Science and Technology News

Monday, September 30, 2013

DMOC for Space takes training virtual

by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel


9/25/2013 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- Unbeknownst to many at Schriever, there is an organization on base that trains and educates American warfighters on space effects and capabilities.

The Distributed Mission Operations Center for Space is located inside the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, but it has worldwide reach on a daily basis.

Officially, the unit conducts advanced training, participates in exercises and supports mission rehearsal events Air Force-wide.

"We also develop and integrate new modeling, simulation and network capabilities," said Larry Overmyer, DMOC-S director. "We are the only unit that provides space modeling simulation to the warfighter."

Reggie Spivey, DMOC-S deputy operations lead, describes the facility's mission in simpler terms.

"Think of Xbox Live," he said. "That system allows game players to compete along with other players around the world, where everyone can see the battle field. In essence, DMOC for Space provides that same type of scenario for participants in Air Force and combatant command exercises."

Most people have heard of Red Flag and Blue Flag exercises, where units come together at a central location and conduct battlefield operations. The DMOC-S provides those type of exercises to be conducted virtually, where all players can participate from their home location.

The unit contains exercise planners, engineers and space operators as well as intelligence, communications and cyber subject-matter experts. Members use sophisticated computing and communications equipment to create simulated environments as well as develop real and simulated data for a multitude of players during an exercise.

With 31 members, comprised of active duty, reservists, contractors and government civilians, DMOC-S provides support to units from tactical squadrons up to and including combatant commands such as U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Pacific Command.

"A virtual flag does what a Red Flag does, except it's all virtual," said Jay Littleton, DMOC-S operations lead. "The model is the same. Role players brief in the morning, then they have a three-hour execution period, then they debrief. For the crews, they do everything except step onto an aircraft. The Airborne Warning and Control System guys, an F-16 unit out of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and a unit out of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., can all participate simultaneously," he said. "And we can distribute information to all participants simultaneously."

The DMOC-S facility not only helps plan these exercises, it executes them from the space perspective, while also providing simulated space data to participants. The DMOC-S facility also helps units around the world test assets and programs.

"Let's say there is a new capability on an aircraft," Littleton said. "We'll get a request from a customer that tells us they want to test if a particular airplane can fly from point A to point B while receiving threats to the aircraft. They want to test the new capability, but they need simulated data to do so. Once we receive their script, we can build a scenario and provide the simulated data they need to validate their new capability."

Though located at the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center here, the DMOC-S unit is an operating location for the 705th Combat Training Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., a squadron under the purview of the 505th Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Air Force Base, Fla.

It's been in existence, though under the radar, at Schriever since 2004 and the DMOC-S team expects it to be in high demand in the coming years.

"In this time of constrained budgets, it becomes much more economical to the Air Force for us to provide a realistic warfighting capability in a simulated environment," Littleton said. "This training is much cheaper. The crews aren't deploying, their fighting from their home station."

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Comm Airmen repurpose technology, save $400K

by Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


9/26/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Creative thinking from 2nd Communications Squadron Airmen saves Barksdale Air Force Base and the Air Force more than $400,000 worth of information technology.

After Eighth Air Force moved from the Cyber Innovation Center last February and into their temporary building at the 608th Air Operations Center, remaining network equipment at the CIC was stored until it could be repurposed or disposed of.

"We are repurposing a full suite of network communications hardware," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Miscisin, 2nd CS IT project manager. "This full suite included network switches, routers, and power supplies. We were able to upgrade the repurposed equipment for the Air Force Global Strike Command inspector general and Eighth Air Force's new building."

Not only does the repurposed IT equipment save money, it saves time.

"By reusing the old equipment and simply upgrading it, we can make the installation at the new building easier as well," said Staff Sgt. Bobby Joe McGlothin, 2nd CS IT project manager. "It will also save setup time of the equipment the new office will use."

Repurposing also reduces Barksdale's impact on the environment.

"By reusing what we already have, we can save the base from sending it to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office," said Miscisin. "All we had to do was simply contact the manufacturer and get the IT updated. Paying for the upgrade was less expensive."

During times of fiscal insecurity 2nd CS Airmen are using creative and critical thinking to reduce the Air Forces financial footprint.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tiltrotor Test Rig Team including NFAC receives NASA award

by Raquel March
AEDC Public Affairs


9/24/2013 - ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. -- NASA Ames Research Center recognized the Tiltrotor Test Rig Development Team with a Group Achievement Award at its annual NASA Agency Honor Award ceremony Aug. 29.

The multi-agency TTR Development Team is comprised of NASA Ames Research Center, the U.S. Army and Arnold Engineering Development Complex personnel teaming with Bell Helicopter and Triumph Aerospace Systems. The team received the award "for envisioning and developing the Tiltrotor Test Rig to provide a new national test capability for next generation military and civilian tilt rotor systems."

NASA, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force joined to develop the large scale prop-rotor test system for AEDC's National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex, located at NASA Ames Research Center. It is designed to test prop-rotors up to 26 feet in diameter at speeds up to 300 knots. The combination of size and speed is unprecedented and is necessary for research into 21st-century tiltrotors and other advanced rotorcraft concepts. TTR will provide critical data for validation of state-of-the-art design and analysis tools.

The TTR is designed to be used in the 40- by 80-foot and the 80- by 120-foot wind tunnels. TTR is a horizontal axis rig and rotates on the test section turntable to face the rotor into the wind at high speed, or fly edgewise at low speed (100 knots), or at any angle in between.

The TTR is designed to accommodate a variety of rotors. The first rotor planned for testing is taken from the Bell/Agusta 609 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

For maximum accuracy, rotor forces will be measured by a dedicated balance installed between the gearbox and the rotor. Rotor torque will be measured by an instrumented drive shaft.

Other organizations included in the award are contractor support organizations Jacobs Technology, Inc., AECOM, RS Morris Construction, Monterey Technologies, Inc., Thomson Aerospace & Defense, Lufkin Industries, Kern Steel Fabricators, and ElectroMechanical Engineering Associates.

Summary of TTR design capabilities:
Wind speed - 300 knots axial, 180 knots edgewise
Rotational speed - from 126 to 630 rpm
Rotor thrust - 20,000 lb. steady; 30,000 lb. peak
In-plane force (resultant) - 5000 lb. steady; 10,000 lb. peak
Moment (resultant) - 30,000 ft-lb steady; 60,000 lb. peak
Shaft torque - 48,000 ft-lb. steady; 72,000 lb. peak
Power - 6000 hp max
(Courtesy of NASA)

DOD Mefloquine Policy Mirrors FDA Update on Malaria Drug

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2013 – The Defense Department’s policy on the antimalarial drug mefloquine, which has been in use for decades, is consistent with a stronger, updated warning about the drug from the Food and Drug Administration, senior DOD officials said.

On July 29, the FDA posted on its website a public advisory about neurologic and psychiatric side effects associated with mefloquine hydrochloride, a drug used to prevent and treat the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

The regulatory agency added a boxed warning -- the most serious kind -- to modify the drug’s label and revise the patient medication guide and wallet-information card given with each prescription to include the possibility that the neurologic side effects could persist or become permanent if the drug is used.

The FDA uses a boxed warning when an adverse reaction is so serious in proportion to the drug’s potential benefit that prescribers should consider this when evaluating the drug’s risks and benefits. The warning also is used to alert prescribers that they can prevent or reduce a serious adverse reaction in patients by using the drug appropriately.

Neurologic side effects can include dizziness, loss of balance or ringing in the ears. Psychiatric side effects can include anxiety, mistrust, depression, or hallucinations.

At the Defense Department, mefloquine was designated as the antimalarial drug of last resort in April, according to a DOD policy letter issued that month by Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

“According to the April 15, 2013, Health Affairs guidance, mefloquine should be the last drug that’s used. There are other drugs we use first, which would be chloroquine, doxycycline or Malarone, and we save mefloquine for last,” Air Force Col. (Dr.) Scott Stanek, a preventive medicine physician in the Office of Force Health Protection and Readiness, told American Forces Press Service.

Malaria is rare in the United States, Stanek said, adding that about 1,700 cases were reported here in 2010 and all were acquired outside the country, leading to six deaths.

“But we send our service members to areas where there is malaria,” he said. “It’s a serious disease that kills many people around the world, so that’s one of the reasons we go through these steps to make sure our service members are protected, and part of the protection package is to use antimalarial medications.”

Stanek said that when service members find out they are deploying to an area, they come to the clinic to find out if there is malaria in that location, its type and sensitivity to medications, or whether any resistance to certain antimalarial medications may be present in that location as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Center for Medical Intelligence.

Air Force Col. (Dr.) Jose Rodriguez-Vazquez, a family practice and aerospace physician and director of medical readiness in the Office of Force Health Protection and Readiness, said no antimalarial drug is 100 percent protective. Every drug should be used along with personal protective measures such as insect repellent, long sleeves, long pants, sleeping in a mosquito-free setting or using an insecticide-treated bed net, he said.

Stanek added that protection is a multipronged approach.

“We try to minimize the amount of activity we do at times when there are high levels of mosquitoes out there. We provide [service members] with permethrin-treated uniforms; DEET, a very effective insect repellent for the exposed areas of their skin; mosquito netting if needed; and then the last one is antimalarial medicine. It’s kind of a package deal,” he said.

In areas of the world where service members need protection from malaria parasites, it’s only 30 or 40 species of the female Anopheles mosquito infected with the parasites whose bite can transmit the Plasmodium falciparum parasites to humans.

The female mosquito bites mainly between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., which is why sleeping under a mosquito net is so important.

If a mosquito is infected with Plasmodium parasites and bites someone, the parasites enter the body and travel through the blood stream to the liver, where they multiply about 10,000 times, producing no symptoms at first. About two weeks later, the parasites burst into the blood stream and start infecting red blood cells.

This is where the parasites start producing symptoms of the disease, including chills, fever, headache, sweats and nausea. But it’s also where mefloquine works, killing the parasites and keeping them from multiplying.

Mefloquine is effective in preventing malaria, with a demonstrated success rate of 91 percent, according to studies of travelers to East Africa, military health officials said.

“This medication has been around for quite a few years,” Stanek said. “It has been used by tens of thousands of individuals, and it works well. It is well known that there is a risk of side effects in some individuals, and although the number of those people is relatively small, we need to make sure that patients are screened so they’re not inappropriately given the medication.”

On Aug. 12, Woodson notified all military health care providers of the FDA mefloquine boxed warning and labeling change due to potential neurologic and psychiatric side effects associated with the drug.
“This FDA notice focuses on warnings in the prescribing information,” he said, “but does not change the indications for the medication.”

Woodson said the April 2013 DOD guidance reiterated that mefloquine should be reserved for those who can’t take first-line medications and reinforces the need to evaluate each patient for contraindications before starting mefloquine.

Such contraindications include a history of traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder, and in those with psychiatric diagnoses, specifically depression, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, he said.

“As a result of DOD guidance limiting its use,” Woodson added, “the number of active-duty service members who received prescriptions for mefloquine decreased from 17,361 in 2008 to 889 through July 2013. Use in other DOD beneficiaries has also decreased dramatically.”

Mefloquine use at all points of service for all TRICARE beneficiaries during calendar year 2012 was 5,370 prescriptions given to 4,770 individuals, defense officials said. Of these beneficiaries, 2,030 were active-duty personnel.

“Based on the FDA guidance,” Stanek said, “there needs to be a pretty strong reason why somebody uses mefloquine. They either can’t take one of the other medicines because of contraindications, or they can’t take them because they don’t work for that particular [geographical] area.”

New Vaccine Protects Against Additional Flu Strain

TRICARE Management Activity

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Sept. 26, 2013 – Each year, flu season affects millions of people. Flu season usually begins in October, so now is a great time to protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated.

The flu shot is easy to get and inexpensive – often free – for TRICARE beneficiaries, and this year the flu vaccine offers even more protection.

Until now, seasonal flu vaccines have only protected against three strains of flu - two strains of influenza A, which usually causes more cases and more severe illness, and one of influenza B, which is less common but also circulates in multiple forms.

The new vaccines include protection against a second strain of influenza B, which experts expect will prevent the vast majority of type B infections.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu virus can be more serious for young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with medical conditions. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

TRICARE covers both the flu shot and flu mist. Beneficiaries may be able get their flu vaccine, at no cost, from a military treatment facility, hospital or from a pharmacist at one of the 45,000 network pharmacies that administer vaccines to TRICARE beneficiaries.

CDC officials also recommend steps to prevent the spread of germs, which can lead to the flu:
-- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
-- Stay at home when sick;
-- Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing;
-- Wash hands often with soap and water; and
-- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.

CDC officials also recommend getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Space World Series: 21st SW wins!

by 1st Lt. Stacy Glaus
21st Space Wing Public Affairs


9/25/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A bright, sunny day set the stage for the first ever Space World Series game here Sept. 20.

The Space World Series was a softball game of colonels and chief master sergeants from the 21st Space Wing versus colonels and chief master sergeants from the 50th Space Wing. Naturally, Team 2-1 took home the victory with a final score of 21 - 15, with Team 2-1's starting pitcher, Chief Master Sgt. Rich Redman, 21st Space Wing command chief, earning the win.

While the purpose of the game was to bring two space wings together for an afternoon of fun and camaraderie, there was also an underlying competitiveness to win.

"There was a competitive edge to it when taking on the other wing, but it was really just a morale builder for all of us to get our wings out to cheer on their team," said Chief Master Sgt. Vincent Persichetti, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron chief enlisted manager. "It was just a very fun time."

Team 2-1 found part of their motivation to win from the guest announcer, the 50th Space Wing public affairs team.

"The 50th Space Wing PA who called the game, turned out to be a little biased toward the 50th," said Perisichetti. "It actually served as a motivator for us to win."

And win they did, but not without having a little fun as well.

"Everyone was really out to have a good time and put forth their best effort," said Persichetti. "And it was just icing on the cake when we took home the win."

While there is no Space World Series trophy, the winners did not leave empty handed.

"Col. Liquori (50th SW commander) and I made a deal before the beginning of the game that the losing team would display the winning team as 'Masters of Softball' on their base marquee," said Col. John Shaw, 21st Space Wing commander. "Since we won, we will be known as "masters of softball" to all of Team Schriever...at least until next year."

This year's Space World Series was such a success that next year's game is already in the works, except this time it will be at Schriever AFB. Information will be announced when the game is scheduled.

Alexander: Cybercom Activates National Mission Force HQ

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2013 – U.S. Cyber Command has activated the headquarters for its Cyber National Mission Force, the one of its three forces that would react to a cyber attack on the nation, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, Cybercom’s commander, said at the National Press Club today.

The other two forces are the Cyber Combat Mission Force that is assigned to the operational control of individual combatant commanders, and the Cyber Protection Force that helps operate and defend the Defense Department’s information environment.

Speaking at the 4th Annual Cybersecurity Summit, the general, who is also director of the National Security Agency, said Cybercom teams are now fully operational and working side by side with NSA to defend the nation.

“We will ensure that we have the best force anywhere in the world,” Alexander said.

Federal, military and industry officials listened as the general detailed five aspects of cybersecurity that NSA and Cyber Command are working to improve.

“Look at what’s happened in the past year,” Alexander said. “Over 300 distributed denial-of-service attacks on Wall Street. We saw destructive attacks in August 2012 against Saudi Aramco and RasGas [Co. Ltd.].”

There’ve also been “destructive” cyberattacks against South Korea, he added.

“What that says to me is that this is going to pick up. It’s going to get worse and we have to get a number of things done to protect this country,” Alexander said.

The top priority, he said, is a trained and ready force.

“The best [force] in the world -- that’s what the American people expect of our military and of our intelligence community and that’s what we’re doing. Why? In this area, technical skills really matter,” the general said. “So we’re engaged in a multiyear effort with the services to train our forces.”

The Army, Navy and Marines trained about a third of the force in 2013 and they will train a third in 2014 and another third in 2015, he said.

“That’s a huge step forward and the service chiefs have stood up and pushed those forces forward despite sequestration and despite all the battles that are going on in the Pentagon,” Alexander said. “They’ve stood up and they’ve all agreed that this is a threat that we have to address for the good of the military and our nation.”

Cybercom also is conducting exercises such as Cyber Guard and Cyber Flag, the general said. These include the combatant commands, the National Guard, the reserves and interagency participation to develop the tactics, techniques and procedures and working relationships needed to conduct operations in cyberspace.

“Cyber Command provides cyber support elements to every combatant command today,” Alexander said. “We’re refining our operational concepts and our command and control. And I think … coming up with the operational concepts and the command and control is absolutely vital to the future.’

The second area critical to cybersecurity, especially in the Defense Department, is to move from the legacy information technology architecture in use today to a defensible architecture, the general said.
In fact, the Defense Information Systems Agency, working with Cybercom, NSA and the services, is beginning to implement a Joint Information Environment that will eventually upgrade the DOD legacy system.

“I think the cloud architecture that’s been pushed forward for the Joint Information Environment and the intelligence community’s IT environment is where our nation needs to be,” Alexander said. “A thin [or very minimalized] virtual cloud environment offers some great capabilities for the future.”

In such an environment, he explained, patching for many computers could be done at network speed with 100-percent accuracy, essentially fixing an entire network within minutes.

“You could remove humans from the loop in that [operation] and put them where you need them -- protecting the networks,” the general said.

In this environment, he said, “we can break down each system we see being scanned by an adversary and put it in a new place. You can jump networks, you can jump databases, and you can jump your phone system, [making] it very difficult for adversaries to exploit them.”

Shared situational awareness is a third area of critical importance to the nation, Alexander said, describing it as a common way for people to understand events that happen in cyberspace.

“Ask the IT people to draw you a picture of a recent exploit into your network,” the general said. He then drew examples in the air to demonstrate the likely confusion that would ensue with no common framework.

“How does it look? How are we going to fix it?” he asked.

Such a framework will be even more important, the general said, when “forces in cyberspace must ask questions like, ‘Where is the adversary coming from? Where are they getting into the country? What is Cyber Command’s role? What is NSA’s role? How do our allies see that? How do we work together?’”

The answer is, he said, “nobody sees it today. We don’t have the shared situational awareness we need and this is going to be a key capability for the future.”
As a result, Alexander said, Cybercom, NSA and the Defense Department are developing a common operational picture and will share it with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, with all the combatant commands, and with some U.S. allies.

The fourth area that’s critical in cybersecurity is that government must work with industry, the general said.

“Industry owns and operates 85 percent to 90 percent of our networks,” Alexander said. But the government, led by the president, he added, has to be responsible for defending the country from attack and for attacking back.

“We have to share what we know about [cyber] threats and [industry] has to tell us what they see. This is where the Internet service providers are critical. Not just here but with our allies and others,” the general said.

“But we have to work with industry because we can’t see the threat,” he added. “And if we can’t see it we can’t respond to it.”

Government and industry must come together and figure out how that will work, Alexander said, adding that industry is critical to defending the United States in cybersecurity, and U.S. allies are critical partners in this.

“If we can’t share information with industry,” he said, “we won’t be able to stop it.”

The fifth area that’s critical to the United States in cybersecurity involves authorities, Alexander said.
“We need to work with Congress on additional legislation regarding cybersecurity and private industry -- specifically, how we will share information and how we will provide liability protection to them,” he said. “Those are the key issues that have to come out of this.”

Rules of engagement also must be clarified, the general said, including what is expected of Cybercom.
“This is a difficult topic,” he said. “We don’t want NSA and Cyber Command doing something irresponsible. On the other hand, we don’t want NSA and Cyber Command waiting for the authorities while Wall Street is taken down in [a] cyber[attack]. So we have a dilemma. How do we work that?”
He said officials at Cyber Command and NSA are working within the Defense Department and the interagency to study the authorities and processes needed.

“It very closely follows what you would expect us to do if this were a missile attack on our country,” Alexander said. “How do we go through those authorities? How do we set up the conference calls? How do we go to the secretary of defense and the president and get the authorities we need and give them the options?”

He added, “We’re working our way through that and I think the government has done a great job moving that forward.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Operation Deep Freeze begins at Antarctica

by Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

9/24/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The U.S. military will kick off the 2013-2014 season of Operation Deep Freeze, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) and the National Science Foundation, with C-17 operations on Oct. 9 and LC-130 operations beginning Oct. 28.

Operation Deep Freeze involves U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard forces, operational and logistic support of the NSF's scientific research activities in Antarctica.

This support is provided by the Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica, led by Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. JTF-SFA coordinates strategic inter-theater airlift, tactical deep field support, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling, and transportation requirements.

Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand, is the staging point for deployments to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, a key research and operations facility for the USAP.

Operation Deep Freeze is unlike any other U.S. military operation. It is one of the military's most difficult peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment. The U.S. military is uniquely equipped and trained to operate in such an austere environment and has therefore provided support to the USAP since 1955.

Active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard work together as part of the Joint Task Force. This team proudly continues the tradition of U.S. military support to the USAP and demonstrates the United States' commitment to a stable Pacific region.

Airlift for Operation Deep Freeze involves active duty and reserve C-17 Globemaster III support from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; LC-130 Hercules support from the New York Air National Guard, sealift support from the U.S. Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command, engineering and aviation services from U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and cargo handling from the U.S. Navy.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Air Force app addresses ‘problem solving’

by Tech. Sgt. Beth Anschutz
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs


9/23/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO RANDOLPH, Texas --  Airmen can now download an Air Force mobile application designed to help them better get at the root of workplace problems.

Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, or AFSO21, is the Air Force's 8-Step Problem Solving method and the application puts AFSO21 resources right at their fingertips. The application, available for free download from the two most popular mobile marketplaces, provides a breakdown of problem solving steps with common tools and a rubric for each step. A glossary of AFSO21 terms wrapped up with tools and methodologies related to other problem solving models is also available.

The Air Force 8-step problem solving model is taught to Airmen through AFSO21 and Professional Military Education programs to generate efficiencies and improve combat capabilities across the Air Force. Although the application was developed with a focus on AFSO21 facilitators, any Airman will benefit from the application's user-friendly steps when working through a problem.

"This application will make problem solving information more readily available to any Airman who wants to help improve processes within their organization," said Dan Kjolhede from the Air Education and Training Command Chief Learning Office. "Instead of having to rely on a piece of paper, they can use their smart device. The steps are available to them anytime, anywhere."

Process improvements come in different forms, from a quick fix to a more complex problem that requires time and coordination through several organizations. The AFSO21 application provides a one-stop resource with detailed information on each step in the problem-solving process and interactive tools providing users with an avenue to take photos, record data, populate charts and graphs, and store their inputs on their mobile device.

The AETC Chief Learning Office used this development project as a reconnaissance mission of sorts with hopes of paving the way for more applications. With service-wide budget cuts, the Air Force is transforming its training model to maintain its edge in education and training.

"Our mission is to transform education, and mobile applications will play a big part in that," said A.J. Ranft, AETC's Chief Learning Officer. "This was a great way for us to build a mobile device framework for use in the future."

Although the CLO team learned a lot through the application development process, they hope to gain even more information from the users.

"Feedback functions are embedded into the application," Kjolhede said. "We're looking forward to feedback from our users to make this application even better."

According to the CLO, the bottom line is facilitating better problem solving.

"It's very helpful to have a reference and to go through the problem-solving steps instead of just jumping to a solution ... that's what we tend to do," Ranft said. "The Air Force has sanctioned this methodology for problem solving and this application gives all Airmen a resource to really work through problems effectively."

There are two AFSO21 applications available on the market, so Airmen should search their smart device's application store for "AFSO21" and choose the application developed by Griffin Mobile. The Griffin, the 367th Training Support Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, improves Air Force combat capability through world-class interactive multimedia instruction for aircraft and munitions maintenance training for Air Combat Command and Air Mobility Command. The application is also searchable by the terms Lean Six Sigma, Continuous Process Improvement, CPI, Smart Operations, Air Force, AETC or DMAIC.

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Air Force app helps Airmen ‘Be Ready’ for emergencies

By Master Sgt. Angelita Colón-Francia, Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operating Location - Pentagon

 WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- When a natural or man-made disaster strikes, would you be prepared?

Air Force officials are highlighting a mobile application to help Airmen prepare and plan for emergencies as part of September’s National Preparedness Month.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center produced a Be Ready app to help Airmen prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural or man-made disasters. 


“Over the past several years, we’ve seen natural disasters, ranging from hurricanes, earthquakes, other severe storms to tornadoes and flooding that disrupt or even destroy homes and entire communities,” said David Epstein, the Air Force emergency management policy chief. “These events usually happen without warning, changing lives in an instant.  No matter what time of year it is, being safe and ready is always the right approach and responsible choice.”

The Be Ready mobile app is free and available for Apple iPhone and iPad devices and Android devices. For more information and resources, Airmen are encouraged to contact their installation's emergency management office or visit http://www.BeReady.af.mil.

The Be Ready app is an interactive, on-the-go emergency preparation resource, said Sam Hazzard, the Air Force Emergency Management education and training program manager. The app supports the Air Force “Be Ready” Awareness Campaign and complements the Air Force Emergency Preparedness Guide.
“Everyone should have an emergency supply kit,” Hazzard said.

The app puts key resources and a recommended emergency supply checklist at users’ fingertips.  The list can be customized depending on threat, geographic area or situation.  Users can check items off the list as they are added to the emergency kit, and add important data such as phone numbers, insurance policy information and much more.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Official Describes Evolution of Space Deterrence

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 – Space is a current and future battleground without terrain, where invisible enemies conceivably could mount undetectable attacks to devastating effect if the right deterrent and defensive plans aren’t pursued now, the assistant defense secretary for global strategic affairs told a think tank audience here Sept. 17.

Madelyn R. Creedon spoke to a Stimson Center gathering whose audience included analysts focused on the question of deterrence in space. The center released a publication this week titled “Anti-satellite Weapons, Deterrence and Sino-American Space Relations,” presenting a number of essays examining various perspectives on space deterrence.

Creedon noted that in Defense Department parlance, deterrence is “the prevention of action by the existence of a credible threat of unacceptable counteraction and/or the belief that the cost of action outweighs the perceived benefits.” In other words, she said, if deterrence is effective, an adversary has or believes he has more to lose than to gain by attacking.

Deterrence remains a core defense strategy for the United States, she added, and the nation’s nuclear deterrent is “still alive and well.”

Creedon acknowledged that one classic approach to considering space deterrence -- that is, preventing potential enemies from attacking U.S. or partner satellites and other military or economic assets in space -- is to try to apply lessons learned during the Cold War. Then, the United States and the Soviet Union kept an uneasy diplomatic truce and piled up enough nuclear weapons to guarantee mutually assured destruction.

But one flaw to comparing the two deterrent challenges, she said, is that an attack that disables a satellite, unlike one from a nuclear warhead that flattens a major city, doesn’t threaten a nation’s existence. Another is that the two superpowers spent decades constructing an elaborate, mirrored, deterrent Cold War architecture and protocols, while space is still, comparatively, “the Wild West.” A third is that an attack in space or cyberspace may rely on digital rather than conventional weapons, and so could occur without warning or even detection.

“If there is an attack against a space asset, it isn’t visible,” she said. “You can’t watch it on CNN, and unless you’re directly affected by the capability that the space assets provide, you’re probably completely oblivious that the attack happened.”

She said DOD is developing and implementing what safeguards it can implement in space using four mutually supportive elements to deter others from taking action against U.S. assets:
-- Working to internationalize norms and establish a code of conduct to enhance stability;
-- Building coalitions to enhance security;
-- Adding resilience to U.S. space architectures; and
-- Preparing for an attack on U.S. and allied space assets using defenses “not necessarily in space.”

“We believe this four-element approach … will bolster deterrence,” Creedon said.

The department is working with the State Department and international partners to define elements of good behavior in space, she said. “States must remain committed to enhance the welfare of humankind by cooperating with others to maintain the long-term sustainability, safety, security and stability of the outer-space environment,” she added.

Creedon said work is underway to build deterrent coalitions and increase space awareness. She said the “Five Eyes” nations, which include the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are extending their intelligence cooperation to expand their collective space situational awareness.

“The more we all know about what’s going on in space, and the more we can all share with each other about what’s going on in space, [the better we can] we establish a … deterrent environment so that no one can do something and get away with it,” she said.

The United States is meanwhile working to lower the benefit to potential attackers by employing more satellites, participating in satellite constellations with other countries and purchasing payload space on commercial satellites when feasible.

Creedon said the U.S. approach to space deterrence is similar to its strategy in any domain: take “prudent preparations to survive, and to operate through, and, hopefully, prevail in any conflict.”

Protect your online identity with these cyber-tips

By the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command

Click photo for screen-resolution image
QUANTICO, Va. (9/1913) - Now more than ever, Soldiers, Army civilians, and family members rely on the Internet to work, study, stay connected with family and friends, pay their bills or simply unwind. For criminals, the Internet provides an endless stream of potential targets to be victimized.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, continually receives various reports ranging from identity theft to Internet scams, perpetrated by cyber criminals operating throughout the world. Law enforcement's ability to identify these perpetrators is difficult and limited, so individuals must stay on the alert and be personally responsible for their online presence to protect both themselves and their loved ones.

As such, CID is providing the following information to help the greater Army community protect themselves online and significantly reduce the chance of becoming a victim of cyber crime.

Online protection
  • Know the terms on social networking websites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites' privacy settings default to everyone. This means anyone, can view your profile, not just people you know. Users can and should change this by accessing the Privacy Settings/Profile Information usually found under the respective Account tab.
  • Sample social networking safely. Never disclose private information when using social networking websites. Be very selective about who you invite or accept invitations from as cyber criminals use false profiles to gain access to personal and private information, such as birthdates, marital status, and personal photographs. Posts containing personal identifying information (PII), including pictures containing metadata can be used against you and your family.
  • Click with caution. Always use caution when clicking on links in an email or a social networking post, even from someone you know. Reports of personal social networking accounts being hacked and taken over by criminals have increased in recent years. Clicking on a link that appears to be benign in nature may in fact contain embedded malware that can compromise your computer. Once compromised, the data on your computer can be exploited and even your computer can be remotely operated as a surrogate in online attacks against others.
  • Hide your profile from search engines. This can be accomplished by going to the Account/Privacy Settings/ Search and unchecking the "Public Search Results" box. This will remove your public preview from Google, Bing, and Yahoo search returns.
  • Prevent people from "tagging" you in photos and videos. To do this, go to the Account/Privacy Settings/Profile Information/Photos and Videos of Me and deselect the everyone default.
  • Keep your personal information safe. Don't provide personal or financial information, user names, or passwords in response to an email, because legitimate companies generally don't seek such information in this manner.
  • Install/update your anti-virus/firewall software. Antivirus and firewall software is a must for anyone to safely navigate online. Always keep your security software up to date in order to provide the most complete protection from malicious programs as thousands of new viruses are detected every year. Also, ensure your antivirus software program updates automatically and scans your computer on a recurring schedule.
Free antivirus support from ACERT. Current Department of Defense employees (excluding contractors, retirees, and family members) with an active AKO account can download antivirus software for free by logging in to the United States Army Computer Emergency Response Team website and selecting the Antivirus link.

Smartphones/mobile devices
  • Know your Apps. When signing up with an app store or downloading individual apps, you may be asked for permission to let them access information on your device. Some apps may be able to access your phone and email contacts, call logs, Internet data, calendar data, data about the device's location, the device's unique ID, and information about how you use the app itself. If you're providing information when you're using the device, someone may be collecting it.
  • Passwords protect all devices. The time to safeguard the information on your portable electronic device is not after it has been lost or stolen. Ensure all portable electronic devices are properly password protected, especially any device with personal communications account information (email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
  • "Brick" a stolen device. In recent years, roughly 40 percent of all robberies now involve smart phones and/or tablet computers (iPad, Kindle Fire, etc.). Thus endangering the security of the personal information on the stolen devices. If a person's smart phone is lost or stolen, they may now contact the carrier and ask to have that device remotely disabled. These "Bricked" phones are of little or no use to thieves because they can't be reactivated after being sold on the black market.
Where to go for help

If you are a victim of an online scam where the likeness of a U.S. Soldier was utilized (false social media/dating profiles, photographs, etc.) with no further Personally Identifiable Information disclosed, the following actions should be completed as soon as possible to assist law enforcement:

Report the theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, which is an FBI-NW3C Partnership. They are available online at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, you should report the crime to the FBI IC3, as well as report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the United States in their investigations.

They are available online at http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft

You can also call them at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261

You can mail in a complaint to: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580

CID strongly recommends that Soldiers, civilians and family members who have information of any known crime committed by a Soldier or a crime that occurred on their respective post, camp or station to report the incident to their local CID office or email CID at Army.CID.Crime.Tips@mail.mil.
CID Lookout is a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, or USACIDC, initiative to partner with the Army community by providing a conduit for members of the Army family, to help prevent, reduce and report felony-level crime.

The USACIDC, commonly known as CID, is an independent criminal investigative organization that investigates serious, felony-level crime such as murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, arson, fraud, and even cyber crime or intrusions into the Army networks (see CID Cyber Lookout).

Solving and preventing these types of crime cannot be achieved solely by CID Special Agents and the Military Police. Together, professional law enforcement officers and the Army community must work hand-in-hand to fight serious crime. As such, CID is On Point for the Army and depends heavily on Soldiers, family members and civilian employees to Be On The Lookout and provide assistance in keeping the Army Strong and safe.

CID Lookout provides the latest information to the Army community aimed at helping Soldiers protect themselves, their families and to reduce their chances of becoming crime victims.

For more information on CID or to report a felony-level crime or provide information concerning a crime, contact your local CID Office or the Military Police, or visit http://www.cid.army.mil.

Software updates keep the B-52 fighting fit

by Airman 1st Class Joseph Raatz
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs


9/18/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- The B-52 Stratofortress will soon receive a software upgrade that will keep the aircraft at the forefront of the U.S. strategic bomber fleet.

As new equipment and advanced weapons are added to the B-52 fleet, the B-52 Software Block (BSB) upgrades allow the aircraft to utilize the full potential of those new and improved systems.

"Think in terms of your home," Air Force Global Strike Command B-52 program analyst Nathan Dawn said. "This is similar to when your cable provider gives you a new cable modem, so you upgrade the software on your wireless receiver to take better advantage of the modem's updated capabilities."

Many systems that make the B-52 a formidable force on the battlefield can be improved and enhanced by BSB upgrades, and new systems can be added as they become available, he said.

"The Offensive Avionics System, GPS, GPS Interface Unit and Advanced Targeting Pod computer are examples of hardware that are affected during BSB updates," Dawn said. "Typically new lines of code are created to access new weapon or equipment capabilities such as the new ability to attack fast moving ground targets with smart weapons."

One of the primary purposes of BSB cycles is to correct software errors and patch deficiencies not found during development and testing, Dawn said. Similar to home computer operating systems, new and more complex software is susceptible to errors. When one is found in any of the B-52's systems, it is documented and becomes a high priority for repair in the next cycle of BSB upgrades.

The newest BSB upgrade is scheduled to attain full operational capability this fall, Dawn said. With it, the B-52 can continue to remain viable by adapting to the rapid advancement of technology in the battlespace.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Air Force launches 3rd Advanced Satellite

by 45th Space Wing Public Affairs

9/18/2013 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The 45th Space Wing successfully launched the third Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite onboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V vehicle here Sept. 18 from launch pad
41 at 4:10 a.m.

AEHF-1 was launched in August of 2010 and AEHF-2 was launched in May of 2012, both from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The rocket flew in the 531 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, three solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

AEHF is a joint service satellite communications system that will provide survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. The AEHF system is the follow-on to the Milstar system, augmenting, improving and expanding the Department of Defense's Military Satellite Communications architecture.

AEHF-3 was procured from Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company by the MILSATCOM Systems Directorate, part of the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center. The MILSATCOM Systems Directorate plans, acquires and sustains space-based global communications in support of the president, secretary of defense and combat forces. The entire MILSATCOM enterprise consists of satellites, terminals and control stations and provides communications for more than 16,000 air, land and sea platforms.

The commander of the 45th Space Wing praised the work of all those involved in making this launch a success.

"It is wonderful to witness the teamwork between our wing and all our partners involved in making this mission a success," said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority for the launch from the Morrell Operations Center here at the Cape.

"This successful launch helps to ensure that vital communications will continue to bolster our nation's military capabilities and showcases once again why the 45th Space Wing is the world's premiere gateway to space," she added.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

AFA Air & Space Conference comes to AF.mil

By Airman 1st Class Alexander W. Riedel, Air Force News Service

 FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- A new iteration of the Air Force Association’s annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition is set to take place Sept. 16-18 at National Harbor, Md.

The conference is designed to bring together Air Force leaders, defense industry experts, academia and specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing the Unites States and the aerospace community today.

The Defense Media Activity and www.af.mil will bring coverage of the conference’s most important events right to your computer screen, by live-streaming events on the Air Force Events page and the Pentagon Channel, as well as through news, print and photos of the days' events.
Select conference presentations are to be streamed live, to include Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning’s Monday delivery of the Air Force’s "State of the Force" address, followed Sept. 17 by Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh III, who will give an update on the Air Force's direction today and in the future. Finally, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody will speak on critical issues from the perspective of the enlisted force Sept. 18.

The tentative dates and times for all live events and speakers are (Editor’s note: No video will be available until the scheduled event times):

Sept. 16
10:35 a.m. - Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning delivers the "State of the Air Force" address
1:55 p.m. - Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, the commander, Air Force Materiel Command, gives her view on “Sustaining the Force”  
Sept. 17
11 a.m. - Gen. William L. Shelton, the commander, Air Force Space Command, speaks on “Integrating Air, Space and Cyberspace capabilities”
1:15 p.m. - Gen. Mark Welsh III, the chief of staff of the Air Force, provides the “Air Force Update”
3:25 p.m. - Panel discussion with the Honorable James Roche, the Honorable Michael Wynne and the Honorable Whitten Peters: “Managing an Air Force”
4:20 p.m - Gen. Mike Hostage, the commander Air Combat Command, speaks on “Combat Air Force in the 2020s”

Sept. 18
9 a.m. - Keynote speech by Admiral James Winnefield, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
10:55 a.m. - Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody provides the “Enlisted Perspective”
14:25 p.m. - Gen. Herbert Carlisle speaks on “Viewing the Asia Pacific Rebalance through the lens of the Pacific Air Forces”

Official Air Force participation at the conference has been approved, according to an AFA press release, and all military members on active duty and Defense Department civilian personnel are invited to attend the conference free of charge. Additionally, the exhibit hall is free and open to the public with valid registration.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Selfridge Air Guard Base research helps keep Soldiers safe

By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs
Click photo for screen-resolution image
SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. (9/13/13) - A test lab on this air base is helping to keep Soldiers safe on the road.
At the Occupant Protection Lab, a component of the U.S. Army's TARDEC Ground System Survivability Laboratory, Army civilian engineers spend their days testing different types of seats that may eventually end up in a wide variety of Army tactical vehicles.
The OPL is located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, a dozen miles or so from the main TARDEC - Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering - facility at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich.

The lab is one of a number of joint military facilities at Selfridge quietly going about their business a few hundred yards away from the military aircraft that routinely take off and land at Selfridge.
"We do testing on a variety of commercial options available for use in Army or other military applications," said Chris Felczak, the lab's manager.

When the Army is considering making changes to the interior of vehicles, the engineers at the OPL at Selfridge can create a variety of tests that can simulate how a vehicle's occupant is likely to be affected by a vehicle crash, explosion or other impact. A number of crash-test facilities exist in the automotive industry in and around the Detroit area, but the Army's lab at Selfridge is among the few - and perhaps the only one - testing for impacts caused by possible bomb blasts on a vehicle.

"We have some specialized concerns, obviously, because of the environment that some of our vehicles work in," Felczak said. "But it certainly does benefit us to be here in the Detroit area, where all of the automotive people are clustered."

In addition to testing seats and vehicle occupant compartments, Felczak said the lab also does some testing on the survivability of vehicles incident recorders - similar to the famed "black boxes" on airliners - that are carried in many military vehicles.

The OPL at Selfridge is preparing to add a major, new piece of equipment: a new testing device that will accommodate up to four test dummies in a vehicle's occupant area. The device will also allow Felczak and his crew to place the dummies in a configuration that would mirror a squad of Soldiers seated in the rear of an armored personnel carrier, as an example, and then create a number of impact scenarios to test what happens to the dummies.

The new test equipment is expected to be installed this fall. Felczak said to his knowledge, once the new equipment is in place, it will be the only system in the world that allows for testing of a four-occupant cabin in which simulated blasts can occur from under the vehicle - such as what could happen if an explosive device is driven over. In addition to looking at what happens to the dummies as a result of the initial blast, the lab's engineers also examine how placement of different equipment in the vehicle can impact Soldier safety.

"We're even looking at if there is an impact, will the driver bump into another occupant. Is there a way to minimize that?" Felczak said.

The OPL runs the tests and records the data and then turns that over to Army program managers who then work with industry to purchase the safest possible vehicle for the Soldier. Given the ever-changing threats that exist on the battlefield, Felczak said the Army is constantly evolving its systems as well.
The OPL lab at Selfridge is one of several Army capabilities at the suburban Detroit base. In addition to several other TARDEC-related programs, the Michigan Army National Guard also flies CH-47 Chinook helicopters at the base. Selfridge is also home to units of the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Customs and Border Protection.

Felczak said while the Army will keep testing and will keep seeking ways to improve vehicle occupancy safety, there is one simple step that anyone can take to greatly increase their safety: buckle up.

"The best seat in the word is not going to protect you if you aren't strapped in to it," he said.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Intel Officials Announce Community IT Enterprise Milestone

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2013 – Eighteen months after the director of national intelligence announced plans for a new information technology environment that would vastly improve information sharing across the intelligence community, a milestone has set the community on the path to its IT future.

James R. Clapper was talking about the future at that 2011 U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation symposium in Texas, Al Tarasiuk told reporters during a recent briefing, and the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise, or IC ITE -- which nearly everyone at the office of the director of national intelligence pronounces “i cite” -- was part of the discussion.

Tarasiuk, intelligence community chief information officer and assistant director of national intelligence, said that at the time, consolidating IT across the community was driven by budget considerations. But today, he added, it’s more than an efficiency play on IT.

“We laid out the vision for IC ITE very much focused on improving intelligence integration across the community,” the CIO said. “Basically, the vision statement says [it] enables intelligence integration, information sharing and safeguarding, as well as driving to a more efficient IT model for the community.”

Translating those factors into goals produces effectiveness, security and efficiency, Tarasiuk added.
“In the past, these were mutually exclusive, but … we believe that cloud technologies, the price points that we can obtain today [and] some of the developments that we have invested in … will allow us to … address all three at the same time,” he said.

Around Aug. 16, Tarasiuk said, the ODNI declared a milestone they call the initial baseline for IC ITE. The first step in deploying IC ITE across the intel community began with giving a few thousand users at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency a common software desktop.

“We are moving toward a single desktop for the community,” Tarasiuk said, “so instead of every agency building their own software desktop, which they do today, we will build one for use by all. They will have common collaboration services, and people will be able to use common email and those kinds of things.”

The desktop is being produced by NGA and DIA as partners, he said, part of a new business model for ODNI called a service-provider-based business architecture.

As part of the new IC ITE architecture, Tarasiuk explained, the big five agencies -- NGA, DIA, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and National Reconnaissance Office -- alone or as partners, “become the providers of certain … services that we designated as part of this overall architecture.”

The CIO said the IC ITE work leverages investments made by the agencies and much of the work already accomplished by the four combat-support agencies -- NSA, DIA, NGA and NRO.

“They were heading toward consolidation of various pieces of IT infrastructure already prior to us starting down the path of IC ITE,” he said, so they had done legwork on a common desktop and had begun planning on network consolidation.

The CIA and NSA are partners on another part of the IC ITE, the IC cloud, which Tarasiuk says consists of the lower layers of IT -- bare-metal hosting, analytics as part of that hosting, and virtual and storage capabilities.

“The IC cloud is not something that’s going to be out on the Internet,” he said. “It’s privately hosted inside the intelligence community according to our security standards and under our security watch.”
Tarasiuk said the cloud capabilities are available to the initial DIA and NGA desktop users, but also to legacy users.

“Everyone in the community, everyone who’s connected up to the TS/SCI networks within agencies across the community, can access the capabilities on IC ITE right now,” he said.

Another service that came online in August, provided and managed by NSA, is an applications mall for the intelligence community, the CIO said.

“The idea here is to begin to rationalize the number of applications across the community that might be redundant or that may be needed,” he said, adding that the initial architecture for the mall will be based on a customizable open-source Web application called the Ozone Widget Framework.

The NRO will provide the IC ITE network requirements and engineering service, Tarasiuk said.
“They’re not going to provision networks,” he added, “but they’re going to look at how we connect both our local area networks and our wide area networks and try to find a more efficient model, one that actually improves our effectiveness as well.”

In the coming year, Tarasiuk said, the CIO’s office will work to ensure the resilience of the first several thousand uses of the common desktops and other infrastructure services “to make sure that we can move more production capabilities into it.”

“Then,” he added, “we will scale beyond what we have right now -- scale the number of desktops, scale the amount of data that’s in the cloud.”

New services also will be brought in, he said, including security monitoring, and a central service will be established to monitor end-to-end security of IC ITE.

“The beauty of what we’re doing is enforcing an IC standard for all data objects that go in the cloud,” Tarasiuk added. “Today, agencies comply with security standards, but they implement them in different ways. This is where we believe we can improve information sharing over time.”

Based on the way data was originally implemented, an analyst in one agency may not be able to access certain data sets from another agency, the CIO explained. “What we’re trying to do from an infrastructure perspective is remove roadblocks that prevent that kind of sharing,” he said. “That’s the big benefit of moving the data. It’s not all going to be in one place, but from a virtual perspective it will be interconnected to the same standards and formats so the automated engines can determine whether a user can see the data or not.”

Tarasiuk also stays in touch with the Defense Department’s CIO, Theresa M. Takai, who for the defense secretary, the nation’s warfighters and many others ensures the delivery of such IT-based capabilities through the Joint Information Environment to support the range of DOD missions.

The need for more effectiveness, security and efficiency isn’t unique to the intelligence community, and DOD is transitioning in a first-phase implementation of the JIE -- a single, secure, reliable and agile command, control, communications, and computing enterprise information environment -- that spans fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

Tarasiuk says the relationship between IC ITE and JIE is still being defined in terms of what services the enterprises can leverage from each other.

“Teri Takai and I are pretty close partners in trying to ensure three important elements that are critical to the IC and the DOD communities -- interoperability of standards and identities, and then the cross-domain capabilities,” he said.

“We chair joint committees,” he added, “and we have people working on committees to ensure that we can move information back and forth and we can understand who’s seeing information, so that’s enabled.”

The CIO said the piece that’s still being defined is where services can be leveraged.

For instance, he said, “we don’t plan on a wide scale to produce a secret domain infrastructure. We are very much focused on TS/SCI domain only, and that’s where our … priority is.

DOD has substantial capabilities already in that space, Tarasiuk added, and the ODNI CIO is exploring that and the unclassified level as potential places to leverage services.

“That’s what we’re currently working on,” he said, “trying to figure out where we can point requirements to JIE or JIE point requirements to us when it comes to the TS/SCI space.”

Space Academy for Cannon youth

by 2nd Lt. Angelica Powell
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs


8/26/2013 - CANNON AFB, N.M. -- More than 150 Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., youth and volunteers participated in the New Mexico Space Academy hosted here by the New Mexico Museum of Space History Aug. 11-12.

The event provided the dependents of servicemen and women the opportunity to diversify their interests and discover a love for science.

"When the Company Grade Officers' Council hosted the spring sports clinic, we noticed a desire from the community to not only provide physical activities for Cannon kids, but also for education-centered events," said Capt. Joshua Payne, CGOC vice president and lead organizer for the space academy. "This was an opportunity for our children to gain a love for the sciences through fun and exploration."

The program activities consisted of building and launching rockets, alien autopsy, star lab, a zero gravity ride, and character building. The children were separated by age into three teams, to participate at each station with the appropriate level of difficulty.

Toward the end of the space academy, the children were supplied T-shirts and fabric markers to fashion a memento of their own making.

Although this event was hosted by the CGOC, representatives from The Cannon Community Chapel, Cannon Spouses Club, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Army & Air Force Exchange Service, and parents gave of their time and effort to make the two-day event a special experience for all involved.

Tinker ramps up repair of F-22 engines

by Mike W. Ray
72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


9/12/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is increasing its F119 jet engine repair capabilities in response to approaching maintenance requirements.

Twin F119 turbofan jet engines propel the F-22 Raptor, and the these engines are scheduled for programmed depot maintenance upon reaching 4,325 total accumulated cycles, said Brian Thompson, F119 program manager.

A cycle spans the period from when the throttle is shifted from down to full military power and back down again, and Raptor engines have begun reaching the cycle threshold, he said.

Programmed depot maintenance takes 13 to 14 months to complete, which includes a total teardown of the modules and their various components.

"We are ramping up repairs of the F119 modules, and more parts will be routed to the component repair cells," Thompson said.

The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex received two of the engines this year and expects two more before the year is out, Thompson said.

The F119 workload at the logistics complex is projected to double in the fiscal years ahead; eight engines are projected to be repaired in fiscal year 2014, 16 in 2015 and 32 in 2016, Thompson said.

Currently, there are 23 mechanics working on the engines in the heavy maintenance center, and by 2017, the group will have 75 to 80 mechanics working on F119 engines, Thompson said.

And that count only includes the front shops that disassemble the modules, he added. It does not include scores of mechanics who will be needed in the back shops to repair the various components removed from the modules.

The F119 has five modules -- fan, gearbox, core, low-pressure turbine and nozzle -- that are disassembled and repaired at the logistics complex. The modules, in turn, have 405 components.

Some of the component repair work is also performed by the engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, or by contractors.

The first F119 engine sent to Tinker was completed in December 2012. The F-22 entered service in the Air Force eight years ago.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Map taps into emergency response

by Andree Swanson
Air Mobility Command Geo Integration Office


9/10/2013 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Travis Air Force Base's emergency responders have taken their actions into the geospatial world by introducing an online map that may save lives.

The Emergency Response Tool is a specialized map view vital for incident commanders, security forces, firefighters and senior leadership in making critical decisions during an emergency. Using the ERT on Air Mobility Command's geospatial program called AMC.maps, members of the installation's Disaster Response Force can plot cordons, color code dangerous areas affected by an emergency, and develop safe routes for base personnel response or escape. The resultant image is continuously refreshed online so all responders have a near real-time view of the incident.

Responders viewing the ERT map will see a picture of an emergency as it happens, giving emergency responders immediate life-saving knowledge. ERT's installation perspective also provides senior leaders a tool to determine which missions can continue during an emergency. While the end product seems pretty simple, behind the scenes it's a complex tool combining interactive maps with robust training and fast moving data.

Although various emergency map tools have been used by Travis in the past, the ERT was first used in May during an earthquake scenario at the base theater involving local hospitals, fire departments and the Office of Emergency Services. The Disaster Response Force again tested the ERT during a recent shooting incident simulated at Scandia Elementary School Aug. 1.

"We used ERT during our last local exercise with great success," said Col. Doug Bugado, 60th Mission Support Group commander. "Although it is bandwidth dependent for multiple simultaneous users, it's very efficient in terms of both posting collaborative updates and viewing the most up-to-date incident information. I'm confident other installations could benefit utilizing its capabilities."

The 60th Civil Engineering Squadron's GeoBase manager, Dan Mattheis, worked with the AMC Geo Integration Office to bring the capabilities of the mapping tool to Travis. Mattheis refined the tool to fit Travis AFB's needs, worked with engineering assistants in its use, then tested the tool during last May's exercise.

Staff Sgt. Seamus Mills, Geospatial Data Management Office non-commissioned officer in charge, trained the engineering assistants to use the ERT in support of the Crisis Action Team and Emergency Operation Center.

"Training for using the ERT is absolutely necessary," noted Cheryl Brown, a program analyst. "Sergeant Mills is such a huge contributor to the success that we've had during the past year. From the beginning, he understood the CAT to EOC connection, and the applicability for all control centers. His participation was critical to turning a tool on a CE map into a tool for all Travis emergency responders."

The training ensured the Travis emergency response team worked effectively through both exercises while improving communication using the new tool.

"Dan was CE's man behind the curtain," said Mark Wilson, 60th CES Installation Emergency manager. "He was key to fielding a cutting edge tool that will assist commanders and responders for years to come."

Lt. Col. Dan Guinan, 60th CES commander, awarded Mattheis a squadron Work Horse award in early August for his efforts. However, Mattheis wasn't the only person recognized for bringing on the ERT. Airman 1st Class Shane Frey took the wing's Professional Performer Award Aug. 28 as the ERT editor during August's Scandia School incident exercise.

Mills trained Frey, an engineering assistant, to serve as the map editor during the recent August exercise. Frey entered event locations, plotted a detailed safe route, and continuously maintained updates as the incident developed.

Teamwork combined with a bit of technology could mean huge returns for Travis AFB during a real-world emergency.

"I hope there is never a reason to use the ERT real-time," said Bugado. "But if there is, I know Travis is ready to respond with a top notch team utilizing capabilities like ERT to save lives and reconstitute the base to meet our mission requirements."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Centcom Program Bridges Scientific, Technological Gaps


By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2013 – Step onto an elevator beside Martin Drake, U.S. Central Command’s chief science and technology advisor, and one might be surprised to hear him deliver to perfect strangers an unclassified tutorial he calls “Science and Technology 101.”


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Army Pfc. David Diaz, right, assigned to Team Hatchet, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, Task Force 4-25, collects a DNA sample for biometrics from an Afghan man at a security checkpoint in Afghanistan’s Khost province, Sept. 8, 2012. U.S. Central Command’s Science and Technology Division has been a major advocate of the technologies used for biometric identification and battlefield forensics to support deployed warfighters. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kimberly Trumbull
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The impromptu briefing completed, Drake is known to cajole his unsuspecting “students” into raising their right hands so he can deputize them as “honorary deputy science advisors for U.S. Central Command.”
 
“I tell them, ‘It takes a village to be the best and to be able to understand where technology is going,’” said Drake, who runs Centcom’s dozen-member Science and Technology Division. “We can’t do this by ourselves, and we need their help.”

The elevator encounters are just one example of the team’s unrelenting quest to identify better ways to support warfighters in the command’s demanding and complex area of operations. The office members, an eclectic mix of active-duty forces, military retirees and civilian employees, scour the Internet, professional journals and technology expositions to seek out new and emerging technology-related capabilities, Drake told American Forces Press Service.

That boils down to taking gaps and requirements as identified by U.S. forces and partner nations in the theater, converting them into technical requirements, then going out to the science and technology community for solutions. It’s a search that begins with the Defense Department’s own advanced technology arms -- among them the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Rapid Fielding Directorate; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; the Office of Naval Research; and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

But it extends across the interagency, industrial, academic and international scientific and technological communities.

One staffer frequently visits businesses, garages, anywhere he might stumble on “that piece of technology that might not otherwise be discovered through normal Department of Defense processes,” Drake said. Others are dedicated to analyzing the technologies they discover or that others bring to them to identify how it might translate to capability on the ground.

“We are looking for things that might fill the gaps and seams between our military departments in supporting forces in our operational battle space,” Drake explained. “We are looking for that unique approach that may not be discovered or headed toward being discovered by the Department of Defense.”

Centcom’s effort, similar to those at U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Southern Command, focuses on requirements specific to its geographic area of operations. The idea, Drake explained, is to be able to look across the vast research and development programs taking place within military, government, private and international sectors.

“We think we have a unique perspective,” he said. “We are looking across the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and our coalition partners. Because we are not tied to any one service approach, we look to see how we can bring them together, and what it might take to make it better.” When a concept appears particularly promising, he added, Centcom promotes it through the Defense Department’s research, development and acquisition channels.

“I characterize myself as a venture capitalist with no capital,” Drake said. “I don’t have any money, and U.S. Central Command is not an acquisition authority.” All acquisitions in support of Centcom operations are funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff and the military services, he noted.

“So what I do is advocate for potential solutions,” Drake said. “And through that advocacy, we try to help maneuver promising technology through our developmental and acquisition processes.”

This approach has promoted far-ranging technologies that have proven to be winners on the battlefield. For example, Centcom’s Science and Technology Division was a major advocate of the technologies used for battlefield forensics and biometric identification. Both are considered invaluable for warfighters operating against adversaries who don’t wear military uniforms and often operate in the shadows.

“These have become absolute tools for our forces forward, to help them sort out the who’s who in the battle space,” Drake said.

But the division doesn’t limit its scope to technologies, Drake emphasized. “We’re also looking at concepts” to identify ways to improve current procedures and processes for future operations, he said. “This is a conceptual-type review of things we currently do and asking, ‘Can we do them better?’

“So this is not only about building new things,” Drake continued. “We are also improving the things we have, trying to make them better, more cost effective and easier for folks in the field.”

For example, the team is researching better ways to operate in remote areas with little or no infrastructure to support those operations, Drake explained. Its members continue to explore smaller, more efficient power sources and new technologies that make it easier to communicate and push data.

“We have learned a lot over the past decade,” he said. “The good news, from my seat, is that I have seen a lot of the processes, procedures and policies changing for the better. We are embracing technology earlier and more fully. And my belief is that if we were faced with a similar situation in the future, we would do it somewhat differently as a result.”

But the search is far from over, and Drake said his team is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to support U.S. forces in the region.

“We always have our eyes over the fence to see what is going on,” he said. “As I tell my staff, ‘We will go anywhere. We will listen to anything,’ because I never know when the next, best technology is going to manifest itself.”