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The Army plans to use video game technology to train soldiers to safely dispose of improvised explosive devices. The Army's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey has received a patent for a virtualized environment that will train explosives disposal personnel to use robotic vehicles. The simulator is designed to precisely mimic the controls of the Talon robots the Army uses in theater, as well as the environments where IEDs tend to be found, like in sandbags or courtyards. The Army says it gives soldiers a chance to train safely in what would otherwise be a dangerous environment.
NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development have signed a five-year agreement that will put the space agency's data about the earth to work for USAID. The agency plans to use NASA imagery and other geospatial technologies to help developing countries solve challenges around issues like climate change, agriculture, disaster response and energy. The agreement builds on a joint program the two agencies have already been using to help forecast environmental changes that impact residents in Central America, East Africa and the Himalayas.
TRICARE, the military's managed healthcare system, is taking a step forward in letting its beneficiaries see their own health records online. The agency's "Blue Button" tool is getting an upgrade that now lets users see their lab results, patient history and diagnoses. The site already gave TRICARE users the ability to view their own allergy and medication profiles. TRICARE says they developed the system as a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The system already has more than 250,000 users.
The U.S. Joint Forces Command, which will be formally disestablished later this year as part of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' efficiency initiative, had several of its functions transferred to other DoD components on Tuesday. The Pentagon said the realignment would preserve critical capabilities and place them in other branches of the department's organizational chart.
The Army will open its next Apps for Army challenge to industry and the public, officials said Friday. The process is focused on developing capabilities that are not dependent on any particular platform.
The Defense Department is creating identity and access management tools as an enterprise service across the department. One possible way ahead, leaders say, is a single authoritative digital identity system the Defense Information Systems Agency created to support the Army's move to enterprise email.
Services and components in the Defense Department are being told they will be permitted to retain any savings they find through better management of acquisition programs. Undersecretary of Defense Ashton Carter says the decision would provide an incentive for program managers to make effective use of a now-mandatory initiative known as "will-cost and should-cost management."
A Defense Science Board panel found DoD's procedures and its senior leaders don't give service contracts the attention they deserve. Service contracts make up more than 50 percent of the Defense Department's acquisition budget.
The White House has had an iPhone app for a while now. In fact, it's inching toward a half million downloads. Now, the administration is branching out into the Android world. Both apps allow users to access audio, video, written briefings, White House blogs, and get alerts. The White House says almost 7 percent of the visitors to the whitehouse.gov website already come from either iPhone or Android devices. And their figures show the traffic from those mobile platforms to the president's official site has nearly doubled in the past year.
DISA, the Defense Information Systems Agency, is adding a social networking layer to its software development collaboration system. Forge.mil is DISA's shared software development environment. Forge.mil community will let developers organize into groups and sub-communities to share their development work with Defense Department stakeholders. DISA imagines those groups forming around communities of interest, organizations, mission areas, or specific technologies.