenging.
The U.S. Space Force plans to have a mix of about half military and half civilian workers, reaching roughly 16,000 personnel. As of the end of last week, 2,206 enlisted and officer personnel had transferred into the new service, reported Brig. Gen. Shawn Campbell, USAF, deputy director of Personnel, U.S. Space Force. Almost 60 more field-grade officers will move into the Space Force shortly, after Congress approves these non-space operators, who will work in intelligence, cyber, engineering or acquisition roles.
The U.S. Defense Department’s new electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) strategy will fall short of countering enemy EMS activities without specific organizational and process oversight, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO is recommending greater oversight and specific metrics be built around designated leadership to ensure that the department’s own goals are met.
Massive amounts of sensitive information on U.S. citizens are being collected, created, shared, bought and sold, and in some cases used as a weapon by the country’s adversaries, according to a panel of experts speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.
The information is gathered and sold by companies such as Facebook and Google and the producers of a wide range of applications, programs and technologies.
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) Joint Service Provider, or JSP, is looking for industry help. The JSP is the information technology (IT) service provider supporting the highest authorities at the Department of Defense, including the Office of Secretary of Defense, all of the U.S. military department heads, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Staff, and most of the other senior DOD leaders within the Pentagon and throughout the national capital region, explained Sajeel Ahmed, the JSP’s vice director at DISA. Over the next year, the JSP will be issuing industry solicitations for network hardware, cybersecurity solutions and communications technologies.
Pentagon officials are developing a strategy related to the joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) concept that should be delivered soon to the combatant commands, according to Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, the Joint Staff's chief information officer and director of command, control, communications and computers, also known as the J-6.
Gen. Crall made the comments during the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.
Given adversarial threats in the Indo-Pacific region and Europe, especially from Russia and China, the Arctic region’s strategic importance is increasing. As such, over the last several years, the U.S. military has focused on growing its cold weather operation capabilities. Beginning in 2016, the U.S. Marine Corps in particular, through host and NATO ally Norway, has maintained a presence in the Kingdom of Norway to train and develop the skills necessary to operate in extreme conditions.
Even in the summer, Norway offers challenging, rugged terrain that helps hone the cold-weather survival and mountain warfare skills of the U.S. Marines. In May, Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, along with the Marine Forces Europe and Africa, deployed to northern Norway above the Arctic Circle as part of Marine Rotational Force-Europe (MRF-E) 20.2. The warfighters worked directly with the Norwegian Army to advance their skills and improve allied interoperability, says Lt. Col. Brian Donlon, USMC, commander of 3rd Battalion, who leads the MRF-E contingent.
Most experts agree: defense information technologies increasingly will come from the commercial sector. Traditional contractors will continue to manufacture systems requested by the military, but now nontraditional firms will be providing the defense community with systems fueled by innovative capabilities. The result will be hybrid information systems and hardware that will owe their origin to the private sector.
So, if the commercial sector is to be the source of military communications capabilities, why do we need a defense organization such as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) dedicated to providing information system services to the defense community? The answer lies in two words: defense and community.
When the United States entered World War II 79 years ago this month, it embarked on an unprecedented period of change. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, traditional notions of work, education, security and every other aspect of life in America were pushed into a new reality. Today—albeit without a declared war—deployment of technology has created similar conditions for society-level change that the country must embrace.
The U.S. Air Force’s shift away from continuously present bomber squadrons in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility has actually resulted in more bomber flights, reports Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, USAF. In April, the service ended Continuous Bomber Presence missions in the Indo-Pacific Theater, which it had conducted with squadrons deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, since March of 2004.
The complexity of multidomain operations presents both challenges and opportunities in the effort to obtain an information advantage. To overcome these challenges and exploit the opportunities to gain an edge, the Army is modernizing.
Despite the global pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has never stopped providing warfighters with critical connections needed to conduct multidomain warfare and never let up on the daily battles in cyberspace, says Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, the agency’s director and the commander of Joint Forces Headquarters for the Department of Defense Information Systems Network.
Adm. Norton made the comments during an AFCEA TechNet Cyber webinar on November 5. The webinar is part of a series of webinars leading up to the TechNet Cyber conference scheduled for December 1-3.
Over the past several years, the U.S. military has focused on growing its cold-weather operation capabilities. The U.S. Marine Corps, through host and NATO ally Norway, has maintained a presence in the region to train and develop the skills necessary to operate in extreme conditions.
The U.S. Navy is adapting its Atlantic forces to interoperate better with those of its NATO allies while also incorporating navies from non-alliance countries. This approach includes incorporating a more expeditionary nature into U.S. forces while also extending the areas NATO and non-NATO forces operate to confront a growing multidomain threat from Russia. Traditional North Atlantic naval activities now extend into the Arctic Ocean, where changing conditions have opened up new threat windows.
The U.S. military is striving to develop concepts supporting broad-spectrum joint operations for future conflicts, yet hurdles remain. Military operations today are much more complex than ever before. Technology is driving change, and threats are evolving rapidly. U.S. forces could find themselves in an increasingly reactive role rather than one that drives the agenda for future operations.
We live in perilous times. The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated an unprecedented international economic contraction. A World Bank report in June called the COVID-caused global recession the most far reaching since 1870.
In particular, the defense sector faces an uncertain future. The pandemic is threatening to change the way Americans think about security and raise questions about U.S. defense spending—which significantly exceeds the combined defense budgets of all its adversaries.
In the book Bracketing the Enemy, John R. Walker writes about the World War II practice of having forward observers accompany infantrymen on the front lines to send targeting information back to artillery gunners. This innovation helped the United States win crucial battles because gunners benefited from timely and accurate information instead of guessing target locations.
The U.S. is facing an increasingly congested, constrained and contested electromagnetic spectrum. Adversaries are challenging the United State’s dominance across the air, land, sea, space and cyberspace domains, which threatens our reliance on the spectrum. And because the United States depends on electromagnetic spectrum for much more than warfighting purposes, our nation’s economic wellbeing is at stake, says Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Anyone moving through the ecosystem of software development and cyber over the last few decades has heard cool words to describe it: Waterfall, Cobalt, Agile, DevOps and now DevSecOps.
DevSecOps may be the latest term but the idea behind it remains constant: Security should be a priority from the start.
The strategic importance of NATO’s military forces in Europe remains high, especially in the rear area of Europe, as NATO works to strengthen the alliance and improve deterrence measures against adversaries, including Russia. Because deterrence relies on situational awareness, data and information that feed a clear operational picture are critical components, say Leendert Van Bochoven, global lead for National Security and NATO, IBM, in The Netherlands; and René Kleint, director, Business Development Logistics & Medical Service, Elektroniksystem-und Logistik (ESG) GmbH, in Germany.
The U.S. Navy is adapting its Atlantic forces to improve interoperability with its NATO allies while incorporating navies from non-alliance countries. Traditional North Atlantic naval activities now extend into the Arctic Ocean, where changing conditions have opened up new threat windows.
U.S. Army researchers plan to demonstrate in December and March capabilities that could lead to a secure, mobile power grid capable of automatically providing electricity from the best available source, including batteries, vehicles or diesel generators.
The U.S. Army’s joint strategy document for countering small unmanned aerial systems should be headed soon to the Secretary of Defense for approval, Army officials say, and artificial intelligence and machine learning are crucial to the vision.
During a telephone discussion with reporters, Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, USA, director of the Joint Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office and director of fires, G-3/5/7, described artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as “critical” to the military’s efforts to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
The U.S. military is rapidly pursuing Joint All-Domain Command and Control to confront near-peer adversaries, including China and Russia. Innovative computing, software and advanced data processing, as well as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud and 5G communications, will be needed. Leaders also understand they must shed some of the military’s old practices to succeed.
Challenge after challenge, women overcome barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields and organizations. Allow me to tell you my story. I am Technical Sgt. Bonnie Rushing in the United States Air Force and I am a woman warrior. I faced challenges from the very beginning of my time in the military, during training, and in operations. Not only have I overcome every obstacle along the way, I have come out on top. Let me take you through my journey as a woman warrior and plead for your aid in continued culture change.
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.
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).
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.