Cyber Maximizes Combat Power

By: George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine

“Synchronizing cyber with other domains—air, land, sea and space—is still a challenge, but the situation is improving, Lt. Col. Mark Esslinger, USAF, U.S. Pacific Command Joint Cyber Center, asserted during the AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific conference November 15-17 in Honolulu.

Col. Esslinger served on a panel of cyber experts. Panelists agreed that the authorities to conduct cyber operations—along with policies, doctrines, tactics, techniques and procedures—still need to be defined. “The cyber mission force is still maturing, and the combatant commands are learning to integrate their capabilities,” Col. Esslinger offered.”

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A Big Role for Small Satellite Terminals

By: Sandra Jontz, SIGNAL Magazine

“The U.S. Navy’s investment in its own fleet of high-altitude, long-range unmanned aerial systems called Tritons marks a detour from the military’s longtime use of satellite technology to connect its arsenal of big platforms such as Global Hawks and Predators.

The communications payloads for the family of drones are built to leverage primarily X-band military frequencies, a revolutionary undertaking. The X band has been around since the beginning of satellite communications (SATCOM), but it has gone hand in hand with mammoth antennas and point-to-point services—until now. The Navy’s pursuit of the new pilotless aircraft is one example of sweeping changes transforming the satellite industry that could vastly improve Defense Department intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.”

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Nominations for DON IM/IT Excellence Awards Due December 5

By: Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine

“Nominations are now being accepted for the DON Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) Excellence Awards. Submissions are due by December 5. The awards recognize the superior efforts of IM/IT projects, teams and individuals in helping to transform Department of the Navy information technology.

One set of DON IM/IT Excellence awards will recognize accomplishments in 2016. Winners based on/near the West Coast will receive their awards at the DON IT Conference, West Coast 2017, scheduled for February 21-23 at the San Diego Convention Center. Winners based on/near the East Coast will receive their awards at the DON IT Conference, East Coast 2017, scheduled for May 16-18 at the Hilton Norfolk The Main in Norfolk, Virginia.

Contact for additional information.”

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U.S. Coast Guard Announces Commissioning of Sixth National Security Cutter

By: Julianne Simpson, SIGNAL Magazine

“The U.S. Coast Guard announced the service’s sixth national security cutter, Munro, will be commissioned April 1, 2017, at the Smith Cove Terminal in Seattle.

The cutter will be home ported in Alameda, California, and is named after Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro, the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient.”

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Empowering Electronic Warfare To Save Carrier Strike Groups

By Jim Loerch, SIGNAL Magazine

“The U.S. Navy needs an integrated approach to improve antiship missile defense.

Integrated electronic warfare is the best and most efficient form of defense against the growing antiship missile threat that targets deployed U.S. carrier strike groups. Some experts may even argue that an integrated electronic warfare system of systems is the only capability that can protect the U.S. fleet from this threat.

The inability to defend against these missiles has been a longtime U.S. weakness. In 1987, a missile launched from an Iraqi warplane crippled the USS Stark. The U.S. Navy frigate detected the sea-skimming missile known as the Exocet too late for its defenses to destroy it. The Exocet is a subsonic antiship missile with a 360-pound warhead. If the Navy failed to destroy an Exocet, what happens when its vessels are attacked by much more capable antiship missiles? Today’s missiles have better guidance, longer ranges, greater speeds and more destructive power than the Exocet.”

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U.S. Navy Tests Puma Unmanned System Aboard Missile Destroyer

Exercises include fully autonomous system for aircraft recovery.

“The United States Navy has tested and deployed the RQ-20B Puma small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) aboard a Flight I Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG Class), according to an AeroVironment Inc. announcement. Some of these exercises included the use of the company’s fully autonomous system to recover the aircraft aboard a ship.

Following completion of a Puma AE intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, the AeroVironment precision recovery system provides for the autonomous on-board recovery of the aircraft, without interrupting the ship’s operations. Because the Puma AE is also designed to land and float in water, operators can choose to recover it from the ocean, should mission requirements dictate.”

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The Cyber Implications of Acquisition Speed: Part IV

By Nickolas Guertin and James P. Craft, SIGNAL Magazine

“One technique for speeding up the acquisition process is the use of open systems architecture. Employing open systems architecture (OSA) capabilities is the intelligent way to create next-generation solutions for warfighters in all services. OSA-based solutions can optimize scarce financial and engineering resources and enable the United States and its coalition partners to extend their strategic military advantages over global adversaries.

The U.S. Department of the Navy (DON) provides an example of OSA’s success. The DON initiated an open architecture policy in 2004. In 2010, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics started the Better Buying Power initiative and asked the Navy to lead the OSA effort. ”

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