New Technology Approaches Can Solve Complex U.S. Navy Problems

By: Cmdr. Jamie Gateau, USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

“U.S. Navy commanders often struggle to deliver uninterrupted communications at sea without the added complications of providing command and control in denied or degraded environments. They face a double whammy of operational and technical hurdles.

Processes for developing concepts of operations are complex, painstaking and exacting. Although technology sets the boundaries for what is possible, most of the hard work is decidedly nontechnical. It lies in determining which signals and messages have priority, which data sources and destinations are critical, and which ones can be relegated—and for how long.

That is not meant to understate the technological obstacles Navy leaders grapple with—hurdles the private sector already has solved. Solutions can be found in software-defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV) and network policy orchestration. These technologies hold the keys to enabling command and control in a denied or degraded environment (C2D2E) afloat and enhancing security, mission capability and flexibility ashore.”

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Security, Modularity Drive Navy Cyber

By: Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

“Cleaner, more modular software that can be updated with less fuss tops the U.S. Navy’s wish list as it girds its fleet for warfighting in cyberspace. These advances would not only help the service stay atop the wave of information system innovation but also contribute to better security amid growing and changing threats.

The Navy wants industry to develop operating systems and software from the start with fewer bugs. These software products should have fewer vulnerabilities that can be exploited by an adversary, which compound the service’s efforts at cybersecurity.

“We tend to continue to use code that has vulnerabilities over and over again in the commercial world, and industry can help drive the requirement to really clean up some of the code that’s already there,” offers Rear Adm. Nancy A. Norton, USN, director of warfare integration for information warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav) and deputy director of Navy cybersecurity.”

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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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New Measurement System Can Help Navy Conserve Energy

By: Julianne Simpson, SIGNAL Magazine

“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.

The system can distinguish between each type of light, appliance and device based on unique signatures; which ones turn on and off; and how often and at what times. Users can then view the real-time data on an app and focus on specific time segments—revealing when, for example, a refrigerator goes into its defrost cycle.”

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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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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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