Lt. Gen. Susan S. Lawrence, USA, chief information officer/G-6, opened LandWarNet 2011, by promising that every one of the 453 vendors at the conference will be visited by a member of her senior team. They will fill out surveys describing the technologies they saw, which she will review, and she encourage all attendees also to contribute their insights about solutions that can address the Army's challenges by filling out the surveys. Gen. Lawrence introduced Maj. Gen. Alan R. Lynn, USA, Chief of Signal, Fort Gordon, who described some of the changes that are on the way, including the use of avatars to track each soldier as he or she enters the Army.
There's a first time for everything. On the final day of the DISA Customer and Industry Forum 2011, a first-ever panel of the chief information officers from the four branches of the military provided industry representatives with a look at the challenges they face in providing enhanced digital technologies to the warfighter.
Pentagon CIO Teri Takai she began the panel by asking LTG Susan Lawrence, USA, chief information officer G-6 with the Army, to offer an update on the Army's migration to enterprise email. That migration was delayed this past Spring as Army IT dealt with unanticipated technical problems with the migration.
John Chambers, CEO of internet router manufacturer CISCO, told the DISA Customer and Industry Forum in Baltimore yesterday that "Collaboration will be the productivity tool of the next decade." Generally, its tough to anticipate what challenges and opportunities will present themselves five years from now, he continued.
Several years ago, for example, his company designed and built one of the first routers capable of handling one million telephone calls per second. In the first year, they sold only seven, with many people wondering what you would use such a device for. Five years later, he said, they had sold over 5,000.
Imagine, if you will, the head of the Defense Department's top IT organization, going from one exhibit hall booth to another at a trade show and saying "I need ideas!"
Lt. Gen. Carroll Pollett, USA, said that's just what he did Monday night as the 2011 Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Customer and Industry Forum opened its Technology Showcase at the Baltimore Convention Center.
DISA Director Pollett told reporters that he and his senior staff decided on what he described as a "shotgun start," on their first tour of the exhibit area.
"We just kind of worked the room, in terms of telling industry that we were interested in what they were doing," in the areas of digital communication technology .
Here are some additional highlights from the AFCEA NOVA Chapter's 10th Annual Naval IT Day, held at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel in Tysons Corner, Va., last Thursday.
"Get it done quickly" is the mantra of Chris Miller, Executive Director of the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Center, Atlantic (SPAWAR), which is also referred to as the Navy's Information Dominance Systems Command. While SPAWAR's Pacific office handles research and development, Miller's group, based in Charleston, N.C. is responsible for acquisitions and getting technology on board ships and into the hands of warfighters.
Being successful in the era of irregular warfare will require a focus on new ways of building and preparing the force, according to a panel of military and civilian experts. Speaking at the 2011 Joint Warfighting Conference, the Wednesday panelists emphasized training and education using innovative approaches to build a force capable of winning in a rapidly changing arena. Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard Jr., USMC, prospective deputy commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, declared that the key to the future will be education-however, there is no silver bullet. The military must invest in officers and senior enlisted personnel both in training and education.
Future adversaries are likely to wage new types of warfare against U.S. and coalition forces based on varying types of conflict, according to a panel of experts at Joint Warfighting Conference 2011 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. "I worry about disruptive threats such as cyber and EW [electronic warfare]," said Lt. Gen. William J. Rew, USAF, vice commander, Air Combat Command. Gen. Rew expressed concern that the young people who've grown up always having the global positioning system GPS may be ill-equipped to handle warfare with those high-technology capabilities are denied.
Ships and submarines being built by the U.S. Navy today will be in service 40 to 50 years from now, according to the commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Adm. John T. Harvey, USN, explained that the Navy cannot afford to re-procure its fleet, so it must ensure that its platforms last for several decades. "The years of plenty are over," Adm. Harvey said. "We can expect less resources in the future, more fiscal uncertainty." Speaking at Joint Warfighting Conference 2011 in Virginia Beach, the admiral warned that the sea service has been operating at too high a tempo to sustain forces that it cannot replace easily. Since 2006, Navy ships and submarines have been operating at a major combat operations demand.
Malicious threats in cyberspace are entering a new territory that is more menacing than previously experienced, according to the deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle, USMC, told the kickoff address audience at the Joint Warfighting Conference 2011 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that cyberspace is seeing the beginnings of the development of new types of destructive tools. These tools are software that has no purpose other than the destruction of other software or even hardware, he explained. As an example of the potential for this type of damage, the general cited an accident that occurred recently at a Russian power plant.
Cyberspace security experts no longer can afford the luxury of traditional security that detects malicious operations when they begin, said Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle, USMC, deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. This active approach must be extended across the civilian realm of cyberspace as well as in the military arena, he said. "You can't have static defense where you wait for something to happen," the general declared at the Joint Warfighting Conference 2011. "You've got to be out in the network hunting for malware." One approach is an agile tipping and cueing capability similar to that employed in signals intelligence (SIGINT).
Creating a deterrence strategy in cyberspace similar to the Cold War approach to nuclear weapons is a difficult proposition, according to Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, who commands U.S. Cyber Space Command and is director of the National Security Agency.
"There is no deterrence model out there analogous to what we had during the Cold War for nuclear détente. If you think about it, there are no rules of the road yet. There are no norms. We don't have all that figured out, so there is no deterrence strategy. In fact, I would posit that it is much more difficult to have a deterrent strategy in cyber space because all countries, nation states and non-nation states, can have these capabilities in cyberspace," says Alexander.
U.S. government agencies continue to expand their biometric identity management capabilities and their ability to share biometrics data among the various agencies and international partners, according to government officials speaking at AFCEA's Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Navy is re-tailoring its force as it realizes efficiencies driven by budgetary needs, according to the undersecretary of the Navy. Robert O. Work enthusiastically told the audience at Wednesday's West 2011 luncheon that the new budget direction is giving the Navy opportunities to build the type of force that it needs for the coming decades. "Our shipbuilding program is more stable than it has been in a decade," Work declared. Work described how many budget savings have been re-allocated to other programs, which is providing long-term savings through accelerated development.
The U.S. Navy has killed some programs and accelerated others as it restructures its budget priorities. Robert O. Work, undersecretary of the Navy, gave the West 2011 Wednesday luncheon audience a bluntly candid assessment of which systems worked, which didn't and were canceled, and which are on probation. One of the key systems killed was the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. While it had a troubled history, it was going well recently, but the Navy-acting on a recommendation from the commandant-killed the program because it was going to eat up too much of the Corps' budget in the future.
The U.S. Coast Guard is facing the dilemma of its traditional threats combining to pose a synergistic danger to U.S. homeland security. Longtime menaces such as drug smuggling, alien immigration and terrorism may be merging their organizations and their tactics to pose an even greater threat to the nation. Stopping these threats will require data sharing and consolidation. Unfortunately, even organizations willing to share information often find legal and technological roadblocks in their way. Rear Adm. (S) Stephen Metruck, USCG, chief of staff, Eleventh Coast Guard District, told the Thursday breakfast audience at West 2011 in San Diego that the Coast Guard is striving to head off threats before they near the homeland.
The battlespace dominance enjoyed by U.S. forces for two decades may be disappearing as many potential adversaries begin to employ the very technologies that have served U.S. forces. Dick Diamond Jr., national security trends and strategic issues analyst with Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, warned that the near monopoly enjoyed by the United States in precision guided munitions (PGMs) and surveillance is going away. "We may not be able to conduct our favorite American way of war in the future," Diamond declared. Moderating a West 2011 panel focusing on unmanned systems, Diamond went on to say that the United States may not be able to position forces forward for fighting at a time of its choosing.
China and the United States are plagued by a "strategic mistrust" that hinders relations between the two. That statement was made by Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret.), former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, in a panel discussion with Dr. Xinjun Zhang, associate professor of public international law, Tsinghua University, Beijing, that was moderated by former Good Morning America host David Hartman. To the audience, that strategic mistrust was evident in the exchange of comments between Zhang and Adm. Keating throughout the panel. Both expressed their country's points of view in direct opposition to each other's.
The dynamic modernization of China's economy and society may owe more to momentum than careful planning. Dr. Xinjun Zhang, associate professor of public international law, Tsinghua University, Beijing, offered that he believes that China does not have a vision guiding the massive changes that define China today. Zhang offered that China's current policies have emerged from Deng Xiaoping's approaches, which he implied were a bit too pragmatic. Speaking at a policy panel that included former U.S. Pacific Command head Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret), and moderated by former Good Morning America host David Hartman, Zhang said a lack of vision has plagued much of Chinese policy.