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

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07 Feb 19. Luxembourg start-up aims to sell signals intelligence as data service. Kleos, a new start-up in Luxembourg, hopes to sell geolocated radio frequency (RF) data as an intelligence service for ministries of defence (MoDs) and other security stakeholders. Its strategy is to use small satellites flying in low-orbit formation to collect the data: a technological solution that can be scaled to fit customer demand, company officials said.

“We’re in the right place with our strategy today because defence ministries and others are saying ‘sell us the data, not the system’, and indeed when you talk to the customer base today the thirst for data is massive,” Andrew Bowyer, CEO of Kleos Space, told Jane’s on 5 February. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

05 Feb 19. DOD sketches plans for cloud-based office apps. The Pentagon has released a draft solicitation for its massive cloud-based back-office email and collaboration platform, giving its most detailed look to date of its vision and strategy. Under the $8.2bn Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract, the Defense Department will buy email, content management, file storage, productivity tools, web conferencing, instant messaging, native audio and video and mobility. The Defense Information Systems Agency is competing DEOS through the General Services Administration’s Schedule 70 vehicle, but certain requirements place a substantial bar that bidders must clear first. Most notably, bidders must have documentation that proves they have reached DOD Impact Level 5 authorization when they make their Phase One quote submission. They also must have either a DOD Impact Level 6 or provisional Level 6 authorization at the time of submission. In print, DOD says that a bid will not be accepted if the bidder has only a non-DOD federal agency authority to operate or only a moderate or high authorization under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. Those requirements will eliminate a significant number of bidders. While it has not attracted the attention or controversy of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud infrastructure contract, DEOS also will draw from a small universe of bidders that can meet the security requirements. Likely bidders and front runners include Microsoft and Google. The contract will be competed as a blanket purchase agreement, and an award will be made on a best value criteria, which will be determined by comparing the non-price factors of technical and management capabilities and past performance. Price alone will not be the deciding factor. As it is a BPA, DOD will not be negotiating with bidders. It will only talk to bidders to clarify elements of their proposal. “The quoter should submit their best terms in the initial quote,” DOD said in the solicitation documents. (Source: Defense Systems)

05 Feb 19. DOD cloud strategy puts JEDI at the center. The Defense Department’s newly released cloud strategypositions the general-purpose Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud initiative as the foundation. The strategy emphasizes a cloud hierarchy at DOD, with JEDI on top and MilCloud second in command, followed by multiple fit-for-purpose clouds.The JEDI program, the document states, is the “foundational approach to deliver the benefits of a General Purpose enterprise cloud for DoD.” Fit-for-purpose clouds, which includes MilCloud 2.0 run by the Defense Information Services Agency (DISA) as well as software-as-a-service models like the $8 billion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions program for email and chat, will be secondary to the commercially run JEDI general-purpose cloud. All secondary clouds would have to work with JEDI, and any new cloud environments would require expressed justification and approval.

“Only when mission needs cannot be supported by General Purpose will Fit For Purpose alternatives be explored,” the strategy states. Additionally, mission owners would have to seek DOD CIO approval “describing the capability and why the General Purpose cloud service does not support their mission.”

“The strategy addresses what we’re trying to do … the problems we’re trying to solve and the objectives [we want to meet],” DOD CIO Dana Deasy said in a statement released alongside the unclassified, 14-page report Feb. 4.

During testimony at a Senate Armed Services cybersecurity subcommittee hearing Jan. 29, Deasy said that DOD needs to stop debating over mission-specific tools and focus entirely on implementation.

“There’s no reason we need different tools to solve for many of these problems,” he told lawmakers. “We need to standardize more, we need to stop rolling individual solutions, we need to move beyond the debates of what are the right product sets, and we need to spend all of our time talking about how to get the work done.”

The strategy also touches on workforce issues, namely a lack of technical talent, but it does not chart a clear path to mitigate them.

“DOD’s workforce must obtain a basic level of cloud proficiency in order to most effectively exploit the benefits of cloud,” acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan wrote in the strategy. “Just as every Marine is a rifleman, every DoD employee must have basic cloud awareness to effectively operate on the 21st century battlefield.”

Additionally, the strategy indicates that the Defense Department’s cloud matters won’t always belong to the CIO. DOD CIO will transfer cloud oversight to a named “enterprise cloud organization with appropriate leadership” after JEDI is fully implemented and the smaller, tailored clouds are matured. It is not clear whether DISA would be that entity or if another unit would be stood up. (Source: Defense Systems)

06 Feb 19. SOCOM needs to step up its propaganda game, Pentagon deputy says. The Defense Department wants U.S. Special Operations Command to do more than the traditional leaflets-and-loudspeakers approach to information warfare, a senior Pentagon official said this week.

“We need to move beyond our 20th century approach to messaging and start looking at influence as an integral aspect of modern irregular warfare,” Andrew Knaggs, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism, said at a defense industry symposium Tuesday.

The shift will require cooperation with civilians rarely approached by SOCOM, as well as new technology and strategies to isolate enemy disinformation campaigns before they catch the public’s interest in an area of operations.

“It will also require new partnerships beyond traditional actors, throughout the world, through efforts to amplify voices of [non-governmental organizations] and individual citizens who bring transparency to malign activities of our competitors,” said Knaggs, who also served as an Army Green Beret with 5th Special Forces Group.

The comments hint at the direction U.S. special operations will be heading as the Pentagon reimagines irregular warfare in an era of great power competition between the United States, China, and Russia. But the need for information operations to sway an audience towards U.S. policy aims is longstanding. Each armed service has elements that work to influence local populations, including Army psychological operations and civil affairs units and Marine military information support operations, or MISO. SOCOM, however, combines information warfare between all the services.

In the past, influencing operations have disseminated information through radio and television. But both state and nonstate actors have shown a knack for 21st-century messaging involving social media. To combat that, military leaders are looking at ideas like pushing persistent cellular service into denied areas, developing equipment that can analyze social media comments quickly and fielding automated translation technology. The new focus will involve “technologies that enable us to operate in bandwidth-constrained environments, that allow us to access planning and processing, [and] that enable us to do more locally, rather than having an extended, highly robust logistical tale,” Knaggs said.

Influencing operations are something the Kremlin already excels at.

Russia’s combined military intelligence and special forces service, the GRU, is often cited as a nefarious actor involved in election interference, social media manipulation, and influence operations in Eastern Europe and the United States.

In July, the U.S. Justice Department charged twelve GRU officers with conspiring to interfere in the 2016 elections. The GRU officers allegedly engaged in active cyber operations that included stealing and selectively disseminating information through fictitious online personas, namely “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0.”

“Our adversaries can weaponize disinformation and propagate it to their advantage, undermining the democratic process and deflecting blame for their malign activities,” Knaggs said. “Rather than hiding from the transparency afforded by the 24-hour news cycle and pervasive social media, our adversaries embrace that cycle and use it to their advantage.”

Exactly what role Knaggs envisions for SOCOM in the information war remains unclear. He did say, however, that the process will involve scaling existing operations within SOCOM.

“We have invested fairly heavily in our [psychological operations],” Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tovo, the former commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, told the Senate Armed Services committee during an April 11 hearing.

SOCOM has been developing new capabilities “that allow us to evaluate the social media space, evaluate the cyber domain, see trend analysis, where opinion is moving, and then how to potentially influence that environment with our own products,” Tovo said.

What the Pentagon wants to do, though, is less of an issue than whether they can actually do it.

“[It’s] not about tools so much as it is about the authorities and permissions to use them,” Tovo said. It largely comes down to “how we, as the U.S. Government, decide to divvy up the information domain in this competitive space, and what agency and executive branch owns what responsibilities.” (Source: Military Times)

07 Feb 19. Defence completes Australia’s largest tech asset disposal. The Department of Defence has repurposed more than 100,000 ICT devices as part of Defence’s largest infrastructure program in over a decade. The $5m project, completed by Greenbox, saw the replacement of over 110,000 mobile and desktop computers as well as processing another 90,000 devices, including monitors, printers, networking equipment and servers.

“Greenbox has provided Defence with a centralised approach to IT asset recovery by managing this large-scale project to a defined and carefully-documented standard to ensure assets were repurposed, and the data they stored was permanently destroyed,” said Shane Mulholland, chair at Greenbox.

“Our sites are designed specifically to handle these types of sensitive projects; we have the capacity to sanitise large numbers of devices simultaneously, backed by accreditations that meet Defence’s stringent cyber security requirements.”

The project was executed across Greenbox’s high-security IT Commissioning Centres in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, and is Defence’s largest infrastructure program in over a decade.

“In addition to delivering to the data security requirements for the project, our processes ensured triple bottom line sustainability, with environmental, social and financial benefits. By giving new life to the 110,000 technology assets, we kept 1,300 tons of materials out of landfill, enough to fill 80 shipping containers,” Mulholland said.

“Repurposing this equipment provides social rewards by making affordable equipment available to communities in need, while also delivering financial returns.”

Greenbox was selected for the project because the “company offered a value for money option and was appropriately accredited to manage over 110,000 pieces of hardware and data sanitisation while offering a transparent chain of custody for the devices”.

All information on the equipment required protection and subsequent destruction as part of the overall process. (Source: Defence Connect)

05 Feb 19. 3 ways the Pentagon could improve cyber intelligence. The United States needs to expand its cyber intelligence authorities and capabilities to meet the Trump administration’s new cybersecurity strategy, according to top current and former government officials and academics. The United States intelligence community’s ability to boost its surveillance of American computer networks, foreign adversaries and even third-party countries is integral to the Trump administration’s plan to be more aggressive in cyberspace.

“We are building relationships with U.S. institutions that are likely to be targets of foreign hacking campaigns — particularly in the nation’s critical infrastructure — before crises develop, replacing transactional relationships with continuous operational collaboration among other departments, agencies, and the private sector.” Gen. Paul Nakasone, head of U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA, said in the January edition of Joint Force Quarterly, a Pentagon publication. “This is a domain where 90 percent of the networks — the critical infrastructure — resides in the private sector, not in the public. This is primarily a private industry-driven domain.”

Under Nakasone, U.S. Cyber Command has embraced the concept of “defend forward,” meaning that cyber staffers operate against enemies on their own virtual territory. It is a tactic that requires significant intelligence capabilities.

“The framing of Cyber Command’s mission requires that it have real-time, fine-grained and current knowledge about adversary forces, capabilities, routines, operating venues and intentions,” wrote Chris Inglis, former deputy NSA director, in the new book “Bytes, Bombs and Spies.” Cyber operations require surveillance “that enables the command to go from a standing start to a precise and responsive engagement in the shortest possible time.”

To boost intelligence and surveillance activities, Inglis recommended improvements in three areas.

First, he suggested boosting sensors deployed in both Pentagon and adversarial networks that operate under existing and “emerging rules.”

Second, he advocated for a greater sharing of bilateral and multilateral information. Inglis appeared to suggest a greater collaboration with private critical infrastructure companies, but admitted it would be limited by “privacy protections and concerns over legal liability.”

Finally, Inglis suggested greater use of commercially available threat information to fuel the intelligence demands of more offensive cyber operations.

“The intelligence requirements for offensive cyber operations are going to be enormous,” Amy Zegart, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a research organization, said during a Jan. 30 event at the National Defense University. But she said it was not clear what the surveillance requirements would mean for the structure of the intelligence community. The key is that the operational decisions need to be made with an understanding of the intelligence requirements behind them, and then dedicate the organizational structures and talent to match that.” (Source: Fifth Domain)

05 Feb 19. Why 5G is a big deal for militaries throughout the world. The public discussion of 5th generation (5G) mobile telephone service has been seen by many – perhaps most – in the United States as just another step in the evolution of mobile communications, a remarkable scientific and commercial development that has wrought a wide range of benefits world-wide over the preceding quarter-century. More recently, the focus has shifted to 5G as a proxy for the U.S.-China trade and technology rivalry. The Trump administration’s effort to change the terms-of-trade with China has brought the subject of commercial and international trade consequences of the proliferation of advanced technologies into sharp relief. The U.S. efforts to extradite the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunication equipment developer and producer, Huawei from her detention in Canada for export control violations have added a geopolitical spin to what has become an increasingly tangled issue. These aspects of the story, while true, do not begin to describe why 5G is such a big deal.

The technologies of 5G communication will create a backbone technology for high speed low latency telecommunication. It will serve as the basis for the global internet-based “Internet of Things” (IoT) with fundamental changes in how goods and services of every imaginable types (and many, perhaps most not yet imagined) can be developed, employed, supported, and replaced. The importance of new technologies is not their ability to do what existing technology can do now, only faster, better, and cheaper even though that is a likely consequence. In the case of 5G, its ultra-low latency (potentially hundreds of times faster than current 4G LTE) produced by its vast bandwidth that allows users to do things that previously could not be done by any practical application of existing technologies. The enormous scale of capital expenditure involved in rapidly bringing 5G technology to market – $325bn by 2025 – to develop and produce the hardware and software needed to deliver early 5G capabilities is unlike any other infrastructure project. Reflecting its national commitment to 5G, nearly half of the world-wide investment in 5G development and employment will be made by China.

The extraordinarily low latency of 5G will allow services such as augmented and virtual reality and an immersive and tactile internet that cannot be delivered by 4G or earlier technology. 5G technology also inverts the classic paradigm of computational scarcity at the network’s edge (e.g. the mobile device) and computational abundance at the center. With computational abundance now at the network edge, the employment of computationally intense emerging technologies (e.g. AI, quantum computing and cryptography, facial recognition) can be performed by mobile devices throughout the network.

5G as part of China’s belt-and-road initiative

While Western governments have tended to see 5G as an important but incremental extension of existing telecommunications services, China has recognized the value of 5G technology with its belt-and-road initiative (BRI). That effort is China’s $1trn global infrastructure project to expand its economic presence and support for its interests on a global scale. China sees it as a key step in becoming the world’s leading economic power by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist state.

The project has several components, one of which has become known as the “digital road.” It anticipates projecting the deployment of China’s 5G telecommunication infrastructure over the dozens of countries now affiliated with the initiative. The 5G telecommunications network would be integrated with another Chinese project, its Beidou (“Big Dipper”) precision navigation and timing system (now in the latter stage of fielding) to displace the U.S. Global Positioning System enabling China’s telecommunications and PNT system to dominate the future IoT and other in areas affected by China’s belt-and-road project.

5G as an instrument of China’s international security policy

China’s global security ambitions overlap its economic aspirations. The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China, the belt-and-road initiative and its associated activities were incorporated in the Chinese Constitution at the 19th CPC. In that context belt and road is a project of the Party, and not the State which significantly elevates its security role and importance to its national leadership.

The BRI creates a global economic presence that has become a combination of commercial enablers for its “Maritime Silk Road” and forward air and naval installations for China’s armed forces. These include air and naval facilities in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, Jiwani, Pakistan (~80-km west of its large commercial port at Gwadar, and a naval base in Sri Lanka (Hambantota, which China acquired in a debt-for-sovereignty swap when Sri Lanka could not service its BRI debt to China). China’s switch from a regional to an aspiring global power reflect its aspirations that have shaped the CPC’s rule since Mao: the deconstruction the old-world order in favor of one which gives China its rightful place at the zenith of a new international order.

The incorporation of the technology 5G telecommunication and Chinese controlled PNT parallels a trend in US military practice. DoD military communications, like China’s is moving to a wireless, mobile, and cloud-based IT systems built around 5G technology. China’s convergence of its 5G, BRI presence (military and civil), PNT and dominant role in the BRI member states are aimed at becoming the world’s leading economic and military power by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist State in 2049. 5G is both an enabler and product of China’s remarkable economic growth since 1979 and is likely to become a central element of China’s economic and military power for the 1st half of the 21st century. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

04 Feb 19. France considers integrating AI with software defined radios. Thales’ CONTACT SDR could soon benefit from AI algorithms to support network routing of communications. (Thales)France’s Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) is considering artificial intelligence (AI) technology to support the French Army’s mobile communications requirements. According to Captain Guillaume Journaux, deputy head of the DGA’s Telecommunication Branch, commercial AI technology could be leveraged to improve French ground forces’ communications on-the-move.

At the Mobile Deployable Communications conference in Warsaw, Poland, on 31 January, Journaux said DGA has observed some initial project demonstrations in the civilian domain, where AI was used to support network routing.

Additional areas that could benefit from AI, he said, included antenna design, channel estimation, voice and data encoding, voice and data compression, and waveform design. Algorithms could also support network planning, resource allocation, quality of service, and communications security. However, Cap Journaux warned that using AI in software defined radio (SDR) technology could also come with a series of implications regarding the size, weight, and power of handheld, manpack, and vehicle-mounted systems. These, he explained, could include greater power consumption requirements, the integration of larger or even additional microchip technologies and sensors on board SDRs, and increased data demands upon the radio.

“We are in the early stages of research and development, but efforts are closely linked to the [French Army’s] CONTACT [SDR] programme,” Cap Journaux told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

04 Feb 19. A tweaked DoD cloud strategy looks beyond Amazon. A recent Department of Defense memorandum indicates that the agency wants to pursue multiple commercial cloud vendors as it attempts to modernize its IT and data infrastructure, though a single provider will still have singular influence over the agency’s “general purpose cloud.”

“DoD is driving toward an enterprise cloud environment that is composed of a general purpose cloud and multiple fit-for-purpose clouds,” the memorandum to Congress, released Feb. 4, said.

“In addition, it should be recognized that the Department will still need non-cloud data center capability for applications that are not suited for the cloud. Over time, with the adoption of an enduring enterprise cloud strategy, the non-cloud environment should become smaller.”

That general purpose slot will be filled by the awardee of the $10bn Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, which has been criticized for its single-award intent as giving the winner an outsized control of the defense cloud market.

Many companies vying to support the Pentagon’s cloud requirements claimed that the odds were stacked in Amazon’s favor. The approach spurred protests and a lawsuit in fact.

According to the memorandum, the fit-for-purpose environment will be made up of theDefense Information Systems Agency’s milCloud suite, as well as other unnamed vendors.

Throughout the cloud migration process, DoD will stick to four guiding principles:

  1. War-fighter First — any cloud solution must at all times address the needs of improving lethality while not jeopardizing the safety and mission of American war fighters.
  2. Cloud-Smart, Data-Smart — cloud solutions must streamline transformation and embrace modern capabilities while enhancing data transparency and visibility.
  3. Leverage Commercial Industry Best Practices — the cloud strategy should promote competition and innovation while preventing lock-in of one particular solution or technology.
  4. Create a Culture Better Suited for Modern Technology Evolution — the strategy will need to create a culture of learning and innovation while discouraging custom, federated approaches.

This approach to commercial cloud is not entirely unexpected, as DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasey said during an October 2018 press event for the Defense Enterprise Office Solution cloud contract that the agency would be delineating between general purpose and fit for purpose contracts.

“This marks a milestone in our efforts to adopt the cloud and also in our larger efforts to modernize information technology across the DOD enterprise,” Deasy said in a statement on the memo to Congress.

“A modern digital infrastructure is critical to support the war fighter, defend against cyberattacks and enable the department to leverage emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

The new strategy also means that DoD will move away from a cybersecurity posture that focuses on perimeter defense and instead prioritize the protection of data and systems.

“DoD will produce a unified cybersecurity architecture that addresses cloud and the needs of classified and unclassified missions and data. The capabilities will be tested and assessed independently and frequently to ensure that cybersecurity attributes remain effective against developing threats,” the memo said, adding that the CIO will determine the command and control requirements between the agency and the cloud service providers.

Cloud contracts will also likely include requirements for training and workforce development to ensure that DoD can develop the expertise necessary to use and protect their new cloud environments.

And any potential migrations to cloud will have to come with thorough evaluations of legacy DoD applications.

“It is imperative that DoD has a cloud strategy to ensure that legacy applications are not moved to cloud without properly re-architecting them to make use of the data, security, resiliency and application advantages that cloud provides,” the memo said.

“Additionally, DoD should independently test and assess cloud network security to verify security compliance and incident response and review all contractor and third-party testing results to ensure that performance and security monitoring are sufficient.” (Source: Defense News/Federal Times)

04 Feb 19. How will the Army use electronic warfare? The Pentagon’s weapon tester wants to know. The Pentagon’s top weapons tester said the Army needs to more clearly establish how it will use electronic warfare systems as it conducts a significant., years-long initiative to rebuild its jamming capabilities for the first time since the Cold War.

According to the annual report from the director of operational test and evaluation, the Army’s current publications don’t clearly help units refine their “tactics, techniques, and procedures” or for organizing and using electronic warfare on the battlefield.

Moreover, the report noted that “procedures for coordination between intelligence and EW are evolving.” The report, released Jan. 31, added that “as the Army refines doctrine, it will need to place emphasis on coordination between EW and intelligence to provide EW crews with the essential information required to discern between friendly and enemy signals.”

Weapons testers looked at a suite of tools delivered to U.S. Army Europe as the gap between Russian EW capabilities and the United States grows.

Those systems, which were a combination of program of record capabilities and rapidly developed systems, included:

– The Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT), which provides commanders with command and control of the electromagnetic spectrum;

– Raven Claw, an add-on to EWPMT, which allows soldiers to conduct electronic warfare planning and management on the move and without a network connection. This is critical in Europe, where troops are rarely tethered to a static command post;

– The Versatile Radio Observation and Direction Finding Modular Adaptive Transmitter (VMAX), which provides a limited electronic attack and sensing capability,

– Sabre Fury, which is a vehicle-mounted system for direction finding and jamming.

The weapons testers observed the 173rd Airborne Brigade and 2nd Brigade/1st Infantry Division during Joint Warfighting Assessment 18.1 at Hohenfels, Germany. That assessment is a multinational training event that focuses on joint and interoperability.

The Army, in April 2017, published a field manual for what it calls cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA), which encompasses the growing convergence of cyber and electronic warfare at the tactical edge. However, given the rapid pace of the cyber and electronic warfare space, combined with the rapid deployment of capabilities, some top leaders have said the Army will have to update its doctrine every 18 months.

The Army also published an electronic warfare strategy in August 2018.

Army leaders are also now beginning to converge electronic warfare and signals intelligence. Given the similarities between the two disciplines, the service is beginning to develop integrated EW-signals intelligence systems.

The Army is also building new electronic warfare platoons beneath military intelligence companies. The service plans to establish a pilot unit in fiscal 2019 with I Corps to conduct experimentation on what the Army wants on the capability side. (Source: Defense News)

04 Feb 19. Leading safety equipment manufacturer and supplier Survitec will introduce two new protective suits for chemical, biological and radioactive environments at IDEX, which takes place in Abu Dhabi from 17 – 21 February. The DEMRON ICE suit incorporates patented nanotechnology to protect against low-level gamma radiation. Studies carried out by Lawrence Livermore National Defence Laboratory show that the suit provides at least 50% shielding of gamma rays of up to 130Kev.

Manufactured from liquid metal particles the DEMRON fabric has a high thermal conductivity and cools the wearer down on the inside of the garment as heat transfers through the fabric.

Paul Parry, Group CBRN Business Manager, Survitec, said: “This suit will revolutionise the way CBR (chemical, biological and radiological) suits can be worn. Not only will it keep the first responder cool, but it will also protect against low-level gamma radiation.

“Many standard CBR suits on the market offer radiological protection against radioactive particulates created by an explosion, as these particles can dusted off. However, unlike the DEMRON ICE suit, they do not protect against low level gamma radiation.”

The second suit being showcased by Survitec for the first time is the NormMb suit. Combining carbon and membrane technologies, the hybrid suit has been designed for use in chemical/biological scenarios and protects against traditional warfare agents, such as mustard gas. One of the benefits of the hybrid system is that liquid threats are defeated in accordance with NATO standards.

Parry said: “The NormMb suit has a waterproof and liquid agent protective layer. This stops the suit being affected by water or excessive perspiration. It brings together carbon and membrane technologies to create a unique performance characteristic.”

Designed for land-forces, the suit uses a material that contains filters equipped with spherical activated carbon, as well as air, water and gas treatment filters. It is highly air permeable and adsorbent, washable and resistant to seawater.

Both suits will be available to view at the Survitec Stand 05-C22 at IDEX, where company representatives will be on hand to discuss the suits’ features and the new fabric technology used in their development.

Survitec will also be showcasing these new suits, along with a range of new safety products and boats, in daily “in-action” demonstrations taking place in the marina adjacent to the IDEX exhibition.

02 Feb 19. Why the US Army wanted a Combat Capabilities Development Command. The US Army wants to better understand the emerging technology scene and learn how to purchase the right equipment to stay ahead of nations such as Russia and China.

One way it plans to do that is by renaming its Research, Development and Engineering Command, responsible for providing innovative research to give the Army a competitive edge, to Combat Capabilities Development Command. In a formal ceremony Jan. 30, the Army also moved the organization’s authority from Material Command to Futures Command.

“The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command is an essential, if not, [in] my opinion, the most essential organization within this new framework,” Gen. Gus Perna, commander of Materiel Command, said during the Jan. 30 transfer of authority ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The Army decided to move its primary research and development command to Futures Command because, for the first time in 40 years, it risks not being able to technologically overwhelm an opponent, Perna said.

The Army created Futures Command, to focus exclusively on those abilities the service will need in the long run, and not the near term.

“There can be no persistent overmatch without constant modernization and there could be no real modernization without quality research and development,” he said. “The world class scientists and engineers, technicians and support staff of this organization are some of the most talented and respected professionals in their field.”

Gen. John “Mike” Murray, the head of Futures Command, told reporters following the ceremony that having these professional scientists and engineers under his purview will be “absolutely instrumental” to what the command wants to accomplish.

The Army had begun to take steps in this direction by placing staffers from its research and development community with the requirements community as a way to improve development on new Army platforms.

Murray noted that determining what is feasible from a technology standpoint before writing requirements is a key piece of Futures Command’s responsibility. CCDC plays a role in that by performing the prototyping, conducting the experimentation and getting solider feedback, Murray said.

CCDC’s commander, Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, told reporters that his new organization’s focus is to ensure the Army expands its use of prototypes so that the service can experiment with things more often to help shape requirements.

One example of how the organization will help the Army is through integrating commercial- and government-developed solutions for specific military uses.

“It’s not really about us leading the way in the development of things as it relates to the network and the capabilities that will allow us to extend the network. It’s about being able to leverage those [commercial off the shelf] solutions … to be able to make sure that the unique aspects of that technology for the military in the environments that we would often be faced with fighting still provide a reliable secure, easy to use system,” Wins said.

“It’s going to be about taking advantage of those technologies that exist through [commercial off the shelf] and making sure that our inputs and our technology that’s inserted allows it to operate in tactical environments of various different types.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

01 Feb 19. Russian Army receives Artek systems. The Russian Army’s 41st Combined Arms Army stationed in the Altai Territory of the Central Military District has received three upgraded Artek radio communications stations, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced on 29 January. The R-166-05 Artek radio station has been designed to provide radio communications on short and ultrashort wave bands in ground and airborne electronic warfare environments. The station operates in two independent directions of radio communication at the same time. The R-166-05 Artek station is integrated on a BTR-80 armoured personnel carrier. The new equipment will be used by signal units of the Alei motorised rifle brigade and nuclear, biological and chemical defence forces during major manoeuvres and tactical exercises. (Source: Shephard)

01 Feb 19. Thales seeks to expand Cyberlab beyond Belgium. Thales has secured a range of military customers for its ‘Cyberlab’ in Tubize, Belgium, and now plans to roll the concept out to its subsidiaries in other countries, the company has told Jane’s.

The Belgian Cyberlab was established in 2017, with three major functions in mind, said Yves Looverie, Thales’ sales and marketing manager for Cybersecurity Services: Practice, Validate, and Experiment. As a training platform, it aims to school customers in the skills to defend their systems and organisations against cyber-attacks. It is also able to reproduce industrial control systems and networks and other potential targets of cyber attack, analysing their resistance capabilities, he said.

Finally, Cyberlab can evaluate military or industrial solutions and products in terms of their cyber security or help develop products that are “secured by design”, Looverie added.

The laboratory has trained military personnel from across the Belgian services, Looverie noted. For example, Thales has built scenarios where hackers gain access to the lubrication systems of an engine in a Belgian Navy frigate, to illustrate the potential risks of a cyber attack.

The Cyberlab employs a hybrid approach, using a mix of real and virtual equipment, Looverie said. The virtual aspect makes the platform scalable. It can include a mixture of hardware and software applications while external components can also be plugged in, depending on customer requirements, he said.

In a typical training scenario, the room is divided into three areas to represent a real operational environment: the blue team ‘spot’ is for the customer and can support up to five people who manage the virtual network; the red team spot comprises up to three Thales’ hackers who attempt to penetrate the blue team’s infrastructure; and the final spot, which contains the required servers and other equipment to support the infrastructure, comprises the ‘management team’: Thales’ employees who oversee the scenario on screens and provide real-time feedback. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

01 Feb 19. Indra undertakes neural networks research for Spanish Navy. Indra is carrying out a new research, development and innovation (RDI) project, known as Soprene, to study the use of neural networks to enhance the capabilities of the Spanish Navy. Under the two-year RDI project, the company will conduct research into the application of artificial intelligence techniques for the maintenance of Spanish Navy ships. The scope of the research will also include enhancing the maximum availability and optimal state of the fleet and its capabilities. The research project was awarded by the Ministry of Defense through the Armament and Materiel General Directorate (DGAM). It is seen as a significant step towards introducing the Industry 4.0 concept in the armed forces.

According to Indra, the outcome of the research will form a key part of the Future Integrated Navy Maintenance System 4.0, which is regarded as a solution to supervise the maintenance of an increasingly digitalised and technologically advanced fleet. The company will evaluate the advantages of applying these techniques to the data gathered from ships while at sea. Techniques being studied by the company are expected to imitate the ability and strategies adopted by human brains for reasoning and decision-making. Combined with computing power provided by advanced computers, neural networks will help detect patterns unnoticed by human beings, Indra noted. The implementation of the technology enhances the effectiveness of fleet maintenance by avoiding unforeseen breakdowns, increasing their availability and saving costs. Furthermore, the technology will support automatic ship diagnoses, thereby reducing the dependence on humans for classifying and detecting anomalies.

Custom dashboards or control panels will be available to allow operators to monitor the entire process. The system is capable of sending alerts for engineers and technicians to intervene and to predict potential failures, lack of maintenance or the need to renew components.

In a statement, Indra said: “This technology will avoid failures that could jeopardise a mission or the safety of the crew. The workload of the team responsible for these tasks will be reduced and the Spanish Navy will gain in terms of days at sea of greater quality.” (Source: naval-technology.com)

31 Jan 19. What do Cyber Command’s acquisition requests reveal U.S. Cyber Command is looking to beef up its main acquisition and capabilities development arm with contractor support. In a Jan. 25 request for information released on the FedBizOpps website, Cyber Command’s J9, or advanced concepts and technology directorate, is seeking feedback on a statement of work to provide front office support. The feedback will help craft the eventual requirements. Previously, the J9 was known as the Capabilities Development Group. The CDG had a three-pronged mission: planning and synchronizing capability development for the joint cyber force; developing capabilities in order to reduce risk or meet urgent operational needs; and maintaining the command’s technical baseline. It was established in 2016 to coordinate, integrate and prioritize cyber tool development and delivery efforts across the services given the joint nature of cyberspace and the need to enable greater synergy across the joint cyber mission force.

CDG was recently redesignated as the J9. This was done to clarify its goals and mission and to better align with Joint Staff and other unified combatant commands — all of which have J9s — a Cyber Command spokesman told Fifth Domain. Cyber Command, stood up in 2009, itself was elevated to a full unified combatant command in May 2018.

As the command is looking to scale up its operations and its capabilities, it is going to need a more robust staff. Experts have noted that the CDG, now J9, has been very stressed over the past few years with a limited staff and burdened by developing tools for current operational needs — namely the fight against ISIS, called Joint Task Force-Ares.

Cyber Command’s top acquisition official, Stephen Schanberger, said as recently as September 2018 that the command is in its infancy from an acquisition perspective, adding that the command at the time had one contracting officer, one specialist and a couple of contractors aside from himself in the contracting shop. He did say he expected those numbers to double in the next three months at the time.

Congress granted Cyber Command limited acquisition authority in 2016 following the model of Special Operations Command. It capped acquisition funds at $75m, sunsetting in 2021.

The thinking at the time, according to congressional staff, was to take a crawl, walk, run approach and see if the command could demonstrate it could properly exercises its limited authority.

Schanberger said they want the command to show Congress it can use the authority in the way it’s supposed to and start to stand up the backbone of a contracting organization. This includes being able to put together solicitation packages, plan contracting strategy for years ahead and be able to effectively implement and put out proposals and award them without making a mess. Schanberger added in September that the command wants a ceiling of $250m and a sunset of 2025.

In the recent request for information, Cyber Command is seeking a full range of program support, policy support and advisory and assistance services to support the needs of the J9 executive front office, which will assist in long-range planning, development of strategic communications, review of policies and procedures, recommending documentation and policy updates, consulting and reporting.

A few of the specific tasks the document asks contractors to perform include:

  • J9 strategy and policy — Contractors should help with interagency coordination, drafting policy, doctrine and concepts, provide long term planning strategy to support the growth and evolution of the command to include manpower, workforce structure, fiscal and acquisition expertise.
  • Strategic coordination support — Contractors should work to communicate key command messages, supporting development topics to build awareness of overall cyber goals and objectives and managing logistics for events.
  • Legislative preparation. (Source: Fifth Domain)

01 Feb 19. Is it time to rethink JRSS? The Defense Department’s Joint Regional Security Stacks program is behind schedule, undermanned, riddled with connectivity and security issues and needs to be shut down — at least for now, according to an internal Pentagon evaluation report released Jan. 31.

The Pentagon’s CIO and the military branches “should discontinue deploying JRSS’s until the system demonstrates that it is capable of helping network defenders to detect and respond to operationally realistic cyber-attacks,” the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) recommended.

JRSS is part of major IT reform to reduce DOD’s vulnerabilities and access points. But the “difficulty inherent in integrating disparate, complex commercial technologies into a functional system of systems” along with “insufficient training” and underdeveloped standard operating procedures have stalled progress, the report found.

The program’s troubles aren’t entirely surprising. The Air Force previously revealed its paused migration and connectivity struggles last year, as did the Army. The Coast Guard began migrating in April with a goal of completing the transition by the end of fiscal 2019 — a timeline in step with DOD’s original ambitions.

But in a year’s time, the Defense Department hasn’t made any substantive progress with the JRSS migrations. In March, then-acting CIO Essye Miller said DOD had 14 stacks stood up across the non-classified network and was on track to have all 23 up later this year. However, no additional stacks have been deployed in the 11 months since, according to the report.

Lack of personnel seems to be one of the biggest challenges to the JRSS. The Army “could not certify that they had sufficient manning to assume the JRSS mission” and the Defense Information Systems Agency, which is the prime integrator for the program, reported that it was 17 government positions short, needing more engineers, administrators, development operations managers, and project managers.

DISA’s Global Operations Command East is covering the shortages for now and “plans to be properly manned by July 2019.”

DOT&E noted that despite using commercial solutions, operator training is lagging, which hampers deployment. Additionally, there have not been any codified defensive tactics, techniques, and procedures across the military services, DISA, and U.S. Cyber Command.

On top of halting deployments, the director recommended routine cyber assessments with realistic threats, refining JRSS deployment plans to shrink the data transmitted through each stack to reduce clogs, and having the JRSS program manager work more cohesively with the services. The report also urges the program manager to “use operationally realistic test results to improve current JRSS configurations, training, and procedures, and to inform future” migration decisions. (Source: Defense Systems)

 

01 Feb 19. DOT&E highlights weaknesses in US Navy EW system testing. The 2018 report from the Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) has called on the US Navy (USN) to address critical gaps in its ability to realistically simulate anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) seeker performance and approach profiles in support of Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) testing. Released on 31 January, the DOT&E’s annual scorecard suggests the shortfalls will severely limit the fidelity of initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) for the SEWIP Block 3 system. Being developed by Northrop Grumman, SEWIP Block 3 introduces advanced electronic attack (EA) functionality into the SEWIP architecture under the designation AN/SLQ-32(7). In its assessment of electronic warfare (EW) test resources and environments, the DOT&E said a gap in the navy’s ability to realistically represent multiple ASCM seekers during test was initially identified in its 2013 annual report. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

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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.

Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.

 

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