DARPA wants to detect chemical weapons with fine-toothed laser combs

  Through a number of different programs and technological advances, scientists, engineers and war fighters can easily detect biological or chemical agents from various sources. However, DARPA wants to make it easier. These agents are often detected through spectroscopic chemical sensing — a measure of how matter absorbs or scatters light in order to pinpoint its molecular identity — but those devices are often tied to a desk in a lab or have measurements affected by other agents in the atmosphere, like ozone or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). In order to enhance the power and scale of this technology, DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office…

How IARPA’s first challenge winners channeled ‘Star Wars’ for success

The winners of IARPA’s first ever public challenge have created a predictive analysis tool that Yoda would be proud of.

Google’s Schmidt: Impact of NSA surveillance is ‘severe and getting worse’

Top Silicon Valley leaders made a plea to Washington Wednesday: Fix the NSA’s surveillance practices or risk great harm to the American economy.

Navy uses NASA tech to direct unmanned vessels at sea

By adapting a software used in the Mars rovers, the U.S. Navy can remotely deploy “swarm boats” to protect high-value targets at sea. The Navy said its biggest threat comes from small boats used in suicide attacks.

Twitter sues federal government for transparency

Twitter filed a lawsuit against the federal government alleging that it censored the microblogging platform’s scope in producing transparency reports on NSA requests to monitor users’ accounts.

Report sheds new light on NSA compliance efforts

The National Security Agency spends about $30 million a year on its privacy and civil liberties compliance programs and has several active research efforts underway focused on developing privacy-enhancing technologies, according to a new transparency report released Tuesday.

BlackBerry Passport’s security, functionality features could appeal to feds

For government usage, the BlackBerry Passport and the 10.3 operating system might be the right balance of functionality and security.

Hagel orders health system action plans, data review

A comprehensive review of the Military Health System released Wednesday found that the Pentagon’s 56 hospitals and 361 clinics generally provide the same quality of care found in the private sector, but the department lacks concrete data and analysis capabilities that could help it improve performance, safety and access to care, especially at facilities found to be significantly underperforming in certain categories.

Are the keys to interoperable health IT hidden outside the health care field?

Some leading health IT experts say the key to finding new ideas to modernize the health care industry is to not look in the health care industry. So where are those ideas hiding?

Halvorsen clarifies DOD’s cloud, mobile plans

The Defense Department is drafting plans that will give the military services the authority to contract for their own cloud services using a soon-to-be-developed common business case analysis template, the Pentagon’s acting Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen confirmed Tuesday.

Assessing the VanRoekel digital legacy

From the Digital Government Strategy to bringing increased transparency to IT investments through the PortfolioStat initiative, former U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel is credited with giving the federal government its “permission slip to innovate.” But questions remain about whether the former Microsoft executive was aggressive enough in transforming government.

Reinventing the FBI: The Comey vision

James B. Comey is only the seventh director in FBI history. And with only a year on the job, he is spearheading a quiet revolution in how the 106 year-old institution recruits, trains, organizes and develops its leadership.

IG for Afghan reconstruction investigating botched telecom deal

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction wants to know why the State Department spent millions of dollars on telecommunications towers that were either never used or transferred to the Pentagon as “excess” property.

Intelligence community cloud may require new procurement models

The effort to move the 17 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community away from stovepiped IT systems and toward a cloud-based shared services environment is well under way. But a new study by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance suggests the private sector may find it difficult to fully support the effort without fundamental changes to the contracting and procurement processes intelligence agencies use to buy applications and infrastructure.

DARPA wants help closing nanotechnology’s ‘assembly gap’

DARPA wants to be able to take things built at a really, really small level and scale them for production in really big systems.

Women tech leaders call for changes in STEM education, perceptions

With the nation facing an unprecedented shortage of workers with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, some women technology leaders would like to see changes in the education system so that children — especially girls — are taught at a younger age that STEM subjects are both cool and important to society.

Pentagon eyes innovation amid growing turmoil, budget uncertainty

The Defense Department is launching a new long-range research and development effort designed to ensure the nation’s military can maintain its technological edge over a growing list of potential adversaries, from the traditional high-tech armies of Russia and China to a myriad number of terrorist groups proliferating throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

LTC Bobby Saxon discusses the Army’s use of emerging technologies

LTC Bobby Saxon, division chief and program director for G-3/5/7 of the U.S. Army, discusses how his branch is using emerging technology to lower costs.

Poll shows Americans more concerned about terrorism than NSA surveillance

A new poll scheduled to be released next month by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows that American public opinion about the National Security Agency may have shifted. In an increasingly dangerous world, many Americans appear willing to accept a little less privacy for more security.

VA finds no evidence linking veteran deaths to wait list scandal

Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs used paper waiting lists and manipulated electronic scheduling data at as many as 93 VA medical facilities across the country, but investigators found no conclusive evidence that the resulting delays in care caused any veteran deaths at the VA’s hospital in Phoenix.

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