Home' Defense Systems : November 2012 Contents No eyeballs on target
BY BARRY ROSENBERG
The show oors at the recently concluded Association of the United States Army
(AUSA) conference and exhibition in Washington, D.C. bristled with new tech-
nologies and capabilities that could serve our military well in places such as Af-
ghanistan and the South China Sea. Unfortunately, far too few of our service members
were on hand at AUSA to see and demonstrate those technologies for themselves.
It s all because of the blowback related to the careless and near-criminal use of fed-
eral funds by the General Services Administration throwing itself a lavish $800,000+
bash in Las Vegas. Even though the annual AUSA show is run by a private nonpro t
group without government funding, Army leadership took what I believe is the politi-
cally correct path instead of the defend-America-at-all-costs path by severely curtail-
ing the ability of soldiers to discover the latest
technologies and capabilities that they can use
to carry out their missions.
I m not defending the large Army booths that
at past AUSA shows displayed entire tactical
operations centers and armored trucks. ose
booths needed to stay packed in their crates this
year in light of real budget cuts to Army spend-
ing. At this year s show, the Army had only one
appropriately sized area on the show oor and
emphasized education over hardware.
But I ve talked to many soldiers and Army
employees who were told to stay back at the
o ce this year to save money; even if they
were allowed to attend the show, they were told
that the Army wouldn t be paying for a hotel
room. On the one hand Army Secretary John
McHugh, who made the opening remarks at the
conference, told the audience that AUSA was an "important educational opportunity,"
but on the other hand he took away this educational opportunity for most soldiers.
So here are a few of the new technologies that I was able to see demonstrated at
AUSA. Since I carry a pen instead of a weapon, though, many soldiers will have to learn
about these technologies and capabilities from our magazine and website instead of
gaining valuable rst-hand knowledge that can be applied directly to their missions.
I stood inside a training and simulation dome created by Cubic (along with the
Italian Army Chief of Sta LTG Claudio Graziano, by the way) to see how valuable
immersive 360-degree training could be in preparing soldiers for combat. I saw the
aerial communications relay system that the Army will use in War ghter Informa-
tion Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 3 to provide beyond-line-of-sight com-
munications without the use of expensive satellites, which General Dynamics C4
Systems was displaying for the rst time ever. And I saw from Raytheon Technical
Services a super-lightweight and removable hard drive connected to a wrist-mount-
ed display that helicopter pilots could use for situational awareness on the ground
a er ditching their rotorcra .
I had eyeballs on the target at AUSA; too bad many of our soldiers were stopped
from doing the same. ■
Far too few
of our service
were on hand
to see and
I've mentioned before that
Defense Systems is the only
editorial operation with an online
news website with daily cover-
age of important developments
in C4ISR, cyber and defense IT,
including coverage of key con-
ferences. Beginning in January,
we're adding even more original
news content to our website,
with a monthly Online Strategic
Report that won't be available
in our monthly printed publica-
tion. Subjects we'll be covering
include Navy networks, big data,
and tactical radios.
Defense Systems has a full
slate of webinars planned for
next year, so check our website
regularly for the schedule.
These are valuable learning
opportunities, such as our just-
completed webinar on bringing
affordability to defense prod-
ucts, and the reorganization of
Air Force networks. I moderated
that webinar with participation
from Tim Rudolph, the chief
technology officer at the new
Air Force Life Cycle Manage-
ment Center at Hanscom Air
Force Base, and Michael
Twyman, vice president and
general manager of Northrop
Grumman Information Systems'
Defense Systems Division.
4 NOVEMBER 2012 | DefenseSystems.com
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