December 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Members of Team Co-STAR from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and South Korea’s KAIST Lab prepare to send their autonomous systems into one of the coal mine tunnels during the Subterranean Challenge.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is experimenting with underground robotic capabilities through its three-year contest—the Subterranean Challenge, also called SubT. This competition aims to spur tactical communications, mapping and search-related robotic technologies for use in subterranean environments.

Novermber 20, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Bill Moore, founder of Xona Systems, hears the announcement that the judges in AFCEA International’s Innovation Shark Tank Series have selected Xona as a finalist. The company offers cybersecurity measures for so-called Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices. Credit: Elizabeth Moon

Broadcast on CyberSecurity TV by TV Worldwide, the latest episode of AFCEA’s Innovation Shark Tank Series on November 19 featured five companies offering government solutions addressing cybersecurity, the STEM workforce, cloud migration, security of Industrial Internet of Things devices and mobile application development.

The companies were competing for selection to the association’s Shark Tank finals to be held April 22-24, 2019, at its planned joint homeland security conference with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

July 15, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate is funding a $35 million, 10-year effort to create a research center of excellence focused on preventing and countering terrorist attacks. Credit: deepspace/Shutterstock

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced today $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research (TPCR). Accredited U.S. colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals as the center lead or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of the center’s activities.

July 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Shutterstock/Kritsana Maimeetook

The fight to secure microelectronic chips is becoming as basic as the chip itself. With chips facing a myriad of threats throughout their life cycle, experts are incorporating security measures into the development of the chip from the foundry to assembly. Other approaches safeguard against threats that could appear as the chip moves through the supply chain. The bottom line for microelectronics security is that necessary measures cannot wait until the device is in the hands of the user.

January 9, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
A new virtual platform offers electronic caregiving. Credit: SameDay Security

A division of Las Cruces, New Mexico-based SameDay Security Inc., has introduced a virtual home health care assistant that the company claims will “quickly deliver an immersive end user experience.” The electronic interface, known as Addison Care, uses visual, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The system runs on Amazon Sumerian, a service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“Designed to transform the home into a full-time health and wellness environment, Addison appears on 15-inch media screens throughout a residence and provides support to consumers with features including medication management, care plan adherence, social experiences and emergency response,” a company official stated.

November 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Daniel Leithinger, assistant professor at the ATLAS Institute and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, suggests that advanced computer interfaces can allow users to touch, grasp and deform data physically, transforming computer and human interaction.  MIT Media Lab

Researchers envision a day when shape-shifting materials, novel sensors and other interactive technologies replace the flat, insipid computer screen. Such advances will allow users to interact in a tactile manner, enhancing their understanding of information and data. Researchers on the cutting edge of human-computer interaction are working on physical representations of data or information. Computer scientists portend that computers can, and should, have an output of information that mirrors the adroitness and expressiveness of the human body.

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 12, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
At the recent Starburst Aerospace Accelerator event held at MITRE Corp., innovators presented emerging technologies for aerospace and military applications. One startup company, San Francisco-based Elroy Air, is developing an autonomous aerial cargo aircraft system that can carry 200-500 lbs of payload by air over a range of 300 miles.

Innovative pioneers looking to bring their ideas and concepts to reality are pushing the edge of aerospace capabilities. In some cases, the technologies are the result of university research, while others come from markets outside of defense. The entrepreneurs purport that their technologies will be, if not groundbreaking, useful and more efficient. The entrepreneurs presented their nascent products and discoveries at a pitch meeting hosted by The MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia on October 11 as part of Starburst Aerospace Accelerator’s annual East Coast Selection Committee event.

October 9, 2018
Kimberly Underwood
James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy, speaks at the recent Modern Day Marine event in Quantico, Virginia.

The move away from technologies meant for a static battlefield environment continues for the U.S. Marine Corps, as the service fields technologies needed for operating in austere environments.

Leaders want ruggedized and resilient technologies that are low in size, weight and power for soldiers on the move. The technology gaps to fill come across all aspects of command, control, communications and computing, or C4. Marine Corps leaders identified the service’s top technological needs during the Modern Day Marine event September 25-27 at the Marine Corps Quantico base.

September 27, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Appearing at the Modern Day Marine industry-related exhibits, Boeing’s compact laser weapon system is shown mounted on OshKosh Defense’s joint light tactical vehicle (JLTV). Credit: Kimberly Underwood

This summer, the U.S. Marine Corps accepted delivery of five compact laser weapon systems, and is now considering many aspects of the weapon’s functionality. The service is looking for reliable, cost effective protection against the growing threat of unmanned aerial vehicles.

October 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s work in space-related research continues to push the envelope of science. Lab researchers designed and built NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, launched in August from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to fly through the sun’s corona, work that also helps inform hypersonic research.

In a world where the U.S. Defense Department is facing asymmetric threats, department leaders are counting on long-term research and development to provide primary solutions to protect the nation. For the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which has helped create technologies that have changed the course of history, the pressure is on to find the next significant contribution, says the laboratory’s director, Ralph Semmel. “When you look back in history, we had nine of those [groundbreaking technologies], so we are holding ourselves to a very high bar,” Semmel says. “But the key is that we don’t know which technology is actually going to turn into a defining innovation.”

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 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.

August 16, 2017
By Kimberly Underwood
Researchers at the Army Research Laboratory in Orlando are creating a virtual grenade launcher training platform that will allow for repeated virtual rounds before going out to the real firing range.

The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is creating a virtual MK-19 trainer that will help shorten training set-up time and decrease ammunition costs, according to the Army. Researchers at the ARL in Orlando, Florida, are merging the weapon with existing hardware and software algorithms to create a training experience that blends real-time vision with virtual reality.

Once it is ready for full use in the field, the training platform will help soldiers expedite training on the weapon.

The concepts proven by the MK-19 trainer represent “the future of training for soldiers,” said Dean Reed, software developer and team lead at the ARL in Orlando.

March 2, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
John Hickey, director of the Cyber Development Directorate for DISA, kicks off the 6th annual Mobile Tech Summit hosted by AFCEA DC Chapter. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Ushering in full-blown mobility for the U.S. Defense Department will require key technology advances, particularly in areas of automation and security management. With mobile no longer a fringe idea, troops want to avail themselves of all the bells, whistles and efficiencies the ecosystem has to offer. But security concerns continue to crimp the department’s migration to what is otherwise commonplace in the private sector, experts shared Wednesday during the day-long AFCEA DC Chapter Mobile Tech Summit.

July 17, 2015
By Justin Marston

Roll back the clock to 2009. With great fanfare, General Dynamics and L-3 announced the now infamous (in government circles) Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME-PED) designed to be a special secure phone—one that, say, a U.S. president might use. But several problems plagued the effort, including cost, weight, short battery life and a lack of functionality. Then, “the iPhone happened,” says a former National Security Agency (NSA) executive. “We missed it. But hey, so did Blackberry and a lot of commercial companies.”

September 1, 2010
By H. Mosher

No matter how much we think technological solutions will be the panacea for all our information assurance concerns, there's still the human factor to consider, writes Linton Wells II in this month's Incoming column, "Uneasy Sleep in a Golden Age":

February 2, 2010

Have had fun all morning tweeting the great give-aways here at the booths at WEST. But now it's time to get serious! Be on the lookout for blogs about the REAL solutions here at the conference! Keep checking this blog!

June 22, 2009
By Beverly Schaeffer

Every service has faced changes brought about by new technologies and new missions, but the Air Force is wrestling with nothing less than a total overhaul of its structure and activities. Its legacy mission was fairly clear-cut: maintain air superiority and provide support to ground forces where needed. But now, experts are building a new force of unmanned combat air vehicles that vie in importance with piloted craft. And, the Global War on Terrorism and the information technology revolution have struck at the very heart of the Air Force's raison d'etre. SIGNAL takes a look at how the Air Force is changing to meet its new roles and which technologies might play a major role in them.

June 17, 2009
By Beverly Schaeffer

Research and development is the seed corn of our technology driven world. With the commercial sector providing many of the military's new technologies, the old lines delineating military and commercial technologies are blurring into nonexistence. The defense community is working with academia and the private sector to an ever greater degree, and the rapid pace of commercial information technology innovation is increasing the importance of laboratory research. SIGNAL Magazine's June issue looks at some of the new technologies about to emerge from the laboratory and the effect they might have in this technology-driven age.

March 10, 2009
By Beverly Schaeffer

When it comes to military technologies, it's all about the warfighter. The men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan know firsthand their greatest technological needs, and their counterparts back home are striving to provide them as quickly as possible. The combat experience also is providing grist for the design mill as engineers plan for the future. SIGNAL looks at the efforts underway to develop new warfighter technologies as well as what may lie ahead. The laboratory is the birthplace of many technologies, and the U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, is developing a range of new systems.

July 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine


A Boeing H-6 helicopter cruises over the desert landscape of Mesa, Arizona, equipped with the Adaptive Vehicle Management System, or AVMS. The experimental system is designed to give rotorcraft digitized controls similar to the ones common on fixed-wing aircraft.

June 2012
By Max Cacas, SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Army is partnering with graphene researchers to enable low-cost thermal imaging for all warfighters.

May 2012
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Magazine

December 1999
By Maryann Lawlor

Next-century defense systems employ technical innovations to protect combatants and deter potential adversaries.

Communications, computer and material technologies will deeply impact future military and peacekeeping missions by empowering warfighters at every conceivable command level. Smart computers will sift through mounds of data to deliver knowledge directly to a combatant who is clothed in a modern-day suit of armor. Today’s scientists predict that a combination of imagination and analytical work conducted at the end of this century will lead to 21st century warfighters who respond quickly and accurately to defeat enemies.

December 1999
By Michelle L. Hankins

Today’s popular trends act as catalysts for tomorrow’s technology developments.

Eyeglasses with directional microphones that enhance hearing, polymeric lattices that heal broken bones, and databases that scan weather information to predict earthquakes are just a hint of government-developed technologies that could drastically alter life in the next century. From cars and airplanes to personal computers and lasers in common household products, technological advancement in America has evolved dramatically in the past 100 years and will occur twice as rapidly throughout the next 50 years, scientists predict.

December 1999
By Sharon Berry

Problem-solving techniques grow with electronics advances, but new riddles emerge to vex planners.

Rapidly evolving communications techniques are leading scientists to integrate technology trends and human methods of thinking to solve problems that are yet to be encountered.

December 2002
By Sharon Berry

Engineers work to unlock power shipwide.

Over the years, ship propulsion has evolved from sail to steam to diesel and gas turbine engines. The U.S. Navy now is transitioning to all-electric ships, which will increase available power throughout a vessel. The benefits will be enhanced ship survivability, improved combat capability, reduced crew size—sending fewer sailors into harm’s way—and lowered ship life-cycle costs.