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31 Mar 22. Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability Award Planned for December . The award of the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability procurement is planned for December, DOD Chief Information Officer John Sherman said in Washington today.
In July 2021, DOD officials said they expected the procurement would be ready in April 2022.
The JWCC is a ground-breaking procurement, Sherman said, and it involves some of the biggest technology firms in the United States: Google, Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.
These four “hyperscale” cloud service providers are working with DOD specialists to produce “a multi-cloud effort that will provide enterprise cloud capabilities for the Defense Department at all three security classifications: unclassified, secret and top secret all the way from the continental United States out to the tactical edge,” he said.
Once in place, it will service the Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative as well as aiding in artificial intelligence applications and much more, he said.
The program plan is a three-year base contract with two, one-year options. At the conclusion of this possible five-year procurement, DOD will launch “a full and open competition for a future multi-cloud acquisition.”
Officials said the five-year contract ceiling is $9bn. Washington Headquarters Services is leading the procurement effort with assistance from the Defense Information Systems Agency.
Back in July, officials expected only two cloud service providers to qualify to bid on the procurement. The DOD was committed to conduct market research to determine which cloud service providers qualified to receive direct solicitations. Five were considered and four received the solicitations in November 2021. This complicated the assessment period immensely. Sherman praised the professionals at each of the four bidders for their expertise and willingness to cooperate. He said there has been “a lot of iterative dialogue, very robust, very good collaboration from all involved.
“But as we’ve gotten into this, … we’ve recognized that our schedule was maybe a little too ahead of what we thought and that now we’re going to wrap up in the fall, and we’re aiming to award in December,” he said.
The change to a December award date does not indicate anything is wrong with the procurement. Rather, it is ensuring the government does the due diligence that American taxpayers deserve. “It’s just the amount of workload going between four proposals,” Sherman said. “We’ve got a good team with all the right expertise on this but doing the due diligence . I think we just underestimated the amount of time this was going to take.” (Source: US DoD)
09 Mar 22. Pentagon delays JWCC cloud competition, now valued at $9bn. Pentagon CIO John Sherman says program is going well, but “we’ve recognized that our schedule was maybe a little too ahead of what we thought.”
The Defense Department will delay awarding contracts for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, its enterprise cloud effort valued at up to $9bn, to the end of this year, the Pentagon’s chief information officer said today.
The original timeline laid out included awarding contracts in April, and then in November, DoD issued formal solicitations to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Oracle and Google.
“But as we’ve gotten into this and leaned into it with four vendors, we’ve recognized that our schedule was maybe a little too ahead of what we thought and that now we’re going to wrap up in the fall and we’re aiming to award in December,” John Sherman, DoD CIO, told reporters.
Despite the newly anticipated December time frame, Sherman said “everything is going very well” with JWCC. He added the Pentagon is doing “all the back and forth” with the vendors and evaluating proposals.
“It’s just going to take us a little bit longer than we thought and, from my CIO seat, I’ve told the team we’re going to make sure we do this right, take the time that they need so we can stick the landing on this given the imperative to what JWCC is for the Department of Defense,” he said.
Sherman added initial JWCC contracts will “be a three-year base with two one-year options and then at the conclusion of this, we’re going to be launching a full and open competition for a future multi-cloud acquisition.” The new timeline shifts the competition to early 2026 instead of 2025. Today was also the first time DoD unveiled the effort would have a potential ceiling value of $9bn.
The Pentagon envisions JWCC as its enterprise multi-vendor, multi-cloud follow up to the infamous, failed single-source Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, which was worth up to $10bn. The contract was canceled in July last year after years of legal battles.
“Nothing in the department meets this requirement at the current time… and it will be imperative for capabilities like Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, as well as the AI and Data Accelerator, or ADA, initiative and other key warfighting activities for the combatant commands and indeed all across the enterprise,” Sherman said.
Although JWCC won’t be mandated for all the services, as its utility is proven out DoD will “expect more and more of the service needs to transition to JWCC,” he added. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
29 Mar 22. Australian Office of National Intelligence to oversee new cyber centre. A new multi-agency centre has been established to capitalise on emerging technology opportunities in the cyber space.
The Commonwealth government has announced the establishment of the Cyber and Critical Technology Intelligence Centre within the Office of National Intelligence. The multi-agency centre is expected to enable the national intelligence community to harness opportunities offered by emerging technologies. Specifically, the centre aims to foster collaboration with non-government R&D partners, helping to fund, shape and deploy advanced science, research and technology to build the nation’s resilience to evolving threats. This is expected to include investment in innovative R&D projects via a range of funding opportunities for researchers and academia, including scholarships and grants. The newly launched multi-agency centre will also be responsible for informing government stakeholders on cyber and critical technology matters.
The establishment of the Cyber and Critical Technology Intelligence Centre is among a number of initiatives announced in response to the 2017 Independent Intelligence Review.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison — who announced the launch during an address at The Alliance Dinner in Canberra on the evening of Monday, 28 March — said the centre would also help further facilitate co-operation with international allies, particularly the US.
“With challenging and changing geopolitical realities — where technological advantage for our intelligence agencies is more important than ever — Australia is, as always, stepping up to do more,” he said.
“Beyond defence and intelligence, today Australia and the United States work together on a wide and expanding canvas — cyber security, space, supply chain resilience, critical minerals, quantum computing, low emissions technologies and so much more.”
The announcement follows the Australian Signals Directorate’s (ASD) opening of a new cyber and foreign intelligence facility in Majura Park, Canberra, built to foster security partnerships across the intelligence community, law enforcement, Australian industry and international partners.
The new centre is expected to house agents and personnel from the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Home Affairs and representatives from industry.
The Majura Park facility is also tipped to create new employment opportunities for intelligence analysts, cyber operators, technology researchers, and corporate enablers.
Earlier in the month, the Commonwealth government also officially opened the Joint Policing Cybercrime Coordination Centre (JPC3) – a new Australian Federal Police-led centre designed to house collaboration between law enforcement and intelligence services representatives focused on combating the growing threat of malicious cyber activity.
The cyber crime fighting hub – to be based in the AFP’s NSW headquarters – has received $89m in funding via the Commonwealth government’s $1.67 bn Cyber Security Strategy.
The new centre will be supported by a “National Plan to Combat Cybercrime”, endorsed by Commonwealth, state and territory police ministers.
The plan aims to foster industry growth online, bolster confidence in the digital economy and ensure safe online spaces for children, while also boosting crime detection and law enforcement capabilities. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Mar 22. USN dramatically increases funding for secretive Project Overmatch. The U.S. Navy wants to more than double its spending on Project Overmatch, a classified initiative to improve the service’s networking and data capabilities. The Navy is seeking $195m for the effort in fiscal year 2023, a 167% increase over the $73m the service received for the effort in fiscal 2022. Project Overmatch is the Navy’s implementation of Joint All-Domain Command and Control, a Department of Defense-wide effort to connect sensors and shooters across the services and generally improve networking and data capabilities. Although the Joint Staff has worked to establish a strategy for JADC2 implementation, the services have largely been tasked with developing their own approaches. In addition to the Navy’s Project Overmatch, the Army is pursuing its Project Convergence and the Air Force is advancing its Advanced Battle Management Systems.
Project Overmatch is the most secretive of the three major JADC2 efforts by far. Details on Project Overmatch development have been scant, with spending classified by the Navy. While Army and Air Force officials have invited reporters to JADC2 demonstrations and documented spending in budget requests, Navy officials have been tight-lipped about their efforts.
“We’ve been very deliberate about keeping a low profile and not a huge internet presence on ‘here’s all your facts on Project Overmatch,’” said Rear Adm. Doug Small, commander of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command at the WEST 2022 conference earlier this year.
Small insisted the Navy is making progress, even though there aren’t public milestones and spending to help keep the program accountable.
“We have been working at a fever pitch to deliver on those goals, and I won’t go into any of the specifics on those things, but in general what we’re doing is bringing the best of world-class commercial technologies, how the best companies in the world deliver capability to their users, and we’re just bringing that into the Navy and doing it at speed and scale,” added Small.
While the release of a top line budget for Project Overmatch offers a new level of insight into spending on the effort, the Navy didn’t offer any context on the year-over-year increase in the fiscal 2023 budget request. The Navy did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
Part of the increase could reflect the Navy’s decision to shift network and IT authorities to Project Overmatch in 2021. That move was part of the Navy’s effort to unify its network modernization efforts under a single office. For fiscal 2022, the Navy asked for $1.2bn for enterprise networks.
The Navy’s budget overview shows boosted funding requests for a number of information warfare efforts related to Project Overmatch capabilities. The service is seeking $1bn for cybersecurity, a 26% increase over what it received for fiscal 2022; $651m for satellite communications, a 17% increase; and $610m for command and control systems, a 5% increase. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
25 Mar 22. USAF establishes new information warfare detachment. The U.S. Air Force expects to improve research and training around information warfare with a new organization established March 22 by Air Combat Command.
The Information Warfare Training and Research Initiative Detachment is a hybrid wing-level organization designed to connect airmen from multiple locations as they accelerate readiness. It is a subordinate unit of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The wing provides intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, communications, and nuclear command and control.
The new detachment, also known as Detachment 1, will conduct training and research events to help prepare the Air Force for operations in the information environment and electromagnetic spectrum. It will also operate out of the 67th Cyberspace Wing at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.
The detachment is the result of three years of experimenting by Air Combat Command, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Secretary of the Air Force Concepts, Development and Management office, and academic groups to improve the service’s approach to information warfare training and research. Those teams collaborated to conduct 22 information warfare events all over the world, helping them develop its new model.
“We’ve adapted a ‘build, learn, correct, repeat’ model,” Col. Christopher Budde, chief of ACC’s information warfare division, said in a statement. “We are experimenting with sustainable processes and events in quick succession to scale conceptual ideas, operationally test them, then integrate these processes across the larger federated enterprise.”
The new model allows the Air Force to conduct training events more often while integrating personnel from all over the globe. The group’s most recent event saw airmen from 34 organizations spread across 23 locations collaborating on an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission.
“The distributed nature of the events means they can be conducted more frequently, can be ongoing, and members can participate in multiple iterations,” Budde said. “If a unit is unable to participate in an event, they can jump back into a future iteration when available, but the challenges in the information environment continue, and the teams have to respond with the capabilities available.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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