Event Coverage

May 9, 2012
By Rita Boland

Economic winds are causing clouds to shift, or at least requiring organizations to shift their data to them. Mark Hurd, president, Oracle Corporation, kicked off Wednesday of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference by focusing on the financial reasons that drive information to the cloud and the need to reallocate money toward innovation. Information technology (IT) professionals, and the groups who use their services, are dealing with a situation full of data, legacy equipment and lots of challenges. The resulting complexity equals higher costs, yet over the next eight years IT budgets are expected to grow by only 1 to 2 percent, Hurd said. "Complexity has become the enemy," he stated.

May 9, 2012
By Rita Boland

Technology leaders in the military services all seem to agree on the need for better governance, increased efficiencies and working together. That is, until they get into specifics. The U.S. Defense Department chief information officer (CIO) panel at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference this morning heated up quickly as representatives from the different services argued over what was necessary in the military information technology world and why. The discussion became especially lively as it turned to enterprise email. Teri Takai, the department's CIO, and Michael Krieger, the deputy CIO/G-6 of the U.S.

May 9, 2012
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Defense Department must move to a single identity management system, the department's chief information officer said today at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference. Teri Takai stated that enterprise email is a driver of that system but acknowledged that the bigger concern is the identity management rather than whether all the military services embrace the email migration. Despite arguments among members of a military chief information officer panel earlier in the day, Takai said she is glad the discussion came up because people need to understand that finding the right solution for identity management is difficult.

May 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

The demand for bandwidth via satellite communications is unlikely to diminish as the U.S. continues to decrease the number of troops at war in the Middle East, Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins, Jr., USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) told journalists during a media roundtable today at the DISA Mission Partner Conference. However, the way that bandwidth is used operationally is expected to adjust. Possible evolutions are dependent on emerging technologies, the general explained, citing as an example the demand for high-definition and full-motion video even on mobile devices. Various military groups are running pilot programs to decide which mobile platforms and operating systems will best meet their needs.

May 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

The last 10 years brought huge changes to information technology (IT) and the next decade will bring many more, according to Dr. Pradeep Sindhu, vice chairman, chief technology officer and founder of Juniper Networks. "[We are] in a world where networking is playing an increasingly important part of IT," he stated during his presentation at the 2012 Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference.

May 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

Cloud computing and security were the hot topics during the first full day of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference. Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins, Jr., USAF, director of the agency, said efforts are ongoing to synch different cloud efforts within the U.S. Defense Department and the intelligence community. He also stated that DISA is tucked in tightly behind the department's chief information officer in the cloud arena. In a presentation immediately following the general's, AT&T's Chief Security Officer Edward Amoroso touted cloud as a way to improve cybersecurity.

May 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

This morning, Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins, Jr., USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), saved everyone the trouble of asking by quickly stating the worries that keep him up at night. The combination of Moore's Law regarding technology advancement every 18 months, Metcalfe's Law stating that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of its connected users and Downe's Law of Disruption is his primary concern, he stated during the opening address of the 2012 DISA Mission Partner Conference. The final law states that though technology changes exponentially, social, political and economic systems change incrementally.

May 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

Your network is not secure and your firewalls are blocking nothing. That scary statement was a key message of Dr. Edward Amoroso, chief security officer of AT&T, during his address this morning at the 2012 DISA Mission Partner Conference. "When it comes to cybersecurity we are way out of balance," he stated. He shared that in the last few weeks botnet attacks have seen a dramatic increase, but security professionals cannot confirm which attacks come from two kids in a basement and which might originate from hostile militaries trying to steal specific information. Without that knowledge, the private sector often doesn't know if it should pass collected intelligence to the government.

March 28, 2012
By George Seffers

One of the most critical pieces of the U.S. Army's Baseline Information Technology Services (ABITS) effort is measuring data, including customer satisfaction data, said Brig. Gen. Frederick Henry, USA, deputy commanding general of the service's Network Enterprise Technology Command. Gen. Henry made the remarks while addressing the audience at TechNet Land Forces Southwest 2012 in Tucson, Arizona.

March 28, 2012
By George Seffers

The U.S. military needs to develop a career field that will encompass the entire career of cyber warriors, said LTC Gregory Conti, USA, who directs the Cyber Research Center at the U.S. Military Academy.

"We need to create a career field from private all the way through general officer," Col. Conti suggested at the TechNet Land Forces conference in Tucson, Arizona. He added that cyber is not just a two or three-year assignment and that cyber warriors need to know they have a future in the military. Furthermore, military members with cyber expertise need to have leaders with greater expertise, and the military must grow those leaders.

March 29, 2012
By George Seffers

When the hacker activist group Anonymous broke into Booz Allen Hamilton's networks and stole thousands of email addresses, the company was embarrassed, and that's exactly what Anonymous wanted, said Joseph Mahaffee, the company's chief information officer.

March 28, 2012
By George Seffers

Mike Krieger, deputy chief information officer for the U.S. Army, told the audience at TechNet Land Forces Southwest 2012 on Wednesday that he had hoped to provide them with the URL for the Army's report to Congress concerning Enterprise Email.

Congress had asked the Army to review the Enterprise Email approach to "see if it is the right thing to do." The report has to be approved by the secretary of the Army, but it has not quite reached his desk as of March 28. Krieger said he hopes to be able to provide the report very soon.

March 28, 2012
By George Seffers

In the intelligence business, it's common for people to think everything is all about the data, when really it's about getting the data to the warfighter, said Phillip Chudoba, assistant director of intelligence for the U.S. Marine Corps, at AFCEA's TechNet Land Forces Southwest 2012.

March 1, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Government may have been in the slow lane to accept social media as a viable conduit for sharing information, but agencies are now coordinating their efforts to ensure messages going out to the public can be trusted. Members of a panel discussing its uses at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference said the technologies that facilitate ubiquitous communications among the public are merely another change in generations of changes. The key is that the same principles that govern reliable news reports and privacy and civil liberties protections apply whether the public is depending on newspapers, broadcast, Facebook, Skype or Twitter, they agreed.

February 29, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

In a time when government agencies and industry must tighten their belts, it may be a cloak that saves the security day. While discussing best practices in securing the cloud at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference, panelist Tim Kelleher, vice president of professional services, BlackRidge Technology, shared details about his company's approach to stopping cybermarauders in their recon tracks. The technique is called cloaking, and Kelleher used caller ID to describe how his company's solution could improve cybersecurity not only in future environments but in current networks as well.

February 29, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Amazing anecdotes kept the audience entertained during the lunch session at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference. The experts spoke about a serious subject: cyberwar. But the stories about their hands-on experiences in learning how to fight cyberwars, how they've fought cyberthreats and what they believe is needed to prepare future cyberwarriors kept conference attendees enthralled. Among the panelists was Maj. T.J. O'Connor, USA, 10th Special Forces Group (A), S-6. While attending the U.S. Military Academy, Maj. O'Connor had some time on his hands that led him to learn how best to defeat cyberattacks.

February 28, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Although not claiming victory, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made some serious headway in improving cybersecurity, according to panelists discussing the topic at the DHS 2012 Information Technology Industry Day in Washington, D.C. Experts said the threats have not disappeared but rather have changed, and various DHS agencies have been learning how to better handle them. Alma Cole, chief systems security officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, described today's cyberthreats in a way the other panelists agreed with.

January 26, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

China and the United States are hindered in their efforts to build trust by cultural differences that exacerbate misunderstandings between the two nations. A panel of China experts at West 2012 in San Diego outlined several unintentionally contentious areas between the Pacific powers, but it did not have solutions for all of the challenges. Vice Adm. John M. Bird, USN, director of Navy Staff and former commander of the Seventh Fleet, said that China and many in Asia view the world differently than the United States does, especially when it comes to values. "We fall victim at our peril when we try to apply our mindset to them," he warned. "For example, our idea of deterrence is their idea of containment.

January 26, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Support for naval operations is not unusual among U.S. Navy officials, but Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work made a cogent argument that the 21st century will be the maritime century. Speaking at the Thursday morning plenary address at West 2012 in San Diego, Work explained that the need for global reach mandates a strong and versatile maritime force, and the U.S. Navy is being structured to meet future challenges. Work stated that the center of gravity of the new defense strategy is a true maritime strategy. New basing agreements extend the Navy's reach and provide support for a plethora of potential missions.

January 24, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

Enemies attacking in cyberspace and budget cutters slashing defense programs are the premier threats to the U.S. military, according to a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Adm. Mike Mullen, USN (Ret.), warned a luncheon audience at West 2012 in San Diego that cyber is an existential threat to the nation. "We don't have many existential threats any more; cyber is one," he said, adding, "I understand that the enemy is as good as we are." The other significant threat to the U.S. military is possible budget sequestration cuts. Adm. Mullen described the current budget crunch as "a long time coming." He and other planners saw the potential problem looming nine years ago.

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