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01 Dec 22. New Zealand’s half-billion dollar bet on COTS to network its army. The end goal of NEA is to create the NZ Army’s future network environment, known as the Land Tactical Information Network.
In an attempt to beef up its networked communications systems, New Zealand’s army is looking to take the simplest approach: buy Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) capabilities, rather than try to build its own.
The Defence Force’s Network Enabled Army (NEA) project is focused on introducing mature technologies and equipment that can be introduced rapidly and provide the required capabilities quickly — a stark, and conscious, contrast to some of its allies. Even so, New Zealand is prepared to spend well over NZ$700m ($435m USD) over the next decade on this program, a major outlay for the small Pacific nation.
Buying COTS solutions means that New Zealand will operate as a quick follower instead of leading with expensive systems development. While other Five Eyes partners — US, UK, Australia and Canada — can afford to pay to develop and de-risk new technology and equipment, New Zealand’s role as the more junior partner in the agreement, with a defense budget sized to match, means COTS is the most risk-averse option available.
The end goal of NEA is to create the NZ Army’s future network environment, known as the Land Tactical Information Network (LTIN). NEA was established to coordinate and develop specific projects to provide the NZ land forces with deployable and networked C4 and ISR capabilities for the LTIN that integrates the tactical to strategic network domains offering access to joint, coalition and wider government capabilities.
The NZDF’s Strategic Plan 2019-2025 called for the Army to be “combat-capable, flexible, to be able to lead combined operations in the South Pacific, to operate in a more integrated way with our partners, and for us to be ready to respond with more frequency to events in our neighbourhood.”
The NEA program is a priority for the NZDF and it is being delivered through four separate tranches. This approach is used to ensure that the introduction of new systems could be delivered in an affordable manner within the NZDF’s resource constraints and in step with user requirements, while also being able to respond to technology developments over time and reduce risk.
Tranche 1, delivered between 2015 and 2021, established the core of the Army’s Mobile Tactical Command System (MTCS). Under a NZ$40m ($24.9m USD) contract with Harris Defence Australia, awarded in December 2018, the company provided RF-7850S Secure Personal Radio, AN/PRC-163 Multi-channel Handheld Radios, AN/PRC-158 Multi-channel Manpack radios and AN/PRC-160 HF/VHF wideband manpack radios.
Cubic has also delivered inflatable GATR 2.4 SATCOM antenna and terminals that will give NZ Army units connectivity from deployed areas back to New Zealand, via access to the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system. Previously this capability was provided through other satellite providers. Additional equipment includes ancillary items such as tables, chairs, monitors, power systems and shelters that will be used to establish a Common Command Post Operating Environment (CCPOE).
The Army’s 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) has received and is testing this equipment, which will eventually be used to support the deployment of a Task Force Headquarters.
Peter Fitness, the Programme Director, Network Enabled Army at the New Zealand Ministry of Defence, told Breaking Defense that Tranche 1’s goal “was to prove the concept of a deployed voice and data radio network that can be connected via satellite link back to the Joint Force Headquarters in New Zealand. The network was successfully tested at an exercise in late-2021 and the programme team are now working through the supporting elements of the system such as training and maintenance.”
Nick Gillard, Director Land Domain at the New Zealand MoD, told Breaking Defense that this exercise “provided great insight” into what the program will mean for the Army. He confirmed a second, smaller Covid-19 restricted exercise was also completed in early 2022 and that final acceptance is scheduled for 2023.
the NEA project. The radio provides a platoon level networking with voice and data communication and reliable position reports over wideband and narrowband modes. (L3 Harris)
Further orders will be placed to allow the deployment of a 250-man task group along with software packages from Danish company Systematic. The company’s Headquarters software is already in use as part of the Army’s Battle Management System (BMS) and the Army is expected to receive the Frontline and Edge BMS modules that can be used by troops — although this is a future capability without a confirmed target date, according to Gillard.
Meanwhile the MoD is introducing Tranche 2 systems. Tranche 2 has been running since 2019 with a budget of NZ$106m ($66m USD) and has procurement initiatives underway that will deliver Information Intelligence (I2) sensors and Electronic Warfare (EW) systems as well as additional SATCOM and CCPOE equipment. This EW equipment includes electronic support measures, electronic attack and spectrum survey systems that must be compatible with the Harris radios and Sitaware software that will be used by a Light EW team – provided in a man-portable, static manpack and vehicle-mounted versions.
Gillard confirmed that a closed tender for the EW equipment was released with responses due in December 2022. Meanwhile the I2 RFP is expected to be released in 2023.
Tranche 2 took a big step forward with the May released of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for new uncrewed reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities. The RFP calls for the delivery of four packages, including two-to-four sets of fixed-wing (including hybrid) uncrewed aerial systems (UAS), 30-40 nano-sized remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), 18-30 micro RPAS and remote ground sensors.
In the RFP, NZDF states clearly that “what we don’t want” is any capabilities “that are or require a bespoke design, or have not been proven in a military operational setting.” Ruling out any developmental, high-risk, or unproven equipment means that the Army should avoid many of the problems that have be-set complex military communications projects in other modern armies.
The UAS will be fitted with optical, magnetic and thermal sensors to be employed in day and night surveillance missions by the 16 Field Regiment that operates the Army’s artillery guns. The UAS will be integrated with Sitaware Headquarters software for this purpose and are intended to provide timely and accurate information on local conditions.
“The ability to see what is happening on the ground is an important tool to ensure accurate assessment of the risks of a situation and is particularly useful in humanitarian and disaster relief response and search and rescue missions,” Fitness said. “The intention is to enter into contracts by July 2023. Subject to manufacturing lead times, the individual systems will be in the hands of soldiers in December next year,” he added.
The third tranche will expand the amount of equipment procured to support a Combined Arms Task Group. Budgeted at NZ$300 million (US$186 million) it will also start to replace some of the initial equipment first purchased at the beginning of Tranche 1 and provide communications equipment for the Army’s vehicle fleet, artillery units and health and usage monitoring systems for the Army logisticians and engineers.
“NEA Tranche 3 is in the detailed scoping period and is designed to expand the capabilities delivered in Tranches 1 and 2,” Fitness confirmed.
A further Fourth Tranche is expected budgeted at NZ$300-600m (US$186-373m) for the 2024-28 timeframe that will allow the combined arms task group to conduct sustained deployments long-term. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
02 Dec 22. Dstl Enables AI Dataset Expansion. Dstl hosts Artificial Intelligence platform recognition trial to build datasets and validate algorithms. Artificial Intelligence (AI) for defence applications could be developed more quickly due to an innovative defence community-based approach to trial hosted by The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Over time this could increase weapon capability and reduce development cost. One of the major challenges facing defence AI suppliers is the lack of available datasets for certain tasks such as target recognition. To provide data safely and responsibly Dstl’s trial utilised a combination of platforms of interest. This included tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armoured personnel carriers, deployed across five different areas of Dstl’s trial range around Salisbury Plain.
Industry partners from Thales, MBDA, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin and Frazer-Nash were able to record data from a variety of cameras and sensors and provide this to MOD whilst retaining access to the data to train and develop their machine learning algorithms. Utilising a variety of electro-optic and infrared systems the trial captured valuable data of land platforms against different terrain backgrounds and in the presence of camouflage and obscurants. This MOD-owned dataset will be invaluable in supporting the development of machine learning and AI techniques that can be shared with the defence community to train and validate their algorithms.
Specialist Dstl staff drove, commanded and operated the threat platforms and vehicles, positioning the platforms in realistic battlefield orientation amongst non-threat vehicles and buildings.
The dataset collected will aid the development of target recognition algorithms and investigate their ability to identify particular enemy threats at various ranges, directly improving UK battlefield capability via Dstl’s Cooperative Weapons technology demonstrator programme. The MOD-owned image library will be available to defence suppliers, and its use could lead to increased weapon capability and reduced development costs.
Dstl’s Weapon Systems Programme Manager, Simon Zavad, commented: “The trial drew on the specialist expertise across multiple areas of Dstl, bringing them together to collaborate with industry partners and government colleagues. The data gathered could accelerate the development of AI software, improving the accuracy of data to enable commanders to make better combat decisions.”
Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) are hosting all the trial data on the Defence Digital Cloud and managed the data gathering contracts. Further information on Dstl’s Weapons Programme and how to get involved is here. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
01 Dec 22. All the gen on the new British military battlefield radio.
A new Ministry of Defence deal will see 1,300 L3Harris Falcon IV multi-channel handheld radios operated by foot soldiers or mounted on vehicles.
L3 Harris Communications Systems has been awarded the contract for the radios by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in a deal worth £90m.
The MOD says this latest upgrade in land-based radio capabilities will improve battlefield effectiveness and support more than 200 jobs in Hampshire.
Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk said: “It’s vital we equip our Armed Forces personnel with modern capabilities to maintain their operational effectiveness on an ever-changing battlefield.
“This contract boosts our interoperability with allies and is yet another example of British companies and employees supporting British defence.”
L3 Harris says its radios will increase the British Army’s ability to operate with other Nato allies and partners, boosting communications capabilities wherever personnel are deployed worldwide.
What is the name of the new British military radio?
The lightweight radio is called the L3Harris Falcon® IV AN/PRC-163 Multi-Channel Handheld.
It’s a dual-channel radio which can be used in many roles, including ground-to-ground, air-to-ground, and beyond-line-of-sight (satellite communications) with aircraft and other ground forces.
Who uses the L3Harris AN/PRC-163 radio?
The AN/PRC-163 radio has already been widely adopted by the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Special Operations Command, US Air Force, and a growing number of Nato allies, now including the United Kingdom.
What can the AN/PRC-163 radio be used for?
The radio can be used for voice communications, sending, and receiving data and ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) video, which means ground forces can receive real-time footage and images of what any surveillance aircraft are seeing on the ground.
The radio can also be used for beyond-line-of-site (satellite) communications worldwide.
It can also operate within Electronic Warfare environments providing operators protection from detection, interception and jamming, and has a built-in Global Positioning System for situational awareness.
When will the British Armed Forces receive the AN/PRC-163 radio?
The first batch of radios is being delivered to the British Army before the end of 2022 and further deliveries are set for 2023.
What is the size and dimension of the AN/PRC-163 radio?
Height 15.24cm x width 7.62cm x depth 5.08cm
Weight, including battery, 2.75lbs (1.13kg)
The new radio will come coated in khaki green coloured CARC paint, which is a Chemical Agent Resistant Coating, to protect the device against chemical and biological weapons, which is said to enable the radio to be easily decontaminated after any attack.
The lighter AN/PRC-163 will likely replace some of the much heavier Bowman radios, currently in service with the British Armed Forces.
When Bowman was first introduced into service, the system was said to contain many faults to the extent that some British troops dubbed Bowman ‘Better Off With Map And Nokia’. (Source: forces.net)
01 Dec 22. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) completed a fully-networked demonstration using multiple Laser Communication terminals. The network included ground, mobile and airborne terminals. During the demonstration, a live video and audio feed of operators at each terminal was shared in the networked communication display.
Lasercomm is in demand for military applications because of its inherent Low Probability of Intercept/Low Probability of Detection (LPI/LPD) and anti-jam characteristics, and its ability to support much higher data rates (greater than 1 Gigabit per second) than traditional Radio Frequency (RF) systems.
“This fully networked lasercomm demonstration is a major milestone for GA-ASI and a significant achievement for the lasercomm community as it featured the extended use of this technology beyond point-to-point communications,” said GA-ASI Vice President of Mission Payloads and Exploitation, Satish Krishnan. “The successful execution of this demonstration shows how lasercomm can be utilized in an operational theater to truly provide LPI/LPD high-capacity comms for the warfighter.”
The demonstration took place at Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic located in Charleston, S.C., on Nov. 3, 2022, as part of a GA-ASI-funded test to highlight extended multi-point networking communications using lasercomm. During the demonstration, which was facilitated by organizers of NIWC Atlantic’s optical communications-focused Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX), the team maintained lasercomm links at 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and exchanged high quality video and voice data.
GA-ASI has developed a family of optical communication capabilities and is poised to play an important role in transitioning these capabilities to users in a variety of domains, from air to sea. Laser communications will enable GA-ASI’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to perform secure multi-domain communications to airborne, maritime, and ground users, as well as with future satellites.
This capability can be applied as a podded or fully integrated solution to GA-ASI’s full line of unmanned aircraft, including MQ-9B SkyGuardian®/SeaGuardian®, MQ-9A Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle 25M.
01 Dec 22. Australia will strengthen data security, cyber defence capabilities following spate of cyber attacks.
- Over the past two months, Australia has been struck by several significant ransomware and data exfiltration attacks. These have impacted several businesses operating in communications, health insurance and biotechnology. For example, a mass data breach at the Australian health insurance provider Medibank led to the exposure of sensitive personal medical information of around 9.7m customers. The breach followed a hacking incident targeting Optus, Australia’s second-largest telecommunications firm. The subsequent release of stolen personal information, including confidential medical records, by the perpetrators highlights the significant threat to data privacy and security.
- Due to the significant amount of sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) illegally accessed and extracted, including phone numbers, addresses, bank account/credit card details and dates of birth, victims will be exposed to secondary scams/attacks. Indeed, there are reports of cyber criminals using compromised data to target Australian nationals via financial fraud. As a result, targeted businesses will likely suffer long-lasting reputational damage in addition to legal repercussions as a result of failing to protect customer data.
- While the motives behind these ransomware campaigns are most likely to be financial, the targeting of Australia-based corporations has exposed the country’s shortcomings in cyber security and data privacy. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reported a 13 percent increase in cyber crime incidents between July 2021 and June 2022 compared with the preceding 12 months, with ransomware highlighted as ‘the most destructive’ cyber crime. In response, the government will expedite regulatory reform regarding cyber security and data privacy and protection. In late November, the Australian parliament approved a bill stipulating tougher penalties for businesses failing to adequately protect customer data. Fines will be significantly hiked under the new regulation, once it is granted the Royal Assent. These penalties will involve companies being fined whichever is greatest: USD 33 m, 30 percent of the company’s adjusted turnover during the relevant period or three times the benefit value obtained through data misuse.
- Canberra will also likely seek ways to bolster its cyber defence capabilities among its intelligence and law enforcement agencies. While these initiatives may offer fresh business opportunities for tech and cyber security firms, businesses in Australia will be subject to tightened regulatory scrutiny. (Source: Sibylline)
01 Dec 22. Significance of Global Collaboration and Collective Action on Cyber Resilience in Current, Economical, Energy and Geopolitical Scenario. The European Commission (EC) just announced the new cybersecurity and resilience legislation to ensure a common cybersecurity approach and measures across the EU. The new Network and Information Security (NIS 2.0) directive, approved by the European Council and European Parliament are now going to be transposed into national law by the different EU member states. This new directive will update the first EU-wide law on cybersecurity that came into force in 2016 aiming to increase and level up the security of network and information systems across the EU.
In view of the unprecedented digitalization in recent years, the feedback from member states and society, and there was a need and request for a more harmonized implementation across member states and an increased public-private collaboration. These topics have been largely discussed and pushed by the World Economic Forum Cyber Resilience in Electricity and Oil and Gas communities, with proposals on global guidance and principles seeking a harmonized approach and collective action on cyber resilience
In December 2021, the Cyber Resilience in Electricity community from the World Economic Forum had the opportunity to provide comments and recommendations to the European Commission on the NIS2 proposal. The recommendations provided to the European Commission were driven by a global and multi-stakeholder perspective in light of the recent supply chain attacks (SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline) that disrupted critical infrastructure at a global scale.
The critical importance of ensuring and strengthening cyber resilience of critical infrastructure is paramount, in particular with the current economical, energy and geopolitical crisis. The recent examples of cyberattacks that disrupted critical infrastructure sector, has pushed organizations to adapt quickly to the pace of change in the digital threat landscape and to collaborate in improving detection, prevention, response and recovery from increasingly frequent, larger-scale and more sophisticated cyberattacks with potentially systemic and harmful consequences.
Cyber resilience is not a one-time or a one-actor effort. Therefore, it is critical to mobilize a global collaborative approach towards ensuring that cyber resilience remains a key priority during broader industry transformations.
The new directive is, thus, welcomed by the World Economic Forum Cyber Resilience communities and is seen as a positive step forward towards a more collaborative and cyber resilient cyber space, while introducing stricter enforcement and improving information sharing. Such efforts help move cybersecurity from a business cost to a business enabler.
The World Economic Forum Cyber Resilience communities continue to foster multi-stakeholder dialogues to enhance and drive collective action and raise awareness to strengthen cyber resilience at a global scale by:
- Defining and promoting frameworks to set a common language and a consistent approach, in the context of a global network and a global supply chain. This would help establishing a consistent approach, following legislation such as the NIS 2.0 regulation.
- Developing scenarios, insights and guidance to help organizations define and apply a minimum baseline to cyber secure operational environments, with the support of larger businesses, governments and local and regional regulators.
- Seeking leadership commitment and exploring how to increase the focus on incentivizing and rewarding good cybersecurity practices and behaviors across all actors of the energy supply and value chain, as a complement to administrative enforcement and sanctions.
01 Dec 22. December Spectrum SitRep. Concurrent Technologies has launched two new products in the guise of its Hermod rugged switch and Vulcan VPX-based development systems. A press release announcing the news stated that Hermod is a “rugged commercial off-the-shelf gigabit ethernet switch, optimised for size, weight, power and cost”. Designed for harsh environments, it uses 15 ports of non-blocking ten, 100 and 1000 megabits-per-second connectivity, the press release added. Beyond these capabilities, the company said that Hermod is designed for harsh environment embedded computer network applications.
The company told Armada in a written statement that Vulcan “is a development system that enables many different applications requiring the detection or evasion of objects within the electromagnetic spectrum to be prototyped and tested.” The product accommodates “air and conduction-cooled processor and RF (Radio Frequency) processing plug-in cards. This enables lots of flexibility for different combinations and permutations.” Hermod is “the central hub connecting various computer and sensor systems together.” The statement added that neither product is controlled by US International Traffic in Arms Regulations strictures.
RADX Launch new GPUs
Towards the end of October, RADX Technologies revealed its Trifecta-GPU family of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) at the Association of Old Crows 2022 Annual Convention in Washington DC. This family of COTS PXIe/CPCIe GPU modules “are the first COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) products that bring extreme compute acceleration and ease-of-programming of NVIDIA RTX A2000 Embedded GPUs to PXIe/CPCIe platforms for modular test and measurement and Electronic Warfare (EW) applications” the company said in a press release.
In a written statement provided to Armada, RADX Technologies said that the immediate applications for these products include “signal processing in research and development and EW analysis applications, where PXIe systems are frequently used.” The statement continued that GPUs are “easy to programme (and) relatively inexpensive, so users will use them to perform detailed signal analysis on radar, communications systems, navigation systems and jammers to take advantage of their wideband processing capabilities and their ability to ‘zoom into signals’.” Over the longer term their “ability to support machine and deep learning applications means they can be used for near- and real-time signal classification and fingerprinting, which is virtually impossible on a central processing unit and exceedingly difficult to do with field-programmable gate arrays.”
The new products are not covered by US International Traffic in Arms Regulations although their export is governed by Export Administration Regulations-99 strictures for less sensitive consumer goods. Nonetheless, the company emphasises that “we can’t and we won’t sell these products to denied parties or into designated countries.” Shipping of the modules has commenced “mostly to labs and developers that want to start exploring the use of the GPU in their environment. The response has been quite gratifying.”
Cool Comms from Codan
Staying in Australia, Codan will supply High Frequency (HF: three megahertz/MHz to 30MHz) amplifiers as part of the Australian Army’s ongoing Land-555 Phase-6 programme. This provides a mobile Electronic Warfare (EW) capability to the force using Thales Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles. The company told Armada these amplifiers are based on the company’s Sentry-H 6120-BM HF radios. They will form part of the vehicles’ EW fit. Deliveries commenced in September 2022 and are expected to take six months. Raytheon is the prime contractor for the EW capabilities equipping the Bushmasters.
Aselsan is planning to enhance the capabilities of its ARES-2N naval electronic warfare system. ARES-2N is thought to have entered service with the Türk Donanması (Turkish Navy) in 2017. Sources close to the company told Armada that ARES-2N is primarily optimised for relatively small ships. These include offshore patrol vessels and corvettes. Official Aselsan literature says the ARES-2N covers a two gigahertz/GHz to 18GHz waveband. This is to be expanded downwards to 500 megahertz/MHz and upwards to 40GHz via the ARES-2N’s proposed upgrade. New systems with these enhancements are to be designated ARES-2NC. Sources continued that work on the new product should conclude in mid-2023. ARES-2NC could then be installed on new vessels the Turkish Navy receives in the coming years.
Aselsan’s ARES-2N naval electronic support measure is being upgraded into a new system called the ARES-2NC which includes extensions to the legacy system’s waveband coverage.
New ESMs for New Submarines
Staying in the naval domain, PLATH announced its involvement in ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ Type-212CD Conventional Hunter-Killer Submarine (SSK) programme. This yields two new boats for the Deutsche Marine (German Navy) and four for the Sjøforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Navy). According to news reports PLATH will provide “modern electronic reconnaissance systems and software.” Company sources say this includes a “cutting edge” communications Electronic Support Measure (ESM). This will complement a radar ESM supplied by Indra. Open sources say the SSKs will be delivered to both navies between 2028 and 2030.
BESTLA for British Army
Roke has been awarded a $5.5m contract to overhaul the British Army’s training assessment capability via the Project BESTLA initiative. The contract is for three years with the option to extend this by two years, according to a press release. BESTLA sees Roke provide optronic and Radio Frequency (RF) emission collection systems for use by the army’s Land Warfare Centre. The centre’s Observer Mentors will use the BESTLA equipment to assess visual and electromagnetic camouflage techniques. Optronics are provided by Soteria Defence and Security. Roke provides its Resolve and Perceive electronic support measures to fulfil BESTLA’s RF requirement. The press release continued that the BESTLA ensemble is mobile and “can be used wherever the British Army trains around the world.” Roke told Armada that it provides the BESTLA architecture as a service as and when needed by the army.
Roke is providing its Resolve backpack electronic support measure as part of the equipment architecture for the British Army’s Project BESTLA training system.
CIRCM Gathers Pace
Northrop Grumman has told Armada that the US Army now has over 100 rotary-wing aircraft outfitted with the company’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) system. The army declared an initial operational capability for CIRCM in early November. CIRCM is equipping army Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin UH-70 Blackhawk and Boeing CH-47 Chinook series medium- and heavy-lift utility helicopters. CIRCM also adorns the army’s Boeing AH-64 Apache series attack helicopters. Northrop Grumman expects to deliver over 1,800 CIRCM systems for the US Army’s helicopter fleet. These will equip current and future rotorcraft. Deliveries should conclude in 2037.
Pacific Defence announced in late October it will supply SX-3000 systems to the United States Marine Corps (USMC). These will outfit the forthcoming Marine Air-Ground Task Force Electronic Warfare Ground Family of Systems (MEGFOS). Reports detailing the award describe the MEGFOS as an electronic support tool to identify and track hostile forces via their electromagnetic emissions. A written statement supplied to Armada by the company described the SX-3000 as an “integrated multi-mission sensor.” It performs sensing and provides communications from a single box allowing the USMC “to manoeuvre, fight and sustain itself through the exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum and be integrated with (networked) communications systems mounted on a ground combat vehicle or air platform.” Two systems were delivered in October and a final system will be delivered by late 2023. All three are being supplied to the USMC for evaluation. (Source: Armada)
01 Dec 22. UK Counter-IED Technology Advances. The UK Ministry of Defence’s Project Crenic initiative is procuring new counter-improvised explosive device systems to equip Britain’s land forces.
The United Kingdom’s Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) capabilities are being reinvigorated thanks to the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Project Crenic. It delivers new capabilities to protect personnel, vehicles and bases against remote-controlled IEDs, according to official MOD literature.
Project Crenic is led by the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support unit. Project Crenic equipment will be delivered across the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force (RAF) Regiment. The latter performs soldiering tasks relevant to the RAF.
In late October the MOD awarded a $55 m contract to Team Protect, Project Crenic’s Systems Integrator (SI). Team Protect comprises Leidos Innovations, Leonardo, Marshall Land Systems and PA Consulting with the latter leading the project. “The SI acts as a customer friend,” says Lee Gladstone, Leonardo’s head of programme for land cyber and electromagnetic activities. It supplies technical leadership, ecosystem management, integrated logistics and support, vehicle integration, and programme management for the overall effort, he continues. “The role of the SI is to work with industry and the MOD to develop customer, and hence system, requirements.” Team Protect will “understand the market, help develop business cases and help the MOD steer its resources over time.”
Work now begins on the capabilities Crenic will deliver. “The programme is not a closed shop” Mr. Gladstone explains. Rather than being locked into one or more major contractors, Team Protect works with organisations large and small to bring the best capabilities into Crenic and out into deployment. These could include large, traditional contractors alongside small- and medium-sized enterprises or even individual researchers, innovators and engineers inside and outside defence. The goal is creating an ‘ecosystem’ harnessing the most relevant technology out there. Mr. Gladstone expects that capability enhancements will be spun into Crenic CIED systems “over time as threats and capabilities emerge.”
Rob Lambert, a defence and security expert at PA Consulting and lead for Team Protect, says the “project will deliver and sustain force protection capability to keep pace with the threat over the next decade. The first stage of the project will deliver state-of-the-art vehicle and soldier-carried systems to support operations.” Adopting an open architecture approach is key allowing Crenic to “rapidly respond to new threats, new technologies and new requirements,” Mr. Lambert continues.
The open architecture standards Project Crenic uses are “closely aligned with allies, enabling greater cooperation and sharing in the software domain to deliver protection from evolving threats and to improve interoperability,” Mr. Lambert adds. Systems developed for Project Crenic will meet Technology Readiness Level-9 (TRL-9). According to European Union TRL definitions this means a system is proven in an operational environment and is the highest TRL.
The MOD expects initial deliveries of vehicle-mounted and soldier-carried CIED systems from 2026. Over the longer term, the MOD expects Project Crenic to inform developments of future electronic warfare and counter-uninhabited aerial vehicle capabilities. (Source: Armada)
01 Dec 22. Letter From Kherson: Russian Electronic Warfare After Action Report. The Russian Army has withdrawn from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. Below is a fictitious letter from an army EW company commander to his superior officer debriefing the mission.
To – Officer Commanding, 20th Guards Motorised Rifle Division (GMRD)
From – Captain Illya Nikolaevich Kuryakin, commander 20th GMRD EW Company
15th November 2022
Forgive me for not addressing you personally. It will be no surprise to learn that the usual efficiency of the 22nd Army Corps’ command has reared its head once more. You have been in post now for over 100 days but Corps HQ has still not shared your name. Excuse my gallows humour, but I do hope you last longer than your predecessor. Aleksey Nikolayevich was a dear friend and has sadly now joined so many of our brethren in zinc coffins. The Ukrainians seem to kill more of our officers than Josef Stalin on a bad day.
Talking of losses. You will have seen our unit took a pounding before the Kherson withdrawal. We even attained a dubious level of fame. A photo of one of our Borisoglebsk-2 electronic warfare vehicles did the rounds on social media. The hull now resembles the inside of my old granny’s oven. At least that managed to cook dinner; more than this burned hulk will ever do.
As you know, we deployed as the 20th GMRD’s EW company to Kherson International Airport from early March until our withdrawal on 10th November following the enemy’s counteroffensive. Those months were not easy. Our unit regularly came under air and artillery bombardment hence the damage our EW units sustained.
Our deployment has been a wake-up call for the company. It should also heed lessons for the wider general staff although these will doubtless be forgotten. Enough moaning. Just like the ‘good old days’ there is every chance that such talk gets me thrown out of the army, thrown in prison or thrown in a body bag.
We deployed our unit’s Borisoglebsk-2 system at the airport. As we detect and jam enemy radio transmissions we were ordered to listen for these and attack them as needed. I don’t know how familiar you are with our kit. We can theoretically detect and jam hostile High Frequency (three megahertz/MHz to 30MHz) and Very/Ultra High Frequency (V/UHF: 30 megahertz/MHz to three gigahertz) radios. These can be on the ground or in the air.
Using MASS’ Battleye electronic warfare mission planning tool it is possible to represent how the Russian Army may have deployed one of its Borisoglebsk-2 complexes to provide area coverage to the west and north of Kherson International Airport.
Occasionally, we got lucky and located hostile units from their V/UHF signals. This got harder as the special military operation continued. Ukrainian emission control and radio discipline improved. They only transmit when they must and keep traffic to a minimum. Forget trying to locate them with their cellphones, they hardly ever switch them on. The Western radios they use have unbreakable encryption. Perhaps the general staff could ask the Americans if they would give some to our tactical units? Sorry, battlefield cynicism rears its head again.
There’s another problem. Our jammers are powerful. On a good day, I could crank out one kilowatt of power from each of our jamming vehicles. Yet they killed our own battlefield communications. We got angry requests to “turn the fucking jammer off” barely heard under the cacophony of our own static.
I had to be careful too. The intel boys didn’t like us jamming anything, not that there was much to hear with Ukrainian emissions control. On top of that, some of the precise fire our unit took arrived soon after we’ve started jamming. I’ll bet the Ukrainians can easily find our jammers once they power up given our battle damage.
On paper, our Borisoglebsk-2 should be able to detect and jam emissions from V/UHF ground-based radios across an area of 2,143 square kilometres (827 square miles). The diagram below shows what we could do on a good day from Kherson airport. As far as detecting V/UHF emitters was concerned, our range was at best just shy of 30 kilometres/km (18.6 miles). Within this range, we’d have a 90 to 100 percent Probability of Interception (POI) for a standard V/UHF radio. We’re assuming that radio is not using any low probability of interception/detection techniques! Nonetheless, our ranges could be as low as circa nine kilometres (5.6 miles) for a 90% to 100% POI. The chances of getting an interception beyond 30km fell to between 50% and 90% POI. Forget trying to find a V/UHF radio in a valley. Ukrainian units in the river gorge 40km (25 miles) northwest of us could pretty much use their radios with abandon. At best we’d get a ten percent to 40% POI.
Things were a little better with jamming, we could attack V/UHF radios out to around 60km (37 miles) with a 90% to 100% certainty. Matters were more challenging to the northwest. We could achieve similar success at distances of circa 35km (22 miles). Beyond that, we had scarcely any effect. Moreover, our desire to jam was stymied by the problems I flagged above. All-in-all the Borisglobesk-2’s performance on this occasion was a far cry from the shiny datasheets we were given at MAKS.
As indicated by Battleye, jamming coverage against ground-based V/UHF emitters is good to the west of the hypothetical Kherson airport Borisoglebsk-2 deployment with a 90% to 100% probability of success. Coverage is less good towards the north where it reduces to under 35km.
We are back safely across the Dnipro mostly intact save the lads and equipment we left behind. What the future holds is anyone’s guess. No doubt, command will try a new operation with the same doctrine, equipment and tactics expecting different results. A definition of madness? Not for me to say. Yours Capt. Kuryakin (Source: Armada)
29 Nov 22. Fast Forward the Future. The Royal Air Force’s Stories from the Future collection is an imagination of what the coming years hold for the air force from threat, response, materiel and personnel perspectives. It exemplifies the growing FICINT trend.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) describes it as “fictional intelligence, useful intelligence, a meld of narrative and nonfiction”. The world’s oldest air force should know. After all, it is the RAF which recently published three volumes of FICINT entitled Stories from the Future.
Launched in 2021 by the RAF’s chief of the air staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the three-volume series imagines the RAF in 2040 and the challenges it, and the wider world, face. This year’s annual Defence and Security Laboratory’s annual Operating in the Future Electromagnetic Environment had a presentation on these stories and what they have strived to achieve. This year’s event was held on 21st/22nd November at London’s Institute of Engineering and Technology.
“Defence can be fixated on technology causing you to lose the larger picture,” said the RAF delegate presenting the project. The effort was launched to get the RAF “to think about what the future might be.” Fiction can present concepts and arguments in an arguably less anodyne fashion than a white paper. A goal of the volumes was to “provoke a reaction” and hence a discussion, the delegate continued. He used the analogy of Marmite, a savoury spread enlivening hot buttered toast. The spread divides those who taste it. Some people hate Marmite, others adore it. The speaker mentioned he is in the former camp at odds with your correspondent in the latter. Whatever the reaction, discussions are triggered on the concepts and ideas the stories articulate.
volumes provoke reactions. For those of the Marmite persuasion, your correspondent highly recommends the ‘Dynamite’ chill-infused variety.
The world envisaged in the three volumes is turbulent. The Amazon rainforest is convulsed in conflict. Those seeking to protect the “lungs of the Earth” battle those bent on destroying this irreplaceable resource. Climate change forces ms of refugees from their homes in search of safety. The ‘Big Melt’ of 2023 puts the now-landlocked city Peterborough, eastern England, on the North Sea coast. Misinformation, ‘fake news’ and subversion of democracy are standard accompaniments to conflict. Insect protein snack bars are grabbed as sustenance throughout the day. Some service personnel transition gender during their career. A cryptocurrency collapse causes civil disobedience. The works are interactive with questions asked throughout: “What are the implications of climate change and carbon neutral initiatives on the roles of the RAF (and) the United Kingdom?” “Does a fragmented or multipolar world affect those roles or responsibilities?”
“The only certainty in these scenarios is change” the books wisely advise. They open with two thought provoking questions: “Could an RAF recruit in 1990 at the collapse of the Soviet Union have foreseen operating a UAV (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle) from RAF Waddington airbase over Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, in 2014?” “Could a recruit in 2000 have anticipated being able to check their pay statement on the MyRAF app in 2020?”
War in the Spectrum
What do the stories tell us about electronic warfare and the electromagnetic spectrum in general? The tales are mind-boggling. Personnel interact with three-dimensional avatars harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) acting as their personal assistants throughout their day. One avatar “is a far cry from the basic Siri” of the character’s childhood. New tailored uniforms based on recent three-dimensional body scans are delivered to people’s homes by drone. Biorecognition improves security at bases while easing movements of people around secure facilities. Remote surgery using satellite links saves lives.
Unsurprisingly, technological advance is not confined to people’s everyday lives. It makes its presence felt on and off the battlefield. For aircrew, AI helps mission briefings. UAVs play a major role in RAF operations. Data moves seamlessly between inhabited and uninhabited platforms at light speed. This does not just occur between RAF platforms, but also between those and capabilities used by other services. Meanwhile the questions continue: “How will we ensure resilience for our future space capabilities?”, “What considerations are there to respond to a cyber or information attack with a kinetic option?” being two notable examples.
The bad folks have technology too. The stories show UAVs and their pilots suffering cyber and electronic attacks, although redundancy in the form of laser communications ameliorates these. Likewise, quantum compasses make good a hostile Global Navigation Satellite Signal (GNSS) attack. Hypersonic missiles, used by Russia in Ukraine, are now a regular feature of contemporary warfare. In one story an insurgent uses sophisticated communications intelligence systems to discover a covert urban RAF UAV team.
One occasional failing of military science-fiction is that sophisticated technology is sometimes depicted as flawless. That reality is quite different is recognised by this series of narratives. In one story RAF personnel must maintain strict emissions control state to enhance electronic protection. This acknowledges that belligerents will compete for Electromagnetic Superiority and Supremacy.
In some ways, these studies ask more questions than they answer. They show that our spectrum reliance will only increase. This has implications for international security and warfare, and for our daily lives with all three realities tightly intertwined. In some ways, the future is already here. Stories from the Future extrapolates trends already afoot. We would do well to heed their lessons. (Source: Armada)
01 Dec 22. China: New possible state-linked cyber espionage campaign leveraging infected USB devices will sustain substantial risks to regional public, private entities. Cyber security firm Mandiant identified a new cyber espionage campaign leveraging USB devices to infect devices of both public and private sector organisations in Southeast Asia, the US, Europe, and Japan. Entities in the Philippines are believed to be the main target. Three new malware were identified, namely MISTCLOAK, DARKDEW, and BLUEHAZE, and are believed to be used for intelligence collection purposes, especially commercial espionage. The use of USB devices also suggests possible insider threat risks. The responsible threat actor group, referred to as UNC4191, is believed to be China-linked. The self-replicating feature of the UNC4191 malware poses high infection risks to air-gapped systems connected to infected devices, sustaining elevated threats and damage to all infected entities. UNC4191’s campaign is believed to have begun as early as September 2021 and, therefore, could have afflicted numerous entities since. The scope, extent, and methodology of the campaign suggests the involvement of a state-linked organisation aiming to advance China’s economic and technological development. As such, commercial entities belonging to sectors of high interest for China, such aerospace, will likely remain the primary targets. Similarly, organisations closely associated or cooperating with governments will also likely remain among the most sought-after targets (Source: Sibylline)
30 Nov 22. DARPA, US Cyber Command eye new capability. The agencies have launched a joint program aimed at developing next-generation cyber capabilities. The United States Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have launched “Constellation” — a pilot program aimed at accelerating the development of new cyber capabilities.
The program is expected to untap new capabilities by engaging in “high-risk, high-reward” cyber science and technology (S&T) research.
This would involve developing a “user-directed, incremental, and iterative pipeline”, designed to speed-up the creation, proving, adoption, and delivery of capabilities into CYBERCOM’s software ecosystem.
“Innovation is core to the command’s strategy, which is why CYBERCOM and DARPA are working more closely than ever to mature emerging tactical and strategic cyber capabilities, and integrate them into operational warfighting platforms,” Mike Clark, director of cyber acquisition and technology at US Cyber Command, said.
“Success for Constellation means increasing the speed of transition from DARPA research and development to CYBERCOM for operational use.”
By fostering an “agile-style pipeline” from research to operations, the agencies hope to avoid the “valley of death” — addressing transitional challenges faced by the Department of Defense when developing software systems.
Challenges include supporting acceptance and usability for both expert and non-expert providers.
Constellation is expected to set up a framework and create mechanisms to provide virtual and physical infrastructure, people and contracts.
“To have the greatest operational and strategic impact, these emergent capabilities must reach operators continuously in short timescales, much shorter than legacy acquisition processes,” Dr Kathleen Fisher, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, said.
“We are optimistic about Constellation’s potential to enable long-term sustainment for rapid cyber capability prototyping and integration. Running Constellation projects in parallel with DARPA development can help us reduce risks and transition timelines and overcome the ‘valley of death’.” (Source: Defence Connect)
30 Nov 22. Australia: New privacy legislation will create opportunities for tech, cyber security sector amid need for bolstering private sector cyber defences. On 28 November, the Australian parliament approved a bill featuring bolstered penalties for companies failing to protect customer data and resulting in serious or repeated data breaches. The new proposed legislation will be formally signed into law following Royal Assent. The new legislation follows a period of sustained and nationwide cyber security breaches afflicting numerous firms, and resulting in the leaks of millions of user data, which resulted in substantial financial and reputational losses for afflicted organisations. Officially, the Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill 2022, maximum fines have been raised from USD 1.5 m to whichever is greater between USD 33 m, 30 percent of company adjusted turnover during the relevant period, or three times the benefit value obtained through data misuse. The Bill grants the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) “greater powers to resolve data breaches” and information sharing. The new legislation will be welcomed by Australian and foreign nationals alike, as companies will most likely respond by bolstering their cyber security capabilities, thereby providing opportunities for relevant industries in the tech and cyber sector. (Source: Sibylline)
30 Nov 22. Cyber laws updated to boost UK’s resilience against online attacks. Outsourced IT providers will be brought into scope of cyber regulations to strengthen UK supply chains.
- Changes will boost security standards and increase reporting of serious cyber incidents to reduce risk of attacks causing disruption
- Laws can be updated in the future to cover new organisations or sectors if they become vital for essential services
Essential everyday services, such as water, energy and transport, will be better protected from online attacks following changes to laws which set the UK’s cyber security standards.
In response to a public consultation earlier this year, the government today confirms the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Regulations will be strengthened to protect essential and digital services against increasingly sophisticated and frequent cyber attacks both now and in the future.
The UK NIS Regulations came into force in 2018 to improve the cyber security of companies providing critical services. Organisations which fail to put in place effective cyber security measures can be fined as much as £17m for non-compliance.
But high profile attacks such as Operation CloudHopper, which targeted managed service providers and compromised thousands of organisations at the same time, show the UK’s cyber laws need to be strengthened to continue to protect vital services and the supply chains they rely on.
MSPs provide IT services such as security monitoring and digital billing and can have privileged access to their customer’s IT networks. This makes them an attractive target for cyber criminals who can exploit MSP software vulnerabilities to compromise a wide range of clients.
The UK is able to change the NIS regulations, which were originally derived from the EU’s NIS directive, because the UK has left the EU and can update these laws to better fit the country’s cyber security needs.
Under the new changes MSPs, which are key to the functioning of essential services that keep the UK economy running, will be brought into scope of the regulations to keep digital supply chains secure.
Cyber minister Julia Lopez said:
The services we rely on for healthcare, water, energy and computing must not be brought to a standstill by criminals and hostile states.
We are strengthening the UK’s cyber laws against digital threats. This will better protect our essential and digital services and the outsourced IT providers which keep them running.
The updates to the NIS regulations will be made as soon as parliamentary time allows and will apply to critical service providers, like energy companies and the NHS, as well as important digital services like providers of cloud computing and online search engines.
Other changes include requiring essential and digital services to improve cyber incident reporting to regulators such as Ofcom, Ofgem and the ICO. This includes notifying regulators of a wider range of incidents that disrupt service or which could have a high risk or impact to their service, even if they don’t immediately cause disruption.
The new measures will give the government the power to amend the NIS regulations in future to ensure it remains effective. This change will allow more organisations to be brought into scope if they become vital for essential services and add new sectors which may become critical to the UK’s economy.
The updated rules will allow regulators to establish a cost recovery system for enforcing the NIS regulations that is more transparent and takes into account the wider regulatory burdens, company size, and other factors to reduce taxpayer burden.
The Information Commissioner will be able to take a more risk-based approach to regulating digital services under the updated cyber laws and will be allowed to take into account how critical providers are to supporting the resilience of the UK’s essential services.
These changes to legislation are part of the government’s £2.6 bn National Cyber Strategy which is taking a stronger approach to getting at-risk businesses to improve their cyber resilience and making the UK digital economy more secure and prosperous.
Paul Maddinson, NCSC Director of National Resilience and Strategy, said:
I welcome the opportunity to strengthen NIS regulations and the impact they will have on boosting the UK’s overall cyber security.
These measures will increase the resilience of the country’s essential services – and their managed service providers – on which we all rely.
Carla Baker, Senior Director of Public Policy UK and Ireland, Palo Alto Networks, said:
Palo Alto Networks supports the development of an agile policy framework to reduce cybersecurity risks to our economy and society.
We welcome the opportunity to engage with the UK Government as it reviews the legislation and develops guidance for industry to enhance cyber resilience and combat the risk that malicious actors pose to the UK’s national security.
Notes to editors:
- DCMS is backing the country’s powerhouse sectors to grow the economy and make a difference where people live.
- The digital sector contributes approximately £138bn to the economy. There are 1,822,000 jobs in the sector – 250,000 more than in 2019 before the pandemic.
- Exports of services by the digital sector were worth £56 bn in 2020, which is around a fifth of the UK’s total service exports.
- The full consultation response can be found here
- The work is part of the UK government’s ambition to maintain the UK’s position as a leading democratic and responsible Cyber Power, outlined through the 2022 National Cyber Strategy, which was published on 15 December 2022. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
29 Nov 22. DOD wants cyber apprenticeships for contractors, but acquisition regs may remain an obstacle.
DOD officials say contractors should increase the use of registered cyber apprenticeships, but some companies argue that federal contract requirements often lock them into education and experience prerequisites.
The Defense Department is encouraging the use of cybersecurity apprenticeships within its walls and in the defense industrial base, an effort in line with a broader apprenticeship push by the Biden-Harris administration.
But some contractors say that education and experience requirements are still commonplace in federal contracts and make it difficult for companies to utilize workers without those qualifications.
Registered apprenticeships — training programs that are validated by the Department of Labor or state-level apprenticeship agencies — are meant to be an alternative entryway into cybersecurity work. Traditionally, educational attainment, years of experience and certifications have been the price of admission into the field, as opposed to apprenticeships and other on-the-job training programs.
A Nov. 15 joint memo from William LaPlante, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, and John Sherman, DOD Chief Information Officer, says that the department “must” consider applicants with “training, industry certifications, on-the-job training or apprenticeship programs.”
LaPlante and Sherman added that DOD will “encourage” the defense industrial base to do the same.
“Removing formal education-rooted barriers, combined with the use of apprenticeships programs, provides a faster pipeline to acquire talent, increases the talent pool and enhances diversity by allowing applicants to enter the workforce throughout nontraditional pathways,” the memo said.
The memo landed just as the Labor and Commerce departments were wrapping up a 120-day cybersecurity apprenticeship sprint that saw 194 programs being or already developed both in and out of government, alongside expansions of existing apprenticeship programs, according to the White House.
The recent memo also notes that the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the government’s primary purchasing rules, specifies that solicitations and contracts for IT services shouldn’t routinely describe any minimum experience or educational requirements.
But in practice, “they often do,” said Stephanie Kostro, executive vice president for policy at the Professional Services Council, a trade association for government tech and professional services contractors.
Kostro said experience and education requirements can be baked into labor categories, for example. “This is an evergreen problem,” she added.
Tech company and government contractor IBM pointed out the issue recently in its response to a request for information on the cyber workforce from the White House Office of the National Cyber Director.
“Currently federal contractors, like IBM, are rarely able to place an individual without a four-year degree on a technology services contract, regardless of their qualifications. Federal agencies tend to require educational degrees despite the reality that many roles can be well staffed by individuals without degrees,” the IBM response said.
The problem extends beyond DOD into other federal agencies, and ultimately impacts the willingness of contractors to front cyber apprenticeship programs, Kostro told FCW.
“There’s not a real incentive for companies to create or leverage apprenticeship programs because they wouldn’t necessarily be able to apply those employees against the contracts,” she said. “Time will tell, but right now, I think companies are a little bit leery of pivoting completely to apprenticeships when it’s not entirely clear that there will be a need for them in solicitations.”
When asked about IBM’s description of the issue, DOD spokesperson Cmdr. Jessica McNulty told FCW in an email that “the Department of Defense supports the Biden Administration’s registered apprenticeship program commitment, and are continuing to make changes to accept qualified graduates of these programs.”
DOD does sponsor the largest cybersecurity registered apprenticeship program within its United Services Military Apprenticeship Program, which the Labor Department and Pentagon stood up in early 2022.
The Labor Department has also been working with other federal agencies on cyber apprenticeship programs, FCW reported in September. The Department of Veterans Affairs created a new apprenticeship program that will bring on around 10 apprentices in February 2023, the White House says.
The push towards apprenticeships comes as the government and industry alike continue to confront a shortfall of cybersecurity workers. Currently, there are over 769,000 cyber job openings nationally, according to Cyberseek.
“Attracting cybersecurity professionals continues to fall short of demand,” the DOD memo says. “Closing the talent gap in both DOD and the DIB is critical to strengthen and safeguard our nation’s cybersecurity.”
29 Nov 22. LM Successfully Hosts Advanced 5G.MIL Capabilities on Flight Ready Hardware.
- Advanced 5G.MIL connectivity, powered by Intel, drives information dominance for DoD
The Big Picture
Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with Intel accomplished an industry first by successfully integrating a 5G Core and Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) into Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL® Hybrid Base Station (HBS), providing decisive information dominance to operators across domains. By integrating Intel’s FlexRAN reference architecture and Intel Xeon Scalable processors into a 3U tactical chassis, Lockheed Martin implemented open system communications gateway capabilities on flyable hardware using established modular open system architecture and 5G commercial standards. Working within a family of common open architectures ensures products and solutions are drop-in ready with no vendor lock.
“The integration of 5G and military tactical radios into our Hybrid Base Station enables resilient, link-diverse data routing throughout the battlespace to make future crewed-uncrewed distributed teaming missions possible,” said John G. Clark, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works®. “The Lockheed Martin 5G.MIL® HBS was designed using open mission systems standards so that the technology can onramp to multiple and varied platforms quickly in support of our customers’ transformation vision.”
“Lockheed Martin’s latest innovation for HBS (Hybrid Base Station) highlights the type of highly flexible and portable data capabilities made possible by a virtualized and software-programmable architecture powered by Intel FlexRAN reference architecture and Intel Xeon processors,” said Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s Network and Edge Solutions Group. “Our continuing collaboration on 5G.MIL showcases new abilities to strengthen DoD critical digital communications across Lockheed Martin’s platforms.”
By implementing the HBS within a 3U/VPX rugged form factor, Lockheed Martin demonstrated over-the-air 5G and tactical network connectivity in a laboratory environment that is capable of transitioning to military air vehicles. While most applications of 5G base station technology are data center centric, this demonstration hosted 5G O-RAN technology on ruggedized computers suitable for fighter and other aircraft, paving the way for the team to fly on any number of military platforms during upcoming crewed-uncrewed distributed teaming flight tests.
The demonstration also leveraged 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, which are designed to provide the greatest performance per watt. These processors enable a low Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) solution required by platforms operating at the tactical edge, significantly reducing the amount of hardware required to perform the same functionality.
This 3U/VPX HBS integration success positions the team for crewed-uncrewed flight testing next year as part of Lockheed Martin’s Project Carrera. Additionally, Lockheed Martin and Intel continue to explore how to best bridge current applications of 5G commercial stacks with military datalinks to bring the most capable, resilient communications solutions to the Department of Defense. This includes next generation software defined radios capable of commercial 5G, as well as future waveform implementations to meet the objectives of crewed-uncrewed teaming. These advancements pave the way for operators to have greater connectivity, faster and more reliable networks, and enhanced interoperability in support of Joint All Domain Operations. (Source: ASD Network)
29 Nov 22. Lockheed Martin and ACCMA to deliver cyber training to US Army personnel. The training will be delivered leveraging the company’s cyber management solution, Mission Readiness & Reporting.
Lockheed Martin has collaborated with the US Army Civilian Career Management Activity (ACCMA) to provide web-based cyber training to nearly 17,000 US Army personnel.
Bottom of Form
The training is being provided as part of an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) awarded to Lockheed Martin by the US Army.
The company will deliver this training leveraging its latest cyber management solution, called ‘Mission Readiness & Reporting (MR2)’.
It will allow the army to identify, assess, cultivate, and train its remote-based civilian employees, based on their individual capabilities and adhering to the US Department of Defense ’s (Dod ) Cyber Workforce Framework.
Lockheed Martin Cyber and Intelligence vice-president Tish Rourke said: “MR2 connects cyber training and mission readiness and ensures that civilian cyber workforce is agile, resilient, and ahead of threat.”
This work will be executed by a Lockheed Martin-led team comprising Aries Security, Ultimate Knowledge Institute (UKI), and Amazon Web Services govCloud.
UKI and Aries will be responsible for delivering training options for the cyber workforce while Lockheed Martin MR2 will be used for analytics purposes to support workforce skills development.
In another collaborative effort, Lockheed Martin and Intel have completed the integration of a 5G Core and Open Radio Access Network with its 5G.MIL Hybrid Base Station (HBS ).
It will provide decisive information dominance to users, including the US DoD, across multiple domains.
The integration of Intel ’s Xeon Scalable processors and FlexRAN reference architecture into the 3U tactical chassis allowed Lockheed Martin to implement open system communications gateway capabilities with flight-ready hardware.
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works vice-president and general manager John Clark said: “The integration of 5G and military tactical radios into HBS enables resilient, link-diverse data routing throughout battlespaces to make future crewed-uncrewed distributed teaming missions possible.” (Source: army-technology.com)
28 Nov 22. DOD Releases Path to Cyber Security Though Zero Trust Architecture. The Defense Department on Tuesday released its Zero Trust Strategy and Roadmap, which spells out how it plans to move beyond traditional network security methods to achieve reduced network attack surfaces, enable risk management and effective data-sharing in partnership environments, and contain and remediate adversary activities over the next five years.
“Zero trust is a framework for moving beyond relying on perimeter-based cybersecurity defense tools alone and basically assuming that breach has occurred within our boundary and responding accordingly,” David McKeown, the department’s acting chief information officer, said.
McKeown said the department has spent a year now developing the plans to get the department to a zero trust architecture by fiscal year 2027. Included in that effort was development of a Zero Trust Portfolio Management Office, which stood up earlier this year.
“With the publication of this strategy we have articulated the ‘how’ that can address clear outcomes of how to get to zero trust — and not only accelerated technology adoption, as discussed, but also a culture of zero trust at DOD and an integrated approach at the department and the component levels.”
Getting the Defense Department to reach the goals laid out in the Zero Trust Strategy and Roadmap will be an “ambitious undertaking,” McKeown said.
Ensuring that work will largely be the responsibility of Randy Resnick, who serves as the director of the Zero Trust Portfolio Management Office.
“With zero trust, we are assuming that a network is already compromised,” Resnick said. “And through recurring user authentication and authorization, we will thwart and frustrate an adversary from moving through a network and also quickly identify them and mitigate damage and the vulnerability they may have exploited.”
Resnick explained the difference between a zero trust architecture and security on the network today, which assumes a level of trust for anybody already inside the network.
“If we compare this to our home security, we could say that we traditionally lock our windows and doors and that only those with the key can gain access,” he said. “With zero trust, we have identified the items of value within the house and we place guards and locks within each one of those items inside the house. This is the level of security that we need to counter sophisticated cyber adversaries.”
The Zero Trust Strategy and Roadmap outlines four high-level and integrated strategic goals that define what the department will do to achieve that level of security. These include:
- Zero Trust Cultural Adoption — All DOD personnel understand and are aware, trained, and committed to a zero trust mindset and culture to support integration of zero trust.
- DOD information Systems Secured and Defended — Cybersecurity practices incorporate and operationalize zero trust in new and legacy systems.
- Technology Acceleration — Technologies deploy at a pace equal to or exceeding industry advancements.
- Zero Trust Enablement — Department- and component-level processes, policies, and funding are synchronized with zero trust principles and approaches.
Resnick said development of the Zero Trust Strategy and Roadmap was done in collaboration with the National Security Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Manpower Data Center, U.S. Cyber Command and the military services.
The department and its partners worked together to develop a total of 45 capabilities and more than 100 activities derived from those capabilities, many of which the department and components will be expected to be involved in as part of successfully achieving baseline, or “target level” compliance with zero trust architecture within the five-year timeline, Resnick said.
“Each capability, the 45 capabilities, resides either within what we’re calling ‘target,’ or ‘advanced’ levels of zero trust,” he said. “DOD zero trust target level is deemed to be the required minimum set of zero trust capability outcomes and activities necessary to secure and protect the department’s data, applications, assets and services, to manage risks from all cyber threats to the Department of Defense.”
Across the department, every agency will be expected to comply with the target level implementation outlined in the Zero Trust Strategy and Roadmap. Only a few might be expected to achieve the more advanced level.
“If you’re a national security system, we may require the advanced level for those systems,” McKeown said. “But advanced really isn’t necessary for literally every system out there. We have an aggressive goal getting to ‘targeted’ by 2027. And we want to encourage those who have a greater need to secure their data to adopt this advanced level.”
Resnick said achieving the target level of zero trust isn’t equivalent to a lower standard for network security.
“We defined target as that level of ability where we’re actually containing, slowing down or stopping the adversary from exploiting our networks,” he said. “Compared to today, where an adversary could do an attack and then go laterally through the network, frequently under the noise floor of detection, with zero trust that’s not going to be possible.”
By 2027, Resnick said, the department will be better poised to prevent adversaries from attacking the DOD network and minimize damage if it does occur.
“The target level of zero trust is going to be that ability to contain the adversary, prevent their freedom of movement, from not only going laterally but being able to even see the network, to enumerate the network, and to even try to exploit the network,” he said.
If later on more is needed, he said, the requirements for meeting the target level of compliance can be adjusted.
“Target will always remain that level to which we’re seeing and stopping the adversary,” he said. “And for the majority of the DOD, that’s really our goal.” (Source: US DoD)
28 Nov 22. Call for Submissions: TTCP Cyber Autonomy Gym for Experimentation (CAGE) Challenge 3. To facilitate R&D into autonomous Artificial Intelligence (AI), the TTCP Cage Working Group has released the Cyber Operations Research Gym (CybORG), an experimental platform using the OpenAI Gym interface that features a cybersecurity scenario and a challenge. Researchers and cyber security experts are now invited to submit their response to the challenge.
Submissions close on 31 January 2023 and the final results will be announced on 14 February 2023. For further information go to DSTG’s Web Site.
Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies show promise for autonomous cyber operations (ACO), offering the potential for distributed, adaptive defensive measures at machine speed and scale. Cyber is a particularly challenging domain for autonomous AI. The TTCP has nominated a challenge in this space that requires further research in order to enable ACO to become an operational capability.
To facilitate this AI research, the TTCP CAGE working group is releasing its CybORG), together with a cybersecurity scenario and a challenge to which researchers are invited to respond.
The aim is to support the development of AI tactics, techniques and procedures with CybORG and a series of CAGE scenarios with associated challenge problems in order to support practical demonstrations of ACO. The working group wishes to engage the AI and cyber security research communities, especially to leverage domain experts outside of the cyber field.
CAGE challenge 1 was released in August 2021 at the IJCAI-21 1st International Workshop on Adaptive Cyber Defense (ACD 2021) and concluded in in February 2022 with 4 novel submissions received. CAGE challenge 2 was released in April 2022 and concluded in July 2022 with 20 novel submissions received. CAGE Challenge 3 is now live! The CAGE scenario and associated challenge problem, together with CybORG (our AI gym research environment), are available here .
Submissions close on 31 January 2023 and the final results will be announced on 14 February 2023. (Source: Rumour Control)
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.