Science and Technology News

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mobile Device Plan Balances Security, User Needs

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2013 – On the heels of this week's release of the Defense Department's Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan, the DOD chief information officer spoke today with government and trade representatives about the plan's implications for industry and troops.

The department is seeking to supplement the existing land mobile radio environment with the ability to use commercial mobile devices, Teri Takai said at the third annual MobileGov summit.

"We are not talking about replacing or throwing away any of our current capability," Takai said.
More than 50 mobile pilot programs have revealed the needs of device users and the capabilities of industry, and that information is being used to shape the implementation plan -- even as the pilot programs continue, she noted.

"I want to be really clear about that. They are the basis for the strategy, [and] they are the basis for the implementation plan," she said. "We would not have been able to get to where we are today without the benefit of those pilots."

While the demand for mobile devices is coming from throughout the military services and combatant commands, Takai said, their needs and obstacles aren't uniform.

"One of the challenges for us is that for our warfighter, they really expect and deserve secure access to information any time, any place," she said. "The challenge for us is to be able to look at a strategy that meets everyone's needs, and yet does it in a consistent, secure way. When we put out a mobile strategy, it isn't just about what works in the U.S.; it's about what will work for our warfighter, regardless of where they are."

The burgeoning partnership between DOD and developers of commercial mobile devices and applications creates an opportunity to leverage the industry perspective and allows DOD to move much more quickly in adopting new mobile technologies, Takai said.

The Pentagon’s CIO acknowledged skepticism that DOD can move quickly. "It is a challenge," she added. "Clearly, it isn't something that's easy to do, but I think the thing that … is so important is that we recognize the need to be able to move more quickly.

"We recognize the need to be able to bring technology and the benefits of technology to us," she continued, "but we also have to think about many of the things DOD has to do in order to make that happen."

When department officials talk about mobility, she said, they must always also talk about security and cost-effectiveness, so several goals were in mind during the implementation plan’s development.
First, the DOD infrastructure must be prepared for mobile devices, Takai said. That includes everything from the development of the joint information environment to looking at how data is secured, where it's stored and how it's accessed, she said. Additionally, mobile access to classified and unclassified information has to be further developed.

"We're looking at these devices as not only being available for our warfighters, but available for senior leader communications," she said. This means the department has to be able to protect classified information, and to do it globally, Takai noted.

The department also must ensure that mobile devices can be issued and managed, Takai said. This requires the development of mobile device policies and standards, and then mobile and Web-enabled applications can be developed for use by DOD personnel, Takai said.

"What we did not want to do is have 50 different solutions," she said. If the department failed to take a unified approach, it could not ensure the same level of security for all users, she explained.
"The other piece of this is, obviously, in these times of sequester, cost savings," she said. From a fiscal perspective it doesn't make sense to implement multiple strategies, Takai said, but it doesn't make technological sense, either. Multiple strategies would make it difficult to rapidly adopt new devices or applications, she said.

DOD's mobile device strategy isn't being developed in a vacuum, Takai said. The department is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the General Services Administration and other federal agencies. In the case of GSA, the department is hoping to leverage its buying power to continue to drive device prices down, Takai said.

There are 600,000 mobile devices in use throughout DOD, she said, and as the pool of acceptable devices and uses expands, the number of devices in use will rise as well. To prevent a rush, the Defense Information Systems Agency and DOD are executing the expansion in at least six phases split between the unclassified and classified networks, Takai said.

Security and technical implementation guidelines have been developed for four mobile platforms, she said: Android, iOS, Windows and BlackBerry. The goal is to put in place a process that allows for faster upgrades to those guidelines as technology changes, Takai said.

More responsibility for ensuring the process moves quickly will now fall on industry, she said, to supply more thorough documentation than in the past. Previously, DOD officials would construct that documentation themselves when the documents failed to meet DOD standards, she said.
"That was a process that just slowed everything down," she added.

"Getting it to go faster is a joint effort," Takai noted, pledging that DOD will help its industry partners supply the required information.

"What we have to do is improve our processes so that you can go faster,” she said, “and what [industry] will need to do is be prepared to actually participate in that [certification process] going forward."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

14th Air Force Earns Excellent Inspection Rating

by Maj. Stacie N. Shafran
Director, 14th Air Force Public Affairs


2/26/2013 - VANDENBERG AFB, Calif.  -- Fourteenth Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) earned an excellent rating during its compliance inspection Jan. 22 to Feb. 1.

The Headquarters Air Force Space Command Inspector General team, led by Col. Robert Skinner, conducted the inspection, which reviewed individual programs and adherence to Air Force Instructions. The 614th Air and Space Communication Squadron as well as the 614th Air and Space Operations Center were also inspected.

During the inspection, the IG team evaluated 34 major graded areas. The unit earned one outstanding, 10 excellent and 23 satisfactory ratings.

In 2010, 14th Air Force earned an "in compliance" rating.

"The men and women of 14th Air Force have long been regarded for their high degree of competence, professionalism and can-do attitudes. Everyone should feel extremely proud of their accomplishment," said Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, 14th Air Force commander.

Professional Performers
Maj. Scott Lisko
Master Sgt. Patricia Brooks
Master Sgt. Ulysses Chavez
Tech. Sgt. Robert Cisco
Staff Sgt. Veronica Hill
Staff Sgt. Brandon Lirio
Mr. John Carrillo
Ms. Kim Grabelski

Superior Performers
Lt. Col. Bill Havens
Lt. Col. Mark Steves
Maj. Erin Dunagan
Master Sgt. Michelle Birchfield
Master Sgt. David Hensley
Master Sgt. Randy Magdaleno
Master Sgt. Alicia Singerman
Tech. Sgt. James Desgrange
Senior Airman Loren Benham
Airman 1st Class Kairi-Ann Jackson

Professional Teams
14th Air Force A2 Unit Support (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)
614th Air and Space Operations Center Defensive Operations Branch
614th Air and Space Operations Center Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division Training Team
614th Air and Space Operations Center Training, Stan/Eval Team
614th Air and Space Operations Center Unit Fitness Program Managers

Superior Teams
14th Air Force Unit Deployment Team
14th Air Force A1 Team (Manpower, Personnel and Services)
14th Air Force Inspector General Preparation Team
614th Air and Space Operations Center Weather Team

Atlas V launch teaches students about science and space

by Maj. Stacie N. Shafran
Director, 14th Air Force Public Affairs


2/27/2013 - VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. -- A science field trip to Vandenberg Air Force Base provided 35 students from St. Mary of the Assumption School, in nearby Santa Maria, an opportunity to watch a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blast into orbit carrying a NASA payload Feb. 11.

Team Vandenberg launched the Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 just after 10 a.m. It was the sixth Atlas V rocket launched from the base.

The school's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program seeks to expose its students to as many real-world opportunities as possible.

"Only a few places in the world launch satellites into orbit, and one of those is right in our backyard at Vandenberg AFB," said Michelle Cox, St. Mary of the Assumption School principal. "Watching a launch is a great way to introduce our young students to science and space. The kids were pumped for days and couldn't stop talking about what they saw during the launch. Who knows, maybe one of them will be Santa Maria's first astronaut."

In addition to hosting the field trip, the 30th Space Wing and NASA hosted a launch viewing party at Providence Landing Park in Lompoc that brought in nearly 1,800 spectators from all over the world. Mobility, the rock band from United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, played for the launch spectators.

"Our communities have supported our base and our mission for many years," said Larry Hill, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs community relations chief. "It was great to see such an amazing turnout for this launch."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AFRL Commander's Challenge 2013 brings out the best at Arnold

by Philip Lorenz III
Arnold Engineering Development Complex Public Affairs


2/22/2013 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- When the message about the Air Force Research Laboratory 2013 Commander's Challenge went out to Arnold Engineering Development Complex's junior workforce, Artious Walker and 2nd Lt. Chance Johnson sent in their applications without hesitation.

Walker, a project manager and electrical engineer with the propulsion side of AEDC's Test Systems Acquisition Branch, had applied for the AFRL Commander's Challenge last year. Encouragement from AEDC's senior leadership and learning more about the 2012 challenge from colleague Rob Merrill were pivotal to Walker's decision to apply again for the six-month temporary duty assignment in Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

For this year's Commander's Challenge, the teams will tackle the daunting problem of demonstrating an alternative means of precision navigation that does not use the Global Positioning System or similar satellites.

"A lot of times you find that younger people have so many outside-of-the-box types of ideas -- they're fresh out of school and they don't know what the 'norm' is," Walker said. "They're not going to say, 'We've been doing this a certain way for the last 20 to 30 years.'"

AEDC Commander Col. Raymond Toth agrees with Walker about the need to seek more innovative solutions to real world problems from a broader spectrum of younger professionals in the Air Force.

"Let's get some folks involved from a cross section of the Air Force, in the various fields, specialty codes, various engineering talent," the colonel said. "Some may not even be hardcore engineers. We need to look for innovative solutions to these really hard problems, because once you get in a stovepipe, and you start thinking in a particular way, many times it's hard to get to break out of that method of thinking.

"The AFRL Commander's Challenge tries to bring together diverse teams who don't think alike, to come to that unique solution where somebody says, 'Let's figure out how make it -- a different approach -- work.'"

Walker, who is excited about the prospect of participating in this year's Commander's Challenge, said, "This program allows that younger crowd, those with new, fresh ideas, to approach and solve some of the frontline problems that our warfighters are dealing with on a day-to-day basis."

Johnson, a project manager with the aerodynamic (wind tunnels) side of AEDC's Test Systems Acquisition Branch, said his experience with another program helped spark his interest in applying for the Commander's Challenge.

"I worked on a similar team at the [Air Force] Academy with Capstone," said Johnson, who is a developmental engineer. "It was obviously a different mission, but they were gathering three different project teams to create a solution for a warfighter need. I really enjoyed the experience that I had on that project team."

Toth said an innovate approach to solving real-world problems, like threats to the GPS network, is essential to finding workable solutions to challenges facing the warfighter and the public.

"The solution doesn't need to be an electrical engineering one," he said. "AFRL is not saying that the solution has to be another thing that looks like GPS. All they're saying is, 'Give me a chance to navigate -- to provide precise navigation and timing.' Who says it has be based on electrical engineering principles?"

DOD Releases Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan



 

The Department of Defense announced today the release of a Commercial Mobile Device Implementation Plan that supports the department’s June 2012 Mobility Strategy with specific goals and objectives in order to capitalize on the full potential of mobile devices.  The implementation plan focuses on improving three areas critical to mobility: mobile devices, wireless infrastructure, and mobile applications, and works to ensure these areas remain reliable, secure and flexible enough to keep up with fast-changing technology.


“The Department of Defense is taking a leadership role in leveraging mobile device technology by ensuring its workforce is empowered with mobile devices,” said Teri Takai, Defense Department chief information officer.  “As today’s DoD personnel increasingly rely on mobile technology as a key capability enabler for joint force combat operations, the application of mobile technology into global operations, integration of secure and non-secure communications, and development of portable, cloud-enabled capability will dramatically increase the number of people able to collaborate and share information rapidly.”

The implementation plan establishes a framework to equip the department’s 600,000 mobile-device users with secure classified and protected unclassified mobile solutions that leverage commercial off-the-shelf products, promote the development and use of mobile applications to improve functionality, decrease costs, and enable increased personal productivity.  The plan orchestrates a series of operational pilots from across the DoD components that will incorporate lessons learned, ensure interoperability, refine technical requirements, influence commercial standards, and create operational efficiencies for DoD mobile users.

 “The DoD Mobile Device Strategy and Implementation Plan aim to align the various mobile devices, pilots and initiatives across the department under common objectives to ensure the warfighter benefits from these activities and aligns with efforts in the Joint Information Environment,” said Ms. Takai.  “This is not simply about embracing the newest technology -- it is about keeping the department’s workforce relevant in an era when information accessibility and cybersecurity play a critical role in mission success.”

For further information about the DoD Mobile Device Strategy and Implementation Plan, please visit http://www.defense.gov/news/dodmobilitystrategy.pdf and http://www.defense.gov/news/DoDCMDImplementationPlan.pdf .

Saturday, February 23, 2013

African-American Inventor Left Innovative Legacy


By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2013 – Throughout history, necessity often has served as a powerful agent for those seeking to assuage their needs through inventive, and sometimes, desperate measures.

Garrett Morgan, a poorly educated inventor and entrepreneur, discovered this as he found a necessity for one such invention after previously struggling to find its niche.

Morgan, the son of former slaves, was born in Paris, Ky., on March 4, 1877, and grew up extremely poor with very little education. He had no more than a sixth-grade education, but his natural curiosity and inventive nature led him to try new things despite a lack of formal education.
After moving to Ohio as a young man, Morgan worked as a sewing machine repairman and fixed equipment at a textile factory. His reputation for mechanical aptitude was widespread, and he earned money working in the Cleveland area.

In 1907, Morgan opened a sewing equipment and repair shop. Although he had little education, and still faced the challenges of most African-Americans, he was successful enough to later expand his business, and even to own a car.

While living in Cleveland, Morgan noticed firefighters were having trouble putting out fires and were routinely overcome by smoke. After seeing this repeatedly, he devised a safety hood and secured a patent for the device.

Described as a canvas hood with two tubes, the contraption was held on the back to filter smoke outward while cooling incoming air inside. But Morgan had difficulty selling the practicality of his invention.

Then, in 1916, an explosion in a tunnel being constructed 250 feet under Lake Erie trapped workers inside. According to local accounts, three separate rescue attempts were conducted. Each time, the rescue parties failed to return.

Morgan arrived with his safety hood, but officials refused to enter the tunnel after the failures of previous rescue parties. Undaunted, Morgan and a few volunteers put on the safety hoods and slowly extracted the trapped workers from the tunnel, rescuing 32 in all.

The acclaim from this feat generated publicity for Morgan and his gas mask. After the rescue, Morgan's company received requests from fire departments around the country for the new masks. But even with this success, Morgan continued to struggle selling his invention in the South because of his ethnicity.

The U.S. Army later refined the Morgan gas mask for use during World War I, helping to protect soldiers from poisonous gases and other chemical attacks.

The ambitious inventor also was granted a patent for the mechanical traffic signal on Nov. 20, 1923. He later sold it to General Electric for $40,000, but was recognized by the U.S. government for his invention nearly 40 years later.

Morgan died Aug. 27, 1963, at the age of 86, following years of innovation and experimentation leaving a lasting and creative legacy for African-Americans everywhere.

(Brittainy Joyner of the office of the assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs contributed to this article.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

TechNet builds network, partnership for the future

by Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


2/21/2013 - TOKYO, Japan  -- More than 450 people from the U.S. Department of Defense and technology industry came together for the 7th Annual Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association TechNet Tokyo Feb. 12 to 15, at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.

"TechNet offered attendees the opportunity to get an insider's perspective from key military leaders and stay informed on information technology developments in the DoD across the Pacific," said Alan Joseph, 374th Communications Squadron deputy commander at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and president of AFCEA Tokyo.

Rear Adm. David Simpson, Defense Information Systems Agency vice commander, talked about the challenges facing the military in today's environment.

"Today's fight is here (in cyber). Are we prepared strategically, operationally, tactically to fight in cyberspace? The adversaries' goals will be non-traditional where his methods will be things we have not seen," Simpson said. "We are building information platforms, a cyber platform, which just doesn't have a commercial parallel. We are going to bring some asymmetric advantage we are accustomed to into that cyber battle space."

Though each of the four panels offered their own expertise in the theme of "Riding the Cyber Wave," two major notions evolved throughout the conference: Engaging with coalition partners on a bilateral and multilateral level and defending the cyber network.

"We have some challenges, but we have some unique opportunities as we look at the rebalance and the DPRI (Defense Policy Review Initiative) and the work we have with our coalition partners," said Linda Newton, Deputy Chief of Staff for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence and Command Information Officer for U.S. Pacific Fleet. "I believe we can define JIE (Joint Information Enterprise) into that larger standard that DoD has set on the U.S. side but we can drive that at the local level to make it work."

Working with host nation partners will continue well into the future to benefit both countries, said Col. Yvette Quitno, 5th Air Force director of intelligence and cyber operations.

"We see we have seen a great increase in information sharing, especially in cyber operations, with our Japanese partners, we see a lot more discussions on defense of the network and what that means," she said.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CARE modifications place pilots at better elevation

by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs


2/20/2013 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- While mechanics from Lockheed Martin upgrade the cockpit structure of the U-2 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, it looks like a pile of parts at the local junk yard. However, the modifications allow the aircraft to fly just as true as before while improving pilot safety and comfort.

In the mean time, the thin black aluminum panels, which give the high-flying Dragon Lady its signature sinister look, sit on the ground while miles of wires and cables, along with unpainted metal are exposed for mechanics to "beef up" during a Cockpit Altitude Reduction Effort modification.

"What we're doing is beefing up the structure and pressure equipment including the rings that produce the unique shape and contour," said James Barnes, Lockheed Martin field representative in charge of CARE. "The bulkhead is the main location for this. These aircraft are very thin skinned for weight saving, so specific areas can only be changed."

The upgrades will almost double the cabin pressure from 3.88 to 7.65 pounds per square inch. For Airmen who fly the U-2, the highest flying aviators in America at 70,000 feet, this will reduce the strain on their bodies as well as reduce the chance for decompression sickness.

U-2 pilots have to wear a full pressure suit to protect them in the event of ejection at high altitudes. However, the suit also helps regulate their body from cabin pressure, which can be equivalent to being at 29,000 feet.

"That is like being on the top of Mt. Everest for hours on end," said Capt. Joseph, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron instructor pilot, who has more than 1,150 hours in the U-2. "I have been in aircraft with the new cockpit, and it brings the pressure down to about 15,000 feet."

From beginning to end, the retrofit takes less than 23 days. The structural maintenance technicians from the 9th Maintenance Squadron here take care of the initial tear down in three days of phase maintenance, and then Lockheed takes over.

"Engineering and precision is key to the function and success here," Barnes said. "Every hole has to be the right size, gaps in metal are meticulously measured; everything has to be precise."

The mechanics say precise may be an understatement. When fitting the aluminum skin plates together, placing rivets and ensuring the structural integrity, cuts have to be made and holes have to be drilled within a 30,000th of an inch.

With a tight schedule to keep, Barnes' crews work 20 hours a day, six days a week. He said challenges arise but won't stand in the way of completing this important work.

"Our biggest challenge is finding unexpected parts that need to be fixed," he said. "The most common part this happens to is the metal skins right under the pilot's feet."

Barnes said liquid from the urine collection device used during long high flights can leak and corrode the plane from the inside out. These parts have to be retrofitted from scratch to match the original specifications.

"To me, these challenges don't matter when it comes to pilot safety,' he said. "You have to adapt, make sure you have the right supplies and overcome each obstacle."

U-2 squadron commanders are also confident the change will mitigate a longstanding problem called decompression sickness.

"This modification promises to mitigate our past problems with DCS and prevents us from losing qualified U-2 aviators who have in the past been restricted from high altitude flight due to DCS hits," said Lt. Col. Stephen Rodriguez, 1st RS commander.

Cape Canaveral AFS wins AFSPC's first Installation Energy Performance Award

by 1st Lt. Connie Dillon
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs


2/20/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, COLO. -- Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, an installation of the 45th Space Wing, was awarded the Headquarters AFPSC Installation Energy Performance Award for fiscal year 2012.

The IEPA program, developed in 2012, is an AFSPC initiative to recognize the installation that best meets the energy focus for that year. "In 2012, we needed to improve energy project execution. Therefore, the criteria centered on programming solid energy projects and awarding those projects within 120 days of Authority to Advertise," said Capt. Vincent Bongioanni, Headquarters AFSPC deputy energy branch chief.

Nineteen installations competed for the award and CCAFS won with a total of 39.4 out of 45 possible points.

"Cape Canaveral maxed out points for programming the installation's allotted share of AFSPC Energy Focus Funds and negotiating project bids within 120 days of receiving Authority to Advertise," said Bongioanni. "They also earned extra points for awarding additional projects in excess of their original share of funds."

The award includes a trophy and command recognition to the winning installation.

The unique travelling trophy is solar-powered and made out of renewable materials and a recycled electricity meter with its own built-in micro-grid. On the back of this trophy, CCAFS has the distinct honor of being listed as the first recipient.

The criteria for 2013's award are being developed with a focus on mission energy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hidden Costs of Data Theft

In an age of fully digitized data, consumers and businesses can lose thousands of dollars in the blink of a hacker’s eye. The costs of data theft are well known to anyone who has ever found themselves victim to financial identity or medical record fraud. What few of us realize is that the procedures required to right a financial wrong are often costlier than the crimes themselves.

Read On

SMC/LR's Safety Team wins Air Force Space Command Space Crew of Distinction Award

by SMC Public Affairs

2/19/2013 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- "Managing space debris is part of the National Space Policy," said Capt. Raymond Scholz, Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle System Safety Manager. In a world where the benefits of space permeate almost every facet of our lives, we must manage to keep that environment as clean and as safe as possible, he explained.

Among many significant accomplishments, the Space and Missile Systems Center's Launch and Range Systems Safety Team's work ensured safe execution of the $1.5 billion Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program at the 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB, Calif., and the 45th SW at Patrick AFB, Fla. The team performed multiple mission assurance activities to ensure the satellites made it to orbit, including appropriate collision avoidance analysis (to reduce the risk of collisions between the launch vehicles and orbiting objects) and safe upper stage controlled re-entries.

Additionally, the team built the 2012 Exception to National Space Policy/Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices (ODMSP) waiver request package and achieved Secretary of Defense approval on the waiver, allowing five launches to enhance satellite vehicle constellations. Furthermore, the team optimized two mission profiles: one mission became fully compliant with the ODMSP re-entry criteria, and the other was optimized to reduce the disposed upper stage's orbital life from 24 years to three months. These optimizations resulted in a reduction of cumulative collision risk by 99 percent.

In light of these and other accomplishments, SMC/LR's safety team won Air Force Space Command's Space Crew of Distinction Award and is now in the running for the Air Force Chief of Safety's Space Safety Award. Nomination implies that the individual or team "performed beyond normal expectations of proficiency and/or performance" in contributing to space safety.

LR's team also refined the strategy for ODMSP compliance from the previous year's strategy by researching and adding additional programmatic actions to resolve non-compliances. This included researching mission and launch vehicle modifications that could potentially achieve additional compliances. As this plan is improved and implemented, the potential for leaving behind dangerous space debris is reduced, thereby decreasing opportunities for collisions that could put humans in space or our vital space capabilities at risk.

The team also developed and staffed nine launch waivers, two re-entry approvals, and 10 radio frequency deconflictions necessary to permit timely launches. Waivers were reviewed to ensure the contractor was performing the appropriate safety mitigations to allow the launch. Reentry approvals were reviewed to ensure the upper stage re-entered safely and did not pose a major risk to the public when it impacted the ocean. The team also constructed and staffed eight orbital space safety reports to 14th Air Force (Vandenberg AFB, Calif.), ensuring proper risk acceptance and allowing the launch of the eight satellite vehicles.

"LR is the vehicle provider and the conduit to meet this space environment strategy," said Scholz. "They work in conjunction with the Engineering Directorate to resolve any debris issues.

"After all," said Scholz, "we fly the satellite into orbit, so we have a vested interest in making sure that what we're doing is safe not only for the general public, but for space in general. That's how we come into the picture."

The team also developed and implemented an improved analysis technique which protects the International Space Station by ensuring a safe separation of the upper stage's disposal orbit and the ISS's orbit to ensure there are no collisions. NASA is studying further implementation of this technique.

In this age of reduced resources, the team is nearing completion of certification for a launch vehicle GPS tracking system, which would allow for the reduction of ground-based tracking systems and reduce the cost of range sources as it verifies the launch vehicle stays on course.

Should a mishap occur, this team is prepared with the high fidelity recording effort they manage, capturing the launch in the early stages so they can resolve anomalies quickly, ensure there are no repeats of the anomalies in future missions, and promptly return to flight.

"We worked eight launches last year," said Captain Scholz. "There's a lot of moving pieces that have to be completed before a launch happens. And we did that eight times this year--a very busy OPSTEMPO to say the least," said Scholz.

"It was certainly no easy task," said Maj. Erick Fonseca, Chief, Systems Integration Branch.

"I am proud of my folks. It is a team effort. They have a lot of influence and credibility. That, in itself, is the essence [of their achievement]."

Military Works to Counter Cyber Threats

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2013 – The United States military is working diligently to beef up cyber defenses against all threats, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

In a meeting with Pentagon reporters, Little said the United States believes in an all-of-government approach to cybersecurity, which includes diplomatic, economic and military measures.

The U.S. government “will continue to draw upon the capabilities of all our agencies and departments to strengthen our cyber defenses,” he added.

Recent attention has focused on China since a private firm accused a Chinese army unit in Shanghai of launching cyberattacks against U.S. firms. Little declined to comment on the allegation, saying the Pentagon does not comment on intelligence matters. But he noted that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta raised concerns about cyber issues during his visit to the nation last year.

“We have repeatedly raised our concerns at the highest levels about cyber theft with Chinese officials, including the military, and we will continue to do so,” Little said.

The United States is a target of cyberattacks from around the world, the press secretary noted.

“I’m not commenting on any particular state actor,” he said. “We see cyber threats emanate from a number of places. We have discussed the cyber threat with many countries around the world.”

The U.S. publication “Chinese Military Power” said the U.S. government “appeared to be the target of intrusions, some of which appear to have originated within the People’s Republic of China. These intrusions were focused on exfiltrating information.”

Saturday, February 16, 2013

AF splits space, missile career field for officers

2/15/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force has split the space and missile career field in an effort to ensure more focused development for officers performing these critical missions in increasingly complex operational environments, Air Force officials announced today.

Under the old construct, more than 50 percent of space-coded company grade officers' development time was spent as a missileer, said Col. Joseph Prue, career field manager for space operations officers.

"Space and Missile Operations have become more and more technical in application and execution--each in their own unique ways," said Prue. "This split will enable each career field to continue cultivating technical expertise via separate, yet equally important, avenues in order to be more effective and efficient in meeting current and future AF needs."

This change will allow the Air Force to further strengthen the nuclear enterprise, said Col. Zannis Pappas, the new career field manager for "Nuclear and Missile Operations," or AFSC 13N.

"Over the past four years, we have created distinct training and development tracks for our space and missile officers to further ensure that our Airmen are prepared for the unique challenges of these missions," said Pappas. "The transformation of the career field will allow for deliberate development of specialized skills, technical depth, and experience to prepare for emerging challenges."

The change affects approximately 3,100 officers coded as either "Space Operations" or "Nuclear Missile Operations" within the former 13S career field. Those officers previously coded as "Space Operations" will remain in the 13S career field and those officers previously coded as "Nuclear Missile Operations" will have their AFSCs changed to 13N.

All new Air Force officer accessions headed for careers in the former "Space and Missile Operations" AFSC will be classified as either a "Space Operations" (AFSC 13S) officer or "Nuclear and Missile Operations" (AFSC 13N) officer.

Affected officers should contact their career field managers for more information about how the change will affect them, said Prue.

"The transformation of the career field will give space and missile officers opportunities to develop the depth and breadth they need for command, as well as the opportunity for career-long development in specific mission areas," said Prue.

(Courtesy Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)

Department of Justice and National Institute of Standards and Technology Announce Launch of National Commission on Forensic Science

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today the establishment of a National Commission on Forensic Science as part of a new initiative to strengthen and enhance the practice of forensic science.  
 
The National Commission on Forensic Science will be composed of approximately 30 members, bringing together forensic science service practitioners, academic researchers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and other relevant stakeholders to develop policy recommendations for the Attorney General. The commission will consider guidance on practices for federal, state and local forensic science laboratories developed by groups of forensic science practitioners and academic researchers administered by NIST.  
 
“Forensic science is an essential tool in the administration of justice and needs to be continually evaluated as science progresses,” said Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole. “Forensic science helps identify perpetrators, convict the guilty, exonerate the innocent, and protect public safety. This initiative is led by the principle that scientifically valid and accurate forensic analysis strengthens all aspects of our justice system.” 
 
“The Department of Justice and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have a history of successful collaboration,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “Through this initiative, we will work even more closely with the forensic science community to strengthen the forensic science system.”
 
The commission will have responsibility for developing guidance concerning the intersections between forensic science and the courtroom and developing policy recommendations, including uniform codes for professional responsibility and requirements for training and certification.
 
The new initiative provides a framework for coordination across forensic disciplines under federal leadership, with state and local participation. The Department of Justice, through its involvement in the commission, will take an active role in developing policy recommendations and coordinating implementation. The NIST-administered guidance groups will develop and propose discipline-specific practice guidance that will become publicly available and be considered for endorsement by the commission and the Attorney General. This coordinated effort will help to standardize national guidance for forensic science practitioners. Additionally, NIST will continue to develop methods for forensic measurements and validate select existing forensic science standards.  
 
Specific criteria for membership will be announced in an upcoming Federal Register notice, and applicants will have 30 days from the publication of the notice to submit their applications.
 
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit www.nist.gov .

OPSEC is that ubiquitous enemy

by Ross Tweten
482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs


2/10/2013 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- Keep it hush-hush, on the QT, close to the vest, under wraps, but above all, maintain Operations Security.

OPSEC is that ubiquitous enemy, constantly looking over your shoulder, constantly trying to peek behind the curtain. But it's also the ally, the precious gem that, when preserved, delivers a magnanimous return on investment.

OPSEC is a practice and capability that is both blatantly objective and curiously subjective. While the purpose of OPSEC is to reduce the vulnerability of Air Force missions by eliminating or reducing successful adversary collection and exploitation of critical information, often, the deeper question is what is critical information and how is the adversary collecting it?

Critical information is a specific fact about our intentions, capabilities, and activities vitally needed by our enemies for them to plan and act effectively, so as to cause failure or unacceptable consequences in our mission accomplishment.

Critical information lists are typically unique for each installation. The items in a critical information list are identified by the individuals responsible for the planning and execution of the organization's mission. People should contact either their unit OPSEC coordinator or program manager to gain an understanding of their critical information.

OPSEC coordinators are locally the key to all things OPSEC, be it knowing what's on your critical information list or reporting OPSEC violations.

"People should report all OPSEC violations so we can correct and learn from our violation both as an installation as well as on an individual level," said Mr. Jeffrey Vaughan, 482nd Fighter Wing chief of Information Protection and OPSEC program manager. "It's important to have an understanding of how the enemy is trying to gain access to our information so we can employ countermeasures to effectively negate or reduce the adversary's ability to exploit our vulnerabilities."

OPSEC applies to all activities that prepare, sustain, or employ forces during all phases of operations, so the information that requires protection cuts a wide swath across the Air Force's operations. The tenets of OPSEC touch all Airmen from the top down.

"The enemy doesn't care what rank you are or how much responsibility you hold," said Chief Master Sgt. Cameron Kirksey, 482nd FW command chief master sergeant. "If you have information that is in any way useful to the enemy, you can be a target."

What results from an OPSEC violation or slip up can lead to grave consequences. Failure to properly implement OPSEC measures can result in serious injury or death to Airmen, mission failure, as well as damage to weapons systems, equipment and facilities.

The loss of life and mission failure are the most serious in terms of the penalties of violating OPSEC, but for those who drop the proverbial OPSEC ball, a litany of administrative penalties can follow such as removal from access to classified materials, loss of security clearance, and suspension without pay.

Both at home and deployed, the value of practicing good OPSEC is immeasurable. But, in the end, the purpose of employing good OPSEC is to help the warfighters achieve their mission.

"Good OPSEC is absolutely critical, not only for mission success, but also for the safety and well-being of our Airmen," said Vaughan.

As the saying goes, information is power, and the power that the right information can wield is magnified given the nature of modern warfare.

"The adversary with the most information wins," said Vaughan. "If we lose the war in the air, we lose the war and lose it quickly," he added, quoting British Army Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. "The same can be said about OPSEC."

The avenues in which someone can violate OPSEC are many. From simply mentioning an upcoming deployment to a neighbor, to telling a friend through email the number of guided bombs you loaded onto an F-16, information can travel regardless of the means of communication.

As information spreads faster than wildfire on social media platforms, practicing good OPSEC is more important now than ever before.

"Social media has a direct capability of being used against us," said Capt. Brooke Davis, 482nd FW Public Affairs chief. "The technology being used by the enemy to gather and collate information stretches across every social media platform and it can interpret and utilize even the most insignificant piece of sensitive data."

It's highly recommended to set privacy settings so that only "friends" can see specifics on Facebook. Even after establishing privacy settings, people should not assume their information will remain private. Don't post classified or sensitive information (i.e. troop movement, force size, weapons details). When in doubt, speak to an OPSEC coordinator or program manager.

When using smartphones or tablets to take pictures and access social networking sites, people could be inadvertently posting their exact geographic location. This technology is known as geotagging, and many phones, tablets and digital cameras are set up to geotag by default. If deployed and using a phone or digital media device, people must disable this function.

But Airmen are encouraged to share OPSEC awareness information with both family members and friends. This will ensure family members and friends understand how adversaries can use public media sources such as web sites, blogs, social networking sites, newspapers, and television to obtain critical information that can be used to target Airmen and their families.

Training and education is the cornerstone to maintaining OPSEC. Airmen must ensure they receive their initial and annual OPSEC awareness training from their unit coordinator.

Some practices to get in the habit of doing include never discussing sensitive information in public unless in a secure location, knowing the unit's critical information list, and adhering to social media guidelines.

"Members of the military need to make OPSEC a way of life," said Vaughan. "Once you completely buy in to the program, practicing good OPSEC will become second nature."

According to Kirksey, OPSEC is very much in and of itself an enemy in line with the enemies our warfighters encounter on the battlefield.

"Internal OPSEC violations are just as dangerous and just as much of a threat to our Air Force as any outside criminal element," he said. "In my opinion, complacency is the biggest enemy of OPSEC; vigilance is its biggest ally. The second we relent on protecting sensitive information could be the only second the enemy needs to deliver a blow."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Maintenance Airmen cut time with technology

by Tech. Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs


2/12/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFPN) -- A group of Airmen here are part of a unique shop created to help identify maintenence issues in MC-130 aircraft faster.

The 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron wire analysis shop is a test bed for automatic wire test sets. Air Force Special Operations Command officials initiated the AWTS program about four years ago in order to provide special operation maintainers a program to help pinpoint maintenance issues with MC-130s in significantly less time. Each test program set is built to specifically identify wire malfunctions on the aircraft.

"Typically, it can take a maintainer about one minute to test two or three wires by hand with a multimeter," said Tech. Sgt. Don McKenzie, a member of the wire analysis shop. "This system can test more than 3,000 wires in just one minute. This means what may take one maintainer days to identify, this system can catch something in less than a 10-minute period."

Each program is written locally to identify specific maintenance issues. McKenzie along with Staff Sgt. Robert Walker are the second generation of Airmen assigned to the wire analysis shop. Between them and the three NCOs before them, they have written five difference test program sets used to help maintainers identify issues with the engine, anti-skid systems, radar systems, missile warning systems and fuel quantity systems.

"AFSOC decides which program we need to build based on the number of maintenance issues we may have with a system AFSOC wide," McKenzie said. "We write the program here and get it approved for local use before sending it on to the Depot in Warner Robins who helps distribute the program DoD wide."

Last summer, McKenzie was working as an expediter during the Foal Eagle exercise in Korea when he witnessed the value of AWTS first-hand.

"We had an MC-130 down for radar issues," McKenzie said. "We were working 12 hour shifts, 24/7, and still couldn't fix the issue. Finally we called the wire analysis team out and within one hour they told us that there was a broken ground wire. Once the issue was identified the hard part was over for us."

One of the goals of the wire analysis shop is to train their fellow 353rd SOMXS maintainers in the next few years to use the AWTS system so they will be able to simply check out the AWTS from the tool room as need.

By increasing the use of AWTS, the wire analysis shops expects to decrease the amount of aircraft down time by not only shortening the time it takes to trouble shoot hundreds of wires found on an aircraft, but also help their fellow maintainers proactively identify out of tolerance wiring even if the aircraft system still works.

"I think it is amazing," Walker said. "We create something out of nothing and then we get to see how it can help not only locally, but the entire military if they chose to use it."

DISA Highlights Increase in Use of Collaboration Tool

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2013 – Use of a Web-based application designed to offer an information exchange environment for Defense Department users has grown markedly as defense spending cuts loom, Defense Information Systems Agency officials said.

Since 2007, Defense Connect Online has been the “go-to” mechanism among several new enterprises within DOD’s networks that entrust remote services with a user's data and software through cloud computing.
Defense Connect Online is the designated enterprise tool allowing DOD partners to collaborate on either classified or unclassified networks, said Alfred Rivera, DISA’s director of enterprise services.

“It’s been the department’s way of providing collaborative solutions … for online meetings, document sharing, white-boarding and voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) capabilities, to include chat,” Rivera said.
John Hale, DISA’s chief of enterprise applications, said DCO is the Web-based solution fielded within DOD’s private cloud so information can be exchanged among mission partners. “It really has been a facilitator of collaboration, … including the ability to chat live with each other while you’re doing it,” he said. DCO users should note common access card requirements, with the option for non-CAC holder guest participation, Hale said.

As DOD faces an austere budget climate, DISA officials said, DCO and similar enterprise ventures have shown growth by virtue of cost savings. “We’re starting to see a large increase in the use of Defense Connect Online, and in the last 60 to 90 days, there’s been unprecedented growth,” Hale said.

DISA officials continue to address technology solutions to meet increasing customer demands, Hale said, adding that programmers took necessary steps to ensure data security both at rest and at use within the system.

“The solution was built … with security in mind, [and] that’s one reason it leverages our current DOD private cloud as its native platform, … because a certain amount of security comes with that environment,” Hale said. “As [information technology] increases in complexity and users demand more and more instant capabilities, security is … at the forefront of everything we do to ensure our nation’s defense information is kept safe.”

A maximum capacity of 2,000 users in 2007 has since increased to 4,000 concurrent users, Hale noted, but recent demands have accelerated capacity expansion.

“Under normal circumstances, that would be a good model; however, DCO capacity requirements have significantly increased by 33 percent during the last 60 to 90 days,” he said.

To address the increased demand, DISA officials expedited a previously planned expansion project, and will double current capacity within the week.

“We will make several system upgrades within six to eight weeks which will allow us to add additional capacity beyond 8,000 in a streamlined fashion, as dictated by mission partner usage,” Hale said.

Rivera said Defense Connect Online was DISA’s first large endeavor as part of the agency’s emergence into enterprise services. Another is enterprise email service. The Army was the first adopter of DOD Enterprise Email (DEE), said Alan Lewis, DISA’s program executive officer for enterprise services.

“We currently have over 800,000 users on that system and are growing rapidly,” Lewis said. “In the next two months, we’ll have 1.5 million users on that system.” Users include members of the Army, the Joint Staff and various combatant commands, among other military agencies, Lewis added.

DISA is the main service provider of high-end applications to DOD, its senior leaders said.

“What you’re seeing is large growth across the board in terms of the service offerings from DISA to the entire department,” Lewis said, noting plans to integrate mobile capabilities into all platforms.

Rivera said collaboration with the Army to determine whether or not the ventures were fiscally sound were worthwhile. “The results indicated that the Army would save around $74 million annually when moving to DEE versus them doing it themselves,” Rivera said.

With an expected 1.4 million Army users taking advantage of DEE, other enterprise services such as the DOD Enterprise Portal Service and DCO consolidate common usage applications into large-scale platforms to bring cost savings to taxpayers, Hale said.

“Every organization is trying to save as much as possible to meet their mission needs,” Hale said. “By offsetting the cost for these common services that everybody expects [and] using enterprise services, it allows organizations to focus their dollars back into their mission.”

Rivera expressed confidence that Defense Connect Online and similar enterprises will weather the fiscal storm.

“It is one of those efficiency applications that the department can recognize as we look at … strong budget cuts going on,” he said. “This is one of our key enterprise applications that will continue to be a critical element as we move forward in this budget-constrained environment.”

Rivera said he expects mission partners to use the enterprise not only for meetings, but also for operational discussions, distance learning and other capabilities.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Killer continuity

by Lt. Col. Gregory Karahalis
12th Space Warning Squadron commander


2/11/2013 - THULE AIR BASE, Greenland  -- One of the toughest aspects of an assignment at Thule Air Base is managing job know-how and passing it on. For the most part, this doesn't apply to the mission-related functions for which one has received training at tech school and developed expertise elsewhere in the Air Force. Rather, it applies to the many specific-to-Thule activities that often go undocumented and are not conveyed when your replacement arrives a year after you did. Unfortunately, it is an all too common occurrence to have an Airman discover a briefing, spreadsheet or application that would have saved them hours of work had they known about it months before.

Here at the 12th Space Warning Squadron, we've begun capturing the processes and vital knowledge that fill each person's job jar, and organizing our electronic information more effectively. We hope to create that prized continuity that units with slower turnover enjoy and pass along the details of the seemingly mundane which doesn't get covered in the week of changeover between the incoming member and the outgoing (and out-processing) member. Our goal is to avoid the countless hours lost when the new person has to learn or re-create a process for the first time. Ultimately, our vision is to eliminate lost continuity by providing the squadron a useful and valuable knowledge base.

We've identified three basic kinds of knowledge: functional, temporal and situational. Functional knowledge is that set of processes that define the day-to-day aspects of one's job, like how to manage a crew schedule. Temporal knowledge, or time-based activities, captures those activities that occur daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually, such as a quarterly OPSEC report. The final type, situational know-how, captures those occasional events that require much effort and don't fit neatly into any one person's job jar. Knowing how to handle a major facility maintenance issue is an example of situational knowledge. In each case, knowing in advance who, what, where, when, how, or in particular, why things are done a certain way from a ready resource will greatly streamline learning, while increasing efficiency and effectiveness.

Undoubtedly, getting the correct information can be challenging. Our starting task was simple -- have everyone make a list of all they do each day. Very quickly functional tasks became apparent. In time, temporal duties emerged into a schedule of regular suspenses. Finally, as events dictate, situational responsibilities took shape. These lists will be organized into shop level know-how files and the details of each task documented. By providing a starting format for each entry and borrowing heavily from Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century and operational risk management lessons learned concepts, we'll be able to capture what's on everyone's mind and keep it for our successors.

There is also a tremendous amount of data on the squadron's file server (about 100 gigabytes worth for 12th SWS alone). Unless the squadron staff has guidance and is trained on how the squadron keeps digital data, people will repeatedly create their own organization and start from scratch. This wastes time and file space and undermines efforts to dominate the information. In tandem with these efforts, we're also employing records management principles and restructuring our shared drive space to enhance the retention, organization and discoverability of file information. This will include a common sandbox space, an archive space and personal spaces. On regular intervals we'll clean the sandbox, and archive finished work so it can be found and re-used.

Knowledge operations managers are probably wondering how this is different from established protocols. The key to our initiative is operationalizing our knowledge. We are systematically structuring know-how from our members into a thoughtfully designed and well-tended information space. We'll actively train and retrain the squadron process for knowledge management in a way that goes beyond the vague what to do of AFMAN 33-363 and AFI 33-322 to a "why-" and "how-we're-doing-it-here" approach. Don't get me wrong - each step of the way we'll consult those documents to benchmark our processes.

At the 12th SWS, we hope to turn the corner on continuity. Rather than getting killed by a lack of continuity we are planning to create killer continuity. Our vision is to create a simple, sustainable knowledge management process that enables efficient and effective execution of our mission.