Technology

May 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The cyber attacks that threaten the United States are just as intense and worrisome for NATO, which comes under persistent strikes by nation-states, terrorist groups and criminal organizations all assailing with denial-of-service malware, organized criminal incursions, cyber espionage and website defacements. As the U.S. Defense Department toils at creating a unified and secure network, so too does NATO.

“The modernization program in NATO is the flagship for the future of our network as we work to achieve our objectives of having a secured, connected force and being able to support NATO in its rapid deployed content,” says Gregory B. Edwards, NATO’s director of infrastructure services in Mons, Belgium.

May 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Hummel, USA, senior enlisted adviser for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, uses a Joint Battle Command-Platform system to navigate to his unit’s training on the Blue Force Tracking technology.

A crowd nearing 1 million strong masses downtown for a planned protest. The tension between protesters and law enforcement is palpable as the demonstration’s rhetoric is heated and bitter. Unexpectedly, the crowd shifts its location without first responders able to take immediate notice. Then it is too late. By the time officials note the crowd has moved, law enforcement and others are unable to reposition forces and preemptively hold back the horde from erupting into violence.

April 30, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Before and after illustration of Lockheed Martin's GeoMI software to piece together a number of aerial photographs into one image. Without the software, the images fail to line up seamlessly.

Imagery captured from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be up to 10 times less expensive than from manned aircraft or satellites, prompting government agencies and private farmers alike to investigate using the economical method to scan miles and miles, from power lines for infrastructure maintenance to railroads for servicing or acres of farmland for precision agriculture.

April 24, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Sandia National Laboratories researchers Jon Ihlefeld (l) and David Scrymgeour use an atomic-force microscope to examine changes in a material’s phonon-scattering internal walls, before and after applying a voltage.

Government and academia researchers made a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of thermal energy, placing scientists on a path toward the development of technology that can both harness and store energy from heat.

April 21, 2015
By Justin Marston
Virtual smartphones running commercial mobile apps from a government-hosted data center could be the future of classified mobility.

Almost four years ago, my company co-founder and I sat in a nondescript hotel in Maryland meeting with two senior technical executives from the National Security Agency (NSA) to discuss classified mobility. We initially focused on how to install a few specific apps onto classified phones, but as the meeting unfolded, it became obvious the government struggled with a broader challenge of securely managing all mobile apps across classified networks. In the news media, we read with interest about proposed options for the President’s next cellphone or devices used by the nation’s senior leadership. Despite all the commentary, very little of this speculation came to fruition.

April 15, 2015
By David E. Meadows

In December 2014, Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist, warned the world that true artificial intelligence (AI) could mean the death of mankind. Well, that got my attention. His comments stirred up a maelstrom of support. Small wonder, but the AI argument has been ongoing since the late Isaac Asimov wrote the Foundation series.

Hawking’s statement did complement a blast by Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and a strong advocate of driverless cars, who two months prior at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department's 2014 Centennial Symposium responded to the discussion about AI by saying, “With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon.”

April 1, 2015
By Paul A. Strassmann

Cyberwarfare largely is viewed as confrontations in the power of brains and not as a competition in the amounts of kinetic assets. It is the characteristic of asymmetric warfare that power is shifting from the primary military dependence on weapons to the more elusive reliance on software. The U.S. Defense Department now has taken steps to empower the chief information officer. It is a sign that the relative importance of computer-based operations is moving into prominence.

April 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
The Joint Air-to-Ground Missile is in production at a facility in Troy, Alabama.

After more than a decade of war, modernizing the U.S. Army has beset leaders who face onerous decisions impacted by declining budgets, drawdowns and a shift in operational focus. The angst over prioritizing funding for missiles and space is no different, but some well-defined programs in four primary domains garner intense focus as commanders seek to improve airborne and ground-based technologies that increase firepower and lethality for troops, says Brig. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, USA, program executive officer (PEO) for Missiles and Space, based at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

April 1, 2015
By Reema Prasad

Even with the ubiquity of advanced wireless connectivity, more than 90 percent of the world today remains unconnected. However, there is an increasing demand for a world where “everything” is connected to everything else. In this world, refrigerators contain sensors, providing data about the current inside temperature. Pets are tracked through radio frequency-emitting tags to avoid becoming lost. Governments are able to track and prevent safety threats before they occur. Although having information readily available is efficient and provides simplicity, the idea is disruptive. It raises concerns about individual privacy, data security and even cyberwarfare. The idea leading such disruptive changes is the Internet of Everything (IoE).

March 27, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Defense Spectrum Organization

U.S. federal agencies signed an agreement that sets the charter for the National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network to create a collaborative framework with an eventual goal of facilitating access to a wide range of testing that supports the sharing of the finite spectrum resource.

March 26, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
An example of neutron imaging: On the left, lilies photographed through an open cask. On the right, a neutron imaging system used to photograph the lilies through the lead walls of the cask. This image demonstrates the power of neutrons to easily pass through otherwise impenetrable materials.

The notion of nefarious scientists re-engineering the genetics of living organisms to then weaponize their new specimens has some researchers jostling for the upper hand, including those at the U.S. Defense Department’s main research agency.

March 23, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture have been named co-chairs of the Broadband Opportunity Council, a new federal government initiative aimed at increasing broadband investment and reducing barriers to broadband deployment and adoption. The council includes 25 federal agencies and departments that will engage with industry and other stakeholders to identify ways the government can better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment.

March 18, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

More than 50 percent of the video surveillance data the federal government collects is not being analyzed. This fact may not be surprising since cameras appear to be everywhere these days, and the amount of data they gather is so huge it’s unwieldy. But MeriTalk, the public-private partnership that conducted a survey of 151 federal decision makers, likens this situation to government agencies seeing only half a movie: They would have challenges following the plot and leveraging the information to achieve the goal—improved security.

March 18, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The eyes have it in the Asia Pacific region, the fastest growing market for biometrics technology.

Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), London, United Kingdom, a market intelligence and analysis firm, estimates the biometric market in the Asia-Pacific region is worth $1.1 billion this year and will reach $3.3 billion by 2025. The projected increase represents a compound annual growth rate of 11.3 percent.

March 18, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Photo courtesy of NASA

It will not be long before adversaries narrow the superiority gap the United States holds over others in satellite technology—rivals who are unencumbered by bureaucratic stagnation and who can rapidly leverage commercial technology for military use, according to one panelist speaking at the Satellite 2015 symposium in Washington D.C.

March 13, 2015
By Maryann Lawlor

It’s a busy telecommuting day, and emails are pouring in faster than you can respond … and the phone rings … beep … it’s a recorded message. Or it’s been a long day, but dinner is done and smells great … and then phone rings … beep … it’s a recorded message. Or you’ve been waiting for a call all day and the phone finally rings … and it does, but instead of the person you’ve been waiting to hear from … beep … it’s a sales person from a company you don’t know. You get the idea.

March 11, 2015
By George I. Seffers

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, announced this week a major research initiative called HEAT (Homomorphic Encryption, Applications and Technology), which will pilot advanced cryptographic technologies that enable European citizens and businesses to process sensitive data in encrypted form.

Homomorphic encryption offers the ability to process sensitive information in encrypted form, without needing to decrypt it first, which can compromise privacy and security.

March 5, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Systems competing in the DARPA robotics challenge must demonstrate the ability to help humans in case of emergency.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released a list of 25 teams to perform in the finals of the DARPA Robotics Challenge to be held June 5-6, 2015, at Fairplex in Pomona, California, outside of Los Angeles. Human-robot teams will be tested on capabilities that could enable them to provide assistance in future natural and man-made disasters.

Fourteen new teams from Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea and the United States qualified to join 11 previously announced teams. The roboteams will vie for a chance to win one of three cash prizes totaling $3.5 million.

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

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, a creative and questing leader, has just announced the creation of Task Force Innovation—a long overdue effort to put real emphasis on the critical role of innovation in running the Department of the Navy.

March 1, 2015
By Paul A. Strassmann

Much has been said and written about the U.S. Defense Department’s move to the cloud. This migration could provide enhanced security and better information access, say many experts. But it could provide another huge benefit, helping the Defense Department finally curb information infrastructure costs and apply badly needed funds where they would be most useful.

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