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23 Nov 21. Defense Innovation Unit publishes ethical AI guidelines. The Defense Innovation Unit has published new directives for how it plans to use the Pentagon’s recently adopted “Responsible AI Guidelines” in its commercial prototyping and acquisition efforts.
“DIU’s RAI Guidelines provide a step-by-step framework for AI [artificial intelligence] companies, DoD [Department of Defense] stakeholders, and program managers that can help to ensure that AI programs align with the DoD’s Ethical Principles for AI and that fairness, accountability and transparency are considered at each step in the development cycle of an AI system,” Jared Dunnmon, technical director of the AI and machine learning portfolio at DIU, said in a statement.
Established in 2015, the DIU’s mission is to help DoD organizations use commercial innovation. As such, DIU has been working since March 2020 to integrate the Pentagon’s Ethical Principles for Artificial Intelligence with its ongoing AI efforts. Over the course of 15 months, the unit consulted with experts across industry, government and academia, including researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute.
The resultant guidelines will help the unit operationalize the five principles of ethical AI use that were recommended by the Defense Innovation Board — an advisory panel to the Pentagon — in 2020.
According to DIU’s statement, the guidelines have already had the following effects:
- Accelerated programs by clarifying end goals and roles, aligning expectations, and acknowledging risks and trade-offs from the outset.
- Increased confidence that AI systems are developed, tested and vetted with the highest standards of fairness, accountability and transparency in mind.
- Supported changes in the way AI technologies are evaluated, selected, prototyped and adopted, and helped avoid potential bad outcomes.
- Provoked and surfaced questions that have spurred conversations crucial for the success of AI projects.
“Users want to know that they can trust and verify that their tools protect American interests without compromising our collective values,” said John Stockton, co-founder of Quantifind, one of the companies providing feedback on the guidelines.
“These guidelines show promise for actually accelerating technology adoption, as it helps identify and get ahead of potentially show-stopping issues,” he said in a statement. “We’ve found that leaning into this effort has also served us well outside of government, by strengthening internal controls and producing transparency and patterns of trust that can also be leveraged with all users, both public and private.”
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
24 Nov 21. Northrop Grumman demonstrates capabilities of Mini-CNI system. The Mini-CNI system is designed to deliver multiple networked advantages for soldiers. The demonstrations of Mini-CNI system is intended to meet the JADC2 operational requirements. Northrop Grumman has showcased the capabilities of its Mini-Communications, Navigation, and Identification (CNI) system in support of Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) operations. The demonstration of ‘open architecture, in-flight connectivity’ capabilities for vertical lift platforms supports the US Army’s efforts to modernise network capabilities and its Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) vision. The Mini-CNI system is designed to provide various networked benefits to military troops and can accommodate several CNI capabilities.
The new system has a low size, weight and power (SWaP) and modular open systems approach (MOSA) architecture, allowing soldiers to quickly adapt to mission demands.
Developed using the company’s expertise in providing existing multi-level secure advanced connectivity across domains, the system features autonomous fault detection and system reconfiguration.
Other benefits offered by the system include resilient ‘sensor-to-shooter links’ managed through frequency agility, and spectral awareness.
Northrop Grumman communications solutions vice-president Jenna Paukstis said: “Our Mini-Communications, Navigation, and Identification (CNI) system will help with the army’s network modernisation efforts.
“The Mini-CNI provides operational mission benefits, including enhanced joint and coalition interoperability and networking, as well as the ability to continually deploy new capabilities at speed via Northrop Grumman’s Software Development Kit and Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) compliant system.”
Next year, the company’s Mini-CNI system will continue to prove new capabilities, such as integrating advanced low probability of intercept/low probability of denial communications and new MOSA functions. (Source: army-technology.com)
23 Nov 21. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) recently demonstrated open architecture, in-flight connectivity capabilities for vertical lift platforms that will help the U.S. Army realize its vision for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO). The demonstration featured the company’s Mini-Communications, Navigation, and Identification (CNI) system, designed to deliver multiple networked advantages for today’s warfighters, enabling data as a strategic advantage in Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) operations.
“Our Mini-Communications, Navigation, and Identification (CNI) system will help with the Army’s network modernization efforts,” said Jenna Paukstis, vice president, communications solutions, Northrop Grumman. “The Mini-CNI provides operational mission benefits including enhanced joint and coalition interoperability and networking, as well as the ability to continually deploy new capabilities at speed via Northrop Grumman’s Software Development Kit and Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) compliant system.”
The Mini-CNI system has the maturity needed to host a range of CNI capabilities in one, low size, weight and power (SWaP) and MOSA architecture—enabling warfighters to rapidly adapt to emerging MDO mission demands. Over the next year, Northrop Grumman’s Mini-CNI system will continue to demonstrate new capabilities, including the integration of advanced low probability of intercept/low probability of denial communications and new MOSA functions, to become an operational offering designed to meet the needs of JADC2 operations.
The Mini-CNI system is built on Northrop Grumman’s proven track record of delivering current multi-level secure next-generation connectivity across domains. It is designed to deliver multiple networked advantages for today’s warfighters, including providing resilient sensor-to-shooter links maintained through spectral awareness and frequency agility. This significantly improves data to decision timelines. In addition, the autonomous fault detection and system reconfiguration reduces crew workload, enabling warfighters to focus on other critical JADC2 mission demands.
23 Nov 21. Ultra successfully updates platform data system on Type 23 Royal Navy Frigates. Ultra announced today the successful update of the Platform Data Management (PDM) for the Type 23 Royal Navy Frigates. The updated PDM system provides navigation and mission-critical data from sensors to numerous systems around the ship. The system upgrade has been designed to provide optimal performance to meet with modern Geospatial and Temporal Reference Standards and the flexibility to accommodate new and legacy interfaces, with minimal disruption to the ships infrastructure and cabling.
“Ultra continues to deliver the very best solutions to the Royal Navy,” said Bernard Mills, president of Ultra Sonar Systems. “We are immensely proud of being a part of the Royal Navy’s efforts to protect our waters. This new system update will use modern technology and techniques to improve performance, reliability and resilience; address obsolescence; and ease installation and maintenance.”
The upgrade uses modern network technology to provide low latency and timely data to the remote systems distributed around the ship, while also providing integration paths with modern Digital Compasses, Sensors and Combat System Networks.
It enables a path for upgrading interfaces, while still supporting retained legacy interfaces where required, which will reduce technical risk, prolong the longevity of the platform and lower through life in-service costs for supporting obsolescent analogue interfaces, such as Synchro technology.
The upgrade allows PDM to continue to provide the Data Distribution Service in support of UK Royal Navy Type 23 life extensions (LIFEX) and can readily apply to other Naval Platforms and Data Distribution Systems, both for the UK Royal Navy and export markets.
19 Nov 21. DoD identifies companies to bid on its new cloud effort. The Department of Defense Friday issued solicitations to Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft and Oracle to bid on its next major cloud initiative, the replacement for the controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract. After a years long battle, the Pentagon scrapped the JEDI cloud contract, which would have been worth up to $10bn over a decade. That was intended to be a single vendor effort, initially awarded to Microsoft. Amazon, which lost to Microsoft, filed suit in court alleging in part that then-President Donald Trump interfered with the decision because of his public feud with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Instead, DoD has now opted for a multicloud environment through its new effort, known as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC).
“You must have multicloud really to be as successful as you can be, to go with the best fit for your mission need given the varying capabilities that each of the [cloud service providers] bring to the fight in their given area,” then-acting Chief Information Officer John Sherman told reporters in July. He is now the nominee to serve in that role.
The newly announced solicitations are not quite contracts and more like requests for proposals. A DoD spokesperson said the department plans to award contracts in the third quarter of fiscal 2022.
The Friday DoD announcement noted the department anticipates awarding IDIQ contracts to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, but intends to also award to all cloud service providers that demonstrate they can meet the requirements.
The Pentagon said it only solicited four companies because market research indicated only a limited number of organizations can meet the requirements.
“Currently, the Department is aware of only five U.S.-based hyperscale [cloud service providers],” the notice said, without identifying the fifth. “Furthermore, only two of those hyperscale CSPs ― AWS and Microsoft ― appear to be capable of meeting all of the DoD’s requirements at this time, including providing cloud services at all levels of national security classification.”
According to the notice, DoD is also seeking information from additional sources to inform its acquisition strategy.
All the IDIQ contracts, through which task orders will be placed, are intended to be for a three-year base period of performance with two one-year option periods, the notice said.
DoD is still evaluating a contract ceiling for the JWCC, but projects it to be in the multibillion dollar range.
“At a high level, the JWCC requirements include providing capability and parity of service at all three classification levels, integrated cross domain solutions, global availability of tactical edge environments and enhanced cybersecurity controls,” Danielle Metz, DoD Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Information Enterprise, said.
A cloud environment is necessary for the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept, which seeks to more seamlessly connect sensor information to shooters for faster decision-making.
During the JEDI delay, officials decried the legal fights, arguing troops urgently needed this critical capability. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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