Technology

December 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Most of the world was blindsided three years ago when the democratically elected president of Paraguay was unseated in a parliamentary coup that unnerved leaders across the globe. It was a surprise to most of the world, but not all of it. Three months before the June 2012 ambush impeachment, intelligence analysts forecasted that a domestic political crisis might besiege the South American nation.

While the technology certainly is no crystal ball, the Integrated Crisis Early Warning System, or ICEWS (pronounced IQs), can harness the power of data analytics to forecast such global unrest.

December 1, 2015
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

As the world moves faster and faster, decision makers at all levels often face a precarious balancing act between being decisive and taking the time to properly analyze and think through decisions.
Predictive analytics can help with this challenge by integrating the power and techniques of modeling, simulation, statistics, cloud computing, machine-to-machine learning and other decision aids and coupling them with the appropriate underlying data to improve decision making. It holds major potential for providing improved, cost-effective and suitable outcomes. More informed decisions result in a better allocation of resources and likely more favorable results for any given task or mission.

November 20, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, USMC, commanding general of the U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, describes the challenges facing his command at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015.

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 3

Quote of the Day:
“You can’t be a little pregnant; either you’ve got the network or you don’t.”—Col. Joseph "Jay" Matos III, USMC, commander, DISA Pacific

Communication is vital to maintaining any relationship, including those between allies and their military forces. The U.S. Pacific Command is working to network its increasingly mobile and forward-deployed force while concurrently maintaining good links with allies to prevent regional concerns from erupting into full-blown crises.

November 19, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, USA, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, discusses how the Army trains to operate in a degraded communications environment during his keynote address at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015.

TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 2

Quote of the Day:
“We came up with network-centric warfare when we should have had warfare-centric networks.”— Andy Singer, deputy director, intelligence, J-2, U.S. Pacific Command

It may not take a cyber attack by adversaries to impose severe network degradation on U.S. Pacific Command networks. The activation of those networks amid coalition operations may trigger failures arising from a lack of interoperability with allies and partners, and the effects could be as severe as if they were rendered by an enemy.

November 18, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman

The threat of operating in a degraded communications environment has the U.S. Army Pacific training to operate with less than optimum capabilities, according to its commanding general. Speaking at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015, being held in Honolulu, November 17-19, Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, USA, addressed the conference theme of Fight to Communicate: Operating in a Communications-Degraded Environment.

November 18, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman

The fear of communications degradation by enemy cyber forces may need to take a back seat to self-inflicted digital wounds. These handicaps would come not from hardware or human failures, but from a lack of interoperability among joint and coalition forces.

Wednesday’s opening speaker at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015, being held in Honolulu, November 17-19, directly addressed its theme of Fight to Communicate: Operating in a Communications-Degraded Environment. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, USA, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, put the problem in perspective with his early remarks.

November 17, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. military operations in the Asia-Pacific region may face the challenge of reduced or eliminated communications and networking, observed the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Given that possibility, the remedy may be more doctrinal than technological.

The first day’s keynote luncheon at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2015, being held in Honolulu, November 17-19, directly addressed the conference theme of Fight to Communicate: Operating in a Communications-Degraded Environment. Rear Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, USN, the Pacific Fleet deputy commander, emphasized that the force needs to continue operations if communications break down.

November 17, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman

Mobile is the way of the future for the Defense Department, and commercial technologies will play a defining role. And, as with any networked systems, security is key. Yet building security into commercial mobile devices presents a host of challenges, according to a panel of government and industry officials directly involved with this technology thrust.

November 13, 2015
By David E. Meadows

The adage is true: What’s old is new again, and while we think the technology of today might cure the ills of yesterday, some problems persist. It might be time to explore how methods that helped isolate insider threats from history can succeed in protecting modern infrastructure.

November 6, 2015
By Joel Dolisy

Across the entire Defense Department, situational awareness is mission critical. Real-time understanding of mission activities and the information delivered by intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, in particular, is crucial for military commanders to make key decisions.

To ensure that ISR systems provide mission-critical information, the information technology infrastructure must run flawlessly—relaying collected data to people quickly and accurately.

How do you ensure successful information flow? And just as important, how do you increase real-time visibility across traditionally siloed systems run by different teams and monitored and managed by different products?

November 4, 2015
By Justin Marston

You’re trying to break the German Enigma machine. … It’s the greatest encryption device in history, and the Germans use it for all major communications. If the Allies broke Enigma—well, this would turn into a very short war indeed. … One hundred and fifty nine million million million possible Enigma settings. All we had to do was try each one. —Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (Weinstein Company, 2014)

November 1, 2015
By Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.)

Snaking around the globe on the ocean floor are the standard commercial fiber optic cables that carry 99 percent of the world’s daily international telecommunications. They move information at a brisk clip: 2 terabits of data every second, including nearly $5 trillion in financial transactions every 24 hours. About 200 cables carry the vast majority of all that vital information.

November 1, 2015
By Col. James Ross, USA, Dave Williamson and William Wygal
Product Manager Handheld, Manpack and Small-Form Fit engineers perform tests on the manpack radio in the Unified Lab for Tactical Radios–Army (ULTR-A) facility in Maryland. The ULTR-A lab is used for radio and waveform testing and integration.

The ubiquitous catchphrase “there’s an app for that” applies even to the U.S. Army. However, soldiers toss around the term waveform rather than app. Waveforms, which connect soldiers to the Army network through radios, are similar to apps because they allow communication via voice, data, images and video.

Waveforms draw on available spectrum to implement functions needed to operate software-defined radios, providing a secure method for troops to receive and transmit information in various forms. An open architecture of cutting-edge radio waveform technology lets multiple systems communicate and increases joint interoperability.

November 1, 2015
By Felton A. Flood
A forest is seen with greater detail when LiDAR technology is used (c, r) instead of aerial photography. LiDAR generates simultaneous digital surface maps of a forest canopy, vertical foliage profiles and ground topography, or digital elevation, maps. Objects in a smoke-filled room might be impossible to see with the naked eye (l) but visible using LiDAR range-gated technology.

Laser detection and ranging has emerged as an attractive alternative and complement to three-pronged radar, hyperspectral and photogrammetric imaging systems, partly because of the technology’s versatility and ability to generate high-resolution, real-time, 3-D images.

November 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Tom Bougher, a doctoral student at Georgia Tech’s Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, studies how polymers can be engineered to transport heat. He will head the university’s Heat Lab, a center that will foster collaboration between academia and industry, slated to open in January.

Heat is the enemy of sensitive electronic equipment, threatening performance and longevity. Now it could meet its match in an academic laboratory designed to find new ways of cooling delicate circuitry and devices. In January, Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology, its Strategic Energy Institute and its Institute for Materials plan to open the Heat Lab, a unique center that is a collaboration between the Atlanta-based university and industry to develop innovative solutions to thermal problems.

November 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
North Carolina State University researchers have tweaked the formula for a composite metal foam so that it protects against radiation. The team now is composing a commercialization strategy to bring the material to market.

Scientists at North Carolina State University are preparing to bring to market a lightweight composite metal foam that combines strength, thermal shielding and both ballistic and radiation protection. The light-as-aluminum and strong-as-steel foam can be used to build body armor, artificial knees, planes, trains, trucks, space shuttles and lunar stations.

September 1, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
The growth in cellular connectivity is impelling service providers to seek more bandwidth to allow users to download whatever files—including streaming video—they wish onto their handheld devices. However, this push for more bandwidth may run afoul of efforts to build the Internet of Things, which also will require portions of the spectrum to link diverse hardware.

Technology developers and commercial service providers are racing to exploit elements of the radio frequency spectrum with advances that could be at odds with each other. Increased consumer demand for wireless services is driving providers to develop new capabilities for their systems, and the emerging Internet of Things has hardware firms vying for standard-setting technologies that would define the marketplace for future generations.

October 15, 2015
By David Archer

In 1967, CIA operatives needed a way to spy on a Kremlin ally and sought to capitalize on a common place nuance: feral cats. The creators of Project Acoustic Kitty contrived to surgically implant a transmitter and microphone into a cat, postulating that they could slip “under the radar” on quiet paws. Although agents tested at least one Acoustic Kitty, officials determined that cats could not be adequately trained, and the program was—well, scratched.

October 13, 2015
By David E. Meadows

Some things make you go “hmmm.” A lot of electronic warfare (EW) capability is accompanying the Russians in their Syrian buildup in which they are using older, Soviet era aircraft and ships. The Russians’ defensive line is around an axis stretching between the Mediterranean port cities of Latakia and Tartus, Syria. The October 7 cruise missile strike, launched by the Dagestan from the land-locked Caspian Sea, came from more modern Russian Navy warships and was better protected. Most of the Black Sea warships capable of deploying did so in this group.

October 13, 2015
By George I. Seffers

This blog is a followup to an article in the October issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Operation Cooperation: U.S. Defense Officials Intend to Expand Asia-Pacific Partnerships.

Although tighter budgets motivate governments to cooperate on technology development, sequestration and the budget uncertainties in the United States have negatively impacted international partnerships, says Keith Webster, director of international cooperation, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

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