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30 May 19. The US Army wants C5ISR systems on demand. Across the Department of Defense, organizations and agencies want to transport parts and ready-to-go systems to field units on demand. For the Army’s sustainment community, this means keeping up with the dynamic pace of deployments to by placing qualified workers closer to the battlefield or assembling reserve systems ahead of time.
Mobile, expeditionary equipment, which includes communications and networking gear, wasn’t required for the counterinsurgency fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. There, the Army was able to take advantage of predicable rotations in a relatively permissive theater from a technology standpoint, Communications and Electronics Command Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor told C4ISRNET in a May 20 interview in his office at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Now, Communications and Electronics Command, responsible for sustaining and refurbishing Army command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems, is looking to adjust to this new unpredictable world.
Taylor said the Army is focusing on global hot spots where it thinks it might have to respond with soldiers by sending the proper technicians ahead first. Army staffers are also making sure they configure systems as much as possible in advance of competition, however, but forward technicians can assist if systems break or need to be tweaked.
The Army’s premier depot maintenance center, Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, has established depot maintenance facilities in Korea and Europe. This allows much of the depot work to be done in the field, reducing the repair times so units can get their equipment back faster. This setup means only items that have to go back to Tobyhanna are then shipped back.
One of the big shifts in a renewed focus on so-called great power competition versus the prior years of counterterrorism, Taylor said, is supporting mobility and immediacy, or what senior Army leaders refer to as “fight tonight.”
“What we’re looking at now with this possible near peer conflict is fight tonight expeditionary,” he said. “That’s part of the imperative for modernizing the network so it’s lighter, faster, more capable, but sustainment has to keep pace with those expeditionary units.”
One area in particular the Army has reevaluated in this vein is its pre-positioned stocks. These are equipment that sit forward so units that deploy don’t have to take everything they need with them.
While declining to offer a region by name, Taylor said in certain areas, rather than just putting C5ISR systems in proximity of platforms stored in the same compound, they are installing the systems on the platform in these pre-positioned areas so that they can be ready to “fight tonight.” (Source: Defense News)
22 May 19. Defense Digital seeks tech talent with new recruiting contract. The Defense Digital Service is drilling in on hiring and recruitment with a new $7m pilot that will utilize private sector talent-hunting strategies to fill technical jobs across the Defense Department.
Five companies — Catch Talent, Comtech, Foxhound Federal, PrishanTek, and TeraSense – are sharing in a $7m contract for the Civilian Hiring as a Service pilot. The companies are tasked with “proactively identifying, conducting initial vetting of, and converting technical talent from the private sector into civilian positions within the Department of Defense”, according to the FedBizOpps post on the award. The award was made May 3 but posted May 21.
The DDS pilot, which extends to April 2020, will target candidates with backgrounds in computer science, product management, and user experience design and focus on premium customer service to better ensure personnel recruitment.
“Today’s federal hiring system isn’t meeting the growing need for talented technical people,” DDS said in a statement announcing the award. “Now we are working to help the DOD rethink how it approaches cyber hiring and pilot a new way to recruit tech talent and fill critical positions. If we are going to bring in the best talent, it must become far easier for these people to join.”
The award comes as DDS welcomes a new director and as DOD, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House put renewed focus on attracting and retaining tech talent. For DOD, the issue has been a storied pain point underscored by the Cyber Excepted Service, which has been stymied by too few personnel and a security clearance backlog. (Source: Defense Systems)
29 May 19. What the US Army is looking for in its new EW programme? In an attempt to upgrade its existing electronic warfare (EW) and cyberwarfare capabilities, the US Army is developing a new integrated EW and signals intelligence system, to replace the existing MFEW system. What is the army looking for and which companies have already signed up to assist in the development of new capabilities?
The US Army has recently stepped up its efforts to provide vital electronic warfare (EW) and cyber warfare support capabilities. For more than a decade, advances in electronic warfare have improved capabilities in areas such as communications, intelligence gathering, signal identification and jamming, and the operation of manned and unmanned weapons systems.
In December last year, the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced the $982m R4 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract and is now issuing individual task orders to top defence companies to support the US Army’s full spectrum of cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA), under the new Terrestrial Layer Intelligence System (TLIS), which integrates the old Multi-Functional Electronic Warfare Ground and Dismounted (MFEW) system with its Signals Intelligence enterprise.
So what exactly is the army looking for and which companies have offered their services thus far?
Three dimensions of EW: attack, protect, support
The US Army first addressed the requirement for advanced EW capabilities in its 2007 Electronic Warfare joint publication, which identifies three dimensions of EW.
The first is dedicated to the creation of new weaponry using electromagnetic, directed energy, or anti-radiation weapons to attack enemy personnel, facilities and equipment with the “intent of degrading, neutralising, or destroying enemy combat capability”. The second is simply the other side of coin – using EW to protect allied personnel and infrastructure from electronic attack.
The third dimension of EW is support, which helps soldiers to identify radiated electromagnetic energy and respond accordingly. It is this latter dimension that the US Army is really pushing to upgrade, according to spokesperson Cheryle Rivas.
“EW considerations are playing a complimentary and enabling role as we synchronise the development of various capabilities in line with the army’s modernisation strategy. Specifically, the army is looking to upgrade EW support,” Rivas says. “Also, as we modernise EW capabilities, we are enhancing the training and education programmes for soldiers performing operations within the EMS environment.”
The TLIS will be pivotal to maintaining the US’s competitive advantage in the EW field, according to the army.
Countering rival capabilities
Part of the need for greater EW support is due to the fact that Russia and China are beginning to develop advanced EW capabilities, and the US needs to stay competitive.
“The army faces a multitude of electronic warfare threats.” says Rivas. “They can range from systems that disrupt, deny, and/or deceive. With the proliferation of new technologies at an exponential rate, more systems are dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum to support operations. The army’s EW strategy directs and shapes how the army will grow and mature the capabilities and capacities within every warfighting formation.”
Russia’s EW capabilities have developed into a “formidable combat support asset”, according to International Center for Defence and Security research fellow Roger N McDermott in a report titled ‘Russia’s Electronic Warfare Capabilities to 2025’.
This was best evidenced in the Syrian conflict, where Russian forces used the Krasukha-4 vehicle-mounted EW system to jam small US surveillance drones, rendering them ‘blind and deaf’.
McDermott said of Russia’s recent military development: “There is nothing surprising that in the current circumstances, EW – as a relatively inexpensive and easily implemented means to disrupt the functioning of an enemy’s radar and other systems and to defend one’s own similar systems from interference – is emerging as a priority and a focus for development.”
China is also developing its EW capabilities and has released a doctrine promoting the use of electromagnetic spectrum weapons to suppress or deceive enemy equipment, according to the US DoD.
“People’s Liberation Army (PLA) EW units routinely conduct jamming and anti-jamming operations against multiple communication and radar systems and GPS satellite systems in force-on-force exercises,” the DoD said in its 2018 annual report to Congress on China’s military development.
“These not only test operational units’ understanding of EW weapons, equipment, and performance, but also help improve confidence in their ability to operate effectively in a complex electromagnetic environment.”
Seeking cyber assistance from industry
With regard to collaborating with industry, Rivas says: “The army works with all industry partners to provide a capability that meets emerging army requirements. Partnerships with industry are key to developing the technologies needed to defend our networks, data, and systems vital to delivering cutting-edge technologies to the force.”
One of the key partners on the R4 contract is Northrop Grumman. The US-based company is competing for orders spanning all EW areas, including research and technology development, integration support, laboratory demonstrations, integrated systems development, performance verification, logistics, technical support services, and cybersecurity.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems vice-president for cyber and intelligence mission solutions Ginger Wierzbanowski said: “Our work on R4 will help ensure our army forces can rapidly identify, develop and leverage the full range of CEMA effects necessary to deter, deny and prevail on the battlefield.”
Another partner is General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS), which secured a spot on the R4 contract in March 2019. GDMS will work with the US Army to support EW modernisation efforts.
“The army must sustain its spectrum and cyberspace superiority to enable overmatch in every domain,” said General Dynamics Mission Systems vice-president and general manager Bill Patterson. “General Dynamics is making major investments to leverage our entire portfolio of electronic warfare and cyber capabilities to deliver the advantages needed by our Army customers in cyberspace.”
Specifically, GDMS will lead a US-wide team of cyber specialist companies to help boost cybersecurity through the integration of multiple technologies.
It remains to be seen which other companies will be contracted in to support the US’s new EW capabilities, but with plenty of work to be done within such a large ten-year contract on the table, many of the major defence firms and smaller tech firms will be eyeing potential EW support opportunities in the near future. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 May 19. Thales and Atos develop advanced Link 22 functionalities for TopLink. Thales has reached an agreement with Atos to develop advanced Link 22 functionalities for the TopLink tactical datalink processor.
Link 22 is a tactical datalink designed to provide armed forces with the ability to share huge amounts of tactical information in the battlespace during joint and allied operations. Using Link 22, Nato naval forces will be able to communicate in real-time and adapt to a situation as it unfolds. The datalink operates in the HF and UHF frequency bands. It is expected to replace Link 11 by 2025. Link 11 is the digital radio link standard currently used by Nato and its allies for maritime tactical data exchange.
In a statement, Thales said: “Link 22 will soon be a vital capability, enabling all components of a Nato naval force to take part in the connected collaborative combat of tomorrow.”
The advanced functionalities are intended to facilitate collaborative combat in a secure environment.
The collaborative combat concept involves using advanced technologies intended to improve faster decision-making on the battlefield.
In addition, TopLink can manage tactical messages for airborne units using the Link 16 and Joint Range Extension standards.
The partnership leverages Atos’s expertise in Link 22 datalink management and Thales’s experience in critical multi-link systems.
Thales and Atos previously entered a partnership in 2009 for the initial testing of France’s Link 22 capabilities. (Source: naval-technology.com)
29 May 19. Cyber Affects NATO’s Article 5. During the Cyber Defence Pledge Conference in London last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on the effect of cyber and especially cyber attacks on military, goverments and people: “NATO leaders have agreed that a cyber attack could trigger Article 5 of our founding treaty, where an attack against one Ally is treated as an attack against all. NATO has designated cyberspace as a military domain, alongside land, sea and air. And at our Summit in Brussels last year, we agreed to establish a Cyberspace Operations Centre at the heart of our military command structure. And we have agreed to integrate national cyber capabilities or offensive cyber into Alliance operations and missions. All of this has made NATO more effective in cyberspace.”
Stoltenberg also mentioned a change of strategy opponents have developed. “One of the greatest strengths of the NATO alliance has been our leadership on values, our shared democratic values, our belief in an open society and that has always been our secret weapon. For years authorisation societies have said all this stuff about values is just a cover for your core national interest, it does not really amount to anything. But they have found a way to attack that values leadership, which is by shaking the confidence of our own populations in democratic processes through activities on cyberspace, where it is possible to influence what people think by use of social media platforms and a range of other techniques.” Stoltenberg continued: “We have to find a way to protect the confidence of our population in our own values.” (Source: ESD Spotlight)
27 May 19. GDMS and Cubic Mission Solutions Integrate Products to Bring Encrypted Communications to Tactical Environments. The TACLANE-Nano enables TS/SCI-level encryption in a backpack-sized network module.
General Dynamics Mission Systems announced today that it plans to integrate its TACLANE-Nano Type 1 encryptor with Cubic Mission Solutions’ DTECH M3X network module stack. The small size of the TACLANE-Nano allows it to plug into the industry’s lowest Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) portable network stack, extending operational capability in harsh environments.
The move to integrate the TACLANE-Nano Type 1 encryptor comes in response to increasing demand by mobile warfighters and communications professionals to access information and communicate securely in battlefield and mission environments. The TACLANE-Nano will enable Cubic Mission Solutions’ DTECH M3X network module stack, which is portable enough to be carried in a backpack, to have Type 1 encryption suitable for information up to the Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) level.
“We listened to our customers and heard that in addition to needing trusted and secure communications when mobile, they are also demanding increased performance in a low SWaP product,” said Brian Morrison, vice president for the Cyber Solutions line of business with General Dynamics Mission Systems. “This integration of products paves the way for us to deploy the world-class TACLANE technology with the resilient M3X networking modules to the mission with a simple snap.”
The TACLANE-Nano is designed to provide the warfighter at the network edge with greater performance in a more compact, lightweight and power efficient form factor than solutions in use today. Built with the latest in cryptographic technology, the TACLANE-Nano protects information up to the TS/SCI level, and offers Power over Ethernet (POE) for easy integration into kits and features to enhance performance when used in severely restricted networks.
Cubic’s M3X product family allows users to operate in austere environments with ruggedized modules consisting of a network switch, router, application server and smart battery power system. The M3X represents a new operational capability and configuration system, ready to be deployed for any mission.
The TACLANE-Nano was submitted to the National Security Agency December 2018 for certification and is available for purchase via General Dynamics Mission Systems and an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. (Source: ASD Network)
29 May 19. Digital Airborne Communications. With a new generation of Software Defined Airborne Radios (SDAR) and network-capable waveforms, Rohde & Schwarz is going to the international air show in Le Bourget. Network-capable, broadband waveform applications and the new SOVERON AR family of devices are the basis for information superiority in mission, which is crucial for mission effectiveness and survivability.
The SOVERON WAVE family transmits data and up to two voice channels in parallel at high speed, with different priorities and with secure encryption algorithms. Within SOVERON WAVE, users can choose the waveform thats best for range, data rate and immunity. Particularly important in this context is the selection of different radio methods that Rohde & Schwarz has developed for the various application requirements.
S O V E R O N AR was developed ba-sed on the internationally standard i z e d Software Comm u n i cations Architecture (SCA), with a strict separation between device platform and software. Waveform applications from other manufacturers as well as already implemented methods can thus be ported to the radio. This enables backward compatibility with older radio systems and thus safeguards future investments.
A big operational advantage of the airborne solution is certification compliance with both military and civil airborne communications standards. This makes SOVERON AR the only SCA based radio that meets the civil certification regulations of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). (Source: ESD Spotlight)
28 May 19. The DoD’s new home for cybersecurity standards. The Defense Information Systems Agency has established a new domain for guides to help improve cybersecurity for government and commercial organizations.
The Defense Information Systems Agency is moving a series of guides to help improve cybersecurity for government and commercial organizations to a new address: cyber.mil. The agency announced the move in a May 23 press release. These guides, known as Security Requirements Guides and Security Technology Implementation Guides, help government and commercial organizations to protect Department of Defense information systems and software. They are non-product specific requirements used to mitigate common security vulnerabilities, as well as implementable compendiums of Information Assurance (IA) controls, security regulations and best practices.
The guides, which number more than 350, are created from Control Correlation Identifiers and help break down high-level security information to be used in low-level security settings.
There is also a new collaboration portal, https://software.forge.mil/sf/go/proj2530?uri=/sf/go/proj2530, to allow subject matter experts to discuss which standards apply to which mission partners.
These portals, as well as the DoD Cyber Exchange portal at Cyber.mil, are restricted to individuals with Common Access Cards, which are issued by the DoD. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
28 May 19. NATO to integrate offensive cyber capabilities of individual members. A relative latecomer to the cyber game, NATO is beginning to “operationalize” cyber capabilities into its overall structure by integrating those tools of member nations, said the alliance’s secretary general.
“We are tackling increasingly complex cyberthreats faster and more efficiently. And we are more aware of the threats, more resilient to incidents,” Jens Stoltenberg said May 23 at the Cyber Defense Pledge Conference in London. “We also need to consider how we can deter attacks in cyberspace.”
Top NATO officials have long maintained that the 29-nation alliance is defensive in nature with a mission of deterrence, implying that the body itself doesn’t engage in offensive maneuvers, including in cyberspace.
As such, Stoltenberg noted that part of deterring cyberattacks is attribution.
“Cyber attackers must know that they will be exposed,” he said, citing a thwarted attempt by Russian intelligence operatives to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague in October.
Conversely, Stoltenberg said, NATO must be ready to use cyber capabilities to fight enemies.
NATO has walked a fine line as a defensive organization, relying on the individual capabilities of member states. As an example, Stoltenberg pointed to allies conducting cyber operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
“By using national cyber effects, or offensive cyber, they suppressed ISIS propaganda, degraded their ability to coordinate attacks and disrupted their recruitment of foreign fighters,” he said. “We have agreed to integrate national cyber capabilities or offensive cyber into alliance operations and missions. All of this has made NATO more effective in cyberspace.”
Several experts have said members states that are both willing and capable of offensive operations number about a half dozen. Without a NATO-owned offensive capability, officials have noted that contesting adversaries in cyberspace is no simple endeavor.
The challenge is making sure cyber capabilities are available as much as those of other domains, according to Maj. Gen. Wolfgang Renner, the deputy chief of staff for cyberspace at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
“This is true for the air, the land, the maritime domain, and it has to become true — I’m careful on that — for the cyber domain or cyberspace as a domain of operations,” he said at a November 2018 conference. “This is what really we have to find out, and I address this is a difficult part because NATO is defensive and is a defensive alliance.”
And adversaries must be wary that cyberattacks could engender responses in other domains, said Stoltenberg.
“For deterrence to have full effect, potential attackers must know that we are not limited to respond in cyberspace when we are attacked in cyberspace. We can and we will use the full range of capabilities at our disposal,” he said, reiterating that a cyberattack on a member state could trigger the famed Article 5, in which an attack on one member is considered an attack on all members.
“For 70 years, NATO has kept our people safe in the physical world. Now NATO needs to do the same in the cyber world,” he added. “We have seen that now in cyberspace we had a remarkable increase in our capabilities to defend our networks to stand together, to integrate offensive cyber intermissions and operations, and we have done that over the last years.”
However, NATO is not responsible for defending individual member nations in cyberspace; members agreed in 2016 to boost their respective cyber defense capabilities.
But in July 2018, NATO created a Cyber Operations Center. It opened in August 2018 with a three-pronged mission:
- Provide situational awareness in cyberspace.
- Plan allied cyberspace operations.
- Manage the execution of operations.
The center’s deputy director, U.S. Air Force Col. Don Lewis, wrote that it serves as the theater component for cyberspace similar to how geographic commands cover specific physical domains. The center executes operational-level and strategic missions to provide commanders with domain advice, planning support and capability integration.
Just as in the physical space, but in some cases more pertinent in the cyber domain, deconfliction of efforts is critical to ensure friendly forces aren’t interfering with each other and compromising the mission. The center seeks to play a part in that role.
“But still,” he noted, “it’s a national responsibly, fielding and offensive effect[s].” (Source: Defense News)
24 May 19. Babcock highlights SIGRID5 C2 system. Babcock International has showcased its SIGRID5 command and control (C2) system at the Electronic Warfare Europe (EWE) 2019 exhibition in Stockholm in May.
SIGRID5 leverages commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software and is based on US company Priority 5’s Touch Assisted Command and Control System (TACCS).
The system supports both civil and military operations and is designed to assimilate and fuse a range of data from different sources including social media and camera feeds and presents it on an integrated display, including mobile devices. The resultant common operating picture (COP) can be made available to all users using a variety of communications media and can be used to create pdf reports to support briefings.
The user can create advanced queries and set alerts to identify patterns of activity, detect anomalous and out-of-character behaviour, and conduct threat assessment. The system supports “what if” contingency planning, incorporating the current situation but conducted in a parallel simulation environment, which enables the operator to identify the potential consequences and results of different courses of action.
David Jones, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) business development manager for Babcock, told Jane’s that the system can be effective for asset management in crisis and emergency situations and for critical infrastructure protection. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 May 19. Will the JEDI controversy end with the award? The Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud infrastructure project has been controversial from the start because of DOD’s decision to award it to one vendor – presumably Amazon Web Services — with much of industry and the hill criticizing the single-award strategy because it potentially locks DOD into a single vendor and puts limits on innovation.
There also have been questions raised by Oracle about improprieties at DOD involving current and former AWS employees. DOD said its investigation showed that the relationships connected to AWS had no impact on the acquisition strategy. But Oracle’s protest at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims continues. A court decision is likely sometime this summer.
Meanwhile, the CIA has launched its next large cloud initiative with a multiple-award approach. That makes DOD’s single-award strategy look even more like an outlier.
The question in my mind is whether any of these factors will make a difference — the lawsuit, the continued scrutiny by Congress or the comparison of DOD’s strategy to that of the CIA.
My conclusion? No, they won’t.
Well, a quick caveat. Oracle’s lawsuit could, but it lost the same argument at the Government Accountability Office, so I consider an Oracle court victory a long shot.
JEDI has held fast through hearings and congressional oversight last year. Now the contract is even further down the road, and that makes it harder to cancel or change. DOD’s evaluation is now in the down-select phase between AWS and Microsoft.
One of the early supporters of JEDI and its single-award approach was Patrick Shanahan. He was the deputy defense secretary, now is acting secretary and the nominee to take the post on a more permanent basis.
When the defense secretary is in your corner, you have a lot of cover from the naysayers.
I also think that DOD has backed away from some of the rhetoric around JEDI that positioned it as a transformational contract. Officials have increasingly talked about JEDI as just one part of its overall cloud strategy.
DOD has come too far down the road to turn around now. We’ll likely see a JEDI award by the end of the summer if not mid-summer. (Again, the big caveat is what the court might do.)
No matter who wins, expect a protest. If those protests go in DOD’s favor, JEDI could be up and running by the end of 2019 or early 2020. If GAO or the courts rule against DOD, we could be looking at the middle of 2020 or later, depending on what’s needed to correct any problems.
But whatever happens, I’m increasingly thinking we are at getting closer to the end of the beginning for JEDI. (Source: Defense Systems)
22 May 19. USAF teams with MIT to launch AI accelerator. The Air Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology plan to launch an artificial intelligence accelerator program focused on fast-tracking AI technologies through fundamental research in computational intelligence, reasoning, decision-making and autonomy.
The MIT-Air Force AI Accelerator will research ways to rapidly prototype, scale and apply AI algorithms and systems to broad applications such as decision support, maintenance and logistics, talent management, medical readiness, situational awareness, business operations and disaster relief. The Air Force plans to invest $15m a year into the new accelerator. Under the agreement, MIT will form interdisciplinary teams of researchers, faculty and students to work on a number of topics, including AI, machine learning and robotics. The collaboration is expected to support at least 10 MIT research projects that address challenges that are important to the Air Force and other scientific inquiries related to AI research. Eleven Air Force service members will be selected to work on a research and development team designed to field practical AI solutions for national security challenges.
The MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center, will make available its specialized facilities and resources to support Air Force mission requirements.
“MIT is a leading institution for AI research, education and application, making this a huge opportunity for the Air Force as we deepen and expand our scientific and technical enterprise,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said. “Drawing from one of the best of American research universities is vital.”
“This collaboration is very much in line with MIT’s core value of service to the nation,” said Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research. “MIT researchers who choose to participate will bring state-of-the-art expertise in AI to advance Air Force mission areas and help train Air Force personnel in applications of AI.”
As part of its science and technology strategy, the Air Force launched several similar partnerships with universities, each focusing on a different aspect of the Air Force’s emphasis on driving innovation through government, academic and private sector partnerships. (Source: Defense Systems)
25 May 19. US Army to deliver network updates every 2 years. The Army wants to develop a force that can compete with adversaries such as China and Russia in every domain by 2028. To do so, service leaders say they will need to deliver incremental updates to the tactical network every two years beginning in 2021.
“We’re going to have a network of ‘21, a network of ‘23, ‘25 and ‘27 with our goal for the network of ‘27 to be the network that implements the 2028 vision,” Maj. Gen. Dave Bassett, program executive officer of Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, said at a February industry forum in San Diego, California.
This approach to incrementally improve capability is a departure from previous efforts, where the Army was locked into one vendor and one technology set. Now, the service is more cognizant that technology could force service leaders to change their vision.
“As we see new opportunities there are going to be new things to come on to this chart,” Bassett told industry leaders at a January luncheon. “As we see new technologies that are developed and available to us, this plan is going to evolve. If we didn’t change every time you saw it, I think that would probably be a bad sign.”
The Army is working to deliver the network of 2021 by refining an experimental baseline with test units.
The plan for 2021 is to field four infantry brigade combat teams and Expeditionary Signal Battalions and ramp up from there.
Capability set ’21 “is about the quick win and delivering some available technology that we think we can bring to bear quickly to change the way we fight,” Bassett said.
The iPhone model
Army leaders have modeled their two-year plan after the commercial industry’s process for iteration — namely Apple’s iPhone.
“If you look at the iPhone development cycle, does Apple come out with a new version of the iPhone every year? Yup,” Bassett said.
He noted that almost right after a big release, Apple is working on the next. They release the iPhone X, then the next year is the iPhone XS.
This incremental model is something the Army is trying to replicate as it prepares for the network of 2028.
“We’re recognizing the major releases. It doesn’t mean we don’t release anything in between, but these are the major feature releases of the tactical network to bring those things together in a way that’s recognized and managed across the force,” Bassett said.
Another departure from previous approaches is the Army is recognizing that not every unit will field the same equipment.
“It will be focused based on the most pressing operational plans and scenarios,” Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, director of the network cross-functional team, told an industry audience in January.
Future capability sets
The focus of the Army has been primarily on scaling the integrated tactical network from the company level up to brigade as a way to prove the technologies, concepts and mission command. The units used for experimentation have typically been light infantry to date.
The Army plans to focus on Stryker and armored brigades in 2022.
In terms of capability set ‘23, Army leaders have said if the ‘21 set is characterized as expeditionary and intuitive, ‘23 will be increasing the resilience of the network and improving capacity through additional satellite communications.
“Multi-path connectivity, giving our leaders and commanders out there and soldiers on the edge not only a simpler network, a more expeditionary network, but options when the adversary gets a vote,” Gallagher said. “Every one of these capability sets is designed to make the network easier to use. Every one of these capability sets we think makes the network more resilient, gives us redundant communications options in the face of an EW adversary.”
Bassett noted that when the commercial industry began building cellphones and networks, they didn’t have applications or data. While the backbone was being built, industry brought forth a minimal viable solution, and when the technology matured, it introduced applications, videos and the like.
“You can see it’s an incremental build of capability, adding capacity, adding automation and then bringing it all together with available technologies so that by 2028 we meet the multidomain dominance that the Army is asking us to deliver in those time frames,” Bassett said. “As you get to [capability set ‘25], now that you’ve got more bandwidth at the tactical edge, what can you exploit in terms of things like AI and machine learning and cloud capabilities. Now that we’ve got the pipes in place that allow data to flow up in places where you can look at it all together.”
According to Army documents, the service is interested in technologies such as high-capacity communications through low-Earth orbit and medium-Earth orbit, initial integration of 5G, integration of air-ground capabilities, anti-jam systems and higher-bandwidth waveforms.
Bassett added that the Army does not feel constrained by the two-year window for capability sets.
“It’s something that we can program against and plan against and deliver against,” Bassett said. “Ultimately, it’s going to help us move this strategy forward from a vision of where we want to go with the network to a resourced and executable plan in which we hope we build competence as we deliver every single year between now and 2028.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
27 May 19. Bittium, the provider of world’s most secure smartphone-based communication systems, launches the ultra secure Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 smartphone. The core of the information security of the new Bittium Tough Mobile 2 is its multilayered security structure, which is based on the hardened Android™ 9 Pie operating system, unique hardware solutions, and the information security features and software integrated in the source code. The multilayered information security ensures that both the data stored in the device and data transfer are protected as effectively as possible.
The unique information security built within the smartphone includes several encryption-, authentication- and key management-related features, boot and runtime security checks, tamper-proof information security platform as well as a privacy mode. With the privacy switch it is possible to disable microphones, camera and Bluetooth, and the accuracy of sensors is reduced with the touch of a button. Bittium Tough Mobile 2 is compatible with the Bittium Secure Suite™ software product, which enables remote management of the phones and encrypted data transfer, for example.
Bittium Tough Mobile 2 is fully designed and manufactured in Finland and Bittium ensures supervised and secure manufacturing and supply of the smartphones to the customers. Also, the component and software solutions of the phone can be audited for use by authorities. Bittium Tough Mobile 2, together with the Bittium Secure Suite device management and encryption software product, can be certified for the secure use of different national government officials. As it is a smartphone that has been designed for use by authorities, it has a significantly longer availability and lifespan and better availability of security updates compared to conventional smartphones.
In addition to the top-level information security features, Bittium Tough Mobile 2 is easy to use and suitable for both professional and personal use. The phone supports use of several isolated and secure workspaces. When using the workspaces, users can securely and easily handle confidential data of even multiple different organizations, as well as their personal data and social media applications, within the same Bittium Tough Mobile 2 smartphone.
“Bittium Tough Mobile 2 sets a new standard for ultra secure mobile communications. The multilayered information security and its unique features, combined with the ease of use, make the smartphone and the supporting software solutions the perfect complete system for authorities and other customers who require a high level of information security. Bittium Tough Mobile 2 can be used as a platform for tailoring the product according to the needs of trusted information security suppliers and other partners working in different countries locally,” says Mr. Jari Sankala, Senior Vice President of Defense & Security at Bittium. “In this age, when you can read in the news almost daily about wiretapping and the hacking of generic smartphones, we are proud of the major upgrade Tough Mobile 2 brings to secure mobile communications.”
The new Bittium Tough Mobile 2 smartphone and the related software solutions will be showcased for the first time at the Infosecurity Europe event in London, United Kingdom, on June 4-6, 2019.
More information about Bittium Tough Mobile 2: https://toughmobile2.bittium.com
24 May 19. IBM highlights Australia’s digital and cyber security potential. IBM Australia and New Zealand managing director David La Rose has stated that he thinks his company can boost the Australian government to be one of the “top three” digital governments across the globe.
Following IBM’s local arm winning a $1bn contract from the federal government to provide all its departments with its technologies, La Rose noted the potential the Australian government has to become a digital pioneer across the globe.
“One thing that is constant in our lives, both professional and personal, is change,” he said, delivering the keynote address at IBM Think in Sydney on Wednesday.
“IBM is also changing, and hopefully that’s starting to resonate with the way we’re showing up. We’re resetting relationships, expanding long-standing relationships to ensure that we can help you be the partner of choice and the trusted partner as you go through those challenges in your particular industry.
“I think [this] really demonstrates the way we showed up differently, taking a relationship that has been going on for decades, but principally with four agencies, and expanding that to the full federal government … to really advance their digital footprint and to take Australia into one of the top three digital governments in the world.
“Giving them access to technologies like AI, blockchain, giving them access to our research and development lab in Melbourne, giving them access to our cyber security lab up on the Gold Coast.”
In the past year, Australia has shown the seriousness with which it takes cyber security and emerging digital threats, not just locally, but within the entire Indo-Pacific region, highlighted by the government’s commitment of $38.4m by 2022 for cyber co-operation, including the launch of a National Cyber Security Centre in Papua New Guinea.
The Coalition government also promised to invest $156m, with the beneficiaries to primarily be older Australians, small businesses and national security assets.
At the time, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the funding would keep Australians safe while protecting businesses and the broader economy.
“As the risk of cyber attack increases, we need to ensure Australians are protected and our defence forces and capabilities continue to get the backing they need,” he said.
“We will continue to take a proactive approach against cyber criminals at home and overseas, including scammers, fraudsters and those involved in child exploitation.”
Cyber crime costs the economy over $1bn a year, with families and small to medium-sized businesses often affected.
Just three months ago, the Federal Parliament was subject to a cyber attack from a foreign government, suspected to be China. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 May 19. The US Navy wants a jammer that will help when flying into enemy airspace. The Navy has awarded $27m in contract extensions to two companies working to demonstrate a proof of concept for the service’s next phase of its premier airborne electronic warfare system.
Northrop Grumman and L3 were awarded $13.5m and $13.6m, respectively, to continue working on the Next Generation Jammer Low Band program, according to a May 8 Department of Defense announcement. The funds will expand the analysis and design of the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer low band pod.
The Next Generation Jammer is the Navy’s plan to update the legacy jamming pods aboard EA-18 Growlers, serving as the joint force’s premier stand off electronic attack platform. The Navy is breaking the program into three pods: mid band, which was awarded to Raytheon in 2016, low band and high band.
Adversaries can both hide and attack certain systems within the entirety of the electromagnetic spectrum and to combat that threat the military needs systems that can operate the across that spectrum. National security experts have said the spectrum is too expansive for a single pod to handle, which results in high, mid and low pods.
Navy budget documents released in March call for $6.2m in fiscal year 2020 for mid band from the procurement budget with $524.2m coming from the research and development budget. Additionally, over the next five years, the Navy plans to spend $4.8bn for procurement and $3.9bn in R&D for mid band projects.
Northrop — whose team consists of Harris, Comtech PST and L3 — were selected to separately demonstrate solutions for the low band to help the Navy refine requirements for the final program and reduce risk. Each were awarded a 20-month contract in October 2018.
Funding for the high band program does not appear in the Navy’s fiscal 2020 budget documents.
“Northrop Grumman is pleased to have been selected by the U.S. Navy in October 2018 for the Next Generation Jammer Low Band Demonstration of Existing Technologies (DET) program. The additional funding awarded on May 8, will allow the Northrop Grumman-led industry team to continue to work closely with the Navy to continue to reduce risk and support requirements for this fast-paced program,” Curtis Pearson, director of Advanced Programs at Northrop Grumman, said.
An L3 spokesperson told C4ISRNET in a statement: “With this week’s development funding, L3 Technologies will be able to accelerate delivery of new and much needed capabilities to the fleet through the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Jammer Low Band program. As the spectrum converges between Communications and Electronic Warfare, we saw that we could addresses current, advanced, and emerging threats with an innovative approach. We have a mature, low-risk, affordable solution, and we are confident in our ability to perform for our Navy customer.”
The Navy issued a request for information to industry for low band to refine the program’s requirements May 15. (Source: Defense News)
24 May 19. Northrop Grumman Demonstrates GPS Software Defined Radio Navigation Solution During Flight Test. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate, demonstrated the first Software Defined Radio (SDR)-based, M-code enabled GPS receiver on production-capable hardware during a recent flight test. In real-time, the SDR acquired and tracked the modernized GPS military signal, known as M-code, during a live-sky demonstration.
Additionally, Northrop Grumman achieved a security certification milestone by attaining Certification Requirements Review approval for the SDR-based GPS receiver from the GPS Directorate. This milestone constitutes a critical step on the way to fielding an M-code enabled GPS receiver that can be operated in an unclassified environment.
“Northrop Grumman’s secure software defined GPS solution provides an unprecedented level of agility and enables our customers to outpace the threat,” said Vern Boyle, vice president, advanced technologies, Northrop Grumman.
Using a system-on-a-chip SDR approach, in lieu of the traditional fixed application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design, enabled the platform to make rapid real-time field changes, an important capability in an evolving threat environment.
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.