Opportunities, Challenges Abound on Mobile Horizon

Story by Amaani Lyle, American Forces Press Service
(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleAFPS)

The Pentagon’s chief information officer today discussed the vast opportunities mobile computing provides and its critical role in improving support for the Defense Department’s 600,000 mobile device users.

During the 4th annual MobileGov Summit at the Newseum here, Teresa M. Takai said operational mobility pilot programs are a success story across the Defense Department’s components.

“The goal is to ensure the warfighter has access to information, anywhere, any time, on any device, and the DoD is making progress in achieving this goal,” she said. “These pilots allow DoD to gather lessons learned, identify cost reductions and improve productivity.”

Takai cited an example of mobility pilot program success in the Air Force’s electronic flight bag program.

“This electronic information management system is an iPad loaded with mobile applications, … and it replaces paper-based reference materials that can weigh between 30 and 110 pounds,” she explained, adding that hard-copy navigational charts and flight manuals soon could be obsolete as a result.

The electronic flight bag, she noted, can host applications to automate other functions, such as performance and takeoff calculations.

“This will allow flight crews to perform flight management tasks more easily and efficiently, with less paper — all while increasing security and efficiencies,” Takai said. Not only could the EFB program amount to about $1 million annually in fuel by reducing the weight of paper-based reference materials, she added, but new layers of security and encryption can augment protection of data.

The Air Force’s Air Mobility Command is deploying about 18,000 devices as part of the program and will allow each squadron to customize applications tailored for its specific mission. “By December 2014,” Takai said, “more than 10,000 Air Mobility Command EFBs will be able to access this capability.”

Progress also includes improving the way in which certification occurs for mobile devices to operate on DoD networks, she reported. So far, the latest Apple, Android and Blackberry operating systems have been approved, with the green light pending for Microsoft devices. But challenges remain, such as considering how to effectively vet new applications and how to better control network access, Takai said.

“The idea is to adapt DoD software and data sources to enable mobile applications and design cloud-based services that will support disconnected scenarios,” she explained.

Plans also include tapping into established national information exchange data models and using common mobile application development frameworks, the CIO said.

Partnership with industry, Takai told the conferees, also will be a critical part of DoD’s overall shift to mobile computing.

“We hope to see increased industry participation in DoD’s security standards, vetting tools and processes,” she said.

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  • The Keystone Garter

    I know the first step towards a utopia; an improvement upon MAD. The NSA is afraid a proliferation of quantum encryption will limit their ability to eavesdrop upon their adversaries. The opposite is true: quantum encryption is a necessary component of a successful WMD sensor network. The might of market forces and semiconductor mass production should be harnessed to enable enough quantum encryption to run a global pervasive select-WMD sensor network. Bioweapons implements, Skynet AI infrastructures and software, and a few other radical technologies should be the first targets of a sensor network that is only capable of searching for such technologies (using Mind’s Eye AI to avoid people surveilling people for the most part). The sensor network must continue functioning so things like EMP factories will need to be surveilled. This all means WMD sensor info, once the building blocks of anarchy are defined, gets to existing chains-of-command. They will have to strike/appehend those seeking this select group of WMDs. If I can’t think of an improvement to MAD I’d leave the existing nukes alone for now and let diplomacy and better leader screening run its course.
    Using these sensors for uses other than the select WMD list (about a dozen technologies but bioweapons and AI dominate) should invite a measured response that may include WWIII. N.Korea style export restrictions may work, EMP air strikes may disable the renegade sensor network. Tyrannical behaviour suggests increased offensive war risk and increased odds of developing select-WMDs on home soil; it might not be enough to trade sanction and wait to grow stronger as this accepted corporatist strategy can lead to an unstable arms race, can lead to dangerous technologies in one’s arsenal, might lose the race to prevent pandemics or AI.
    Quantum illumination is key. Such a sensor network can’t be hacked and transfers the risk to bad administrative structures. It is likely a direct sensor tool as well as the communications medium. Single-photon sources should be heavily subsidized. It already looks like silicon carbide will scale cheaply. Maybe CNTs, maybe nanodiamonds can be cheaply (trillions or more sensors ready in 20 yrs) self-assembled from proteins and soot or something, maybe room temperature quantum dots…but it looks like wireless sensor communication using silicon carbide will be cheap enough to work. And by focusing only on certain technologies, enablers of “select-WMDs”, the odds of tyranny are low and the odds of a treaty are high. This is a direct subsidy to all positive parts of these dual use technologies such as gene therapy, vaccine R+D (eventually untreatable diseases will dominate and it won’t be so wise to R+D designer strains), many AI technologies….things like brain implants are also select-WMDs. The sensor network enables tyranny and it also helps win aginst existing police-military. I’ll have alist of what to surveil. A bureaucracy of patent office type staffers will be needed to approve or deny the use of much dual-use technology; taxes will rise in the USA to fund these employees and rich people will have their homes surveilled for such implements and they will be able to verify nothing else is surveilled. Optical computers is a point of inflection. I would like to lobby for such lasers but is tougher to TEMPEST them; maybe they can be made to be as visible as video cards, IDK. Some technologies can and should prevent others and I know which ones. Some of the bioweapons specific precursors it is unwise to share publicly. This list and the proliferation of sensors to potential tyrants is my main concern here. EMP proliferation should be a big issue as long as those supporting wind and solar are elected.
    This is the only solution that preserves the positive 1/2 of dual use technologies, and minimizes tyranny. It risks WWIII in forcing select-WMD sensoring but it should be implemented immediately; there isn’t anyone who will suggest an improvement in time.