innovation

December 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton, USN, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and commander, Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network, reports that the interagency and international partnerships DISA has forged have strengthened the protection of critical assets around the world. Adm. Norton was the opening keynote speaker December 1 at AFCEA TechNet Cyber Conference, being held virtually through December 3.

Like most organizations during the pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is doing things a bit differently this year. Naturally, the agency is leveraging virtual events to increase its engagement with key mission partners, as well as government, industry and academia, including at the annual TechNet Cyber conference, noted Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, DISA’s director and the commander of Joint Forces Headquarters for the Department of Defense Information Systems Network (JFHQ-DODIN).

December 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Army infantryman radios his situation report during an exercise. Future defense communications systems are likely to be smaller and more comprehensive as the military and industry collaborate on new information technology capabilities that help the warfighter in the battlespace. Credit: Capt. Lindsay Roman, USA

Speed will be the order of the day for military information systems as new technologies incorporate breakthrough innovations. Hardware also will transform as capabilities grow in influence. But above all, the entire defense information system community is undergoing major cultural changes spawned by a combination of innovation and disease.

November 23, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force's new initiative, Operation Flamethrower, is meant to aggressively get rid of legacy policies, processes and equipment that are not effective. Credit: Shutterstock/Mack Pansuwan

The U.S. Air Force, led by Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege, USAF, the Air Combat Command’s A-6, along with Deputy Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger, is pursuing Operation Flamethrower, an aggressive project to abandon legacy network-related policies, processes or equipment that are not working. The tongue-in-cheek name of the effort is meant to illuminate the nature in which leaders will eliminate ineffective or redundant components in order to drive innovation.

“We are ruthlessly going after these things and setting them on fire,” Knausenberger said.

November 10, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Two scores of airmen and four B-1B Lancers from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, arrive at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam in May to conduct missions in the Indo-Pacific theater, supporting the Pacific Air Forces’ training with allies and partners and performing strategic deterrence missions to reinforce the rules-based international order in the region. Credit: PACAF Public Affairs/Tech. Sgt. David Scott-Gaughan

The new concept of employing computerized modeling and virtualization to the acquisition cycle may provide advanced aircraft more quickly to the U.S. Air Force, said Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, USAF, commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF); Air Component commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; and executive director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The concept can also be applied to communications, sensors and network systems.

The new PACAF commander spoke at a recent Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event.

November 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The flexibility that flying orbs present the military is game-changing, notes Col. Nathan Diller, USAF, director, Agility Prime, and director, AFWERX. Beta Technologies’ six-seat lift and cruise aircraft has a 50-foot wingspan.  Beta Technologies

The U.S. Air Force is preparing to have initial electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, testing by December and a more substantial fielding of an estimated 30 or more eVTOL aircraft by 2023. The service’s Agility Prime program is pursuing a so-called Air Race to Certification, seeking a global advantage in eVTOL, says Col. Nathan Diller, USAF, director, Agility Prime, and director, AFWERX.

Agility Prime is one of three experiments that adds innovation quickly—in addition to Spark and Air Force Ventures—and represents a new approach for the service, Col. Diller says.

September 16, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, presents the idea of electronic-systems or e-systems, at the Air Force Association's virtual conference on September 15.

The U.S. Air Force is pursuing a bold new strategy of digital transformation across the service’s acquisition lifecycle. Essentially, it is applying electronic systems, known as e-systems, to every part of a weapon’s or system’s acquisition process, including design, engineering, software, manufacturing, testing and sustainment efforts. These so-called digital threads will speed innovation, reduce risks and program costs.

Underpinning any e-system is the digital trinity of digital engineering and management; agile software development; and open architecture, explained Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. And e-systems are so much more than computer-aided design, or CAD.

September 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA’s) Science and Technology Directorate is developing a new strategy to pull in innovation to support U.S. warfighters’ understanding of foreign militaries. A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon lands at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.  USAF/Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky

Over the last year and a half, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Future Capabilities and Innovation Office, or FCI, has iteratively developed a new strategy to drive innovation and collaboration to the agency. The DIA, as the agency is known, is looking to harness artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, counterintelligence tools and other solutions to identify and assess cyber behaviors, among other capabilities. The FCI also must be able to measure the impacts of any solutions.

August 27, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
The U.S. Navy’s PEO C4I and Space Systems is focusing on parallel development of digital assets and capabilities to speed innovation to the fleet. Credit: U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy is focusing on parallel development of its new digital assets and capabilities as it works to rush advanced information innovations to the fleet. With the need for better technologies increasing coincidental to the rapidly evolving threat picture, the service has opted for concurrence as its main tool for implementing both upgrades and innovations.

August 28, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories are hosting the new Technology Readiness Gross Receipts Tax Credit Initiative, with funding of up to $150,000 per company and technical assistance to innovative New Mexican companies. Credit: Randy Montoya

Through September 3, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories are accepting statements of intent from companies in New Mexico as part of a technical assistance effort. The program is designed to help move prototypes and near-ready products to the commercial market.

August 3, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Gen. Patrice A. Melançon (USAF), executive director, Tyndall Air Force Base Reconstruction Program Management Office, U.S. Air Force, speaking at the AFWERX Fusion2020 event last week, highlights the steps the service is taking to rebuild the base. Credit: AFWERX

As the Air Force holds its innovation push via AFWERX 2020, an annual event to draw advanced solutions to key challenges, the service is targeting capabilities to improve base facilities and operations via its comprehensive Base of the Future effort.

One of the initial focuses of the Base of the Future effort is to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, explained Brig. Gen. Patrice A. Melançon, USAF, executive director, Tyndall Air Force Base Reconstruction Program Management Office, U.S. Air Force, speaking at last week’s Fusion event hosted by AFWERX.

July 13, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Latest from startups presenting during Starburst Accelerator's U.S. Selection Committee offer innovative aerospace technology, including a new imaging sensor from Owl Autonomous Systems. Credit: Owl Autonomous Systems.

Entrepreneurs developing lightweight propulsion systems for satellites, cybersecurity for Linux, wireless power and a blockchain application for secure part procurement, among other emerging technologies, presented their technologies to investors, the military and industry. In 10-minute intervals, the company representatives pitched their early stage, aerospace-related technologies at Starburst Accelerator’s third U.S. Virtual Selection Committee meeting on July 9th, which was held virtually. Headquartered in Paris, Starburst's U.S. team brought in the eight hopeful companies, all vying for partnership agreements, venture capitalist funding and a chance to join Starburst's Accelerator Program.

June 17, 2020
 

Accenture Federal Services LLC, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0006); Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0007); Deloitte Consulting LLP, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0008); Digital Mobilizations Inc., Warrenton, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0010); KMPG LLP, McLean, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0009); BCG Federal Corp., Bethesda, Maryland (FA7014-20-D-0005); Grant Thornton Public Sector LLC, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0004); and McKinsey & Co. Inc., Washington, D.C.

June 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), through its Program Manager Tactical Network, equips a brigade combat team in the 82nd Airborne Division with the an inflatable satellite communications system known as T2C2. Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, USA, takes over as the new PEO C3T on June 1 and says he will continue the key efforts to modernize the service's tactical communications. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Amy Walker, PEO C3T

With key knowledge of the Army’s necessary sensors, intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities, Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, USA, today steps into the role of Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T. Gen. Collins replaces newly promoted Lt. Gen. David Bassett, USA, who becomes the director of the Defense Contract Management Agency.

February 19, 2020
 

JAB Innovative Solutions LLC, Bristow, Virginia, has been awarded an $8,849,120 firm-fixed-price and time and material contract for Defense Innovative Unit (DIU) scientific and technical consulting support services.

March 14, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Gaining experience with information operations in Afghanistan and hosting several pilot programs will help the rise of the U.S. Army’s information warfare capabilities and aid the transformation of the Cyber Command into an information operations warfare command, says Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, commanding general, Army Cyber Command. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The Army is transforming its Cyber Command to meet the challenges of a multidomain battlefield. Just over eight years old, the command, located at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, will evolve by 2028 into something possibly called the Army Information Warfare Operations Command, which will fully incorporate cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.

November 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II jets fire flares while breaking away after aerial refueling from a KC-135 Stratotanker of the 340th Expeditionary Aerial Refueling Squadron out of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in August. In multidomain operations in the future, the Air Force will need a highly connected web of sensors across the air, land, sea and space.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Keifer Bowes

As the U.S. Air Force is working to define operations on the battlefield of the future, sensors or other digitally connected devices will play a key role—as they always have—but on a much larger scale, one expert says. For the military, the world of Internet of Things, or IoT, has to work across the air, land, space and sea domains. And for the Air Force to enable a greater sensor-based environment, it has to tackle data platforms, cloud storage and capabilities, communication infrastructure and its network, says Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force’s chief transformation officer.

July 29, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Judges and competitors gathering after the latest AFCEA innovation shark tank are (l-r) Robert Osborne, CTO of IMPRES Technology Solutions; judge Glenn Hernandez, national director of U.S. Cyber Challenge; judge Col. Laurie Moe Buckshot, USA (Ret.), president and CEO of Corvus Consulting; Nicholas Edwards, founder and CEO of winning company TunnelVue; Robert Stewart Jr., president and CEO of Federal Government Experts; and judge Bob Gourley, co-founder and CTO of OODA LLC.

A technology that provides network-wide encryption throughout the existence of its information was identified as the winner of the latest AFCEA Innovation Showcase. The competition was the second in a series of individual competitions running into the fall.

October 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
NATO members participating in the 2019 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise test communication equipment to ensure partner communications can interoperate during combined operations. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is working to speed innovation into NATO forces to help improve interoperability along with seizing key military advantages.  Supreme Allied Commander Transformation photo

NATO is accelerating its efforts to input innovation into its operational capabilities. This effort is aided both by industry and academia and by different nations that bring new technology applications to the alliance table. But even the best ideas are encountering speed bumps, and adversaries are moving quickly to exploit their own technological advances.

September 26, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force is conducting a new program, called Air Force Explore, to find “remarkable” ideas to apply to persistent awareness, resilient information sharing and rapid, effective decision-making, among other areas. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Janweb B. Lagazo

Calling it a unique new call to action, the U.S. Air Force is searching for transformational solutions that advance the principles of its Science and Technology 2030 strategy. The service’s effort, called Air Force Explore, is soliciting solutions from interested parties nationwide, according to an Air Force statement.

May 15, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
As the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (R&E) pursues DOD’s modernization priorities, such as fully networked C3, microelectronics, space and cyber space offense and defense capabilities, it is looking to the industry for innovative solutions. Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

As the Defense Department’s acquisition and sustainment office works to improve the military’s contracting processes, the research and engineering component—newly separated from acquisition and sustainment in a major reorganization last year—is ready for industry advancements, said Doug Schroeder, DASD Space, Strategic and Intelligence Systems and deputy director, National Intelligence Division, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).

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