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

Sponsored by Spectra Group

https://tacs.at/Spectra

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11 Jul 19. SRC enhances UK EW footprint. SRC has launched a new UK company-based company – SRC UK – to enhance electronic warfare support for the British armed forces. The company will have a UK based team to support the UK’s electronic warfare requirements, from mission intelligence and engineering services to the development of threat simulator receivers that assist with airborne training and operations.

Paul Tremont, CEO of SRC, said: ‘We are excited to be launching SRC UK to continue our strong relationship supporting Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. We are confident that [Stephen Davies, managing director of SRC UK] will provide leadership that will propel SRC UK to have a major role in supporting the EW modernisation effort to help protect warfighters.’ (Source: Shephard)

08 Jul 19. US Navy wants ‘see something, send something’ system. The Naval District Washington is looking for vendors that can make it easier for analysts to react to reports of suspicious activity in real time. The capability must integrate with a smartphone-based app that allows untrained users to collect and record suspicious activity and images, then easily and remotely upload the information to the Defense Department’s system of record for suspicious activity reporting. The vendor also must supply analytical tools, such as facial recognition and geo-mapping technologies, so security analysts can quickly identify threats, spot trends and share the information horizontally through the NDW area of operations, according to a sources sought notice.

The reported information would be housed in the eGuardian suspicious activity reporting system, which is a sensitive but unclassified threat tracking and management system. eGuardian, which was developed in 2007 and is managed by the FBI, is designed to collect terrorist threat information and suspicious activity so it can be shared with other federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement offices.

A number of state and local governments have developed similar smartphone-enabled “see something, send something” apps that make it easier for the public to report suspicious activity.

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., state officials announced the launch of Fortify Florida, an app that allows students and the community to relay information anonymously concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities — or the threat of these activities — to appropriate public safety agencies and school officials.

Northern Virginia residents can use the iWatchNOVA app to report suspicious activity that may indicate terrorist or significant criminal activity. Information collected through the app is evaluated, analyzed and disseminated by the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center, a Department of Homeland Security-recognized fusion center. (Source: Defense Systems)

11 Jul 19. Amazon and Microsoft compete for Pentagon’s “war cloud” contract. Amazon and Microsoft fight for Pentagon’s “War Cloud”. Credits: “The Pentagon” by David B. Gleason is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Amazon and Microsoft are battling to land a $10bn (£8.1bn) contract to develop an AI-driven Cloud computing solution to store and process US military information for a decade.

Formerly named the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure Plan (JEDI), the project will store classified data that can be analysed using AI to help the Pentagon make military decisions and pool information more easily.

The technology could fundamentally shift combat operations by giving ground forces direct access to classified information and a constant stream of data for operations.

The Pentagon unveiled the project in a strategy document released last year, saying: “Cloud is a fundamental component of the global infrastructure that will empower the warfighter with data and is critical to maintaining our military’s technological advantage.

“It emphasises mission and tactical edge needs along with the requirement to prepare for artificial intelligence while accounting for protection and efficiencies.”

The Pentagon has in the past been breached by Russian intelligence services and some commentators have expressed concern that using a Cloud-based solution to store sensitive information may run the risk of future of breaches.

Cranfield University head of digital forensics unit Dr Sarah Morris, at said: “Data on the Cloud is only as secure as the physical system it is resident on. This varies from company to company and device to device.

“However, storing data with a third party introduces a new set of individuals who would have potential access and understanding of the physical systems and security on which the data is stored. At the end of the day, this new set of people is a greater potential source of risk than the technology or implementation itself.”

Cranfield University senior lecturer in cyberspace operations Duncan Hodges added: “With appropriate technical controls some of this extra risk caused by the data being no longer on your own site can be mitigated, but there will inevitably be an increase in the attack surface presented to potential attackers.”

Amazon has been a front-runner throughout the process due to the existing contract for Cloud-based services it holds with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Other contenders for the contract included IBM and Oracle which were knocked out in earlier rounds of bidding leaving just Amazon and Microsoft in the running.

The procurement process has come under scrutiny by Congress and other bidders due to the close relationship between the Pentagon and Amazon. One point of this scrutiny has been meetings between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and other executives and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Oracle, a major player in the server industry, has begun a legal challenge after alleging that the Pentagon showed a preference for Amazon by tailoring the contract towards it. Opening arguments in the case will be heard in court today.

The winner of the contract is expected to begin work in August but Oracle’s legal challenges have stalled progress. (Source: army-technology.com)

10 Jul 19. US Army gets new alert system in Europe. Army installations in the European theater will begin using a new emergency messaging system this summer, affecting all Army personnel stationed at or on assignment on the continent. The new system, called the “Alert! Mass Warning Notification System,” or MWNS, will replace the current AtHoc system, per an Army order published Dec. 13. Current AtHoc accounts will be automatically migrated to the Alert! system. Any Army personnel not already covered by the old system will be afforded the opportunity to register for Alert! after the migration is complete, the service said in a news release.

As it stands, the Army operates two systems across roughly 100 installations, the release said. The migration to a single system is expected to reduce costs and redundant investments.

Migration across the Army will be complete no later than Feb. 29, 2020, according to EXORD 033-19, but Army garrisons in Europe will migrate between July 22 and Aug. 2, 2019, according to an Army timeline published this month.

The Army’s new system notifies service members, Army civilians and their families during crises, including during an active shooter incident, natural disasters or any other event requiring immediate notification.

Between July 22-26, Army Garrison Ansbach, Army Garrison Rheinland Pfalz, Army Garrison Stuttgart and Army Garrison Wiesbaden will make the switch.

Between July 29-Aug. 2, Army Garrison Bavaria, Army Garrison Benelux, Army Garrison Italy and Army Europe proper will begin using the new system. The new system will provide much of the same services as the older one, sending emergency notifications to worldwide users via desktop pop-up, mobile phone, SMS text, email and public distribution.

The new system is a government off-the-shelf system, meaning it was created and owned by the U.S. federal government. Unlike AtHoc, the new system will have no license fees and is expected to be cheaper.

Accounts that Army personnel use through the new Alert! system will follow personnel through their Army career, whether as a civilian or uniformed service member and in the United States and abroad.

Alert! also allows users to add up to 10 different phone numbers to include more family members and dependents. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

10 Jul 19. UK fields upgraded Bowman. New communications network applications and hardware have been successfully fielded to British Army and Royal Marines units on operations under the Bowman ComBAT Infrastructure P-BISA (BCIP) 5.6 project. UK troops deployed in Poland under Operation ‘Cabrit’ and Royal Marines very high readiness units of 3 Commando Brigade have received the new applications and hardware for the Bowman communications system, according to a programme update by the British Army on 1 July seen by Jane’s .

Units of 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade, which is leaving Germany this summer, as well as British Army training organisations in Canada and Kenya, have so far received the BCIP 5.6 upgrade to their radios and command systems. Over the next four months, British Army units in Estonia, Iraq, and Afghanistan will receive the new system, as will 16 Air Assault Brigade, Headquarters 3 (UK) Division, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Regiment Force Protection Wing, and 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade. Training units in the UK will also start to receive the system in September, including the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) in Warminster in Wiltshire.

The update revealed that the Land System Reference Centre at Blanford in Dorset has carried out a trial this year to test interoperability with the French Système d’Information pour le Commandement des Forces (Forces Command Information System, SICF) ahead of the validation exercise for the UK-France Combined Joint Expeditionary Force in 2020. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

09 Jul 19. Here’s the No. 1 rule for US Air Force’s new advanced battle management system. The U.S. Air Force has started work on a data architecture for its Advanced Battle Management System, the family of platforms that will eventually replace the E-8C JSTARS surveillance planes. But the “biblical” rule for the program, according to the service’s acquisition executive Will Roper, is that “we don’t start talking platforms until the end,” he told Defense News at the Paris Air Show in June.

“It is so easy to start talking about satellites and airplanes and forget what ABMS is going to have to uniquely champion, which is the data architecture that will connect them,” Roper explained.

“I’m actually glad we don’t have big money this year because we can’t go build a drone or a satellite, so we’ve got to focus on the part that’s less sexy, which is that data architecture,” he said. “We’re going to have to do software development at multiple levels of classification and do it securely. All of those are things that are hard to get people energized about, but they’re going to be the make-or-break [undertakings] for this program.”

Some initial work has begun on identifying the requirements for ABMS data architecture. The service in March named Preston Dunlap, a national security analysis executive at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, as the program’s “chief architect.” Dunlap will be responsible for developing the requirements for ABMS and ensuring they are met throughout the menu of systems that will comprise it.

The Air Force Warfighter Integration Center, or AFWIC — the service’s planning cell for future technologies and concepts of operation — provided feedback to Dunlap about how ABMS should work, Roper said.

The Air Force is still deliberating what ABMS will look like in its final form, although officials have said it will include a mix of traditional manned aircraft, drones, space-based technologies and data links.

The effort was devised as an alternative to a replacement for the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System.

While the service first considered a traditional recapitalization program where it would buy new JSTARS aircraft equipped with more sophisticated radars, leaders ultimately backed the more ambitious ABMS proposal, believing it to be a more survivable capability.

But defense companies are hungry for more information about the platforms that will comprise ABMS, seeing the opportunity to develop new systems or upgrade legacy ones as a major potential moneymaker.

Once the service has defined an ABMS data architecture — which Roper believes will occur before the fiscal 2021 budget is released — it will need to form requirements for the data that will run through and populate it as well as the artificial intelligence that automatically sorts important information and passes it to users.

“Maybe one sensor needs to be able to fill a gap that others are creating,” he said. “We’re going to have to look at requirements at a systems level and tell satellites that you need to be able to provide this level of data at this refresh rate. UAVs, you need to be able to do this rate and so on and so forth. Once we do that, then we’ll be in the traditional part of the acquisition, which will be building those satellites, building those UAVs.”

The Air Force intends to conduct yearly demonstrations throughout this process, the first of which will involve “ad hoc mesh networking,” which will allow platforms to automatically begin working together and sharing information without human interference. By FY21, full-scale prototyping could start, he said.

In the commercial sector, where devices can be seamlessly linked and monitored over the internet, this concept is known as the internet of things. But that construct — where companies build technologies from the get-go with open software — is difficult to replicate in the defense world, where firms must meet strict security standards and are protective of sharing intellectual property that could give competitors an edge.

“Openness in the internet of things makes sense because you can monetize the data,” Roper said. “That’s not going to exist for us, so we’re going to have to have a contracting incentive that replicates it. The best theory we have right now is some kind of royalty scheme that the more open you are and the more adaptation we do on top of your system, the more you benefit from it.”

The service wants to hold a series of industry days to see whether such a construct would be appealing to defense companies, and how to structure it so that it will be fair and profitable. One unanswered is how to incentivize and compensate defense firms that build in new software capability.

“If you create the system that allows us to put 100 apps on top of it, you benefit differently than if we can only put one. But the details are going to be difficult because maybe that one app is super important,” Roper said.

“But if we can’t replicate profit and cash flow on which their quarterlies depend, then they’re going to have to go back to the old model of saying they are for open [architecture] but secretly giving you closed.” (Source: Defense News)

09 Jul 19. Canberra-based company wins Army cyber capabilities contract. Penten Services has been congratulated by the government after securing two Defence Innovation Hub contracts with a combined value of $2.2m. The Canberra-based company will use this funding to develop technology that enhances the Australian Army’s capacity to send communications over unsecured networks. The contracts will also see the development of cyber-management capability and enhanced security countermeasures, with this technology looking to help the Australian Army monitor network traffic and mitigate attacks on its network.

“Innovation is critical to build and sustain the Australian Defence Force’s capability edge,” Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said.

“Australia benefits from an industrial base of many agile small to medium enterprises like Penten.

“The government is committed to investing in Australian jobs and small and medium enterprises to develop our defence industry.”

Established in 2015, Penten has seen substantial growth from a team of four to over 50 employees, with the company seeking to build “world-leading technologies that protect Australia’s most classified information from sophisticated cyber adversaries”.

Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja, said the announcement is a significant investment in a local defence industry company, supporting the Canberra local economy.

“These contracts will not only allow Penten to support local jobs and skills in Canberra, but will ensure members of the Canberra defence industry community continue to be engaged in developing cutting-edge technologies for Australia’s Defence Force,” Senator Seselja said.

“I congratulate Penten on the work they have done so far in their contribution to our nation’s security, and strongly support the opportunities the Defence Innovation Hub affords to Canberran businesses to contribute to our nation’s Defence.”

The contracts awarded to Penten were selected as part of Army Innovation Day 2018, which called for innovative solutions for the next-generation Army. (Source: Defence Connect)

06 Jul 19. The latest step in the Air Force’s Enterprise IT as a Service plan. The Air Force is adding another company to its Enterprise IT as a Service experiment, the service announced June 28. Accenture Federal Services, a multinational professional services company, received the third contract for Air Force’s Enterprise IT as a Service program and will experiment with delivering computing and storage capabilities as a service to eight Air Force bases, according to the release. The new capabilities will allow the Air Force to use edge cloud computing to expedite data-driven base operations and support artificial intelligence efforts, the release said. Microsoft and AT&T had previously won contracts for the program.

The agreement comes as a part of a multi-year modernizing initiative for the Air Force’s digital structure, which is meant to improve technologies and delivery models. The Enterprise IT as a Service model allows the Air Force to use commercial companies, which can perform IT services more efficiently than airmen, for day-to-day IT tasks.

The eight bases Accenture will support are Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado, Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama., Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson in Alaska, Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico and Hurlburt Field in Florida. Accenture is expected to finish work on the project by June 2020. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

06 Jul 19. General Dynamics wins $217m contract for the Air Force’s network. General Dynamics Information Technology will provide the Air Force’s 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing with network technology through a contract worth up to $217m, according to a June 26 news release from the company. GDIT already works for the Air Force to provide network support for the service’s Distributed Common Ground System), a contract the company has held for 20 years, the report said. That program is the Air Force’s primary ISR planning, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and dissemination weapon system. GDIT developed and implemented the initial design for the global network that supports the system, the report said.

As a result of the contract, the program’s operations center will receive network administration, network engineering, information assurance, computer network defense, systems administration, computer network defense, systems administration, project management and C4ISR engineering, according to the report. The company will also work to help modernize the network, the release said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

06 Jul 19. What the Pentagon learned from Cyber Lightning 2019. The Department of Defense’s cyber leaders are using a spring exercise — where for the first time multiple teams helped commanders understand their cyber options on the battlefield — as a way to better work together in future conflicts.

“These exercises taught us a great deal about ourselves and we’ve come out stronger than we started,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner, who leads 24th Air Force, which participated in the exercise. “The lessons we learned will help us continue to improve our readiness and lethality.”

Cyber Lightning 2019 was the U.S. Cyber Command portion of European Command’s Austere Challenge exercise, which featured 4,500 individuals from multiple NATO countries and personnel from U.S. Strategic and Transportation commands. The exercise took place March 13-26.

The exercise sought to test new cyber planning cells located within the combatant command staffs. These cells are known as cyber operations-integrated planning elements (CO-IPE). The new organizations were mandated for all the service cyber components in 2017 as satellite offices of the cyber entities that actually control cyber forces. They are expected to be fully operational by 2022.

“This was really the first combatant command Tier I exercise that we had all three of our IPEs playing together,” Col. William Hill, director of plans for Air Forces Cyber, told Fifth Domain in a May interview.

The three Air Force planning organizations support European Command, Strategic Command and Transportation Command.

Hill noted that the Air Force and other services are still staffing these organizations.

Cyber Lightning marked the first large exercise that these new organizations have been in place as a permanent entity within the combatant commands, Hill said. Previously, the combatant commands did not have anyone on staff to say what could cyber options were available. For example, if a combatant command wanted to cut off encrypted communications in one area, a cyber planner could say that such a possibility existed and then communicate that plan to the remote headquarters for execution.

These planning cells can also help in deconflicting cyberspace, an increasingly complex task as multiple friendly forces — such as globally focused defensive cyber teams, teams focused on protecting the homeland abroad or teams from other combatant commands — could potentially bump into each other in cyberspace.

Aside from a new Integrated Cyber Center/Joint Operations Center that can coordinate these forces globally, various planning organizations from across the services and combatant commands also communicate with each other, Hill said.

Despite still being somewhat nascent, Hill said he believes these planning organizations are making a difference at the combatant commands.

“Part of it is providing some general situational awareness, some of it is providing better coordination for defensive cyber activities and actually helping the combatant command get help where they need it,” he said. “The other part is we’re building partnerships internally, externally, interagency and partner nations, NATO or other allies.”

Cyber Command leaders have said integrating cyber into operations is now happening more regularly.

Ultimately, Hill said he hopes these planning organizations seamlessly exist within the combatant commands as a part of the staffs.

“At some point this has to be less special,” he said. (Source: Fifth Domain)

08 Jul 19. USAF Seeks Information on Non-Satcom BVLoS Communications. The US Air Force (USAF) seeks information from industry regarding non-satellite-based beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) communications. The request for information (RFI), reissued on 1 July on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, specifically seeks technical information on the current state-of-the-art and the future development potential for non-satellite communications high frequency global communications system (HFGCS) (satcom) BLOS technologies such as tropospheric scatter (troposcatter), high frequency (HF), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) relays, passive reflector systems, and others. Further, it seeks information about current and planned development initiatives, technology maturity, fabrication methods, availability, schedule, and cost of such materials for potential use in anticipated military applications.

The USAF is interested in systems that would provide the best redundancy to satcom systems in performance characteristics. These systems may include well-known systems such as troposcatter and HF but also lesser-known systems including passive scatter systems such as aircraft and meteor burst scatter, or an entirely novel idea of achieving BLOS communications.

Troposcatter technology uses particles that make up the earth’s atmosphere as a reflector for microwave radio signals. Those signals are aimed just above the horizon in the direction of a receiver station. As they pass through the troposphere, some of the energy is scattered back toward earth, allowing the receiver station to pick up the signal, according to Raytheon.

Responses are due by 29 July. In responses, the USAF wants to learn more about new technologies that would decrease maintenance cost fivefold, have a 50% increase in average time between failure, a 100% increase in part failure prediction accuracy, and a 25% increase in re-use.  (Source: UAS VISION/ Jane’s 360)

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Spectra Group Plc

Spectra has a proven record of accomplishment – with over 15 years of experience in delivering secure communications and cybersecurity solutions for governments around the globe; elite militaries; and private enterprises of all sizes.

As a dynamic, agile, security accredited organisation, Spectra can leverage this experience to deliver Cyber Advisory and secure Hosted and Managed Solutions on time, to spec and on budget, ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices.

Spectra’s SlingShot® is a unique low SWaP system that enables in-service U/VHF tactical radios to utilise Inmarsat’s commercial satellite network for BLOS COTM. Including omnidirectional antenna for the man, vehicle, maritime and aviation platforms, the tactical net can broadcast over 1000s miles between forward units and a rear HQ, no matter how or where the deployment. Unlike many BLOS options, SlingShot maintains full COTM (Communications On The Move) capability and low size and weight

On 23 November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced that it had recently been listed as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier for 2015-2016 by the UK Crown Commercial Services

Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 BATTLESPACE Businessman of the Year by BATTLESPACE magazine and is a finalist in the inaugural British Ex-Forces In Business Awards in the Innovator Of The Year category.

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

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