Technology

June 10, 2021
By Wolfgang Richter

Across the globe, ministries of defense are continually challenged with meeting the demands of armed forces who need access to the right intelligence products to protect citizens, defend borders and support humanitarian missions.

While the need for rapid decision-making has never been greater, decision makers often lack the timely information required to inform their choices. In dynamic military environments, situations and plans change quickly and intelligence can become outdated. The problem becomes even more complex during joint and multinational operations.

June 9, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Matt Eichenfield (l) and Lisa Hackett, scientists at Sandia National Labs, recently created a groundbreaking acoustic circulator, a key radio component that separates transmitted and received signals, and is much smaller in size. Credit: Sandia National Labs/Bret Latter

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have constructed a miniaturized acoustic amplifier, which they claim is the world’s smallest. The new acoustic, 276-megahertz amplifier is 0.0008 square inch (0.5 square millimeter). The Sandia researchers made the amplifier with thin-film semiconductor materials that are only 83 layers of atoms thick—1,000 times thinner than a human hair, the laboratory reported. In addition, the researchers were able to successfully harness the use of sound waves for the acousto-electric chip that includes the radio-frequency amplifier, circulator and filter.

June 8, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Soldiers test M1A2 Abrams tanks during a live-fire accuracy screening test at Fort Bliss, Texas, in October. U.S. Army researchers intend to integrate the FIRESTORM artificial intelligence system with the Abrams for Project Convergence 2021 to be held in October and November. Credit: Army Staff Sgt. Kris Bonet

Both soldiers and combat commanders likely will get hands-on experience in the coming months with one of the Army’s hottest new artificial intelligence systems known as FIRESTORM.

The artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled system, formally named FIRES Synchronization to Optimize Responses in Multi-Domain Operations, still is in the science and technology phase and is not yet a formal program of record. It ingests data from sensors and other systems, uses One World Terrain to map the battlefield and recommends the best weapon system to engage specific targets, saving commanders precious time for making decisions. Prior technologies took almost 20 minutes to relay data back to warfighters. FIRESTORM takes 32 seconds.

June 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
A researcher (inset) uses extended reality (XR) with digital overlays to determine how a fire spreads in a room. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) experiments with XR to evaluate materials for fire-resistant characteristics without putting humans at risk.  NIST

Imagery is yielding to meaning as extended reality heads down a new path of evolution. Where developers traditionally have concentrated on improving graphics to the point of realism, they now are shifting their focus to a different kind of realism that emphasizes meaning over appearance.

This approach is opening new doors for applications of extended reality, also known as XR. Uses such as automated driving, design for manufacturing, augmented reality and firefighting assistance already are growing in popularity and effectiveness, and varieties of those applications are on the horizon. In a few years, XR may be able to aid fighter pilots and the vision impaired.

June 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies has developed a test bed for evaluating a wide array of virtual reality, augmented reality, extended reality and artificial intelligence systems used for military purposes.  Metamorworks/Shutterstock

Researchers at the Institute for Creative Technologies built the Rapid Integration and Development Environment, a test bed for evaluating modeling and simulation technologies for internal use. But the system, which plays a role in creating the Army’s Tactical Computing Environment, is finding users across the Defense Department and in the defense industry.

June 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The ProtoSpace augmented reality system takes collaboration to a higher level, allowing scientists at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to more easily see and discuss spacecraft design considerations, such as for the Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy spacecraft.  NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is using a 3D visualization tool to design innovative space probes, including the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and its Ingenuity helicopter. The same tool can help researchers plan work in space’s complex environment.

The mixed reality, computer aided design (CAD) 3D visualization tool is known as ProtoSpace. It has been crucial to the lab’s collaborative development of spacecraft, says the technical lead for ProtoSpace, Benjamin Nuernberger.

June 1, 2021
By Woody Walton

The Defense Department (DoD) is continuing to build out a truly data-centric approach based on the DoD Data Strategy, presenting new opportunities for transforming the way data is collected, analyzed and leveraged.

May 18, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel Belew, USMC, academics officer, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, speaking at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta Virtual Series on May 18, reports that the service is working to incorporate an “always-on feedback loop” in which incremental change is incorporated in the academic cycle.

The U.S. Navy and Marines Corps are harnessing virtual platforms and advanced methods to teach cyber and communications skills. In some cases, the services are looking to a “blended model” of instruction from both industry and military cyber experts that produces multitudes of trained personnel for a single investment. Additionally, to create a powerful cyber force, technical training needs to be as realistic as possible, with high-fidelity cyber training ranges that can meet high standards for mission rehearsals and training on a daily basis and can be accessed anywhere in the world. 

May 18, 2021
 
The DoD is investing heavily in the promise of high-speed edge computing with 5G technologies. Credit: Shutterstock

As the Department of Defense (DoD) transitions to 5G mobile technology for its warfighter and facility-based communications, the agency must take several considerations into account such as security and the ability to interoperate with other systems.

One of the biggest attractions of 5G is the promise of high-speed wireless data rates, but that’s just part of the picture, Chris Thomas, an information technology (IT) communications strategist and systems architect at Dell Technologies, told SIGNAL Magazine Editor in Chief Robert K. Ackerman during a SIGNAL Executive Video interview.

May 14, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The CIRCM system provides U.S. Army aircraft unprecedented protection from current and emerging missile threats. Credit: Northrop Grumman photo

The U.S. Army already is fielding its Common Infrared Countermeasures system to some units and will deliver the system simultaneously to all types of aircraft, Army officials told reporters during a recent telephonic roundtable.

May 6, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
NIST researchers entangled the beats of two mechanical drums—tiny aluminum membranes each made of about 1 trillion atoms—and precisely measured their linked quantum properties. Entangled pairs massive by quantum pairs might someday perform computations and transmit data in large-scale quantum networks. Credit: John Teufel/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have “entangled” two small mechanical drums and precisely measured their linked quantum properties. Similar entangled pairs may someday perform computations and transmit data in large-scale quantum networks.

The NIST team, which was led by physicist John Teufel, used microwave pulses to entice the two tiny aluminum drums into a quantum version of the Lindy Hop, with one partner bopping in a cool and calm pattern while the other was jiggling a bit more. Researchers analyzed radar-like signals to verify that the two drums’ steps formed an entangled pattern—a duet that would be impossible in the everyday classical world, according to a NIST press release.

May 3, 2021
By Beverly Cooper
Unified communications is more than voice and conferencing access. It can enable agencies to embrace automation, enhance situational awareness, improve operations and business continuity, and support digital transformation and multivendor relationships as it helps ensure public safety, cybersecurity, and speed, scalability and capacity. Credit: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

The unexpected pivot to a largely remote workforce has put unprecedented pressure on communications capabilities and systems, and this pressure extends beyond voice and conference access. Government and military agencies are increasingly working to interconnect information, people and resources, but to do so efficiently, they must leverage existing unified communication solutions, platforms and processes. As agencies adapt, the goal is to ensure continued access to data through secure and reliable methods. 

May 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Air Surveillance and Interface Control technicians provide radar, radio and tactical data links to support the Sentry Savannah exercise at Hunter Army Airfield in February 2016. The Joint Tactical Networking Center supports interoperability among the military services and seeks to add new waveforms to the Department of Defense Information Repository.  U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Chelsea Smith/Released

Personnel with the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Tactical Networking Center continually push to improve interoperability of waveforms used jointly across the military to save costs, enhance communications and ultimately fight more effectively.

May 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Collaborative small diameter bombs are launched from the wing of an F-16 fighter. Four of the bombs were dropped during the second flight demonstration of the Air Force Golden Horde Vanguard in March.  U.S. Air Force

For some time, engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory have been developing network collaborative autonomous technologies. Munitions that operate in coordination with unmanned aerial vehicles, decoys and other systems make decisions, shift course and achieve a mission. The researchers have successfully designed platforms to support such capabilities, as well as developing and integrating the complex subsystems that support the networking, collaborative operations and autonomy.

May 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
A forward observer reports during an exercise with the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System. This system will benefit from the multidomain operation capabilities under development by the PEO IEWS.  U.S. Army

The U.S. Army is pursuing research into advanced technologies to further the service’s ability to conduct multidomain operations. Some of this research aims to improve existing capabilities by exploiting innovations, while others work toward basic breakthroughs in exotic areas. Many of these Army research efforts aim to draw from industry advances as they evolve.

For largely tactical multidomain operations (MDO), research underway at the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEWS) focuses on the office’s specialties as stated in its name. Yet, these efforts would have far-reaching effects throughout the Army and the defense community as a whole.

May 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman
The F-35, shown here in April 2017 on the production line at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility, was conceived as a joint project, the result of interservice collaboration, and continues to integrate some of the world’s most advanced avionics technologies.  Photo by Alexander H. Groves, provided courtesy of Lockheed Martin

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence published its final report this spring, grimly declaring that “America is not prepared to defend or compete in the AI [artificial intelligence] era,” and warning that “within the next decade, China could surpass the United States as the world’s AI superpower.”

May 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The modernized Expeditionary Signal Battalions-Enhanced can move faster and communicate more effectively, Army officials say.  Andrey Suslov/Shutterstock

The new, lighter-weight equipment being delivered to the Army’s prototypal enhanced signal battalion allows the unit to move faster and communicate better, which ultimately should enable warfighters to shoot more effectively.

The 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced (ESB-E) is an immediate response force that provides worldwide contingency, force projection and forced-entry signal support to the XVIII Airborne Corps for power-projection operations during war and operations other than war.

May 1, 2021
By Lt. Col. Ryan Kenny, USA

As software eats the world, artificial intelligence (AI) will replace work that requires traditional knowledge. The stakes are high in the AI arms races in both the commercial and military worlds. AI promises to improve predictive analytics of dynamic systems, identify inefficiencies and recommend improvements, and in general, make processes more intelligent. The Defense Department recognizes these competitive benefits, and many early military adopters race to develop in-house solutions.

May 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

We live in a connected world. The ability to pass power, signals and data from one place to another is the lifeblood of that connection—the nervous system of our networked lives.

Although we tend to think of these networks as ethereal and invisible, in reality they all, at some point, need to be plugged in so they can be connected to the electricity that powers them, the information they carry or the signal they will broadcast. Coaxial copper wire, fiber optic cable, power lines: You name it, it all needs to be connected.

We might take those connections for granted, but without them, nothing would function.

April 27, 2021
Posted by: George I. Seffers
The Office of Naval Research Global will initiate the second round of its Global-X science and technology challenge this week with a live webinar. Credit: Suwatchai Pluemruetai/Shutterstock

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global will launch the second round of Global-X, a nine-month international science challenge worth up to $500,000, to encourage groundbreaking research from around the world.

The purpose of the Global-X Challenge is to discover, disrupt and help drive basic and applied research for later development and delivery of revolutionary capabilities to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the commercial marketplace and the public. ONR Global is interested in receiving white papers and proposals on the following challenge topics:

April 20, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Ahead of a deployment to Afghanistan, the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade concluded a training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, that included training on the new Integrated Tactical Network. Over the next two years, Army officials expect to make significant progress on the unified network concept, which will converge the tactical and enterprise networks. Credit: U.S. Army

Over the next couple of years, the U.S. Army will experience a significant shift in its approach to network modernization and will progress toward a unified network for both enterprise and tactical purposes, according to Lt. Gen. John Morrison, USA, the service’s deputy chief of staff, G-6.

Gen. Morrison made the comments earlier today during the TechNet Augusta Virtual Solutions Series. “That unifying architecture is something that the Army is working very, very hard on. Over the next two years, we will make a shift in the way that we’ve been approaching our modernization efforts,” Gen. Morrison stated.

April 20, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: U.S. Army photo

U.S Army improvements in networking capabilities are showing significant progress toward goals in the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) system, say officers tasked with improving tactical connectivity. Yet along with these gains comes the realization that other challenges must be met to ensure an effectively networked force in the future.

April 19, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army's Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team has approved the rapid development and deployment of the Tactical Space Layer, which is expected to shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline and help equip the Army for multi-domain operations. Credit: U.S. Army photo

The Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team announced today the approval of the Tactical Space Layer (TSL) abbreviated capability development document.

The document validates the need and provides the source for desired capabilities to execute rapid experimentation and prototyping efforts for tactical space-based sensors with supporting ground-based equipment. The accelerated TSL will deliver solutions necessary to shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline and equip the Army multidomain operations (MDO)-capable force by 2028 to the MDO-ready force by 2035.

April 19, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
FEMA Regional Administrator Thomas Von Essen and Maj. Gen. Bill Hall, USA, former commander, Joint Task Force Civil Support, during a visit to New York City and USNS Comfort in April 2020. The U.S. Northern Command, which responds to domestic humanitarian crises, and the other combatant commands could expand the use of artificial intelligence through specialized teams at each command. Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Specialist 1st Class Kleynia McKnight

The 11 combatant commands of the U.S. military are on the front lines of protecting U.S. national security. They hold the toughest problem sets, from protecting and defending the United States or its interests abroad, deterring aggression, carrying out missions, providing humanitarian assistance or building cooperation with other nations.

April 15, 2021
By George I. Seffers
An F-35 Lightning II receives full from a KC-135 Stratotanker. The Army's communications exercises, which are being held in preparation of Project Convergence 21, are evaluating the ability of the different services to pass data from one to the other. The F-35, for example, may be used to pass information to ground forces as part of the Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Ben Mota

The U.S. Army is conducting a series of major tests on the interoperability of joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) technologies prior to the Project Convergence 2021 experiment this fall.

Army officials are leading a series of communications exercises, commonly referred to as COMMEXes, in its new Joint System Integration Laboratory (JSIL). The lab uses a realistic and scalable tactical network architecture comprised of current and future tactical radios, software applications and transport systems to provide a system-of-systems integration and testing environment for emerging communications and networking technologies, according to an Army fact sheet.

April 14, 2021
 
The DOD is concerned about the cybersecurity of additive manufacturing systems, said David Benhaim, co-founder and chief technology officer for Markforged. Credit: Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Defense is looking at additive manufacturing technologies to rapidly prototype and build equipment components and increasingly, to potentially make replacement parts in the field.

While additive manufacturing, the ability to build plastic and metal parts by depositing a fine spray of material, has been used by the aerospace and defense sectors for some time, the capability is now becoming more portable. One such project is the U.S. Marine Corps’ X-Fab effort, which uses a shipping container loaded with compact additive manufacturing equipment that can be shipped anywhere in the world to make replacement parts.

April 8, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Space Force can employ a rapid “training refresh cycle,” with virtual tools and simulation in between real operations, says Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman, USSF, deputy chief of Space Operations, speaking at an Aerospace Corp. event on April 8.

As the year-old U.S. Space Force increasingly supports the U.S. combatant commands with space-based capabilities and associated warfighters, the service needs to ramp up its training.

The service’s guardians increasingly face a contested environment in space and must advance their ability and science of conducting space operations, said Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman, USSF, deputy chief of Space Operations.

“Being in a contested domain radically changes the skills, the experience and the training that our operators are going to have to bring to the fight,” the general said, speaking at an Aerospace Corp. event yesterday.

April 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Col. Brian Wong, USA, chief of market research for the Army’s Network Cross Functional Team (c), assesses the waveform strength of several mobile ad hoc network radio signals during a Rapid Innovation Fund capstone event in 2019 in Yakima, Washington. Engineers at Johns Hopkins’ Applied Research Lab are looking into how to build a large scale network of intelligent radios, among other tactical communications efforts.    USA/PEO C3T Public Affairs

Software-defined networks, commercial satellite communications, cognitive electronic warfare, intelligent radios and artificial intelligence applications all potentially offer the military advanced capabilities for the tactical environment, say Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s (APL’s) Julia Andrusenko, chief engineer, Tactical Wireless Systems Group, and Mark Simkins, program manager, Resilient Tactical Communications Networks. 

April 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman
NASA astronauts Shannon Walker (l), Victor Glover (second from l), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi (second from r), and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins (r), walk toward their SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The November launch was the first time NASA personnel had traveled into orbit aboard a commercial space vehicle.  NASA/Joel Kowsky via Flickr

Ever since the Sputnik scare of 1957, space has been front and center on the U.S. national security agenda. Successive administrations have highlighted the essential role of space-based capabilities such as GPS, satellite imagery and real-time global communications in undergirding U.S. military power.

April 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
DARPA’s Squad X program has taught researchers that artificial intelligence offers advantages not related to faster decision-making, and that electronic warfare systems can behave smartly without being equipped with artificial intelligence.  DARPA

Researchers have learned some surprising lessons from the technologies developed under the Defense Department’s Squad X program, which will end this year. For example, artificial intelligence may not help warfighters make faster decisions, but it does provide a planning advantage over adversaries. Furthermore, when it comes to detecting and electronically attacking enemy signals, systems can make smart decisions without artificial intelligence.

April 1, 2021
By Maj. Brian Kerg, USMC

The joint force is regularly called upon to conduct operations below the threshold of decisive combat, often in response to escalating tensions or natural disasters. In such contingencies, regularly available communications networks are commonly unavailable. The Internet, cellphones and other networks dependent upon terrestrial facilities become overloaded or knocked out of service. Consequently, crisis action planners are handicapped in their efforts to coordinate with key officials on the ground, as well as limited in the amount of local intelligence they can collect to support timely and appropriate action.

April 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

In the peer adversary conflicts the U.S. military must prepare for in the 2020s, dominating the electromagnetic spectrum—from D.C. to daylight—will be as important, if not more, than dominating at sea, on land or in the air.

“Freedom of action in the electromagnetic spectrum, at the time, place, and parameters of our choosing, is a required precursor to the successful conduct of operations in all domains,” states the U.S. Defense Department’s Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy, rolled out last fall.

April 1, 2021
By Bill Grabner, Vice President, Federal Markets at Ribbon Communications

Whether supporting missions downrange on the battlefield or supporting citizens down the street when a natural disaster hits, the U.S. government needs secure communications that are easy to deploy and easy to use. This is not a new need by the U.S. Government—and current solutions for field deployable voice communications fall short in several key areas.

April 1, 2021
 

Juliana Vida, chief technical advisor, public sector at Splunk Inc., is a former Navy deputy chief information officer.

How has data become a strategic asset to government organizations?

In today’s world, data is just as critical to government operations as electricity was at the turn of the century. It’s revolutionary. It informs how the government can best communicate amongst itself and with citizens. It predicts how the uniformed services can most efficiently and effectively operate. And it advises us on how to best interact with the world and our future partners.

March 30, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, is training leaders for joint all-domain warfare through its rigorous year-long Joint All-Domain Strategist course. Students from the 2017-2018 course pose with their instructors. The course is growing in stature, given the need for such warfighting abilities. Credit: Air University Public Affairs Photo by Airman 1st Class Charles Welty.

To prepare, operate and fight in joint warfare against near-peer adversaries across all domains will take adroit leaders who provide effective decisions in near or real time. The Air Command and Staff College, or ACSC, has set a course to do just that: prepare leaders to thrive and fight with joint operations in a contested environment on a global scale using joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2. Leaders in the class learn to plan and execute multidomain operations against possible threats on land, sea, air, space and cyberspace to lead through the challenges of the expected future operational environment in 2030 and beyond.

March 18, 2021
Posted by: Julianne Simpson
Sandia National Laboratories physicist Susan Clark leads the team that built the Quantum Scientific Computing Open User Testbed. The ion-based quantum computer was made for outside researchers to use.  Photo by Bret Latter

A new open-access quantum computing testbed from the Department of Energy is ready for the public. Scientists from Indiana University were the first team to begin using Sandia National Laboratories’ Quantum Scientific Computing Open User Testbed, or QSCOUT.

QSCOUT is rare because it is a free, open-access testbed made with trapped ion technology. The platform gives users an uncommon amount of control in their research.

March 16, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood and Maryann Lawlor
A 40th Flight Test Squadron F-16D Fighting Falcon prepares to drop four bombs for the second Golden Horde test mission designed to provide proof of concept for collaborative autonomous weapons.  U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Raven, USAF

Four collaborative small diameter bombs successfully passed a recent second flight test, demonstrating a technology that enables weapons to respond rapidly to changes in their battlespace without real-time human intervention. The U.S. Air Force and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), in conjunction with industry, are developing networked collaborative autonomous technologies through the Golden Horde project, a Vanguard program.

March 11, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The addition of low-Earth Orbit satellite mega constellations in space brings an added threat vector, and is an area being watched closely, says Erin Miller, executive director of the new Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The nascent Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a nonprofit headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is working to be a platform for analysis and threat information sharing for the space domain. Through its membership and collaborations, it will share threat information regarding the space-related business and enterprise systems and supply chain.

Along with its indicators and analysis, the center aims to provide the resources to support response and mitigation efforts in regard to cyber or other threats to the space industry, reported Erin Miller, executive director, Space ISAC, speaking at the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Cyberspace Symposium yesterday.

March 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Technicians from Verizon install a 5G node in Indianapolis. The different bandwidths offered by the new cell technology offer a host of new capabilities for commercial and military users.  Verizon

Government and the military are planning to benefit from the deployment of fifth-generation cellular, known as 5G, with new capabilities that take advantage of the different bandwidths used throughout the system. For civil government, that may translate to improved efficiency, which will allow skilled humans to move to higher skilled tasks. For the military, it may lead to better capabilities that give warfighters more flexibility and speed of action in combat operations.

March 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
NASA is developing a wireless communications network to use on the moon that will feature self-configuration, autonomous operations, reliability and hardened systems for the lunar environment. In its first planned technology demonstration in 2022, enabled by a public-private partnership, the space agency aims to increase the technology readiness level of space-based 4G LTE communications technology to “flight proven.”  NASA

With astronauts planning to return to the moon in 2024 for the first time since 1972, NASA will leverage commercial technology to mount a wireless communications network there. The capability will support the exchange of data and communications of autonomous systems, robots and astronauts. The fourth-generation long-term evolution of mobile communications, commonly known as 4G LTE, will provide the network’s reliability for NASA to conduct its lunar activity.

March 1, 2021
By Lt. Col. Ryan Kenny, USA

What would it take to deliver high quality augmented reality to the masses? Mobile devices packed with high computing power and both optical and LIDAR sensors in every hand? Check. Robust operating systems capable of overlaying 3D graphics in real environments? Check. Devices that enable high-definition rendering of digital images? Check. What’s missing? A compelling need to project information from offices and retail environments into homes and remote locations? The COVID-19 pandemic may have fixed that. So, what else is missing? Bandwidth! With 5G cellular communications entering mainstream markets, it may finally become a part of our daily lives—for real this time.

March 1, 2021
By Henry S. Kenyon

The global race to roll out fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks and supporting technologies is poised to revolutionize commercial communications and networking and offers the U.S. military the potential for secure, high speed ubiquitous networking.

March 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

When the pandemic struck last year, the Department of Defense directed many employees to stay home to help prevent the spread of disease and protect its workforce. The scale and speed of the transformation to remote teleworking was breathtaking. DoD had to massively ramp up bandwidth and deploy collaboration tools to millions of users across its global network within weeks—it was an accelerated march to the cloud.

March 1, 2021
By Shaun Waterman

When it comes to insider threats, defense and intelligence agencies shouldn’t worry so much about the next Edward Snowden. The biggest internal attack vector is the spy in your pocket: “You may think of it as a smartphone,” warns Bill Anderson, president of CIS Mobile, “but it’s really a portable surveillance device.”

“Defense and intelligence agencies need a solution that puts them in charge of the smartphones their people are using,” says Anderson. “Their people need the chance to enjoy the productivity gains those smartphones can bring.”

March 1, 2021
 

Bob Gourley, chief technology officer and co-founder of OODA LLC, is a due diligence and cybersecurity consultant who also publishes OODAloop.com and CTOvision.com.

How can Defense Department decision-makers take better advantage of the innovations being produced by U.S. technology firms?

February 26, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
The cybersecurity problem is not going away for the military, warns retiring Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, pictured at the AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore in 2018.

During a career spanning 34 years that involved applying information technology (IT) for the military, one of the biggest hurdles was advancing change. It is not only the challenge of providing effective and cybersecure new solutions, but is the combination of that while altering the culture and shifting processes for the better, said Vice Admiral Nancy Norton, USN.

Adm. Norton retires today from military service as the director of Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and as the commander of the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Networks (JFHQ-DODIN) after three years in that role and her service in the U.S. Navy.

February 16, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The Army's Synthetic Training Environment is one of three initiatives using data to modernize the service's training capabilities. Credit: U.S. Army

Gen. Paul Funk II, USA, commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), outlined three training modernization priorities during his keynote speech at a February 16-17 AFCEA TechNet Augusta Virtual Solutions Series event. The initiatives include developing a prototype of the Army Training and Information System, updating ranges and training aids, and linking live, virtual and constructive training.

February 12, 2021
By George I. Seffers
A soldier dons the prototypical Integrated Visual Augmentation System during a live fire test event at Fort Pickett, Virginia, in October 2020. The Silicon Anode Conformal Wearable Battery prototype is placed in the soldier’s back pouch. Army officials will assess two versions of the new battery during Project Convergence 2021 in October. Credit: Courtney Bacon, PEO Soldier PAO

During the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2021 experiment scheduled for October, researchers will assess silicon anode cells for its Conformal Wearable Battery to be used with the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) and the Nett Warrior system. The batteries double the power, allowing those systems to run much longer without increasing size and weight. Ultimately, the new cells could be used in a wide range of batteries for the military and commercial sectors, including those used to power tactical radios, electric cars and cellphones.

February 10, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
A U.S. Navy team has developed an automated target detection and tracking system known as the Intelligent Tracker for the Army's Next Generation Combat Vehicle. Image provided by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division

A new product called Intelligent Tracker developed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) will increase the Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle’s intelligent fire control capability to control its medium and large caliber weapon systems, according to an NSWCDD press release.

The Intelligent Tracker innovation—made possible with state-of-the-art algorithms developed over 10 years of cumulative research at NSWCDD—adds a rapid and precise automated target detection and tracking capability to the kill chain for manned and unmanned weapon systems. 

February 1, 2021
 

 

Vint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, is considered by many to be one of the fathers of the Internet.

How will new mobile technologies, such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), change military communications?

Smart devices, sensors, controllers are increasingly important for military operations, including surveillance, situation awareness. These devices are deeply dependent on wireless deployment and will benefit from 5G capacities. By implication, the U.S. and its allies will need to cooperate to assure secure interoperation of their 5G implementations.

What is the role of strong authentication in battlespace communications?