With the Obama administration’s new cybersecurity coordinator named
and stories abounding about nefarious Chinese and other hacker activity
, it’s perhaps appropriate that the first year evaluations of the administration’s cybersecurity performance are rolling in. More than a pass grade, it seems.
James Lewis, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a government security guru if anyone deserves that moniker, gives a B or even B-plus. He also points to signs of interesting, if not yet encouraging, activity at various agencies.
Lewis is someone who has swung his allegiance to limited regulation of the Internet, after warning in the 1996 that regulation could stifle creativity. Now, he says an unrestrained Internet is just not realistic and that the government needs to take an energetic lead on certain things, such as IT infrastructure protection.
Posted on Jan 14, 2010 at 10:44 AM0 comments
Sen. Richard Lugar wants the Obama administration and U.S. diplomats to be “nimble, flexible and innovative” in the ways they use social media applications such things as Twitter and Facebook in the pursuit of foreign policy, according to an article in Foreign Policy magazine.
The State Department is apparently actively pushing the use of these and other Web-based social media tools by nongovernmental organizations around the world. It’s offering training under a new initiative called “Civil Society 2.0.”
This isn’t surprising, given the administration’s tilt toward new media. But you have to wonder if the comparative slowpokes at State will be able to keep up with speed of technology developments in this space. I don’t think the resistance in Iran needed any help before people there started using Twitter to organize.
I must admit that the techie nerd in me prefers the more basic -- and in my view more elegant – use of social networking tools. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), for example, is using the Twitter-crazed to help it pinpoint earthquake activity in areas around the world where there aren’t many sensors.
Apparently people now love to "tweet" each other after an earthquake occurs. So the USGS is using aggregated tweets to build up a database that could help detect earthquakes that its sensors otherwise can’t pick up.
Posted on Jan 14, 2010 at 10:44 AM0 comments
It’s no secret that the military increasingly will depend on innvations such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other high-tech solutions to carry the fight to the enemy, but it seems that automated warfighting is being accelerated into the ranks.
The U.S. Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization program is apparently looking to provide regular Army line units with small robots that can search buildings, small hovering UAVs and robot missile launchers in 2010, as soon as they can start cranking them out, the Register reports.
The new program is the replacement for the funding-challenged Future Combat System, which was axed last year because of cost concerns. Some parts of that program’s ambitious robot plans were dropped, but it seems the powers want regular grunts to go robotic as soon as possible.
At the same time, however, there are reminders about what all of this tech might mean on the downside. UAVs are up there gathering intelligence, and maybe too much of it. Apparently analysts are struggling to cope with the flood of data the drones are collecting.
Posted on Jan 14, 2010 at 10:44 AM1 comments
That’s GREENS as in Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System (do people come up with the names or the acronyms for these things first?). And it’s a testament to the way technology rules much of current warfighting. In the “old” days, Marines had to make do with no more than a radio, a paper map and a compass. These days you’re talking about multi-channel digital radios, hi-def displays, real-time video links to unmanned aerial vehicles and much else left only to the imagination.
You can’t do that without power. So the Office of Naval Research has come up with a highly portable photovoltaic/battery system that Marine units can take into the field with them. Apart from the obvious advantage of providing continuous power in sun-drenched areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan, ONR is also touting the new system as a way of cutting down on hazardous fuel resupply missions that would otherwise have to be launched to keep Marine generators running.
Also interesting is the fact that GREENS resulted from an expedited development process, taking just a year from concept to contract solicitation. The military has been pushing for these kind of fast-turnaround processes to counter the faster-paced developments of today’s asymmetric warfare.
Posted on Jan 06, 2010 at 10:44 AM0 comments