Technology

October 14, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Photo Courtesy of NOAA NCEI

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency announced the final results of MagQuest, a $2.1 million competition to advance how we measure Earth’s magnetic field.

Over 18 months, the challenge accelerated novel data collection methodologies for the World Magnetic Model (WMM). The first place winner Iota Technology will be awarded $350,000 and two second place winners — Spire Global and SB Quantum, and University of Colorado Boulder — will receive $225,000 each. Runners-up Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium and Stellar Solutions will each receive $50,000.

October 5, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Sandia National Laboratories researcher J. Darby Smith examines computer boards containing artificial neurons Intel Corp designed. (Photo by Regina Valenzuela)

An industry leader has delivered 50 million artificial neurons—a number roughly equivalent to the brain of a small mammal—to Sandia National Laboratories. Intel Corporation and Sandia will explore numerous potential uses from neural-inspired computing and plan to examine the effects on artificial intelligence in commercial and defense areas.

October 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
New York City was one of the early hotspots for the spread of COVID-19. New York University researchers funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation have been studying human behavior near medical facilities to help inform policies on pandemics and other potential disasters.  GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock

New York University researchers are studying the behavior of people leaving healthcare facilities and how they physically interact with the environment—what they touch and for how long, for example. The research will allow the development of localized disease transmission models that can be applied to larger areas, such as entire cities. Potential models could be critical for predicting the continued spread of COVID-19 as well as future pandemics and other disasters, such as chemical spills.

October 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
To roll out a massive cloud project of electronic health records in 93 days during the beginning of the pandemic required a team of teams from the Program Executive Office Defense Healthcare Management Systems and other organizations.  PEO DHMS

Facing a pandemic and an aging legacy medical record system with limited data storage capacity at an on-premise data center in Charleston, South Carolina, the Enterprise Intelligence & Data Solutions (EIDS) team, sprang into action to complete a game-changing cloud migration project. The effort, called the Accelerated Migration Project, or AMP, moved petabytes of secondary healthcare data and related applications to the cloud. The project digitally transforms access to U.S. Defense Department medical records and offers better data analytics and more reliable information discovery, driving improved outcomes in patient care and business operations, experts say.

October 1, 2020
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The microscopic biological particle that has altered the way of life for 7 billion people worldwide also has had a major technological impact. It has brought the importance of information technology to the fore, in terms of both working to alleviate the virus’ effects and supporting the lives of people impacted by the pandemic. The vitality of information technology has been put on display, and changes it has wrought are going to help define the new normal.

September 24, 2020
By George I. Seffers
An Area-I Air-Launched, Tube-Integrated, Unmanned System, or ALTIUS, is launched from a UH-60 Black Hawk at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, March 4 where the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center led a demonstration that highlighted the forward air launch of the ALTIUS. Courtesy photo provided by Yuma Proving Ground

Artificial intelligence technology tested during the Army’s Project Convergence exercise largely met expectations and will help transform the way the Army fights in the future, officials say.

September 17, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Intelligence community chief information officers are selecting advanced capabilities to support key mission efforts. Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

During the pandemic, technology leaders across intelligence agencies have focused not only on supporting the continuity of mission efforts and the connectivity of its work force, but also emerging solutions to drive innovation and efficiencies.

Some of the main tools officials are pursuing include: advanced software delivery, multicloud use, machine learning and data processing tools, said chief information officers (CIOs), who along with moderator Lewis Shepherd of VMware, spoke on September 17 at the Intelligence and National Security Summit, co-hosted virtually by INSA and AFCEA.

September 10, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Mobile devices could service as an identity platform for the U.S. government, providing a contactless access experience with more privacy, some experts say. Credit: Shutterstock/Drazen Zigic

The U.S. federal government should consider implementing a digital identity for each citizen and enable the use of mobile devices for in-person access and other applications, experts say. Mobile devices, paired with strong standards, can enable physical access to federal buildings—as the common access card, or CAC, does currently. In addition, employing more digitally integrated, holistic systems would improve privacy. And given the onset of COVID-19, the pandemic has heightened the need for innovation, especially around contactless technologies, said officials speaking yesterday at the Federal Identity Virtual Collaboration Event.

September 8, 2020
By George I. Seffers
Money laundering and other crimes have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the need for more widespread use of identity verification and management technologies, government officials say. Credit: stevepb/Pixabay

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the federal government’s need for better identity verification and management tools, in part to ensure relief funds go to the people who need them.

Gay Gilbert, administrator, Office of Unemployment Insurance, Department of Labor, told the audience for the FedID Virtual Collaboration Event today that the department was hit with a pandemic-induced perfect storm. “For those of you who have been watching the news, probably you’ve noticed that the unemployment insurance program has become a key—a little bit of a hotbed, actually, with regard to COVID-19,” she said.

August 31, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Dr. Irma Becerra, president, Marymount University (c), wears a face mask alongside orientation leaders and community assistants as Marymount students move back to campus for the fall 2020 semester.  Photo by Marymount University

From plumbing to space travel, the vast majority of future good-paying jobs will involve technology. Not only will these careers offer regularly increased salaries but also opportunities for advancement and, even more importantly, independence. These are some of Irma Becerra’s beliefs borne of personal experience, a deep passion for technology and a personal purpose in education.

September 1, 2020
By Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper, USA (Ret.)

Innovation has propelled the government and society forward with lasting advances in science, technology, medicine and many other fields. Its relentless nature has created competition among technology providers, shortened product life cycles and resulted in many solutions being shelved in favor of upgraded ones.

However, some legacy systems remain useful and still fulfill customer needs. If a solution or system isn’t broken, should it receive upgraded functionality or be set aside in favor of a new solution “just because?” If so, what’s the criteria for doing so?

September 1, 2020
 

Identity drives everything across the federal space, from the PIV-CAC cards staffers carry to massive defense projects involving huge budgets and diverse players. The federal identity landscape has evolved rapidly in recent years, with the rise of public and private clouds, DevSecOps and zero trust. But underlying architectures have not kept pace with these advances. Established agencies are still grappling with aging investments made over successive waves of innovation, going from one authoritative directory behind a firewall to a growing collection of attributes scattered across diverse repositories.

August 24, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
LIFT Aircraft CEO Matthew Chasen shows Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett the controls of the company's Hexa electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft at Camp Mabry, Texas, on August 20. The demonstration, hosted by the Texas Air National Guard, was the first in a series that the service's Agility Prime will hold this fall as it strives to field eVTOL aircraft by 2023. Credit: Air National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Sean Kornegay

Last Thursday afternoon, leaders deemed the first demonstration of a flying orb by AFWERX’s Agility Prime effort a success. The event was the first in a series of steps toward the U.S. Air Force fielding electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOLs, by 2023.

August 12, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army wants to automate planning for primary, alternate, contingency and emergency (PACE) communications. A so-called intelligent engine will suffice in the short term, but over time, service officials expect artificial intelligence to conduct PACE planning.  (U.S. Army photo courtesy of the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical)

The U.S. Army wants an automated communications planning system. In the short term, researchers expect to use an “intelligent engine” but in the future, artificial intelligence will likely take over the task.

Planning communications for different conditions is commonly known as PACE planning. The acronym stands for “primary, alternate, contingency and emergency” communications. Different situations call for different communications systems, explains Michael Brownfield, chief of the Army Future Capabilities Office within the Combat Capabilities Development Command’s research organization formally named the Command and Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center.

August 7, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Ripsaw M5 robotic combat vehicle developed by a team made up ofTextron, Howe & Howe, and FLIR Systems, is one of two robotic systems being developed for the Army's manned-unmanned teaming concept.  The other is the a light robotic vehicle being developed by QinetiQ and Pratt and Miller. The service is conducting a series of experiments to test the concept using surrogate vehicles while the robotic systems are in development. Photo courtesy of Textron

Manned-unmanned teaming technologies being assessed in a weeks-long experiment are receiving mostly positive reviews from Army officials and non-commissioned officers.

The Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team and Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center are conducting soldier operational experiments at Ft. Carson, Colorado, from June 15 through August 14. The goal is to observe, collect and analyze feedback from soldiers to assess the feasibility of integrating unmanned vehicles into ground combat formations.

August 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off, carrying the company’s StarLink low-earth-orbit networking satellites. Flooding near-earth space with hundreds of satellites is the future of orbital activities as satellite construction expenses and launch costs continue to come down.  SpaceX

The next era of satellite communications is upon us in the form of low-earth-orbit constellations aiming to revolutionize personal connectivity, according to satellite experts. These new satellite swarms are being driven by technology innovations simultaneously with the growth of less-expensive launch services. The result will be an explosion in the number and type of orbiters serving their earthbound hosts while raising the bar for support technologies on the ground.

August 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket lifts off from Vandenber Air Force Base on January 19, 2019. With its rapid fielding pace, the Space Development Agency plans to launch initial capacity of its new network in 2021. U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Peterson

The threats to the U.S. military and the nation are such that additional space-based capabilities must be rapidly fielded. A proliferated low-earth-orbit constellation of satellites and sensors will connect to the military’s tactical legacy datalinks and weapons systems to deter against advanced threats. In particular, beyond-line-of-sight targeting capabilities and enabling the detection, tracking and fire control of advanced missile threats will be a part of the system that the Space Development Agency deploys as part of its National Defense Space Architecture, or the NDSA, says the agency’s director, Derek Tournear.

August 1, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Naval Research Lab’s Blossom Point satellite tracking facility is fully automated, reducing manpower and costs. Now, the research lab is extending those capabilities with autonomous antennas in California and Hawaii.   Emanuel Cavalarro

By year’s end, U.S. Navy researchers intend to add one of two remote autonomous antennas to its satellite tracking architecture, enhancing its ability to collect strategic satellite data and support space-related research and development.

The first antenna will be located at a secure, undisclosed and unmanned site in California and will extend the tracking capabilities from Blossom Point, Maryland. The second is planned for Hawaii.

Blossom Point is located south of Washington, D.C., and is owned and operated by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). It is considered a state-of-the-art command and control facility capable of supporting satellite spaceflight missions from launch through end-of-life.

August 1, 2020
By Henry S. Kenyon

Mapping and location finding technologies common to every smartphone are making their way to 911 emergency calls, letting first responders know exactly where to go and saving precious time that can be used to save lives.

These capabilities are emerging in what’s known as Next Generation 911, or NG911. They represent a fusion of mobile device applications and services that are being overlaid or built into these new emergency telecommunications systems that let police, paramedics and firefighters get to exactly where they need to be.

August 1, 2020
By Henry S. Kenyon

Intelligence community and government personnel who work with classified or sensitive information often use multiple computers on their desks, each one connected to a separate network based on the security level of the information being accessed.

This can create a variety of IT and logistical challenges for workers onsite, but as ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other circumstances force more people to work remotely, managing all of this equipment and their security requirements from a private home can be difficult or nearly impossible without multilevel secure systems capable of doing the job of multiple desktops in a single secure station.

Pages