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28 Apr 21. Latest court ruling leaves future of the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud unclear. A federal judge on Wednesday declined the Pentagon’s request to toss out Amazon Web Services’ political interference allegations against former President Donald Trump in its controversial enterprise cloud contract, leaving the future of the program uncertain.
The decision, released with the judge’s opinion sealed, puts the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud program in jeopardy after the Pentagon hinted in January in a memo to Congress that a decision in favor of the tech giant would cause the department the reassess the future of the program.
The Defense Department awarded the JEDI cloud contract, worth up to $10bn over a decade, to Microsoft in October 2019, and the win was largely seen as a major upset. But Microsoft and the department never got the cloud program off the ground after the same U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge ordered work on the project to cease after finding AWS’ technical challenges to the award had merit.
An AWS challenge in December 2019 alleged that Trump steered the contract toward Microsoft, pointing to anti-Amazon statements he made in the White House and as a presidential candidate in 2016. The tech giant called for sworn statements from then-defense secretaries Mark Esper and Jim Mattis, as well as from former DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy. For his part, Deasy has maintained in congressional testimony that the White House didn’t influence the final decision of acquisition officials.
AWS lauded the court decision in a statement.
“The record of improper influence by former President Trump is disturbing, and we are pleased the Court will review the remarkable impact it had on the JEDI contract award,” an AWS spokesperson said in a statement. “AWS continues to be the superior technical choice, the less expensive choice, and would provide the best value to the DoD and the American taxpayer. We continue to look forward to the Court’s review of the many material flaws in the DoD’s evaluation, and we remain absolutely committed to ensuring that the Department has access to the best technology at the best price.”
It’s an open question what comes next for the JEDI cloud. In a January memo to Congress, DoD warned that if the court ruled against the department, the program could be a jeopardy because political interference allegations would require rounds of depositions. At the time, the department wrote that “the prospect of such a lengthy litigation process might bring the future of the JEDI cloud procurement into question.”
In a statement, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw downplayed the significance of the ruling.
“This procedural ruling changes little,” Shaw said. “Not once, but twice, professional procurement staff at the DoD chose Microsoft after a thorough review. Many other large and sophisticated customers make the same choice every week. We’ve continued for more than a year to do the internal work necessary to move forward on JEDI quickly, and we continue to work with DoD, as we have for more than 40 years, on mission critical initiatives like supporting its rapid shift to remote work and the Army’s IVAS [Integrated Visual Augmentation System].”
A DoD spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For several years, the Pentagon has said it has an urgent need for the JEDI cloud, which would host 80 percent of the DoD systems and give the war fighter cloud capabilities at the tactical edge. But the program has endured years of delays due to multiple protests and court challenges by industry since its inception.
With Deasy gone, the Pentagon’s top IT shop is led by acting CIO John Sherman, who in a January interview with C4ISRNET said that he wasn’t afraid to make big decisions on the JEDI program.
“My view is to work closely with DoD leadership on this, and while I’m vested with the acting role, we can’t wait, whether it’s on a big decision like that [JEDI] or other big decisions that may not be of a procurement nature,” Sherman said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
27 Apr 21. NATO tees up negotiations on artificial intelligence in weapons. NATO officials are kicking around a new set of questions for member states on artificial intelligence in defense applications, as the alliance seeks common ground ahead of a strategy document planned for this summer.
The move comes amid a grand effort to sharpen NATO’s edge in what officials call emerging and disruptive technologies, or EDT. Autonomous and artificial intelligence-enabled weaponry is a key element in that push, aimed at ensuring tech leadership on a global scale.
Exactly where the alliance falls on the spectrum between permitting AI-powered defense technology in some applications and disavowing it in others is expected to be a hotly debated topic in the run-up to the June 14 NATO summit.
“We have agreed that we need principles of responsible use, but we’re also in the process of delineating specific technologies,” David van Weel, the alliance’s assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges, said at a web event earlier this month organized by the Estonian Defence Ministry.
Different rules could apply to different systems depending on their intended use and the level of autonomy involved, he said. For example, an algorithm sifting through data as part of a back-office operation at NATO headquarters in Brussels would be subjected to a different level of scrutiny than an autonomous weapon.
In addition, rules are in the works for industry to understand the requirements involved in making systems adhere to a future NATO policy on artificial intelligence. The idea is to present a menu of quantifiable principles for companies to determine what their products can live up to, van Weel said.
For now, alliance officials are teeing up questions to guide the upcoming discussion, he added.
Those range from basic introspections about whether AI-enabled systems fall under NATO’s “legal mandates,” van Weel explained, to whether a given system is free of bias, meaning if its decision-making tilts in a particular direction.
Accountability and transparency are two more buzzwords expected to loom large in the debate. Accidents with autonomous vehicles, for example, will the raise the question of who is responsible — manufacturers or operators.
The level of visibility into of how systems make decisions also will be crucial, according to van Weel. “Can you explain to me as an operator what your autonomous vehicle does, and why it does certain things? And if it does things that we didn’t expect, can we then turn it off?” he asked.
NATO’s effort to hammer out common ground on artificial intelligence follows a push by the European Union to do the same, albeit without considering military applications. In addition, the United Nations has long been a forum for discussing the implications of weaponizing AI.
Some of those organizations have essentially reinvented the wheel every time, according to Frank Sauer, a researcher at the Bundeswehr University in Munich.
Regulators tend to focus too much on slicing and dicing through various definitions of autonomy and pairing them with potential use cases, he said.
“You have to think about this in a technology-agnostic way,” Sauer argued, suggesting that officials place greater emphasis on the precise mechanics of human control. “Let’s just assume the machine can do everything it wants — what role are humans supposed to play?” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
27 Apr 21. ‘Mandatory’ Cyber Info Sharing Bill Coming, Says Senate Intel Chair Warner.
“My hope is that we can create this structure… to get an early warning system,” the Senate Intel Committee chair said. “Voluntary sharing is no longer effective.”
The powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said today a bill that will likely include “mandatory reporting” on cyber incidents and public-private cyber threat intelligence sharing is in the works.
Sen. Mark Warner was clear in his speech to the US Chamber of Commerce that there’s a “recognition that our current system is not working.” For example, if the “bad guys” had wanted the SolarWinds campaign to be something other than cyberespionage, Warner said, then we could have seen a “crushing” result. The SolarWinds campaign was discovered and publicly disclosed by private security company FireEye in December, months after it was launched in March 2020.
SolarWinds was not a “one-off,” and the Microsoft Exchange server campaign is a “potentially huge incursion.” He added, “Good cyber hygiene alone will not stop Tier-1 adversaries.”
The senator’s remarks were carefully worded because the issue of public-private cyber information sharing — while widely viewed as necessary and even long overdue by many — is still politically and legally sensitive.
“My hope is we can create this structure… to get to an early warning system” on cyber incidents. He said the legislation will create a model in which companies will more quickly report — perhaps “mid-incident” — cyber incursions. He told the audience that it’s his “evolving belief that 2015 legislation for voluntary sharing is no longer effective.”
The government wants more cyber intelligence from industry. After all, more than 80 percent of US critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. Many of these private networks are not visible to government entities charged with monitoring threat actors and enacting cyber defenses. Ideally, from the government’s perspective, industry would share this information voluntarily. But much of industry has been hesitant to share cyber incident information with the government for fear of legal liability, brand reputation damage, loss of customers, revenue loss, and a slew of other reasons.
On the one hand, while discussing the legislation in front of the heavily pro-business audience, Warner was careful to speak of “incentives” for companies to report, as well as the importance of privacy and even anonymity for the companies that would provide valuable cyber intelligence to the government. He also noted some existing legal safeguards for companies will remain in place. On the other hand, he was clear that the status quo is no longer working, in his view.
The senator’s remarks come on the heels of a winter and spring full of congressional hearings on the recent SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange server cyberespionage hacks. A prominent, consistent theme throughout these hearings — from government officials and private executives alike — has been the need to strengthen public-private cyber threat intelligence and information sharing. The idea enjoys broad consensus, but the sticking point is always how to make it happen.
Meanwhile, just last week, CISA issued another emergency directive — this one regarding an ongoing campaign targeting vulnerabilities in Pulse Connect Secure virtual private network (VPN) appliances.
People familiar with the matter told Breaking Defense that CISA knows that 24 federal agencies use Pulse Connect Secure devices, but “it’s too early to determine conclusively how many have actually had the vulnerability exploited.” CISA’s emergency directive last week required all federal civilian agencies to identify and report by 5 p.m. last Friday potential vulnerabilities in Pulse Connect Secure products in use.
Three of the four vulnerabilities in Pulse Connect Secure have been known since at least last year, and patches for the known vulnerabilities are currently available. One vulnerability was discovered this month, and a patch is expected by early May.
CISA said in its activity alert and emergency directive last week that the agency was aware threat actors have been exploiting three of the four vulnerabilities since at least June 2020. The question then arises: If threat actors have been known to be exploiting these vulnerabilities for nearly a year, then why the emergency directive only last week?
Someone familiar with the matter noted, “Over the last year, CISA has issued several alerts urging agencies, governments, and organizations to assess and patch Pulse Connect Secure vulnerabilities. Since March 31, 2021, CISA has been assisting multiple entities whose vulnerable Pulse Connect Secure products have been exploited by a cyber threat actor.”
A person familiar with the matter explained, “We [CISA] do not issue emergency directives unless we have carefully and collaboratively assessed it to be necessary, and this emergency directive will remain in effect until all agencies operating Pulse Connect Secure servers have applied forthcoming patches that resolve all currently exploited vulnerabilities.”
So far, this person said, “The U.S. government has not made a determination on attribution.”
Warner said he was “glad” the US government publicly attributed the SolarWinds cyberespionage campaign to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). He added the US should continue to “put adversaries on notice” that “there will be consequences” for cyber activities against US entities.
Warner also said he hopes the US and allies can establish “cyber norms” and “cyber red lines,” hopefully even pulling China and Russia into agreements. Warner acknowledged there’s a difference between cyberespionage and, for instance, denial of service, and the senator suggested responses to different types of incidents should be proportional. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
27 Apr 21. pureLiFi is Awarded a Multi-Million-Dollar Deal With the US Army Europe to Deliver Secure Wireless Communications System.
- $4.2m invested in the first-ever large-scale deployment of LiFi
- LiFi embarks on a journey from early adoption in Defense to the consumer space
The global leader in LiFi technology, pureLiFi has announced a new deal to supply the US Army with Kitefin™, a next generation optical wireless communication system using LiFi for secure data transmission without radio frequencies.
The cutting-edge deployment, by United States Army Europe and Africa is based on pureLiFi’s wireless technology that uses light rather than radio frequencies to transmit data. By harnessing the light spectrum, LiFi can unleash more reliable wireless communications with unparalleled security, compared to conventional technologies, such as cellular, WiFi and Bluetooth.
The deal with USAREUR-AF is the world’s first large scale deployment of LiFi. The deployment consists of thousands of certified office and field-deployable LiFi units in real tactical and strategic environments. Kitefin™ is a newly developed system with unique features for defense use cases.
The use of Radio Frequencies (RF) in secure and Defense environments causes many challenges; mainly, as RF is a technology that can be detected and targeted. Kitefin™ eliminates this risk as it cannot be detected outside of its defined cone of coverage. The Kitefin™ system also allows for rapid setup and positive logistical impact saving time, money and lives on each deployment.
An initial pilot of pureLiFi’s technology with the US ARMY Europe and Africa took place in 2019, convincing key Army stakeholders that LiFi would play a key role in the future of Defense communications which resulted in the largest ever purchase of LiFi.
CW5 Andrew Foreman, USAREUR-AF Chief Technology Officer said
” Including optical wireless in the commander’s toolbox is imperative to the survival of communications, command and control systems and, more importantly, Soldiers. Leadership within the Department of Defense are at a major transitional crossroads for communications and mission command systems and must make a critical decision.
Start deploying LiFi and FSO and explore other optical wireless communications technologies or continue to subject the warfighter to increased emission by continuing to field highly detectable RF systems to the tactical edge, thus putting Soldiers and systems in dire straits.”
The deal comes on the back of pureLiFi’s recent £18m series B investment to take LiFi mainstream. In 2019 pureLiFi launched gigabit components designed for integration into mobile phones and consumer electronics.
New technology that eventually ends up in the hands of consumers is often evaluated adopted and used first by the Defense sector who traditionally lead the way with new and proven secure technology innovation.
Alistair Banham CEO of pureLiFi explains the importance of this inflection point in the adoption of LiFi technology.
“This largest real-world deployment of LiFi with the US Army Europe and Africa is a testament to the benefits that LiFi can offer and the technology’s usability. If one of the most significant and advanced Defense organisations in the world can rely on LiFi for the most critical of communications, LiFi can offer unprecedented benefits to the consumer. LiFi, like so many technologies before it, is on a classic journey of adoption in Defense to wide-spread acceptance in the consumer market and eventually LiFi in everyone’s home
Since offering our gigabit components to the market we have developed some very innovative proof of concept integrations with some of the world’s largest consumer electronic and mobile phone brands. We are closer than ever to seeing consumers having LiFi in their homes and their pockets.
This first major deployment with the US ARMY Europe and Africa is just the beginning”
LiFi cannot only offer military grade security to everyone it can provide faster speeds, highly reliable connections enhancing home connectivity in an age when privacy is paramount, and everyone is seeking faster more reliable internet connections.
The first units of Kitefin™ will ship in spring 2021, offering unprecedented security to Defense and setting the scene for connecting everything and everyone with LiFi. (Source: PR Newswire)
26 Apr 21. DARPA Selects Teams to Defend Against Chemical, Biological Threats from Inside and Out. PPB performers aim to reduce protective equipment needs while increasing protection. Chemical and biological (CB) threats have become increasingly ubiquitous and diverse, presenting significant risks to warfighters in theater and stability operators during pandemic outbreaks. State-of-the-art personal protective equipment (PPE) can be bulky, heavy, and cumbersome, often severely limiting user mobility and performance. The Personalized Protective Biosystem (PPB) program aims to develop technology that reduces the need for burdensome protective equipment while increasing individual protection against CB threats.
DARPA recently awarded contracts to the following performers, FLIR Systems, Leidos, and Charles River Analytics, to develop lightweight materials and adaptable, tissue-protective countermeasures to provide on-demand, broad spectrum, and rapid long-term protection. Performers will seek to leverage molecular technologies and commensal organisms to unburden protective equipment demands from the user.
“PPB aims to address PPE limitations, including threat-specific vulnerabilities, thermal/logistical burdens, and potential exposure risks,” noted Eric Van Gieson, PPB program manager. “The capability to provide unburdened CB protection will be invaluable in maximizing time on target, providing operational flexibility, extending mission duration, and enabling operations in austere environments, regardless of the threat.”
The five-year program is divided into two technical areas (TAs). TA1 technologies aim to prevent external contact between the threat and the body, providing 100% survival against more than 10 CB agents with smart, lightweight materials. TA2 technologies will neutralize threats at vulnerable internal tissue barriers (i.e. skin, airway, ocular) using a configurable countermeasure.
The PPB program team is collaborating with government and industry stakeholders – including the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), U.S. Center for Disease Control /National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), and World Health Organization International (WHO) – to serve as potential transition partners.
“Successful PPB technologies have the potential to revolutionize how the military and public health communities perform in unpredictable threat environments, while also offering prophylactic and therapeutic solutions to known and emerging infectious diseases,” added Van Gieson.
DARPA’s PPB team and performers will be working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure all relevant guidelines are adhered to and regulatory standards are met, with the expectation of Investigational New Drug (IND) approval by the conclusion of the program, for relevant components. (Source: ASD Network/DARPA)
26 Apr 21. DOD Issues RPP Through the National Spectrum Consortium to Develop Near Real Time Spectrum Management Technologies to Support Operational Outcomes. The RPP, which is open to members of the National Spectrum Consortium (NSC), supports testing and training at ranges for aerial combat training to ensure that spectrum is available when and where it is needed. The US Department of Defense (DOD) has issued a third Request for Prototype Proposal (RPPs) in support of electromagnetic spectrum research related to the capabilities of the 400+ members of the National Spectrum Consortium. Issued under DOD’s Spectrum Access Research & Development (SAR&DP) Program, the RPP is part of a series of requirements to develop near real time spectrum management technologies that leverage machine learning/artificial intelligence to more efficiently and dynamically allocate spectrum assignments based on operational planning and intended operational outcomes.
Specifically, this RPP is centered on the Operational Spectrum Comprehension, Analytics, and Response (OSCAR) effort. This project will create a software application with unified graphical user interface, automated workflows, sensor network, and extensible framework needed at testing and training ranges for aerial combat training to ensure that spectrum is available when and where needed for AWS-3 impacted systems and incumbent systems. The goal is to provide advanced spectrum management capabilities to the incumbent systems in the AWS-3 bands; however, this prototype will be applicable to all spectrum being managed on range so as to not fragment tool suites for Installation Managers. OSCAR will provide the spectrum management tools, workflows, and sensor network necessary to increase spectrum utilization and improve range spectrum management.
“NSC members look forward to collaborating with the government to develop tools that address the need for near-real time spectrum management for effective training and deliver cutting-edge spectrum maneuver capabilities to the operational force. OSCAR will enable military aircraft to continue to get the rigorous training they need, while also supporting expanded commercial activity. But the solutions that are developed won’t be limited to domestic use. They will also support operational capabilities called for in the Joint All-Domain Command and Control and Electromagnetic Superiority strategies,” said National Spectrum Consortium Executive Director Maren Leed. “I’m excited to see the innovations that our more than 400 members, with their unparalleled technical breadth and depth, will bring to this challenge. Leveraging their collective expertise, NSC members will make sure that aviators have access to the information they need at the moment it is needed, whether on the range or in the fight.”
“There is a growing appreciation for how critical it is that our warfighters have assured, near real time access to spectrum in order to meet of operational imperatives,” said National Spectrum Consortium Chief Strategy Officer, Vice Admiral Joseph Dyer, USN (ret). “We strongly encourage our members to collaborate and respond to this important RPP to make sure that our nation’s armed forces can remain agile and utilize spectrum in dynamic, near real time manner.”
Earlier this month, the DoD issued two additional RPPs related to near real time spectrum management – Risk Informed Spectrum Access (RISA) and Multiband Instrumented Control Channel Architecture (MICCA). An overview of the projects can be found at beta.sam.gov.
These RPPs are the first to be issued under the National Spectrum Consortium’s 5-year, $2.5bn ceiling Other Transaction Agreement, which was signed in December 2020. Additional RPPs are expected to be issued through the NSC in the coming days and weeks.
Request for Prototype Proposal
NSC-21-RPP-04 – Operational Spectrum Comprehension, Analytics, and Response (OSCAR)
This RPP is one of a number of projects in the Spectrum Access Research & Development Program (SAR&DP) portfolio being solicited in Tranche 2. This includes:
- Risk Informed Spectrum Access (RISA)
- Operational Spectrum Comprehension, Analytics, and Response (OSCAR)
- Multiband Instrumented Control Channel Architecture (MICCA)
- Cooperative Spectrum Access for Testing (CSAT)
Contractors on these projects are expected to work in a cooperative manner with other project teams within the SAR&DP Tranche 2 portfolio to align schedules and harmonize the development of interfaces and protocols with complimentary systems between projects. Members of the NSC in good standing can submit proposals in response to the RPPs. Proposals related to the OSCAR RPP are due June 01, 2021 at 11:59 PM ET.
Spectrum Forward OTA
Last December, the DOD awarded the Spectrum Forward Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to the National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) to accelerate the development, adoption and deployment of next-generation technologies to provide our warfighters the decisive edge on the battlefield. The OTA has a term of five years and a ceiling value of $2.5bn. The goal of the Spectrum Forward OTA is to facilitate a partnership between the US technology and industrial base and the US Government to develop dual-use technologies across a range of advanced technologies that rely upon electromagnetic spectrum, from machine learning to autonomous navigation to next generation radio access networks.
Additionally, last year, DOD issued four 5G RPPs through the NSC. These focused on smart warehouses, Artificial Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) for training, and dynamic spectrum sharing. DOD announced in October that these projects had been awarded as part of $600m of 5G Tranche One funding.
The NSC membership possesses broad expertise in the following areas related to the electromagnetic spectrum: Ubiquitous Connectivity; Cognitive Spectrum Access & Sharing; Cybersecurity; Radio Frequency-Free Space Optics Cooperative Systems; Autonomous Systems (Ground/Air/Maritime); Internet of Things (Narrow Band/Critical/Massive); Electronic Warfare; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR); Software Defined Radios/Networking/Architectures; Radar Systems; Digital Signal Processing; Microelectronics; Software Reconfigurability; Nanotechnology; Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence; Autonomy/Robotics; Biotechnology; Big Data Analytics; Edge and Cloud Computing; Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality; Location Detection; 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing; and 5th generation (5G) information communications technologies, products, and services including the use of zero trust.
About the National Spectrum Consortium
The NSC is comprised of over 400 U.S. companies and academic institutions, and their technologists, engineers, scientists, manufacturers, and program managers work with their counterparts in government to solve the toughest problems facing the nation with regard to spectrum-related technologies, to include 5G and 5G-based technologies, providing the DoD and other customers with spectrum superiority. The NSC’s mission is to foster collaboration among Government, Industry and Academia to identify, develop and demonstrate the enabling technologies necessary to broaden the military and commercial access to and use of the electromagnetic spectrum for 5G and beyond. For more information, visit www.nationalspectrumconsortium.org(Source: PR Newswire)
23 Apr 21. USMC making big investments in electromagnetic warfare. Recognizing the importance electromagnetic warfare will play, the Marine Corps plans to make big investments in new systems.
As part of force design updates the Corps announced for 2030, the service is looking to invest around $1bn in development over the next five years, Col. Dave Burton, program manager for intelligence systems and portfolio manager for command element systems at Marine Corps Systems Command, said April 21 at the virtual C4ISRNET Conference.
The Corps is enhancing systems for its traditional electronic warfare operators for “peer-to-peer EW engagements,” Burton said.
Broadly speaking, the Marine Corps wants to develop future systems in four categories, according to Lt. Col. Brian Ackerson, branch head for Marine Air Ground Task Force electronic warfare.
First, the Corps is looking for systems that are platform agnostic, Ackerson explained during an Association of Old Crows virtual summit April 13. The Corps doesn’t want systems designed for one platform or system, but rather systems that it can spread around to fit multiple airborne or ground systems.
The service also wants systems that can be widely distributed and scalable. This means a mix of options that are portable by person, vehicle mounted or handheld. This equates to a variety of high- and low-power systems that the Corps can use together across a wide variety of units and systems.
Plus, the service needs capabilities on-demand as opposed to exquisite systems. This is especially important if the Marines expect to operate inside an enemy’s sphere of influence, what the Corps calls the weapons engagement zone, Ackerson explained.
Last, the Corps wants systems that it can network and are mutually supporting. Marines need the ability to control systems remotely, especially if they are operating over hundreds of miles in areas such as the Pacific, where the Corps’ top officer has elevated China as the greatest threat.
The networking of capabilities also has broader application outside the Marine Corps. If systems can be networked, that services can share data to provide a better situational awareness picture of the spectrum, Burton said.
“If the operational or the tactical situation calls for electronic attack, there’s a full understanding of the entire spectrum and the decision can be made to do that. If a targeting solution is required based on the spectrum data, then that sensing solution can be provided to a targeting solution and maybe a kinetic strike will occur,” he said. “We can see the spectrum as another part of the information environment that is crucial for future operations and understanding the spectrum and being able to maneuver in the spectrum either for electronic attack, electronic protect, to deny the adversary the use of spectrum is just another aspect of warfare.”
In addition to creating new structures, such as Marine Expeditionary Force Information Groups, to better compete within the larger information environment — which includes the electromagnetic spectrum — Burton said the Corps wants to develop systems for incidental operators.
These systems will go to dismounted Marines down to the infantry squad level.
“We’re looking at visualization tools, deconfliction tools that we can use to conduct traditional signals intelligence missions while we’re also managing EW missions down to the lowest level,” Burton said, adding that the need to control capabilities remotely will be critical as they look to give more systems to incidental users.
Moreover, officials understand that nonkinetic capabilities can be just as effective, if not more so in some cases, than more expensive kinetic weapons.
Adversaries are deploying higher capable systems from long range and smarter weapons. Conventional thinking might say friendly forces need to outpace those systems with capabilities such as fifth-generation fighter aircraft and other exquisite weapons.
“But from an EW perspective,” Ackerson said, “perhaps I can develop a jamming system that can escort my special aircraft or weapon system into the target.”
“I don’t have to spend a ton of money and make an exquisite platform. Maybe I need to look at new waveforms, new jamming techniques and new integrated electronic warfare capabilities with our weapon systems that can support them to get into the target,” he added. “We talk about our adversaries having precision long-range fires and exquisite capabilities. If they’re operated in the EMS, we need to be able to find them, and we need to be able to use their weaknesses to help drive targeting.”
These systems could also help set the conditions for conflict. With so-called gray zone operations and adversaries working harder in the competition phase below the threshold of warfare, nonkinetic capabilities can help sense the environment and provide potential targeting data if the situation escalates, Ackerson said.
“Realizing that gray zone activities, particularly in INDOPACOM, it’s going to help us in competition to build targeting,” he said. “We’re going to be in competition 99 percent of the time, so having that sensing capability that we could actually use is going to be huge. In conflict, I want to have those electronic attack capabilities that are going to deny, degrade, disrupt the decision cycle of an adversary. I want to have nonkinetic options that I can provide the Marine force or the joint force.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
22 Apr 21. The US Army is optimizing electronic warfare equipment for Indo-Pacific. The Army, primarily a land force, is looking to optimize its forthcoming electronic warfare equipment to operate in the Indo-Pacific theater against maritime targets, according to an Army official.
China is considered the “pacing” threat by the Department of Defense, and thus the Indo-Pacific region is a high priority. Other recent Army efforts to prioritize the heavily maritime region include the creation of a multidomain task force working on exercises in the region and plans to base long-range precision fires there.
Now, as the Army is building new electronic warfare gear to regrow its prowess after years of divestment following the Cold War, it wants to ensure it will be able to support operations across the vast distances of the Pacific maritime region.
Much of the Army’s work in the last few years within the electromagnetic spectrum has been to address perceived capability gaps for forces in Europe against Russia. However, prototypes have also begun to make their way to the Pacific theater.
“Obviously the Army is a terrestrial, land-centric force. However, we recognize that with the focus on INDOPACOM, our target set is greater than just the traditional armor and infantry formations,” Col. Daniel Holland, Army capability manager for electronic warfare, said during a panel discussion Wednesday at the C4ISRNET Conference.
Systems such as the Terrestrial Layer System-Echelons Above Brigade (TLS-EAB) are being optimized to compete in a maritime environment against nontraditional targets for the Army, such as Chinese maritime targets, he said.
TLS-EAB will provide commanders at echelons above brigade the ability to sense, provide improved precision geolocation, conduct nonkinetic fires and support kinetic targeting for a broad targets unreachable by the TLS-Brigade Combat Team capability. Holland said the Army is awaiting a decision by its requirements oversight council in a few weeks for TLS-EAB. The service is focused on surrogate experimentation and technologies for the system in fiscal 2022 and prototyping the following year.
Given certain physics constraints within the electromagnetic spectrum with long-range electromagnetic fires and sensing from the ground, Holland explained a mix of other capabilities the Army is developing that can operate in the Pacific, particularly in the air.
First, he mentioned the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare-Air Large system , which is the Army’s first organic brigade electronic attack asset mounted on an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone. The system, which the Army will field in 2022, “gives us additional capabilities against targets in greater ranges like those we expect to encounter in the INDOPACOM theater,” Holland said.
Additionally, Holland explained how the electronic warfare community is partnering across the service on the Multi-Domain Sensing System — a forthcoming high-altitude intelligence system in the range of 40,000 feet — which will provide electronic warfare capabilities complementary to mid-altitude systems, such as large unmanned systems and ground systems including TLS-EAB.
“We see it as a number of different capabilities working together to meet the requirements of operational commanders in that theater,” he said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
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Spectra was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2019 for SlingShot.
In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
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Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.