The Chinese propaganda machine enjoys reinforcing this perception of American decline. Amid the pandemic and protests, Chinese media have contrasted Beijing’s (supposedly) superior virus-fighting techniques with the enfeebled response of the Trump administration, claiming that Chinese governance is superior to American democracy. Adding in the tumult caused by the death of George Floyd, the Global Times, a Communist Party–run newspaper, wrote that “Chinese analysts” were warning that “the U.S. has become a ‘failed state.’”
Forgotten is the gargantuan lead the U.S. still holds by just about every measure, even after China’s four decades of hypersonic economic growth. The total output of the U.S. economy was $20.5 trillion in 2018, significantly larger than China’s $13.6 trillion. Calculated on a per-person basis, the gap is even more glaring.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, for better or worse, clarified the criticality of modern government technology. As federal and state governments sent their employees home, capacity and accessibility demands quickly overwhelmed IT systems and processes. Many agencies struggled to provide services using newer digital channels. And, unfortunately, new security challenges emerged as well, particularly among agencies whose specialized “government clouds” strained under the load.
We believe there’s a better way. It starts with acknowledging that there really is no need for specialized government clouds that give the illusion of a digital fortress.
In fact, these “gov clouds” have actually hindered the federal government’s ability to take full advantage of the security and full capabilities of commercial cloud environments.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, it’s clear that having better information sooner, and acting more quickly on what was known, could have slowed the spread of the outbreak and saved more people’s lives.
There may be finger-pointing about who should have done better – and President Donald Trump has already begun laying blame. But as a former naval intelligence officer who teaches and studies the U.S. intelligence community, I believe it’s useful to look at the whole process of how information about diseases gets collected and processed, by the U.S. government but also by many other organizations around the world.
The U.S. intelligence community has for many years considered the possible threat of disease among the potential risks to national stability and security.
Many experts have imagined a future in which the Department of Defense deploys an army of gadgets to track the health of individual warfighters in real time. However, most did not envision a global pandemic being the tipping point for the large-scale adoption of devices.
As the world faces the coronavirus pandemic, leaders want to better understand the health of soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors in real time, securely while maintaining some semblance of privacy. As leaders and program managers wrestle with decisions to employ these technologies, they must address information security, privacy and the need to know.
First and foremost, the information tracked, collated, and disseminated about the physical wellbeing of military personnel represents a high-security risk. Unit readiness levels are closely guarded military secrets. Aggregating this information provides new threat vectors for adversaries to exploit.
AFCEA is committed to doing everything we can to support our members across the globe during this time of uncertainty. The safety of our members is and will remain our utmost priority.
We have taken several steps to help, and we will continue to add to this list based on need and feedback.
We are adhering to all government guidelines, timeframes and standards, and we are adjusting our event schedules to align for both compliance and safety. View our updated events schedule.
During this time of social distancing, we have shifted to a virtual format to deliver valuable and timely content. Virtual Event Listing
AFCEA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Bob Shea, USMC (Ret.), is participating in calls to discuss the impact of COVID-19 as it relates to our defense industrial base in a group hosted by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord. We are sharing documents and guidance resulting from those calls with our member base. Read more about this effort.
MATH AND SCIENCE can take a lot of time to learn. It can be very hard. But students who study in these areas often get to do special, fun and exciting things.
Groups like AFCEA are run by adults who want to make science, technology, engineering and math, which is called STEM, interesting. They give money and spend their time helping. Here are some of the fun things going on with the help from different AFCEA groups around the country.
Girl Scouts are learning how computers and the Internet work in Montgomery, Alabama. AFCEA also helps Camp IT for middle schoolers. This camp teaches how to fix computers, design web pages and do robotics projects.
The efficiencies of using and embedding open source software (OSS) carry many risks. In the advent of free repositories and millions of open source projects, the notion of any reasonable centralized authentication about the origin or any assurance as to correctness is virtually impossible. As a result, users should cultivate trust relationships with a few suppliers and keep them up to date.
As industry more widely used computers, people were paid specifically to create more commercially applicable programs with inherent commercial value. Employers restricted usage and rights to their work by keeping the source code private and licensing—not selling—software binaries and not distributing the source code. Consequently, most early experiences with software were either through research or government labs or with commercial licensing.
A DISA directorate uses an innovative method to confront information challenges across the globe.
The Cyberspace Operations Directorate within the Defense Information Systems Agency is employing a so-called battle drill concept to ensure communications and data are available to the combatant commanders, senior leaders or other key officials when required. The directorate is responsible for the global flow of information, especially in support of the U.S. military’s 11 combatant commands and other key Defense Department operations. The battle drill model collectively pulls together the resources needed to tackle complex communication and data issues.
The directorate is relying on the process to quickly alleviate problems its customers are encountering to restore the critical flow of information, explains Joseph Wassel, director, DISA’s Cyberspace Operations. In addition to supporting the combatant commands, the directorate oversees the 24/7 Joint Operations Center at DISA headquarters at Ft. Meade, Maryland, as well as DISA’s Global Operations at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
Effort aims to pull in entrepreneurs with advanced technologies in machine learning, artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, and advanced sensors.
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is partnering with Los Angeles-based aerospace technology accelerator Starburst in offering a $1 million prize challenge. Known as the Entrepreneurs Challenge, the effort is meant to pull in state-of-the-art technology from individuals and corporations in three technology areas: physics-based transfer learning and artificial intelligence; advanced mass spectrometry; and quantum sensors.
Ten states and Washington, D.C., held primaries on June 2 as part of this year’s presidential and local election cycle. Along with other federal stakeholders, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, has the role of helping to protect American’s confidence in the voting process by providing cybersecurity and a secure voting infrastructure.
Primaries were held in Washington, D.C., Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Dakota on Tuesday, where voters faced the continued COVID-19 pandemic—although under slightly different conditions from earlier primaries in the spring before states began recent reopening processes, explained senior CISA officials in a call with the media about their election security efforts.
“We are in a reopening phase generally across the country,” one official stated. “And the second part is of course the ongoing civil unrest across the country.”