Sponsored by Spectra Group
04 Apr 19. US Army To Start Enterprise IT “As A Service” Effort With Three Pilot Programs In FY19, Five More In 2020. The Army’s new “as a service” approach to address its lagging enterprise information
technology (IT) modernization will include 15 prototype projects across its installations, starting with with three pilot programs in 2019 and another five in 2020, according to a new notice. Officials released a Request for Information on Thursday detailing initial requirements for the Army’s new “Enterprise IT as a Service” (EITaaS) model, which will shift its modernization focus toward industry bringing in contractor owned and operated IT.
“The Army has 288 bases and other operating locations throughout the world, each with unique hardware configurations, data strategies and application architectures. Due to these inconsistencies, the management and availability of data, hardware and applications has
become less effective for the user as well as inefficient and expensive,” officials wrote in the RFI. “The standard acquisition model of buying hardware/software has hindered agility and has made integration, maintenance, and operations between hardware, data and applications extremely difficult to manage.”
Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the Army chief information officer, detailed the new “as a service” effort in March, which he described as “fundamentally different approach” to be rolled out over the next 12 to 24 months to more rapidly upgrade the service’s enterprise technology.
The 15 prototype programs will start with three pilot programs in FY ’19, including implementing services at the Futures Command headquarters in Austin, Texas, followed by programs five bases in FY ’20 to validate the scalability of the “as a service” approach.
“By assessing alternative IT acquisition and delivery methods for selected on-premise, government-operated IT services and operations, the Army can determine the most effective way to deliver a reliable, resilient, and secure network,” officials wrote. Current plans for EITaaS are set to follow three lines of effort, “Network as a Service” for Wide
Area Network and communication services, “End User Services” for Army enterprise devices and “Compute and Store” for data analytics and application hosting.
“The EITaaS pilot will assess feasibility and deploy commercial solutions for data transport, end-user device provision, and cloud services for selected Army installations,” officials wrote. (Source: Defense Daily)
03 Apr 19. US Army scientists develop materials for chemical threat detection. US Army scientists are developing self-indicating colourimetric response materials that will help soldiers with potential toxic chemical threat detection on the battlefield. The new materials are capable of changing their colour when they come in contact with specific chemical compounds. This property of the materials is expected to provide soldiers in the field with the capability to determine potential contamination on various surfaces and take proper action. The development effort is being led by US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Chemical Biological Center research scientist Dr Jennifer Soliz.
Dr Soliz said: “Self-indicating colourimetric response materials maintain their colour change once exposed, which is one of the primary benefits of these novel materials.
“I have synthesised several inorganic compositions of the self-indicating colourimetric response materials over time and have had them tested and evaluated with agents, opioids, and interferents.
“It was exciting to receive news that exposing the materials to specific analytes produced the expected colour changes and that the materials did not change colour when exposed to interferents, which was a significant breakthrough for the army.”
The new materials are being developed to be able to detect chemical agents that include G-type compounds such as sarin, V-type compounds, and H-type compounds such as sulphur mustard.
They do not require solvents for detection of different concentrations of vapour hazards, opioids and other emerging threat compounds.
According to Dr Soliz, the use of these materials is being expanded for incorporation into films, equipment coatings for unmanned army operations, and ultra-lightweight portable chemical sensors, as well as fibre optic cables for perimeter defence security.
The research project has been receiving funding support from the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Furthermore, the University of Alabama’s physicists and engineers have been selected by Dr Soliz to help explore the use of the materials in the development of chemical sensing prototypes. (Source: army-technology.com)
03 Apr 19. STRATCOM Declares IOC for New Nuclear C3 Enterprise Center. U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) formally declared initial operational capability of its new Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Enterprise Center (NEC) April 3, which will lay the groundwork for the command to lead efforts to revamp the Pentagon’s NC3 architecture for future operations. Last year, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis assigned the role of NC3 operational commander to the STRATCOM commander, recognizing the need to emphasize the department’s system of sensors, communications capabilities and command-and-control facilities that enable the president and senior leaders to exercise authority over the U.S. military’s nuclear arsenal of bombers, submarines and missiles.
Mattis directed STRATCOM to develop the NC3 Governance Improvement Implementation Plan, which would help direct the NEC’s mission, establish program roles and offer direction to other government agencies, according to the command. The NEC, located at STRATCOM’s headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, will serve as the heart of the NC3 enterprise,
and help to restructure situation-monitoring, decision-making, force direction, force management and planning for NC3.
“The center was created to help break down stovepipes in NC3 operations across the Defense Department,” said Elizabeth Durham-Ruiz, USSTRATCOM NC3 Enterprise Center director in a Wednesday statement. “We want to bring a whole-of-government approach to NC3 as we focus on operations, requirements, systems engineering and integration, and analytics for the entire enterprise.” U.S. Strategic Command Commander Air Force Gen. John Hyten has frequently expressed concern over the aging legacy NC3 system, and called its modernization his highest priority in
testimony before Congress. The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review notes that it has been three decades since the system has been comprehensively modernized. Nuclear command, control and communications modernization should be viewed as “the fifth pillar” of the U.S. nuclear modernization effort, said a recent report by the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute in partnership with the Mitre Corp.
“The United States will lack a credible nuclear deterrent if it does not also possess a nuclear command and control system that provides ‘no fail’ communications to nuclear forces in a future environment that will include unique threats and challenges,” said the report, titled “Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Command, Control and Communications.”
It recommends the Air Force – which controls 75 percent of the Pentagon’s NC3 enterprise–focus on upgrading and replacing legacy components such as satellite receive-transmit terminals and developing new capabilities such as very low frequency (VLF) receiver terminals. (Source: Defense Daily)
03 Apr 19. AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV), a global leader in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for both defense and commercial applications, today announced the availability of a new 360 Multi-Sector Antenna (MSA) for its Puma™ AE small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Specifically designed to support Puma AE maritime missions, the 360 MSA provides naval operators with immediate tactical situational awareness, while eliminating the need to redirect the vessel or reconfigure the direction of an antenna to maintain an effective communication link. AeroVironment 360 Multi-Sector Antenna provides 360-degree long-range Puma AE command and control for maritime operations
Featuring an integrated array of 24 high-gain auto-selective antennas, the new 360 MSA analyzes downlink data quality and automatically switches between antenna patches with greater margin to deliver 360-degree continuous command and control coverage within a 20km nominal range. Commanding Officers (COs) can maintain complete control of the Puma AE aircraft and payload with the 360 MSA and access real time, decision critical ISR information. Additionally, it enables the bridge and combat team with mission planning, real time moving map, high resolution imagery, and contact status capability.
AeroVironment’s new 360 Multi-Sector Antenna (MSA) joins the company’s previously announced Long Range Tracking Antenna™ (LRTA) to provide operators with immediate tactical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities anytime, anywhere. LRTA’s 360-degree auto-tracking function enables land-based operators to expand the command and control range of Puma AE to approximately 60km, providing critical ISR data while being positioned further away from dangerous areas of interest. The LRTA features an automated two-axis positioner tracking function that ensures a secure and reliable link with Puma while it operates at extended ranges. This antenna gives Puma 3 AE’s Mantis i45 EO/IR gimbal capabilities similar to larger and costlier Group 2 or higher UAS.
03 Apr 19. Leonardo DRS, Inc. announced today that it has received its first production delivery order for the next-generation of U.S. Army mission command computing systems called the Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) II. This modular, scalable system supports the Army’s current modernization strategy for ground combat vehicles, combat service support vehicles, and command posts.
The initial delivery order, worth $132.1m, was placed with the Leonardo DRS Land Electronics business unit by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Office of the Defense Information Systems Agency on behalf of U.S. Army Program Manager, Mission Command and US Army Program Executive Office – Command, Control and Communications – Tactical. The original contract award for the program was awarded to Leonardo DRS on May 25, 2018.
The MFoCS II family of systems will support the continued fielding and upgrades of the Army’s Joint Battle Command – Platform (JBC-P) and features critical system capability upgrades, cybersecurity improvements, and multi-touch displays. In addition, there are significant performance enhancements of the platform computing server as the Army continues to improve the JBC-P systems used for tactical situational awareness and global “Blue Force Tracking” and In-Transit Visibility logistics tracking.
“We are very proud to deliver these advanced MFoCS systems for joint service use to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. As the Army continues its modernization efforts, MFoCS will serve as a critical enabler of the Mounted Computing Environment and the Modernized Network,” said Bill Guyan, vice president and general manager of the DRS Land Electronics business. “MFoCS II was designed to meet the extreme requirements of mission-critical reliability in the most demanding environments combined with robust security enhancements to ensure trusted performance today and into the future,” Guyan said.
A critical component of the MFoCS II system is the cyber-hardening technology inside the hardware. This Cyber Secure technology, called Edge-Assured™, ensures commanders are operating trusted and protected computer systems though all types of user operations. MFoCS II also retains key components and features of the first generation MFoCS platform, including a dismountable tablet, an expandable rugged platform computer and 12”, 15” and 17” sunlight readable rugged displays, featuring multi-touch functionality.
Under this delivery contract, Leonardo DRS will provide the Army with dismountable tablets, processor units, docking stations, keyboard units, interconnecting cables, and multiple sizes of ruggedized sunlight-readable multi-touch-screen display units.
02 Apr 19. Installing Chinese 5G Gear is Dangerous and Probably Inevitable: NATO Report. Alliance members should look to mimic Britain, which created an entire government office to scrutinize Huawei’s products for security problems. Cheap Chinese 5G technology isn’t all that cheap when you factor in the government time and resources needed to make it safe — or at least safer — to use, a new NATO Center of Excellence report says.
That’s the warning from a new report by the NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, which notes the considerable risks of importing next-generation telecom equipment from Chinese hardware and software maker Huawei. Acknowledging that alliance governments are unlikely to issue the “blanket bans” sought by U.S. officials, the report recommends instead a lot more government supervision of what companies like Huawei are building.
U.S. Defense Undersecretary Ellen Lord and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford have highlighted the risk of Chinese-made 5G equipment, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the United States would have a hard time “partnering” with countries that import it. “If that equipment is co-located where we have important American systems, it makes it more difficult for us to partner alongside them” Pompeo said in February.
U.S. lawmakers have expressed concern about Huawei and its opaque relationship to the Chinese military since at least 2012.
The NATO Center paper notes that Huawei’s lead in developing products built to the new high-speed, low-latency standard puts it in position to furnish core infrastructure components to many countries and telecoms that are urgently looking to upgrade mobile networks. “There are as of yet no equivalent alternatives to Huawei 5G technology,” it says. (The NATO Center of Excellence lies outside of the NATO Command Structure.)
This could have a major effect on data security for governments and militaries. “Huawei would provide critical components in systems of strategic importance for society, including security services and the military, both due to the latter’s partial reliance on these systems and a mandate to protect them during crisis,” it says.
Pompeo’s rhetoric aside, the United States itself is inching closer to accepting the inevitability of Chinese companies making parts for America’s future mobile networks.
“We are going to have to figure out a way in a 5G world that we’re able to manage the risks in a diverse network that includes technology that we can’t trust,” Sue Gordon, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, said at a recent conference.
So how do you manage the risks?
UK defense officials say they have careful and nuanced attitude. “We’re taking — rather than sort of a blanket approach to it — we’re taking a very sophisticated approach to it which entails understanding of the threats and the risks, understanding what the networks would entail,” Britain’s Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gordon Messenger, told reporters in March.
The UK has kept a close eye on Huawei since 2010, when Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, or NCSC, created an office specifically to scrutinize the company’s products with the care and prudence one might employ in handling a dangerous, powerful, radioactive substance. Center officials publish regularly on the various security issues they find. Just last week, they released a report revealing “serious and systematic defects in Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security competence.”
The NATO Center paper surmises that this kind of careful and consistent government attention, rather than a blanket ban, is the only way to address the risks posed by Huawei. “The head of NCSC recently recognized that this detailed, formal oversight, building on a decade of formally agreed mitigation strategy and detailed provision of information, means that the UK regime is arguably the toughest and most rigorous oversight regime in the world for Huawei, and that it is proving its worth,” it says.
The paper also recommends that governments carefully track the use of Chinese products by federal agencies and sensitive industries, and to keep Huawei products away from anything that might have national security implications, such as critical infrastructure.
The use of Chinese 5G gear will be discussed at NATO’s policy planning conference this week. “It is as important for NATO as it is for us. How the European countries address Chinese involvement across all of their sectors is central to American security,” Kiron Skinner, who runs policy planning at the State Department, told reporters yesterday. “There will be more discussion with the NATOpartners about that issue as well.”
Benedetta Berti, a NATO foreign policy expert, told reporters, “I think this is something we are starting to discuss as an alliance. I think that is per se significant… As an alliance, when we talk about the future of our security, we will have to factor in the role of emerging powers including China.”
While there is considerable agreement about the growing influence Chinese telecom and the risks that influence poses, there is less consensus about what to do about it.
“That we are having this discussion points to our success, actually,” said Maciej Pisarski, who leads policy planning at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Source: Defense One)
02 Apr 19. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has collaborated with Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) to deliver a hardened security solution based on new 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors to help protect against cyber threats while providing more consistent service performance.
Security risks have evolved to the point that software-only options simply aren’t adequate, and threats are now so complex that perimeter controls, like firewalls, aren’t enough.
“Lockheed Martin and Intel have created an innovative solution to help protect against complex cyber threats,” said Glenn Kuller, vice president of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This collaboration combines decades of Lockheed Martin’s global security expertise and Intel’s computing platform experience.”
Now available on 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, the Intel® Select Solution for Hardened Security with Lockheed Martin combines hardware, software and firmware measures that isolate critical data and help protect shared resources such as cores, cache, memory and devices to mitigate cyber threats with more deterministic performance.
The Intel® Select Solution for Hardened Security with Lockheed Martin is benchmarked and optimized for strategic workloads and promotes the reduction of a customer’s growing total cost of ownership and accelerated, high-confidence deployment. This Intel® Select Solution will be available from HPE, Mercury, Supermicro and more in the coming months.
02 Apr 19. Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division today announced that it is collaborating with General Dynamics Mission Systems to deliver open architecture artificial intelligence (AI) based commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions for Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic warfare (EW) situational awareness applications.
“We are excited to collaborate with General Dynamics Mission Systems to bring the cutting-edge advantages of machine learning to deployed EW situational awareness applications,” said Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense Solutions division. “Our supercomputing class CHAMP-XD1 module is an ideal processor for SignalEye software, easing and accelerating the delivery of RF threat detection to our warfighters.”
The combination of General Dynamics Mission Systems’ SignalEye threat detection software and Curtiss-Wright’s Intel® Xeon® D processor-based CHAMP-XD1 module provides system designers with a deployable COTS solution for RF spectrum situational awareness that automatically classifies signals through the use of machine learning. “The evolving EW and SIGINT threat confronting warfighters today requires an integrated solution,” said Bill Ross, Vice President, RF and Broadband Products at General Dynamics Mission Systems. “By combining our SignalEye machine learning software with Curtiss-Wright’s CHAMP-XD1 processor, we can provide warfighters with a greater understanding of the RF threats on the battlefield.”
01 Apr 19. How the US Army will sustain its tactical network of the future. The rapid insertion of commercial off-the-shelf systems looks to revolutionize the Army’s next-generation tactical network, but it also brings challenges for the sustainment community, including Tobyhanna technicians that troubleshoot terminals. The Army’s sustainment community is beginning to prepare for the challenges associated with the tactical network of the future. The Army is working to field its first capability set for what it is calling the integrated tactical network (ITN). The service’s new approach heavily relies on rapid and ongoing insertion of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems.
The ITN “will look very different than today’s network. In the short term, it will be a blend of legacy and new but that will require a different sustainment strategy,” Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, commander of the Army’s Communications and Electronics Command, said March 27 at AUSA’s Global Force Symposium in Huntsville.
“What we’ll see more of are nondevelopmental items, COTS. They come into the system very rapidly and at great varieties; different capability sets will receive different solutions. That will need to be sustained. That poses huge sustainment challenges for us that we are now building and getting for.”
Taylor noted even when there is a small number of COTS in the inventory that’s still tough to manage, so when they make up the major of the ITN vice Army programs of record, that’s a much bigger challenge.
Moreover, the vision for the network of 2028 is that not every unit will receive the same equipment, which also poses unique sustainment challenges.
“As you field different solutions to different units, this can quickly get away from you,” Taylor said.
To get after these challenges ahead, Taylor outlined a model dubbed “5-3-1.”
The “5” portion gets at the warranty issue. Most of the COTS equipment currently comes with a one-year warranty, Taylor said, though much of that year is taken up with the system sitting on a shelf in a warehouse waiting to be fielded.
By increasing to a five-year warranty, that will allow the Army to cover the sustainment of systems bought in the short term while the service “figures out the way ahead,” Taylor said.
The “3” is a reference to the Army making a decision in the first three years whether or not to keep or kill the commercial system after the five-year warranty.
The decision to kill a system might happen because the equipment is low cost or the tech refresh cycle is so high that there’s no point in sustaining it past the half-decade mark.
“But we’ve got to have lead time for that decision after the warranty expires,” Taylor said.
The last part of the approach deals with mimicking how the Special Operations community deals with the sustainment of their COTS systems, which they have been able to do because they are a much smaller force than the Army.
This deals with working the warranty exchange, which Taylor said is not scalable across the entire Army.
The Army, as a result, will centralize the exchange process, similar to the Special Operations Forces Support Activity (SOFSA) in Lexington, Kentucky. COTS systems are given to SOFSA and they manage where the equipment needs to go: to the original manufacturer, a program manager, a depot or a repair facility. The support activity then gets the equipment back to the soldiers in the fight.
The way this will look in the Army is centralizing the warranty exchange under Tobyhanna Army Depot, which has over 40 forward points of presence.
“Bottom line is, you have something break, get it to your nearest Toby rep just like taking it to an Amazon locker and they’ll get it back into the warranty exchange system,” Taylor said.
This is also beneficial because, even if the warranty for the system has expired, odds are Tobyhanna will be doing the repair anyway.
Army leaders have outlined a robust plan for introducing capabilities into the network every two years. As such, the Army needs a sustainment plan to keep pace. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 Apr 19. The Navy Is Assembling a Hacker Team to Fight Off Small Drones. Engineers, researchers, and hackers will seek ways to protect warships and bases from hobby-type drones modified to kill. Lifting an idea from the Army and a name from the Star Wars universe, the U.S. Navy is assembling a team of engineers, researchers, and even hackers to develop ways to fight off swarms of cheap commercial drones. The so-called JYN effort is the latest in a series of steps the Pentagon has taken to speed up development of new systems that can defend against drones that are readily available for purchase and easily modified for war.
“This is necessary to enable the [Navy] to gain a competitive advantage over the commercial advancement of unmanned systems technology and potential for nefarious use against [Navy] facilities and assets,” James “Hondo” Geurts, who leads Navy acquisition, wrote in a March 28 memo.
Navy officials are working with the Defense Digital Service to create a “team of highly technologically skilled and driven military and civilian…personnel” to work “in collaborative, startup-like spaces to rapidly develop new [counter-drone] products to address the evolving [drone] threats,” Geurts wrote.
The project expands the Defense Digital Service’s “successful efforts forming, training, and managing joint-service and Army teams,” he wrote.
The Defense Digital Service’s Army counter-drone project is called Jyn Erso after the character in the Star Wars film Rogue One.
Sailors, Marines, and Department of the Navy civilians can applyfor the positions on the counter-drone team. Specifically, they are looking for “software engineers, hardware engineers, hackers, security researchers, and other military and civilians with outstanding technical abilities,” Geurts wrote.
“This is an opportunity to grow the talent within the organization, leverage top technologists, learn new approaches, and bring them back to the [Navy],” he wrote.
The new announcement isn’t the first time that the Navy has sought ways to protect ships from swarms of small drones. In 2014, the Navy deployed a 30-kilowatt laser called the XN-1 LaWS aboard the amphibious transport dock Ponce in the Persian Gulf and released test footage of the laser shooting down a ScanEagle drone. Navy officials liked the idea of fending off enemy drone swarms with a laser that costs about a dollar per shot rather than $750,000 Standard missiles. The Navy bought two more of the lasers at $150m each, with deployments scheduled for FY 2020.
Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria have weaponized small commercial drones, rigging them with explosives. Last year, a drone was reportedly used in an assassanation attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Even unarmed drones can cause chaos, particularly if struck by aircraft traveling at high speeds. In recent months, authorities have shut down major airports in London, Dubai, and Newarkafter small drones were found in the area. (Source: Defense One)
01 Apr 19. Cyber Command Releases RFP To Support J9 Policy Development, Strategic Coordination. U.S. Cyber Command released a request for proposals on March 29 officially beginning the search to find its first industry partner to support its joint cyberspace capability development office with policy development and strategic coordination.
“The scope of this effort is to provide a full range of program support, policy support and advisory and assistance services to support the needs of the USCYBERCOM J9 Executive Front Office,” officials wrote in the RFP notice. “These services will assist in long range planning, development of strategic communications, review of policies and procedures, recommending documentation and policy updates, consulting, and reporting.”
This is a new contract for Cyber Command which has previously leveraged support work for J9 through host agencies since 2017. The eventual contract award will cover a six-month initial period of performance followed by four one-year options and a fifth six-month option. Cyber Command is asking industry to assist the J9 office with cyber strategy and policy support and offering strategic coordination with agency partners and offering preparation. Contractors will be tasked with providing technical expertise for cyber strategy initiatives, overseeing document reviews, offering task analysis and assist J9 leadership with implementing
Cyber Command initiatives.
“This work includes development and coordination of command-wide positions, interaction with internal and external constituencies, research and synchronization of policies related to cyber, with internal and external initiatives and processes related to DoD strategic and operational planning initiatives,” officials wrote in the notice.
The RFP also asks industry to detail how they plan to coordinate interagency policy and concepts of operation efforts among DoD, the Department of Homeland Security and the Intelligence Community. Work will take place primarily at Cyber Command’s facilities in Ft. Meade, Md., and interested vendors are required to have a Top Secret facility clearance. Responses to the RFP are due by April 25. (Source: Defense Daily)
01 Apr 19. goTenna offers Pro X tactical mesh networking device to region. Key Points:
- goTenna is presenting its Pro X small packetised data communications product Pro X at LAAD
- Pro X is text messaging and mapping information in communications-denied environments
goTenna is offering its Pro X tactical-grade scalable mobile mesh networking device to the Latin American region at the 2019 LAAD Defence and Security exposition.
Mobile mesh networks have military applicability as they allow people to communicate in communications-denied environments. They are wireless ad hoc networks built by nodes or devices that connect via radio waves. They operate independent of wireless internet and traditional cell service, according to a goTenna spokesperson.
Daniela Perdomo, goTenna CEO, told Jane’s on 28 March ahead of LAAD that Pro X focuses on small packetised data communication such as text messages or mapping information, as opposed to high bandwidth voice or video communications. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Apr 19. L3, Sonardyne introduce 6G-enabled AUVs. L3 Technologies, together with Sonardyne, will offer 6G-enabled capability across its commercial autonomous vessel product range, the company announced on 26 March. L3’s C-Stat 2 and C-Cat 3 autonomous vessels will be offered fitted with Sonardyne’s 6G range of Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) tracking and communications systems. The C-Stat 2, equipped with Sonardyne’s Ranger 2 Gyro USBL model, will support operators needing to position underwater assets with high levels of precision. The platform will enable a range of tasks, such as touchdown monitoring, seismic cable lay operations, Compatt 6 Long BaseLine (LBL) array box-in and remote LBL baseline calibration, vehicle tracking and subsea sensor data collecting.
The C-Cat 3, equipped with Mini-Ranger 2, will be able to operate as a gateway for AUV operations, enabling tracking and communications with up to ten AUVs at the same time.
Ioseba Tena, global business manager – marine robotic systems, Sonardyne, said: ‘Now L3’s customers will be able to access Sonardyne’s versatile 6G acoustic positioning, communication and sensing technology on proven commercial autonomous vessel platforms.
‘Combining these capabilities means customers have access to vessels that can perform more remote and autonomous marine operations; including tracking multiple AUVs and real-time data harvesting in hard to access environments across defence, offshore and ocean science sectors.’ (Source: Shephard)
01 Apr 19. Malaysia agency first in Asia to join The Intelligence Network. The aim of the network is to create a safer society in the digital age. A recent news article noted that CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM), the national cybersecurity specialist and technical agency under the purview of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) in Malaysia, has signed the Terms of Reference to become the first corporate supporter in Asia to join The Intelligence Network.
The Intelligence Network is an industry initiative launched by a British multinational defence, security, and aerospace company in July 2018. It is powered by a global community of like-minded cyber and financial crime professionals and industry influencers committed to creating a safer society in the digital age.
The purpose of The Intelligence Network is to understand, explain and tackle the enduring challenges of cyber-security to improve collaboration, simplicity and certainty.
The General Manager for International Key Accounts of the British multinational firm stated that The Intelligence Network was borne out of the principle that the size and scale of the societal issues the world, and Asia, is are facing the need to be addressed by the greater community and not by one organisation alone.
It was noted that we live in a highly connected world that’s in the midst of significant changes. Cyber attacks are evolving and the worlds need to rethink the model being used to counter the risk. Through the work of The Intelligence Network, the aim is to kickstart conversations about the future of cyber defence.
Moreover, CSM joining The Intelligence Network continues the close collaboration between the multinational firm and CSM whilst bringing an ASEAN-specific context to the initiative, enabling truly global collaboration and insights.
In addition, the group is working to further deepen and extend its collaboration with the Malaysian agency and look forward to the unique perspective and contribution CSM will bring to the Intelligence Network.
The CyberSecurity Malaysia CEO noted that the agency welcomed the opportunity to become a corporate supporter of The Intelligence Network. The agency has made clear that it is committed to making a difference and taking a proactive role in creating a safer society in the digital domain.
The CEO noted that if cyber-criminals use creativity and collaboration to perpetrate their malicious intent, from a cyber-defence perspective, the Malaysian Government, and the global community, in general, must be doing the same and promote more openness for information and intelligence sharing. It was noted that collaboration is the key to eliminating the risk of cyber attacks.
The signing ceremony held in conjunction with LIMA 2019 was also witnessed by the Secretary of Defence and Security from the British High Commission in Malaysia and the country manager for the British multinational firm in Malaysia as it signifies CSM becoming part of a global network of like-minded organisations which include various massive telecommunications and e-commerce firms.
Combating the growing threat of cyber-attacks
It was recently reported that almost every second industrial computer in the world was subjected to malicious cyber activity in 2018.
Malicious cyber activities on ICS computers are considered an extremely dangerous threat as they could potentially cause material losses and production downtime in the operation of industrial facilities. In 2018, the share of ICS computers that experienced cyber attacks grew to 47.2% from 44% in 2017, indicating that the threat is rising.
While Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT recommended implementing technical measures (like regularly updating operating systems, application software on systems that are part of the enterprise’s industrial network; applying security fixes to PLC, RTU and network equipment used in ICS networks where applicable, etc.), the truth is that a global initiative, such as The Intelligence Network, is needed to combat the threat of the malicious cyber activity. (Source: Google/https://www.opengovasia.com)
29 Mar 19. Palantir — who successfully sued the Army — has won a major Army contract. Silicon Valley-based Palantir, who sued the U.S. Army several years ago over the service’s procurement strategy of an intelligence analysis system, has won an Army contract to provide just that. Palantir beat out Raytheon in a head-to-head competition to provide the Army a new tactical version of its Distributed Common Ground System—Army, or DGCS-A, The Washington Post first reported. The contract to provide a new system — a “capability drop 1” version — is worth $876m over 10 years. But the first delivery order is just for $20m, according to an industry source. Palantir sued the Army in 2016 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for what it says was an unlawful procurement solicitation for the service’s next iteration of DCGS-A that shut the company’s commercial offering out of the competition.
The lawsuit argued the Army should be stopped from moving forward on an unlawful and risk-prone software development project that would reinvent the wheel at a very high price.
The court ruled in favor of Palantir in October 2016 and upheld Palantir’s central legal argument that the Army violated a 1994 law — the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act — by not conducting the market research needed to determine if commercially available items could meet its needs with or without modification. The judge ordered the Army seriously look at whether commercial products existed to meet its needs.
The Army’s previous internal development path for its intelligence software suite has long been marred in controversy. As the service spent billions to develop DCGS-A, actual users of the system in theater complained that it had problems and was too complicated. Some units had been given Palantir technology instead through an urgent request to map improvised explosive devices on the battlefield and track associated intelligence. When more units asked for it, the Army blocked those orders. The controversy bled onto Capitol Hill in 2013, where Rep. Duncan Hunter sparred with then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno. The Republican congressman from California championed a push to outright cancel DCGS-A and replace it with Palantir tech that he argued would be far less expensive and far more effective.
Even in 2017, while the Army’s appeal over the court decision in the Palantir lawsuit awaited a decision, a DCGS-A system sat unused during a network integration evaluation at Fort Bliss, Texas. The systems provided to the unit during the evaluation were completely packed up because the unit fried two server stacks and the systems were having significant problems operating at the level of austerity in the desert.
The Army’s then-Training and Doctrine Command chief, Gen. David Perkins, asked soldiers what would make it better. One user simply replied: “Make it easier to use.”
And that is what Palantir’s system is meant to do. The company’s lawsuit claimed that its data-management product — Palantir Gotham Platform — does exactly what DCGS-A was trying to do at a much lower cost.
A fresh approach
The lawsuit forced the Army to rethink its acquisition plan, and in March 2018 the service chose both a major defense contractor — Raytheon — and Palantir to provide new intelligence analysis platforms that could be used effectively at the tactical level — where most of DGCS-A’s problems laid.
In an interview last fall with the head of Palantir’s defense business, Doug Philippone, he viewed the new approach as transformative to how defense acquisition could be conducted and credited the lawsuit for spurring the important change.
The Defense Department is notorious for slow acquisition where it can take up to a decade to even write requirements, then as technology is developed, the requirements often lock programs on a road of no return, even if things start to go wrong or technology is surpassed by something better. Over the past year, the Army has begun taking this approach with major modernization efforts under a new four-star command, Army Futures Command. Most recently the service announced, after holding a demonstration, that it would buy a number of unmanned aircraft systems from two companies, have soldiers evaluate them over a year and then make a decision on the way forward. The Army is calling the method a “try, buy, decide approach” with commercially available products. Taking this approach with DCGS-A, the Army looked at a variety of systems in an evaluation and then ultimately chose both Raytheon and Palantir to provide offerings, which Army intelligence analysts rigorously evaluated to determine the best of breed over the past year.
The service wanted a system that could be loaded onto a commercial laptop and easily deployed, and it wanted a system that eliminated an extensive and lengthy training course, requiring the system be easy enough to learn in eight hours. The Army also wanted its new DCGS-A systems to be able to operate on low-transmission speed or while disconnected.
Raytheon provided its FoXTEN system, which it said met those criteria.
The engineers behind Palantir’s system told Defense News in an interview at the company’s Washington, D.C., office, that the system provided to the Army used Palantir’s exceptional data-management platform overlaid with analysis tools the service desired.
The issue with DCGS, according to the engineers, is that the old system didn’t succeed as a whole ecosystem; the tools worked, but it was lacking a back end to the system that could process complicated and plentiful data in a way that made using the system easy on the front end.
And the engineers working with the Army on the project said the company’s relationship with the service was very positive. Palantir even made its debut at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in October with a strong booth presence on the showroom floor.
For the Army, this is the first time a Silicon Valley company has been chosen to provide a major system in a formal program of record.
“Supporting soldiers in their critical missions, and making sure they come home safely to their families, is a point of immense pride at Palantir,” Philippone said in a statement sent to Defense News. “It’s why we started the company. We look forward to our partnership with the men and women of the U.S. Army and will do everything we can to ensure this technology makes them more successful.”
For Raytheon, the Army’s decision to pick Palantir for the round of deliveries doesn’t mean the firm won’t be considered in the future.
“The Army plans to award multiple delivery orders for systems over [10 years]. While we are disappointed in the Army’s decision on this initial delivery order, it represents a relatively small number of systems,” Raytheon said in a statement sent to Defense News. “We will actively compete for future delivery orders as we continue to work closely with the Army to help them meet their intelligence needs.” (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
29 Mar 19. Norway’s Mime programme seeks all-domain C2 information systems. Norwegian Armed Forces expect to soon field significant enhancements in command-and-control information systems (C2IS) as the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) works up plans to execute its ‘Mime’ Integrated Tactical Information Infrastructure programme.
Mime is to provide the Norwegian Armed Forces with “integrated digital services” including deployable, mobile, and portable solutions. According to programme officials, Mime’s main effort is to optimise the ‘operational effects’ of tactical formations, based around a series of technology upgrades designed to provide them with relevant and timely intelligence reporting. Speaking to Jane’s on 5 March at the NDMA’s Communications and Information Systems (CIS) headquarters in Kolsås, programme officials said an establishment phase has been running since the middle of 2018. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 19. The Army wants to know how to deploy cyber teams during peacetime. A new Army unit will help the service operate against enemies such as Russia and China on a daily basis but will do so below the level of conflict. In addition, the new group could help set the stage for more traditional kinetic battles. The Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic Warfare and Space detachment (I2CEWS) — a battalion sized unit described as the “brain” of the Army’s multidomain task force — will integrate all the capabilities within its namesake under a single formation.
“They must be present in the competition phase. That’s when they can do their best work … and set the stage if we do go from competition to crisis you are prepared,” said Gen. Robert Brown, commander of Army Pacific, where the multidomain task force is focused. “Quite honestly, we were not present in the competition phase and certainly, China and Russia are. It’s good to be able to be there to make sure we can compete and prepare for what happens.”
Previously, officials described the I2CEWS as teams that would focus on a specific geographic region, either in the Pacific or Europe, and would take on different forms based on their area of emphasis.
Brown, speaking March 27 at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, noted that there is now a constant state of “continuous geopolitical hyper competition.”
The United States typically has not operated in this so-called competition phase, but actions by Russia and China have forced military leaders, and by extension Army leaders, to rethink their approach.
“Probably the most strategically challenging [part] for the United States in particular, but also western democracies, is this idea of leveraging the competition space,” Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, director of the Army Futures Concept Center, said March 26 at the AUSA conference.
“What [adversaries have] been able to do [is] achieve their operational and strategic objectives in fait accompli victories that have diluted the deterrent effect that we’ve relied on for the last 50 or 60 years. … If the United States, our partners and allies, do not get into the competition phase, we will find that our deterrent effect and our ability to achieve our strategic and operational objectives over time will continue to diminish.”
Wesley said the Army is still working through several issues related to the new teams, including whether to increase cyber authorities at the operational and tactical level.
“We believe that authorities, although well harnessed right now at senior levels, are going to have to migrate downward in order to employ multidomain operations,” he said.
It is still not clear how the Army plans to work through the current setup that dictates how cyber capabilities are used. Today, those authorities are coordinated through U.S. Cyber Command at the joint level and executed through regionally focused Joint Force Headquarters-Cybers.
Because the individual services do not own offensive cyber teams, tactical and operational commanders can only request help on the cyber front from their superiors. However, the Army is establishing smaller cyber and electronic warfare teams because at the tactical level, there is more latitude to conduct “offensive cyber” through the electromagnetic spectrum. Operations that require more IP based cyber activities are undertaken by the cyber teams that belong to Cyber Command.
In some respects, the Army is recognizing that it doesn’t necessarily need all the capability organic to Army units. With new cyber and electromagnetic activities (CEMA) cells that will plan cyber and electronic warfare operations, staffs will have resident experts in these emerging areas.
These planners “will know the right touchpoints to reach out for help, because you don’t necessarily have to own an effect to have an effect support your scheme of maneuver,” Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Cyber Center of Excellence, told Fifth Domain in a February interview.
Moreover, Army leaders said the service needs to get better at knowing the right authorities and policy questions to ask in order to accelerate the approvals process.
Wesley told reporters that the Army is taking liberties with authorities during exercises and has played out scenarios where authorities have been delegated down to the tactical level. (Source: Fifth Domain)
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.