Technology

June 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Currently in development, the X-60A will serve the hypersonic flight test and suborbital research communities with an air-launched single-stage liquid booster.  Original image by Generational Orbit. Edited by Chris D’Elia.

Achieving and maintaining hypersonic flight—Mach 5 and above—remains a major challenge, but officials at U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory envision a day when hypersonic technologies are developed and deployed much more quickly and affordably than is currently possible.

The X-60A hypersonic flight test vehicle is central to that goal. The Generation Orbit system will be used to test technologies at hypersonic speeds. The idea is to increase the frequency of flight testing while lowering the cost of maturing hypersonic technologies in relevant flight conditions.

June 1, 2019
By Shaun Waterman

Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor is one of the most advanced fighter jets on the planet—not to mention one of the fastest. But over the past few years, as other nations began to test-fly and deploy their own fifth-generation fighters, Lockheed Martin realized that its software development practices were holding it back, delivering new capabilities to the Raptor too slowly to maintain its dominance.

June 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Technology has given U.S. forces an immutable edge for more than three decades. No nation dared confront the most powerful military in the world head-on. But over time, the technological benefits enjoyed by our military have waned, and adversaries are rapidly cutting into our technological warfighting strength.

June 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA (Ret.)

Ever since British polymath Alan Turing posed the question, “Can machines think?” in 1950, mathematicians and computer scientists have been actively exploring the potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

To be sure, much of the buzz around AI since then has been more hype than reality. Even today, no one credibly argues that machines can match the suppleness and complexity of human intelligence. But we are at a point where machines, when tasked for specific use, can do many things humans can do—such as learn, problem-solve, perceive, decide, plan, communicate and create—and some things even humans can’t do. And that’s a huge leap from where we were only a decade ago.

May 22, 2019
By Julianne Simpson
Yuvi Kochar, former chief technology officer for The Washington Post, speaks to attendees at the AFCEA-GMU C4I and Cyber Center Symposium about how CTOs can leverage technology to drive business outcomes.

“The whole business of being a CTO has changed,” said Yuvi Kochar, managing director, technology and operations, CAQH, a nonprofit alliance creating shared initiatives to streamline the business of healthcare.

During his keynote address at the AFCEA-GMU C4I and Cyber Center Symposium, the former chief technology officer (CTO) of The Washington Post, discussed how he first became a CTO in 2000 for a small startup in Boston. “My first job was all about building technology and operating it. And that was good enough,” Kochar said.

Over time though, he’s seen the job transform into a more business-centric role. “Technology is taking more and more of a backseat,” he related.

May 16, 2019
By George I. Seffers
From l-r, Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL editor in chief, moderates a TechNet Cyber luncheon plenary with speakers Tony Montemarano, DISA executive deputy director, and Jeffrey Jones, executive director, JFHQ-DODIN. Photo by Michael Carpenter

If cyber is the ultimate team sport, as many in the U.S. Defense Department like to say, then artificial intelligence (AI) would likely be the number one draft pick for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

Anthony “Tony” Montemarano, DISA’s executive deputy director, stressed the importance of AI during a luncheon plenary on the final day of the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore. “We’ve heard about it time and again. Artificial intelligence is probably the most significant technology we have to come to grips with.”

May 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
From l-r, Mathew Gaston, director of the Emerging Technology Center at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, Stephen Wallace, DISA’s systems innovation scientist with the Emerging Technology Directorate, and and Fletcher Previn, chief information officer at IBM Corp., discuss artificial intelligence during a session of TechNet Cyber. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Asked which technology will be most critical to artificial intelligence in the coming years, experts agree: artificial intelligence, hands down.

Two experts from academia and industry—Mathew Gaston, director of the Emerging Technology Center at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, and Fletcher Previn, chief information officer at IBM Corporation—participated in a fireside chat at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber 2019 conference and predicted artificial intelligence will be the number one technology most critical to national security in the next several years.

April 26, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
From l-r, Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC (Ret.), president and CEO of AFCEA International, presents the winner’s trophy to Mike Fong, CEO of Privoro, after his company’s technology was chosen as the top competitor in the championship round of AFCEA International’s small business innovative shark tank. Also present are John Kreger of MITRE, chairman of the AFCEA Homeland Security Committee and Tina Jordan, AFCEA vice president of membership.

A simple piece of wraparound electronic hardware that shields a mobile phone’s sensors from hackers emerged as the top technology in the final competition of AFCEA International’s small business innovation shark tank. The technology allows its user full access to a phone while blocking the smartphone’s cameras and masking surrounding audio.

Developed by Privoro, an Arizona-based startup, the technology is known as SafeCase. Mike Fong, company CEO, described to the audience at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington how a user simply places his or her iPhone into the SafeCase unit, and then chooses the degree of jamming desired.

April 23, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Engineers from the 517th Software Engineering Squadron, including (l-r) Carl Stuck and Scott Vigil, project directors; David Jolley, director; and Brent VanDerMeide, flight director, have created a new software development platform. U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromer

A new software development system built by the Air Force will help developers get digital tools out to warfighters faster. Engineers at the 517th Software Engineering Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, created a workflow system and software development methodology to improve the development testing and fielding of new software products.

Nicknamed “The Pipeline,” the new continuous development software platform enables paired programming and test-driven development with automated test and evaluation, Todd Cromar of 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs reported. It features a development secure operations, known as DevSecOps, a faster, more secure software development methodology, Cromar noted.

April 18, 2019
By Cameron Chehreh
The steps required to get artificial intelligence efforts off the ground are clear and tangible—invest in the right infrastructure, develop strong industry and government partnerships and prioritize training and hiring for AI skillets. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

Over the next five years, artificial intelligence (AI) will redefine what the U.S. federal government can achieve with technology. AI will help ensure our nation stays competitive, effectively serves its citizens and maintains safety for Americans at home and abroad.

April 9, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Industry solutions across manufacturing, materials and mobility applications are wanted for the government’s $5.2 million High Performance Computing Energy Innovation Program. Credit: Shutterstock

The Department of Energy and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are working to advance high performance computing by lowering adoption risks and conducting related technology development. Under the High Performance Computing Energy Innovation Program, known as HPC4EI, they are pursuing three initiatives involving the manufacturing, materials and mobility applications of high performance computing, and are seeking industry solutions as part of a $5.2 million request for proposal solicitation. The laboratory, known as LLNL, is managing the HPC4EI Program in conjunction with other laboratories.

April 1, 2019
By Grimt Habtemariam
The Defense Department’s cloud computing strategy recognizes mission and tactical-edge needs along with the requirement to prepare for artificial intelligence. Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

In every recent discussion I have had with government and defense leaders around IT modernization, the conversation quickly leads to cloud and its role in enabling agile ways of working for government. Many agencies have already developed cloud migration targets and are looking at how they can accelerate cloud adoption.

April 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Marines train with communications equipment in the village of Hell, Norway, October 14, 2018, as part of Trident Juncture 18, a NATO exercise. Trident Juncture 18 marks the first time NATO is using data science in addition to traditional lessons learned processes following a major training exercise.  Photo By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Scott R. Jenkins

Trident Juncture 2018, a large-scale NATO military exercise, wrapped up late last year. But in the weeks since, the alliance has been doing something it has never done before by using big data science to help inform lessons learned from the exercise.

April 1, 2019
By Maj. Ryan Kenny, USA

Benefits associated with agility, scalability, ease of management and increased security justify the Defense Department’s investments in a transition to cloud services. As each military service rolls out new cloud capabilities, however, they may find that simply building these solutions will not attract organizations to use them. A misalignment of various motivations and an array of complex factors will impose costs that limit leaders’ freedom of movement in deploying any universal cloud solution. Getting the people and processes right matters just as much as the right technology.

Server Farm to Tabled Agreements

March 28, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) new digital personal file storage service called milDrive will offer flexibility and reliability to warfighters, the agency says. Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey VP

The Defense Information Systems Agency, known as DISA, has unveiled a new data solution for military users that will increase the reliability and availability of data and information, it claims. Through milDrive, users can access information, manipulate files and folders, either online or offline.

After working with information or files offline, and when users regain network access, milDrive will automatically synchronize the data, said Carissa Landymore, DISA’s cloud storage program manager. “[As] a personal file storage service, milDrive [will] really ensure warfighters have continuous, reliable access to files without regard to device or location,” Landymore said.

March 22, 2019
 
Soldiers train in a Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer at the Mission Training Complex on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The system was recently fielded to Vilseck, Germany, the first fielding in Europe.   Credit: C. Todd Lopez

The Joint Multinational Simulation Center recently fielded the Stryker Virtual Collective Trainer (SVCT) to Vilseck, Germany, the system’s first deployment in Europe.

The SVCT, which was fielded to Vilseck in January, was developed at the Combined Arms Center-Training – Innovation facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to provide the Army’s Stryker community the capability to train a platoon in a multi-vehicle, virtual environment. Army officials describe the trainer as a low-cost, commercial, game-based simulator that provides a realistic training environment while also being relatively easy to configure and administer.

March 12, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Eric Teasdale of Automation Anywhere gives the winning presentation of the company’s robotic process automation technology at the season's last AFCEA innovation shark tank, held on March 6. His company will join five other finalists in the championship competition being held at AFCEA’s Homeland Security Conference on April 22 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Photo by Elizabeth Moon

Two technologies that employ robotic process automation (RPA) secured the last two spots for the championship round in the latest AFCEA innovation shark tanks. Held Thursday, February 25, and Wednesday, March 6, the competitions were the penultimate and ultimate in a string of shark tanks over the past few months. The winning technologies will advance to the final competition, which will be held on April 22.

March 13, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Army Futures Command will be the first location for the service’s foray into Enterprise IT As A Service, according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commanding general, Army Cyber Command. Credit: Anna Neubauer

The U.S. Army is well underway with its strategy to build a modern integrated tactical network through the efforts of the Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications–Tactical and the Army Futures Command’s Network Cross Functional Team. But leaders know that a tactical network on the battlefield edge won’t be effective without a robust enterprise network.

March 8, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Artificial intelligence-enabled radio technology developed with DARPA funding, could help manage scarce spectrum resources. Credit: Photo illustration created with images by geralt/Pixabay

A U.S. military-funded artificial intelligence (AI) contest that wraps up later this year may result in radio devices capable of autonomously and collaboratively sharing radio frequency spectrum for the next generation of mobile devices.

Fifth-generation (5G) cellular services are widely expected to hail a new era of greater speed, reduced latency and the ability to connect many more devices—think smart cities and the Internet of Things—and move vastly more data. The wireless revolution is fueling a voracious global demand for access to the radio frequency spectrum, but managing that increasing demand in a way that avoids interference is a challenge.

March 7, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Disease caused by the Ebola virus is severe and often-fatal. Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency envision artificial intelligence systems that will accelerate the rate of research in chemistry, which could offer a wide range of benefits including the rapid discovery of cures for a range of diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention photo by microbiologist Frederick A. Murphy, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Special Pathogens Branch

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is in the midst of reviewing proposals for the Make-It program, which aims to automate the discovery and synthesis of small molecules, offering a range of potential benefits, including dramatically accelerating the rate at which scientists cure diseases.

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