Everyone who believes that what was dubbed “The Great Technical Glitch of July 8” was incontrovertibly a mere coincidence and not a coordinated cyber attack, raise your hands. Before you shake your head and stop reading, consider this: The institutions those IT mishaps shut down represent the economy (New York Stock Exchange), transportation (United Airlines) and communications or freedom of speech (The Wall Street Journal). Not to go all X Files on you or propose conspiracies around every corner, but dismissing the possibility that it was more than mere chance isn’t so far-fetched.
Extreme instances of electromagnetic energy from solar events, known as solar storms, could increase in frequency and intensity in 2013, according to space weather experts. While scientists recommend the public and private sectors prepare for the potential threat, insufficient information about the source and nature of solar storms makes the task challenging.
Defense Editor Max Cacas describes the arrival of the so-called solar max year in his SIGNAL Magazine article titled "Solar Storms Test Earthbound Preparedness."
Marines at U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) are going wireless so they can keep perpetual track of valuable items and devices inside the command's facilities. In this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Associate Editor Rachel Eisenhower's article, "Wireless System Tackles Tracking Challenge," explores how wireless, once seen as a security liability, has become a security asset for MARFORPAC. The wireless system also could transition out to the tactical world in the near future.
Historically, wounded troops on the battlefield have endured long waits either for medical care or for transport to better-equipped facilities. This same scenario also has played out in the aftermath of natural and manmade disasters. A consortium has formed to address this gap in reaction time, according to News Editor Rita Boland in her article "Medicine Joins Disaster Response" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine. This group has laid the groundwork for the National Emergency Preparedness and Response (NEPR) Research Center.
Despite the cloture motion on Thursday that ended any chance of the U.S. Senate passing the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 before the August recess (see SIGNAL Online Exclusive "Senate Now Unlikely to Pass Cybersecurity Bill Before Recess"), others are still hard at work behind the scenes in other venues on the very security this act would have addressed.
Select U.S. Army brigade combat teams headed to Afghanistan will soon receive components from the service's first integrated mobile network. The equipment package, known as Capability Set 13 (CS 13), could revolutionize combat operations and help the Army in its overarching modernization efforts.
Technology Editor George I. Seffers discusses the impact of the capabilities in his SIGNAL Magazine article, "Army Mobile Network Poised for Combat."
Forget about the standard "iPhone vs. Android" debate-the U.S. government is pushing to make sure it meets mobile demand no matter what the platform. While HTML 5 looks like a promising solution for multiplatform needs, it might not solve the challenges for every federal agency.
A 3-D imaging system is providing the U.S. Coast Guard with real-time undersea data critical to its mission. Although the technology is still under evaluation, it has already assisted the service in its response to the Coast Guard helicopter crash off the Alabama shore in February.
With names that could have come straight out of 1960s-era sci-fi television, the U.S. Air Force is employing new sensors/systems that not only gather data, but also seek to harvest it more efficiently. In this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Maryann Lawlor's article, "Air Arms Around Intelligence," covers the flood of new sensors the Air Force employs to collect data. One priority is to determine how best to process, exploit and disseminate that information now and in the future.
While cyberspace may be today's hot-topic realm, security in the physical world-specifically on the high seas-still requires due diligence. In this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, News Editor Rita Boland untangles the net of maritime safety issues in her article, "Security on the Seven Seas," and accompanying sidebar, "Smugglers of the Caribbean." Boland focuses on the operations of organizations such as U.S.
The Internet isn't any safer now than in 1982 when it began as a four-node network connecting a handful of U.S. Defense Department academics to exchange digital files. This revelation comes despite efforts over the years to patch holes and conceive mighty notions that safe Internet usage is achievable. In his viewpoint article, "Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy Need a Dose of Reality" by Contributing Editor Col. Alan D.
The polar ice cap is melting, and with that comes many challenges-and potential opportunities-for the U.S. Coast Guard.
The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is helping lead the charge to bring more mobility, cloud computing and information sharing to the Defense Department. Sweeping changes ahead aim to make secure and nonsecure communications possible down to the handheld level. In this month's issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I.
Technology is coming down to the wire-or actually, the wireless-instead, with development underway on the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS). It is a package of sensors and control technology, not a robotic helicopter platform, and it's being designed to fit existing aircraft and new systems to come. According to Technology Editor George I.
Marine Corps leadership is seeking to apply lessons learned from fighting two ground wars in the last 10 years and return to its core competencies: amphibious ops, sea-based forward presence and crisis response. In his article, "Marines Go Back to the Amphibious Future," Defense Editor Max Cacas outlines the Corps' goals in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine. Col.
The U.S. Army is working to compress large amounts of geospatial data into an amount that is manageable on a handheld device. Imagery from the GeoGlobe database currently seeing use in Afghanistan soon may become available in PDF format, placing crucial imagery and information directly into the warfighter's hands. In his article "U.S. Army Expands Combat-Proven GeoGlobe" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I. Seffers discusses how 3-D terrain visualization imagery will go compact for handheld applications.
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) has been, and will continue to be, the military's most significant force multiplier in any asymmetric ground fight. Now it must be adapted more fully to benefit naval forces. In his viewpoint article "Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance in the Littoral Fight" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Lt. Daniel T. Murphy, USN, addresses the need to move forward with strategies to improve blue-water assets. Most enemy naval operations would focus on restricting or cutting off access to crucial sea lanes.
The U.S. Marine Corps is moving forward with two existing solar power programs helping to reduce energy dependence and lighten the physical load weighing down troops.
Defense Editor Max Cacas discusses the next-generation technology decreasing the need for risky energy sources in his SIGNAL Magazine article, "Solar Powers Missions and Saves Lives."
Solar energy is now being taken to a whole new level-but it's a smaller level this time, not a bigger one. A solar cell no larger than the dot over the letter "i" is breaking records by setting new standards for efficiency. Particularly in hot, dry regions, this solar-provided power could be much less expensive, making solar energy more competitive with conventional energy sources. In this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, which features a focus area on energy technologies, Technology Editor George I.
Although outside adversaries constantly attempt to gain access to U.S. Defense Department networks, cybersecurity leaders within the Marine Corps agree that internal user errors and attempts to skirt security measures pose the biggest threat. News Editor Rita Boland discusses these dangers in her article "Cybersecurity, Marine Corps Style" in the March issue of SIGNAL Magazine.
U.S. Marine Corps commanders will soon have a new mobile command and control (C2) capability that will be readily transferable from vehicle to vehicle without mounting or installation modifications. This new system is being created primarily from cost-effective, off-the-shelf digital communications equipment. In his article "Corps Command and Control on the Move" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Defense Editor Max Cacas talks to the experts about the project.
Although fiscal year 2015 is the target time frame for full operational capability, personnel from the U.S. Army's 780th Military Intelligence Brigade--the service's first-ever cyber brigade--already are helping to secure the Defense Department's networks against cyber attacks. While the unit was officially activated on December 1, prep work for the group has been ongoing since at least 1998, according to Technology Editor George I. Seffers in his article, "Historic Cyber Unit Begins Daily Action," in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine. Seffers speaks with Col.
Perhaps it began with Y2K, this realization that the unseen operational grid could come crashing down by the mere numerical click from one century to the next-but the threats to operational functionality in all areas of human-machine interface are very real. A cyber exercise conducted again this year will incorporate some changes to simulate new challenges.
By the end of 2012, U.S. Marine Corps aviation experts plan to have the Corps equipped with a common command and control (C2) platform that not only will improve situational awareness and information assurance (IA), but also will ramp up mobility as well. The technology behind this advance is the Marine Corps' Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S), which aims to provide closer coordination of the Marine ground and air C2 centers, allowing more speedy responses to changing battlefield conditions. Technology Editor George I.
Given some of the most shocking emergency events of the past decade, whether on school campuses, severe weather conditions, or the overall climate of hyper-awareness in the United States following 9/11, the ability to provide real-time public warnings has become a huge priority. The current Emergency Alert System (EAS), and its predecessor, the Emergency Broadcast System, or EBS, date back to 1951. But present-day capabilities, brought about by advanced satellite and other systems technologies-including the Internet and social media tools-provide the very capabilities necessary to deliver an alert with time enough to spare to enable proactive measures.
Much like the three propeller blades on a wind turbine, three U.S. government agencies are spinning together a program to produce a microgrid that will provide power that is independent of external sources. The departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security want to enable military bases and other installations to continue operations in the event of power failure due to enemy actions or other events. A key element of this microgrid is network security, and it must be able to continue functions even in the face of cybermarauders, who could bring down an entire system.
How often have military service members been shuffled from one office to another-one organization to the next-before all of their records are pulled together and coordination of treatments or benefits can begin? The answer is too often. But here is the good news: The U.S. Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have launched an effort to combine their two electronic health record systems into one. Known as the integrated Electronic Health Record, or iEHR, it aims to ensure that health care records will follow troops for their rest of their lives, beginning from the day they swear in to serve their country.
Technology transfer-a big buzzword some decades ago-is where companies found commercial uses for military technologies. Over the years, military and industry continue to share new ideas, programs and systems, and just about any otherwise awesome products that benefit both arenas. It's perhaps another anchor in the military-industrial complex. But when military technology is found to possibly fight cancer-that is welcoming news, as reported by George I.
It's an incredibly confusing world we now live in, with threats to the military and civilians posing vexing challenges that never truly existed before. There really is no "traditional" battleground anymore, because it continues to morph into a field of asymmetric warfare, violent conflict between a formal military and an informal, poorly equipped, but elusive opponent. According to Dr.
The worldwide budget crisis isn't just an oft-repeated catch phrase-it's the real deal-and it's affecting how nations procure and oversee their security measures and infrastructure. In fact, the economy is recognized as one of the major concerns for security provision.
...When the international mining community is aiming to shake off the absolute dominance held by the People's Republic of China in the market for rare earths, which are a series of elements in the periodic table. These elements are critical for the U.S. military's high-tech communications and weaponry, as well as those of other allied nations. According to Michael A. Robinson in his article, "Rare Earths to Become Less Scarce," in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, new mines could be supplying U.S. military needs, along with those of other nations, in just a few years.
A recently released draft plan provides a road map for federal agencies and industry to navigate through the development of the cloud-computing model. In the January issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Technology Editor George I. Seffers explores the document in his article, "Hitting the Hard Spots on the Road to Cloud."
...When website spoofers do deceive-especially when the legitimate sites belong to the U.S. military. Untold damage could result should hackers glean crucial data, whether it involves service personnel, missions or daily operations. Earlier in the year, the U.S. Air Force faced this very scenario when its portal was spoofed. The best defense, in addition to the 24/7 protection provided by military cyberspace operators worldwide, is vigilance by every service member from the top echelons all the way down.
In what has been an extremely successful program on U.S. Navy submarines is now being readied for the surface fleet. The Navy's subs have been operating with the Common Submarine Radio Room (CSRR) concept, and now hope to harness the benefits for Navy surface vessels. In his article, "Underwater Communications Rise to Surface Fleet" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Max Cacas talks with the Common Radio Room (CRR) program manager and others involved in this transition.
Having completed basic research and development (R&D) by its Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) creators, the Close In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft (CICADA) is being primed to meet battlefield requirements. One NRL source refers to CICADA as a "dumb" sensor because of its simple design, but other lab officials say the system's genius lies in its simplicity.
It's said that necessity is the mother of invention-but experience can serve as the catalyst for action. In this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Michael A. Robinson's article, "Putting Satellites in Soldiers' Hands," examines how a retired U.S. Army Signal Corps officer has parlayed his experience into developing more effective satellite apps for mobile devices. Jim Ramsey is that retired officer, and now he's president of MTN Government Services (MTNGS).
The Defense Department needs a fresh new approach to running its information technology (IT) systems. One idea is platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud computing, which would reduce the number of stovepipe systems. The biggest challenge ahead: convincing department decision makers to accept PaaS as a solution and to encourage its funding. The first step is separating the defense infrastructure from the applications, according to Paul A. Strassmann in his article, "Two Barriers Block New Architecture" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine.
From circuit-switched networks (CSN), to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), to Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), technology has reached the point where it is now feasible to secure mobile communications. Only recent mobile devices-witness the iPhone-can keep up with security demands required for secure communications. The National Security Agency (NSA) is developing a midterm pilot program aiming for the end goal of a mobile platform developed using only commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components.
Although Guam's tropical locale renders it a go-to destination for U.S. military personnel, the island's sheer distance from the continental United States poses logistical challenges for troops deployed there. The 212-square-mile island of Guam is located seven time zones and more than 3,800 miles away from Hawaii and falls on the other side of the International Date Line. It is the largest and southernmost island of the Marianas Island chain. An unincorporated territory of the United States, the island supports tactical needs in the region.
The eyes may have it, but the brain takes it to another level in a new technology being developed by researchers for the U.S. Defense Department. Imagery is viewed by the human eye, and the breakthrough advance uses neurotechnology to narrow that data into smaller, more concentrated images for further interpretation. In his article, "Brainwaves Boost Intelligence," in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, George I. Seffers looks at the Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts (NIA) program.
Sharing is a magic word when it comes to NATO member nations pooling technology resources. Nine alliance countries plan to integrate abilities so that one hand knows what the other is doing-or what it's capable of doing-in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). This is taking place through the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency's Multi-sensor Aerospace-ground Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Interoperability Coalition 2 (MAJIIC 2) project. The aim, says George I.
To manage the overwhelming amount of patent data it must process, the European Patent Office (EPO) in Vienna, Austria, has partnered with California-based Google in a no-cost collaboration. The partnership calls for Google to help process patents into 28 European languages, as well as into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. European Union members ratified and signed the formal agreement this past spring.
Since its founding in 1949, NATO has experienced numerous growing pains. Next up: NATO is undergoing a huge reduction in the number of its agencies-a move that aims to greatly streamline operations. The NATO realignment, planned for implementation by June 2012, will consolidate its 14 agencies down to just three. George I. Seffers examines this effort in his article, "And Then There Were Three," in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine.
It's been slow going for Defense Department IT since the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 mandated creating the Information Technology Architecture. In 1999, the Federal Chief Information Officers Council defined the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA). It's now 2011, and according to a Government Accountability Office report, the enterprise architecture methodology still has not deployed. In his viewpoint article "About Face" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Paul A.
You can't consider the future of computing and the Internet without looking at what software giant Microsoft and Internet heavyweight Google are up to. Rita Boland continues her Semaphore Series on the topic by tapping the expertise of Lewis Shepherd from Microsoft and Vint Cerf from Google in 'What's Now and What's New.'
No matter how vast it seems, even space gets a little crowded. Hundreds of active satellites and thousands of pieces of space junk clutter the area surrounding Earth-from lost astronaut tools to pieces of rockets. With the potential to travel at 17,500 miles per hour, even the smallest objects pose a big risk to spacecraft. To help track and identify the debris, the U.S. Air Force is replacing its aging and outdated Air Force Space Surveillance System, which has been in service for 50 years.
Little did Defense Editor Max Cacas know when he wrote his article, "Army Post Develops Disaster Management Strategies" in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, that a U.S. Army post-and indeed, the entire mid-Atlantic region stretching from Canada to as far south as Georgia-would be put to the test with a 5.8-magnitude earthquake. The shocking temblor on August 23 served to highlight preparedness operations already taking place at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and how those actions can benefit the community and the nation.
With this issue of SIGNAL Magazine focusing on Army technologies, George I. Seffers takes us right to the heart of the action in Afghanistan in his recent coverage as an embedded journalist. As SIGNAL's technology editor, Seffers had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the needs of warfighters in that mountainous, unforgiving terrain. Dismounted soldiers have to be the boots on the ground and go where no vehicle has possible ventured before.
Industry leaders are working hard to identify and create the Internet of the future, and News Editor Rita Boland digs in with an examination of this virtual "ground breaking" in cyberspace in her article, "Upcoming Online Experiences," in this issue of SIGNAL Magazine. The piece is the first in a four-part SIGNAL semaphore series: The Future of the Internet. Kevin Orr, Cisco Corporation's vice president of U.S.
The effort to field mobile devices down to the squad level continues as the U.S. Defense Department certifies security credentials for the iPhone and Android operating systems. However, the arduous accreditation process still poses many hurdles for the military as it moves toward a more mobile communications environment.