News Briefs

November 29, 2018
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: Rawpixel.com

Threat researchers from McAfee Labs have released their 2019 cybersecurity threats predictions report. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are expected to become more sophisticated and collaborative as the “underworld” consolidates into stronger malware-as-a-service families actively working together.

Software and security teams will need to adapt as threats become more complex. McAfee predicts more attackers will be using artificial intelligence to avoid detection by security software. “In fact, an entire underground economy has emerged where criminals can now outsource products and dedicated services to aid their activities,” says Thomas Roccia, a researcher on the team.

November 19, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The latest littoral combat ship to be commissioned, the USS Sioux City, is "a capable and lethal and tough ship,” designed to combat asymmetric threats, says Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, USN. Credit: LCS Team Freedom

The U.S. Navy added another ship to the fleet on Saturday with the commissioning at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, of the USS Sioux City, the Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), known as LCS-11.

The 387-foot LCS-11 has one of the largest flight decks of U.S. surface combatants, and offers reconfigurable spaces topside for flexible armament of guns and missiles, for the medium caliber 57-mm Mk 110 deck gun and Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), according to Lockheed Martin, the LCS Freedom-variant industry team lead.

October 29, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Photo Credit: Peshkova

With technologies entering the market at a blistering pace and autonomous systems expected to make a larger contribution, the work force of the future may not resemble past efforts.

Eager to try and make sense of the coming environment, Deloitte's recent study, Government jobs of the future: What will government work look like in 2025 and beyond?, delves into predictions.

October 23, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
Researchers used digital light processing to advance the art of 3D printing complex origami structures. (Credit: Christopher Moore)

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a one-step approach to fabricating complex origami structures whose lightweight, expandability and strength could offer a wide range of benefits, including biomedical devices and equipment used in space exploration. Until now, making such structures has involved multiple steps, more than one material and assembly from smaller parts.

October 22, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The U.S. Government has granted Aquabotix an explosives license to use with unmanned aquatic vehicles. Photo credit: Aquabotix Ltd.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, known as the ATF, granted a Federal Explosives License to Aquabotix Ltd. The explosives license will allow the unmanned aquatic vehicle company to develop, manufacture, store and sell unmanned vehicles with explosive capabilities, according to a company statement. 

October 10, 2018
Posted by: George I. Seffers
The outlook remains stormy for the Pentagon’s potential $10 billion cloud computing contract known as JEDI as technology giant IBM files a pre-award protest. Credit: 12019/Pixabay

IBM announced in a blog post that it has filed a pre-award protest against the Defense Department’s potential $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI)  cloud computing program. Proposals for the effort are due Friday, October 12.

Oracle filed a pre-award protest in August.

IBM’s blog post, written by Sam Gordy, general manager, IBM U.S. Federal, says that JEDI “as outlined in the final solicitation, would not provide the strongest possible foundation for the 21st century battlefield.”

October 4, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
The GOLauncher1 hypersonic flight research vehicle receives the Air Force designation X-60A. Courtesy artist’s illustration.

The Air Force has designated the GOLauncher1 (GO1) hypersonic flight research vehicle as X-60A. The vehicle is being developed by Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc. under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division.

October 3, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s benchmarks are helping public safety officials by providing clear rules for evaluating how well robots perform tasks. Photo credit: DHS S&T

Over the last decade, emergency responders have increasingly relied on robots to assist with public safety functions that may be too dangerous for humans. Autonomous systems can perform search and rescue tasks, provide decision support, transport medical supplies, extinguish fires, map disaster areas or accomplish other important rescue functions.

September 27, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
President Donald Trump departs from the South Lawn of the White House on September 6.  With the issuance of the new National Cyber Strategy, the president promises his administration "will act to further enable the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure federal department and agency networks.” Credit: Shealah Craighead

With the United States engaged in a “long-term strategic competition” with China and Russia, which are mounting persistent cyber attack campaigns that pose long-term risks to America, the U.S. military will act to deter aggression, cyber or otherwise, according to a new policy, known as the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, from the U.S. Department of Defense.

September 24, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds federal government actions related to cybersecurity lagging, posing a threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure and federal agencies. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Mark Van Scyoc

The U.S. government has not established a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, nor has it performed effective oversight of cybersecurity as called for by federal law and policy, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in a stark report on the state of the nation’s cybersecurity.

Because of the cybersecurity policy lag and related action, federal agencies and U.S. critical infrastructure—including energy, transportation systems, communications and financial services—are vulnerable. And these cybersecurity risks are increasing as security threats evolve and become more sophisticated, GAO, the government’s watchdog agency, reported.

September 13, 2018
By Ali Cybulski
A researcher from the American Chemical Society—an NSF INCLUDES award recipient—works at St. Jude’s Research Hospital. The society received a $400,000 alliance award. Credit: Biomedical Communications­–St. Jude’s Research Hospital

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued new awards in its program called INCLUDES—Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science. The awards will support the program’s next step, which is to develop a national network that will enhance U.S. leadership in STEM by broadening participation in those disciplines.

September 7, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) continues its development of low-power lasers for use on MDA-configured MQ-9 Reapers from General Atomics. Photo credit: General Atomics

The Missile Defense Agency has funded a second investment in an airborne low-power laser for missile defense. In some cases, it has increased initial funding levels by more than 200 percent with its August 31 contract award modifications to the Boeing Co., General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems and Lockheed Martin Corp.

The three companies are pursuing aspects of the agency’s development of a low-power laser weapon for use on an aircraft—such as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)—and in conjunction with the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

August 30, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Michael Moss, deputy director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), told Congress that CTIIC remains concerned by the "increasingly damaging effects of cyber operations and the apparent acceptance by adversaries of collateral damage." Credit: Shutterstock/EVorona

As billions more Internet of Things (IoT)-related devices come online, the barrage of cyber threats will not only continue but will target users in new ways. Moreover, the number of adversaries mounting attacks against the United States in cyberspace will continue to grow in the next year, as nation-states, terrorist groups, criminal organizations and others persist in the development of cyber warfare capabilities, Michael Moss, deputy director, Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) warned during recent Congressional testimony.

August 13, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
China has a significant military presence in the South China Sea that is supported by “unprecedented" levels of signals intelligence activity, says David Stupples, professor of electronic and radio systems, City, University of London. Graphic Credit: David Rosenberg, Middlebury College (www.southchinasea.org).

For the last decade, “informatization” of its national civilian and military infrastructure has been a top priority for the People’s Republic of China. The country’s efforts to become a global power in information and communications technology include a focus on signals intelligence. Out of its $150 billion total defense budget, the country is spending an estimated $15 billion on signals intelligence, said David Stupples, professor of electronic and radio systems, City, University of London, at an August 9 Association of Old Crows (AOC) online event.

August 24, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The DOD reports a successful demonstration of the miniature air-launched decoy technology upgraded with electronic warfare known as MALD-X. Pictured here is an earlier version of the MALD vehicles, manufactured by The Raytheon Company. Photo credit: Raytheon

The military’s miniature air-launched decoy technology, known as MALD, equipped with decoy, jamming and now electronic warfare capabilities, advanced this week after a successful free flight run through. The decoys are used by the military to confuse adversarial air defenses.

The Air Force’s MALD Program Office and the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, along with the Naval Air Warfare Center at Point Mugu, California, successfully completed a series of MALD-X demonstrations on August 20 and 22, the DOD noted in a statement.

August 7, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
A new fabrication process enables the creation of soft robots at the millimeter scale with features on the micrometer scale as shown here with the example of a soft robotic spider with moving body parts and colored eyes and abdomens. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Researchers have developed an integrated fabrication process that for the very first time enables the design of soft robots on the millimeter scale with micrometer-scale features. To demonstrate the capabilities of their new technology, they created a robotic soft spider from a single elastic material with body-shaping, motion and color features.

The research team members are from Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Boston University. The study is published in Advanced Materials.

August 2, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
Marines from the 1st Marine Division test out the Mobile User Objective System at a Field User Evaluation in Camp Pendleton, California. MUOS is a satellite communication system that uses commercial cell phone technology on the battlefield. Marine Corps Systems Command will begin fielding MUOS in the fourth quarter of 2018. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Eddie Young

The U.S. Navy announced today that U.S. Strategic Command has approved the service’s next-generation narrowband satellite communication system for expanded operational use. The authorization paves the way for Navy and Marine Corps “early-adopter” commands to use the system on deployment as early as this fall, primarily in the Pacific theater, according to the written announcement. The Navy's on-orbit, five-satellite constellation—the Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS—began providing legacy satellite communications shortly after the system’s first satellite launch in 2012.

August 7, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
Oracle has launched a formal protest against the U.S. Defense Department’s potential 10-year, $10 billion cloud computing contract commonly known as JEDI. Credit: Aichi8Seiran/Pixabay

Oracle, one of several companies vying for the U.S. Defense Department’s potential $10 billion, 10-year cloud computing contact known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), launched a formal protest yesterday, less than two weeks after the Defense Department released its official solicitation for the contract.

Companies have until September 17 to respond to the request for proposals. The Government Accountability Office will issue its decision on the protest by November 14.

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.

July 23, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
Social media data could become integral to detecting violations of nuclear nonproliferation agreements. Researchers have developed a computation model that incorporates often incompatible sources of data, such as satellite imagery and Twitter posts that indicate when a violation has occurred. Credit: Geralt/Pixabay

Researchers at North Carolina (NC) State University have developed a new computational model that draws on normally incompatible data sets, such as satellite imagery and social media posts, to answer questions about what is happening in targeted locations. The model identifies violations of nuclear nonproliferation agreements.

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