War with China is not inevitable, but the United States is in a competition with which it is unfamiliar, U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott H. Swift, USN, told the audience at the keynote luncheon at West 2018. China is using its own means to coerce others as it pursues its long-term goals, the admiral said at the conference, taking place February 6-8 in San Diego.
Speed, efficiency and innovation are the cornerstones of progress necessary for the new U.S. National Defense Strategy to succeed, according to the deputy secretary of defense. Speaking at the opening keynote address at West 2018, being held in San Diego February 6-8, Patrick Shanahan told the large audience that internal changes will be as important as external approaches.
“It’s not about China; it’s not about Russia: It’s about competing, and there are no such things as fair competitions,” Shanahan said of the new strategy.
U.S. Army stakeholders are working together to steadily modernize the network that reaches from the home station to the tactical edge. To understand this effort, one needs to understand the changing mission requirement for the command element at home station to maintain a consistent, secure, and reliable connection with dispersed, tactical teams maneuvering on the battlefield.
The ability of the U.S. Navy to maneuver during combat will soon be as important in the airwaves as it is in the air and the waves. The sea service has designated information warfare a domain as critical as its more commonly known physical counterparts, and the capacity to exploit and operate within it may hold the key to prevailing in future maritime conflicts.
The U.S. Army intends to improve expeditionary command-post capabilities by providing mobile, scalable and survivable platforms, the service announced. The Army recently authorized the implementation of the Command Post Integrated Infrastructure, or CPI2, effort in December to address mobility issues and to ensure communications hardware and mission-command application integration across platforms.
The Army has established several technological goals, which include:
• Leveraging secure wireless technology for rapid connectivity.
• Improving mobility.
The Army is looking to combine electronic warfare capabilities with intelligence and cyber capabilities, military leaders reported December 13 at AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare discussion, The Future Force Build and Integration of Electronic Warfare and Information Operations Fields into Cyber. AUSA hosted the event at its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, as part of its Hot Topic event series.
More than 2,000 miles away from the path of devastation cut by hurricanes Irma and Maria, network engineers at the Rock Island Arsenal Integrated Network Operations Center (INOC) work around-the-clock to support the relief efforts of American aid workers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Operated by the Army’s product lead for Defense-Wide Transmission Systems, the INOC establishes and supports satellite (SATCOM) communications links for a wide range of missions.
Cutting the communications cord is a goal of the U.S. Special Operations Command as it prepares for missions against a new type of foe. The command is not looking to sever ties with its forces in the field, but instead wants to give them broad-based connectivity to function without being restricted by either environment or operating partner.
When the public thinks of Special Operations Forces (SOF), the vision that usually comes to mind is of gun-blazing commando raids such as the one that brought justice to Osama bin Laden. Yes, certain elements of SOF receive considerable public attention and accrue celebrity-style glamour. While this attention is well-deserved, most of what SOF does is hidden from the public eye and is far more important than many realize.
The Home Station Mission Command Center technology refresh, generally called the HSMCC tech refresh, is part of my portfolio for the modernization of command centers under the U.S. Department of the Army’s Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program. In fiscal year 2017, the Army performed an HSMCC tech refresh on four command centers to establish an interim technical baseline while the service finalizes the system requirements, standardizing the disparate, off-the-shelf technology at the division and corps headquarters.
The Army’s road to readiness runs through Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) and the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, in the opinion of Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, CECOM’s commanding general. The advantages of the command—aside from the beautiful 144 miles of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay in Aberdeen, Maryland, and the 400 American bald eagles that also live there— is that it may be the one place in the military where research and development in science and technology; technology development; testing; acquisition; fielding; and sustainment are all at one installation.
The cyber domain consists of servers, undersea cables, satellite and wireless networks that link global communications. This allows accelerated technical change that we can use to our advantage, stated Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, USN, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. However, the low-cost entry to access the same technology the military uses leaves open the possibility for embedded attacks on the technology we depend on, he added while speaking at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific.
Technology is rapidly changing, providing opportunities as well as challenges. The military must be prepared to use the technology and understand the implications of the new technologies both in their hands and in the hands of the adversaries. “If we don’t incorporate the threat that we are going to face, we will be shooting at the wrong duck," said Brig. Gen. Paul H. Fredenburgh III, USA, director, Command, Control, Communications and Cyber (C4), U.S. Pacific Command, leading a panel on cyber resilience and assured command and control at AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific.
In the surfing community, a wave of consequence is one that is impactful and takes a commitment to get in to it. “But when you put that commitment into the wave, it makes a difference,” said Lt. Gen. Bryan P. Fenton, USA, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command, who explained that he needs strong industry partnerships to help make a difference.
Information technology’s impact on our culture is far deeper and more profound than many realize. While the technologies we have at our fingertips make many things easier, they also blur the distinction between right and wrong, especially for younger generations.
Will Bates, supervisory special agent, FBI Honolulu Cyber Squad, stated that the age of cyber crime suspects keeps going down. “It is easy to conduct the intrusions, and often parents have not emphasized that accessing things online without authorization is also wrong. Bates joined three others on a panel that looked at cultural aspects of technological advances.
In the next few years, the U.S. Navy may finally realize a dream it has had since World War II: the ability to vertically launch and recover a fixed-wing aircraft from a ship deck. A prototype unmanned aerial system is now capable of hovering and launching vertically with a pair of nose-mounted, counter-rotating propellers, and then transitioning to high-speed horizontal flight as the propellers shift to propulsion mode and push air over its large fixed-wing surfaces. If the aircraft becomes operational, it will provide Navy ships a long-range, high-endurance surveillance and strike platform—something smaller surface units lack, absent an aircraft carrier or an amphibious assault ship.
In a few short decades, the world will be vastly different. The military environment is no exception, given that a force built for and in the industrial age will continue providing national security in an increasingly unstable and uncertain world. The dramatic and potentially unforeseen advances in technology will be countless. Leaders will need help figuring out how to conceptualize and capitalize.
This includes the Air Force. The force of 2050 will no longer be confined to space, sky and cyberspace. Training, tools and tactics will change.
An evolving Army needs equipment to be successful on the battlefield. It sounds simple, but it requires an orchestra of contracts, logistics support, parts, repairs and maintenance, all beginning with research and development and testing. For sustainment to happen, it’s a “team sport,” according to a panel of Army leaders at the recent MILCOM conference in Baltimore on October 25.
The Department of Defense is seeing its adversaries utilize off-the-shelf technologies, mobile networks and commercial applications that the U.S. military itself is not using as well. With this recognition, the “winds of change” are beginning to blow through the agency. The U.S. Army in particular must dust off some of its aging procurement processes and leverage commercial technology to regain the advantage over its peer adversaries, warned Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, Army chief information officer (CIO)/G-6 at the MILCOM 2017 conference in Baltimore on October 24.
The challenges involved with being the CIO for the Marine Corps include balancing the service’s evolution with its technology needs and finding the right technologies for warfighters on a tight budget with changing operational needs. “There is a lot of change going on in the Marine Corps and that change is fantastic,” said Brig. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director C4/Chief Information Officer (CIO).