Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back To The Sextant?

How much do you trust your electronics?

An interesting article with video over The Old Salt Blog titled, "How Secure is Shipboard GPS? Not Very – GPS Spoofing Takes Control of $80MM Yacht", shows how GPS satellites can be overpowered and an attacker can commandeer the GPS navigation system aboard a ship (although far more vehicles than a ship are possible I imagine).

Personally, I always wonder if folks on the highway are listening in on my fine selection of tunes when I am running my iPhone through an FM modulator...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Is enlisted retention still an issue?

The title of this post is really a question for you all.  My perspective is rather constrained to CTN's, but in our Information Dominance Corps, is enlisted retention still an issue?

I just recently turned over my division of CTN's that in the last 2.5 years grew from 19 to 45, had about a dozen Sailors PCS, about half of them reenlisting, but had only a single Sailor drop paperwork to leave the Navy.

In my reflection of my first DIVO experience and after reading through Sharon Anderson's article in CHIPS titled, "Recruiting, Training and Maintaining Talent in the Cyber Workforce", I really wonder what all the fuss is about?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Survival Hints for Young Creative Weirdos

I love the title of this post.  It is a snippet from a brilliant article I found over the weekend titled, "Hey, Kid: Thoughts For The Young Oddballs We Need So Badly" by Linda Holmes.

Now I don't want to go so far as to making it seem like the world is full of hipsters (those who are different for the sake of being different which in turn makes them all alike...), but I do firmly believe that our culture is really beginning to celebrate the oddities that make us all unique.  And one of the side effects of embracing this diversity is unlocking restrictions on creativity, or things that at one point may have been considered taboo.

The key, which is covered in a just a few points in the article which I'll highlight below, is making sure that people (young, old, and those in between) know that it is OK to be different and think outside the box.

So here are the points from Holme's article with a Navy spin...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wi-Vi: Exploiting Known Technology

This is really neat.  Apparently in our information age, WiFi can transmit information in more ways than you might realize.  While 1's and 0's might transmit on the waves, have you ever thought about the propagation properties and the information that can be gleaned and derived from it?

A fairly extensive article over on CIMSEC offers the following description on Wi-Vi:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Proactive Decision Making

When leaders need to make decisions, as expected, they endeavor to make good ones.  Unfortunately, without good data at hand, decisions can end up being unintentionally bad.

One of the major tasks for leaders is to ask the right questions.  These questions should be the starting point for the generation of metrics that are required for coherent answers.  If the right questions aren’t being asked, or more likely, no questions at all, then any analyst will fall back to submit the data they have on hand.  This is a dangerous precedent to set because when leaders rely only on what data is already available, the existing data gathering will likely distract the leader from asking the right questions. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Modern Day Wizard War

"This was a secret war, whose battles were lost or won unknown to the public; and only with difficulty is it comprehended, even now, by those outside the small high scientific circles concerned.  No such warfare had ever been waged by mortal men.  The terms in which it could be recorded or talked about were unintelligible to ordinary folk.  Yet if we had not mastered its profound meaning and used its mysteries even while we saw them only in the glimpse, all the efforts, all the prowess of the fighting airmen, all the bravery and sacrifices of the people, would have been in vain." Winston Churchill1
World War II.  This "secret war", this "race for electronic superiority"2, this "Wizard War"3, as Winston Churchill so eloquently called it, led to the development and deployment of so many new technologies, it makes you wonder what great advancements of the 20th century may not have come to fruition had there not been the price tag of war.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What would you say ya do here?

Another great concept that a recent Skipper pushed on our Wardroom (through IW/IDW boards) that I in turn encourage upon my own Sailors is the concept of an "Elevator Speech".

An elevator speech is simply a short, 30 second to 2 minute, speech you have in your brain's back pocket that could be delivered at any single moment of any day with zero preparation.  It's name comes from the idea that by chance you find yourself in an elevator with a executive, VIP, or Flag, and they ask the question... "What would you say ya do here..." there is no awkward silence that follows.  I have also heard it called an "Elevator Pitch" for when you can quickly sell your idea to anyone that will listen.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

History: Huff-Duff

While making my way through Ladislas Farago's "The Tenth Fleet", I have been truly fascinated by the ingenuity of great minds in the 1940's as well as the valor exhibited by the commercial vessels that transited the Atlantic.

One technical topic that has pages, rightfully from its importance, dedicated to it, is a product of the former mentioned above: Huff-duff, or HF-DF, or High Frequency Direction Finding.  This technology was brought to relevancy through precision by the Allies after the U-Boat Command dismissed inaccuracies at the beginning of the war as "no cause for anxiety"1, leading to terrible COMSEC procedures which ultimately led to defeat.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Navy Interview: CDR Sean Heritage

The below interview is a re-post from my personal blog (pre-OTNG).  I feel that this blog is the perfect medium for this type of post and hope to do more of these in the future.  Enjoy!

In an attempt to not just answer my own curiosities, but to foster the beginnings of a discussion for more than myself, I have decided to start and share a new thread … Interviews with Navy Leadership.
So much of what we do is based so much on perspective.  Certain people have certain experiences which give them certain perspectives on certain situations.  What I hope to gain from interviewing some of our Navy leaders is added perspective.  There is no way we can all have every experience, and I for one wouldn't care to try.  So why not ping those that have come before and have clearly taken a good path?
If you enjoy this type of content, I encourage you to participate!  Leave comments, ask questions, suggest future interviews, do something more than just reading the words.  I too only have a certain perspective and may not ask the questions that really need to be asked.  All right, so the invitation is out there … the rest is up to you!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

CNO's Rapid Innovation Cell

Have ideas about enhancing our Navy and bringing it further into the 21st century by utilizing things like Google Glass, 3-D printing, and crowd-sourced war-gaming?  All with a budget upwards of $2 million?  Hey IDC, this is a call to us!

The CNO's Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) application period for FY2014 is now open and ready for you to make a submission.  What is this thing called CRIC?  What are the expectations?  How do I apply?  As this was a first heard for me a week ago, I had the same questions...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What is an Information Professional?

Me: Hi, I'm LCDR Stephen Gray
Other Naval Officer: Nice to meet you. I see you have that new pin [IDWO]... What do you do?
Me: I'm an Information Professional Officer.
Other Naval Officer: What's that?

This summarizes my most common interaction with other officers that are not part of the Information Dominance Corps (IDC).  While I've become much better at answering this question, mostly because I expect it, I find it unfortunate that the frequency in which I get it hasn't changed.

So what do I say?  I say: "The Information Professional (IP) community is part of the Information Dominance Corps.  We are the leader for the Navy's IT operations and investments and we provide communication, network, and space capabilities to operational commanders."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Who is VADM Rogers?

Down here at NIOC Texas, we were recently given the opportunity to host VADM Rogers for a special visit as he presided over a Change of Command ceremony.  At a Wardroom function, it was brought up to our guest that one of the most important questions in our Information Warfare qualification board is, "Who is VADM Rogers?"  To this he gave a quite a chuckle...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Navy Cyber: The 5th Operational Domain

Apparently this "Cyberspace" thing is pretty cool, yeah?  It is the buzz all over the news feeds as well with the talking heads on TV.  Denial of Service this, SCADA that1, First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment rights2, Internet kill switches3 (a little dated), etc...

Well not only is this a very dynamic topic in the news, it is also an extremely dynamic domain in which to operate.  Our Navy recognizes this and has Tenth Fleet tasked to support.