Sponsored by Spectra Group
18 Jul 19. Airbus to run UK MOD’s land C4ISR test centre. Airbus has agreed a five-year contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to manage test and reference services to support the delivery and assured release of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capability for deployed operations around the globe. The contract is valued at approximately £22m (€ 25m).
Airbus offers the UK MOD a seamless transition and delivery of a comprehensive, consistent and coherent service model for the Land Systems Reference Centre (LSRC), delivering test and reference capability to support development, integration, approval and de-risking of C4ISR systems and services.
Airbus aims to make the LSRC the UK MOD’s centre of excellence for advice and test, ensuring that MOD networks can accommodate new applications, hardware and services. Major programmes such as Morpheus, which is the next generation tactical communications system for the British Armed Forces, will be tested in the LSRC.
Located at Blandford Camp in Dorset, the Royal Corps of Signals’ headquarters, the LSRC provides the MOD with a through life ‘Systems of Systems’ Test and Reference service. It provides an appropriate test, integration and transition capability that assures release packages for introduction onto the Defence Network and in support of operations and exercises.
The LSRC can provide support and specialist advice for deployed and base ICT capabilities throughout their lifecycle. The LSRC has the capability to test applications and application upgrades on reference systems to assess their impact on other applications and the network as well as the network’s impact on the application.
Airbus has decades of experience delivering communications solutions to the UK MOD, as well as many governments around the world, both with ground infrastructure networks and satellite communications delivering unrivalled resilience and security to all forces’ operations.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Airbus takes over the LSRC contract from Steria who had held it for several years.
18 Jul 19. ERRATUM AND ADDENDUM TO BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.21 ISSUE 16 – TrellisWare Selected for UK MoD DSA Radio Requirement.
‘It has been pointed out to BATTLESPACE that some of the contents of the BATTLESPACE ALERT released today are incorrect. The UK MoD has not purchased the TrellisWare TW-400 CUB for the DSA Requirement.’
The corrected and revised text is as below:
TRELLISWARE USED FOR UK MOD DSA EXPERIMENTATION
17 Jul 19.
At the Three Counties Defence & Security Expo yesterday BATTLESPACE received a briefing regarding the British Army DSA programme. The Army has recently briefed some key requirements are for a radio that can operate in a 1.2MHz frequency channel around the 1430MHz area of the RF spectrum whilst providing voice, positional location information and messaging between a networked group of 120 soldiers.
Recently, the Army has been conducting experimentation under the RAVEN/DSA experiment, prior to the formal commencement of the DSA programme. During this experiment, TrellisWare technology was selected as a representative RF bearer system to attempt to demonstrate the viability of Mobile Ad-Hoc Networking (MANET) technology for DSA. A number of other MAENT radio technologies are available from other vendors.
DSA is part of the wider LeTACCIS programme and sits under the MORPHEUS sub programme. Its primary aim is to provide tactical voice, position information and data to modern soldiers, improving Situational Awareness and Operating capability.
TrellisWare’s low Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) radios support on-the-move communications without having to manually change out RF bands and modules, or antennas. Barrage Relay networking enables continuous and flexible frequency coverage, and TSM radios effortlessly provide transparent IP networking adaptable to any harsh RF environment or when mission-critical parameters change.
TrellisWare builds strong, durable radios from the inside out. Not only do they house the most robust performing waveform, but they are product validated to comply with current U.S. Military Standards (MIL-STD-810G). From the design stages to the field, TrellisWare’s tactical radios focus on job-enabling connectivity,
TrellisWare Technologies is a privately held company based in San Diego, California. We are dedicated to improving and changing the design and performance of communications and signal processing systems. As a worldwide leader in highly advanced algorithms, waveforms, and communications systems, we provide innovative small form factor radio products, and fully integrated solutions. TrellisWare is delivering the next generation of communications to military and commercial markets — today.
TrellisWare Technologies was founded by four innovators in the areas of signal processing and advanced communications. The co-founders spun-off the company from ViaSat in the year 2000 to pursue terrestrial applications of technology that combined foundations in signal processing innovation with the ability to productize these ideas for the real-world in the commercial sector. TrellisWare continues to work with academia, industry, government, and commercial research labs to solve the most difficult problems by putting theory into practice.
TrellisWare’s technological history includes signal processing, commercial IP licensing, product prototyping, free space optics, networking waveforms, high frequency radio, interference mitigation, special processing, and more. The results lead to worldwide deployments of TrellisWare’s technology to solve communications challenges When Nothing Else Works™. Viasat has a considerable shareholding in TrellisWare Technologies.
The technology developed by TrellisWare has a unique edge, since it is based on the co-founders patented Per-Survivor-Processing (PSP), F-LDPC Forward Error Correction (FEC), and Adaptive Iterative Detection (AID) techniques. The waveforms, signal processing in the physical layer, and the products provide higher throughputs and reliability in harsh environments across all spectrums of communications.
The core technology behind the TSM™ waveform is TrellisWare® Barrage Relay™ networking technology, which is built with the robust signal processing techniques of collaborative combining to outperform traditional MANETs. Barrage Relay is a trusted TRL-9 technology deployed with U.S. Special Operations Forces, and the TSM-X™ waveform is the primary MANET for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) next generation handheld and manpack radios.
Although not awarded to Viasat directly, the fact that Viasat has a considerable shareholding in TrellisWare Technologies, demonstrates not only Viasat’s considerable breadth of technologies it has available to offer, it can offer TrellisWare access to its UK operations for support of the radios. Viasat is already actively offering the UK MoD its technology for such projects as Skynet 6, where its breadth and coverage of its constellation and cost of ownership gives the MoD a considerable asset for operating its satcoms solutions across the globe in the next century through leasing capability rather than outright purchase which allows the MoD to have access to the latest technology available. In addition, the ability to lease bandwidth rather than buy a fleet of satellites also gives the MoD the flexibility to expand its footprint in a new theatre of war at less cost, with the ability to switch frequencies should the enemy jam the exiting band.
19 Jul 19. NSW cyber security node open for business. The NSW and Commonwealth governments have officially launched the NSW Cyber Security Innovation Node – joining five similar nodes around the country.
The NSW Cyber Security Innovation Node joins five other state and territory nodes created in partnership with AustCyber. Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the new node was another important step in developing an industry that would boost Australia’s economy and create jobs.
“This new node in Sydney, backed by AustCyber and the NSW government, will bring together start-ups, corporations, universities, researchers and government agencies to share expertise and create new ideas,” Minister Andrews said.
NSW Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said NSW was Australia’s leading user of cyber security products and services and home to the nation’s largest fintech industry.
“Together with our launch of the NSW Cyber Security Industry Development Strategy last year, the establishment of the node is a further important step taken by the NSW government towards strengthening our cyber capabilities,” Minister Tudehope said.
The NSW Cyber Security Innovation Node will be co-located with and complement the Joint Cyber Security Centre in Sydney, which has a focus on threat information sharing.
It joins a network of nodes backed by AustCyber and state/territory governments already established in Victoria, the ACT, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. Growing the cyber security sector is part of the Morrison government’s broader plan to grow the economy and create 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years.
The JCSC program is a partnership between business, government, academia and other key partners to enhance collaboration on cyber security. JCSC is a central initiative of the Australian government’s Cyber Security Strategy to bring together business and the research community along with state, territory and Commonwealth agencies in an open and co-operative environment, with the following key objectives:
- Sensitive information, including actionable cyber threat intelligence, is shared quickly between and among partners;
- Solutions to cyber security risks and issues are developed through collaboration and without commercial bias;
- A common understanding of the cyber security environment and optimal mitigation options is achieved through sharing and analysis of incidents, threats and risks;
- Organisations – at all levels – have access to practical tools and resources to improve their cyber security; and
- Consistent education and awareness messages are promoted with and among partners. (Source: Defence Connect)
17 Jul 19. NATO seeks next-gen electronic warfare database. A senior official in NATO’s electronic warfare community told Jane’s that the next-generation NATO Emitter Database (NEDB-NG) is slated to be operational by 2020. The alliance’s original NEDB architecture commenced operations in the early 1990s as a means for members to store and share electronic intelligence (ELINT). The database has been continually expanded to enable it to accept new ELINT. However, changing operational requirements and technological developments have prompted NATO to invest in the NEDB-NG. The alliance began work on the NEDB-NG in 2012 with a study to examine merging the business processes, database, and data exchange formats of the alliance’s EW and spectrum management communities. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Jul 19. Cyber Security Bill Introduced To Protect U.S. Research; House Passes Small Business Cyber Measures. The House on Monday afternoon passed two cyber security bills, one aimed at helping small business and the other aimed at assessing the security posture of the Small Business
Administration. Separately, on Monday, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), introduced a bill to establish a three-year pilot program that attempts to make it easier for U.S. universities to protect research from
cyber-attacks. He said that universities are currently required to implement more than 100 controls to protect certain research but the complexity and cost of the controls means many schools can’t meet the requirements. The Securing American Research from Cyber Theft Act (H.R. 3611) would create secure computing enclaves to protect federally-funded research in universities. It calls for the Defense Department, working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National
Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, to establish the pilot program. The bill also calls for DoD to select three universities from among the schools classified under the Indiana Univ. Center for Postsecondary Research Carnegie Classification that work with
secure information to develop the geographically secure computing enclaves.
“It’s becoming more and more difficult to protect American research and intellectual property
from cyber-attacks,” Babin, ranking member of the House Science Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics, said in a statement. “This pilot program gives researchers the tools needed to
conduct sensitive research in a secure environment, and it safeguards tax payers’ investment in emerging technologies.”
The House by voice vote passed the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act of 2019 (H.R. 1649) that directs the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish a cyber consulting certification to certify employees of lead small business development centers to provide cyber planning assistance to small businesses. The SBA Cyber Awareness Act (H.R. 2331), also approved by voice vote, requires the SBA to
report to Congress annually on its information technology and cyber security infrastructure, and include a strategy to improve its cyber security infrastructure, an inventory of its IT equipment or subsystems made in China, and a list of any cyber incidents in the last two years and actions taken to respond to or mitigate incidents. The measure also directs the SBA to notify Congress within 7 days of a cyber security risk or incident and to notify small businesses affected by a cyber incident within 30 days. (Source: Defense Daily)
17 Jul 19. USAF opens cyber defence facility to protect weapon systems. The US Air Force (USAF) has opened a cyber defence facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Fighters and Bombers Directorate. The $1.5m facility is intended to ensure the protection of weapon systems from cyber threats and mitigation of vulnerabilities across the USAF’s fighters and bombers fleet. The USAF seeks to build processes, infrastructure and capabilities to counter threats to its weapon systems. According to USAF, organisations are considering innovative means to form partnerships to advance the cyber resiliency of weapon systems.
The new facility was built by the USAF in collaboration with the Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems (CROWS).
In addition to funding, CROWS provided its specialist experience for the facility.
CROWS director Joseph Bradley said: “Construction of this facility is a key component of the CROWS mission to increase the cyber resiliency of Air Force weapon systems and maintain mission effective capability.
“It will improve communication, collaboration and allow us to better resolve problems.”
The centre will serve as the platform for acquisition professionals to enhance their understanding of current and emerging threats and how to counter them.
Fighters and Bombers programme executive officer brigadier general Heath Collins said: “We are in an age where we have a very sophisticated threat and an adversary that is really trying to get into all of our systems.
“This facility is absolutely going to be at the core of how we protect our systems moving forward.”
The organisation intends to establish similar facilities across development, acquisition and sustainment centres over the coming five years.
The USAF recently completed a cybersecurity and defence programme named Exercise Quantum to evaluate the capacity to establish a scalable taskforce that integrates local and enterprise specialists to address cyber threats. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
17 Jul 19. Raytheon to build Cybersecurity Operations Center for MENA country. Raytheon has been contracted to build a mission-critical, advanced Cybersecurity Operations Center for an unidentified country in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Under the $110m contract, Raytheon will provide advanced cybersecurity operations centre and services. The company will carry out vulnerability assessments and provide cybersecurity response capabilities. The centre will be responsible for intrusion detection, related training, transfer of knowledge, operational support and incident response.
The Cybersecurity Operations Center will deliver capabilities that allow the country to identify and combat cyber threats to critical defence systems.
Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services president Dave Wajsgras said: “Raytheon’s nation-scale cybersecurity solutions are in growing demand from countries around the world as they confront today’s dynamic cyber threats.
“The challenge of defending large, complex networks, platforms and infrastructure against the most extreme class of cyber threats is fully met by our core cybersecurity competencies and global experience.”
The facility is capable of monitoring the information environment and will provide customers with critical situational awareness, the company stated on its website. The centre is intended to enable proactive defence and rapid response.
Raytheon performs cyber vulnerability assessments in order to assess a customer’s risk. The proactive assessment will facilitate the development of a response plan in collaboration with the client.
The contract comes after the company received two direct commercial sales contracts last week from Qatar to supply a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and Patriot weapons systems. Raytheon is required to provide the NASAMS, final certification of the advanced medium-range air-to-air missile extended range (AMRAAM-ER), as well as additional Patriot fire units. (Source: army-technology.com)
17 Jul 19. House Approves Amendment For Cyber Pilot Program To Protect Electric Grids. The House on Tuesday night adopted an amendment that would establish a pilot program aimed at discovering potential cyber security vulnerabilities to the nation’s electric grids and test technologies to protect systems from cyber-attacks. The amendment by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and co-sponsored by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) was attached to the Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 3494) that was expected to pass the House Wednesday. The Senate already passed a similar provision in its version of the intelligence bill.
“A sophisticated cyber-attack could have disastrous consequences on the public health, safety, and economic security of all Americans,” Ruppersberger said in a statement. “We can’t wait any longer to address the vulnerabilities we inherently create when we rely on complicated digital software systems for everyday basics like electricity and running water. This measure will help us both discover security gaps in our energy grid and keep an eye on emerging threats that could disrupt electricity generation or even cost lives.”
Ruppersberger said his amendment was inspired by Russia’s 2015 cyber-attack on the Ukrainian electric grid. The provision establishes a working group of government agencies, the energy industry and other experts to evaluate technology solutions proposed by the pilot program and directs the Department of Energy to report on the results of the program. (Source: Defense Daily)
16 Jul 19. A necessary rise: Lithuania bolsters its cybersecurity, catching the attention of other nations. Lithuania is rising to the top of those countries taking charge of their cybersecurity, and it’s development in cyberspace may benefit the rest of Europe and the United States. Lithuania has reason to focus on cyberthreats: It’s no secret Russia targets the Baltic states with cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. Though Lithuania saw a decrease in the number of total cyber incidents recognized last year, the country is reporting that the number of sophisticated cyberattacks increased by 41 percent. Those malicious incidents include malware, system intrusion and compromised systems.
On average, the country sees 55,000 incidents each year — roughly 150 incidents a day — which is a lot when compared to population numbers in Lithuania, a government official told Defense News on an Atlantic Council-organized fact-finding mission in May. Presentations and meetings were conducted under the Chatham House Rule, so the individual cannot be identified.
Lithuania has made cybersecurity a top priority and, because of its efforts, is recognized as one of the best prepared countries when it comes to cyberspace, only behind the United Kingdom, the U.S. and France, according to the Global Cybersecurity Index.
Lithuania officially adopted a national cybersecurity strategy in August 2018, which is aimed to keep cyberspace for both the public and private sectors resilient against attacks.
Through the strategy, Lithuania has taken several unique routes in its approach to cybersecurity, including charging the Ministry of National Defence with the sole responsibility of setting cyber policy. This has improved the organizational cybersecurity framework, the ministry reports.
The government is also building a secure state data-transfer network that is not linked to the public internet, which will be able to operate even if the public internet goes down, whether caused by a large-scale cyberattack or a natural disaster, in order to secure data and maintain reliable communication.
The strategy also promotes the development of cyber defense capabilities, so in 2018, Lithuania, in cooperation with the United States, established a regional Cyber Security Center in Kaunas that will partially focus on research and development of next-generation capabilities, including the design of hardware to prevent cyberattacks.
The Cyber Security Center is located in a nondescript office building adjacent to a busy skate park. It’s still a work in progress, with much of the floor space empty and awaiting expansion, but a small room of staff were already busy at computers and 3D printers, building hardware and software tools aimed at preventing cyberattacks.
One reason the center is focused on building its own hardware-based tools is because that approach is more secure, an official noted. The center has seven full-time staff members and two interns, and it is supported by the Pennsylvania National Guard, which will have personnel stationed at the center.
In addition to research and development, the center is also focused on training with partners and allies and conducting cyberthreat analysis.
The center is particularly interested in artificial intelligence and how that can enhance cybersecurity, real-time encryption and embedded-systems development, launching some of these R&D efforts last year and earlier this year.
By 2020, the center hopes to incorporate AI sensors into Lithuania’s core governmental network.
Work from the center has already made the Lithuanian elections process more secure, an official reported.
Lithuania’s focus on cybersecurity isn’t just insular. The country participates at the international level by leading the European Union’s permanent structured cooperation, or PESCO, project on cyber rapid response teams and mutual assistance in cybersecurity.
PESCO is part of the EU’s security and defense policy that pursues structural integration among armed forces.
Lithuania and other EU countries are creating a common capability to respond to cyberattacks by developing a cyber toolkit that will support EU members in times of need, the Lithuanian MoD told Defense News in a statement.
In addition to developing cybersecurity tools, conducting research and holding exercises, it is foreseen that the regional Cyber Security Center in Kaunas might also serve as a subdivision of the EU cyber rapid response teams.
But challenges remain, and they’re not unique to Lithuania. The country acknowledges that technological solutions can’t fully counter new vulnerabilities. Cyberattacks against Lithuania are becoming more sophisticated, the MoD acknowledges, and have been associated with hybrid threats, where attacks were conducted in parallel to information warfare.
All of this is compounded by a growing number of devices in the country.
Social engineering methods are also being used actively and in different forms, the MoD reports, and the government networks and critical information infrastructure continue to be the most attacked sectors by malware. (Source: Defense News)
15 Jul 19. New US Army cyber gear for drones and teams test, protect units in another domain. A prototype device used recently at the Army’s premiere combat training center has soldiers using precision cyber techniques to target small drones that might have been missed with other equipment and methods.
Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division used the cyber precision drone detection system during a January rotation at the National Training Center. The equipment allowed soldiers to get alerts of drone presence and ways to target it that helped protect the brigade, according to an Army release.
Capt. Christopher Packard said the prototype integrated with existing signal, intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities.
Five soldiers embedded with the opposing force to attack the brigade with enemy drones for more realistic training, according to the release.
A group of software developers at the Army’s Cyber Command along with others at the Defense Digital Service built custom software and modified commercial equipment to make the early versions of the prototype last year.
“The (Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office) and Tobyhanna (Army Depot) helped out with taking it from an advanced prototype and turning it into an engineering design model,” said 1st Lt. Aneesh Patel, with ARCYBER’s Cyber Solutions Development Detachment with the 782nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 780th Military Intelligence Brigade.
“We designed our own hardware and schematics, but what we didn’t have was the proper ability to scale, and I think that’s important in a bridging strategy and for any prototype.”
The system is an “interim solution,” according to the release.
“Being a newer system and a new tool for a maneuver unit, there are going to be a lot of things we don’t know as [cyber] engineers, and a lot of their specific needs for the capability that may not have gotten through to us. So being out there was very important to this and any other project like it,” Patel said.
The system will be followed by an upgraded version slated for Special Operations Command for an operational assessment this summer.
Phase two will maximize the capability’s operational life span by adding software updates that improve performance, according to the release.
That type of equipment hits drones, but the Army also has its own cyber protection teams, such as the one featured in another release out of Grafenwoehr, Germany in June, where the 301st and 172nd CPTs used defensive measures for the Sabre Guardian 19 exercise.
The annual exercise is taking place this year in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, co-led by the Romanian Joint Force Command.
The teams “create chaos by accessing the network and either disabling it or stealing classified information and using it against the units involved in the exercise.”
Though cyber threats have been a talking point among commanders for years, it wasn’t until this most recent rotation that cyber threats were simulated for the exercise, said Capt. Joe McNerney, 301st CPT battle captain.
The captain explained that the CPTs simulate an insider threat.
The 172nd is a combination of soldiers and airmen from units based in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The 301st is an Air Force unit out of the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Michigan.
“They’re people we work with on a daily basis so we want to beat them,” said Sgt. Brian Stevens, an information technology specialist from Detroit. “We have to make them feel pain at some level.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 Jul 19. Pentagon studies how to secure 5G and beyond. The Department of Defense is developing a 5G strategy, and now the Defense Science Board has given Pentagon decision-makers its findings on the subject. The DSB’s quick task force on defense applications of fifth-generation network technology undertook an extensive technical review of 5G-related technologies and communication to offer the DoD recommendations on how to adopt such technologies in the face of concerns.
Specifically, Pentagon officials and members of Congress are increasingly worried that if China invests in and controls the majority of the global 5G network marketplace, the Chinese government can use that network to spy on the communications that cross the network. Worse, some fear that in a conflict or tension, China could cut off communications to certain areas as leverage.
The report (a more detailed version of which is classified) notes that the integration of 5G technology could give DoD the opportunity to adopt benefits of related systems for needs at a lower cost.
“If adopted and acted upon expeditiously, this strategy will provide the Department with a near-term plan to ensure a vibrant U.S. research and development (R&D) base for ‘5G and beyond’ telecommunications standards, capabilities and industry; long-term U.S. competitiveness in the global communications and network base; and safe, secure, trustworthy and resilient communications infrastructure option for the U.S. at home or abroad, our Allies and treaty partners,” Alfred Grasso, the study’s chairman, wrote in a summary released to the public by the DSB in late June.
“In accordance with its charter, the study defines a path for DoD 5G adoption that mitigates supply chain risk, established spectrum co-existence procedures and revamps existing communications infrastructure.”
The report’s six findings include:
- 5G bandwidth and services, low power implementations and low latency capabilities may enhance current DoD capabilities and have the potential to create new capabilities;
- While 5G largely evolves from 4G, much has changed to include shifts in intellectual property, authorities in standards development and supply chain;
- Inherent supply chain, cyber, radio frequency/electronic warfare and virtual/physical vulnerabilities creates significant risks to missions;
- Technologies such as network function virtualization, new radio and security enhancements provide new mission opportunities;
- New and emerging technology creates opportunities to regain leadership for future 3rd Generation Partnership Project standards releases, an organization that sets telecommunications standards; and
- 5G deployment must be measured against mission criticality and acceptable risk.
The report issued 10 recommendations, which Grasso said are all executable in less than five years, with many actionable items in the immediate future.
He added, “The committee encourages quick adoption of these recommendations, or we jeopardize our national technological leadership in this important sector.”
Among the recommendations are adopting 5G for military use in lightly contested environments and securing 5G systems in contested environments for critical applications. The report notes that DoD should “leap-frog” base infrastructure 4G LTE service acquisition and accelerate full spectrum 5G deployment and apply a “5G first” policy for infrastructure upgrades and recapitalization to include wireless applications. Other recommendations include development of a DoD 5G supply chain management strategy, creation of a program for “vulnerability analysis” and the development and execution a three-year 5G plus science and technology roadmap.
Acknowledging potential issues alongside future benefits, the report notes that 5G technologies also presents “new challenges in cybersecurity, spectrum management and network optimization.”
Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters during a May 10 briefing that studies from not just the DSB, but also the Defense Innovation Board and the Defense Business Board on 5G will factor into the Pentagon’s strategy. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 Jul 19. ARL research addresses bandwidth challenges for battlefield cyber defence. The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is seeking to address bandwidth restrictions in its tactical networks, work that could have several cybersecurity advantages on the battlefield, the organisation told Jane’s. The work was initiated to solve problems that ARL and its Cyber Security Service Providers (CSSPs) were facing in ‘sustaining base’ networks (networks for sustainment rather than combat deployment), although ARL “always hoped that our research would benefit the warfighter by allowing traditional network intrusion techniques to be useful on the battlefield”, said Sidney C Smith, a computer scientist at ARL who led the project. In the commercial world, cybersecurity systems use distributed network intrusion techniques that enable a small number of trained analysts to monitor multiple networks at the same time, according to ARL. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Jul 19. DOD Releases Digital Modernization Strategy. The Department of Defense released its Digital Modernization Strategy on July 12, 2019. This strategy will guide the DOD Information Technology transformation. The DOD Digital Modernization Strategy is critical for the advancement of the digital environment to ultimately ensure competitive advantage for warfighters.
Within the strategy are four strategic initiatives:
- Innovation for advantage
- Resilient cybersecurity
- Cultivation of talent
“Through four strategic initiatives, this strategy outlines how the department will increase agility and remain competitive within a constantly evolving digital global threat landscape,” DOD CIO Dana Deasy said. “The National Defense Strategy makes clear that the character of warfare is changing. Our ultimate goal is to ensure our men and women in uniform maintain strategic advantage on the battlefield.”
The DOD Digital Modernization Strategy supports the National Defense Strategy and fulfills the department’s legislative obligation to provide a DOD Information Management (IRM) Strategic Plan.
More information is available on defense.gov:
- DOD Digital Modernization Strategy https://media.defense.gov/2019/Jul/12/2002156622/-1/-1/1/DOD-DIGITAL-MODERNIZATION-STRATEGY-2019.PDF?source=GovDelivery
Digital Modernization to Benefit Warfighters, DOD CIO Sayshttps://www.defense.gov/explore/story/Article/1903843/digital-modernization-to-benefit-warfighters-dod-cio-says/source/GovDelivery/
15 Jul 19. US Army orders vehicle installation kits for next-generation MFoCS II. The US Army Project Manager Mission Command has awarded a contract to Leonardo DRS to deliver vehicle installation kits (I-Kits) for the next-generation Mounted Family of Computer Systems II (MFoCS II).
The indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract has an estimated value of up to $28.3m. This is the second contract awarded to Leonardo DRS for the delivery of I-Kits. In April, the company secured the first $132.1m production delivery order for the next-generation MFoCS II.
The procurement of additional I-Kits will support the army’s ongoing fielding of MFoCS mission command computing systems across operational units.
Leonardo DRS Land Electronics business vice-president and general manager Bill Guyan said: “We are proud to use the capacity of our manufacturing centre of excellence to produce these vehicle installation kits and improve overall throughput for the army.
“Ultimately we want to ensure the army can continue to deliver mission command capabilities to soldiers as fast as possible.”
MFoCS II Mission Command hardware will be deployed in support of maintaining the army’s next-generation friendly force tracking system Joint Battle Command – Platform (JBC-P).
Upgrades of the platform include critical system capability upgrades, cybersecurity improvements, and multi-touch displays.
The army is also refurbishing the JBC-P systems that perform tactical situational awareness and global ‘Blue Force Tracking’ and in-transit visibility logistics tracking.
The process involves undertaking performance enhancements of the platform computing server.
Using computing and display hardware such as tablet PCs, processor units, keyboards, removable solid-state storage, and display units, MFoCS II supports situational awareness Command and Control and manoeuvre capability. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 Jul 19. Court Denies Oracle’s Challenge To Pentagon’s Potential $10bn JEDI Cloud Program. A federal judge on Friday ruled in favor of the Pentagon in Oracle’s [ORCL] legal challenge to the potential $10bn Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing program, clearing the way for a late August contract award to either Amazon [AMZN] Web Services or Microsoft [MSFT]. The Court of Federal Claims denied Oracle’s argument of conflicts of interest between AWS and Pentagon officials on JEDI and upheld that the program’s stringent criteria did not violate federal procurement laws.
“We are pleased with the determination made by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. This reaffirms the DoD’s position: the JEDI cloud procurement process has been conducted as a fair, full and open competition, which the contracting officer and her team executed in compliance with the law,” Elissa Smith, a DoD spokeswoman, said in a statement. “DoD has an urgent need to get these critical capabilities in place to support the warfighter and we have multiple military services and combatant commands waiting on the availability of JEDI. Our focus continues to be on finalizing the award decision.”
Judge Eric Bruggink wrote in his brief two-page opinion that the gate criteria for JEDI, which effectively eliminated Oracle and IBM [IBM] from competition, was enforceable and noted that Oracle conceded “it could not meet that criteria at the time of proposal submission.”
“We conclude as well that the contracting officer’s findings that an organizational conflict of interest does not exist and that individual conflicts of interest did not impact the procurement were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” Bruggink wrote.
An internal DoD investigation earlier this year also concluded there no conflicts of interest with JEDI, while Pentagon officials noted that potential ethical violations had been referred to the department’s inspector general (Defense Daily, April 11). Pentagon CIO Dana Deasy told reporters last month that a JEDI contract, originally slated mid-July, is now likely to be awarded in late August (Defense Daily, June 25). JEDI has faced several delays due to pre-award protests and program reviews, as well as pushback from both Congress and industry over the single-award contract structure and stringent requirements potentially skewing the competition toward only the largest cloud vendors, including AWS.
“AWS, along with our partner community, stands ready to support and serve what’s most important – the DoD’s mission of protecting the security of our country. The DoD deserves access to the best technology in the world and we are unwavering in our support to their mission,” an AWS spokesperson said in a statement.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to National Security Adviser John Bolton on Thursday urging him to direct the Pentagon to delay awarding a contract for JEDI, which he said “suffers from a lack of competition.”
“This type of fiscal and time commitment should demand a procurement steeped in competition and conducted without bias toward any one vendor. However, DoD has used arbitrary criteria and standards for bidders,” Rubio wrote. “And in the end, DoD plans to award this massive contract to a single vendor, even though multiple vendors would ensure continuing price competition and access to the latest innovations.”
Rubio noted that over 200 companies expressed initial interest in JEDI with only four companies submitting bids for the actual JEDI work due to the stringent criteria. This is Oracle’s second unsuccessful challenge to JEDI, with the GAO denying an earlier preaward protest last November . “Oracle’s cloud infrastructure 2.0 provides significant performance and security capabilities over legacy cloud providers. We look forward to working with the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, and other public sector agencies to deploy modern, secure hyperscale cloud solutions that meet their needs,” Deborah Hellinger, an Oracle spokeswoman, told Defense Daily. (Source: Defense Daily)
13 Jul 19. US Navy AI Competition. The Navy on July kicked off a competition to gather artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions that could be applied to solve cyber security challenges. NAVWAR is leading the Artificial Intelligence Applications to Autonomous Cybersecurity Challenge (AI ATAC) and will award $100,000 to the first place winner and $50,000 to second place. AI ATAC will look to explore the possibility of employing endpoint security tools that utilize AI algorithms to detect and defeat advanced malware attacks. “We need to get after faster solutions from sectors of industry outside our traditional partners and we want to lower any barrier to entry. We believe by sponsoring AI ATAC we can quickly get new ideas about how we can incorporate AI and ML into our cybersecurity tool bag,” John T. Armantrout, a NAVWAR official, said in a statement. (Source: Defense Daily)
13 Jul 19. US AI Commission. The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence held its third plenary session on June 11 in Silicon Valley where members received classified briefings on counterintelligence threats. NSCAI also met to provide updates on recommendations the commission is set to provide Congress on advancing AI development. The commission also received updates from each of its working groups on progress to apply AI towards national security applications and discussed opportunities for the U.S. to maintain its competitive technological edge in the AI space. NSCAI has now received over 100 classified and unclassified briefings since it officially began in March. (Source: Defense Daily)
11 Jul 19. Joint Chiefs nominee wants to boost information warfare. The White House nominee to be the Pentagon’s top uniformed official said the Department of Defense needs to improve its non-kinetic capabilities. As the department shifts to prioritizing competition against China and Russia, which feature cyber, electronic warfare and information warfare tools that can create confusion and loss of confidence in systems, the United States will have to invest in these systems in kind, said Army Gen. Mark Milley, the nominee to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In a questionnaire released as part of his confirmation hearing July 11, Milley wrote that, in combating Russian actions below the threshold of military conflict, additional “information operations” capabilities would benefit European Command, adding he would look closely at capabilities if confirmed. When asked if there are other DoD organizations that should be merged to increase unity of effort under the banner of information warfare, similar to how the Air Force is merging two of its numbered Air Forces to create the first information warfare numbered Air Force. Milley said it will be a priority initially.
U.S. adversaries and competitors, such as Russia and China, are restructuring their military forces around the concept of information, an approach that views cyber, space, electronic warfare and information operations as one discipline, not separate and siloed domains. Eachof the U.S. services have taken similar steps to consolidate these capabilities to provide a singular organization with integrated and related capabilities.
Milley also said the Pentagon should better integrate capabilities and planning for cyber and information warfare.
“The first Line of Effort of the 2018 DoD Cyber Strategy is to empower timely integrated cyber operations,” Milley wrote in the questionnaire. “Objectives of this Line of Effort include … normalizing cyberspace operations across the Joint Force; and normalizing cyberspace operations and cyber mission force role in the defense support to civil authorities process.”
In the area of electronic warfare, Milley said the department has adequately integrated electronic warfare tools but that there is room for improvement. Adversaries have invested heavily in these capabilities, which can jam communications, cause confusion and geolocate forces.
China’s “People’s Liberation Army’s electronic warfare (EW) units are well-resourced, featuring strategic, operational, and tactical EW systems that even surpass some advanced foreign capabilities,” Milley wrote. “Russia has attempted to prioritize modernization and development of EW systems as a critical asymmetric force enabler. Despite this, much of Russia’s ground-based equipment still lags behind modern systems. They have been able to test these systems in combat, including operations in Syria, thereby gaining valuable operational experience.”
The department is addressing these gaps through the EW executive committee and the Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Cross Functional Team, which was mandated in last year’s annual defense policy bill.
Milley also noted that the Pentagon is moving toward a concept referred to as Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations, or EMSO. This philosophy “reflects a shift in focus from individual platforms to a broader approach that includes new sensor capabilities, information management, and methods to utilize the Electromagnetic Spectrum as a weapon. Efforts are also underway to better assess the readiness of the Joint Force to operate in spectrally-contested environments,” Milley wrote.
This effort has been spearheaded by William Conley, director of electronic warfare in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense.
Conley, in an interview with C4ISRNET in June, noted how under the legacy connotation of electronic warfare, each discipline — electronic attack, electronic protection and electronic support — were considered individually separate.
“In a multi-function world, which is enabled by software defined radios, we now can do a wide variety of different functions through the exact same devices,” he said. “The term EMSO, electromagnetic spectrum operations … is really about how do we do all of those things dynamically through a finite number of apertures but also how do we battle manage all of these different things, which are happening in the electromagnetic spectrum today.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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.