Sponsored by Spectra Group
06 Mar 19. NSA-Cyber Command Chief Recommends No Split Until 2020. The commander of the nation’s top military cybersecurity organizations, the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, has recommended they split from each other next year, Defense One has confirmed. That’s another delay for an organizational change first planned for in 2016 and since slowed to allow officials time to sort out the authorities for the civilian agency and military command and ensure that both entities can perform well independently. Gen. Paul Nakasone, who leads NSA and CYBERCOM, recommended to former Defense Secretary James Mattis last August that the split be put off until 2020, current and former intelligence officials told Defense One this week. Those officials believe the general’s recommendation will be accepted by Pentagon leaders, though Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s views are not known. A Pentagon spokesman said no official decision has been made. Previous reports have hinted at the timing without confirming a year. In December, Defense Onefiled a Freedom of Information Act request to the command for the information, which was denied on the basis that the information was “pre-decisional.”
Nakasone told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that the decision how to split the organizations “remains with the secretary.”
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter first floated the idea to split the agencies in 2016. They currently function under a “dual-hat arrangement”: the four-star head of CYBERCOM also leads the NSA. In the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers authorized DOD to split CYBERCOM from the NSAand elevate it to be the nation’s tenth unified combatant command, on par with Strategic Command, which controls nuclear weapons, and combatant commands for troops in various regions around the globe. The bill also authorized the creation of a new civilian director of NSA. But the split was only to occur if the defense secretary and chairman of the Joints Chiefs certified to Congress that the split would not hurt the command. Congress directed no timing for the split.
The sources also confirmed a report in October that Chris Inglis, former deputy director of the NSA, is the pick to lead the independent civilian agency after the breakup. Inglis is popular with intelligence officials and others in the private cybersecurity community who spoke to Defense One.
Why so long to split the two entities? The concern has always been how well CYBERCOM would perform with less access to NSA’s tools and capabilities. (U.S. Cyber Command was established in 2009, the NSA in 1952.)
The marriage has, at times, been difficult.
“NSA can’t achieve its full potential because it has to do so much for Cyber Command. That’s a widely held view,” said one former senior intelligence official. The timing also depended on whether the latter’s head could generate “resources Cyber Command doesn’t have.” For example, the former official said, CYBERCOMlacks the NSA’s recruiting infrastructure.
The former official said the agencies will be better able to carry out their increasingly divergent missions as separate organizations. The NSA’s principal charges are collecting foreign intelligence and protecting critical U.S. networks. Cyber Command focuses on collecting signals intelligence collection, defending networks, and achieving cyber effects, such as targeting and manipulating enemy computers, systems, and phones — all in support of U.S. military operations. (They also play a supporting role to DHS in the event a massive attack aimed at U.S.infrastructure.) “The NSA architecture and tools are not fit for Cyber Command,” said the former official. Both agreed that the recommendation was likely to pass.
Under Nakasone, CYBERCOM disrupted Russian disinformation operations during the U.S. 2018 midterm elections. He also played a big role in the offensive cyber operations against ISIS.Previously, he helped Gen. Keith Alexander stand up U.S. Cyber Command and helped Army and Navy Cyber Mission Force teams hit operational capability ahead of schedule. (Source: Defense One)
07 Mar 19. Radiation detection specialist Arktis Radiations Detectors has developed a new flat panel gamma (FPG) detector which is set to improve significantly the capability for detecting radioactive sources in a variety of applications. The slim form factor of Arktis’ new detector means that gamma detectors can now be placed in areas where it was previously unfeasible or untenable for cost reasons. The modest size, weight and power requirements of the FPGs will increase considerably the locations where the detectors can be fitted. This type of detector allows operators to distinguish dangerous radioactive isotopes from benign ones. The technology brings advantages to several market segments. FPGs can easily be fitted in security equipment that allows for the detection of radioactive sources, while one of the most intriguing concepts is “Sensing Walls”, where detectors are concealed behind walls or billboards. Integration into other systems is enhanced by having signal processing on board the detector. Successful trials have already been carried out in drone applications, where sensitivity per payload is key. FPGs happen to be unbeatable in this metric.Initial reaction to the development has been extremely positive. Arktis CEO Rico Chandra explained: “This year, sales of our Flat Panel Gamma (FPG) detectors have exceeded neutron detector sales for the first time. Our customers see FPGs as an enabling technology, opening the door to a whole range of applications. This includes tasks way beyond the detection of radiological threats.
“For some time now Arktis has pioneered in large area solid state radiation detectors. With FPG we have expanded our lead from neutron to gamma detection. I expect our advance to grow as our customers win business with their newly enabled products.”
06 Mar 19. Flinders Uni, Canadian partnership to combat biological weapons. Flinders University has collaborated with the government of Canada on new responses to the growing threat of biological weapons used by either state or asymmetric threats. The challenge to protect global communities against deliberate health threats is being addressed by researchers devising new tools and intelligence responses at Flinders University, with assistance from the government of Canada.
The Torrens Resilience Institute, based at Flinders University, has been awarded $921,977 for a new three-objective program, to work in partnership with the Weapons Threat Reduction Program (WTRP) at Global Affairs Canada.
Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor Paul Arbon, who is also director of the Torrens Resilience Institute, will be leading the project, which will be managed by Dr Rebecca Hoile – an international bioterrorism expert who has previously headed chemical, biological and radiological (CBRN) sub-directorate preparedness and prevention at INTERPOL in Lyon.
“During discussions with the sector, it was identified that strengthening the detection of suspicious biological events at the field level were needed across the health and security interface. This includes increasing access to resources to assist in identifying what constitutes a potential deliberate event and actions to address the challenges of a deliberate incident,” Professor Arbon said.
The new Torrens Resilience Institute project aims to deliver three outcomes:
- An improved CBRN intelligence database, based on international data regarding threats, incidents and trends;
- Developing improved co-ordination of response agencies and governments within the region; and
- Developing a portable ‘in-field’ tool for health and veterinary services.
Project LINK comprises a set of activities designed to reduce the impact of CBRN incidents and mitigate the global health security risk by addressing the need for improved coordination and enhanced tools for health security responses to deliberate incidents.
Recent incidents involving the deliberate use of CBRN materials have occurred in Iraq, Syria, the UK, Malaysia, America and elsewhere. The growing prevalence of biological weapons adds to growing evidence that criminal and terrorist individuals and groups are successfully acquiring materials and precursors for the production, trafficking and potential use of CBRN materials and agents, and intend to use biological pathogens and toxins to cause harm.
Dr Hoile, currently based at the TRI and former head of the bioterrorism prevention program at INTERPOL, said, “Today’s global counter terrorism environment requires innovative methodologies and resources to better respond to threats and acts involving the deliberate use of CBRN agents.”
Such threats have prompted a higher level of responses to problematic biological events – and Flinders researchers will be working at the forefront of these important developments.
“The vulnerability remains as efforts to increase biosecurity and suitable education continue. Project LINK will provide an opportunity to continue building resources required to combat this issue,” Dr Hoile explained.
Since its establishment in 2002, Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program (formerly known as the Global Partnership Program), has delivered more than C$1.3bn in programs to mitigate threats posed by weapons of mass destruction.
The Program works with partner countries, international organisations and non-governmental organisations on projects aimed at preventing weapons and materials of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists and states that harbour them. It implements Canada’s obligations under the G7-led Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
The Torrens Resilience Institute was established at Flinders University in 2009 to support organisations and societies in their ability to respond to disruptive challenges that could potentially overwhelm local disaster-management capabilities. (Source: Defence Connect)
05 Mar 19. IAI unveils new anti-jammer for ground GNSS systems. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on 4 March unveiled a new version of its ADA system that prevents GNSS signals being jammed. ADA-O is designed for armoured vehicles and other larger land and sea platforms, a company representative said, adding that it can be integrated with ease to protect navigation, telecommunications, command-and-control, and other systems.
“This product joins our anti-jamming family line,” Alex Levit, product line manager at IAI’s Malam Division, said. “It takes all of our anti-jamming achievements and brings them to the market for surface protection. It is rugged, allowing it to work in very tough circumstances, directly in the sun 24-7.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Mar 19. Cubic signs maintenance contract with Boeing. Cubic Corporation has announced it will conduct maintenance repair and overhaul services for the Defence High Frequency Communications System (DHFCS) in Townsville after signing a contract with Boeing Defence Australia.
Cubic Global Defense’s Australian operations made the agreement with Boeing, and the company said the deal highlighted Cubic’s commitment to Townsville, as well as capitalising on its “specialised skills and expertise in the provision of maintenance and repair of equipment supporting high frequency (HF) stations”.
“The new depot capability in Townsville is the only Cubic repair depot for this equipment in the world, outside of Cubic’s headquarters in San Diego, California,” said Mark Horn, director of business development, Cubic Defence Australia.
“The repair capability includes staff training in San Diego, acquisition of specialist support and test equipment, as well as facility upgrades at the Townsville depot.”
The DHFCS is used by the Australian Defence Force to provide “survivable, reliable, wide-area strategic and tactical high frequency communications over Australia and offshore”, with Townsville one of five locations around the country to host the system.
The system was designed, installed and commissioned by Boeing Defence Australia in 2004, with further enhancements being delivered by the company since then, including an 8-kilowatt transmitter system upgrade.
“Boeing is continually looking at how we can improve our support for what is a world-leading and cost-effective information exchange capability for the Australian Defence Force,” said Boeing Defence Australia program manager for HF communications Nicole Harrow.
“Our new partnership with Cubic enables us to move this maintenance activity to Australia, rapidly improving the turn-around time on repairs and reducing the potential impact of any downtime.”
Cubic supplied 8-kilowatt HF transmitters in 2015 to Boeing, with its Townsville-based staff heavily involved in the manufacture, test and acceptance and onsite training for the systems. (Source: Defence Connect)
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.