MILCOM 2016

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and commander, Joint Force Headquarters–Department of Defense Information Networks, addresses cyber-based network issues at MILCOM 2016 in Baltimore. Photos by Mike Carpenter

Even as the U.S. Defense Department’s designated Cyber Mission Force reached the key milestone of initial operating capability in October, operators still are struggling to figure out “fighting in the cyber domain,” said Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency. Leaders are looking to strike the perfect balance between the competing priorities of speed, security and cost.

November 3, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Maj. Gen. Dwyer Dennis, USAF, addresses attendees on the final day of MILCOM 2016 in Baltimore.

The U.S. Air Force is placing a heavy emphasis on a command and control construct (C2), hardening against cyberthreats the service’s enterprise networks that control everything from state-of-the-art fighter jets to weapons systems, said Maj. Gen. Dwyer Dennis, USAF

Competing priorities of speed, security and cost will drive future cyber-based programs as the Air Force focuses on the C2 of networks and the erupting amount of data. “It’s all about the data,” said Gen. Dennis, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

November 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
 Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, commanding general of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, speaks at MILCOM 2016. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Cybersecurity and controlling the electromagnetic spectrum, along with several years of continuous combat, are among the challenges for military communications, according to speakers at the second day of MILCOM 2016, taking place in Baltimore and co-hosted by AFCEA International and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE.

November 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Panelists discuss efforts to equip the cyber force at MILCOM 2016. Photo by Mike Carpenter

The history of the Internet as we know it today doesn’t really date back that far. Some 25 years, really. 

But what is both enticing and concerning is that the rate of change in this arena constantly is speeding up, making it difficult to forecast where technology will go next, said Giorgio Bertoli, senior scientific technical manager for offensive cyber at the Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate (I2WD) at the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC).

November 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Maj. Gen. Earl Matthews, USAF, (Ret.), former director of cyberspace operations and chief information security officer for the Air Force, delivers the luncheon keynote during MILCOM 2016. Photo by Mike Carpenter

The military that can control and deny access to and use of the electromagnetic spectrum will be the victors of the next war, predicts Maj. Gen. Earl Matthews, USAF, (Ret.), former director of cyberspace operations and chief information security officer for the Air Force. 

Attaining supremacy within that crucial domain should be driving emerging technologies that will give the U.S. military the technical overmatch on the battlefield, said Matthews, speaking Wednesday at MILCOM 2016, a three-day international conference for military communications.  

November 2, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Panelists discuss readiness and training of U.S. military forces at MILCOM 2016. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Fifteen years of continuous combat on multiple global battlefields has made U.S. military troop readiness one of the most critical challenges facing the services and Defense Department, according to experts speaking at MILCOM 2016.

In spite of advances in communications, networking and other computer technologies, efforts to sustain troops and equipment have taken a toll on training in particular, making operational priorities and capability needs a highly relevant topic toward shaping the force of the future, said Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, commanding general of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM).

November 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
 Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, speaks at MILCOM 2016. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Military communications need to keep up with the needs of the modern warfighter while still protecting against cyberthreats. That was the message during the first day of of MILCOM 2016, a three-day international conference for military communications. This year's theme, Securing Communications at the Speed of Cyber, digs into the competing priorities of speed, security and cost amid emerging challenges.

November 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Panelists discuss modernizing U.S. military networks at MILCOM 2016. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Efforts to modernize U.S. Marine Corps networks might have begun when the service worked to blur the lines between garrison and tactical networks, according to its deputy chief information officer. Nearly two decades of continuous war has left the military with little opportunity for modernization beyond what troops needed immediately on the battlefield, says Kenneth Bible, who serves as the Corps' deputy director of command, control, communications and computers (C4).

November 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of DISA and JFHQ-DODIN, addresses cyber-based network issues at MILCOM 2016 in Baltimore. Photo by Mike Carpenter

The future of warfighting is smaller and lighter—technology that will let troops conduct battles from a smartphone or tablet, said Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA.

November 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
The U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray is one example of the Defense Department's pursuit of autonomous systems.

Over the next decade—if not sooner—the U.S. Defense Department wants more of its military systems to operate autonomously, capable of independently determining the right course of action no matter the situation. The Defense Science Board predicts the department will get there. 

Autonomous systems address several problem areas, and reasons to pursue the technology are numerous, according to a technical panel presenting this week at the MILCOM 2016 conference in Baltimore.