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10 Jan 19. BAE Systems to Open New Innovation Hub at the Georgia Cyber Cente. BAE Systems announces a new innovation hub to attract the next generation of cloud, artificial intelligence, and cyber security experts at the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta, Georgia. BAE Systems intends to sign a lease to open an office at the new Georgia Cyber Center to grow its presence in Augusta. The company values the area’s highly skilled workforce and proximity to key customers. Located on the Nathan Deal Campus for Innovation in downtown Augusta, the campus is home to both commercial cyber companies and a number of cybersecurity and technology training programs.
“We currently have more than 400 employees providing advanced analytics and information assurance mission support in the Fort Gordon/Augusta market and we are continuing to grow,” said Peder Jungck, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Intelligence Solutions business. “The Georgia Cyber Center will help us expand our footprint in the region, while providing us with a new hub to attract the next generation of cloud, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity experts our nation needs.”
The Center is the single largest investment in a cybersecurity facility by a state government to date. It is home to several cybersecurity certificate, undergraduate- and graduate-level programs offered by Augusta University and Augusta Technical College. The facility also hosts the Georgia Cyber Range, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crime Unit, and a number of innovation focused incubation and accelerator programs offered by theClubhou.se, an Augusta technology non-profit. The diversity of the Center’s tenants reflects an unprecedented partnership among academia, state and federal government, law enforcement, the U.S. Army and the private sector.
“Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and we applaud Georgia’s commitment to attracting, training, and growing our nation’s cybersecurity workforce,” said Mark Keeler, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Integrated Defense Solutions business. “Sharing a campus with students creates tremendous opportunities for collaboration, mentoring, and internships that you will not find anywhere else.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
09 Jan 19. USAF courts small business innovators. The U.S. Air Force is moving forward with its plan to tap small businesses to solve its tech problems, and began accepting applications for its inaugural “Pitch Day” Jan. 8. Selected participants will be chosen to present at the Pitch Day event in New York City, with winners getting deals on the spot. Competitors will be allowed to submit proposals for three topic areas: command, control, communications, intelligence, and networks; digital technology investments; and battlefield air operations systems technologies.
“The hope is that we learn some lessons and improve it and do it even bigger next time,” expanding the topic areas, Maj. Gen. Patrick Higby, director, DevOps and Lethality, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said following a presentation at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s small business event Jan. 8.
“We’ve always had outreach with small business… but I think there’s more intellectual prowess out there that we’re not leveraging today,” Higby said. It’s unclear how many contracts will be awarded or how many proposals will make it to the final round. But what is certain is the dedication to trying new things outside of traditional acquisition bureaucracy even if they fail.
The Air Force plans to use government purchase cards for these small business awards. Air Force acquisition head, Dr. Will Roper said in September that the goal would be for 60 to 80 percent of the participants to walk out with contract that day. The Air Force has since put on Startup Days in the run up to the March Pitch Day event.
“The benefit is huge because it finally pulls startups into orbit surrounding our program offices,” Roper said, “Even if round one their product isn’t ready, they’re aware of us as an angel investor. We’re not trying to have them work for the government, we just want their products that make sense for us.”
About $40m has been set aside to support Phase I and Phase II awards. Individual Phase 1 awards will go up to $150,000, an Air Force spokesperson said via email. Submissions will be accepted through Feb. 6. (Source: Defense Systems)
09 Jan 19. What will it take to monitor and secure mobile military networks? The modern military landscape requires a network portable enough to be deployed anywhere, and one also reliable as a traditional network infrastructure. As such, the Department of Defense (DoD) is engaged in an all-out network modernization initiative designed to allow troops everywhere, from the population-dense cities in Afghanistan to the starkly remote Syrian Desert, to access reliable communications and critical information.
The Army’s Command Post Computing Environment (CP CE), designed to provide warfighters with a common computing infrastructure framework regardless of their location, is a perfect example of mobile military network technology in action. The CP CE integrates a myriad of mission command capabilities into, as the Army calls it, “the most critical computing environment developed to support command posts in combat operations.”
The CP CE and other modern network implementations are a nod to the old adage “you can’t take it with you.” While modern warfighters can’t take their entire network operations with them into theater, they want to feel like they can. Increasingly, the armed forces are leaving their main networks at home and carrying smaller footprints wherever the action takes them. These troops are expecting the same quality of service that their non-tactical networks deliver—and that can be a problem.
Beyond traditional network monitoring
Like all networks, systems like CP CE present an untold number of access points, thousands of users, and hundreds of applications. Their complexity makes network monitoring that much more critical, but it also poses significant troubleshooting and visibility challenges. Widely distributed networks can introduce an increased number of elements that must be monitored (such as nodes, interfaces, or volumes), as well as servers and applications. Administrators must be able to have an unfettered view into everything that goes on within these networks, no matter how widespread.
This requires something far beyond traditional network monitoring. Monitoring processes must be robust enough to keep an eye on overall network usage to ensure that it doesn’t erode performance and create problems for everyone. Soldiers in the field attempting to use the network to communicate with their command can find their communications efforts hampered by counterparts using the same network for video streaming capabilities. Administrators need to be able to quickly identify these issues and pinpoint their origination points, so that the soldiers can commence with their missions unencumbered by any network pain points.
Securing distributed mobile networks
Security monitoring must also be a top priority, but that becomes more onerous as the network becomes more distributed and mobile. Soldiers already use an array of communications tools in combat, and that number of connected devices is growing, thanks to the Army’s investment in the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT). And distributed networks operating in hostile environments can be prime targets for enemy forces, which can focus on exploiting network vulnerabilities to interrupt communications, access information, or even bring the network itself down.
Traditional government cybersecurity monitoring tools must also be scalable and flexible enough to cover the unique needs of the battlefield. Security and information event management solutions need to be able to detect suspicious activity across the entire network, however distributed it may be. Administrators should have access to updated threat intelligence from multiple sources across the network, and be able to respond to potential security issues from anywhere and at any time. Wherever possible, automated responses should be put in play to help mitigate threats and minimize their impact.
This is a lot to manage but being able to do so efficiently is necessary. Soldiers in combat require immediate access to information, which in turn requires a dependable and secure network. To achieve that objective, administrators must have a system in place that allows them to quickly address problems and bottlenecks as they occur. It can mean the difference between making right or wrong decisions. Or, in the most extreme cases, the difference between life and death. (Source: Defense News)
10 Jan 19. Crucial UK defence network is late and £210m over budget. A Ministry of Defence IT modernisation programme that provides “mission critical” services is about £210m over budget and more than two years late, according to a leaked report. The global connectivity programme that underpins almost every significant information service used by the department is in trouble, an independent 43-page review that has been obtained by The Times concludes. In 2015 Fujitsu, the IT services provider, was awarded a five-year contract. The programme was meant to deliver savings and replace a private finance initiative service agreement between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and BT signed 18 years earlier. It involves handling information that is “top secret”.
After setbacks, a 28 per cent cost overrun is forecast on top of the programme’s original £744 million budget. The project is also 26 months behind schedule. The report noted that “cost and time overruns could well worsen”.
A race is on to ensure that key networks stay online beyond June, when BT’s contract ends. An extension to the original contract is likely.
The review by Actica Consulting and PA Consulting was ordered by defence chiefs last autumn. It identified 66 factors that contributed to the problems and noted that there was no evidence that these had been eliminated.
MoD officials were accused of a “failure to understand what is mission- critical” and the authors emphasised: “To be clear: current military operations would cease without the network services that the programme is replacing. These services are mission critical.” The authors said of the programme’s services: “Without it the MoD cannot operate. This, however, appears to have been overlooked at key points.”
Problems were identified early but “permitted to persist until time pressures had become critical”. Other problems included senior team “overstretch” and a “failure of leadership to listen to ‘real world’ technical realities”.
An MoD spokesman said: “Maintaining a modern military network that is fit for the future and can withstand intensifying cyberthreats is complex but we are already implementing our plan for the way forward.
“There will be no interruption to network services during this transition and no operations will be at risk.” Fujitsu declined to comment. (Source: The Times)
09 Jan 19. Smiths Detection Selected by U.S. Department of Defense to Develop Next Generation Chemical Detector. Smiths Detection (SDI) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND)’s Joint Project Manager, Nuclear Biological Chemical Contamination Avoidance (JPM-NBC CA) to be one of the suppliers to design and engineer an Aerosol and Vapor Chemical Agent Detector (AVCAD). AVCAD is the next step in miniaturized chemical detection.
Shan Hood, President of SDI, said, “Smiths Detection has partnered with the Department of Defense to provide more than ninety-one thousand Joint Chemical Agent Detector (JCAD) units over the past fourteen years, making the program one of the most effective chemical warfare protection solutions in history.”
Intended as the next generation chemical detector, the AVCAD is designed to detect, identify, alarm and report the presence of traditional and advanced threat vapors and aerosols. Using a wireless remote alarm capability and both mounted and portable configurations, AVCAD will support missions for the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
SDI is partnered with subcontractor 908 Devices Inc. to use High-Pressure Mass Spectrometry (HPMS) for the AVCAD. Dr. Kevin J. Knopp, President and CEO, 908 Devices said, “We are thrilled to be moving into this phase of the program and look forward to working closely with Smiths Detection and the JPM-NBC CA to support the AVCAD program.”
The AVCAD award marks a new milestone for Smiths Detection’s chemical detection technology development and positions its Edgewood, MD facility for manufacturing growth in support of the program. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
09 Jan 19. USN moots alternative strategies for SEWIP Block 3 production competition. The US Navy (USN) is exploring options to compete the production of hardware for its next-generation Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 electronic attack (EA) system. Procurement strategies being considered for the fiscal year (FY) 2020–24 production contract include a single contract award for SEWIP Block 3 manufacture and associated engineering support services, and an alternative dual-source ‘leader/challenger’ acquisition model.
SEWIP Block 3 is designed to provide USN surface ships with expanded EA capabilities based upon the architecture of the AN/SLQ-32(V)6/SEWIP Block 2 system. As well as jamming targeting radars and missile seekers, the Block 3 increment will also introduce a soft kill co-ordination system to provide direction and scheduling for both onboard and offboard ‘soft-kill’ effectors. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Jan 19. New Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group reserve unit opens. The US Navy has launched a Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group (NCWDG) reserve unit at Club Meade. The NCWDG reserve unit has been created to provide support in acquisitions, programme and project management, research and development, and technical expertise. It serves as the US Navy’s Center for Cyber Warfare innovation.
US Fleet Cyber Command (FCC) deputy commander rear admiral James Butler said: “We at US Fleet Cyber Command are determined to increase our competitive advantages over our nation’s adversaries by focusing on our capabilities, processes, and most importantly, our people. This new reserve unit will leverage reservists’ skill sets to support the active duty NCWDG component and its overall mission to test and deliver advanced cyber, cryptologic and electronic warfare capabilities to the navy.”
Orders for the new NCWDG unit commenced at the beginning of this month. Before this assignment, the unit’s sailors and marines were operating as an NCWDG directorate within the FCC / US 10th Fleet (C10F) reserve structure. The sailors and marines will still focus on providing new capabilities to FCC/C10F and US Cyber Command (USCC).
NCWDG reserve unit commanding officer captain James Lee said: “I’m really pleased that we can harness reserve skill sets to augment key active duty and command capabilities.”
FCC / C10F reserve component director captain Michael Tanner stated that the establishment of the new unit will enable assigning reservists with the right experience dedicated to NCWDG’s mission.
The NCWDG reserve unit brings together different designators from across the navy, including engineering duty and information warfare officers.
NCWDG, which is an Echelon III Command reporting to the US FCC, conducts technical research and development to create, test and deliver advanced cyber, cryptologic and electronic warfare capabilities to the navy.
Military and civilian personnel at NCWDG conduct testing of new cyberspace capabilities in order to meet the strategic and operational goals of fleet and combatant commanders. (Source: naval-technology.com)
08 Jan 19. 9 companies will compete for work on the US Navy’s giant engineering contract. The Navy awarded a contract for cyber, electronic warfare and information warfare services to nine companies in a deal that could eventually be worth as much as $962m. The companies include Grove Resource Solutions Inc., Millennium Corp., SimVentions Inc., BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI NSS Inc., General Dynamics Information Technology, Leidos, Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. and Scientific Research Corp. The new contract, run out of the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in South Carolina, will provide cyber mission engineering support services and deliver “information warfare capabilities through sea, air, land, space, electromagnetic, and cyber domains through the full range of military operations and levels of war,” according to a Nov. 30 contract announcement.
According to a Jan. 7 press release from General Dynamics, the company will compete for individual task orders to provide “state-of-the-art solutions for the Navy and Marine Corps’ warfighting needs.” A spokesman clarified that GDIT expects to compete for the opportunity to provide C4ISR capability to the Navy and Marines with the potential to develop prototypes depending on specific requirements.
The spokesperson added that the contract might present opportunities to assist in the Navy’s premier electronic warfare program Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program as requirements overlap.
07 Jan 19. 3 ways the US Navy wants to protect its weapons from cyberattacks. They have been hacked, tricked and stolen from. Now the message is clear — no more. The Navy is looking to support research in 36 areas that can help protect weapons systems from cyberattacks, Naval Air Systems Command said in a Jan. 7 update to a broad agency announcement.
“It’s not necessarily cutting edge research, but it is the first step in cybersecurity quality control that should have already been done,” said Bryson Bort, the founder and chief executive officer of Scythe, a cybersecurity platform.
The Navy had admitted as much.
Research into protecting the department’s weapons comes amid reports that the American military suffers from sustained cyberattacks. In December, an Inspector General report found that some in the Pentagon were not taking basic cybersecurity steps to protect its ballistic missile system. Although the Pentagon’s weapons are worth roughly $1.66trn, an October report from the Government Accountability Office found that “nearly all” American missiles, jets, ships and lethal equipment in development are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The announcement comes after Congress has mandated the Pentagon address its cyber vulnerabilities.
Three of the research areas the Navy is interested are commonly described as the pillars of strong cybersecurity, no matter the institution. They include:
In an effort to confuse attackers, the Navy wants to research “dynamic reconfiguration.” The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines the term as “changes to router rules, access control lists, intrusion detection/prevention system parameters, and filter rules for firewalls and gateways.”
“Organizations perform dynamic reconfiguration of information systems, for example, to stop attacks, to misdirect attackers, and to isolate components of systems, thus limiting the extent of the damage from breaches or compromises,” NIST officials wrote.
Research by the University of Maryland’s Christian Johnson found that pairing predictive analytics with dynamic reconfiguration tactics, the new approach can lead to the “successful development of learning models that identify specific classes of malware such as ransomware,” Johnson wrote in a paper for the RSA conference.
Experts have long used strategies of physical war in digital battles, including with the use of denial and deception tactics. The Navy wants to boost understanding of this area to better secure its weapons systems.
In 2015, researchers at MITRE, which conducts federally funded research, advocated for a 10-step process for planning and executing deception operations.
“Leveraging classical denial and deception techniques to understand the specifics of adversary attacks enables an organization to build an active, threat-based cyber defense,” a team of researchers wrote.
But the Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity, the intelligence community’s research arm, says that the use of deceptive software and hardware in cybersecurity is still in its infancy.
“Many techniques lack rigorous experimental measures of effectiveness,” the organization said, adding that “information is insufficient to determine how defensive deception changes attacker behavior.”
If there was a common denominator of the federal government’s investment in cybersecurity it is the use or artificial intelligence.
The Navy has embraced artificial intelligence since its Task Force Cyber Awakening project in 2015.
“We see that the more we automate our networks and the more we use machines to do the heavy lifting, the better. Our brains do not have the intellectual capacity to process all of that information,” Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett, Navy Cyber Security Division Director, told Defense Systems, a trade publication, in a 2017 interview.
More than half of the challenges and research opportunities announced by IARPA in 2018 involved machine learning, according to an analysis by Fifth Domain.
Cyber Command has embraced the technology in a short time period, Capt. Ed Devinney, director of corporate partnerships at the body, said during the November Cyber Con conference hosted by Fifth Domain.
“If you talked to anyone at the command two or three years ago about a system that would be all autonomous, you probably wouldn’t get much traction. But I think there is a growing understanding and consensus that we need to operate at machine speed, especially when talking about active defense of the network,” Devinney said.
He said that everyone likes to use the phrases “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning,” however “there aren’t that many people who do AI very well.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
03 Jan 19. Viewpoint: Three Defense Department Tactical Comms Challenges for 2019. At a December hearing of the House Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee, Defense Department Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy noted that an enterprise cloud capability would enable DoD to handle unlimited compute capacity and storage — as well as to leverage emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.
Rather than “a centralized single, depository” the department is shifting to a “decentralized world” where the warfighter at the tactical edge can “work in a compromised, degraded mode … a cloud that can handle the edge all the way to clouds that can handle the central,” he said.
Enabling cloud/storage, AI and analytics applications at the edge of the network is just one tactical communication challenge the Defense Department will likely face in 2019. U.S. forces seek to advance tactical network capabilities to counter emerging threats, enable new forms of maneuver, and maintain integration with military enterprise services — all while taking advantage of rapid innovation from the commercial IT Industry. This means that warfighters must be able to extend secure battlefield communications to cover greater distances and improve tactical mobility.
Below are three challenges the DoD and warfighters will face in modernizing their tactical networks in 2019 to establish reliable and secure communications in tactical environments.
The first is extending computing and storage to the network edge. When warfighters are deployed to environments with disconnected, intermittent and limited access to high performance computing and storage, situational awareness is compromised and mission success becomes more elusive. The threat is amplified as adversaries attempt to disrupt communications through coordinated cyber and electronic warfare attacks, as those computer and storage resources may only be available if deployed at the edge of the network
High performance computing and storage at the tactical edge is also vital to the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT). From wearables on the troops themselves to connected tanks, helicopters and drones, interconnectivity through a robust IT system is needed to support IoBT, and ensure it remains secure, trusted and available.
Beyond IoBT, networks need data center-like computer, networking and storage capabilities at the edge to support additional applications including: Situational awareness, mission command and C2 applications; signal and image data gathering and analytics workloads and: cybersecurity and virtual desktop infrastructure solutions.
The department will be able to address the challenge of high performance computing and storage at the network edge in 2019 by leveraging an emerging class of modular, tactical data centers available for tactical and expeditionary programs. Using ultra small form factor modules for compute, storage and networking functions reducing size, weight and power, these systems — which are capable of hosting cloud/storage, AI, and analytics applications — can be deployed dismounted, in forward operating bases, command posts, ground vehicles and aircraft, as well as in upper echelons. As a result, the department can support a diverse array of use cases in disconnected, intermittent and limited environments.
The second challenge in 2019 will be command post mobility. Mobile command posts as they currently exist are deployed in tent-based infrastructures which requires hours of setup and breakdown upon moving locations, involving thousands of feet of copper wiring that delay network availability, resulting in a dangerous lack of situational awareness for commanders.
Thus troops who jump from one location to another typically do so in phases, with tents, generators, network servers and satellite links going up first, followed by the running of cables to provide the local-area-network command post support. This process translates into long delays in availability of critical information services, which can in turn lead to increased vulnerability of people and their systems. Entering a dynamic tactical environment “blind” puts warfighters at a significant disadvantage that can lead to loss of life and mission failure.
This is why defense forces necessitate networking on-the-move capabilities. In other words, situational awareness cannot wait until troops establish an at-the-halt position. True mobility demands innovation and modernization designed to reduce size, weight, and power requirements. All else being equal, communications equipment can never be too small, too light, or too power-efficient.
And the third challenge for 2019 will be transmitting classified information over greater distances. Situational awareness suffers relative to adversaries when warfighters lack the confidence to share classified data securely over wireless networks. This challenge will continue to play out in 2019 as the Defense Department continues its shift from wired to wireless battlefield and in-theater communications.
While warfighters already possess the ability to securely transmit classified information using mobile devices at Wi-Fi distances — typically a few hundred feet — around the command post, there is a need to extended this capability over LTE-enabled commercial smartphones and tablets.
In 2019 expect the department to enhance its focus on providing secure warfighter mobility at much greater distances, measured in thousands of feet or several miles from the cellular base station. This will help unlock more widespread use of mobile phone and tablet applications in the tactical communities, improving situational awareness for the warfighter. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
03 Jan 19. Here’s the US Army’s latest electronic warfare project. Europe’s increasingly contested environments have required increasingly complex electronic warfare planning tools. Vehicles, however, can’t house the power of command posts, so the Army is adapting an existing system for the tactical edge. The Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, or EWPMT, is a command-and-control planning capability that allows commanders and soldiers to visualize on a screen the effects of electronic warfare in the field. As part of efforts to provide soldiers additional capabilities for EWPMT ahead of the program’s scheduled add-ons — an effort dubbed Raven Claw — the Army received feedback that troops at the vehicle or platform level don’t need the full application required at command posts.
This feedback coincided with other observations from the Raven Claw deployment, which officials said were mixed.
“It does what it’s supposed to do, but it requires a lot of computing capacity and also it requires a lot of inputs from the [electronic warfare officers] right now,” Col. Mark Dotson, the Army’s capability manager for electronic warfare, told C4ISRNET in a November interview.
In response, a new effort called Raven Feather “will address both processing consumption and critical EW tasks required at the vehicle/platform level,” Lt. Col. Jason Marshall, product manager for electronic warfare integration at Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, told C4ISRNET in response to written questions. “Raven Feather will provide a more tactically focused Graphical User Interface as part of the EWPMT Raven Claw system mounted in the vehicle or loaded into the Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS).”
Dotson added that the Army is eyeing lighter versions of the capability that could be available for lower echelons that may not need as much modeling and simulation.
“We’re looking at ways to tailor it specifically to the echelon, and then that will help us with the platform we need to put it on,” he said. The modeling and simulation might be important at the staff officer level, he added, but he questioned whether that computing power is needed at the micro-tactical level. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
Spectra Group Plc
Spectra has a proven record of accomplishment – with over 15 years of experience in delivering secure communications and cybersecurity solutions for governments around the globe; elite militaries; and private enterprises of all sizes.
As a dynamic, agile, security accredited organisation, Spectra can leverage this experience to deliver Cyber Advisory and secure Hosted and Managed Solutions on time, to spec and on budget, ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices.
Spectra’s SlingShot® is a unique low SWaP system that enables in-service U/VHF tactical radios to utilise Inmarsat’s commercial satellite network for BLOS COTM. Including omnidirectional antenna for the man, vehicle, maritime and aviation platforms, the tactical net can broadcast over 1000s miles between forward units and a rear HQ, no matter how or where the deployment. Unlike many BLOS options, SlingShot maintains full COTM (Communications On The Move) capability and low size and weight
On 23 November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced that it had recently been listed as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier for 2015-2016 by the UK Crown Commercial Services
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 BATTLESPACE Businessman of the Year by BATTLESPACE magazine and is a finalist in the inaugural British Ex-Forces In Business Awards in the Innovator Of The Year category.
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