17 October 2008

Back at the C4ISR Conference

From day 2 of the C4ISR Conference in Washington, DC.
Still working; still experimenting with live-blogging...
Updates coming throughout the day on this post...

First Session
Coast Guard C4&IT, Mark Powel, Director, C4 & IT Infrastructure Operations, U.S. Coast Guard

Start with some CG history
Only guy talking here whose parent is not DoD b/c they take strategic direction from DHS instead

Goal 1: promote compliance, efficiency, sharing, quality
Goal 2: Technology: Innovative, Interoperable, Spectrum Use, Net-centric, Optimized, Enterprise-wide, Mission-focused
Goal 3: Security: Complaince, Prevention, Mitigation, Awareness, Recovery

Boy, they're big on "compliance" aren't they?

Goal 4: Governance: Requirements, Project Mgmt, Performance Mgmt, Systems development Lifecycle, Capital Planing & Investment Control, Enterprise Architecture

It feels like this guy's just using a canned brief for USCG IT guys, and not something specifically targeted at this audience.

Yet another goal... (that doesn't include "compliance")
Goal 5: Organizational Excellence: Outreach, Customer Service, Workforce Development, Process Improvement

Good explanation of Strategy to Implementation to Results
DHS/USCG plan to CG-6 plan, then CG-6 performance plan to roadmap of unit performance plans, to actual target architecture and individual performance plans, then the results

During Q&A, good point came up, USCG has to work both SIPR/NIPR and the DHS networks, b/c of dual reporting chain.

Next speaker is late getting here, so BREAK TIME!

And now, a word from our sponsors... the exhibitors here were/are:
OWL Comp Tech, NEK Advanced Security Group, Dynamic Aviation, Goodrich, L3 Communications, Mercury Computer Services, ESRI, Tactronics Holdings.

Next Session
Change of plans... next speaker is CAPT Jack Steiner, USN. Chief of Staff of J-6 / C4 Systems
(Scheduled speaker called away)

Wants to talk less about what we need to do than what we need to stop doing
Basing talk around GIG 2.0

Show of hands - who's on social networking vs who's just on email. Who shares info daily and willingly vs only when required.
You can probably guess the generational divide in that show of hands.

Poking fun at the USAF, with the baby-pilot video... (yes, the one we had last month)

GIG 2.0 - Warfighter-focused
Global authentication, access control, directory services
Information and services "from the edge"
Unity of Command
Joint Infrastructure
Common Standards and Policies - key point he made was here: the limitations we're using here are not technological. How long does it take to get set up on email when you PCS to a new station? How many installations have IT managers who limit what's on the network based on their local definition of some centralized regulation instead of centralized mgmt?

We have created our own boundaries to sharing and collaboration, whether through tech, or policy, or funding, we create NIPR, SIPR, MCFI, GCTF, CFE, Bilat, all separate on the desk, and force the commander with 6 computers on his desk to be the integrator.

Policies say we should share. Technology is not causing the problem. But technology while technology can help with solutions, technology doesn't write/enforce policies.

Don't stand up 38 different bi-lateral networks for each bi-lateral partner in the coalition. Set up 1 physical network, with 38 data 'enclaves' to share the data, rather than 38 networks.

Where does industry fit in? (bullet points)
- Today's teens = tomorrow's leaders
- Embrace different cultural approaches
- Leverage across government and mission partners
- Global authentication and access control (identity management)
- Directory services
- Scalable enterprise services

Comments, in order with above:
- The kids have the right ideas about sharing ideas; already doing socially what everyone should be doing professionally
- Don't be a slave to your technology. How do you make a phone call in nation with no landlines?
- Need to attack policy, culture, bad habits. Don't engineer a technology solution around a bad policy decision; fix the decision.
- Authentication token should be good anywhere on the planet on mil domain and not wait 2 days for an account. Example is free online email systems like Yahoo or GMail (same login/info, anywhere)
- Mil domain directory should not be segmented
- We currently build complex and intricate networks that can't deploy to the forward edge b/c of the bandwidth constraints. Build the network to focus on deployability and make sure it works where it's needed, and not in the GO's office.

Final bullets:
Remove impediments that don't add value.
Shared information is the enabler.
Less about tools, more about culture and habits.
GIG 2.0 is achievable

Q&A: Interesting bit about whether or not a collaborative wiki is more or less authoritative than a 'vetted' source. Though not invoked by name, James Suroweicki's Wisdom of Crowds was mentioned as evidence that wikis can work when their material is given time to gel.

Q from moderator: When posting shared information, how do you ensure people read what you want them to?
A from presenter: If something out there is of value to me, I will get off my butt and go get it. And if it's not of value to them and they don't go get then maybe you as the sender need to re-evaluate how much value you think you're providing, and either increase the value or educate the receiver about why it really is more valuable than he sees it.

Collapsing the networks is pointless unless the tools you need to work exist on the resulting network.

Favorite show of hands, thus far:
How many of you use text-messaging on your phones? Five or seven hands, including me...
How many of your kids use text-messaging? Lots of hands. Of course, my son is 5. But he'll get there.

Overall a very good talk about what people should be doing. But unfortunately, until the current crop of O5s and above die off and go away, we won't, b/c they inherently don't trust the technologies.

Next Session
Delivering More Intel to Forces in Iraq & Afghanistan
Kevin Meiners, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Portfolio, Programs & Resources, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence)

(filling the time with some jokes while they get the presentation up on the screen)

And here we go...

Looking for irregular warfare in earlier QDRs/reports, they found 1 hit in 8 reports from '99-'01:
2001, Annual report: "Although irregular forces will be unable to match the combat power of heavy us weaponry in the near future, they could pose challenges to the US military"
2006, there were several hundred hits.

Opational ISR TF
6 integrated product teams, which is entry point for the 'great ideas'"
ISR Requirements
Rapid Acquisition
Operational Concepts
Operations Integration
Future Initiatives

ISR equivalent of WWII Liberty Ships. Now called the "Liberty Project Aircraft"
Modified C12 aircraft, and within 12 months, they put 37 aircraft out.
Picked C12 b/c all the services use them.

Find - Fix - Finish
ISR for this in irregular warfare requires greater persistence and resolution.
Example: to identify individuals, you need ground-sample-distance: 0.05m resolution at 15Hz frame rate and 5x5km area
To ID vehicle, not as high-res, but to identify actions of people, you need more.

Look for next QDR to recommend MQ1 / MQ9 split within the services, with the Army taking over one of them.

Persistence / endurance seems to always lead back to an airship, and the 'giggle factor' goes up with snarky remarks about putting "Goodyear" on the side. But airships offer years of endurance. DARPA is apparently seriously investigating this.

Ops ISR task force focused on deploying is fast. How are you getting your gear/ideas deployed in 6-9 months? The two-year deployment is no good for them.
How is large data being moved around?
NSA is building a new cloud architecture for SIGINT enterprise, and everyone needs to be educated on that cloud architecture if you're going to work with NSA / Ops ISR TF.

Q&A time... and a few crickets at first...
Lots of hardware questions and wanting to know about where acquisition decisions are going and how they're shaped.

Not sure what's up for after-lunch presentations. Might be time to E&E before Friday afternoon DC traffic turns the town into a 1500 sq mi parking lot...

By: Brant

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