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13 May 21. UK pledges international cyber security funding. UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab pledged £22m to support cyber security initiatives across Africa and the Indo-Pacific to mitigate the threats posed by state and non-state actors.
The UK has pledged £22m to support cyber security capacity building across a number of developing nations in Africa and the Indo-Pacific, in order to mitigate the risk of infiltration from malicious state and non-state actors.
In a speech to the National Cyber Security Centre’s CYBERUK conference, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab addressed the growing threat posed by cyber criminals not only to regular internet users, but to also to governments.
“Elections are also a prime target,” the Foreign Secretary said.
“Russian actors tried to interfere in the 2019 general election … spreading lies online, taking aim squarely at British democracy.
“In 2017 the Russian military mounted the NotPetya cyber attack on Ukraine, now that was originally intended to hit the country’s banks, its government, and its energy companies. But the impact spread rapidly … from New Jersey to New Zealand.”
In order to undertake this program, the UK government and INTERPOL will establish a cyber security base to undertake cyber security support services to Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda to mitigate the threat of malicious cyber actors. The UK is further expected to become a Dialogue Partner to ASEAN later in 2021.
The UK expects to offer further support to the nations by developing their national response framework and cyber security teams, and provide their future workforces additional Chevening scholarships. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 May 21. Lockheed Martin, Pentagon establish bi-directional communications between fifth-generation aircraft, ground units. Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and the Pentagon for the first time established bi-directional communications between fifth-generation aircraft in flight while also sharing operational and sensor data to ground forces during a recent test, according to a company statement on 3 May.
This flight test, named Project Hydra, linked a Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, five Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs), and a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor in the air and provided real-time fifth-generation data to operators on the ground. The flight test leveraged an Open Systems Gateway (OSG) payload aboard the U-2 to connect the F-22 to the five F-35As via the native Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL) and the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL). The target tracks were also transmitted by, and through, the U-2 into the fighter avionics and pilot displays, the statement added.
Conceptual artwork depicting a Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO) environment. Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and the Pentagon, for the first time, established bi-directional communications between fifth-generation aircraft in flight while also sharing operational and sensor data to ground forces during a recent test. (Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed Martin spokesperson Ananda Costa said on 6 May that this OSG can perform both data routing and translation. The payload provides message interoperability between heterogenous systems operating in multiple domains and incorporates technology based on open-architecture principles.
The payload receives important sensor and other system data from one platform over its native datalink. It translates and filters the data based on the level of classification and retransmits the information to other platforms using their different native datalinks. (Source: Jane’s)
11 May 21. US Navy unmanned aircraft program to utilize MPU5 radios. Mobile ad hoc networking devices will provide payload data link, command and control, for the US Navy’s newest ISR platform.
Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), a leader in mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) solutions, announced today that it will be supplying Martin UAV, an industry partner whose V-BAT VTOL unmanned aircraft system was just selected for the Navy’s Mi2 program, with MPU5 and Embedded Module networking devices over the coming years.
The Mi2 program seeks to supplement systems currently used by the Navy with an expeditionary platform that has a smaller logistical footprint and quicker set-up time. Martin UAV’s V-BAT was chosen as this next-generation Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) replacement following an Mi2 live demonstration conducted in November-December at Yuma Proving Ground, in Arizona.
“We are very excited to have our MPU5 MANET radios serve as both the command-and-control and payload data link for Mi2,” said Eric Waldo, Persistent’s UAS Program Manager. “In keeping with the program’s expeditionary focus, our technology will help warfighters operate the V-BAT in the most austere environments, without the need for satellite links.”
In addition to Wave Relay®’s exceptional range and throughput capabilities, Waldo added that Persistent Systems solution is also resilient against electronic warfare (EW) threats without having to sacrifice performance or scalability and was the first MANET solution validated by the U.S. Army’s Electronic Warfare Laboratory.
Pioneered by Martin UAV, the V-BAT is a ducted fan VTOL unmanned aircraft system that takes off like a helicopter and flies as a fixed-winged platform for longer endurance Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Over the years, Martin UAV developed a line of three V-BAT models: the latest, V-BAT 128 has a flight endurance of 11 hours; the V-BAT 118, which can stay aloft for 8+ hours; and the electric-powered eV-BAT which is still in Research and Development testing with the latest in battery technology.
Martin UAV is a long-standing member of Persistent’s Wave Relay® Ecosystem, a coalition of sensors and unmanned system companies that all utilize the Wave Relay® MANET.
The Mi2 program will be managed as an Other Transaction (OT) prototype project under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2371b. Persistent Systems expects to begin delivery of MPU5s in support of Mi2 in the next fiscal quarter.
About Persistent Systems, LLC
Headquartered in New York City since 2007, Persistent Systems, LLC is a global communications technology company that develops and manufactures a patented and secure Mobile Ad hoc Networking (MANET) system: Wave Relay®. Wave Relay® transmits and receives data, video, voice and other applications under the most difficult conditions. Their suite of products is utilized in Commercial, Military, Government, Industrial, Agriculture, Robotics, and Unmanned Systems markets. Please visit http://www.persistentsystems.com to learn more. Follow Persistent Systems on Twitter to get updates on the latest developments @pswaverelay.
About Martin UAV: Martin UAV is a private, advanced high-technology company based in Plano, TX. The company specializes in building wholly-unique, unmanned aircraft systems and associated flight control software. The company’s systems are commercially developed to fill critical operational needs in tactical & confined operational environments. Its V-BAT series aircraft is the only single-engine ducted fan VTOL UAV with up to 11 Hours of endurance, Hover & Stare capability, and autonomous launch & recovery from moving platforms. For more information visit: martinuav.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
11 May 21. Revised JADC2 Strategy Hits DepSecDef’s Desk. Pending the Deputy Secretary’s approval, the Joint All Domain Command & Control strategy could receive Secretary Austin’s okay within “weeks,” said Brig. Gen. Rob Parker. The Joint Staff has revised the Pentagon’s strategy for Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2). Now Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks has to decide if it’s good enough.
Also, the Joint Staff is making progress on an implementation plan for the new strategy, as well as on a JADC2 reference architecture for sharing data across the services and combatant commands, Army Brig. Gen. Rob Parker, deputy director of the Joint Staff’s J-6 directorate, said today.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s approval for the JADC2 strategy had been expected earlier this month, according to public comments by Parker’s boss at the J-6 directorate for command, control, communications, & computers/cyber, Marine Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall. But either Hicks, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley — or both — sent it back to the Joint Staff for changes. Now that Milley has approved the revised version.
“We worked hard on our strategy; there’s been a lot of questions about ‘where’s that strategy?’” Parker said at an AFCEA event today. “I’m happy to report that it has moved through the the chairman; we have his full support. It’s up with Dr. Hicks right now, and we anticipate it moving on for signature by the Secretary of Defense here very shortly… probably in a few weeks.”
The strategy itself doesn’t contain the detailed instructions for how to move forward. Those will come in the implementation plan, a draft of which will now be circulated for comment. “That’s a very detailed document, [with] very clear objectives, tasks, plans of action, and milestones,” Parker said. “It’s starting staffing this week across the department.”
Meanwhile, the armed services are working on key components of the Joint Warfighting Concept, which describes how the services will fight together with seamless coordination across land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. The Air Force has the lead for JADC2, the Navy has joint fires, the Army contested logistics. Later this month, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, chaired by Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten, will issue “strategic directives” to the services on how to approach their pieces of the puzzle – a more proactive approach than the JROC has taken in the past. These include “data decrees” that will help share data across the services, Parker said.
“The F-35 is the cornerstone of the U.S. Air Force fighter fleet” today and in the future, said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown.
But the Joint Staff is not seeking to impose one data-sharing standard on all the services, Parker emphasized.
“[On] common data standards, we’re trying to find the right balance there, [because] there was a lot of pushback,” Parker said today. “So we’re looking for a minimum required when necessary and really continue to focus on federated [standards].”
“We will have a mission partner federated data fabric out there,” he said, “[but] we acknowledge the services, combatant commands, other agencies are going to have their own fabrics that we need to be able to connect with and interoperate with.”
In layman’s terms: The Defense Department will let its subordinate organizations develop their own data standards, but they’ll need to be compatible enough that the Joint Staff can then knit them together (“federate” them”).
CISA and FBI issue a joint advisory on DarkSide ransomware. “There is no immediate mission impact” from fuel shortage on DoD, a Pentagon spokesman said. Colonial temporarily restored operations between North Carolina and Maryland last night. Russia denies involvement. DarkSide’s business model complicates attribution.
“We’ve worked hard on our reference architecture for JADC2,” he said. “We’re on version two right now; it’s getting ready to go to the JROC for endorsement.”
“Version two’s admittedly better than version one, but still leaves a lot to be desired,” Parker said frankly. “Version Three, coming out later this summer, will be a much more specific document that’s going to be very well coordinated.”
The current version is heavily informed by collaboration between the Joint Staff , Pentagon Chief Data Officer David Spirk, all the armed services, and the Combatant Commanders, Parker said. “We got a lot of feedback from Combatant Commands and services, [saying] ‘hey, we don’t want to just talk about the data, we need to really see how we think it’s going to move across this envisioned data fabric.”
“We’ve had lots of stakeholder input to this date, but we have two more key data events in June and July,” Parker said. “They’re going to take place at STRATCOM and down at SOCOM [to] really help us refine these products…. making sure our terminology, our concepts are sound before we move forward and identify those requirements.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
10 May 21. Elettronica announces the signature of a supply contract with Fincantieri for the Electronic Warfare Suite of the new submarines of the Italian Navy, in the framework of the U212 NFS Programme managed by OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement). The contract includes the provision of two suites for the first batch of platforms and two additional systems as an option for future batches.
Elettronica is already supplier of the Electronic Warfare equipment in the framework of FREMM and PPA Programmes managed by OCCAR and aims to extend the cooperation to EU co-funded projects.
Current conflicts are dominated by the ones reaching in advance the electronic supremacy of the battlefield. No mission can be successfully accomplished without prior knowledge of the electronic Order of Battle. The Electromagnetic Spectrum Operation (EMSO) is then a key enabler for many diversified operations.
In the Underwater Domain, EMS Management and Superiority support the submarine’s capability to operate without influencing the scenario directly.
The typical mission profile of a stealth platform like a submarine couldn’t be performed without implementing effective Self-Protection capabilities needed to enhance the survivability in very high-risk areas.
Both in times of crisis and in peace-keeping operations, the specific role of Surveillance and Reconnaissance requires also SIGINT activities (COMINT, ELINT)
The Electronic Warfare Suite designed for the Italian Navy U212 NFS Submarines represents the most technologically advanced and innovative answer to those needs in the underwater domain.
Actually, through a very high level of functional integration the Suite is capable to perform self-protection, surveillance and intelligence tasks granting excellent performances on the whole electromagnetic spectrum, from communication to radar bands.
It integrates the experience gained by Elettronica both in the specific submarine area products and in naval programs as the latest “Legge Navale” of the Italian Navy, combining then maturity with innovation.
The Suite has an integrated RESM/CESM antenna – resulting of more than two years of studies and simulations – that represents the most advanced and performing product of its kind in the market, also for its compact sizes and stealthness capabilities.
Two further antennas are also part of the system, the first with surveillance and detection tasks in the radar band, the later as warning antenna.
Furthermore, the U212 NFS EW Suite contracted by the Italian Navy implements enabling technologies granting a very high level of digitalization allowing great performances also in a very dense and complex electromagnetic environment, where most of the EW Suites in the market would be quickly saturated. It relies on a Software-defined architecture, strongly reducing the HW component for a significant improvement of the operational availability, while granting easier maintenance and faster updates.
Finally, the EW Suit will be provided with an Electronic Warfare Management Unit able to collect and manage in an integrated way the information coming from both Radar and Communications EW Sensors enabling an enhanced tactical and strategic awareness of the EW scenario that is mandatory to support Self-Protection, Surveillance and Intelligence operations.
“We are very proud to equip the Italian Navy U212 NFS Submarines, a high profile and performance asset encompassing the excellences of the National Industry for the benefit of the Italian Navy and its operational readiness. We are proud to enrich the versatility of this platform through an Electronic Warfare Suite representing the ideal combination of experience, maturity and innovation, thus offering high performances on the entire communications and radar bands, while ensuring excellent self-protection capabilities and wide Intelligence information gathering”, said Domitilla Benigni, COO & CEO of Elettronica.
07 May 21. US Army Light Infantry, Stryker and Armored Forces Are Getting This Advanced Comms Gear. U.S. Army modernization officials are pushing forward with a plan to outfit light infantry, Stryker and armored combat brigades with advanced radios and communications kits designed to speed decision-making even under sophisticated enemy jamming attacks.
“We want to give them radios and systems that allow the data to flow in a contested environment,” Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, director of the Army Network Cross-Functional Team, told defense reporters Tuesday at a tactical network demonstration at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia.
Developing and fielding a more robust tactical network that can stand against enemy cyber and electronic warfare, or EW, attacks is one of the Army’s top modernization priorities.
The service is currently designing, testing and fielding two-year capability sets — Capability Set 21 for light infantry brigade combat teams, or BCTs; Capability Set 23 for Stryker BCTs; and Capability Set 25 for armored BCTs.
Earlier this year, the Army began fielding Capability Set 21 — which includes new man-packable and handheld radios, commercial satellite terminals, commercial network gateway devices and command-and-control software — to four infantry BCTs, with plans for more in the future.
The 1st BCT, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Europe have received the new sets. The Army will field them to the 3rd BCT, 25th Infantry Division, in Hawaii next month and 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne, later this year.
“CS 21 is predominantly infantry, light infantry dismounts,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T. “In Cap Set 23, we are putting it on Stryker vehicles. You are actually going to see mobile communications, mobile [command and control] on the move on Stryker platforms.”
The Army just completed the preliminary design review for Cap Set 23. Over the next year, the service will experiment with the Cap Set 23 to prove out new technologies and identify risk areas before going into the critical design review scheduled for April 2022, Collins said.
Cap Set 23, and eventually Cap Set 25, will be designed to build on top of Cap Set 21 with new capabilities such as incorporating access to low-Earth orbit and mid-Earth orbit commercial satellite constellations.
“Low-Earth orbit satellites offer dramatically increased [data] throughput and reduced latency, which is a huge game-changer on the battlefield,” Collins said.
Cap Set 23 and beyond will also provide significant defense against enemy jamming attacks, he said.
“You have to be able to [operate] a contested, congested environment … whether it’s EW jamming, cyber threat,” Collins explained.
The Army offers cooperative research and development agreements to small companies that can’t afford to stand up an environment that can replicate a cyber attack from Russia or China.
“If I am a small company, I can come in with my new technology and expose it to a jammer or to a threat or to a hacker,” Collins said.
Army officials stressed that the new capability set approach will allow them to break from the stationary communications structure on forward operating bases that the service relied on for almost two decades in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We’ve gotta get out of buildings and tents and be able to be mobile and distributed in a very, very violent fight,” Gallagher said.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military.com)
10 May 21. New guidance published to prevent use of vehicles as weapons in terror attacks. Robust new security measures introduced to prevent criminals and terrorists from accessing commercial vehicles.
* robust new guidance published to minimise risk of commercial vehicles being used in an attack
* operators encouraged to improve knowledge of potential risks and develop rigorous security plans
* latest step taken by government to boost safety and reduce likelihood of terrorists and criminals gaining access to commercial vehicles
New guidance designed to prevent commercial vehicles, including vans, lorries, buses, coaches and even cranes, from being used as weapons in acts of terrorism has been published today (10 May 2021).
The standard, which has been published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and sponsored by the Department for Transport, sets out a raft of security measures to prevent criminals and terrorists from accessing commercial vehicles.
To meet the new requirements, operators must:
* improve their knowledge of potential risks and determine which of those risks apply to their business
* develop a security management plan
* assess risk exposure
* put in place management and accountability for security
Other requirements will include checks of drivers’ references and previous employment history and also regular visual checks of vehicles for signs of tampering.
To ensure this new standard is met, the government is working with the industry to develop accreditation and certification schemes for commercial vehicle firms, with further details to be announced in due course.
Attacks on the public involving vehicles, which have been targeted due to their size and potential impact, have had tragic consequences in recent years, including in the Westminster and London Bridge attacks of 2017.
Today’s announcement not only aims to create barriers to carrying out these types of attack but could also assist the fight against serious and organised crime, including helping to minimise the risk of drug and people smuggling.
In 2019, people smuggling resulted in the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals, whose bodies were found in a lorry container in Essex. The new guidance is designed to minimise the risk of similar tragic events, which put lives in danger, from happening again.
Transport Minister Robert Courts said:
This is vital new guidance which will go a long way to help us in our fight against terrorism and organised crime. I wholeheartedly support this move and the British Standards Institution in their important work.
Terror attacks and organised crime involving commercial vehicles have had tragic and devastating effects in recent years, with every life lost leaving an unimaginable void in the lives of so many.
This government will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the British public are kept safe.
Nick Fleming, Head of Mobility and Transport Standards at BSI, said:
This new standard, developed with operators of commercial vehicles, encourages good practice in the managing of security risks that may help to reduce the threat of vehicles being used in acts that may cause intentional harm to the public or for organised crime.
The standard highlights the growing importance of physical vehicle security measures to help prevent such criminal acts taking place.
The new standard has been developed by transport, safety and crime experts, and is targeted at operators of light and heavy goods vehicles, as well as those of public service vehicles and mobile plant, such as cranes and tip trucks. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
10 May 21. Elcome International and Broadcast Solutions recently completed a live proof-of-concept (POC) demonstration of a maritime mesh network for coastal operations. The POC demonstration, which involved a land-based station and several vessels, confirmed the advanced capabilities of the system, including live messaging and video conferencing between headquarters and mobile units at sea.
The maritime mesh network leverages advanced software-defined tactical radios with multiplexing modulation technology, specialized antennas and IP collaboration tools to communicate across interconnected cells. The multi-node network can sustain secure low-latency broadband connectivity with offshore vessels roaming across a wide operating area offshore.
Communication modes for the network include voice-over-IP (VOIP), multi-stream video, push-to-talk (PTT) radio, messaging, file transfer and other IP-based applications. A video management system optimizes interface feeds from the vessels’ electronics, such as radar, sonar, ECDIS, infra-red sensors and surveillance cameras, for real-time monitoring at the command center ashore. A playback mode can be used for after-action event analysis.
“During the POC demonstration, the IP network achieved consistent 30 Mbps bandwidth links across a 20 nautical mile sector,” said Nicolas Hans, partner, Broadcast Solutions Middle East. “Beyond point-to-point connectivity, the maritime mesh network enables multipoint-to-multipoint communications at scale. Such flexibility paves the way to a variety of use cases for defense, oil and gas or harbor operations.”
“This POC trial provided a convincing demonstration of the potential benefits the meshed mobile IP network can bring to broadband services for vessels and offshore platforms,” said Jimmy Grewal, executive director of Elcome International. “We look forward to working with Broadcast Solutions to move toward full deployment of this powerful technology.” (Source: Marine NewsWire)
10 May 21. DOD Aims to Transform Itself Into a Data-Centric Organization. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks signed a memorandum to transform the Defense Department into a data-centric organization with the goal, she said, of “improving warfighting performance and creating decision advantage at all echelons from the battlespace to the board room.”
The May 5, “Creating Data Advantage,” memo specifies the department’s first-ever “data decrees” that are designed to “generate transformative proficiency across the DOD data strategy’s focus areas of Joint All-Domain Operations, senior leader decision support and business analytics.
The goals of the data decrees, she said, are:
* Maximizing data sharing and rights for data use.
* Publishing data assets in the DOD federated data catalog along with common interface specifications.
* Using automated data interfaces that are externally accessible and machine-readable and ensuring interfaces use industry-standard, non-proprietary, preferably open-source, technologies, protocols and payloads.
* Storing data in a manner that is platform and environment-agnostic, uncoupled from hardware or software dependencies.
* Implementing industry best practices for secure authentication, access management, encryption, monitoring and protection of data at rest, in transit and in use.
“Data is essential to preserving military advantage, supporting our people and serving the public,” Hicks stated in the memo.
“Leaders at all levels have a responsibility to manage, understand and responsibly share and protect data in support of our shared mission. Data enables capabilities such as [artificial intelligence], machine learning and various autonomous technologies. It is critical to warfighters seeking advantage on the battlefield, and it is critical to decision makers,” she said.
In order to accelerate the department’s data transformation, the memorandum empowers the DOD chief data officer to provide leadership and issue guidance regarding the DOD’s data ecosystem — people, technology and culture — data sharing, data architecture, data lifecycle management and a data ready workforce. It also highlights the importance of dedicated data leaders empowered with the resources and authority to shape key investment decisions and build the data workforce.
The memo lays out an aggressive timeline for assessing and developing courses of action to consolidate data efforts in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, reviewing data management and analytic platforms to find opportunities to gain efficiencies, scaling proven capabilities across the enterprise and looking for additional help from current members of the Defense Department’s workforce who can join this transformative effort. (Source: US DoD)
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
Spectra is a dynamic, agile and security-accredited organisation that offers secure Hosted and Managed Solutions and Cyber Advisory Services with a track record of delivering on time, to spec and on budget.
With over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries and private enterprises of all sizes, Spectra’s platinum and gold-level partnerships with third-party vendors ensure the supply of best value leading-edge technology.
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.
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 Businessman of the Year by Battlespace magazine.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.