Arati Prabhakar (left) and Wes Bush (right)

WASHINGTON: With the Pentagon opening an outreach office in Silicon Valley, traditional defense firms may be feeling left behind. But the much-maligned prime contractors play a vital role in innovation, said Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush this morning. In fact, he argued, the Defense Department often needs the traditional firms to act as a “translator,”… Keep reading →

Tomahawk cruise missile launch against the Khorasan group in Syria

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: Amidst unabated budget gloom, Navy and Marine leaders aren’t looking for salvation in big new programs. They’re “repurposing and reusing existing capabilities” to get the maximum out of existing hardware for minimum cost.┬áIt’s a vision of the future in which a junior Marine Corps officer might call for fire support from a… Keep reading →

RANGE 24, FORT DRUM, NEW YORK: “That’s awesome,” said Maj. Edward Sedlock, watching another soldier call up data on his militarized Android smartphone. It was such small, unguarded moments — neither officer had noticed a reporter standing nearby — which suggest that, after more than a decade in development, the Army’s struggle to bring wireless networking to the foot soldier is finally yielding fruit, just in time to help secure the drawdown in Afghanistan.

Sedlock and his comrade weren’t part of some special group testing new equipment, like the much-publicized Network Integration Evaluations in the New Mexico desert, AOL D readers are so familiar with. Instead, they belong to an operational unit, the 3rd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, training to use the new gear as they get ready for an expected deployment in Afghanistan. (They haven’t yet received their formal orders to go but planning is well advanced, down to designating an assigned area of operations the Army asked us not to name). “3/10” and its sister unit, the 10th Mountain’s 4th Brigade, are the first combat brigades to receive the technology, as part of an upgrade the Army calls “Capability Set ’13”; two more brigades, from the famed 101st Airborne, are next in line for the new network. Keep reading →

The National Security Agency is launching a mobile device capability at the end of this year that will allow its personnel to securely access classified information with their smartphones and tablet computers.

The program, which is a joint effort with the Defense Information Systems Agency, could potentially provide the military services with similar secure information access capabilities. Keep reading →

PENTAGON: The Army showed off an impressive array of battlefield wi-fi gadgetry today in the Pentagon courtyard, exhibiting new-found realism about what gadgets it might not need.

Consider the hardware to connect the individual foot soldier to the brigade-wide command network, which has been stripped down from a 14-pound prototype to a militarized smartphone plugged into a handheld radio. Keep reading →

WHITE SANDS, NM: After weeks of testing at the Army’s vast facility here a private summed up the service’s newest iteration of the so-called Nett Warrior communication system in one phrase: “It ain’t ready.”

Soldiers with the 2nd Heavy Combat Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 Armored) spent several weeks at the Army’s latest network integration exercise here putting Nett Warrior and other communication systems through their paces. Nett Warrior was so flawed it might well end up getting American soldiers hurt or killed if put into the field, five soldiers told me. The Army plans to ship out the first iteration of Nett Warrior to Afghanistan next year. The system being sent overseas in October will be a less-capable “bridge” version of Nett Warrior, Army spokesman Paul Mehney said. The full version of the system should hit the field sometime in 2014. Keep reading →

The Defense Information Systems Agency has certified the first secure mobile device running on the Android operating system.

The Dell Streak 5 smart phone/small tablet computer is the first handheld device using the Android 2.2 operating system to be certified for use in the Defense Department’s secure but unclassified communications, said John Marinho, director of Dell enterprise mobility solutions. Keep reading →

Washington: Going to war? The Army may soon have an app for that.

Today the Army rolled out the newest version of their NetWarrior program, a system designed to let individual soldiers tie into the massive command and control networks used by the Army to coordinate its operations.

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As the Army eyes handing out smart phones to every soldier, one stark fact stands out: Android phones are much more susceptible to malware attacks than are iPhones.

And the number of malware attacks on Android phones is increasing rapidly, with the computer security firm McAfee saying in its quarterly security report that, “Android-specific malware moved to number one” position of mobile systems attacked. Keep reading →