Science and Technology News

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Increased unmanned aircraft workload on the horizon thanks to new partnership

by Micah Garbarino
72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


11/26/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- The Air Force Sustainment Center and General Atomics have reached an enterprise-level, public-private partnership agreement which allows the two organizations to partner in the maintenance of unmanned aircraft systems, including the Predator/Reaper and the Army's version of the aircraft, the Gray Eagle.

The agreement, signed Nov. 9 by Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, AFSC commander, is the first center-wide UAS partnership agreement implemented since the stand-up of the Air Force Sustainment Center in June 2012.

General Atomics is a lead manufacture of UAS platforms and maintenance work on those platforms may be performed at all three AFSC logistics complexes in Georgia, Oklahoma and Utah.

Noel Anderson, who works at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex Business Office, at Robins AFB, Ga., and a team from across the Air Force Sustainment Center negotiated the partnership agreement, which is expected to bring new workloads to all three complexes.

The WR-ALC is expected to begin work on UAS batteries in 2014 and interim modem assemblies in 2015. The battery workload is estimated to bring in 5,000 repair hours and grow to 9,600 repair hours by 2016. The modem workload is estimated to bring in 2,600 repair hours in 2015, growing to 4,500 in 2016. By the end of fiscal 2016, Warner-Robins will have more than 15,000 repair hours from the Predator/Reaper/Gray Eagle workload, Ms. Anderson said.

So far, WR-ALC is the only complex to enter into a local implementation agreement with General Atomics, but the team anticipates that a future agreement at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill AFB, Utah, could allow work on UAS landing gear, and at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker AFB, Okla., an agreement could allow work on UAS small engines.

"Public-private partnerships allow government organizations and private industry to work as a team, bringing unique capabilities to the mission and warfighters, whether that's technology infusion, new innovation to equipment and processes or advanced skills and knowledge gain to the workforce," said Earl Williams, an AFSC Logistics Directorate program analyst.

Before Air Force Materiel Command implemented its 5-Center construct, each AFMC air logistics complex would enter into individual partnership agreements based upon its requirements. These agreements took anywhere from 12 to 16 months to complete. With the enterprise partnering agreement in place, each of the three logistics complexes, which are part of AFSC, can execute implementation agreements with General Atomics and bring workload into the ALCs in a much shorter amount of time.

"We anticipate the new standard partnering process will shave 8 to 10 months off of the time it has historically taken to put partnering agreements in place. Now that this standard process has been implemented across the AFSC enterprise, there will be one team negotiating these agreements as opposed to three separate negotiation activities," said Shannon Wagner, AFSC Logistics Directorate program analyst.

This is the second enterprise-level partnership agreement the center has entered.

"Without the collaboration and leadership at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, this partnership wouldn't have come to fruition," said Gilbert Montoya, Director of Logistics at the Air Force Sustainment Center. "We are looking forward to additional enterprise level partnerships with major private industry partners in the future."

DOD Wraps Climate Change Response into Master Plans



By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2013 – The effects of climate change are already evident at Defense Department installations in the United States and overseas, and DOD expects climate change to challenge its ability to fulfill its mission in the future, according to the first DOD Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap.

John Conger, the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment told American Forces Press Service the roadmap was completed in 2012 and published early this year.

The document “had us do a variety of things,” Conger said. “But the piece that I think is the crux of the report is, rather than creating a stovepipe within the DOD organizational structure to deal with climate change, [the document says] we are going to integrate climate change considerations into the normal processes, the day-to-day jobs of everybody.”

Such language is going to be integrated into various guidance documents, he added, “and we’ve already started doing that.”

The department’s action is part of a federal government effort to address the global challenge. In June, President Barack Obama launched a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for climate change impacts and lead similar international efforts.

Across the United States, local communities and cities are updating building codes, adjusting the way they manage natural resources, investing in more resilient infrastructure and planning for rapid recovery from damage that could occur due to climate change.

And on Nov. 1, the president issued an executive order on climate preparedness directing federal agencies to modernize programs to support climate-resilient investments, manage lands and waters for climate change preparedness and resilience, and plan for climate-change-related risk, among other things.

The order also forms an interagency council on climate preparedness and resilience, chaired by the White House and composed of more than 25 agencies, including the Defense Department.

The foundation for DOD’s strategic policy on climate change began with the defense secretary’s publication in 2010 of the Quadrennial Defense Review. The QDR, produced every four years, translates the National Defense Strategy into policies and initiatives.

In 2010, the QDR for the first time linked climate change and national security. It said climate change may affect DOD by shaping the department’s operating environments, roles and missions, have significant geopolitical impacts worldwide, and accelerate instability or conflict.

The QDR said DOD also would have to adjust to climate change impacts on its facilities, infrastructure, training and testing activities and military capabilities.

As the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, Conger also is the department’s senior climate official, and his first job is to manage the installations and environment portfolio.

“That includes over 500 bases and 300,000 buildings and 2.2 billion square feet of space,” he said. “The infrastructure has a plant replacement value on the order of $850 billion. There’s a lot of stuff out there that is all going to be impacted by changes in the climate.”

Conger said the department has to plan for the contingencies that climate change poses just as it would plan for any other contingency, driven by any other force in the world.

“As I look at managing the infrastructure, I have to think about risk as well in that context,” he said. “What is climate change likely to do? What are the major changes that will occur that will affect that $850 billion real property portfolio?”

The obvious threats are things like a rise in sea-levels, storm surges and storm intensity, but there’s also drought and thawing permafrost that affects bases in Alaska, the deputy undersecretary added.

“Similarly, on our installations we have over 400 endangered species,” he said. “We manage those species through documents called integrated natural resources management plans and we manage [them] not through some degree of altruism … but the fact is that if we don’t manage those species effectively and they do appear more threatened, then other regulatory agencies will put limits on what we can do on our property and that will impact training.”

Conger added, “We said, ‘Take climate into account. Make sure you have planned for this. Make sure you have thought about it and addressed it in your [installation management] plans.’”

“These are all, in my mind, sensible, reasonable steps that don’t cost very much money today and just require a little bit of forethought in order to reduce our exposure to risk tomorrow.”

The president’s June Climate Action Plan categorized recommendations for action in terms of mitigating or eliminating emissions that cause climate change, adapting to climate change, and working internationally on climate change, Conger said.

DOD has been looking at mitigation, or the energy problem, for a long time, the deputy undersecretary added.

Energy and climate are tied together, Conger said, because energy and emissions are tied together.

“We are working very hard and diligently to reduce our energy usage, to reduce our energy intensity and to increase the use of renewable energy, which doesn’t have emissions,” he said. “And we have done each of these things not because it is good for the climate or because it reduces emissions but because they provide mission and monetary benefits.”

Conger says the department’s $4 billion annual utility bill drives the search for energy-efficiency, renewable-energy development projects and more. All have benefits from a mission perspective first, he said, and also turn out to be good for the environment.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Increased space, cyber threats top concerns for AF Space Command

By Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie, Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operation Location - Pentagon /

 LOS ANGELES (AFNS) --There are increased threats to the Air Force’s space and cyber capabilities, said an Air Force senior leader during Air Force Association’s 2013 Pacific Air & Space Symposium, Nov. 21.

Gen. William L. Shelton, the commander of Air Force Space Command, discussed the heavily contested space and cyberspace arenas during the symposium in Los Angeles, Calif.

The cyber and space arenas have made significant strides during the Air Force’s lifespan. The first desktop computers the Air Force employed were originally used just for word processing. Slowly, the Air Force began to network those computers together, creating the network we now use daily.

Keeping up with the ever-evolving cyber domain, Shelton discussed the command’s number one cyber priority, the Air Force Network Migration.

“What we have done is adopted a defense in-depth strategy, which starts with collapsing down the network as part of the Air Force Network Migration,” Shelton said. “This is the initial step into a Joint Information Environment for the Air Force.”

Keeping up with the rapidly evolving space and cyber threats, AFSPC is training their Airmen to higher standards and requiring higher advanced training and education. According to Shelton, this is designed to enhance the Air Force’s capabilities and standards.

Like cyber, there is no shortage of threats in the space domain. “We know for a fact that adversaries are very actively working on counter space threats, trying to take away our space capabilities that they know we are dependent on,” Shelton said. “We are also concerned about the debris problem in orbit around Earth.”

There is an estimated 500,000 objects in orbit that are one centimeter in size or greater.  To track the abundance of objects, space operators are using radar sensors, which allow them to track approximately 23,000 of these objects.

During his remarks, Shelton mentioned the importance of situational awareness in space.  According to the general, space situational awareness gives the Air Force the ability to see and understand threats on Earth and in space, allowing the Air Force to operate successfully in multiple domains.

Looking to the future, Shelton said, he feels confident that the Air Force will efficiently utilize resources to carry out the mission.

“We are the pros in this business,” Shelton said.  “We are working hard to provide the required capability for our warfighter that is affordable and resilient.”

Experts Discuss Opportunities, Barriers in Mobile Technology



By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – As the confines of the cubicle and battle space continue to dissolve, the need for a more secure and mobile environment heightens, a panel of experts said during the Defense & Security Mobile Technologies Symposium here today.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Robert Day, Chief Information Office assistant commandant, said the expectations of the millennial generation and evolving global mission requirements are spurring the services to rethink how and where they do business.

DISA is building an enterprise capability and figuring out how to leverage that capability
“The average 25-year-old is what our workforce is and they want me to expand telework, they want me to do new things,” Day said.

He noted inspiration from the Air Force, airlines and even the medical realm that have transferred the data from pounds of manuals, flight planners and procedure checklists into secure, mobile devices.
“[We’re] starting to leverage iPads in the clinics because it gives the doctors and practitioners mobility as they move around,” Day said. “We’re a highly mobile workforce.”

“We’re finding this is the workplace of the future,” he said.

The Army is working to take a “buy-build-fix” approach to leveraging its mobile technology, said Rick Walsh, U.S. Army Mobile Lead Office of the CIO/G-6, who noted there are currently more than 2 million available applications between the iTunes store and Google Play.

Building an application is also an option, but senior leaders should have a thorough understanding of the time it takes to develop it, Walsh said. Over time, applications will ideally have more immediate compatibility with the needs of the military’s secured network environment. “We have to embed our security requirements in industry so they know what to do out of the box.”

Rob Anderson, U.S. Marine Corps Vision and Strategy Division chief, Office of the Director of C4, said the service has set its sights on mobility strategy in a tactical environment.

Anderson said in the last 11 years, the Marine Corps has invested more than $2.3 billion in ground and space communications, and the service now has the ability to network enable its radios.

“Getting those Marines the ability to communicate, at the squad, to the platoon, to the company to be a force enable is really our key focus,” he said, adding that the commandant’s priority is to enable warfighter communication within the tactical domain.

As such, Walsh said, the Marine Corps will move forward to secure a mobile frame, bridge the current environment to future needs, enable a classified mobile environment through Defense Information Systems Agency and enable personally-owned devices within the environment.

But risk, to data, mission and dollars, remains a critical piece of the puzzle, said Air Force Maj. Linus Barloon II, J3 Cyber Operations Division, White House Communications Agency.

“At the end of the day, the individual is really the security control,” Barloon said.

As a result, Barloon asserts, securing the data, not necessarily the device, is key.

“Getting the device into the user’s hands only solves 25 percent of the problem,” he said. “How do we get the device behind the firewall to access data?”

Peter Ziomek, Office of the Department of the Navy CIO mobile director said ultimately, the promise of mobility lies in how to be better faster and cheaper but within the confines of unique government requirements.

He said that while the original security framework wasn’t designed for the mobile environment, experts are working on ways to change that. “It’s still to be determined if that will allow [the Defense Department] and [the State Department] to keep up with technology.”

Air Force Official Recommends Energy Partnerships



By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 21, 2013 – Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy Dr. Kevin T. Geiss emphasized service collaboration in cost-savings measures during a panel discussion at the Joint Services Energy Panel at the George Mason University Arlington Campus here Nov. 20.

Geiss said the Air Force’s total fleet amounts to more than double that of major airlines United, Southwestern and Delta combined, thus keeping fuel costs, energy efficiency and security among the service’s highest priorities.

“It’s respectable that the military services individually are leading not only within the department, but also leading the federal government to find ways to be more energy efficient –- reduce costs, reduce the amount of energy and fuel that it takes to do the job,” he said. “We are expected to do our job and accomplish our mission … we’re not expected to come forth with an excuse that would relate to energy.”

Geiss noted that while the Air Force has won five federal energy management program awards –- more than any other single service and federal agency in the federal government -– other service branches are nonetheless “natural partners” who must face and solve similar energy problems together.

“The challenges that we have are similar across the board -– and it only makes sense for us to partner, discuss and share best practices … so that everyone is availed of that new information and that perspective,” he said.

Geiss also reported that significant energy efficiency opportunities lie in considering what airframes may have viable options for engine replacement.

“Current engine technology could provide us with engines that reduce energy consumption or increase energy efficiency … but also those designs are such that the engine never has to come off the wing again,” he said.

And some initiatives, Geiss explained, are multi-dimensional requiring an analytical take on factors other than energy. Larger-scale military aircraft projects may have a good business case, Geiss reported, but elements such as the timeframe for engine replacement may inhibit expected returns on investments.

“In such a case,” he said, “the maintenance and sustainment cost for that particular aircraft would be the one carrying the flag.”

Geiss also said he considers energy security and resiliency key components of the program, making it necessary to consider installations that could be vulnerable to various types of disruptions.

“Energy security is having the power when and where you need and in sufficient amounts to do the job and the ability to protect that and recover from any disruption,” Geiss said. “It’s not just having the power but recognizing that there are risks.”

Other panelists included Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability Richard Kidd IV and Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Deputy Director Bryon Paez.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Program Wants 5,000 Vets in Wireless Tech Jobs by 2015



American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2013 – Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy joined with a coalition of private-sector partners from the telecommunications industry to launch “Warriors 4 Wireless,” a new nonprofit program aimed at connecting veterans and returning service members to jobs in the rapidly growing wireless telecommunications industry.

A White House release said the program includes stakeholders from Joining Forces -- a national initiative that provides opportunities and support to military members and their families -- as well as from the private sector, the federal government, the U.S. military, and industry trade associations committed to scaling successful training models for veterans with wireless-relevant skills.

Warriors 4 Wireless builds on a Veterans IT Training and Certification program, launched at the White House in April 2013 in response to a call to action by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama asking industries to make it easier for military service members and veterans to receive civilian training and certifications, according to the release.

Although the majority of IT specialists in the military receive training that is equivalent to their civilian IT counterparts, they typically do not have industry-recognized certifications that reflect the IT skills and expertise gained during service, the release said.

“The administration is committed to the care of all service members, veterans, and their families,” Army Col. Rich Morales, executive director of Joining Forces, said in the release. “We are proud to support initiatives like Warriors for Wireless that play a critical role in connecting members of the armed forces leaving military service to the jobs training and certification necessary to obtain many high-tech, high-skilled jobs in the private sector.”

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in the release, “I wholeheartedly salute the Warriors for Wireless initiative aimed at connecting our Nation’s veterans and returning service members to jobs in the rapidly growing wireless telecommunications industry. It’s a win for the increasing number of Americans across our nation who rely on wireless networks at work and at home, and the exciting new opportunities that these networks are helping create in health care, education and every corner of our economy. Let’s work together to make it a success.”

The Warriors 4 Wireless program is designed to help address the shortage of skilled jobs for returning veterans while satisfying the wireless industry’s immediate need for skilled tower-climbers to rapidly, efficiently, and safely deploy wireless telecommunications equipment and facilities.

The Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program was launched in Washington, D.C., in 2012, achieving an 86 percent job-placement rate for the more than 50 participating veterans, according to the release. Today’s event will expand the pilot program to a nationwide initiative, with the launch of new partners and industry commitments.

Industry partners -- including Cisco, American Tower, Dynis, and PCIA -- are supporting Warriors 4 Wireless in a number of ways, including by providing industry-recognized technical and safety training and certifications to veterans, developing new curricula and skills-training modules, and connecting transitioning service members to available wireless-industry jobs across the country, the release said.

Among the new commitments announced at today’s event:

-- Dynis has trained and employed more than 50 servicemen and women through the Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program over the past year. Dynis will continue to support an expanded Warriors 4 Wireless program through equipment contributions and curriculum development and by providing training opportunities, training instructors, and funding.

-- MasTec is providing training facilities and instructors to support Warriors 4 Wireless, and has committed to connect 1,500-plus expected MasTec job openings in the first half of 2014 to veterans and service members participating in the Warriors 4 Wireless program.

-- American Tower Company is partnering with Warriors 4 Wireless to help launch careers in the wireless industry for returning service members. ATC will provide participants access to select assets in the ATC tower portfolio for training and certification and it is working to help connect program graduates with potential employment opportunities at ATC. Additionally, ATC is supporting the design and implementation of the Warriors 4 Wireless Training Program at Aiken Technical College in South Carolina.

-- Futures, Inc. is providing the “US IT Pipeline” online platform, originally developed for the IT Training and Certification Program launched last April, which will be the centralized hub for matching and connecting service members with civilian training, certifications, and employment opportunities as part of the Warriors 4 Wireless program.

-- Cisco is committed to helping train, connect and hire veterans as they transition from the military to the private sector. Through support of the US IT Pipeline, Cisco will continue to work with Futures, Inc., and other Warriors 4 Wireless partners to provide training and access to high-skilled job opportunities to servicemen and women. Additionally, Cisco will provide support to help enable wireless employers and veteran job applicants conduct virtual interviews from anywhere around the globe.

-- Outside Planet Magazine, a telecommunications industry publication, is supporting the mission of Warriors 4 Wireless by donating media and advertising support to raise awareness about these efforts.

-- In addition, Pricewaterhouse Cooper, T-Mobile, Novation, PCIA, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, CTIA, the Wireless Association, and the Competitive Carriers Association will also provide additional support and financial assistance to the initiative.

Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said, “Today’s employers require a workforce equipped with 21st-century skills and training. Our men and women in the armed forces are uniquely positioned with the knowledge and drive to succeed, but may lack certain industry qualifications. We applaud this initiative aimed at enabling thousands of service members to earn industry-recognized credentials and translate their military experience into private-sector careers.”

William Towery, a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 who received Fiber Optics Installer/Technician certifications and other certifications through the Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program has a blog post which can be viewed at:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/11/19/guest-blog-how-i-transitioned-high-tech-job-after-20-years-military