Technology

June 11, 2015
By David E. Meadows

Exciting, and sometimes terrifying, technological advances are appearing almost daily. Some of these include artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum computing. The Information Age as we know it always has surged forward along a line of constant change and flux. But these technological advances have been within the physics in which we live.

Well, that is about to change. We are embarking on a new era in the Information Age, and few know what the impact will be. You could call it the Quantum Age. We live our daily lives within physics governed by light, gravity and the four dimensions.

June 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers

A NATO coalition of scientists and researchers recently experimented with a variety of underwater robots in a joint scientific mine countermeasures sea trial. The May 20-29 experiment involved NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), the Royal Netherlands Navy Defence Diving Group, NATO’s Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence and the United Kingdom Royal Navy Maritime Autonomous Systems Trial Team.

June 1, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Marine Corps’ development of its own private cloud serves both a functional role in information technology and an operational role in the Corps. Yet challenges remain to its effective exploitation.

June 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
The MV-22 Osprey used in a recent test of the PCAS system was modified with a PCAS-Air module and mounted test missile.

U.S. Marines are working with new technology that seeks to improve close air support operations, minimize friendly fire incidents and mitigate collateral damage, particularly in urban environments.

Developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the persistent close air support (PCAS) program allows ground-based troops to share real-time situational awareness and improve upon the delivery of airborne munitions. “This is definitely overriding, game-changing technology,” says Maj. Scott Cuomo, USMC, Marine Air-Ground Task Force planner and ground combat element integration officer, Headquarters, Marine Corps Aviation.

June 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Marines at Camp Pendleton, California, test the new augmented reality glasses prototype in an urban combat training scenario.

U.S. Navy researchers recently wrapped up development of prototypical augmented reality glasses designed to display situational awareness data for combat Marines. The head-mounted display will provide warfighters a stream of relevant mission data within their field of view, allowing them to conduct operations in remote environments without taking their hands off their weapons or their eyes off the battlefield.

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

Throughout its rich history, the U.S. Marine Corps has developed many significant warfighting concepts that remain valid today. With adjustments for unforeseen new technologies and capabilities, these forward-looking concepts serve the Marine Corps and the nation well.

The amphibious force represented by the Marine Corps offers both a warfighting and a cooperative engagement capability that provides the nation with many broad options across a full spectrum of operations—from humanitarian to diplomatic, through several levels of conflict.

June 1, 2015
By Lt. Col. P.K. Sayles, USA, and Maj. Daniel J. Kull, USA
A network operations battle noncommissioned officer with the DHHB, 1st Infantry Division, monitors the CJFLCC-I network near the command’s operations center in Iraq. The network employs both Iraqi and U.S. communications capabilities to link diverse forces, along with surveillance and reconnaissance assets, over the country’s rugged terrain.

A group of communicators working within the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command–Iraq has used Iraq as a laboratory of sorts, experimenting with new ways of supporting the network and finding unexpected successes in the process. Their immediate result is they have developed a robust network capable of supporting command and control of coalition forces. For the long term, they have established an architecture that should continue to evolve with changing technologies, force shifts and operational conditions.

June 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Robolobster, developed at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center in Nahant, Massachusetts, mimics the movement of a lobster. With cognitive computing advances, computers and robotic systems will mimic the brain-processing power of animals and humans, allowing them to learn from, and adapt to, changing conditions.

Rapid advances across the field of artificial intelligence have resulted in computers more capable of processing information as humans or animals do, allowing the machines to learn, adapt and decide for themselves. The technological gains promise benefits in a wide range of areas, including unmanned vehicles, cybersecurity and digital personal assistants.

June 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz and George I. Seffers
Cognitive computing technology, which is inspired by human brain function, could lead to more humanlike robots, more autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles and smarter missiles.

Machines of the future may think more like humans, promising dramatic changes for military robotics, unmanned aircraft and even missiles. U.S. military researchers say cognitive computers—processors inspired by the human brain—could bring about a wide range of changes that include helping robots work more closely with their human teammates; allowing for smaller, more agile unmanned aircraft; and improving missile precision, further reducing civilian casualties.

June 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Give researchers about five years, and people will be communicating with machines—a far cry from today’s clicking, swiping and typing, says one scientist working with the Defense Department’s futuristic research arm. While improvements in algorithms helped develop artificial intelligence over the past several years so vast amounts of data from videos, signals and human intelligence could be deciphered quickly, the progress amounts to little more than fancy math.

May 27, 2015
By Allan L. Mink

Emerging news from the Defense Department about the national capital region (NCR) indicates that department activities in the Washington, D.C., area may soon fall under a regional joint information environment, or JIE. This will affect the department’s information technology organizations in the NCR and potentially disrupt the industry contracts supporting these organizations.

May 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory uses the truly random spin of light particles as defined by laws of quantum mechanics to generate a random number for use in a cryptographic key. Allied Minds is commercializing the technology, which will be available soon.

Quantum encryption technology created in a national laboratory will be available this summer to government and commercial clients. The system provides faster and more cost-effective cryptographic services with long-term system security. Future iterations may be available for laptops and handheld devices, dramatically improving on-the-job communications security for first responders and other professionals who rely on communications on the go.

May 19, 2015
By David E. Meadows

In my earlier blog about artificial intelligence, I touched on the growing interconnectivity of the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it provides a pathway for connecting technology. The IoT concept envisions all technology in the information technology enterprise being connected on a global scale. Unfortunately, such a complex architecture will affect the individual components of technology and how information is protected. Extrapolated, it means that protecting information is unattainable.

May 19, 2015
 

Mobile data traffic generated by cellphones and tablets will approach almost 197,000 petabytes by 2019, according to Juniper Research. That is the data equivalent to more than 10 billion Blu-ray movies.

May 18, 2015
By George I. Seffers
DARPA has developed a variety of robotic systems, including the Boston Dynamics Big Dog, though traditional developers. The RFT effort aims to engage developers who do not usually work with the government.

Small-scale robot developers who do not normally work with the federal government will be given a chance to do just that under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) new Robotics Fast Track (RFT) effort. Through the RFT, which currently is a pilot program, DARPA officials seek to enable rapid, cost-effective development of new robotics capabilities in response to—or in anticipation of—rapidly evolving warfighter needs.

May 14, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
A bomb disposal robot removes a suspicious package during a training operation at Sandia National Laboratories. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Giddy up! Military and civilian bomb squad operators are taking to a capabilities exercise robot rodeo to showcase proficiencies and uses of robotics in the field. For the first time in nearly a decade, organizers included unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the competition.

May 13, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

It all began with Dolly, perhaps the most notable sheep in the last century—or any century for that matter. Dolly was the first animal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. To put this phenomenal technical accomplishment in perspective, when she was born in 1996, a high-end personal computer with 8 megabits of memory and a 400-megabyte hard drive cost between $3,000 and $4,000. Today, a laptop with 4 gigabytes of memory and a 500-gigabyte hard drive is less than $400. 

May 7, 2015
By George I. Seffers
A prototype device known as FINDER detected heartbeats in the rubble of Nepal, leading to the rescue of four men.

The Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) device lived up to its name in Nepal, detecting signs of life that led to the rescue of four men trapped under as much as 10 feet of bricks, mud and other debris following the devastating April 25 earthquake in the area.

FINDER, developed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), uses microwave-radar technology to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. Jim Lux, JPL’s FINDER task manager, credits luck, but it took quick thinking and rapid coordination to ensure FINDER was in the right place at the right time to be helpful.

May 1, 2015
By Lt. Col. Enrique A. Oti, USAF

In 2013, Wired magazine declared that “The Cloud Revolution is Dead.” The cloud revolution did not end because it failed; on the contrary, it ended because it was a resounding success. The business community reaped the benefits of migrating to cloud architectures in both economic efficiency and customer interface, and it is not going back. Defense Department information technology systems are economically unsustainable, but the department only now is catching the revolutionary spirit of the cloud, and adoption is slow and not in line with advances in the commercial sector.

May 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
FirstNet proposes a three-in-one network architecture that augments the terrestrial network system with the use of satellite and mobile deployable communications systems for coverage in rural and remote areas.

Broadband satellite connectivity has moved up to become a key element of emergency response support. The failure of other communications networks from damage caused by catastrophic disasters has compelled local and state governments to work with their federal counterparts on establishing satellite connectivity under the worst of conditions.

When sections of the Northeast were devastated in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the Atlantic season that year, nearly 80 percent of the cellular services went down. This left millions of people without any way to communicate for several days—not just with loved ones, but also with state and federal agencies to seek help.

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