Military & Aerospace l Harris Corp Receives $20 million to provide Radios for Army and Marine Corp MRAP Vehicles

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Harris Corp Receives $20 million to provide Falcon III AN/PRC-117G Muliband Manpack Radios for US Army and US Marine Corp MRAP Vehicles

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS), an international communications and information technology company, has received $20 million in orders from the U.S. Army’s Project Manager-MRAP via the GSA, FAS Assisted Acquisition Services (AAS, Region 2) to provide Falcon III® AN/PRC-117G multiband manpack radios and associated AN/VRC-114 vehicular amplifier adapters for use in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.

PM-MRAP is acquiring the AN/PRC-117G radios and related vehicular systems to provide the ability to upgrade to MUOS satellite communications as directed by Army G3/5/7 LANDWARNET. Currently, the majority of the U.S Army MRAP vehicles are equipped with the Harris Falcon II® AN/PRC-117F. The acquisition of AN/PRC-117G radios provides SATCOM on-the-move capability to MRAP vehicles and could expand capabilities available to crew members to include streaming video, simultaneous voice and data feeds, collaborative chat and connectivity to secure networks.

The AN/PRC-117G, deployed by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, provides situational awareness on the battlefield by delivering real-time information to warfighters on the move. Software-defined and upgradeable, the radio enables mobile ad-hoc networking, voice and high-bandwidth data applications and support a growing number of network-enabled missions. The radios also provide access to beyond-line-of-sight tactical satellite communications through implementation of the Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA) and Integrated Waveform (IW).

The AN/PRC-117G is the first JTRS Software Communications Architecture-certified and NSA Type-1 certified wideband manpack radio system. With its fully integrated and NSA-certified High Assurance Internet Protocol Equipment (HAIPE) networking encryption, the AN/PRC-117G provides the highest level of information assurance to tactical units.

Harris has shipped more than 16,000 AN/PRC-117G radio systems to the U.S. DoD and allies such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, other NATO nations and Australia.

Oct 24, 2011
By Skyler Frink

Military & Aerospace l Harris Corp Receives $20 million to provide Falcon III AN/PRC-117G Muliband Manpack Radios for US Army and US Marine Corp MRAP Vehicles


Marine Corps Times l Corps awards $23.6 million IAR contract

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Marine Corps has taken the last major step to field the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle to all infantry battalions by the end of next year.

Leaders recently awarded a contract worth up to $23.6 million with the maker of the 5.56mm machine gun, Heckler & Koch Defense of Ashburn, Va. The company plans to begin delivering more than 3,600 IARs to the Corps early next year, said Robert Reidsma, who oversees the IAR program for HK. That’s in addition to 458 of the weapons sent to units beginning late last year as part of an experimental fielding called for by Gen. James Conway, before he retired as commandant in October 2010.

The decision closes a chapter on a decade-long debate concerning whether the Corps should drop the firepower available in the belt-fed Squad Automatic Weapon in favor of a lighter, more accurate automatic rifle. Full fielding was approved this summer by Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, and is expected to begin by March.

The IAR will serve as a one-for-one replacement for the M249 SAW in Marine rifle squads and light armored reconnaissance scout sections, said 1st Lt. Jamie Larson, a spokeswoman with Marine Corps Systems Command of Quantico, Va. In conventional infantry battalions, virtually every four-man fire team will have an IAR, with three per squad, 28 per company and up to 4,476 across the Corps, Marine officials said.

The IAR will be fielded with standard-issue 30-round magazines, rather than the 200-round drums common with the SAW. Marine officials said the auto-rifle’s benefits outweigh firepower concerns, however. The Corps also will still keep six SAWs in each rifle company to be used at the commander’s discretion, primarily in defensive positions and other spots where a light machine gun could be beneficial.

“As demonstrated throughout extensive development and operational testing, and during combat operations in Operation Enduring Freedom, the M27 IAR is significantly more accurate than the M249 SAW,” Larson said. “The increased accuracy of the M27 improves automatic rifleman and small-unit lethality, mobility and survivability.”

The weapon was first fielded in Afghanistan this spring by 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Just a few months into the battalion’s deployment, Amos approved full fielding.

Marines with 1/3 have since returned to Kaneohe Bay, but the weapon is downrange with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.; 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, a Reserve unit out of Fort Devens, Mass. First LAR, out of Pendleton, is expected to deploy with it later this year.

Marines with 1/3 were deployed in Afghanistan’s Garmser district and saw sporadic engagement with insurgents. Still, the unit had at least two recommendations for the weapon that the Corps has taken under advisement, Reidsma said.

The initial 458 weapons were kitted out with a standard three-point combat assault sling, but Marines experimented and decided they preferred the Vickers Combat Applications two-point sling made by Blue Force Gear of Pooler, Ga., HK’s Reidsma said. Each weapon in future deliveries will be outfitted with one of them, and HK will deliver additional Vickers slings to retrofit weapons already fielded, he said.

The Corps also decided to incorporate new MantaRail rail guards on the IAR. Made by Advanced Innovation and Manufacturing of North Royalton, Ohio, the polymer rail guards have a no-slip rubberized feel and can be cut to size to easily cover wires attached to equipment on the rifle.

HK has sent representatives across the Corps to assist in training Marine armorers, Reidsma said.

Marine Corps Times l Corps awards $23.6 million IAR contract

By Dan Lamothe
Oct 31, 2011

Military and Aerospace l Northrop Grumman receives full-fielding recommendation for its LITENING G4 targeting pod

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Northrop Grumman receives full-fielding recommendation for its LITENING G4 targeting pod

The Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC) has recommended full fielding for Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE:NOC) LITENING G4 Advanced Targeting Pod to equip F-16 C/D Block 25/30/32 aircraft. The recommendation follows the successful completion of an operational utility evaluation (OUE) for the targeting pod system.

The AATC executed the evaluation with the support of the 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City, N.J. LITENING G4 flew 530 sorties and accumulated more than 825 flight hours during this evaluation, which was conducted between September 2010 and May 2011. The OUE verified that LITENING G4 is suitable and effective for the F-16 Block 30 mission areas.

The LITENING G4 Advanced Targeting Pod is the newest addition to the company’s LITENING family of targeting pods, delivering advancements in sensor, laser imaging and data link technology. G4’s technologies include full 1Kx1K forward looking infrared (FLIR), 1Kx1K charge-coupled device and short wave infrared (SWIR) laser imaging sensors, color symbology, tracker improvement and enhanced zoom. These advancements deliver more accurate target identification and location at longer ranges than previous generations of LITENING targeting pod systems while reducing pilot workload.

By Skyler Frink
Oct 24, 2011

Military and Aerospace l Northrop Grumman receives full-fielding recommendation for its LITENING G4 targeting pod

RSC l US STEM graduates look beyond science for careers

October 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Concern that the US is losing its scientific and technological pre-eminence has been growing for some time, accelerated by recent economic turmoil, but a new report suggests that the issue goes beyond the need for more professional scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

The authors of the report from Georgetown University’s center on education and the workforce suggest that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) need to become more lucrative to retain the most talented individuals. The report also concludes that the deeper problem, beyond the question of whether the US has sufficient STEM labour, is a broader scarcity of workers with basic STEM competencies across the entire economy.

“There is this cry that there is a STEM shortage, but also the counterargument that if there really was a shortage then salaries would be going up”
– Al Teich, senior policy adviser at the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Although data indicate that wages for STEM workers are high and rising, the study says they are not growing as fast as other occupations that poach STEM talent such as doctors, managers and other professional careers that require a similar set of baseline skills in science and maths.

Immediately after graduation, 43 per cent of STEM graduates work in non-STEM occupations, and the attrition continues 10 years into the workforce when 46 per cent of workers with a degree in a STEM discipline have left the field, the report finds.

‘This is neither a surprise nor a bad thing,’ states Vivek Wadhwa, director of research at Duke University’s center for entrepreneurship and research. Having STEM as a foundation provides value in many professions, and it increases productivity and innovation for the nation as a whole, he says.

In fact, the report’s authors project that demand for workers in STEM occupations is increasing at every educational level, with the exception of some PhD researchers in academia. They estimate that there will be 2.4 million job openings for STEM workers in the US by 2018.

Roughly 65 per cent of bachelor’s degree recipients in STEM occupations earn more than master’s degree recipients in other occupations, the report says. While 47 per cent of bachelor’s degree recipients in STEM occupations earn more than PhDs in other occupations.

Foreign dependence

The report’s authors further suggest that the US cannot assume that the current system will continue to produce science and maths talent at the needed levels. They also warn that relying on foreign-born workers to fill the gaps is unlikely to work indefinitely – especially as global demand for STEM talent increases.

Al Teich, senior policy adviser at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says the data have always been contradictory on the state of the US’s STEM workforce. ‘There is this cry that there is a shortage, but also the counterargument that if there really was a shortage then salaries would be going up more than they have been,’ he tells Chemistry World. ‘It is a confusing picture and it has been for a long time.’

Ron Hira, a public policy expert with the Rochester Institute of Technology, US, says it’s fine to train more people with STEM capabilities, even if they don’t end up working in these fields. However, he points out that these are very expensive degrees. ‘Who will fund all of those additional STEM degrees – the lab space and higher salaries,’ Hira asks, noting that students are ‘voting with their feet’.

But some, like Wadhwa, argue that the real problem is that 40 per cent of US master’s degrees and 60 per cent of its PhDs are going to foreign nationals because Americans don’t find them worthwhile.

From a UK perspective, the RSC says it wants to see more STEM graduates because of the huge benefits they confer upon the country’s economy, and to society as a whole. David Phillips, president of the RSC, cites results from a report commissioned by the society, which found that the chemistry contributes £250 billion to the UK economy every year.

‘One of every five pounds in the UK economy is dependent on developments in chemical science research and the chemical-reliant industries supported six million jobs in 2007,’ Phillips tells Chemistry World. There has been a 19.4 per cent increase over the last five years in the number of students sitting chemistry A-level in the UK, he adds, saying the figure highlights the importance young people are placing on subjects of ‘great value and academic rigour’.

By Rebecca Trager
25 October 2011

RSC l US STEM graduates look beyond science for careers

The Indianapolis Star l Congress recognizes first black Marines

October 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Congress recognizes first black Marines

Congress voted Tuesday to grant the first black fighters of the last military branch to accept them, the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The 422-0 vote honors about 20,000 Montford Point Marines, who trained in a separate facility called Montford Point that operated at Camp Lejeune, N.C., from 1942 to 1949 when all military branches were segregated.

“This has been a real long time coming,” said Johnny C. Washington, 82. “It seems like everything we did for a long time was hidden. It’s been real frustrating when you see others get recognition and not us.”

While the African-American Army Buffalo Soldiers and the Air Force Tuskegee Airmen have had some measure of renown, the first black Marines have grown old mostly in obscurity.

The Army and Navy had been recruiting blacks since the Civil War. But even when they did join, the Montford Point Marines never achieved officer status and were assigned mostly to ammunition and supply duty.

Some fought at Iwo Jima and went to Japan to clean up the ash after the atomic bomb was dropped over Nagasaki.

Averitte Corley, 84, and Washington said basic training was brutal, their barracks were in ramshackle huts, and the Marines often were kicked and slapped during drills.

“They tried to make us better Marines,” Washington said.

Some didn’t make it through, Corley said.

“We were the first blacks, and they wanted to make sure you measured up,” said Corley, whose platoon included former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

Segregation reigned in the South of the 1940s, and life on base wasn’t much better.

“We’d go to Camp Lejeune for dental appointments, and 20 of us would have to wait in the back of a covered truck while one Marine at a time went in for his appointment,” Washington said. “When he was done, another guy would go in. It was hot waiting in the truck. It would take hours.”

Corley, who now lives in Indianapolis, said that in talking to white Marines years later, he realized that all Marine drills were torturous.

“Boot camp is boot camp,” he said.

Corley’s duties in the Marines included guarding Japanese prisoners of war in Saipan and guarding naval installations in Norfolk, Va.

Washington said he joined at 17 when he lived in Mississippi because “I’d seen some pictures, and I liked the uniforms.”

He stayed in the Marines for 30 years, achieving the rank of sergeant major and serving in three wars: World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Washington was an infantry squad leader in Korea and a first sergeant in a 13-month tour of Vietnam, leading combat patrols in both wars. He now lives in Indianapolis.

Next year, the Marine Corps plans to teach all Marines about Montford Point. Commandant Gen. Jim Amos — the first Marine aviator named to the Corps’ top job — has made diversifying the staunchly traditional branch a top priority.

Corley said a little refresher course would be good for all Marines.

“A lot of these young guys don’t know the history of the Marine Corps,” Corley said. “They think blacks have always been there, and that wasn’t the case. There was a lot of discrimination. But I think a majority of the guys who commanded us want to see some progress.”

By John Tuohy
Tuesday Oct 25, 2011

The Indianapolis Star l Congress recognizes first black Marines

CU Boulder l CU-Boulder Aims to boost technology workforce with more women in computer science

October 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

CU-Boulder aims to boost technology workforce with more women in computer science

The University of Colorado Boulder today announced that it has implemented several new programs over the past three years designed to make computer science more female-friendly, with the larger goal of increasing the number of women employed in technology roles nationwide.

The programs are starting to pay off with the number of women enrolled in CU-Boulder’s Bachelor of Science in computer science degree more than doubling from 18 students in 2007 (8 percent of majors at that time) to 47 students (17 percent of current majors) in 2011, said Professor James Martin, chair of the Department of Computer Science.

The Department of Computer Science at CU-Boulder is working to increase its female student enrollment through enhanced outreach to high schools, new content in its introductory computing courses designed to appeal to non-computing majors, better community support for female computer science majors and work on a new computer science degree program for students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The new content in the introductory computing courses moves away from traditional, abstract examples of linked lists and binary trees to adopt a media-based focus in which students develop programs to manipulate sounds and process images, Martin said.

The new degree program, which is currently under review, is a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science that would allow students in the College of Arts and Sciences to major in computer science while also providing space in their curriculum to earn a major or minor in another field of study. It is hoped that this new degree will lead to further increases in the number of women taking computer science due to the more balanced gender demographics of the College of Arts and Sciences, Martin said.

Taken together, the initiatives are designed to attract women to the field who might otherwise have dismissed computer science as being too focused on programming without realizing the positive impact computer science can have on society and people’s quality of life.

The efforts are part of the Department of Computer Science’s participation in NCWIT Pacesetters, a fast-track program from the National Center for Women & Information Technology in which universities and corporations commit to increasing their numbers of women in technical fields. Pacesetters organizations work to recruit previously untapped talent pools and retain women who are at risk of leaving, resulting in “net new” women for the computing and IT workforce.

“We’re excited to see a growing number of women take interest in our computer science degree programs,” Martin said. “It’s great for the discipline of computer science as a whole to have participation by a broader range of backgrounds and perspectives. We also see room for growth. Women currently make up 17 percent of our undergraduate program; we would like to see that percentage increase to support the national goal of NCWIT to achieve gender parity in information technology over the next 20 years.”

Ken Anderson, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Computer Science, agrees. “Our work as part of Pacesetters has spurred improvements across our entire undergraduate program. These improvements, while designed to attract more participation in computer science by women, result in a higher quality experience for all of our students.”

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than 1.4 million computing-related jobs will be available in the U.S. workforce by 2018, yet by current trends American colleges and universities will produce less than one-third of the trained graduates needed to fill these jobs. Increasing the participation of women, who currently represent half the professional workforce but hold only 25 percent of technology jobs, holds the potential to increase both the quantity and quality of U.S. technical talent.

The current cohort of NCWIT Pacesetters organizations includes Apple Inc.; AT&T Corp.; ATLAS Institute; Bank of America; Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Carnegie Mellon University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Google Inc.; IBM Corp.; Indiana University; Intel Corp.; Microsoft Corp.; Pfizer Inc.; Qualcomm Inc.; Santa Clara University; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Santa Cruz; University of Colorado Boulder; University of Texas at Austin; University of Virginia; University of Washington; Villanova; and Virginia Tech.

CU Boulder l CU-Boulder Aims to boost technology workforce with more women in computer science

By Ken Anderson & Carol Rowe
October 24, 2011

HR l Smashing the glass ceiling? IBM appoints first female president and CEO

October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty has been appointed the first female president and chief executive officer of IBM.

She was also elected a member of the board of directors, effective at that time. Rometty is currently IBM senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy and will succeed Samuel Palmisano, who currently is IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer in January. Palmisano will remain chairman of the board.

Rometty said: “There is no greater privilege in business than to be asked to lead IBM, especially at this moment. Sam had the courage to transform the company based on his belief that computing technology, our industry, even world economies would shift in historic ways. All of that has come to pass. Today, IBM’s strategies and business model are correct. Our ability to execute and deliver consistent results for clients and shareholders is strong. This is due to Sam’s leadership, his discipline, and his unshakable belief in the ability of IBM and IBMers to lead into the future. Sam taught us, above all, that we must never stop reinventing IBM.”

Chris Parke, CEO, Talking Talent, said: “The news today that technology giant, IBM, will be appointing its first female chief executive, represents yet another positive step for women in business.

“Lord Davies has raised this issue up the agenda, and we are now beginning to see women being appointed into senior positions within FTSE companies.

“It is vital for organisations to recruit female talent, and to promote women to the board. Retention of the best talent means a greater pool of leadership, a more diverse team and a dramatic reduction in costs associated with attrition.

“Clearly, a cultural shift is needed – it’s now a question of watching this space…”

Karen Dobson, director, Robert Half UK, added: “It is fantastic that we are witnessing talented individuals such as Virgina Rometty being promoted to head up a global organisation, however, it is disappointing that this is still viewed as unusual or sensational.

“That talk of a gender divide still has currency in the workplace is extremely disappointing more than 80 years after universal suffrage was achieved. While HR directors believe men do not have an advantage over women in the workplace, there is still not equality on the boards of FTSE 100 companies or in gender pay. Companies should regularly review their succession and remuneration plans to ensure that women are treated fairly and equally, with policies to take into account their family and personal commitments.

“Companies can help break the glass ceiling by carefully managing the talents of strong female candidates early in their careers and implementing diversity programmes specifically tailored to women.”

The news comes as research from Robert Half reveals that the appointment of Rometty as Chief Executive Officer at IBM is not a revolution, but an evolution in the workplace. Three quarters (78%) of UK based HR directors do not believe men have an advantage over women in the workplace. However, while they may believe the barriers to equality have been broken down, we are yet to witness true parity in terms of pay and board representation.

Initiatives based on positive discrimination, or the specific advancement of women in business, are low on the agenda for a majority of UK companies with only 41% of HR directors saying they have, or plan to introduce, programmes specifically tailored for women.

For those who do have policies in place, it is encouraging to see that an overwhelming 93% of respondents believe they are effective in helping women become professionally on par with their male counterparts. This suggests that, in addition to improving a business’ diversity credentials, these policies are a good employer branding opportunity to encourage more women candidates to apply to these roles.

Initiatives companies seek to implement to help women become professionally on par with men in the workplace are predominantly focussed on professional development and higher education opportunities (60%). While just under half (47%) of HR Directors surveyed cited the setting of performance targets as the key to closing gender inequality, while 40% cited the need for a flexible working environment, encompassing factors such as flexitime and telecommuting.

The national study was developed by Robert Half. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 180 telephone interviews with HR Directors from a random sample of UK companies. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and number of employees.

HR l Smashing the glass ceiling? IBM appoints first female president and CEO

David Woods
27 Oct 2011

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