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Even generals must learn new skills in tech-dominated special operations future

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Even generals must learn new skills in tech-dominated special operations future

The future of special operations forces technology is less about what new rifle they’ll be carrying on missions and more about how a new type of operator will pull data rapidly from anywhere on the globe.

Operators of the future will need to be cyber-capable or risk being irrelevant.

Those needs feed into a new kind of skills recruitment and retraining for the frontline troops in special operations forces, their supporting staff and even admirals and generals at the top of their services, officials said at this week’s Global SOF Foundation forum on special operations policy.

The commander of U.S. Special Operations Command talks with Military Times about the future of the force.

U.S. Special Operations Command Chief Information Officer Dr. Lisa Costa said that those in special operations, even at the highest echelons, need to be learning anew.

“I really believe in upskilling and reskilling and that’s not just for the lower ranks,” Costa said. “I believe that we need to upskill and reskill general officers.”

That’s because new technologies and ways to apply them will change how operations are run in the future. So high-level leaders need to understand what they’re working with both while planning and executing strategy.

She also advocated for promotions pathways on the technology side of defense that parallel the same effort in the operations side.

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That would, she said, give those on more of the tech side a way to see their own progression through the ranks and career as they remain focused on creating and implementing technologies that enable combat operations.

But new operators are always needed and while door kicking, parachuting and shooting will be necessary, so will cyber work.

To find those people, SOCOM has to push past the old ways of recruiting and retaining.

Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Chief Technical Officer Nand Mulchandani made it clear that as the Pentagon tries to bring in the talented cyber experts, they have to compete with not just salary but the lifestyle expectations that industry offers.

Those include options to work anywhere and work around the traditional hierarchy in government agencies to solve problems.

“We can’t bend all the way to everyone’s wishes. We have a mission, we have a business model,” Mulchandani said. “But in today’s environment, to get the best talent you have to meet them where they are.”

He gave examples from his work in private industry when some recruits turned down an offer to double their salary with a requirement to move to an undesirable location.

Also, he said he’d seen new hires quit companies after only a few weeks because the company’s information technology infrastructure was outdated and hard to work with.

In his own experience, he has to fly to Washington D.C. from California just to do work on a computer terminal with secure access to classified information.

Mulchandani criticized his own department, the Pentagon, for a lack of focus on the right type of recruiting.

“We don’t know our target audience,” he said. “We haven’t put the energy in to figure it out.”

And the tools they’ll use will look much more like common hi-tech gadgets than bulky radio systems forces currently lug on missions.

Costa echoed recent comments by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, saying the future of defense and SOF is “many spaces, fewer bases.”

The tech effort is aimed at making everything more mobile and accessible so that U.S. forces and allies can be where they need to be regardless of military basing or infrastructure.

Instead, the infrastructure moves to the digital “cloud.”

But Mulchandani said that without the right infrastructure, new tools won’t be capable of taking advantage of the flood of data and new software applications heading to users in the DoD.

That will mean work on unsexy things like internet architecture, application development and scaling AI early at the right points, he said.

One key to that infrastructure development, Costa said, will be enabling space-based communication and data storage, or “clouds in space,” that especially SOF forces will rely on in missions at the tactical edge.

Marine Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff J6 C4 and Cyber, followed up Costa’s comments directly.

“It’s all about data,” Crall said. “And the customer is the combatant commander.”

As an example, Costa noted that the next generation handheld device for a SOF operator will likely look like a commercial product, such as a smartphone and not like a radio.

Costa said that while a new approach to bringing highly valued skill sets into the force is a priority, seasoned special operators remain crucial.

“I can’t replace the knowledge and skills of an individual who’s been in special operations for 25, 30 years,” said Lisa Costa, said. “If I could have a Navy SEAL for 50 years, I would have them. I don’t believe in this model of pushing people out based on time.”

It is actually those operators whose experience predates 9/11 that have something old but new to teach about today’s Great Power Competition strategy with Russia and China.

“These are the very knowledgeable individuals who know how we used to fight which is what we’re kind of going back to,” Costa said.

And those experienced operators have to teach that to a generation that’s only known counter-terrorism or counterinsurgency operations, she said.

This content was originally published here.

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Reflecting on Juneteenth: Honoring the past and working towards a better future | ICE Mortgage Technology

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Reflecting on Juneteenth: Honoring the past and working towards a better future | ICE Mortgage Technology

As Juneteenth approaches, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the history and the significance of this holiday for both our employees and our society as a whole. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.* Now recognized each year on June 19, Juneteenth is a powerful holiday for all of us to honor as we remember and learn from the past in order to build a better, more equal future. As we remember, it is also important to acknowledge that we still have a long way to go to foster social and racial justice for all.

Leading up to Juneteenth, members of our Black Professionals Employee Resource Group have shared personal experiences and valuable resources to help initiate these important discussions and create opportunities to reflect, research, recognize and grow. This week, we also hosted Mohammed Bilal, a diversity consultant and Associate Dean and Director for the Office of Inclusion, Belonging and Intergroup Communication at Stanford University, to discuss the importance of Juneteenth in the current state of the nation and the value that communities of color bring to the world.

On behalf of our Black Professionals Employee Resource Group, Adina Holmes, Implementation & Consulting, Educ Operation Services at ICE Mortgage Technology, shared a few thoughts on what Juneteenth means to her.

This Juneteenth, the 156th anniversary of that day in 1865, is especially worthy of celebration as just this week both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday, clearing the way for it to be signed into law by President Biden just days before people around the country come together in honor of this special day. It also comes on the heels of a landmark guilty verdict that vindicated the people of all races and walks of life who bore witness to and expressed their outrage over the repeated, tragic and fatal injustices against multiple people of color during the pandemic.

However, this Juneteenth should also be a moment of reflection as it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre and the 6th anniversary of the Charleston Church Massacre. Both, tragic events in our history that had been muted: one by those in power at the time who purposely distorted the events that occurred, and the other by a modern lack of connectedness.

So, great is this moment, this Juneteenth 2021, to reflect on the origins of our republic and the ways that we have made strides and conversely failed to make strides to live up to its ideals. It is my hope that everyone use this moment to reaffirm their purpose as citizens of the world, as colleagues in your organization, as neighbors in your community and as members of your family, so that next Juneteenth we can again see that the arc of the moral universe has bent that much closer to justice…for all. – Adina Holmes

ICE Mortgage Technology remains dedicated to creating a culture that promotes and values diversity and inclusion for all people. Our employees will be observing Juneteenth with a day off this Friday, June 18, in commemoration of this pivotal point in our country’s history. The time away is meant to allow for an opportunity for our teammates to reflect on the significance of the day, take a moment to honor its importance, and educate themselves on how it has impacted our society to this day, so that we may continue to fight modern-day injustices.

Join us as we honor Juneteenth together and look for local events to continue the celebration in your community.

This content was originally published here.

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Mobile Technology and the Future of Transportation and Logistics | SOTI

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To understand how mobile technology and the future of transportation and logistics (T&L) work together, it makes sense to look at them individually from a high-level perspective.

As evidenced by the latest SOTI industry report Mobilizing the Delivery Workforce: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics 2021:

It’s no surprise that say they plan on investing in technology that will make deliveries faster. If the COVID-19 pandemic has unearthed anything regarding this sector, it’s that shipping times – not necessarily product selection or pricing – affects where people spend their e-commerce dollars:

Mobile technology enables T&L workers to do more. And the future of the industry is faster, more economical and more affordable delivery.

The question is: How do they work together?

Drivers, Drones and Data

To deliver goods to customers as inexpensively as possible, T&L organizations must identify inefficient or wasteful processes and reduce or eliminate them.

Labor accounts for 60% of the costs associated with T&L deliveries. And while some companies are investing in self-driving technology, vehicle operators are still very much needed.

That’s where mobile technology and the future of T&L comes in. Instructing drivers on the most efficient route to a destination goes beyond turn-by-turn GPS directions. Now a whole slew of data is available, helping goods be delivered faster and at little cost to the customer:

For remote or hard-to-access areas, drones can deliver everything from groceries to medicine to household supplies without the labor costs of a driver or the maintenance considerations of vehicle wear-and-tear.

It’s not a concept out of science fiction either. Delivery by drone is set to be the fastest growing sector of technology investment in T&L by 2024.

To Customers, It’s A Must. To the Supply Chain, It’s A Dilemma: Deliver More Goods at Less Cost

Due to COVID-19, the T&L industry has been pushed to extremes. Consumers in more locations are buying more products and receiving more deliveries than ever before.

It’s unlikely e-commerce will shrink back to pre-pandemic levels. COVID-19 expedited the need for advanced mobile technology while the future of T&L arrived much sooner than expected.

This is – to quote a popular term – the “new normal.” Consumers want faster delivery, and, in some cases, are willing to pay for it. Whether it’s free shipping or paid overnight delivery, it must be on time. Consumers or end users are at the tail end of the supply chain and they don’t care what happens before they receive their delivery.

However, T&L organizations do care and in Mobilizing the Delivery Workforce: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics 2021, you’ll learn how mobile technology is shaping the future of T&L. It’s a must-read for any supply chain executive looking to make the right investments in the right technology.

This content was originally published here.

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Overview of The Latest Remote Work Technology Trends

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Overview of The Latest Remote Work Technology Trends

The coronavirus situation has brought about an unprecedented interruption. Globally, a massive number of employees now work remotely without having to commute to their office premises. Fortunately, employees have remained productive and connected thanks to technology.

The numerous tech advancements have made remote workstations the new normal. Most organizations have resorted to hosting full-time remote staff, while others are leveraging a hybrid system comprising remote and on-premise functionalities.

With technology constantly evolving, more trends are coming up as businesses across the globe try to enjoy the convenience and efficiency of remote setups. Here are the latest trends in remote work technology:

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While most companies and tech leaders have migrated to fully remote setups, the most likely scenario for many organizations would be a hybrid comprising remote staff and on-premise operations. This modern setup will have some workers working entirely from home, while others will have to commute to their respective business premises.

Another practice that’s fast gaining popularity is the freedom to work both remotely and on-premise. Workers can now choose specific days to work from home and others where they’ll have to complete their tasks from the office.

Companies are also outsourcing talent and managing their partners remotely. For instance, it’s not common to find an in-house content writer for the company website. In this case, you can get the right professionals by checking out sites like Rank My Writer.

As organizations find the best ways to minimize the costs of running brick-and-mortar offices and teams get more distributed, most are now cementing the gap by opting for virtual workstations and co-working spaces.  

Increased Demand for Cybersecurity and Telecommuting Solutions

The coronavirus pandemic has made companies readjust their priorities, and organizations now focus on achieving efficient and clear communication. As a result, both small and established businesses have reconsidered their information communication technologies and focus on the most efficient remote work software.

The popularity of video conferencing tools and staff productivity trackers is now immense, and the frequent reliance on these solutions is among the most remarkable work technology trends.

Increased reliance on telecommuting tools has brought about a high demand for top-shelf cybersecurity solutions. Companies that create SaaS (software-as-a-service) solutions now pay attention to app security. A Cisco report mentions that about 80% of organizations prioritize cybersecurity, and more companies plan to invest in security management.

Fewer Conference Calls

Conference calls have been used more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic. On average, organizations spend about 20% of their meeting budgets on the appropriate conference call tools as part of their strategy to expand their remote work setups. But as time passes, companies are now seeing a reduced number of conference calls.

With more workers handling their tasks remotely, the intrusiveness of conference calls is becoming more evident. As a result, organizations have started realizing that compensating the unavailable “human interaction” through frequent conference calls limits productivity. This is particularly true in remote setups where staff spend more time on calls.

As a result, organizations have reduced the time spent on these inefficient calls, and teams now dedicate their attention to the tasks at hand. 

Increased Deployment of Cloud-Based Human Resource Solutions

Organizations across industries are striving to ensure all their remote teams enjoy a seamless experience. Companies also want their staff to have an easier time during the harsh pandemic times, stay engaged and boost productivity. A report by Digital Thoughts notes that up to 90% of workers acknowledge that working from home boosts their morale.

HR departments understand this and want to make the experience even better for their teams by adopting cloud-based HR tech solutions. These advanced, post-epidemic tools come with built-in support and capabilities, including virtual recruitments, staff onboarding, and employee training.

Growing Demand for Reskilling and Upskilling

The worldwide digitization trend has significantly transformed the skillset necessary to perform certain operations. In addition, the abrupt migration to remote work structures has brought about an urgent need for upskilling, and various surveys have confirmed this working trend.

A 2020 study dubbed the Future of Jobs report estimates that about 54% of workers must reskill by 2022. But what has brought about this need to upskill?

One primary reason is the recent migration from particular roles to prioritizing the company’s essential skills. Currently, managers are tasked with defining the appropriate skill set to help their team members adjust better and easily to the latest technology changes.  

Final Thoughts

As the new normal continues to dawn on us, it’s clear that remote workstations will continue to be there even after the pandemic. As a result, decision-makers must comprehensively evaluate their office setups and identify the specific strengths and weaknesses of telecommuting for their respective firms. It’s also essential to adapt to the new realities fast.

Precisely focusing on the above remote work technology trends will help you survive the digitized, post-pandemic era.

This content was originally published here.

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