Technology

May 23, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman

A company designing networked drones for disaster relief is the first small business selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank competition to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, LTAid of Vancouver, Washington, is building unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can serve emergency responders as well as warfighters in theater.

“The demand for logistics outstrips the ability of logistics,” said LTAid’s Chris Thobaben during the competition. “We look to revolutionize a small piece of the supply chain, but it’s the most critical piece.”

August 6, 2018
By Andrew Kelleher
The NSA has had significant, and perhaps surprising, influence on the standards for destroying no-longer-needed data. Credit: PRILL/Shutterstock

Never before has there been such an intense focus on data security and privacy. With data breaches increasing exponentially and the European Union’s recent implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data security has been at the forefront of news stories over the past several months, with both businesses and consumers suddenly paying very close attention. With this increased attention has come an understanding that data continues to exist even when it is no longer needed or used. Due to this newfound understanding and GDPR’s “Right to be Forgotten,” the eradication of data has new urgency and has become critical to a successful data security program.

August 1, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Researchers at Boeing's new Aerospace & Autonomy Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts to continue to develop autonomous aircraft systems.

The Northeast is drawing in companies and military organizations seeking innovation. The Boeing Co. announced that it would be opening the new Boeing Aerospace & Autonomy Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to an August 1 statement.

The center will focus on “designing, building and flying autonomous aircraft and developing enabling technologies,” the statement said. The facility will house employees from both Boeing and its subsidiary Auora Flight Sciences, purchased last year. Aurora creates flight autonomy software, among other innovations.

August 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 18.1 conduct a patrolling exercise in May at the U.S. Army’s Novo Selo Forward Operating Site in Bulgaria. RadioMap technology, developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and transitioning to the Marine Corps, will offer radio-frequency situational awareness to such warfighters on the move. Photo by Lance Cpl. Angel Travis, USMC.

The U.S. military is moving an advanced radio-frequency mapping capability from the laboratory into the hands of warfighters. Developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the technology will give land-based forces vital situational awareness of the radio spectrum as they fight on an increasingly digitized battlefield.

Facing daily threats in an ever-changing operating environment, warfighters need a quick way to assess the digital topography. And for modern-day soldiers and Marines fighting in dense urban environments, this means having a read on the spectrum.

August 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

Much discussion is underway on artificial intelligence (AI) and what it means for society. Debates rage over the ethics of decisions being made without a human in the process.

Arguments continue about the legality of machine-made choices and the consequences in a world where data is delivered, debated and decided at machine speed. There is talk about slowing down the technology and even some conversations about legislation to limit the development and application of AI.

August 1, 2018
By Jennifer A. Miller

Robotic process automation, or RPA, is a new type of business process technology leveraging artificial intelligence. Its uses span the realms of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy.

If you are not familiar with RPA, then think of the way that Microsoft Excel allows users to record steps when creating a macro. The concept is the same with RPA. Results include efficiencies in both public and private-sector organizations. The possibilities for RPA application are all around us.

July 25, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Lead Engineer Dan Lenhardt of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) explains the new speech recognition platform that the center developed to facilitate hands-free computer interaction for soldiers on the move.

The U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, known as CERDEC, has unveiled new mission command software that provides improved real-time command and control capabilities.

CERDEC, a part of the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command, has been developing capabilities under its Expeditionary Mission Command (EMC) Science and Technology Objective (STO). This year, it is rolling out 15 new capabilities, including software advances such as the Tactical Computing Environment (TCE) and the Single, Multimodal, Android Service for Human-Computer Interaction software known as SMASH.

July 20, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
An improved command post platform is one of many capabilities that the Expeditionary Mission Command at the U.S Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center is rolling out to help soldiers communicate and be connected on the move. Photo credit: U.S. Army Fort Carson Public Affairs

The division at the U.S Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) that covers Expeditionary Mission Command (EMC) technologies has been busy. It has completed the development of more than 15 projects as part of its science and technology objectives.

July 13, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Internal Revenue Service must include technological innovation as it tackles its Congressional mandates, such as tax reform, says Kevin Bierschenk, acting director, Enterprise Program Controls, IRS.

Faced with a decreasing workforce, budgetary challenges and the annual mammoth effort of collecting, processing and enforcing the nation’s taxation, U.S. Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is also implementing the tax reform Congress mandated in December under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the largest tax reform in 30 years. At the same time, the bureau must innovate to continuously improve the taxpayer experience and lessen the burden of filing taxes, said IRS leaders at the IRS Fiscal Year 2018 Industry Conversation event on July 10 in Washington, DC.

July 9, 2018
By Shaun Bierweiler
It may be a great time for government agencies to leap into open source, but looking first is always advised, says Shaun Bierweiler of Hortonworks. Credit: Sambeet/Pixabay

In February 2018, the Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Digital Service (DDS) relaunched Code.mil to expand the use of open source code. In short, Code.mil aims to enable the migration of some of the department’s custom-developed code into a central repository for other agency developers to reduce work redundancy and save costs in software development. This move to open source makes sense considering that much of the innovation and technological advancements we are seeing are happening in the open source space.

July 3, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
Advances in manufacturing techniques will deeply impact a variety of businesses such as building construction. They will be particularly useful as part of emergency response efforts to reconstruct homes quickly. Credit: Shutterstock/benik.at

As the tentacles of technology reach further and deeper into mainstream uses, their influence on the job market, man-machine interactions, government agencies and the military will grow exponentially. Capabilities once thought of as fodder for science fiction have become science fact at such unpredictable speeds organizations will need to understand the implications quickly if they hope to take advantage of the benefits they offer and not fall behind the curve.

July 1, 2018
By Christopher J. Balcik
Samsung’s GearVR would immerse warfighters in a training environment that better leverages mobile platforms.

The U.S. Defense Department is accelerating its investments in live, virtual, constructive and mixed-reality training, which will result in the rapid development of new immersive military applications. As the mobile revolution intersects with new data science technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, these expenditures will enable warfighters to be better prepared regardless of the scenario.

July 1, 2018
By Terry Halvorsen

I wasn’t sure how to define this article. I tossed around some ideas, but none seemed quite right. Are we winning the technology race? Are we still the best and brightest? Is the United States losing ground because it is too late to adopt technology? Instead, I will answer questions I have been asked as I travel the globe. These frequently asked questions come from governments, allies, industry, academia and the media.

July 1, 2018
By Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan White, USCG

Ever-expanding reviews and policies aren’t the only way to control enterprise information technology projects. Instead, management should establish clear standards and incentivize project managers to choose enterprise-friendly designs that streamline external reviews and eliminate the delays and costs associated with compliance.

Information technology projects have distinct requirements: cybersecurity, privacy and Section 508 compliance. These necessary requirements add a significant burden and can cause slowdowns and cost overruns. Other external challenges come from the budgeting process, procurement and configuration management.

June 28, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is improving digital access to patient health care information, as well as identity management, says Steve Posnack, executive director, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. Posnack participated in AFCEA’s recent Federal Identity (FedID) Understanding of Identity Meetup event. Credit: Shutterstock

The Internet of Things is impacting most industries, including the medical field. Portable, wireless devices are helping to monitor and diagnose patient health conditions. Hospital and other facilities provide remote monitoring, improved data analytics and automated systems. At the same time, while electronic health records have moved patient health information to the digital realm, patients continue to lack access to that health care information.

June 27, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
U.S Air Force Academy cadets work with industry participants during a CyberWorx design project.

The U.S. Air Force is exploring innovative ways to put technology to work and address both warfighter fitness maintenance issues and access to troop fitness readiness data. With the help of AF CyberWorx, a public-private design center, innovators will tackle one of two challenges during a daylong hackathon.

June 14, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Navy’s Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island is considering the capabilities of micro aquatic robots, such as this unmanned surface vehicle called SwarmDiver from Aquabotix. Photo credit: Aquabotix

This article was updated on June 18 to reflect new information.

Autonomous vehicles, whether for land, air or sea, are already in use by the military. The services are now looking into what niche devices can provide as far as capabilities.

The U.S. Navy recently entered into a special purpose Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Fall River, Massachusetts and Sydney, Australia-based Aquabotix to examine the possibilities of the company’s micro aquatic robot.

June 13, 2018
By George I. Seffers
U.S. Army officials intend to modernize the service’s network, which is considered too complex and cumbersome. As part of that effort, the service could potentially kick off a competition for industry and academia to offer cutting-edge solutions. Photo Credit: David Vergun

Two U.S. Army generals intimately involved in the modernization of the service’s network are considering a competition for industry and academia to come up with cutting-edge solutions, such as artificial intelligence, for the future network.

In an example of great minds thinking alike, Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, USA, who leads the network modernization cross-functional team (CFT), and Maj. Gen. David Bassett, USA, the program executive officer for command, control and communications-tactical (PEO C3T), recently realized during an interview with SIGNAL Magazine that both were thinking along the same lines.

June 4, 2018
 
Ensign Edward Hanlon, USN, along with a group of midshipmen, helped create the robotic satellite repair system AMODS, which will be launched into space for testing this summer.

Researchers at the Systems Engineering Department of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California, will remotely test for the first time an autonomous satellite repair system known as AMODS, after it is launched with Rocket Lab USA’s Electron rocket this summer, reports Matthew Schehl of the Navy News Service.

The U.S. Navy’s Morgan Lange, Edward Hanlon and Benjamin Keegan were midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy when they developed AMODS—the Autonomous Mobile On-orbit Diagnostic System—with guidance from Jin Kang, assistant professor, Aerospace Engineering Department, and director, Naval Academy Small Satellite Program.

June 4, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite, known as ICON, will track how Earth’s weather and space weather interact. Photo and artistic rendering of ICON courtesy of NASA.

With a growing reliance on the global positioning system (GPS), satellites and other space-based technologies for use in everyday life on Earth, the importance of understanding the region of space where these technologies operate has also grown.

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