News Briefs

December 13, 2016

Federal employees are frustrated by slow and unreliable applications, a quandary they say impedes them from getting their work done and diminishes confidence in information technology modernization efforts, according to survey results released today by Riverbed Technology, an application performance company.

Of the 335 federal employees surveyed, nearly a third said it takes more than 24 hours for agency IT managers to address application failures, despite clear processes in place to report problems.

December 12, 2016

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department of Commerce Digital Attaché Program will expand to six new markets: South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Germany and France.

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, has selected its winners from its crowd-sourced Multi-View Stereo 3-D Mapping Challenge—a contest to see who could best convert satellite photos into 3-D models to create more accurate maps.

The top challenge solvers demonstrated their solutions during an all-day workshop Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The open source solutions were released during the event and will be made available to the public on an IARPA website.

November 29, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
With support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a portable measurement system to monitor the amount of electricity used by individual household appliances, lighting fixtures and electronic devices.

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), have developed a portable measurement system to precisely and inexpensively monitor the amount the electricity used by individual household appliances, lighting fixtures and electronic devices.

The system was developed by MIT professor Dr. Steven Leeb and one of his graduate students, Dr. John Donnal, a former U.S. Army captain. Five postage stamp-sized sensors are placed above or near power lines coming into a house and are designed to be self-calibrating—enabling them to automatically pinpoint the strongest electrical signals.

November 29, 2016

The Kill Chain Integration Branch at Hanscom Air Force Base has begun an experimentation campaign, known as Data-to-Decisions, to look at ways to provide warfighters data in the fastest and most efficient way possible. The campaign is in its early stages but, according to officials, already showing the potential for favorable results.

November 29, 2016

Recent technological advances have brought the on-orbit robotic servicing of satellites closer to reality. Now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has kicked off the Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations (CONFERS) to tackle the lack of clear, widely accepted technical and safety standards for responsible performance of on-orbit activities involving commercial satellites.

November 15, 2016

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems out of Manassas, Virginia, received a $125,185,446 cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost reimbursement modification to a previously awarded contract for Acoustic-Rapid commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) Insertion (A-RCI) systems engineering and technical support. The company will perform engineering services to continue the development and production of COTS Insertion A-RCI sonar systems that integrate and improve towed array, hull array, sphere array and other ship sensor processing, through rapid insertion of hardware and software.

November 14, 2016

Technica Corporation has been awarded a $224 million Network Centric Solutions 2 (NETCENTS 2) Network Operations Small Business task order by the U.S. Air Force. Technica will manage communications networks and information technology services for the Air Force’s 844th Communications Group and National Military Command Center (NMCC), which serve senior leaders in the Washington, D.C., area and Defense Department sites worldwide. The contract has a base year value of nearly $41 million, plus four option years for a total contract value of $224 million.

November 9, 2016

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) announced the public release of the Accurate Events from Natural Text (ACCENT) technology. ACCENT is a state-of-the-art automated event coder capable of identifying nearly 300 types of sociopolitical events in text. IARPA hopes the software release will spur increased activity in the research community.

November 3, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
An Atlas V launch vehicle carrying the Navy's fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) communications satellite lifts off from Space Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of United Launch Alliance/Released)

The U.S. Navy's newest communications satellite has reached its operational orbit and successfully deployed its arrays and antennas, months after a post-launch difficulty delayed its voyage to geosynchronous orbit earlier this year, a Navy spokesperson says.

The fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) satellite experienced problems this summer, the result of a failure of the orbit-raising propulsion system during a transfer maneuver, says Steven A. Davis, a spokeman with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

November 2, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
Sandia National Laboratories will oversee the brain-replication work of three teams who aim to map, understand and mathematically recreate visual processing in the brain.

Over the next five years, Sandia National Laboratories will oversee the brain replication work of three university-led teams who aim to close the computer-human gap in object recognition. An advanced computer may beat experts in chess, but a computer algorithm trained only on pictures of red apples cannot recognize that a green apple is still an apple.

October 28, 2016

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) recently released the Virtuous User Environment (VirtUE) broad agency announcement. The goal of the VirtUE program is to create and demonstrate a more secure interactive user computing environment by leveraging the federal government’s impending migration to commercial cloud-based information technology infrastructures and the current explosion of new virtualization and operating system concepts.

Proposals are due December 12.

October 25, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Millennials might pose as grave a cybersecurity risk to enterprise networks as cyber criminals, according to one recent study. With more of them entering the federal workplace, they bring along technology preferences and bad behavior that threaten security of federal IT systems, according to cybersecurity developer Forcepoint.

October 21, 2016

Major websites such as Twitter, Spotify, Amazon—and AFCEA International and SIGNAL Media—fell victim to successive massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Friday. The Internet traffic firm Dyn informed people of the cyber attack after the sites were shut down.

"We have begun monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed (Domain Name System) infrastructure,” the company said in a statement. “Our engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue.” Service was restored late Friday morning. Some customers experienced increased DNS query latency and delayed zone propagation. 

Ooctober 21, 2016
By Julianne Simpson

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh C. Johnson gave a report on the department’s progress in cyber hiring, announcing more than 120 new employees.

The announcement comes during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. “Cybersecurity has been one of our department’s most important missions, and hiring top cyber talent is crucial to our success in that mission,” he said in the statement.

October 20, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
Thales has been selected to provide a number of advanced systems for the French navy's future frigates.

Thales is working alongside DCNS to provide a number of advanced systems for the French navy’s FTI (Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire), a medium-size frigate program recently announced by the French Defense Ministry. The FTI is intended as a replacement for the fleet’s Lafayette-class frigates beginning in 2023.

October 18, 2016

NATO Allied Command Transformation and the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency launched yesterday an independent project to research options for streamlining NATO’s cyber capability development and acquisition processes. The final report from RAND Corporation is due in January.

October 17, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
Sandia National Laboratories research engineers Ryan Coe and Giorgio Bacelli are collecting new information to optimize wave energy converter testing. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories)

Engineers from Sandia National Laboratories are conducting the largest model-scale wave energy testing of its kind to harness power from one of the biggest untapped clean energy sources on Earth—and one of the hardest to capture.

The project objective is to improve the performance of wave-energy converters (WECs), which could power millions of homes across the United States if researchers are successful. Engineers Ryan Coe and Giorgio Bacelli are collecting data at the U.S. Navy’s maneuvering and seakeeping facility at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Bethesda, Maryland—one of the largest wave tanks in the world.

October 14, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Lt. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, USA, assumed leadership of U.S. Army Cyber Command and 2nd Army during a ceremony Friday at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He took over responsibilities from outgoing commander Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, USA, who led Army Cyber for more than three years.

October 5, 2016

Aqua Comms Ltd., a provider of scalable, subsea capacity-based network solutions, announced the successful completion of a trial of Cinea’s WaveLogic 3 Extreme transmission technology on American Europe Connect, its high-capacity, transatlantic subsea cable network that connects New York to London.

The test confirms that Ciena’s 150 Gb/s per wavelength 8QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) technology will expand the capacity of Aqua Comms' submarine network by 50 percent and provide greater spectral efficiency and reach over vast transoceanic distances.