Submarine launched cruise missile

WASHINGTON: Two years ago, Capt. John Zimmerman and his award-winning Navy team were testing a software upgrade for submarines when they ran into a surprising problem. When they changed the code controlling the Tomahawk missile launchers, the torpedo tubes stopped working. Fortunately, this all happened in a laboratory ashore before the upgrade got anywhere near the… Keep reading →

(U.S. Air Force photo by Jerry Saslav)

TYSON’S CORNER: “Unity of command” is a classic principle of war. As the US military struggles to improve cybersecurity against relentless Russian, Chinese, and other attacks, however, it’s finding the complex interconnectedness of computer networks complicate the chain of command. If the tech guys urgently need to shut a system down — say, because it’s… Keep reading →

Gen. Joseph Dunford Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff former Marine Commandant

WASHINGTON: The presumptive Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the most pressing areas of concern for the US military are its cyber and space capabilities; modernizing its nuclear weapons and their delivery systems; and assuring that American forces can penetrate any set of defenses anywhere in the world. He also… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

CAPITOL HILL: Who buys the bandwidth? Today the military has two separate, unequal, and inefficient systems for acquiring communications. But Congress is pushing hard to consolidate — probably at the expense of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). “I have been in situations where we needed to have SATCOM [satellite communications] and we didn’t have… Keep reading →

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus

WASHINGTON: In what looks very much like an opening shot in a fundamental fiscal battle between the four armed services and the Office of Secretary of Defense, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus came right out today and said we should preserve fighting forces by cutting Defense Department agencies that are “pure overhead,” His prime candidates? The testers who make sure the services’… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

[Updated Friday with new DISA org chart] CRYSTAL CITY: The day before Islamic radicals hijacked Central Command’s Twitter account, the Defense Information Systems Agency officially launched a major overhaul intended, among other things, to increase cybersecurity. But it doesn’t mean the office is getting bigger or getting more money: DISA’s cybersecurity office will actually get smaller. “It’ll… Keep reading →

Brig. Gen. Robert Skinner

[UPDATED with Central Command statement on Twitter/YouTube hack] CRYSTAL CITY: There’s a new cyber sheriff in town — and none too soon. When the Pentagon’s social media accounts get hacked, as they did today, it’s acutely embarrassing. When the military’s internal networks get hacked, however, it’s potentially lethal. But the Defense Department doesn’t have a single organization… Keep reading →


The clouds, they are a-changin’. The Defense Information Systems Agency may have lost its status — always controversial and contested — as gatekeeper between the rest of the Defense Department and commercial providers of cloud computing. But Pentagon CIO Terry Halvorsen‘s decision to let other defense entities acquire cloud services on their own still leaves… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: Apple, Amazon, and Google long since outstripped the Pentagon in information technology. But as the military and intelligence community try to take advantage of commercial IT innovation, especially in cloud computing, they have run into harsh limits. Security, long-range bandwidth and the sheer volume of data have created problems for the Pentagon that current commercially… Keep reading →

Fort Meade

FORT MEADE, MD: “Remember the peace dividend we took in the Clinton years in the ’90s? Welcome back,” said Douglas Packard. “That’s where we’re at.” Some 20 years ago as defense budgets plummeted post-Cold War, the defense industry consolidated, recalled Packard, acting head of procurement at the Defense Information Systems Agency. Contractors better beware once more,… Keep reading →

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