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C2, TACTICAL COMMUNICATIONS, AI, CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE

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07 Jan 21. DISA Director Touts Benefits of Cloud Computing, Telework. The Defense Information Systems Agency and Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network serve on the department’s digital frontlines in cyber and information technology at all levels of classification.

Some 19,000 people around the world work in that agency to ensure secure and seamless communications for the warfighters.

“The safety of our employees is forefront in all of our decisions,” Navy Vice Adm. Nancy A. Norton, DISA director, said at an AFCEA virtual luncheon today.

“Our primary goal is to preserve and protect the ability of our workforce to conduct mission central operations that we support on national defense and current worldwide military missions,” she said. “We have not just survived through COVID-19, we have thrived. From the beginning of [the] pandemic, our workforce has enabled the Defense Department to accomplish its high-stakes missions, while maximizing remote work.”

Over the last 10 months, DISA has been working on “cloud-based internet isolation,” an initiative which pairs industry-leading technologies with a rapid-acquisition strategy, she said.

“CBII is proving to be a game-changing solution in our ability to protect department networks against web browser-based threats, making them more secure from the office or from home,” Norton said.

It essentially creates a video stream of the browser, she explained. Malicious activities are isolated to the cloud, where they can more easily be contained and eliminated, rather than on personal computers and DOD networks. CBII also reduces bandwidth requirements through the very busy virtual private networks, or VPN.

VPNs were really put to the test in 2020, she said. In response to the pandemic, the “joint regional security stacks remote access virtual private network” enabled a more than 1,000% increase in telework connections for joint mission partners around the globe.

Fortunately, over the past few years, the department has made significant investments in its remote work capabilities. There are a number of tools available to the workforce that support team collaboration spaces conferencing and file sharing, Norton noted.

The COVID-19 emergency drove us to enhance our telework tools for our workforce, she said. Many service members, civilians and contractors didn’t have government-furnished equipment, so they relied on commercial virtual remote, or CVR, using Microsoft Teams that enabled them to telework using their personal equipment.

“I don’t think it’s just DOD, I think the world has probably recognized the value of telework and the ease at which we can telework,” she said. “And, as I said, we haven’t just survived through the pandemic, we have thrived. So we have learned how to work with our workforce and trust our workforce in ways that we never did before. And I think this is something that, across the DOD, is going to continue.” (Source: US DoD)

06 Jan 21. Cyber Beacon Provides Venue for Sharing Innovative Approaches to Top Strategic Challenges. Last month the College of Information and Cyberspace at National Defense University, located on historic Fort McNair in the nation’s capital, hosted their 7th annual Cyber Beacon Conference.

Due to the global pandemic, this was the first year the event was hosted virtually and allowed for a broader audience to participate. This closed event welcomed hundreds of attendees from throughout the national security community, including the U.S. government, industry and academia, as well as allies and partners.

The purpose of the conference was to gather today’s top thought leaders and experts on strategic cyberspace issues for discussion and learning. This purpose directly supports the lines of effort of the National Defense Strategy, especially regarding reform and partnership, Joseph L. Billingsley, director of strategic engagement at CIC, a lead planner of the event, said.

This year’s conference theme was “Disruption in an Era of Great Power Competition: Pandemic, Infodemic, Space, Cyberspace and Beyond” and builds off of last year’s theme of “Preparing for Disruption,” Dr. Cassandra C. Lewis, acting chancellor of CIC, said.

“We’re very proud of the different organizations and senior leaders who participated in sharing their unique perspectives,” Billingsley said, noting that there was good representation from U.S. Cyber Command, the Office of the Chief Information Officer and, for the first time, representation from the Space Force.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, director of operations (J3) for U.S. Cybercom, challenged the audience to think about how the U.S. competes in cyberspace with an evolving strategic and operational environment, Billingsley said. Other speakers at the event highlighted the importance of competing with adversaries in a highly contested cyberspace domain, including Thomas Wingfield, Esq., deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy and former acting chancellor of CIC.

Another speaker, John Sherman, the DOD principal deputy chief information officer, said: “History has taught us that advantages are constantly eroding. Nothing gives us the preordained right to supremacy in cyberspace and global competition.”

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, the executive director of the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission, spoke about the many recommended reforms which have been adopted by the U.S. government and signed into law. Congressman James Langevin, cyberspace solarium commissioner and co-chair of the Congressional Cyber Caucus, echoed Montgomery’s focus on reforms that better position the U.S. to compete in cyberspace. Both Montgomery and Langevin thanked CIC for its enduring support of the commission. CIC hosted the commission’s capstone gathering in 2019.

Space Force Maj. Gen. Kim Crider noted the importance of developing the educational pipeline of cyber professionals that can help support the mission of the newest military service. Recent engagement between Space Force and CIC, leveraging existing space domain expertise within CIC, has led to a new pipeline of students, said Billingsley.

Jeff Moss, who also spoke, is a top leader in the global hacker community. He discussed the role of civil society as allies and force multipliers in pursuit of national security. Moss, who has served as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, also commended the “herculean effort” that Montgomery and Langevin have taken on with the commission.

The hacker conventions that Moss founded, “DEF CON and Black Hat, provide DOD personnel a powerful educational and engagement opportunity, especially with ‘villages’ dedicated to learning about election security, air and maritime safety and much more,” Dr. Joseph H. Schafer, chair of the Information Strategy and Disruptive Technology Department at CIC and retired army lieutenant colonel, said.

CIC students also played a prominent role in the event, which included a student panel for the first time. The panel had U.S. military, interagency, and allied representation. The students at CIC, known as the “Cyber War College,” are experienced national security professionals focusing on strategic issues. “As an educator, highlighting our students and their insights was a point of pride,” Lewis said.

The conference was also helpful for those across the professional military education community, Billingsley said. For instance, Navy Cdr. Dan Brown, an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College said: “The knowledge I gained will be an immense help in building my lesson plans and leading classroom discussions.”

One attendee, Paul de Souza, president of the non-profit Cyber Security Forum Initiative, described the event as “historic, based on the involvement of the Space Force and so many recognized national leaders in this community, especially Moss, Montgomery and Langevin.”

Billingsley agreed with the historic nature of this event and put it into a larger context, saying “our college was first established at the dawn of the computer age in the 1960s as the DOD Computer Institute and included instructors like the legendary Grace Hopper. The school has evolved over more than half a century to meet the evolving challenges our nation faces. If there was one ‘take away’ from this event, it is that we have much work to be done, and with urgency.”  (Source: US DoD)

06 Jan 21. Hyten outlines future steps to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum. In rebuilding the Pentagon’s electronic warfare prowess — and executing a recently released strategy to do so — the department’s No. 2 officer bestowed a great deal of responsibility upon the services.

There are three broad categories in which the department must make progress to advance the new electromagnetic spectrum superiority strategy, Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Jan. 6 webcast hosted by the Association of Old Crows. Those categories are the joint world, the armed services and industry.

Hyten said progress is being made in all three but that much of the attention has fallen to the joint world. He noted that the department has to consider what Congress ordered in recently passed laws, and keep a close eye on the language of the five goals within the new strategy.

Regarding the strategy, he said the first goal is to develop capabilities, which is not a joint function but rather a service function. The second is to evolve to an agile, fully integrated electromagnetic spectrum infrastructure, which Hyten said is also a service function. The same goes for the third goal, which is aimed at building readiness in the electromagnetic spectrum, or EMS.

The fourth goal calls for enduring partnerships to gain advantage in the EMS. The fifth goal, which seeks to build effective governance of the EMS, is a joint role, Hyten said, though he called it the least important goal.

“When you think about those five elements that are in our strategy, it’s key that we make sure that we don’t forget No. 1, and that is to build out the capabilities that we have to have; No. 2 is to organize, train and equip effectively,” he said, which is the role of each of the services. “If we don’t remember that, we will — we will fail, and the execution of that strategy.”

On the joint side, Hyten said Strategic Command must be made “whole,” adding that it is under-resourced, undermanned and not fully capable of performing the EMS duties it’s been given by the department. Currently, Strategic Command is the electronic warfare advocate.

Hyten said before Strategic Command’s EMS operational duties are transferred to a different entity within the Defense Department, as mandated in the the recently passed annual defense policy bill, the combatant command must have a complete grasp of the mission being moved.

“What we’ve done over the past years is we say, ‘All right, STRATCOM, you’re now [in charge of EMS operations], fix the problem,’ but we give them no resources,” he said. “If we do the same thing, we’ll give it to somebody else in a couple of years and they’ll have no resources and we won’t make the progress that we need to.”

Hyten also noted that the Joint Requirements Oversight Council will soon publish four supporting concepts to underpin the new war-fighting concept for multidomain operations. They include joint global fires, joint all-domain command and control, contested logistics, and information advantage.

For the first time, Hyten said, the council will outline joint requirements for these concepts and is charging the services to meet them when building new capabilities. A draft will go out this month, and the services will have four months to build out the real requirements document, Hyten said.

Electronic warfare will fall under information advantage.

“Under information advantage is the ability to achieve spectrum superiority in all domains. We have to be able to do that. If you can’t do that, you will fail — you will fail in your mission,” he said. “In the challenges of the future, whoever we are in contest with, we have to be able to effectively fight and win the electromagnetic spectrum fight right from the beginning. That is electronic warfare in every domain.” (Source: Defense News)

05 Jan 21. CEVA and DARPA Establish Partnership for Technology. Innovation. Commercial partnership under new DARPA Toolbox initiative provides DARPA researchers with access to CEVA’s portfolio of wireless connectivity and smart sensing Ips. CEVA, Inc. (NASDAQ: CEVA), the leading licensor of wireless connectivity and smart sensing technologies, today announced an open licensing agreement with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to accelerate technology innovation for DARPA programs. The partnership, as part of the DARPA Toolbox initiative, establishes an access framework under which DARPA organizations can access all of CEVA’s commercially available IPs, tools and support to expedite their programs.

“Our partnership with DARPA extends the reach of our advanced DSPs, AI Processors and wireless IPs to the DARPA research programs and its ecosystem,” said Gideon Wertheizer, CEO of CEVA. “Our comprehensive and low power platforms for 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, computer vision, sound and motion sensing will help to accelerate innovation within DARPA, enabling its researchers to leverage our best-in-class technologies along with our guidance and support.”

DARPA Toolbox is a new, agency-wide effort aimed at providing open licensing opportunities with commercial technology vendors to the researchers behind DARPA programs. Through DARPA Toolbox, successful proposers will receive greater access to commercial vendors’ technologies and tools via pre-negotiated, low-cost, non-production access frameworks and simplified legal terms. For commercial vendors, DARPA Toolbox will provide an opportunity to leverage the agency’s forward-looking research and a chance to develop new revenue streams based on programmatic achievements developed with their technologies.

“Partnering with technology innovators like CEVA through our DARPA Toolbox initiative serves to streamline access for our organizations to cutting-edge technologies,” said Serge Leef, the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) program manager at DARPA leading DARPA Toolbox. “CEVA’s portfolio of processors, platform IP and software offer a compelling proposition to our researchers engaging in a range of projects requiring wireless communications or context-aware computing.”

CEVA, along with Arm and Verific are first wave of technology companies to sign commercial partnership agreements under DARPA Toolbox. As licensees of CEVA IP, DARPA researchers stand to benefit by having access to CEVA’s processors, tools and support for technical areas that intersect with CEVA’s wireless connectivity and smart sensing portfolio. Key technologies offered by CEVA under the initiative include DSPs and software for 5G baseband processing, short range connectivity, sensor fusion, computer vision, sound processing and Artificial Intelligence. For more information on CEVA’s products, visit https://www.ceva-dsp.com/.

About CEVA, Inc.

CEVA is the leading licensor of wireless connectivity and smart sensing technologies. We offer Digital Signal Processors, AI processors, wireless platforms and complementary software for sensor fusion, image enhancement, computer vision, voice input and artificial intelligence, all of which are key enabling technologies for a smarter, connected world. We partner with semiconductor companies and OEMs worldwide to create power-efficient, intelligent and connected devices for a range of end markets, including mobile, consumer, automotive, robotics, industrial and IoT. Our ultra-low-power IPs include comprehensive DSP-based platforms for 5G baseband processing in mobile and infrastructure, advanced imaging and computer vision for any camera-enabled device and audio/voice/speech and ultra-low power always-on/sensing applications for multiple IoT markets. For sensor fusion, our Hillcrest Labs sensor processing technologies provide a broad range of sensor fusion software and IMU solutions for AR/VR, robotics, remote controls, and IoT. For artificial intelligence, we offer a family of AI processors capable of handling the complete gamut of neural network workloads, on-device. For wireless IoT, we offer the industry’s most widely adopted IPs for Bluetooth (low energy and dual mode), Wi-Fi 4/5/6 (802.11n/ac/ax) and NB-IoT. Visit us at https://www.ceva-dsp.com/ and follow us on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. (Source: PR Newswire)

05 Jan 21. China equipping soldiers in Tibet with personal electronic equipment to boost combat efficiency. State-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) has revealed that a combined arms brigade of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s (PLAGF’s) Tibet Military District (MD) has equipped most of its dismounted troops with new tablet-like, handheld computers for use as part of a broader tactical information system.

The small computers – part of the new Chinese Individual Information Combat System – allow commanders to understand combat dynamics in real time, comprehensively grasp the battlefield situation, convey combat mission objectives, and, as a result, boost overall combat capabilities, especially in the cold, mountainous regions in Tibet, said CCTV in a report that was published on the MD’s Weibo account in late December 2020.

A still from CCTV footage released on 29 December showing a soldier under the PLAGF’s Tibet Military District operating a tablet-like handheld computer during a recently held ‘informationised comprehensive combat drill’ at an undisclosed location in Tibet. (CCTV)

The new equipment, the designation of which was not disclosed, was shown being used by individual dismounted soldiers during what CCTV referred to as an “informationised comprehensive combat drill” recently conducted in Tibet at an altitude of 4,500m. The live-fire exercise also included the use of multiple rocket launchers and unmanned aerial vehicles. Dismounted troops can be seen employing the QBZ-95 assault rifle, as well as the DJZ-08 and PF-98 shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons.

CCTV said that by monitoring the new tactical information system carried by each soldier on the simulated battlefield, the command centre was able to track the soldiers’ movements, understand the whole dynamics on the battlefield, and give instructions to the soldiers in real time about their current mission. (Source: Jane’s)

05 Jan 21. Wind River and Curtiss-Wright Collaborate on Cybersecurity Protections for Defense Systems. Wind River Titanium Security Suite integrated, tested, and validated on Curtiss-Wright OpenVPX™ module portfolio.

Wind River®, a leader in delivering software for the intelligent edge, is collaborating with Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions to offer integrated cybersecurity and anti-tamper protections for aerospace and defense systems. This collaboration better enables customers of both companies to meet stringent security and performance requirements needed for mission-critical applications.

The modern battlefield has become connected and intelligent, and the potential for cyber-attacks is rising rapidly. Given the complexities of designing security protocols, the majority of technology leaders are dealing with and acknowledge multiple security concerns, including increased cybersecurity risks (53%), cybercriminal sophistication (56%), and increased threat surface (53%).1

Wind River Titanium Security Suite, developed by the Wind River technology protection and cybersecurity group Star Lab, offers a variety of proven capabilities to ensure secure, trusted, and controlled execution, as well as protection from cyberattacks, tampering, and reverse engineering. The suite includes solutions for hardening Linux environments, securely leveraging virtualization, and protecting the boot process and chain. Wind River software has a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 9,2 approved for use and already deployed successfully on multiple mission-critical systems in the U.S. aerospace and defense market.

Through their collaboration, Wind River and Curtiss-Wright deliver a secure hardware and software solution for applications where trust is critical. Titanium Security Suite has been integrated, tested, and validated on Curtiss-Wright OpenVPX modules, such as the CHAMP-XD1, and will be supported on the recently announced CHAMP-XD1S processor module. These two industry-leading high-performance modules include built-in Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT), Curtiss-Wright TrustedCOTS™ protections, and flexible APIs to support secure software solutions. This collaboration between Wind River and Curtiss-Wright enables customers to strengthen system security while minimizing the risk, cost, complexity, and development time associated with bringing secure solutions to market.

“Being secure through the entire software lifecycle must become a core mantra for connected devices on the intelligent edge,” said Michel Genard, vice president, Industry Solutions, Wind River. “By collaborating with Curtiss-Wright, we are helping our shared customers integrate security during the design phase, incorporating advanced cybersecurity and technology protections that meet DoD requirements.”

“As connectivity and the use of artificial intelligence continue to become more widespread, new types of attacks are emerging. For deployed defense systems, a security breach can have catastrophic consequences,” said Chris Wiltsey, senior vice president and general manager, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions. “By working with leaders like Wind River, we can help our customers accelerate their innovation and development cycles while also preparing their defense systems to guard against ever-increasing cyberthreats.”

Recognized as #1 in edge compute OS platforms, and with technology proven by more than 360 customers over 600 safety programs in more than 100 civilian and military aircraft, Wind River has more than three decades of experience helping to build safe, secure, and reliable computing systems for demanding commercial aircraft, space exploration, and military operations. More information about Wind River aerospace and defense solutions is available at www.windriver.com/markets/aerospace-defense.

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions goes well beyond standard processes to deliver ruggedized solutions with trusted and proven reliability that cannot be matched in the industry. Ruggedization involves testing and validating that commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions can withstand extreme temperatures, shock, vibration, and other challenging environmental conditions present in aerospace and defense applications. Reliability requires in-depth scientific testing and validation to ensure that ruggedized solutions dependably perform in the harshest deployed conditions for many years. The insight gained through advanced reliability testing is used to continuously optimize designs and further improve reliability, which is one of the key reasons Curtiss-Wright has been a trusted provider of proven rugged solutions for decades. For more information about the Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions division, please visit www.curtisswrightds.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

05 Jan 21. DOD’s Inaugural Foray Into 5G Experimentation on Track. The United States Department of Defense has taken historic action to advance the application of 5G communications for America’s warfighters.

In October 2020, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Kratsios announced $600m in award contracts to 15 prime contractors to perform testing and evaluation of 5G technologies at five military installations across the country. This initial Tranche 1 effort represents the largest full-scale 5G test for dual-use applications in the world.

Since then, the Department has made important progress in establishing the Tranche 1 sites and preparing the upcoming Tranche 2 requests for proposals.

“With these test beds, the Department of Defense is at the forefront of cutting-edge 5G research that will strengthen America’s warfighting capabilities and accelerate advancements in commercial 5G technologies,” Mr. Kratsios said.

Dr. Joseph B. Evans, principal director for 5G in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, provided an update on the Department’s 5G testing and experimentation efforts, as well as its 5G Strategy Implementation Plan. The latest information can also be found at the newly launched CTO.mil/5G.

“So far, the Department’s 5G experiments are coming together as expected,” Evans said. “In addition to the Tranche 1 sites getting stood up, we also have the Tranche 2 sites that are in the process of releasing requests for proposals … the Department is on track for 5G testing in 2021.”

The 5G wireless communications technologies in development now offer great improvements in speed, connectivity and reduced latency, Evans said. He also said it’s critical for the DOD to be involved in accelerating the development of that technology, as well as in ensuring those systems are robust, protected, resilient and reliable.

“5G is important to the Department because it will enable new capabilities, such as machine-to-machine communication, that will help us to improve our efficiency and our processes, and enable us to react more quickly,” Evans said.

In the same way traditional telecommunications and the internet have enhanced DOD operations, 5G is going to do the same — but to a much, much greater extent, Evans said.

Establishing the Tranche 1 Sites

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Naval Base San Diego, California; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; and Hill Air Force Base, Utah, were designated as “testbeds” where commercial 5G technology would be evaluated for its ability to enhance military and service-specific operational challenges. Together, the five installations make up “Tranche 1” of the department’s efforts.

“We’ve formulated these experiments as three- to four-year projects,” Evans said. “We’ve built them as multiyear projects with iterative development. After a year, we’ll look at the initial experimental results and metrics and then go forward in future years based on how those technologies are evolving, reviewing on an annual basis.”

Further down the road, Evans said, the department will be able to identify what particular technologies and systems are able to make a useful transition into the services or the broader Defense Department.

“Our 5G prototyping and experimentation effort is an ongoing, iterative evaluation of the different uses cases and technologies, and how they can transition,” Evans said.

So far, more than $600m has been awarded in over three dozen prime contracts, with more than 100 companies participating, to evaluate 5G technology at those testbed installations. There, 5G technology will be applied to problems and challenges identified in collaboration with the military services.

At Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, experimentation will focus on efficiency improvements within warehouse operations, including receipt, storage, inventory control and tracking, issuance, and delivery. There, Federated Wireless has signed a contract to deploy 5G within and around an existing Marine Corps warehouse to provide the platform for a 5G-enabled “smart warehouse.”

Other partners at MCLBA include GE Research, KPMG LLP, Scientific Research Corporation, Virginia Tech Applied Research and Alion Science.

Also involved in smart warehousing is Naval Base San Diego. There, AT&T has signed a contract to deploy 5G infrastructure, including millimeter wave technology. In San Diego, the 5G-enabled smart warehouse experiment will be a proving ground for, among other things, real-time asset tracking, predictive analytics, environmental sensing, robotics and augmented reality.

Partners there include GE Research, Vectrus Mission Solutions Corporation, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Perspecta, XCOM, Parallel Wireless, Qubitekk, Secure G and GenXCom.

It’s early in the Tranche 1 experiments, with contracts just having recently been awarded. The next big step for Tranche 1 installations, Evans said, will be to get those testbeds set up and running. It’s expected that all Tranche 1 testbeds will be operational by the fall of 2021, he said.

Preparing for Tranche 2

The Department has also announced a second set of installations where 5G experimentation would take place. Those installations include Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Joint Base San Antonio; the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and Fort Hood, Texas; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California; and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

“What we are really focused on with Tranche 2 is getting those solicitations out so that we can get the best industry performers and industry players involved in these projects,” Evans said. “We’re really trying to reach out to the entire 5G industry — from the big companies to the traditional defense industrial base, and to small businesses and startups that are trying to create new and interesting technologies in 5G that can support DOD missions. We’re focused on getting those solicitations out and making sure we get the best players providing technologies to DOD.”

Already, Evans said, solicitations for some of the Tranche 2 installations have taken place. A white paper solicitation was released for work at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Camp Pendleton, and for Naval Station Norfolk.

“The solicitation for white papers closed on December 15,” Evans said. “We’re in the process of evaluating those. The next step — hopefully late January or early February — will be a request for proposals for those three bases.”

Evans said the Department is also working with the National Spectrum Consortium on solicitations for four other Tranche 2 sites.

“We hope those will be out in a similar time frame, early in the new calendar year,” he said. “Those solicitations will be for experiments at Joint Base San Antonio, for experiments at the National Training Center and Fort Hood, as well as an experiment at Tinker Air Force Base. We are looking forward to getting exciting responses.”

The DOD’s Strategy Implementation Plan

In addition to launching the test sites, the Department released its 5G Strategy Implementation Plan. The plan discusses DOD’s work to carry out its 5G Strategy, signed in May, outlining four lines of effort, including promoting technology development; assessing, mitigating, and operating through 5G vulnerabilities; influencing 5G standards and policies; and engaging partners.

“The strategy is an across-the-board plan for what DOD can do with 5G and how it can advance DOD’s capabilities and U.S. capabilities in 5G,” Evans said. “The implementation plan then goes into each of those areas and describes how we’ll be going about each of those lines of effort. It’s comprehensive view of what we should be doing and will be doing to implement that 5G strategy.” (Source: US DoD)

01 Jan 21. US Army shares details on new electronic warfare units. The Army has worked furiously to develop new electronic warfare capabilities for the force, rebuilding what it divested after the Cold War. With much attention paid to these new systems, the Army is also building new units across the service that will have to operate these emerging electronic warfare systems.

“We really have to make sure that our capabilities are aligned with the force structure that is being stood up,” Col. Kevin Finch, electronic warfare and cyber program manager with the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, has explained in the past.

As part of what the Army calls new force design updates, or redesigns of its units, every brigade combat team will have an electronic warfare platoon and a separate signals intelligence network support team, Col. Daniel Holland, Army capabilities manager for electronic warfare, told C4ISRNET in written responses.

Both of these formations will operate the forthcoming Terrestrial Layer System Brigade Combat Team (TLS-BCT), the Army’s first integrated electronic warfare, signals intelligence and cyber platform. The system will be mounted on Strykers. Currently two companies, Lockheed Martin and Digital Receiver Technology, are building prototypes for the Army, which will choose one to advance.

The Army lacks electronic attack assets organic to brigades across its formations and echelons.

To date, the Army developed a pair of prototypes with the dual purpose of getting needed capability to forces in Europe and the Pacific and buying down risk for the TLS. These include the Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS) — an electronic support and electronic attack platform — and the Flyer72 mounted Tactical Electronic Warfare Light (TEWL) — an electronic support-only platform.

In the interim, some formations have created specialized units to use these prototype systems, one being 3rd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division, which received TEWS and created what it calls the Spectre platoon. That platoon is a task-organized signals intelligence and electronic warfare formation within the military intelligence company intended to integrate systems such as TEWS and Prophet, a signals intelligence system, into a single platoon for training and operations, Holland said.

The effort is helping to inform concepts for future multidomain operations, he added. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division consolidated all its 17 series — or cyber and electronic warfare personnel — into a signals intelligence and electronic warfare platoon to ensure complementary capabilities are integrated properly.

A few units in Europe have done similar alignments with their forces as well.

The electronic warfare platoons the Army is building should be in place before TLS-BCT is delivered, Holland said, though he added the caveat that delivery dates can change. Additionally, he said, most units will have their respective cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA) sections by the end of fiscal 2022, which is around the same time TLS-BCT is expected to hit its first unit: 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

The CEMA sections are cyber and electronic warfare personnel that exist on the staff section at whatever echelon they’re assigned to and act as planners and managers of their disciplines for the commander.

Despite 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division getting the system in 2022, Holland clarified that most units will continue to receive TLS-BCT through fiscal 2027, so units will have their electronic warfare personnel before receiving the system itself.

The Army plans to build electronic warfare companies that will exist at the division and corps level. These units will be the primary users of the TLS-Echelons Above Brigade (TLS-EAB).

While the brigade combat team has been the primary maneuver force for the Army in the past 20 years during the counterinsurgency fight, nation-state actors such as Russia and China will force the Army to operate over greater distances, necessitating capabilities at higher echelons. Officials have said a fight against these actors will begin at the corps level, where the focus is destroying high-priority systems to lay the groundwork for lower echelons. The corps level must eliminate these targets first, passing them to the lower echelons to include division and brigade, which are designed for a closer fight to move the enemy back.

Holland said there are no major force structure changes to units planned for the delivery of the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare Air Large, the Army’s first airborne electronic warfare jamming pod mounted on an MQ-1C Gray Eagle.

Army units that have aviation forces, such as division combat aviation brigades that receive MFEW Air Large payloads, will use their CEMA sections and electronic warfare platoons to plan and conduct cyber and electronic warfare operations at altitude, Holland said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

04 Jan 21. Exclusive: J6 Says JADC2 Is A Strategy; Service Posture Reviews Coming. The Joint Staff plans a lightning-fast analysis of the gaps in service capabilities needed for implementation of Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), with results expected as soon as the end of February, says Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, who leads the effort as the head of the J6.

“That gap analysis starts in January. We expect by the end of February to produce our JADC2 Posture Review. And that Posture Review will show the department exactly where we are deficient in executing our mission or missions,” Crall said in an exclusive, one-hour interview.

“We don’t believe we can have an effective strategy with real milestones if we don’t look at our gap analysis,” he said. “That is what we will use to serve up against the funding strategy, and we will have to prioritize those to make sure we can deliver that capability.”

Meanwhile, the J6 is within “weeks” of  completing the overarching JADC2 strategy, said Crall. That will go to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and presumptive Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for approval and signatures.

The J6 held consultations with DoD and service leaders to coordinate on the draft JADC2 strategy during the week of Dec. 21. “We’ve got some good feedback. We have some very discreet lines of effort and we now have a roadmap. … We’ve written it and now we’re going through that corrective phase of taking in some of that good input,” said Crall, whose official title is director for command, control, communications, and computers/cyber chief information officer, Joint Staff J6. “The plans of attack and milestones are not quite done. Once the strategy is determined, we then have to lay out who’s responsible for which pieces, and then look at funding against those.”

Not A Program; An Approach

Crall explained that JADC2 isn’t just a network to link all sensors to all shooters, but is a new approach to military decision-making. “JADC2 is that larger, broader — in simplistic terms — ability to sense, make sense, and act,” he said.

The JADC2 strategy, he said, is separate from — but inexorably linked to — the Joint Warfighting Concept, initiated by former Defense Secretary Mark Esper. The JADC2 strategy is a strategy for decison-making. The Joint Warfighting Concept is the strategy outlining the new American way of war known as All Domain Operations; that is, next-generation, information-based wars using enormous amount of fast computer analysis across the land, air, sea, space and cyberspace domains.

So, the JADC2 strategy feeds into the Joint Warfighting Concept, he elaborated: “It informed the Joint Warfighting Concept, but the strategy that I’m describing is the JADC2 strategy proper, that would sit, really, at the top with the Joint Warfighting Concept.”

The JADC2 strategy will be incorporated into all the supporting concepts that make up the Joint Warfighting Concept — which include, as Sydney and I reported in July, how to manage joint fires and to create so-called information advantage. “There isn’t a supporting concept that doesn’t have information over the OODA Loop … at the heart of successful execution,” Crall said. (The OODA Loop is the cycle of Observe, Orient, Decide and Act, first described by legendary strategist John Boyd as the key to outthinking adversaries. It lies at the heart of most modern US military strategy.)

Yes, all this is confusing, Crall admitted, in part because of the short-hand and multiple, duplicative acronyms being used by the Pentagon and the services.

“I’ll describe a little bit of what JADC2 is and isn’t, because it is not that clear to many, and I think we’re responsible for that. We’re rolling out, hopefully, a campaign to clear up some of the misconceptions,” he said. “JADC2, unfortunately has a lot of the same letters in the acronyms that involve things like our Joint Warfighting Concept and JCC2, which is our command and control subconcept for the Joint Warfighting Concept. And then JADC2 has been used in some cases narrowly as a ‘sensor-to-shooter’ solution by some.”

However, Crall said, JADC2 is “something much bigger than maybe what we’ve seen in the past. “This is all about adapting to an adversary’s prowess in what would be a peer or near-peer fight, where information and digital superiority — really information advantage — is key. That’s the outcome of JADC2.”

For example, he said, JADC2 also has a key role in how the US military will conduct operations “below the threshold of armed conflict — actions that are taking place now in the cyber world — [where] JADC2 could benefit speed of decision and processing information,” Crall said. “JADC2 has a lot of play way ‘left of bang’ from some of the more conventional action that we talk about; and that has been a tough message that I think the J6 has to do a better job of getting out.”

Automation at the hub

JADC2, at its heart, is about using emerging machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate access to, analysis of and sharing of data among commanders and forces in the field — in near-real time and across all domains, he explained.

“JADC2 is about automating all of it,” Crall said. “It is about taking advantage of that sensor-rich environment — looking at things like data standards; making sure that we can move this information into an area that, again, we can process it properly; bringing on cloud; bringing on artificial intelligence, predictive analytics; and then undergirding this with a network that can handle this, all domains and partners.”

The “lines of effort” identified by the JADC2 strategy — that is, the discrete functionalities required to build JADC2 functionality — include “pursuit of a common data fabric,” Crall said. That refers to a set of standards and algorithms that allow data to be shared among different weapon systems, different C2 networks, different organizations and services and across different levels of security. The services, he said, have made it very clear that such standards are a top-priority. This is because “data is an integral piece and a prerequisite for most of what we do.”

Figuring out how allies and partner nations can be integrated into JADC2 is another element in the strategy. “You would probably not be surprised to see a line of effort devoted entirely to mission partner environment, where we want to ensure that our partners plug into this, as I mentioned, very early on, and don’t become an afterthought.

“You probably also would not be surprised to see a line of effort centered on network improvements,” Crall added. “What good would it be to build the apparatus that we just described if the network was too fragile to carry it and deliver it in the area that you would want it to go?”

Building service cohesion; congressional support

Crall said that one of the reasons it is so important to speed finalization of the JADC2 strategy and doing the posture review is to ensure that individual efforts by the services to build their own next-generation C2 networks for All Domain Operations don’t conflict.

“They have these mission threads, we call them, or threadlets, where they want to start the very distinct areas of jump-starting elements of JADC2,” he said. “You may have heard them by other names: the Air Force talks about ABMS [Advanced Battle Management System]; the Navy talks about Overmatch; and the Army about Convergence. This isn’t about a competition with folks running off in different directions, and we’re going to pick. This is about good work being done in all of these lanes, but (also) making sure that we don’t go off and do our own [thing] at the expense of the whole. … We’ve got to move in a common direction.”

As for actual implementation of the JADC2 strategy, a key start will be figuring out how to “translate” between and how to link the myriad incompatible C2 and communications networks currently used by by the services, Crall said. (And even within individual services — think F-22 and F-35 comms.)

However, Crall said, DoD needs to provide “equal attention” to “making what we own interoperable” and ride herd on the development of new capabilities to ensure compatibility. The military can’t afford to “spend so much of our time dealing with legacy that we don’t look at what we’re building and what we’re delivering,” he stressed. “So, the key is we’ve got to do both of these simultaneously.”

That said, he noted that interoperability must come first because the operational commanders of the Combatant Commands “need to meet the services where they are, because that’s what we have to fight tonight with.”

Another reason the strategy and posture review are important is they are necessary tools to allow better engagement with Congress, which up to now has been skeptical — especially of ABMS, which is the service contribution to JADC2 farthest along. Crall stressed that Congress has every right to demand information that allows them to judge the merit of the JADC2 endeavor, saying that DoD needs “immediate engagement with professional staff members — so getting the PSMs to see what we’re doing — and then eventually getting our leadership to present that to the members themselves in these various committees, or as individuals who have expressed interest.”

“Without a plan and the metrics to show our progress — how we’re spending the money against what benchmarks and what deliverables, –we’re never going to be able to satisfy a very reasonable requirement of ‘show me that this effort is worth it’.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)

 

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