January 4, 2022
Posted by George I. Seffers
A camera the width of a grain of salt produces clear, full color images. Credit: Princeton University

Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington, partially funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), have developed a camera half a millimeter wide—the size of a grain of coarse salt—that captures clear, full-color images that could be used for medical diagnostics or robotic sensors. Previously, the effectiveness of microsized cameras has been hindered by technology that produces distorted images with a limited field of view, according to an NSF press release.

January 1, 2022
By Dakota Miller

Peer cache is a great way to optimize Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM) and provide a more significant user experience to warfighters in remote areas.

MECM, formerly System Center Configuration Manager, is an enterprise tool to maintain compliance for Windows operating systems. It maintains all updates, third-party applications and enterprise configurations. Trying to maintain computers used for defense operations can be quite a challenge and this gives engineers the ability to directly affect battlefield endpoints.

January 1, 2022

Throughout 2021, On Point’s guest columnists answered a variety of questions geared to spurring discussion on new and emerging technologies. However, each columnist also answered one common question, and below is a summary of their responses to this single query:

What do you think is the next great technology trend?

December 23, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
In April 2021 at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, Staff Sgt. Christopher Watson, USAF, 25th ASOS Radio Frequency Transmissions craftsman (l), speaks with Gen. Ken Wilsbach, USAF, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) commander (c) and Chief Master Sgt. David Wolfe, USAF, PACAF command chief, about the 25th ASOS’ joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) capabilities. Authors of a new study are warning about the growing risks of JADC2 on space-based solutions. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson

The U.S. military’s existing satellite communications network, built to serve legacy systems, cannot appropriately enable warfare in the information age. To enable joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, the U.S. Space Force needs to proliferate low-earth- and mid-earth-orbit, LEO and MEO, satellite constellations. In addition, the service needs to leverage space-based optical communications to reach the full potential of proliferated satellite communication networks.

December 23, 2021

Throughout the year, we highlighted a wide variety of thought leaders in our On Point column. Each interviewee shared their insight on the next great technology trend, and we’ve compiled a list of their top trends to watch as we prepare to kick off a new year.

1. Quantum effects

“Using them produces significant gains in sensitivity and thus signal-to-noise ratio. I admit, however, that I am less excited about quantum key distribution, believing that post-quantum public key cryptography that is resistant to cracking by quantum computation may prove to be more reliable.” —Vint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google

December 17, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
In a December 17 media call to reporters, Air Force Research Laboratory Commander Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, USAF, announces the first two Space University Research Initiative, or SURI, projects. She said the work in space logistics, mobility and domain is what is needed to further the U.S. Space Force’s and Air Force’s missions.

Today, the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, unveiled the two winning groups of the Space University Research Initiative program, the first such university-based research effort for the two-year old U.S. Space Force, which may also result in technology transition to the U.S. Air Force.

December 16, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
Northrop Grumman's design for a multipurpose commercial space station is one of the three proposals selected by NASA for development and orbit this decade. Credit: Northrop Grumman

The successors to the International Space Station may come from the drawing boards of commercial research and development shops. NASA has signed agreements with three U.S. firms to design commercial low-earth-orbit (LEO) platforms that could serve both government and private sector needs. Eventually, NASA aims to certify their use by NASA crew members as part of an effort to provide space services that the government needs at a lower cost than currently possible.

December 15, 2021
The #1 most-read SIGNAL article of the year covered how the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) is looking to fill vital cyber and communications gaps.

Which articles from our SIGNAL Media team caught your eye this past year? Check out the top 10 most-read articles from 2021.

1. Special Forces Command Seeks Key Data Aggregation, Cyber Tools
By Kimberly Underwood, February 17, 2021

December 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Army soldiers prepare for flag detail at Fort Stewart’s Marne Garden in January 2021. In January 2022, the fort will be hosting a groundbreaking pilot program, with soldiers testing out communications technologies from 24 companies in 16 armored vehicles. Spc. Elizabeth Clark, 50th Public Affairs Detachment

Last month, 16 armored vehicles arrived at Fort Stewart, Georgia, specially equipped with a range of commercial communications technologies. The vehicles are part of the U.S. Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team On-The-Move network pilot program, led by the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical. Leveraging commercial gear, the Army is conducting the pilot to identify what kinds of communications and network technologies could successfully be applied to moving armored vehicles to support soldiers in a contested, near-peer environment.

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

The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, enabled exponential Internet growth. However, as a point-to-point architecture, it has limitations. Over the past two decades, Named Data Networking (NDN) has emerged as a viable Internet architecture designed to improve TCP/IP’s weaknesses and enable applications at the tactical edge. Those within the Defense Department responsible for shaping future warfighting networks should note the opportunities this provides for ad hoc, mobile users.

December 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood

Advanced, automatic-closing, man-portable satellite communication technologies are offering the U.S. Army the chance to move away from having to trailer large satellite dishes. As part of the armored brigade combat team on-the-move pilot program, which commences soldier testing at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, in January, the Army is considering five very small aperture terminals to replace the trailer-dependent, 2.4-meter legacy satellite transportable terminals, explains Col. Shane Taylor, USA, project manager, Tactical Network, Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical.

December 1, 2021

Emerging from academia via MIT, David is the CTO and co-founder at Markforged.

What is the most important activity for revolutionizing the supply chain?

The next step in revolutionizing the supply chain requires the continuation of supply chain digitization. This means turning toward digital solutions for supply chain management tools, which can store a digital record for each individual item in the supply chain.

December 1, 2021
By Rich Johnson, Federal SE, Zscaler

What’s all the buzz around cloud-native architecture and why is it so important?

There are a lot of products and solutions that are claiming to be cloud-native when in fact, they are simply cloud-enabled, or cloud-resident. You may ask, “What’s the difference and why should I care?” I hope to add some clarity and explain the difference and significance between cloud-native and cloud-resident solutions.

What is cloud-native architecture?

November 10, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Partnering with Near Earth Autonomy, L3 Harris successfully completed an Army demonstration with its FVR-90 autonomous aircraft, which can fly up to 18 hours with up to 22 pounds of payload. The effort is part of a project to get medical supplies and whole blood to warfighters in hard-to-reach places. Credit: L3 Harris

Pittsburgh-based Near Earth Autonomy, developer of autonomous flight systems, and Melbourne, Florida-based L3 Harris Technologies are partnering in a medically oriented effort and are seeing progress. According to Near Earth, the companies successfully demonstrated an unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) and system that can autonomously deliver whole blood and other medical supplies hundreds of miles from an operational base to medics in precise locations.

November 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a framework for broad government artificial intelligence (AI) development and use that can be followed by industry and academia.  Christos Georghiou/Shutterstock

Federal organizations that plan on implementing artificial intelligence systems now have a framework for practices that addresses development, monitoring, legal and ethical issues. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) document, “Artificial Intelligence: An Accountability Framework for Federal Agencies and Other Entities,” aims to ensure responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI), including oversight.

November 2, 2021
5G wireless technology has the potential to provide the U.S. military with virtual and augmented reality tools for a variety of tasks such as maintenance, inventory tracking and remote medical care. Credit: Shutterstock

The U.S. government and commercial sector is moving to deploy Fifth Generation, or 5G, wireless technology that will greatly increase connectivity and speed for a variety of mobile and remote users.

But while 5G is on the horizon, there are still technical challenges to address before it becomes ubiquitous, Stephen Douglas, senior director of market strategy for Spirent Communications, told Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine’s editor in chief during a SIGNAL Executive Video Series discussion.

November 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development, which falls under the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, now has researchers in place in Melbourne, Australia, to help strengthen scientific ties between the countries.  ruskpp/Shutterstock

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is opening a scientific research facility in Melbourne, Australia, to be co-located with that country’s Defence Science and Technology Group. The new office will enhance cooperation between the two countries on basic scientific research that will benefit both militaries.

November 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Working with members of the Air Force’s logistics innovation center, Tesseract, helped the researchers gain insight into possible logistical problems and how to solve them at scale, says Capt. Molly Locke, USAF. “They had the data and the lessons learned available to help us understand the current ecosystem’s limitations and where repurposing this new drone technology could help alleviate the pain points they had previously found.”  USAF Technical Sergeant Michael Battles

A stealth unmanned aircraft under development as an inexpensive expendable tactical vehicle may find a use as a supply drone serving the vast Indo-Pacific region. Researchers at the U.S. Air Force’s Air University are exploring this alternative use for the XQ-58A Valkyrie, which is part of the service’s Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology program to develop expendable vehicles that can be deployed in high-risk environments.

November 1, 2021
By Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kurt Stephens, USCG (Ret.), and Lt. Col. Bill Whittington, USA (Ret.)
High frequency (HF) signals travel up and reflect off of the four ion layers, some 75 to 300 miles above the earth. This allows HF to bounce back down on the reverse side of a nearby mountain.  Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kurt Stephens, USCG (Ret.)

Using wideband technology high frequency communications can offer commensurate or increased data throughput over satellite communications in normal or satellite-denied environments to augment command and control beyond line-of-sight communications needs.

High frequency communications can be the A, C or E of every primary, alternate, contingency and emergency (PACE) plan and might become the P in certain circumstances.

November 1, 2021

Q&A with Rick Wagner, corporate vice president for Microsoft Federal.

What will be the key new commercial technology that will be embraced by the federal government in the coming years?

October 28, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Stephen Wallace, DISA’s chief technology officer and director of the agency’s Emerging Technologies Directorate, addresses TechNet Cyber in Baltimore. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is assessing the possibility of using process automation bots to perform a variety of mundane tasks, saving substantial time for the agency’s human employees.

The agency has been working with robotic process automation (RPA) tools for about three years for finance-related tasks and is now assessing the use of automation bots for other purposes, according to Stephen Wallace, DISA’s chief technology officer and director of the agency’s Emerging Technologies Directorate.

October 28, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Alan Rosner, program manager, Joint Spectrum Center, Defense Spectrum Organization, at DISA, speaks at TechNet Cyber 2021 in Baltimore. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is developing an important solution to provide clear situational awareness for electromagnetic spectrum, or EMS, operations. The agency expects to roll out an initial version of the Electromagnetic Battle Management System, or EMBM, next spring, according to Alan Rosner, program manager, Joint Spectrum Center, Defense Spectrum Organization, at DISA.

Rosner spoke during a panel session of AFCEA International’s TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore in October 27.

October 14, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
One of two semifinalists of U.S. Air Force’s Material Command (AFMC) Spark Tank competition, Gregory Monroe, Air Force Lifecycle and Management Center, created a web-based system to provide coordinated flight test planning. Credit: AFMC

The U.S. Air Force’s Material Command, or AFMC, will pursue several new innovative efforts across open architecture for fighter jets, digital administration forms, flight testing and medical field operations. The command, led by Gen. Arnold Bunch, USAF, announced its 2022 Spark Tank winners in an October 12 release. AFMC leaders selected five semifinalists out of 97 submissions in the competition; last week the semifinalists presented their solutions to leaders during the command’s fall Senior Leader Conference.

October 13, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Army officials believe Project Convergence 2021 may help technologies emerge from the valley of death, a term commonly used to describe the fate of technologies that never put to use after being developed in a laboratory. Credit: Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

The transition plan for some of the technologies involved in the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2021 (PC 21) campaign of learning should be delivered to the commander of U.S. Army Futures Command by Christmas, according to his deputy commander.

Lt. Gen. James Richardson, USA, deputy commander, Army Futures Command, told the audience at the Association of United States Army (AUSA) annual conference in Washington, D.C., that PC 21 includes about 110 technologies, some of which could transition very quickly to programs of record. PC 22 began this month and will end on November 9.

October 7, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
The U.S. Army has delivered the first prototype hardware for the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon system to a battalion of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade. U.S. Army photo by SPC Karleshia Gater

The U.S. Army equipped the I Corps’ 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, with the nation’s first prototype hypersonic ground equipment, the service announced in a press release.

October 13, 2021

There is a lot of information available about zero trust—at times inconsistent and unreliable. Talk to different vendors and you are likely to get different answers as to exactly what zero trust is and how to adopt it within your agency.

What you need to know is this:

October 12, 2021
Data discovery tools and techniques will help warfighters and the machines supporting them cut their decision-making time. Credit: Shutterstock

As the U.S. military shifts its operational focus from counterinsurgency to contending with near-peer nation state adversaries, the need to remain dominant in multidomain operations is key.

October 8, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
The USS Zumwalt, one of the Navy's most technologically advanced ships, transits the Golden Gate as it enters San Francisco Bay. The U.S. Navy is working with industry to speed new information technology capabilities into the service. Credit: U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy is looking to quickly implement commercial information technologies while it concurrently conducts a cattle drive to rid itself of obsolete capabilities, said its chief information officer (CIO). Aaron Weis allowed that industry will play a key role in providing innovation in an outside the box approach that addresses serious shortcomings.

“We have an infrastructure that for the most part is not supporting the mission,” Weis said.

October 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) explains a Cloud Layered Obfuscation Application Kit (CLOAK) to the commanding officer for I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) Information Group. CLOAK uses commercial cloud computing resources to improve I MEF connectivity. U.S. Marine Corps photo

The Defense Information Systems Agency is bringing its broad resources to bear in an effort to improve the cloud and deliver its capabilities to the warfighter. Since the agency has absorbed defensewide cloud services earlier this year, it sees an opportunity to provide greater cloud capabilities to the warfighter faster and at less cost.

October 1, 2021

Professor emeritus of Management, Technology and Innovation at The George Washington University and author of the book Beyond Knowledge.

How has the pandemic changed the way people acquire and exchange information?

The pandemic highlights how modern societies are fragile and unable to cope with crises. We now face the stark realization that social institutions must be reformed to survive more pandemics, climate change and other threats. It is particularly sobering that many refuse to take precautions (masking, vaccines) because of unfounded beliefs, driving home the destructive power of disinformation.

October 1, 2021
By Maj. Brian Kerg, USMC

In a tactical environment, commanders project their ability to communicate forward into the battlespace through retransmissions, or “retrans.” Retrans nodes are established when a mobile radio system is maneuvered well forward of the line of advance to provide a link between one node and those with which that node must communicate, receiving the transmission on one frequency and retransmitting it on another. This allows command and control to be maintained even while moving disparate units across a dynamic battlespace, outside of normal radio operating ranges. Ground vehicles with mounted radio systems and power amplifiers, such as the MRC-145, are some of the most common means of establishing retrans.

October 1, 2021
By Henry S. Kenyon

The speed and distributed nature of the modern public and private workplace means that getting the right teams and people aligned for a project can be challenging, as can coordinating and sharing information between those individuals. One way to do this is through virtual workspaces that can be applied to both existing physical spaces like meeting rooms and in a purely online setting.

This type of cooperation is important because it helps teams and decision makers work together in ways that traditional collaboration and screen sharing tools can’t because of their inherent limitations, explains David Kung, vice president for marketing strategy at Bluescape.

September 28, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
Soldiers rappel from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during an air assault course at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, September 16, 2021. An artificial intelligence system that provides biofeedback for rotary wing aircraft pilots won the fifth iteration of the XVIII Airborne Corps Dragon’s Lair competition. Photo by Markus Rauchenberger, U.S. Army

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Mahdi Al-Husseini, assigned to the 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii, won the fifth iteration of the XVIII Airborne Corps Dragon’s Lair competition for his innovation: an AI pilot biofeedback system applicable to all rotary wing Army airframes, on September 27.

“Mahdi’s program has the potential to revolutionize the way our Army manages aviation practices and pilot and crew performance,” Col. Joe Buccino, USA, XVIII Airborne Corps innovation officer, says is a press release. “This was among the most well-developed, visionary concepts we’ve seen come into Dragon’s Lair thus far.”

September 13, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Dmitry Pushin, from the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing and a professor in the Canadian university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, says that recent breakthroughs during an international research collaboration at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will “open the door to future technologies,” such as quantum-related capabilities. Pushin is pictured at NIST’s Center for Neutron Research in Maryland. Credit: University of Waterloo/NIST

Scientists participating in an international research effort at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, have discovered a previously unknown component of silicon crystals and unveiled new information about a subatomic particle. In doing so, the researchers of the multi-year experiment have yielded details about the “long-theorized fifth force of nature.” The findings may enable additional breakthroughs in quantum technologies, the University of Waterloo announced in a September 10 statement.

September 1, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Detachment 12, otherwise known as Kessel Run, has created a powerful command and control tool called C2IMERA that will provide airmen, wing commanders and major command leaders with a real-time operational sight picture of installation resources for force projection and emergency management, amongst other mission applications. Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of the Air Combat Command (ACC) has directed its use at all of ACC’s installations. Credit: Kessel Run

The Command and Control Incident Management Emergency Response Application, or C2IMERA, software tool, created by Kessel Run, one of the U.S. Air Force’s software factories, will now be employed at all of Air Combat Command’s facilities, the Boston-based Kessel Run announced on September 1.

Gen. Mark Kelly, USAF, commander of Air Combat Command (ACC), has specified that the tool—which provides installation reporting, planning, force generation, emergency management, and command and control (C2) monitoring and execution functions—be used at all of its installations.

September 1, 2021
By Jennifer A. Miller

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Defense Department entered something of a forced telework pilot situation, maximizing telework flexibility to minimize workforce health risks. Having experienced the hurdles, hiccups and Herculean adaptation across the department, I think the department did well. I also support the department implementing maximum telework policy even if COVID becomes less of a threat.

I recently contributed to a written product circulating among Army leaders concerning the Army’s telework situation pre- and post-pandemic. Therein multiple advantages existed among a few manageable disadvantages.

August 30, 2021
By Shaun Waterman
Credit: Shutterstock/vesperstock

It will be a long time, if ever, before it’s possible to securely deploy internet voting systems for most Americans, but even the most skeptical experts are coming around to the idea that online ballots are OK in certain circumstances, attendees of AFCEA’s 2021 Federal Identity Forum and Expo heard Monday.

That was the takeaway from a panel on election identity, featuring technical experts discussing the development and use of identity technologies in voting. Inevitably, the conversation turned to online voting.

August 26, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Vladimir Putin has said that whichever country controls artificial intelligence will rule the world, but experts now question who will be the first to master quantum-enabled artificial intelligence. Credit: By Pavel Chagochkin/Shutterstock

As China, Russia, the United States and others race to gain an advantage with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, quantum-enabled AI may be the next evolution, according to a panel of experts at the August 16-19 AFCEA TechNet conference in Augusta, Georgia.

The panel of women experts included moderator Carrie McLeish, director of federal capture, SANS Institute; Maj. Gen. Johanna Clyborne, ARNG, deputy commanding general, ARNG U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence; Arlene Espinal, vice president, Analytics, Automation, AI and Innovation Capabilities Office, ManTech; and Gokila Dorai, assistant professor, School of Computer and Cyber Sciences.

August 23, 2021
By Shaun Waterman
Two people demonstrate how a device is used to capture imagery of irises for the Next Generation Identification (NGI) Iris Service. Credit: FBI

The FBI has been running a full-scale iris-print ID service as part of its Next Generation Identification, or NGI, system for almost a year now, Douglas Sprouse, a management and program analyst with the bureau’s Biometric Services Section told the 2021 Federal Identity Forum and Expo Monday.

August 19, 2021
By George I. Seffers
A soldier helps set up a tactical command post to test communications in Germany, July 8, 2019.  Photo by Army Sgt. Patrick Jubrey

The U.S. Defense Department has entered the first phase of delivery on a sweeping capability known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), a once-in-a-generation modernization of the military’s approach to commanding forces.

Department officials aim to deliver a minimal viable product that includes an array of capabilities, such as a fundamental platform, identity control access management, zero-trust cybersecurity and data transport capabilities, according to Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director for command, control, communications and computers/cyber and chief information officer, Joint Staff/J-6. Once the minimal viable product, also known as an MVP, is in place, the department can continue to add capabilities.

August 19, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
The U.S. Army's DE M-SHORAD air defense system, comprising a laser-equipped Stryker, is slated to be deployed in prototype form in 2022. Credit: U.S. Army photo

Soldiers on the battlefield may be using ray guns to defend against airborne threats sooner rather than later. The U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) is fielding four prototype units of Stryker-mounted laser systems in the Directed Energy Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) effort.

Each of the four systems employs 50-kilowatt-class lasers powered internally by the Stryker using gasoline-fueled generators. The lasers are designed to protect divisions and brigade combat teams against unmanned aircraft systems, rotary- and fixed-wing threats, rocket artillery and mortar rounds, Army officials say.

August 18, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Panelists at TechNet Augusta 2021 discuss how to achieve a unified network. Photo by Michael Carpenter

In order to make the unified network vision a reality, the Army will need to adopt an array of technical capabilities, including 5G, zero trust cybersecurity, software-defined networks and data fabric.

August 18, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Jennifer Swanson, director, Software Engineering Center, Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) and CW5 Linc McCoy, USA, CECOM’s command chief warrant officer, have a fireside chat during TechNet Augusta 2021.

Just a few years ago, the U.S. Army was sending compact discs with software updates through the mail, a process that could take weeks or even months in some cases, but its software sustainment efforts have improved dramatically and continues to do so, according to Jennifer Swanson, director, Software Engineering Center (SEC), Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM).

August 17, 2021
By George I. Seffers
Brig. Gen. Paul Stanton, USA, speaks at TechNet Augusta 2021. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Within this decade, commanders of combat units will have to plan and execute information activity, according to Army officials speaking at the August 17-19 AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.

Appearing via video, Lt. Gen. Ted Martin, USA, commander, Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, said the new doctrine being drafted “as we speak” by Army officials “is forcing us to move into the future, and part of that future is information advantage.”  

August 13, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The DARPA Subterranean Challenge is expected to hold its final event in September. The program already led to advances in underground robotics technology that could be used immediately, the program manager says. DARPA photo.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Subterranean Challenge, an effort to develop robot technologies capable of performing underground, is expected to host its final contest next month, but the program has advanced robotics technology that already are being used.

The program aims to develop technologies to rapidly map, navigate and search complex underground environments such as human-made tunnel systems, urban undergrounds and natural cave networks. The challenge run by the agency commonly known as DARPA might be described as two challenges in one since it focuses both on physical and virtual robot technologies.

August 5, 2021
Connecting data siloes within the Defense Department helps speed operational decision making. Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

As technology accelerates all aspects of modern life, from business to warfare, the need for real-time situational awareness has become critical.

But several hurdles must be cleared to achieve this level of awareness, specifically the need to avoid or close any capability gaps and the ability to scale. 

“When you get to the heart of it, when we’re talking about real-time situational awareness, we are talking about mission,” David Erickson, senior director for solutions architecture at Elastic told Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine’s editor in chief during a SIGNAL Media Executive Video interview.

August 4, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The Network Coverage Overlay can be used to maintain a communications link with robotic vehicles. Credit: U.S. Army CCDC C5ISR Center photo/Dan Lafontaine

U.S. Army researchers are developing spectrum visualization technology that offers an array of benefits, including the ability to maintain contact with—and control of—remotely controlled vehicles on the battlefield.

Officials assessed the Network Coverage Overlay (NCO), which has been nicknamed “Nico,” during the recent Network Modernization Experiment at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

August 1, 2021
By George I. Seffers
The 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sky Soldiers) is the U.S. Army’s Contingency Response Force in Europe. The unit is next to begin receiving technology designed to simplify tactical network operations. U.S. Army photo

As part of the Army’s efforts to eventually unify its tactical and enterprise networks, the service is developing three pilot technologies designed to simplify the planning and management of its tactical network.

August 1, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Soldiers observe fired artillery rounds in an M109A6 Paladin howitzer at the Tan Tan Training Area, Morocco in June, during African Lion, U.S. Africa Command’s largest joint, annual exercise. As the Army works to design the portfolio of Next Generation Combat Vehicles (NGCV), scientists at the Army Research Laboratory are examining how to measure communication between soldiers and robotic systems, to improve human-autonomous teams that will fight together in the NGCV. Army Sgt. 1st Class R.J. Lannom

With plans for future U.S. Army soldiers to work with a cadre of autonomous systems, scientists at the Army Research Laboratory are examining the intricacies of communication to support effective operations between groups of soldiers and robotic systems. They are finding ways to measure communication and study conversational processes to understand human-autonomy team performance, trust and cohesion.

July 30, 2021
By Frank Puranik

“No Comms, No Bombs” is the mantra of Military Signals Divisions (Brigades or Corps), and they’re right: Communications is an integral part of any Army, Navy, Air or Space Force.

Luckily the reverse: Comms => Bombs, is not true and comms go far further in the modern military than providing time and location information for bombing. No Comms also means no search and rescue, no logistics support, no tactical awareness, ...

Examples of communications go: