Science and Technology News

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Public Safety Technology in the News

Cop Trainees to Use Laser Simulator
DailyAdvance.com, (10/16/2009), Kristin Pitts

The Basic Law Enforcement Training program at North Carolina’s College of The Albemarle has begun using the Laser Shot Firearm Simulator, a training tool that allows students to participate in video scenarios and decide whether to fire their laser weapon. Law enforcement agencies have used similar simulators for many years, but this particular simulator represents some of the latest advances in the technology. It includes more than 200 scenarios, ranging from traffic stops to school shootings, with potential branches depending on how a trainee responds. Playback allows the instructor to rate a student’s performance. The college purchased the equipment through a grant and it will be used primarily during class periods.
www.dailyadvance.com/news/cop-trainees-to-use-laser-simulator-903623.html

TPD to Deploy 2nd Speed-Cam Van Soon
Arizona Daily Star, (10/18/2009), Brian J. Pedersen

The Tucson Police Department will place a second photo radar van into operation later this fall, using it to both spot speeders and conduct a two-year study sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study will examine eight one-mile segments in Tucson, comparing photo radar enforcement efforts to traditional hand-held radar guns. Through the first eight months of 2009, motor officers issued 17,712 speeding citations, nearly triple the 6,314 that resulted from photo radar. The van can be parked in hard-to-reach locations; however, it can only catch speeders while motor officers can issue citations for a variety of moving violations.
www.azstarnet.com/metro/313719

Taser Advises Police Not to Aim at Chest
The Arizona Republic, (10/21/2009), Robert Anglen

The manufacturer of the Taser stun gun has advised law enforcement officers to avoid shooting suspects in the chest. The advisory issued in October by Taser International cited an "extremely low" risk of "an adverse cardiac event," especially if a subject is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. "Should sudden cardiac arrest occur in a scenario involving a Taser discharge to the chest area, it would place the law enforcement agency, the officer and Taser International in the difficult situation of trying to ascertain what role, if any, the Taser. . . could have played," the bulletin said. Tasers are used in more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. Groups such as Amnesty International have questioned the safety of Tasers and criticized their use.
www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/10/21/20091021taser1021.html

Annapolis Debuts Online Interactive Crime Map
The Baltimore Sun, (10/18/2009), Andrea F. Siegel

The Annapolis (Md.) Police Department has launched a new interactive crime map that provides the date, nature and approximate location of a number of crimes, including assaults (although not sexual assaults), burglaries, homicides, motor vehicle crimes, robberies and thefts. The city ended a contract with crimereports.com; its own site is tailored specifically to this community. Searches can be done by either location or type of crime. Crime types are color coded, and clicking on a colored dot brings up more detailed information. The site is updated daily and ongoing refinements are planned based on user feedback. The site is located at http://annacw.annapolis.gov/crimemapping.
www.baltimoresun.com/business/technology/bal-ar.crimemap18oct18,0,4646553.story

FBI: Police Officer Deaths Fell Sharply in 2008
Associated Press, (10/19/2009), Devlin Barrett

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty fell in 2008, thanks in part to the use of body armor. Recently released FBI statistics show that 41 law enforcement officers were killed in 2008, down from 58 in 2007. That’s the lowest number since 1999, when 42 officers were killed, the FBI said. Kevin Morison, a spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said increased use of bullet-resistant body armor has greatly contributed to the drop in fatalities. Suzie Sawyer, executive director of Concerns of Police Survivors, said medical advances and better training have also contributed to the reduction in fatalities.
www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hnusu4Eyi2uTbLu0y5gqKLCNLyDgD9BEBJ680

Car Thefts Drop to 20-Year Low
Automobile Magazine, (10/20/2009), Steve Diehlman

Vehicle thefts have dropped by 50 percent over the past 20 years, due to stepped up police enforcement and vehicle tracking and disabling devices, according to the FBI. Approximately 315 of every 100,000 vehicles are stolen today, compared with 669 out of 100,000 in 1991. The technology in new cars makes them harder to steal; eighty-six percent of new cars have built-in ignition immobilizers. GPS tracking also helps deter theft. Also, law enforcement agencies have targeted car theft rings, which has helped bring the number of thefts down.
rumors.automobilemag.com/6568798/news/car-thefts-drop-to-20-year-low/index.html

North Carolina Receives Funds for Testing in Postconviction Cases
Office of Justice Programs, (10/22/2009)

North Carolina has received $566,000 in U.S. Department of Justice grants for postconviction DNA testing. The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will administer the grant. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission will use the funds to review felony convictions in which the person claims innocence and credible evidence exists that was not presented either during trial or during postconviction proceedings. DNA testing makes it possible to obtain conclusive results in cases in which previous testing had been inconclusive or nonexistent. The grant money will boost the number of postconviction case reviews.
www2.wspa.com/spa/news/local/article/north_carolina_receives_funds_for_testing_in_postconviction_cases/28424/#

Secret Service to Revamp Ailing IT Systems
Information Week, (10/21/2009), J. Nicholas Hoover

The U.S. Secret Service will soon commence a major overall of its IT infrastructure after describing its aging network in its budget request to Congress as “vulnerable and at risk.” The agency plans to deploy new storage systems, modernized databases, and expand mobile and wireless capabilities. The Secret Service plans to issue a request for proposals in the next few months and award a contract in March 2010. Improvements include updating its network bandwidth and server structure. The upgrades will support the agency’s 175 field offices and temporary locations worldwide. Future plans included improving interoperability with White House systems and upgrading law enforcement capabilities such as threat management and electronic crimes investigation.
www.informationweek.com/news/government/enterprise-architecture/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=220800150

Mesa Gets $2.7 Million to Fight Crime, Terrorism
The Arizona Republic, (10/20/2009), Gary Nelson

Mesa, Ariz., is receiving in $2.7 million in federal grants to help its first responders deal with crime, terrorism and disasters. The city will use the funds for investigation of cold cases involving rape or homicide, including purchase of new DNA lab equipment; purchase of a bomb robot and a vehicle to house the bomb squad’s response equipment; a mobile police communications system; purchase of hand-held police radios for use during large-scale incidents; tools, equipment and training for the police and fire departments’ rapid response teams; and for participation in the Metropolitan Medical Response System, which is designed to handle mass casualties.
www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/10/20/20091020mr-policegrants1021.html

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Army Continues Advancing Soldier Capabilities

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 28, 2009 - Since 2002, Program Executive Office Soldier, better known simply as PEO Soldier, has been the Army's dedicated organization in developing, enhancing and fielding soldier capabilities. PEO Soldier procures and designs the latest technology to improve anything and everything soldiers carry and wear. The organization focuses on making soldiers more adaptable and effective through lightening their loads, while still making them more effective.

"There's a lot of things happening [in PEO Soldier] to make our soldiers the most lethal, survivable and able to operate in any environment," Army Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, who leads that effort, said told military reporters in a roundtable discussion yesterday at the Pentagon.

PEO Soldier's four primary project managers attended the discussion as well, and showcased some of their products, including ody armor plate carriers, machine guns, thermal- and night-vision devices, new camouflage uniforms and a new oxygen delivery system.

Army Col. Doug Tamilio, project manager for soldier weapons, highlighted two new machine guns. The MK48 is now being fielded, and weighs 18.5 pounds. It uses .762-caliber ammunition at an effective range of 800 meters, giving infantry soldiers operating in Afghanistan lighter and more powerful capabilities in high altitudes, he said.

The MK48 "significantly reduces the weight of our currently fielded [M240B machine gun], which comes in at about 27 pounds," Tamilio said. "We gave them this so they could move quicker and lighter at those high elevations." Each Army infantry brigade combat team eventually will get 159 MK48s.

Tamilio also introduced the M240L machine gun, which weighs 22.5 pounds. It has an option to attach a shorter barrel, dropping an additional 2 pounds. The M240L is reliable and durable, and it can fire 100,000 rounds of .762-caliber ammunition before the barrel or bolt needs to be replaced.

"That's incredible endurance for a weapon system," Tamilio said, adding that the M240L has an effective range of 1,800 meters. He's also working to award a contract for a collapsible buttstock to give riflemen more comfort. The M240L is expected to be fielded by July.

Army Col. Will Riggins, warrior project manager,, introduced the portable helicopter oxygen delivery system, which follows the same trend in lightening soldiers' loads.

The system is small enough to attach to aircrew members' equipment vests and replaces the current system, which is about one-third the size of a conference table, Riggins said. It's composed of the oxygen bottle and a regulatory device, and it automatically senses when aircraft reach certain altitudes that require additional oxygen. It also senses the individual's breathing rhythm, he said.

It allows aircraft such as the CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to carry more weight, whether that's additional soldiers, ammunition or fuel, Riggins said. "It enables more efficient operations and more efficient use of your oxygen," he said.

Army Col. Bill Cole, project manager for soldier protection and individual equipment, talked about his program's latest developments in body armor vests and uniforms, which was based on concerns from soldiers in Afghanistan, he said.

The improved outer tactical vest, known by soldiers as the IOTV system, originally was fielded in 2007. But slimmer soldiers, particularly small women, Cole said, complained that the vests were too uncomfortable and compromised their protection.

The original IOTV could be adjusted only by fabric-fastener straps to the front, which moved soldiers' side plates toward their torso. But on the new vest, soldiers can adjust the straps forward, backwards, up and down to maximize comfort and protection.

"We took [the vest] back to the unit that raised the issue, and they loved it," he said, adding that the Army recently began production.

Cole also described the multi-camouflage uniform and universal camouflage pattern uniform, two new uniforms Army leadership is considering to make soldiers more adaptable to the terrain in Afghanistan. A decision on the new uniforms has yet to be made.

Army Col. Stephanie Foster, project manager for sensors and lasers, said her department is working to combine thermal weapons sights and helmet attachments with low-light, night-vision capabilities. Both capabilities are fielded, she said, but the next step is to merge the two.

"We're doing all that we can to ensure our soldiers have the visibility for all them to be able to think and engage appropriately," she said.

PEO Soldier officials plan to host a similar media roundtable quarterly to ensure the public and military communities are informed of the latest gear soldiers use as the Army continues its transformation into a more modular force, Fuller said.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meprolight to Launch New Version of Advanced Uncooled Thermal Weapon Sight at Milipol

October 27, 2009. Meprolight, a provider of innovative weapon sights, today announced that it will launch a new version of its NOA uncooled thermal weapon sights (X4 and X7 magnification) at Milipol, the international exhibition of internal state security, to be held in Paris, France, November 17-20, 2009 (booth # 11D034). The new version contains an advanced electronic level indicator, a critical component in balancing the sight for effective long-range shooting. Another new feature is the capability to withstand heavy weapon recoil. The sight’s new version enables bidirectional communications with military devices such as range finders and wireless recording systems.

The new version is designed for snipers who operate under harsh environmental conditions and need to detect and accurately engage targets at long ranges reaching more than 1,000 meters in variable weather conditions and very limited light availability or total darkness. The NOA sights, with their high resolution and digital zoom, detect targets in urban or densely vegetated areas, including camouflaged people or targets behind camouflage nets.

”This announcement further establishes Meprolight as a global leader in thermal sights,” said Golan Kalimi, Meprolight’s Vice President Marketing. “The new version greatly improves sniper performance. We are committed to help our clients around the world meet the most demanding challenges of long-range sniping in any environmental condition.”

NOA’s state-of-the-art sights are equipped with a cutting-edge Fire Control System (FCS), featuring automatic ballistic compensation based on range and type of weapon and ammunition, among others. Additional features include leveling indicator, Laser Range Finder interface for automatic target range acquisition, and the ability to upload and download data.

NOA sights enable wired or wireless transmission of streaming video and real-time video recording, as well as integrated capturing and storage of still images. The NOA sights excel in low energy consumption, allowing up to 10 hours of continuous operation.

About Meprolight

Meprolight designs and manufactures a wide array of electro-optical and optical sights and devices, night vision devices, thermal sights and a wide variety of night sights and other tritium- and LED-illuminated products and accessories for safety and security applications for the law enforcement, military and civilian communities. For more information about Meprolight visit www.meprolight.com.

Friday, October 23, 2009

DHS S&T TO DEMONSTRATE CHEMICAL SENSORS FOR CELL PHONES

On October 27, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate will demonstrate new technology that would bring chemical sensing capabilities to cellular phones. Three different researchers have produced first generation laboratory prototypes and will demonstrate them at San Diego State University Regional Technology Center.

The program, called Cell-All, is designed to provide greater detection capabilities in areas where people congregate. The concept allows for chemical agent detectors to ultimately be everywhere where there are cellular telephones. At the option of the cell phone owner, the GPS in the phone could provide sensor location information to emergency operation centers. While still years from implementation, researchers are working on the proof of concept before attempting full-scale miniaturization. This demonstration will provide a look at the state of the science to date.

WHO: DHS Science & Technology Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA); NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.; Qualcomm Inc., San Diego, Calif.; Rhevision Technology Inc., San Diego, Calif.; and Seacoast Science, San Diego, Calif.

WHAT: Media availability and multi-manufacturer demonstration of the Cell-All chemical sensor technology.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 2:00 p.m. PST

WHERE:
San Diego State University
Chemical Sciences Laboratory Building, Room 122
Corner of College Avenue and Canyon Crest Drive
San Diego, Calif. 92182

To attend the press availability and demonstration, credentialed media should contact John Verrico, DHS Science & Technology at 202-254-2385, john.verrico@dhs.gov, or Golda Akhgarnia, SDSU Marketing & Communications at 619-594-2585, goldaa@mail.sdsu.edu.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Airman Keeps Soldiers Connected in Afghanistan

By Army Pfc. Melissa Stewart
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 22, 2009 - Shoot, move and communicate. That's a soldier's motto on the battlefield, but without a stable Internet connection, communication would not be possible. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremy Emond does his part at Combat Outpost McClain, aiding soldiers by providing Internet access.

"I'm supporting the warfighters at ground zero," he said.

Nearly everything from intelligence reports, operations planning and tracking troops outside the wire depend on Internet connectivity.

"Before he came out here, the [secure Internet protocol router] was really slow, and with most of my job I use SIPR," said Army Spc. Daniel T. Bailey, an intelligence analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Task Force Spartan. "Since he's come, everything has been really fast."

Emond is one of nearly 80 airmen deployed to various locations in Afghanistan to operate the Virtual Secret Internet Protocol Router, Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router, Access Point, -- known as VSNAP -- a system developed early this year to provide Internet access for soldiers in remote locations.

"This is probably the most fun I'll ever have on deployment," Emond said. "It's given me a chance to see how the war is being fought from inside a command post."

"It's a great system, because the disc can be set up in about 15 minutes, and you can probably be passing traffic in a half an hour," Emond said. "It can pull power off a running Humvee; you don't even need a generator to operate the system."

(Army Pfc. Melissa Stewart serves in the Task Force Spartan public affairs office.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Naval Research Lab Looks to Sea, Sun for Energy Solutions

By Bob Freeman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - The services could more effectively power unmanned vehicles, underwater monitoring sensors, ships and aircraft if Naval Research Laboratory scientists achieve their goals of harnessing solar and sea power to fuel the military for years to come, a top NRL scientist said. "A worldwide peak of fuel production is expected in five to 15 years, and increased demand will likely create large swings in price and availability," Barry Spargo, head of NRL's chemical dynamics and diagnostics branch, said in an Oct. 14 interview on Pentagon Web Radio's audio webcast "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military."

"The bottom line is that we need to develop alternative power and energy because conservation and efficiency alone will fall short of meeting future needs," he explained.

The quest for alternative fuel technologies is a top priority for the Navy, Spargo said, adding that energy research at NRL is diverse, allowing them to bring together a wide array of disciplines to address unique problems confronting alternate energy research.

"We're conducting research in a number of areas that look really promising; however it's unlikely that a single research area will solve the energy problems that we are facing," Spargo said. "NRL is currently investing in synthetic fuel production at sea, enhancing fuel energy density, exploration of methane hydrates in the ocean, energy harvesting from the sea, fuel cells and batteries, power electronics and superconductors, and inertial fusion.

"Each of these research areas has significant challenges," he added, "but certainly promising potential to help solve some of the Navy and [Defense Department's] future power and energy needs for force mobility."

One area of research that NRL is pursuing is the feasibility of sea-based production of hydrocarbon fuels. According to Spargo, the goal is to produce fuel in the same location where it is being consumed, specifically to support surface ships and aircraft operations from carriers at sea.

"This would give battle groups independence from fleet oilers which provide refueling needs," Spargo explained. It also would cushion naval forces from future fuel shortfalls, he added, providing energy independence to the Navy.

Fuel synthesis would be accomplished by a catalytic conversion of hydrogen produced directly from sea water by the electrolysis of water and carbon dioxide. "It's a complex process, but we believe that emerging scientific technology supports the development of synthetic logistic fuels," he noted.

"There are significant research and technological challenges, but the potential payoff is really high," he added.

Spargo noted that producing energy from sea water would be carbon dioxide neutral, thus not adding to the world's carbon footprint. "This technology would be a great candidate for dual use in the civilian sector if it actually comes to fruition," he said.

Spargo described another promising avenue of research that is investigating the potential for tapping the thermal energy stored in tropical waters.

"The energy stored in tropical waters is 300 times that of the world energy consumption. This makes the ocean the largest solar collector on Earth," he noted.

Ocean thermal energy conversion is a potentially efficient method to convert the energy stored in tropical oceans into electricity.

"You take the surface water, which is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and [use it to] heat a working liquid, something like propylene, which has a vapor point below 80 degrees," Spargo explained. "That converts the propylene liquid into a gas which drives a turbine that produces electricity. We then bring cold water up from about 3,000 feet below the surface, cool that vapor back into liquid and essentially create a cyclic process."

Taking a more direct approach to harnessing the energy of the sun, the lab is working on flexible photovoltaic panels about four times as efficient as current solar panels. According to Spargo, the panels can be easily folded and transported, or even integrated into materials like tents and uniform covers to provide a local power source in support of expeditionary forces.

"Additionally, NRL has prototyped a photovoltaic coating that can be sprayed on surfaces, like a rock, to create on-the-fly energy sources," he said. "You can imagine a small force spraying a rock and using it to generate electricity to power some device that they are using in the field."

A more unusual approach to energy production is the use of certain marine microorganisms that consume carbon dioxide in the ocean and convert it into energy that can be harvested. "As part of their biochemistry, these organisms produce electricity," he explained.

NRL has developed a number of devices that use microorganisms to power small sensors, like bottom-moored acoustic hydrophones for monitoring ship traffic, Spargo said.

"If we can produce enough energy with these devices, they could also power unmanned underwater vehicles, or at least provide a docking station where they could regenerate their batteries using electricity produced by these microbes," he said.

The lab has expended considerable research and development into developing hydrogen fuel cells as an energy source, Spargo said. "Fuel cells are used to create electricity, and they do this by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water," he explained.

Hydrogen fuel cells can deliver about twice the efficiency of a conventional combustion engine and when used to fuel unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, they can support heavier payloads than the earlier battery-powered models.

A recent test of the prototype Ion Tiger UAV, powered exclusively by a hydrogen fuel cell, sustained continuous flight for 23 hours and 17 minutes.

"Also, they can operate in stealth because they're not a combustion engine, which has a considerable heat signature, as well as a noise signature," he said.

Spargo also described efforts to harvest methane hydrates from the sea floor. "They have the potential of being double the amount of recoverable and nonrecoverable fossil fuels," he said.

Spargo admitted that there are many challenges to harvesting methane hydrates, including locating them and accessing them at such great depths, but it would be worth the effort.

"If we're able to actually extract these from the ocean floor, there's a potential to meet our national natural gas needs for about a hundred years," he said.

"Energy research is a key priority for the Navy and, for that matter, all of us," Spargo said. "I'm certain that there many exciting discoveries ahead that will help us achieve this goal of energy independence, as well as being good stewards of the environment as we operate and live in it," he said.

(Bob Freeman works in the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy.)

DARPA Program Brings Sci-fi Capability to Warfighters

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - Moviegoers were captivated as they watched a metallic assassin morph before their eyes in "Terminator 2." The villain turned to liquid before assuming new forms capable of squeezing through narrow openings and transforming its arms into bladed weapons and solid metal tools. Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency were wowed too. Now they're working to deliver that same kind of technology to support the good guys: warfighters on the battlefield.

Mitchell R. Zakin, program manager for DARPA's Programmable Matter division, said he's convinced the concept depicted for decades in blockbuster movies and comic books has real-life applications.

He's leading up the effort to develop "programmable matter," which he calls "the ultimate adaptable material." It will be capable of changing size and shape and taking on new properties for one use, he explained, then adapting to a whole different form for another use.

Zakin clarified that he's not out to change warfighters themselves, just the equipment they use, the clothing they wear and the loads they carry.

"Warfighters carry an incredible amount of stuff and they don't have any more room to carry more," he said. "Yet they are facing much more complicated battle spaces. They're going into caves and working in cities. They need more sophisticated tools to deal with these environments, yet they can't carry them."

The logistical challenge of getting equipment to remote areas such as Afghanistan exacerbates the problem, he said.

Enter the concept of programmable matter, a convergence of the fields of chemistry, information, mathematical theory and engineering.

Zakin envisions a day when warfighters will be able to reach into their kit, pull out a lump of programmable matter and form it into whatever they need.

Think of it as carrying a paint can with a bunch of particles inside, he advises anyone struggling to understand how it all would work. The particles could be different shapes and sizes, be made up of different materials and have different functions.

Depending on the requirement, the warfighter would instruct the particles to become whatever was needed at the moment -- a wrench, a hammer, a spare part. The particles would then organize themselves to form it. After using the device, the warfighter would return it to the bucket, where it once again would become a bunch of particles until instructed to become something else.

The same principle would work for uniforms, which could change their thermal insulating properties according to the climate: the deep freeze of the Afghan mountains, the blast furnace of summertime in the Middle East.

Fantastic as this all sounds, it's on its way to becoming a reality.

Five university-led teams are participating in DARPA's Programmable Matter program, and by the middle of next year, at least one is expected to emerge with a demonstration project. Halfway through the program's second and final phase, all five teams are making convincing progress that it's all possible.

The teams began the first phase of the program doing computer modeling, but got so excited by the project that they jumped headfirst into the second phase and began building actual prototypes, Zakin said.

By the end of the second phase, they're expected to demonstrate that they can take a single set of building blocks and create five different geometric shapes with the strength of engineering plastic.

"Everyone is making progress toward meeting these goals in a very meaningful way," Zakin said. "I'm confident that most, if not all the teams, will succeed."

The ultimate benefit to warfighters would be mind-boggling. "Imagine the possibilities: an entire toolbox originating from a single material form, or flexible clothing or equipment that can adapt to the immediate and changing needs of the warfighter, perhaps even 'smart' bandages embedded with diagnostic sensing capabilities," Zakin said. "The possibilities are endless."

In the simplest terms, programmable matter would bring warfighters "maximum capabilities with minimum carry weight," he said. "It would give them the ability to carry a little amount of stuff and do a lot with it. It creates a whole new paradigm in flexibility for the warfighter."

But the implications go far beyond warfighting, Zakin said. Aircraft wings built of programmable matter could change in flight to provide the best aerodynamic properties. Everything from computers to televisions to cars could be programmed to automatically update themselves with the newest features and configurations. Clothing could morph into the latest fashion styles.

In a nutshell, nothing would ever have to become obsolete.

"This is not fantasy, actually," Zakin said. "Aspects of this already are being done in this project."

Programmable matter also has the potential of turning the entire manufacturing process on its head. No longer would one design and one manufacturing process be needed for every single consumer product.

"Personal manufacturing" could take over. Consumers could go online, buy a blueprint for whatever they need, download the instructions, then feed them into a personal assembler that makes the product before their eyes, he said.

In some ways, Zakin said he's been preparing for the Programmable Matter program since he first saw as a young boy the concept depicted in the 1950s sci-fi movie, "The Blob."

"Most of my programs come out of the movies or comic books," he said. "It's what I do for a living."

Decades later, he said, it's gratifying to be at DARPA, where he's on the leading edge of helping bring fantasy to life.

"It allows us to do something very, very important, and something no one else has ever done before," he said. "It's very DARPA-like."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pentagon Officials Stress Cybersecurity

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 15, 2009 - Pentagon officials stress that no matter what computer you use, you need to take cybersecurity into account. With growing dependence on information technology and increasing threats against it, President Barack Obama declared October to be National Cybersecurity Month. The Defense Department is one of the largest computer users in the world, and security has to be in the forefront of all users, officials say.

Navy Capt. Sandra Jamshidi, director of the department's Information Assurance Program, said that if everyone did their part for cybersecurity, it would "filter out the low-level hacker type of attacks, so we're better able to go after the professional hackers who do the most harm to us."

Everyone needs to take precautions, the captain said during a recent interview. "If you're locking your car doors, then you help make the parking lot safer," she said. "If everyone is locking their car doors, then you make the parking lot a less attractive target. It's the same for cybersecurity. If we all pay attention to security, then it raises the threshold across the entire Internet."

The frontline of this cyberwar is the keyboard, and it doesn't matter if the keyboard is at the home or at work, Jamshidi said. Computer users often inadvertently carry viruses back and forth between home and work computers.

Users have a better chance of detecting something unusual on their computers, she said. People need to understand what is normal for the computer and the software they use. "If we raise awareness of what could happen, then maybe we're raising the awareness of detection," she said.

Cybersecurity doesn't just happen. Users of home systems need to have firewalls in place. They need to have anti-spyware and anti-virus programs up and running in the computers. And they need to constantly update the defenses, Jamshidi said.

Computer users, the captain said, need to understand that nothing remains static in cyberspace.

"The threats change, the software changes, the sophistication of the threat changes," she said. "We also change the way we defend. It's a persistent threat, and [hackers] will look for other ways to attack. If you had computer defenses that worked two years ago, they won't work today."

The Internet is a lot like a large city, Jamshidi said. Overall, it is a safe area, but it's safest on Main Street – where all the lights work and there are police and people around, the captain said.

"But any city has dark streets and back alleys," she said. "Some are so dangerous that the military declares them off-limits, and the same holds true for the Internet. It becomes very difficult to separate out legal and illegal activities on the back streets of the Internet."

Gambling, pornography and music-sharing sites are rampant with malicious code, the captain said. "If you are going to be out in the riskier parts of the Internet, then you have to have better defenses on your computer," she said. Better yet, she added, stay out of those parts of town.

Public Safety Technology in the News

Safe and Sound: Police Keep an Eye on Fitchburg High School
FitchburgPride.com, (10/02/2009), Caroline Keras

The Fitchburg (Mass.) Police Department and Emergency Surveillance Systems have partnered to test a new type of security camera system in Fitchburg High School. The free installation, which provides a connection between an existing camera system and a local police cruiser, allows the company to field test the product and receive feedback from the department. The system consists of a DVR in the high school connected to eight previously installed surveillance cameras. The DVR links to video equipment inside a cruiser and allows officers to monitor the school from approximately 1,000 feet away. A new antenna soon to be added on school grounds will extend that distance. The vendor also supplied training to the department's 48 officers on how to use the system.
www.fitchburgpride.com/news/2009/1002/Front_page/002.html

Pinpoint Crime in Your Neighborhood
MonroeNews.Com, (10/02/2009), Ray Kisonas

The Monroe County Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff's Office have become the first law enforcement agencies in Michigan to offer access to neighborhood crime reports through the online service, http://www.crimesports.com. Users can log onto the site to see what types of incidents have been reported and where they occurred. Citizens are able to view all police activity in the past six months in any Monroe County area or participating community. In all, agencies from 46 states use the mapping program, which costs $199 per month per participating agency. The program does not provide specific address or names. Users can also sign up for criminal activity notifications by e-mail and crime reports can also be viewed through http://www.monroesheriff.org.
www.monroenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091002/NEWS01/710029980#

New York to Fight Terrorism With More Street-Corner Cameras
The Christian Science Monitor, (10/05/2009), Ron Scherer

New York City has announced plans to deploy high-tech security cameras, license plate readers and weapons sensors throughout midtown Manhattan. Paid for by $24 million-plus in U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding, the new cameras will expand on installation already going on in lower Manhattan, including the Brooklyn Bridge. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the cameras may detect and/or deter terrorism threats and surveillance, and the sensors will be set up to detect chemical, biological and radiological threats. Civil rights organizations have expressed concern.
www.csmonitor.com/2009/1006/p02s10-usgn.html

FBI Scans All Driver's Licenses in North Carolina in Search for Fugitives
Associated Press, (10/12/2009), Mike Baker

An FBI project in North Carolina uses facial-recognition technology to compare millions of driver's license photos with pictures of convicts, with plans to possibly expand the project nationwide. The project has already resulted in one significant arrest, of a double-homicide suspect who had moved to North Carolina from California and started a new life under an assumed name. The FBI is studying how best to increase use of the software and there is no timetable to implement the program nationwide. The FBI is not authorized to collect and store photos, performing all analysis at the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.
www.newser.com/article/d9b9o5b80/fbi-scans-all-drivers-licenses-in-north-carolina-in-search-for-fugitives.html

County School Zones Getting Speed Cameras
The Baltimore Sun, (10/10/2009), Nick Madigan

Baltimore County, Md., has announced plans to join the ranks of other cities and counties across the nation installing digital speed cameras with an installation near 15 local schools. Police have released a list of school zones, but no specific locations. Drivers going more than 12 mph over the speed limit will receive warning during the first month of operation, after which the penalty escalates to a $40 fine.
www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/bal-md.co.speedcameras10oct10,0,1723731.story

Browsers Can Now Follow Crime Stats in St. Louis County
South County Times, (10/09/2009)

The St. Louis County (Mo.) Police Department recently launched a Web-based crime mapping system developed in-house and providing citizens with the capability to locate information about where crime has occurred in their neighborhoods. The application covers unincorporated areas and municipalities served by the county police, but not incorporated areas that have their own police departments. The system can be accessed at http://www.stlouisco.com/police/. Users can view 90 days worth of crime data by crime type, address or date.
www.southcountytimes.com/Articles-i-2009-10-09-167096.113118_Browsers_Can_Now_Follow_Crime_Stats_In_St_Louis_County.html

Fingerprinting on the Fly
Herald-Tribune.Com, (10/06/2009), Doug Sword

The Sarasota County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office recently began using a new hand-held device to scan scan fingerprints in the field and provide reports to officers. Use of Motorola's PrintSearchMobile has already resulted in several arrests. Sarasota County is the first law enforcement agency in the nation to use the devices, paid for with money from a drug forfeiture fund, in the field. The scanners cost approximately $4,100 apiece.
sarasotacountybeat.blogs.heraldtribune.com/10058/fingerprinting-on-the-fly/

County Gets $160,000 for CAD Upgrade
News-Leader.Com, (10/13/2009), Tara Muck

Christian County, Mo., will use part of a $1.7 million federal grant given to the state to upgrade its computer aided dispatch system. The upgrade includes the capability of pinpointing the exact location of a cell phone call. Technology presently in use only notifies Christian County Emergency Services of the name of the owner of a cell phone, with no information on the phone's current location. The new technology will help officers locate disoriented or injured individuals who cannot provide information on their location. The advanced software mapping system will also provide driving directions to emergency responders and offer the ability to instantly replay recorded 911 calls to extract additional information. Approximately three-quarters of all 911 calls received in the county come from cell phones.
www.news-leader.com/article/20091013/COMMUNITIES0201/910140347/1117/County+gets++160+000+for+CAD+upgrade

MATC Law Enforcement Program Targets Training
Channel3000.com, (10/13/2009)

Madison Area Technical College offers use of simulation training wherein actual firearms have been modified to work with a video training system. A recoil kit provides simulated recoil every time a student presses the trigger of the Glock 17 used in the Ti Training simulator. Trainees using the system face life-sized video scenarios featuring robberies, active shooters and domestic dispute. A tape of a trainee's performance allows the instructor to review the performance with the student.
www.channel3000.com/education/21278862/detail.html

Microsoft and National White Collar Crime Center Make Digital Forensics Tool Available to U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies
Reuters, (10/13/2009)

Microsoft Corp. and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) have reached an agreement to allow NW3C to become the first U.S.-based distributor of the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) software. COFEE uses digital forensic technologies to enable non-expert officers to collect computer forensics evidence at the scene of a crime, thus preventing loss of important information when the computer has to be powered off and taken elsewhere for a thorough forensics investigation. Officers can learn to use COFEE in less than 10 minutes. Under the agreement, law enforcement agencies can obtain COFEE free of charge through a link at http://www.nw3c.org/. An April 2009 distribution agreement with INTERPOL already makes COFEE available to law enforcement in the agency's 187 member countries.
www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS169947+13-Oct-2009+PRN20091013

NLECTC Communications Technologies Center of Excellence Announces Oct. 27 Webinar on Precision Location for Public Safety

The NLECTC Communications Technologies Center of Excellence (CoE) will host a webinar on “Personnel Precision Location Technology” on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. Program Manager Peter Small will be joined by Center Director Rick Mulvihill and Chief Technology Officer Alan Kaplan of Drakontas, LLC, to present an introduction to this technology for criminal justice professionals. Join the CoE to learn about personnel precision location technology and its role in law enforcement and corrections operations. The NLECTC Communications Technologies Center of Excellence will host a series of webinars over the next year, with one occurring approximately every eight weeks. You can register for the personnel precision location technology webinar by clicking on this link: www.livemeeting.com/lrs/8001859620/Registration.aspx?PageName=7f2kfm5cg7xztx62

About the Communications Technologies CoE
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) established the NLECTC Communications Technologies CoE in October 2007 to serve as a specialized technology resource for the more than 19,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement and corrections agencies across the United States. To learn more about the Communications Technologies CoE, go to www.commtechcoe.org.

This project is supported by NIJ Award No. 2007-IJ-CX-K013 and Supplement One. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Executive Order Bans Texting While Driving for Feds

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 13, 2009 - In an executive order issued Oct. 1, President Barack Obama banned federal employees from text messaging while behind the wheel on government business. "With nearly 3 million civilian employees, the federal government can and should demonstrate leadership in reducing the dangers of text messaging while driving," Obama said in the order. "A federal government-wide prohibition on the use of text messaging while driving on official business or while using government-supplied equipment will help save lives, reduce injuries, and set an example for state and local governments, private employers, and individual drivers."

Text messaging, or "texting," encompasses more than simply sending a text message via a handheld communication device. It also includes reading from any handheld or other electronic device, including for the purpose of SMS texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, obtaining navigational information, or "engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication," the order said.

The order defines driving as "operating a motor vehicle on an active roadway with the motor running." This includes the time the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic light or stop sign or other cause.

"It does not include operating a motor vehicle with or without the motor running when one has pulled over to the side of, or off, an active roadway and has halted in a location where one can safely remain stationary," Obama said in the order.

While the order applies specifically to federal employees, it also asks contractors to follow suit, and encourages civilians to adopt the same measures while operating their own vehicles.

Agencies are being directed to implement this order through the consideration of new rules and programs and re-evaluation of existing programs. Agency heads are urged to conduct education, awareness and other outreach for federal employees about the safety risks associated with texting while driving.

"These initiatives should encourage compliance with the agency's text messaging policy while off duty," Obama said.

Agencies have 90 days to take appropriate measures to implement this order, adopt measures to ensure compliance with the ban on text messaging -- including disciplinary action for violations -- and notify the transportation secretary of the measures undertaken.

Agency heads may exempt certain employees, devices or vehicles that are engaged in or used for protective, law enforcement or national security responsibilities or on the basis of other emergency conditions, the order says.

Solar Array Saves Air Force Energy, Money

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 13, 2009 - A solar-energy array at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., is saving money for the Air Force and decreasing the service's reliance on fossil fuels. "The military, perhaps better than anyone, is bound and determined to be good stewards of the incredible natural resources we have in this country," said Air Force Col. Dave Belote, commander of the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis, in an Oct. 8 interview on the Pentagon Channel podcast "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military."

The solar array, which debuted as North America's largest renewable venture in December 2007, is composed of more than 72,000 solar panels containing 6 million solar cells, and represents an enormous step toward energy efficiency, Belote said. It supplies 28 percent of the base's power, saving about $83,000 a month and 24,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, the colonel said. "It's really an exciting thing to be a part of," he added.

The photovoltaic system uses some of the same technology pioneered in the mid-1960s by the Bell Corp. It produces power only while the sun is shining. "We are peak producing at about noon to 1 p.m.," Belote said.

The array's solar panels are produced and supplied by four companies, the colonel said, and officials have been keeping data on which are most effective. Data-collecting devices on the grid report real-time system performance information to each of the four companies and the main corporation. That information has led one of the companies to start creating a more energy-efficient bifacial solar panel after seeing the added efficiency was worth the cost.

The panels are located in an industrial portion of the base and are designed to absorb and convert sunlight, as opposed to reflecting it, so they do not interfere with the base's flying mission, Belote said. Of the 140 acres of land used for the array, 33 acres are a capped-off landfill. "We couldn't have done anything else with it," he said, "and saved millions of dollars in environmental clean-up and made use of land that would not be used at all otherwise."

In its two years of operation, the array has posed no problems, the colonel said.

"One of the most pleasant surprises about this array and this climate has been the virtual total lack of maintenance," he said. Solar panels usually present a challenge, he noted, because they need to be kept clean. "As soot and grime coat the panels, efficiency drops off pretty quickly," he explained. But because of the desert climate, the panels at Nellis have yet to require cleaning.

Belote said he has been in contact with other Air Force leaders interested in similar projects, and has addressed many groups about involving the military in these types of environmental partnerships. He also had the opportunity to speak with President Barack Obama when the president visited the base in May, and he said Obama graciously accepted his suggestions and encouraged him to continue working on these issues and partnerships.

"Because the [Defense Department] trumpets the fact that it knows it is the nation's largest consumer of energy, and the Air Force within [the Defense Department] is the largest consumer of energy, we are all about finding ways to stop spending money on fossil fuels," he said. "We would like to use clean, renewable projects anywhere possible."

Energy saving projects like this allow the Air Force to be fiscally responsible, he added, and "allows us to be great stewards in natural resources."

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

DARPA Works Toward DoD Energy Independence

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 9, 2009 - Scientists are working to create energy self-sufficiency for the Defense Department, the nation's largest single consumer of energy, a defense expert said. Energy has always been an important point in the military. You can go back into history and look at fodder to feed the horses in the Napoleonic Wars, and you can look at today in Afghanistan where energy is a key enabler, or in some cases, a key limitation," said Barbara McQuiston, special assistant for energy at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

McQuiston discussed the agency's research and development efforts aimed at tactical energy independence during an Oct. 6 webcast of "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" on Pentagon Web radio.

DARPA's goal is to generate cost-effective, alternative energy technologies for the military by addressing energy generation, conversion, control and conservation from sustainable sources, she said.

The military consumes an average of 60 to 75 million barrels per year in jet fuel alone, she said. DARPA is looking at creating new opportunities that could be "game changers" in the field of sustainable energy sources to help satisfy the military's critical need for fuel.

"I think Peter Drucker always said it well ... 'If you want to control the future, you need to create it,'" McQuiston said. "So DARPA invests in science and technology to make these changes.

"When we looked at energy, what we were looking at was the diversification of energy sources and moving away from a reliance on fossil fuel to create better energy security for ourselves now and in the future," she added.

While many agencies –- particularly the Department of Energy and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy -- are researching alternative fuels and working toward energy independence on a broad civilian level, DARPA focuses purely on military applications, McQuiston said.

For instance, DARPA is exploring the possibility of creating bio jet fuel from sources -- including a variety of nonfood crops -- using rich oils such as camelina sativa and algae, and cellulose and hemicelluloses, which are biomass and biowaste materials. Two companies working for DARPA are looking into converting algae directly into jet fuel in a scalable and cost-effective way for military applications.

"Biofuel is a huge area [of DARPA's research]," McQuiston said. "Again, jet fuel is 60 to 75 million barrels per year of JP8 [jet fuel] that powers both the jets and the generators. Being able to get JP8 from a renewable source means you can generate JP8 anywhere in the world independently."

As in its previous endeavors -- including projects that brought the Internet and GPS to life -- DARPA wants its fuel research to drastically change the landscape of military fuel consumption, she said.

McQuiston said advancing technology in conversion is key to that goal. Algae conversion is showing efficiency that potentially could lead to renewable jet fuel that costs less than $1 per gallon. The current efficiency of jet fuel converted from cellulose and rich oils likely will dictate a cost below $3 per gallon, she added.

"At DARPA we're looking at things that are high risk but have high benefits for the future," she said. "What are some of these aspects we can push out to really enable a different future? In the area of energy, the hard part is to identify and demonstrate ways to efficiently harness and convert the flow of energy.

"There's energy all around us in abundance," she added. "Can we convert what's around us into a form of energy that can be used for the military to create tactical energy independence?"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

McNair Exhibit Showcases Disaster Relief Solutions

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 7, 2009 - Portable satellite-communications sets, water purifiers, electricity generators, solar-cooking devices and more are on display until Oct. 9 at Fort Lesley J. McNair here as part of an international disaster-relief research and assistance program co-coordinated by the National Defense University. The two-year-old STAR-TIDES -- Sustainable Technologies Accelerated Research Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support -- program, brings public and private entities together each year to showcase equipment designed for communities stricken by natural or man-made disasters or war. Those solutions include shelter, water, power, communications and other critical needs.

"What this is about is sustainable, affordable support to stressed populations – post-war, post-disaster, impoverished," said Linton Wells II, a professor and force transformation chair at NDU's Center for Technology and National Security Policy on Fort McNair.

STAR-TIDES seeks to "pull together a public/private, whole-of-government, transnational approach to addressing these problems; so it's not just [the Defense Department], it's a much broader approach," said Wells, a retired Navy captain and former principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration.

The STAR-TIDES program, Wells said, supports the U.S. National Security Strategy of 2006 by finding ways to help stabilize and introduce democracy to underdeveloped nations and soliciting civilian agencies to become involved in those efforts.

The solar-, wind- and water-powered equipment on display at Fort McNair, Wells said, is operational without an established electricity grid.

"The idea is you've got to be able to come to a cold, open field and be able to operate," he explained.

The equipment is designed to be deployed and operated at locations worldwide, said Walker Hardy, a research associate for Wells at NDU.

"In different countries, there's always a different problem and that's what the STAR-TIDES project is about," Walker pointed out. "We're not the equipment experts, but we're going to work with the equipment experts and we're going to work with the policy experts and the regional experts to find the right piece of equipment that fits that country or that region."

Larry Lowe, vice president of engineering for the Huntsville, Ala.,-based GATR Technologies, showed off a portable, inflatable satellite-communications system that can be transported and set up anywhere in the world and be "pushing data" within an hour. A similar system, he said, is in use in Afghanistan.

About 50 yards away, Kevin Jones, the president of Pittsburgh-based Cardinal Resources, drank a cool glass of clean water provided by his company's portable water-treatment system.

"In 30 minutes, you can be pumping clean drinking water," said Jones, noting the water treated by his system had been pumped from the not-so-clean Potomac River.

Richard DeLuca, president of HydroCoil Power Inc. of Wynnewood, Pa., demonstrated a mini water turbine that can be placed in rivers and streams to generate electricity.

And, Tom Sponheim, who works for the Solar Cookers International nonprofit organization based in Sacramento, Calif., demonstrated several cooking units of various design operated by the sun.

The most basic, inexpensive solar cooker on display, Sponheim said, is constructed of cardboard with a reflective coating. Similar units, he said, are being used in Africa and Afghanistan.

Materials used to make inexpensive solar cookers "are available in most countries," Sponheim said.

Patricia McArdle, a retired U.S. diplomat who now does volunteer work for Solar Cookers, had served with a provincial reconstruction team in northern Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, McArdle witnessed "little kids pulling bushes out of the ground and hauling them home for their mom to cook with." The region, she said, had been deforested to burn wood for charcoal.

McArdle praised STAR-TIDES for its efforts to help promote the solar cooker program, noting that using brush and bushes to burn for cooking fuel can cause respiratory problems.

"It's very important because the need is desperate in many countries," McArdle said of the solar cooking program. "If we were able to help these people to cook with the sun, we wouldn't have to spend as much money as we're spending shipping in fuel ... we wouldn't be contributing to deforestation.

"And, I think we would build a lot of goodwill by sharing this technology with people and empowering them to make it themselves," McArdle said.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Defense Department Launches Photography Widget

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2009 - American Forces Press Service, the Defense Department's vehicle for news and feature content on the Defense.gov Web site, has unveiled a "widget" for photographs. The widget, available under the Widgets tab on Defense.gov, allows users to receive the latest Defense Department imagery in real time on their own Web sites or social networking pages by cutting and pasting one short line of code.

The widget appears as a 240-by-156-pixel graphic box -- about 3 by 4 inches – and cycles through at least eight photos. It is updated frequently throughout the day.

Linda Kozaryn, director of eProducts at the Defense Media Activity, said the widget allows for the sharing of the best imagery from the Defense Department, Defense Media Activity and other military assets stationed around the globe.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to immediately provide the latest imagery to our audiences," she said.

The widget is the latest example of the extension of innovative tools the press service has been adding in recent years to better disseminate the department's news. In June 2008, AFPS launched its first widget, allowing users to receive AFPS articles in real time. To date, the AFPS widget has been downloaded more than a million times.

In addition to widgets, AFPS also uses other social media tools such as Real Simple Syndication, or RSS, as well as a weekly podcast and a Facebook page. Users also can follow AFPS on Twitter. A blog called "Family Matters," dedicated to issues affecting military families, is another recent addition.

"We are trying these new social media tools to reach our audiences. We want to provide the latest Defense Department information on the sites they are visiting the most," Kozaryn said.

AFPS provides news and feature stories on the Defense Department's senior military and civilian leaders, policies and procedures, as well as military operations and humanitarian aid efforts. Seven AFPS writers cover the Pentagon and travel with the defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior leaders on their visits to stateside bases and overseas.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg serves in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cyber Security Awareness Gets Focus in October

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 2, 2009 - We've all had the experience: our computer, at work or at home, stops working. It could be a hardware glitch, but in this viral world, it just as likely could be a virus, worm or other malicious bit of software. At best, it means de-bugging you computer. At worst, it can lead to a rape of your electronic self – with criminals hijacking your identity and ruining your reputation and your life.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and a focus of the month is getting the word out that everyone has the responsibility to protect the national infrastructure.

While computer specialists at the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security work to ensure networks are safe, users still must watch their computers.

The National Cyber Security Alliance – sponsors of the security awareness month – has some tips to help protect you and your family:

-- Always know who you are dealing with online. Do not open unsolicited e-mails or go to Web sites that look "off." One Defense Department official suggested checking the domain identifier. "Some shady sites use the name of actual sites, but [with a] different identifier – a dot-com rather than a dot.gov," the official said.

-- Keep Web browsers and operating systems up to date.

-- Back up important files to CDs, thumb drives or external hard drives at least once a month.

-- Protect your children online. The media are full of stories about predators who haunt the Internet. In addition, some sites are inappropriate for children to view. Officials recommend using parental controls.

-- Use security software tools as your first line of defense. Many companies specialize in cyber security software, officials said, and people should buy one and keep it up to date. One hopeful development in the research world, they added, is that researchers writing new software often do that with security in mind.

-- Use strong passwords or strong authentication technology to help protect personal information. Even after much emphasis over the years on security, the most common password still is "password." Most officials recommend passwords with combinations of numbers, capital and lowercase letters and special characters. Other verification procedures include fingerprints and retina scans, though they can be expensive. And though it should go without saying, don't write down your password and put it on a note next to your computer.

-- Learn what to do if something goes wrong. Even if you are careful, your computer could be compromised. What now? One answer is to call the company that makes your security software, or the place you bought the computer. Or you can call one of the myriad groups that troubleshoot computers. Keep the phone numbers for your security software's manufacturer and the place where you bought your computer somewhere safe. They don't do any good sitting on your C drive if something goes wrong.

Priority Data Exchanges for Local Communication Centers

This document is part of a set of deliverables being produced by the IJIS Institute/APCO
Public Safety Data Interoperability Program (PSDI). The overall program is anticipated to encompass multiple projects, and is focused on advancing open, standards-based information sharing to support the emergency communications domains – law enforcement, fire, and EMS – and related homeland security domains. The results of this first project will set the foundation for future projects to create high-value, first responder National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) exchanges.

The goal of this initial project is to improve real-time information sharing capabilities in the emergency response environment. Primarily, the program aims to define a strategy for the adoption and use of NIEM as the standard for sharing critical information between emergency communications centers and public safety agencies, within and across jurisdictions, and with other relevant emergency management and intelligence domains of the federal government, as well as to define a CAD Exchange List of high-value exchanges.

DOWNLOADhttp://www.ijis.org/docs/Priority_Data_Exchanges_LocalCommCtrs_FINAL.pdf

Guide to Information Sharing and Data Interoperability for Local Communication Centers

This document, authored by the Public Safety Data Interoperability (PSDI) committee, provides managers of public safety communications centers (to include Public Safety Answering Points or any agencies that answer emergency calls) with an overview of the issues and opportunities surrounding data interoperability. It provides practical insights and action‐oriented advice for managers looking to enhance data interoperability in their facilities. The PSDI Committee consists of a combination of practitioners and industry representatives and is supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. The PSDI Project is co‐managed by the IJIS Institute and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International (APCO).

DOWNLOAD
http://www.ijis.org/docs/Guide_Info_Sharing_Data%20Interoperability_Local_Comm_Ctrs_FINAL.pdf

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lynn Calls for Collaboration in Establishing Cyber Security

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 1, 2009 - Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn said the department's culture regarding cyber security issues must change, and become more robust. The deputy secretary spoke at a gathering celebrating the start of National Cyber Security Awareness Month here.

The Defense Department is responsible for ensuring the "dot-mil" domain remains safe, while the Department of Homeland Security oversees security of the "dot-gov" domain, Lynn explained. Private companies and non-profit groups have responsibility over "dot.com" and "dot.org," while academia has "dot.edu."

But none of this works unless every American takes cyber security seriously, Lynn said. "There is no exaggerating our dependence on information networks," he said. "In our case, we are a 21st Century military that simply cannot function without it."

There also is no exaggerating the threat with its source, its speed and its scope. Lynn said the department is facing many threats -- from teenage hackers to organized crime networks to attacks by foreign intelligence services. "We're seeing assaults come at an astonishing speed – not hours, minutes or even seconds – but in milliseconds at network speed," he said.

The scope of the assaults is incredible and the mission ahead for DoD is jaw-dropping. "We have hundreds of different organizations, we have 15,000 networks administered by about 90,000 employees. We have 3 million employees who use 7 million computers and IT devices," Lynn said.

The department must establish a culture of cyber security, the deputy secretary said. The department must certify all those network administrators, "training our 3 million employees that when you log on, you are the front line of our cyber defenses."

The department is looking to build "leap ahead" cyber security programs. "We're also improving our command structure – building a new cyber command to better coordinate the day-to-day defense of our networks," he said.

Lynn said DoD stands ready to share the technology and expertise of the department with Homeland Security and others who need the cyber-defense capability.

"It would be unwise, indeed irresponsible, if we didn't somehow leverage the technical expertise of the department – including the Defense Information Systems Agency and the National Security Agency," he said.

The department will ensure that any defense fielded will "uphold and respect civil liberties," Lynn said.

DoD must also cooperate with nations around the globe, Lynn said. Attacks use computers around the world and protecting the United States means the nation must address complex issues of national sovereignty and international law.

No one can address cyber security alone, Lynn said. Government agencies must work with others, and private industries need government to help establish standards. "Most of all, every leader, every employee in government, industry and academia need to understand the vulnerabilities and responsibilities we share," he said.

But cyber security is still a young industry, Lynn said. He compared the cyber world to military aviation. Military aviation recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, which went from flying a biplane around Fort Myer, Va., to global missions anywhere, anytime, in any weather.

"By that measure, it's only 1928," Lynn said. "This year marks the 20th year of the World Wide Web. In other words, in terms of cyber security, we're still in the era of biplanes and dirigibles. We're still in the dawn of the Information Age. We still have decades of change and challenge ahead of us: Decades of innovations and technologies we can't even imagine.

"To be sure, there will be set backs and failures along the way. But if history is any guide, this too is a challenge we can meet together and solve together."

DoD Schools Prepare Science Students for Tomorrow's World

By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 1, 2009 - Defense Department schools are stressing studies in science, technology, engineering and math in keeping with 21st century needs, the head of the Department of Defense Education Activity's science program said yesterday. "There's a huge shortage of people choosing to go in those fields, so at DoDEA, we really are working to promote more students to have an interest in choosing those opportunities as a career," Kim Day said in an interview on the weekly "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" podcast.

Some 90,000 students attend 191 DoDEA schools around the world. Classes run from pre-K through high school, and Marc Mossburg, DoDEA's chief of curriculum, said the curriculum is continually assessed and updated to stay on par with parallel academic institutions.

"If you walked inside one of our DoDEA schools, you would actually think that you're in a regular stateside school," Mossburg said. He added that efforts to identify and foster scientific thinking start by tapping into young children's natural curiosity.
"Whether they're digging a hole and getting a bunch of worms together or whether they are building blocks and seeing how they balance on each other - those are really great scientific concepts that we need to facilitate," Mossburg said.

Day, whose own DoDEA schooling led to an academic career, said that beyond memorizing facts, students need to participate in doing hands-on science that stresses academics, knowledge and laboratory-based research skills. She added that all students, not just those with scientific careers in mind, should be gaining knowledge and skills in science and math to prepare them to live in a world increasingly shaped by science and technology.

"They really need to be involved in hands-on science," she said. "It's important for students to experience these processes in order to make meaningful links to related science topics and ideas."

DoDEA students who wish to apply lessons outside of laboratories have many options.

"We've been very successful having partnerships with the research labs," Day said. "NASA and the local commands are excellent in providing learning opportunities for our students."

Projects that reinforce classroom learning include one that linked students with a company in Hawaii conducting robotics studies, and the NASA-run Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope project. "The students actually operated a radio telescope, located out in the Mojave Desert, to download information from space," Day said. She added that members of the military at the local base command in England helped students interpret and report the data.

This summer, three DoDEA students participated in the highly competitive Research Science Institute, sponsored by the nonprofit Center for Excellence in Education in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The RSI program is designed to develop student experience and proficiency in laboratory-based research related to engineering and other technical areas.

In addition, the Junior Science and Humanities Symposia, an event supported by the Army, Navy and Air Force, promotes original research and experimentation in the sciences, engineering and mathematics at the high school level and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement. JSHS aims to widen the pool of trained talent prepared to conduct research and development vital to the United States.

Mentors also support classroom learning, Mossburg noted. "We also want to encourage any of your listeners who may be out there if they are near a DoDEA school, and I even want to advocate if they are near a public school, to let that principal know they are available, [and] that they would enjoy the mentorship, because our military students really do enjoy meeting these people who are practicing science."

(Judith Snyderman works for the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)