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14 Jan 21. Pentagon’s weapon tester pushes for better assessments of offensive cyber tools. The Department of Defense weapon tester wants to improve the way the Pentagon assesses tools and capabilities for offensive cyber operations that disrupt or destroy enemy data systems.
Such operations are growing more important, and testing that involves simulating realistic operations is not routine or rigorous enough to give commanders confidence the capabilities will work as designed, according to the annual report on weapons systems from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation office.
When DoD builds a new weapon, it conducts tests to ensure it works as intended, in part so commanders know how successful it might be. For example, a commander must take the approximate blast radius of a missile into account when planning an operation to minimize unintended damage around the target.
In cyberspace, testing offensive weapons presents difficulties because artificial network ranges are necessary to avoid damaging real-world systems. These offensive capabilities are often designed to work against hardware or software flaws that adversaries could patch at any moment, meaning for some targets and exploits, time is always fleeting. This differs from the physical world, in which ordinance, for example, can be dropped on an open test range.
“Weapons like JDAMs [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] are an important armament for air operations. How long are those JDAMs good for? Perhaps five, 10 or 15 years, sometimes longer given the adversary,” Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of Cyber Command, told Joint Force Quarterly in a 2019 interview. “When we buy a capability or tool for cyberspace … we rarely get a prolonged use we can measure in years. Our capabilities rarely last six months, let alone six years.”
To help improve testing, DOT&E will continue its assessments with service representatives and Cyber Command’s cyber mission force to increase confidence in offensive cyber capabilities and provide information that could enhance future exercises.
The report pointed out these challenges that the DoD needs to overcome include:
- Better access for testers to advanced cyber expertise to help them plan and execute tests on advanced offensive cyber operations technologies.
- Improved access for testers to intelligence on targets and defensive capabilities surrounding them.
- Training and capabilities of red teams to portray near-peer adversaries for targets of interest.
- Test ranges to assess the effectiveness of cyber capabilities delivered by over-the-air transmissions, which are typically Wi-Fi or radio frequency based, as opposed to Internet Protocol or copper/fiberoptic wire based.
Bottom of Form
The report noted that testers observed demonstrations or performed assessments of seven offensive cyber events in fiscal 2020, including planning for cyber fires during an exercise with Indo-Pacific Command. These capabilities examined ranged in sophistication from tactical devices to defeat terrorists to advanced cyber/electromagnetic spectrum attacks for use against nation-states.
Specific cyber programs
Last year, DOT&E for the first time examined Cyber Command’s template aimed to guide its procurement, dubbed the Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture.
This year’s report, however, provided slim details on these programs, only offering that the testing office oversaw two of the five aspects of the procurement architecture: Unified Platform and Joint Cyber Command and Control. The Air Force is building both on behalf of Cyber Command for the entire joint cyber force. Unified Platform is designed to integrate and analyze data from offensive and defensive operations with partners. Joint Cyber Command and Control is considered the decision-making platform and aims to provide joint commanders enhanced situational awareness and battle management for cyber forces and missions.
This year’s report also briefly noted that DOT&E’s advanced cyber operations team, which includes cyber experts who are assigned rapidly to assessment teams, supported a cybersecurity assessment of IKE, a planning and execution tool designed to support Cyber Command operations.
The IKE prototype effort, under development by the Air Force and the Strategic Capabilities Office, will allow forces to plan and visualize the cyber environment. It is thought by some to be a precursor to Joint Cyber Command and Control. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
14 Jan 21. Maintaining the Intelligence Edge: Reimagining and Reinventing Intelligence through Innovation.
CSIS Technology and Intelligence Task Force
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Technology and Intelligence Task Force has released its final report, Maintaining the Intelligence Edge: Reimagining and Reinventing Intelligence through Innovation. This report, authored by CSIS’s Brian Katz, seeks to understand the emerging technology landscape, identify the opportunities and challenges to applying technology to intelligence missions, and generate recommendations that will enable the intelligence community to adapt, integrate technology, and maintain an advantage over sophisticated rivals. Three key findings stand out: (1) there is no shortage of opportunities to apply technology across intelligence missions today; (2) the primary obstacle to intelligence innovation is not technology, it is culture; and (3) failure to adapt will result in loss to adversaries and irrelevance to U.S. policy.
The central theme of the report and the overarching conclusion of the CSIS Technology and Intelligence Task Force is that integrating emerging technologies into the current IC mission template is necessary in the short term but wholly insufficient over the long term. Rather, the dawning era of intelligence innovation must compel the IC to reimagine its tradecraft and missions to harness technology’s potential and reinvent its processes, partnerships, workforce, incentives, and—yes—culture to embrace technological transformation.
A dramatic reimagining and reinvention of the IC will not happen without strong and consistent leadership from the top. Therefore, from among more than 100 recommendations in this study, the task force recommends the new director of national intelligence and IC leadership commit early to taking several major steps:
- Launch an Intelligence Innovation Initiative;
- Create an Intelligence Innovation Board;
- Refocus national intelligence priorities;
- Establish a DNI Technology Investment Fund;
- Implement post-Covid-19 adaptation in the IC;
- Elevate OSINT as a core “INT”;
- Reshape IC human capital; and
- Leverage the closest U.S. allies.
Read the full report here: https://www.csis.org/analysis/maintaining-intelligence-edge-reimagining-and-reinventing-intelligence-through-innovation
You can also learn more about the task force here: https://www.csis.org/programs/international-security-program/csis-technology-and-intelligence-task-force
14 Jan 21. IBCS Achieves Successful Milestone C Decision. Major air and missile defense capability for the US Army to transition into low rate initial production.
Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), developed in partnership with the U.S. Army, has received authorization to proceed with low rate initial production (LRIP) following a successful Milestone C decision for the program. This milestone, approved by the Department of Defense, represents a critical next step in moving the program closer to future deployment.
“The decision by our senior leaders to transition IBCS from development into initial production reflects their confidence in the maturity of the system and its readiness for operational testing to inform Initial Operational Capability,” said Maj. Gen. Rob Rasch, Army Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. “The soldiers of the 3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion performed tremendously in training and testing over the last year, and are poised to demonstrate the game-changing capabilities of IBCS next Fall during the Initial Operational Test & Evaluation.”
To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman worked in partnership with the U.S. Army’s Integrated Fires Mission Command Program Office in the system engineering, design, development and testing of IBCS hardware and software. Since 2015, the program has executed seven successful flight tests conducted under complex and operationally realistic conditions, demonstrating new game changing capabilities that the system will deliver upon fielding.
Most recently, IBCS underwent a Limited User Test that included testing of an operational Air and Missile Defense Battalion Task Force and featured two operational flight tests, which culminated in successful intercepts of complex, threat representative cruise and ballistic missile targets. Over its development life cycle, IBCS has undergone extensive hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL), environmental, live fire, and developmental testing and has participated in numerous Joint and U.S. Army exercises. These tests and exercises along with soldier touch-points have provided excellent feedback and data to drive significant performance improvements throughout the development phase of the IBCS program to inform the Milestone C decision.
Soldiers of the U.S. Army operational Air and Missile Defense Battalion Task Force under test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico this past August. [Source U.S. Army]
“We are proud to have contributed to this landmark achievement that will help our warfighters better address and defeat evolving threats,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. “This milestone is a true testament to the commitment and dedication of all the men and women who have worked tirelessly over many years to deliver a truly revolutionary system.”
IBCS is the centerpiece of the U.S. Army’s modernization strategy for air and missile defense to address the ever-changing nature of warfare. Designed to connect the force for unified action across all domains against evolving threats, IBCS is a software-defined, network-enabled command and control system that integrates and optimizes “any-sensor, best-effector” toward enabling Joint Multi-domain Operations and command and control.
Built on a modular and open systems approach network, IBCS employs a net-centric integrated fire control network that enables the acquisition, identification and engagement of air and missile threats. IBCS enhances battlefield survivability by creating a resilient self-healing network that can reduce and eliminate vectors of attack while providing commanders and operators with a single integrated air picture of unprecedented breadth, range and accuracy.
14 Jan 21. The engagement operations centers will be equipped for Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has taken delivery of six shelters that will be outfitted as Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) engagement operations centers (EOC) for Poland. Poland has acquired the U.S. Army IBCS configuration and this delivery supports the production start of the IBCS hardware for Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program from Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville Manufacturing Center.
During this production phase, IBCS hardware is installed in the shelters to create functioning engagement operations centers (EOCs). These IBCS EOCs are integrated with IBCS battle management software that maximizes the combat potential of sensors and weapon systems. Once the integration is complete, the EOCs will undergo an acceptance test prior to delivery to the U.S. government, which in turn will deliver to Poland as part of the foreign military sales contract for WISŁA.
“Receiving these shelters and kicking off production marks a critical milestone on the WISLA program and gets us one step closer to fielding this capability in Poland,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. “Our Huntsville Manufacturing Center production line is ready and equipped to deliver these command centers on time and on budget.”
The Huntsville Manufacturing Center has a long heritage supporting large scale manufacturing programs including the Army’s Command Post Platform. Northrop Grumman has successfully developed, integrated and delivered IBCS major end items such as engagement operations centers, the entire command post environment, integrated fire control network relays and plug-and-fight kits that have all been used by U.S. soldiers in highly successful, operationally realistic tests and that warfighters will use once the system is fielded.
The acquisition of IBCS is a major component of Poland’s WISLA air and missile defense modernization program. In March 2018, Poland signed a foreign military sales agreement with the U.S. government to purchase IBCS and became the first international partner country to acquire this transformational capability. By acquiring IBCS, Poland will modernize its air and missile defense forces toward assuring interoperability with U.S. forces and within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
IBCS is the centerpiece of the U.S. Army’s modernization strategy for air and missile defense to address the changing battlefield. IBCS utilizes multiple sensors and effectors to extend the battlespace, engage threats providing 360° protection, increases survivability by enabling early detection and continuous tracking, and delivers transformational warfighting capabilities to defeat an increasingly complex threat.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.
13 Jan 21. Aruba and Leonardo Working in Partnership to Provide High Performance Cloud With Cyber Security Services, Delivered Via a Reliable Italian Supply Chain.
- A new range of integrated Cloud solutions with managed security systems is now available to meet the highest standards in terms of reliability, performance, security and guaranteed data sovereignty, in accordance with European standards
- Aruba and Leonardo, two companies representing Italian excellence, are consolidating their position as benchmarks for Cloud solutions and for managing security and resilience when it comes to critical national and cyber infrastructures. The project also fits in with both companies’ involvement in GAIAX, an initiative set up to create a Pan-European Cloud
- For Leonardo the agreement with Aruba enhances the national supply chain for the protection of the most sensitive customer data and consolidates its own portfolio of solutions. The agreement also adheres to the principles of its Strategic Plan “Be Tomorrow – Leonardo 2030”
- Enabling compliant services for the digitization of businesses, based on the best technologies on the market, cutting-edge, resilient, secure and energy sustainable infrastructures form the foundations of what Aruba has to offer
Aruba S.p.A., the largest Italian Cloud provider and the leading company in Italy for data center, web hosting, email, certified email (PEC) and domain registration services, and Leonardo, a world leader in the Aerospace, Defence and Security sector, announce a partnership dedicated to marketing secure Cloud solutions, aimed at the Italian and European markets.
After the inclusion of both companies as “Day-1 Members” of GAIA-X, an initiative set up to develop a European Cloud, the two Italian leaders are stepping up their plans to develop projects that can guarantee and facilitate the sovereignty of digital data, making a concrete contribution to the development of the national Cloud ecosystem.
The new offering is based on the integration of Leonardo’s cyber security services with Aruba’s Cloud and is aimed at large companies and organizations, Critical National Infrastructures (CNI), Public Administration and Defence.
The goal of this partnership is to establish a complete Italian supply chain to deliver Cloud solutions boasting a high level of reliability, scalability and performance, offering security in terms of system protection, with guaranteed data sovereignty, and compliance both with the National Cyber Security Perimeter, and European privacy standards (General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR). In particular, the partnership represents a response to specific requirements in terms of national digital sovereignty for private and ad hoc Cloud projects.
More specifically, Leonardo will be making use of its experience in Cyber Security services, specialist consultancy and the planning and development of infrastructures to protect information and systems from cyber threats, as well as its ability to detect incidents in real time, manage vulnerabilities and crises and develop secure-by-design applications.
For its part, Aruba is able to rely on its experience both in terms of planning and managing data centers and Cloud enterprise infrastructures, which means that it can provide unique, fully customized solutions, delivered via a network of proprietary enterprise-level Italian data centers, boasting ANSI/TIA 942-B Rating 4 certification for the highest levels of resilience.
This initiative will help expand the services offered and consolidate Leonardo’s position as a key partner for institutions and the industry when it comes to managing national critical and cyber infrastructures, as well as Aruba’s position as an Italian Cloud provider and preferred partner for IT projects based on cutting-edge and customized technological solutions. In the same way, the partnership will help create new business scenarios and opportunities thanks to dedicated, incredibly secure and high-performance solutions, specifically designed for central PA, Government and Defence environments.
“The agreement with Aruba further strengthens the distinctiveness of what we offer, boosting the national supply chain for the protection of our customers’ most sensitive data and enhancing it , thanks to the relationship with the Leonardo Labs and the davinci-1 supercomputer, which we recently introduced to the world,” explains Tommaso Profeta, Managing Director of Leonardo’s Cyber Security Division. “The agreement also fits in with the Strategic Plan, “Be Tomorrow – Leonardo 2030”, which encourages partnerships with other industries, as well as with the public sector, a vital tool to help offer the best solutions to ensure the security of individuals and communities around the world, thus contributing to their sustainable growth.”
Stefano Cecconi, Aruba’s CEO adds: “We are proud to have been chosen by Leonardo as a partner for this all-Italian project designed to provide a response to the growing needs of Public Administration and businesses in terms of performance, reliability, protection and security for the systems that look after their data. Our Cloud, our Italian Data Centers and Leonardo’s Cyber Security services offer an incredibly concrete, readily available response.”
The partnership is already up and running and a number of important projects have already been launched that will soon be entering the development and operational stages. (Source: ASD Network)
13 Jan 21. DISA takes on DOD cloud operations. The Defense Information Systems Agency will be absorbing the Defense Department’s Cloud Computing Program Office (CCPO) by the end of January, the agency’s director said.
DISA will become “the implementation arm for the DOD CIO’s cloud strategy,” said Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, DISA director and commander of the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network.
“Whether that’s a general-purpose cloud or a fit-for-purpose cloud, all of those offerings are available through DISA,” Norton said during a virtual keynote presentation with AFCEA NOVA on Jan. 7.
Control of the CCPO, which is responsible for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program and other cloud efforts, has been under split with DISA having administrative control and the DOD CIO having operational control.
The move comes as DISA works to position itself as the IT provider for defense agencies and field activities, bringing them onto a common infrastructure and providing contract vehicles, such as the planned $11.7bn Defense Enclave Services award, for common services.
“I think there’s a lot of gains to be made across the Fourth Estate in more standardization and common use of enterprise solutions,” Norton said. “I don’t want them spending their time, energy and money on something that is not their core mission if they can get it from us.”
DISA has also been working with DOD components and the military services on transitioning to Microsoft Office 365, building a special tenant for the Fourth Estate under the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract. Norton said each of the services will build their own tenant that may or may not be under the DEOS contract. However DISA is working with them on a common authentication solution for improved cybersecurity.
On the security front, Norton said there are more than a billion cyber events on DOD’s networks each month and that DISA is working on a framework for zero-trust implementation that focuses on microsegmentation.
“The most recent activity that we’ve been working on is putting out our zero-trust reference architecture 1.0. So this is going to be an evolving architecture,” she said, “but very much a framework that recognizes the need for microsegmentation and how we can incorporate the technologies and capabilities that we have today in our IT infrastructure into those zero-trust principles.” (Source: Defense Systems)
14 Jan 21. Rafael demonstrates advanced Tactical Radio and Sensor-to-Shooter capabilities to German Army. The demo completes stage two of the Transparent Battlefield study. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. announces that it has completed the second phase of Germany’s Transparent Battlefield study and performed a demonstration of its BNET advanced SDR communication and its Fire Weaver sensor to shooter system for the German Army. The event took place in Paderborn, Germany, in November 2020, in front of representatives from the Bundeswehr and various partners and industries.
The Second Phase demonstration of the Transparent Battlefield study included live traffic from the Aeronautics Pegasus Drone, along with the Fire Weaver Sensor-to-Shooter system, all carried over the BNET advanced Software Defined Radio (BNET Hand-Held and BNET Vehicular). The demo was hosted by Atos Information GmbH, which acts as the prime contractor for the Transparent Battlefield Study, and included its C2 software as an integral part of the demo.
BNET is a Spectrum-Aware SDR – utilizing the spectral arena of the battlefield to the fullest in a cognitive way, using Multi-frequency Channel Reception (MCR), which enables it to receive and analyze information from numerous frequency channels, simultaneously, using a single RF head.
Fire Weaver is a networked sensor to shooter system which provides the tactical forces with a GPS-independent geo-pixel-based tactical common language among all the sensors and shooters, providing optimal situational awareness and improved understanding of the battlefield. Fire Weaver uses Rafael’s advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, processes the battle data, analyzes it, and prioritizes fire allocation.
As was published in December 2019, Rafael has partnered with Atos Information GmbH on a project involving the creation of a program named “Transparent Battlefield”, in which unmanned aerial systems and combat vehicles are used to create a 3D picture of mobile operations in real-time. The work will be performed for the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support. Following the completion of the first and second phases, further phases are expected to take place in the coming years.
Mr. Yoav Wermuth, VP and head of RAFAEL’s C3I directorate: “Today’s battlefields are undergoing far-reaching changes that affect the operational needs of land, air and naval forces, with newly emerging real-time applications, such as sensor-to-effector cycle closure systems. Rising to meet these challenges, and relying on decades of experience in the development of C4I solutions, Rafael has developed the BNET Family, enhanced with patented technology, and the Fire Weaver, a high-precision, three-dimensional, GPS-independent common visual language system. Integration of these systems into the Bundeswehr will lead to a number of significant changes – it will provide a common visual language among different types of units, not only from the Bundeswehr, but also from allied forces, which share the same threats and missions, connecting multiple sensors and shooters on one single “flat” network.”
12 Jan 21. ‘Do-Or-Die’ JADC2 Summit To Crunch Common Data Standards.
“Standards, in many cases, provide everything but standards. Interoperability is a word normally tagged on something that is not interoperable,” says Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, head of Joint Staff J6 responsible for C2 and cyber issues.
The Joint Staff has called an all-hands-on-deck conference for the end of the month to hash out common data standards for future Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) operations, says Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, head of the J6.
“We’re going to tackle that at the end of January in a conference [where] we’re bringing together all of the folks who have a vested interest and we are going to attempt to settle this, or at least bring in some courses of action that we can use … in the department to have our senior leaders make decisions,” Crall, who in his role is leading the Joint Staff effort to develop a JADC2 strategy, said in an exclusive interview.
“One thing we can’t repeat is what we’ve done in the past,” he stressed. “There’s a couple of words that are trigger words for me, because they really don’t mean what they say. Standards, in many cases, provide everything but standards. Interoperability is a word normally tagged on something that is not interoperable. We just have a sordid history of not really delivering … We’ve published standards that people can drive trucks through; they’re just not meaningful, and people can comply and just wreak havoc in areas.”
Crall explained that, without real standards that corral how the services pursue new C2 software and systems, the entire edifice of JADC2 — which Crall defines as the decision-making process that will all commanders to manage future All Domain Operations — will fall apart.
“If we pay lip service to this, and meet and come up with yet another ‘standards-based’ loose thing, we will not make any progress against this entire endeavor. We will not be able to implement the tougher pieces, and we certainly won’t be able to inform the new things that should come online,” he stressed. So, we have a do or die moment coming for us here at the end of January; there’s a lot riding on this conference.”
The JADC2 “data summit” will bring together officials from DoD agencies, the services, Department of Homeland Security and even NATO, Crall said, with an eye to “setting tolerances” on how data standards are built and implemented so “they’re not so wide they’re unusable because they sound like platitudes or principles, but not set so narrow that we’re delivering single-source or single-threaded solutions.”
As Sydney reported back in October, DoD meanwhile has published a top-level “Data Strategy” focused on future capabilities. As a first step, DoD’s Chief Data Officer Council will create a common vocabulary and common metrics for performance. The strategy will also guide requirements and standard-setting going forward. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) will be insisting on open software standards to ensure cross-service and cross-domain compatibility so that as new subsystems, like radar or fuzes for warheads, come on line, they can all be linked through common software interfaces.
Crall said the overall goal is development of a “common data fabric” for JADC2 that “incorporates everything from standard definitions to the way it’s employed to the way that we modernize it … It is no small task. We could have started out with something less ambitious, probably easier to deliver. But that is where we need to be.”
A common data fabric refers to a set of standards and IT services that allow data to be shared among different weapon systems, different C2 networks, different organizations and services and across different levels of security.
The J6, Crall said, is looking to academia, DoD labs and industry for help in stitching current C2 systems together and avoiding vendor lock in future. “What are these future and emerging systems going to look like to make sure that we’re doing software properly and that we solve things like identity management — all prerequisites to on-boarding cloud and AI-based capability that we so desperately need?”
Despite having “some very difficult challenges to broker,” Crall said he is confident the JADC2 effort will be able to deliver actual capabilities within “this life-cycle” under the Pentagon’s five-year Program Objective Memorandum (POM) and budget.
“One of the confusing aspects of this has been a narrative, which is not accurate, that somehow JADC2 will deliver in a decade — as though we’re going to build this, and then we’re going to run silent, and then 10 years from now we’re going to emerge with all this capability,” he said. “That is furthest from the truth. JADC2 will begin delivering immediately in some areas, because we’re very close to closing some of those deliverables right now.”
While Crall did not elaborate on what those near-term deliverables might be, he did say that ongoing work by the services and Combatant Commands has helped provide “a head start.”
“The good news is the services — who are largely responsible for some key elements of this — have some of those already built into their POMs, which are they’re executing already,” he explained. The role for the J6 is avoiding a situation where there are “five very similar startups” rather than one that could be leverage by all. “So getting that captured — where we can share resources and we can share output — is going to be critical.”
And in order to rapidly field new capabilities, he added, DoD will be using “everything from mid-year reprogramming to end-of-year money, where it makes sense. We’ll be looking at near-term, midterm and long-term,” he said.
Crall further stressed that — despite some past confusion, in large part because different stakeholder communities have been using slightly different definitions of JADC2 — there is no single service responsible for JADC2. “JADC2, with its strategy and posture review, is a Joint Staff initiative,” he said.
As Breaking D readers know, the Air Force for the past year has staked out a lead role in developing the JADC2 concept — in particular, focusing its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) on the technologies needed to create a “military Internet of Things” as the scaffolding for JADC2 operations.
“I think it’s important to know the Air Force’s role and that they’ve been very helpful. The Air Force has been given the lead for JCC2,” Crall said, which is a nested acronym for Joint Warfighting Concept Command and Control. As Breaking D readers know, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley tapped the Air Force, Army and Navy to lead development of one of four sub-elements of the Joint Warfighting Concept. The concept s aimed at laying how how the military will actually fight battles linking sensors and shooters across all five domains — air, land, sea, space and cyberspace.
“Some in the department have viewed ABMS as kind of a precursor and a forerunner to that sensor-shooter analogy. But if you look at JADC2 the way I described it, there is no single service responsible for JADC2, Crall said.
Despite past grumbling — particularly by the Army — about who’s on first in building systems for implementing JADC2, Crall took pains to stomp down talk of competition.
“Some have tried in the past to view this almost as a competition, right?” he said. “You’ve got the Air Force working on their thing; the Army and the Navy [on theirs] and the question becomes, ‘who’s in the lead for this — who’s going to grab this JADC2 trophy? And the answer is — we’re not in competition.”
That said, Crall noted that the Joint Staff effort to develop a JADC2 strategy needs to be finalized soon because if service initiatives are “unchecked” and are pursued in the absence of a “roadmap,” they “could end up in different grid squares, in competition on investments, money, standards and delivery timelines.” Fortunately, Crall said, the Joint Staff process for developing the JADC2 strategy and the JROC effort on requirements are “far enough to the left” that “if we bring folks together and the way that we’re positing, I think we’ll find ourselves landing in a really good spot.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
11 Jan 21. The U.S. Air Force has downselected Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) to complete the final project efforts to provide the electronic warfare suite for its F-16 fighter aircraft fleet. This critical capability will protect pilots from the growing danger of radio frequency-guided weapons by detecting, identifying and defeating advanced threat systems. The agreement was issued under SOSSEC Consortium’s Air Force Open System Acquisition Initiative (OSAI) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) for prototyping. Northrop Grumman will continue to team with non-traditional defense contractors for the execution of this OTA project.
“The electronic warfare suite will significantly increase protection to F-16 operators as they execute their missions in increasingly contested environments,” said Ryan Tintner, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. “This system draws on the best of our experience from multiple programs to create an effective and affordable solution to keep the Viper relevant throughout its service life.”
The system provides full-spectrum radar warning, threat identification and advanced countermeasure capabilities. It also has proven pulse-to-pulse operability with the F-16’s newly acquired AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), also built by Northrop Grumman.
The electronic warfare suite leverages an open systems, ultra wideband architecture providing greater instantaneous bandwidth needed to defeat modern threats. This F-16 system is part of a mature product line of electronic warfare capabilities that can be adapted to protect virtually any platform or mission requirement. It shares a common technology baseline with the AC/MC-130J Radio Frequency Countermeasures Program and AN/APR-39 radar warning receivers.
The electronic warfare suite configuration is scalable to meet both U.S. and international partners’ operational needs in either an internal or podded configuration.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.
12 Jan 21. US Army awaits imminent IBCS production decision. The Pentagon will announce within days whether it is green-lighting production of the US Army’s new Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) network, Janes has learned. The army had anticipated that Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief, would hold the IBCS milestone C review in mid-November 2020 but as of early January the service had not yet been notified of a decision, according to an army spokesperson. However, Lord’s office told Janes on 11 January that the announcement will be coming within days. If the army receives the go ahead, Northrop Grumman’s IBCS will move into the production and operational testing phase, and the system could be ready for initial operational test and evaluation around the mid-2021 timeframe.
An affirmative decision would also mark a turnaround for the programme. Since its inception in 2009, the army has spent about USD2.5bn on the effort and encountered multiple setbacks along the way including a failed 2016 limited user test (LUT).
After four years of work, however, the army largely praised the 2020 LUT that occurred at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
“What happened today was multiple sensors, multiple shooters, and a command-and-control system that identified, classified, and passed a track to the right shooter,” Army Futures Command (AFC) head General Mike Murray told reporters in August 2020 after a LUT event.
IBCS is designed to use multiple sensors and effectors to extend the ‘battlespace’, provide soldiers with 360° protection, increase survivability by enabling early detection and continuous tracking, and defeat a complex threat set. More specifically, the network is designed to connect army radars and combine their targeting data and pass that data to whichever launcher is best suited to take a shot against a target. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Jan 21. Pentagon issues 5G integration plan, eyes experimentation expansion. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has issued its definitive strategy for the implementation of 5G capabilities in the US armed forces’ command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) operations, just as department officials prepare to kick experimentation plans for the advanced mobile communications technology into high gear.
The implementation plan, approved by acting US Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller in December 2020, codifies four main pillars of the department’s overall 5G roadmap issued in May of that year. Those pillars include the promotion of 5G technologies and mitigation of potential threats posed via operations in the 5G spectrum, establishing influence over government standards and policies determining the use of 5G applications and the accelerated engagement of US allies in the development of those technologies, policies, and standards, the plan stated.
“The strategy is an across-the-board plan for what [the] DoD can do with 5G and how it can advance [the] DoD’s capabilities and US capabilities in 5G, said Joseph Evans, principal director for 5G in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. “It’s comprehensive view of what we should be doing and will be doing to implement that 5G strategy,” he added during a 5 January briefing.
The benefits of 5G technologies to military communication systems are in the ability to replicate or exceed wireless data transmission speeds comparable to those provided by hard-wired, fibre-optic connections. First-generation, or 1G, networks in the 1980s supported mobile voice calls but with limited coverage and capacity. The 5G networks now being deployed are intended to furnish far more data at much faster speeds to support video streaming and virtual reality (VR) uses, connect more devices, and accommodate significantly expanded industrial use. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Jan 21. Department of Defense and Department of Commerce Explore 5G Challenge to Develop Open 5G Systems. The Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to explore a new 5G Challenge aimed at accelerating the development of an open 5G ecosystem that can support DoD missions.
NTIA‘s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) issued the NOI to solicit public input to inform an upcoming Challenge. The 5G Challenge would leverage the innovative capabilities of the software development and telecommunications technology communities to enable more open implementations of 5G systems, including end-user equipment, the radio access network, and the core network, with a focus on the 5G protocol stack software.
“The Department of Defense recognizes that 5G technologies are foundational to strengthening our Nation’s warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness. Open 5G systems would greatly bolster the Department’s ability to deliver on its missions, and we look forward to exploring new and innovative opportunities for their development,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
The NOI asks how to design incentives within the challenge to ensure cooperation, collaboration, and interoperability among the participants, as well as how to define metrics for successful and innovative responses to the 5G Challenge. Comments are due on or before 5 p.m. Eastern Time on February 10, 2021, and may be submitted by email to .
The DoD established 5G as a key modernization priority with the goal to advance U.S. and partner capabilities to fully leverage 5G technologies for military networking needs. The Department is accelerating 5G technologies and their use in DoD missions through cutting-edge testing and experimentation sites, developing the capability to secure 5G networks and operate through non-secure networks, and investing in innovative “beyond 5G” technologies. (Source: US DoD)
11 Jan 21. Racal Acoustics announce major headset contract with Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO). Racal Acoustics, the UK-based global designer and manufacturer of audio communications and protection systems has today announced a new contract to supply the Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO), with their RA4000 Magna digital headset system. The 7-year framework contract is worth up to USD $4.7m and includes a full support package comprising of training, consumables and spares, plus an option to supply follow-on orders, as required. The Racal Acoustics RA4000 Magna digital Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headset systems supplied under this contract include: the headset; a soft helmet liner; a ballistic helmet with integrated side-rails and NVG mount; and a downlead to connect the system to the in-vehicle intercom. Selected specifically to meet the needs of Leopard 1, Leopard 2 and CV90 heavy armoured vehicle crews, the RA4000 protects the crew from in-vehicle noise whilst enabling effective communication and situational awareness. The system also allows the user to dismount from the vehicle yet retain Active Noise Reduction (ANR) protection – powered by an integrated battery. As well as connecting the crew to the intercom, the system can be connected to remote communications devices, such as Personal Role Radio or other man-pack radios to allow the user to communicate with dismounted troops outside of the armoured vehicle crew environment. Already established as market leaders in military headset technology for high noise environments, this order further underlines Racal Acoustics as the global provider of choice for users wanting the very best protection whilst retaining optimum communication and situational awareness.
René Ulbjerg Toft, Deputy Technical Director, Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization, Land Materiel Systems Division said: “when tendering for a framework agreement on new CVC helmets for the Danish Army, DALO was focused on choosing a tactical solution that could provide as much attenuation as possible, without compromising clear intercom and radio communication. Through thorough user tests we conclude, that the RA4000 system was the only solution, that could satisfy our comprehensive requirements and operate efficiently on the heavily armoured platforms. DALO is eager to put the RA4000 system in service, to ensure the safety of the soldiers and to benefit from the flexibility that the software defined solution provides”.
Alexandre Huart, Vice President – Sales and Marketing at Racal Acoustics said: “we’re all very proud of winning this order and we’re looking forward to delivering a first-class product and support service to the DALO”. He added: “the RA4000 system delivers exactly what was specified by the customer. Our future-proofed design allows the Racal Acoustics engineers to upgrade the integrated software to take account of our ongoing innovation activity – constantly striving to maintain our ‘best in class’ position and reputation”.
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.