October 2014

October 1, 2014
By Paul A. Strassmann

Budget cuts and rapidly improving information technology are forcing the U.S. Defense Department to confront increasing cybersecurity demands without commensurate increases in available resources. Cybersecurity costs are increasing with both the complexity of new technologies and the worsening threat picture. However, solutions to this challenge do exist—if the Defense Department opts for new approaches.

One way of characterizing the current Defense Department situation is to view it as an inability to meet rising demands for systems without having adequate funding for cyberdefenses. Meanwhile, the costs of cybersecurity are rising. The progress in meeting increased cyberthreats is lagging, which is not acceptable.

October 1, 2014
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The U.S. military, which has been deployed to defend the nation’s interests for the past 13 years, is facing a new round of cuts, restructuring, refitting and new technology acquisitions. Tactical information technologies, in particular, are on the cusp of upgrades. But the approaches that have worked in the past no longer will work, and the failure to adapt to change could be devastating for the force.

October 1, 2014
By Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, USA (Ret.)

The late Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by his nom de guerre, V.I. Lenin, used to be famous, or at least infamous. As the founding dictator of revolutionary Russia, Lenin built a grim, cruel and mighty police state whose oppressive successor to this day menaces all too many unhappy people in eastern Europe. The man the Communists once idolized as “our dear Ilyich” is long gone and, in decent circles, not missed very much.

October 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

U.S. Coast Guard acquisitions are focusing on requirements across an array of major projects. Though the Department of Homeland Security organization has vastly different efforts underway, all demand clear guidelines and teamwork, including unambiguous understandings with the private sector.

October 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. government is adopting changes to the cloud computing certification program that will better protect against potential insider threats. The improvements include additional penetration testing, more thorough testing of mobile devices, tighter controls over systems being carried from a facility and more stringent scrutiny of systems connecting from outside the network.

October 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

When cloud computing revolutionized the way businesses stored, processed and transmitted data, the rapid transformation—as with a lot of technological advances—left U.S. government agencies behind the times. The government’s hurried effort to align itself with the paradigm shift from traditional stand-alone computers, workstations and networks to the not-quite-understood cloud computing technology left a policy aperture fraught with challenges that caught some agencies unprepared—particularly adjuncts in inspector general and general counsel offices.

October 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

As organizations migrate more data into public clouds, demands for a different type of security are emerging. A specialized option is available now for Amazon Web Services that aims to mitigate threats more quickly by finding them faster and suggesting methods of remediation.

Known as the Evident Security Platform for Amazon Web Services (ESP for AWS), the technology offers a solution expressly designed for the Amazon environment. It has a rapid deployment of five minutes or less and gives a dashboard view of identified threats. In the first week it launched, 50 companies of various sizes signed on for the platform, including several large, multinational corporations.

October 1, 2014
By Rita Boland
Soldiers from the 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion evaluated the new command post 4G long-term evolution (LTE)/Wi-Fi system (network stacks) at the U.S. Army’s NIE 14.2. (U.S. Army photo by Amy Walker, PEO C3T)

The U.S. Army is extending advanced communications to disadvantaged users, fielding a series of capabilities to various groups in an effort to give soldiers at the pointy end of the spear the connectivity they need. With the rollout, forward-deployed troops should be able to access classified networks via wireless 4G long-term evolution connections. National Guard units also are acquiring the tools to aid their troops in disaster response scenarios.

October 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
Unmanned air vehicles, such as the Global Hawk, can provide full-motion video and other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data directly special operators equipped with the NG-TacMN.

U.S. Defense Department and interagency special operators are scheduled to begin receiving new tactical mesh networking equipment this month. The kit provides a mobile, ad hoc, self-healing network that offers a full range of situational awareness data, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance feeds, blue force tracking and a voice over Internet protocol capability.

October 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

Explosive amounts of data and the strains on limited financial resources have prompted corporations and governmental agencies alike to explore joint tenancy in the cloud for storing, processing and transmitting data. But while good fences—or in this case isolation mechanisms—make good neighbors, in the virtual world of cloud security the idiom might not ring entirely true. In the public cloud arena, risks arise when organizations place their data in a cloud system but cannot control who their neighbors might be.

October 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers
TRACER is a lightweight, low-frequency synthetic-aperture radar that can peer through foliage, rain, darkness, dust storms, or atmospheric haze to provide real-time, high-quality tactical ground imagery. Lockheed Martin announced in 2012 the system has been integrated into a modular pod for airborne testing on a Blackhawk helicopter or a Predator-B aircraft.

Fiscal year 2015 marks the official kickoff of a U.S. Army program to develop a foliage-penetrating radar that will simultaneously locate still objects and track moving objects from a fast-moving fixed-wing aircraft. The next-generation system is designed specifically for jungle environments such as the Asia-Pacific region, South America and Africa, and by combining multiple capabilities onto one platform, it will allow the service to cut down the number of sensors currently needed.

October 1, 2014
By Marsha Mullins
U.S. Army and Marine forward observers train jointly at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. Joint operations will continue to be a challenge without top-down coordination to ensure interoperability early in system development.

Despite substantial research and investments, widespread interoperability continues to elude the Defense Department, the joint force and their partners. Some of the hurdles are inherent in the current acquisition and budgeting process. Others loom because of long-standing approaches to operation and training. Progress has been made, but the goal has not yet been attained.