Technology

December 16, 2015
By Eddie Garcia

Stopping insider threats has become a unifying cybersecurity mission, particularly in the defense and intelligence communities. And for good reason. While in the recent past, mention of the words insider threat conjured up the likeness of Edward Snowden, the reality is much scarier. More often than not, insider threats result from innocent people making simple mistakes rather than the common misconception of malicious employees or whistleblowers.

December 17, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC), Ashburn, Virginia, has released a report, "Harnessing Big Data within the Federal Government – Findings and Recommendations of ATARC’s Big Data Innovation Lab," which offers five recommendations for government to consider while developing big data strategies.

The recommendations are:

December 16, 2015
By David E. Meadows

This is almost like an end-of-year bonus—writing about artificial intelligence, quantum technology, robotics and even electronic warfare. I miss Moore’s Law, which showed computing/processing speeds doubling every two years. And even that was a moving target—after all, two years down the road was somewhere nebulous.

Then, I wake up to press announcements December 10-11 that seem to show Moore’s Law of 24 months definitely has been revamped. Wow … and here I was blissfully thinking under Moore’s Law that, no matter what I said or wrote, I always had two years before being proved wrong. But I, like millions of others, was busy stimulating the global economy during this holiday season and was caught unaware though forewarned.

December 9, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Even lush forest canopies could became effectively transparent with a future generation of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technologies. Source: Shutterstock/DARPA

The Defense Department’s primary research agency seeks flat optics that could revolutionize a number of industries, from surveillance technologies to how autonomous systems sense obstacles in their surroundings, to name a few.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, put out a call for “pancaking the telescope” when it announced its Modular Optical Aperture Building Blocks (MOABB) program. That’s fancy speak for its challenge to create ultra-compact, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems that would be flat, lightweight, easily transportable and inexpensive, the agency states.

December 3, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The third Inmarsat Inc., Global Xpress satellite is now fully operational after reaching its final orbital position. Activation of the third satellite in a fleet of three provides complete global coverage of the company’s program to heighten global communication capabilities on land, at sea and in the air, according to a company statement.

December 1, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor
A robot may be the ultimate innovation, extending measurements to higher frequencies while characterizing antennas faster and more easily than previous NIST facilities.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a robotic arm that is being used to measure the properties of antennas rapidly and accurately. The robot, formally named the Configurable Robotic Millimeter-Wave Antenna facility, may be the ultimate innovation, extending measurements to higher frequencies while characterizing antennas faster and more easily than previous NIST facilities. 

December 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. military already uses a variety of virtual character technologies for training warfighters. As hologram technology advances, so might its uses in modeling and simulation.

The military’s increased reliance on virtual reality to train warfighters may be converging with rapid advances in technology that will bring the holodeck of Star Trek fame closer to actuality. Holograms and similar technologies offer the possibility of realistic, cost-effective training and education for a broad array of military missions and commercial applications.

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.

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