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29 Jul 19. Checking in with US Army Futures Command. A year after its launch, the Army Futures Command has hit full operating capability. In celebration of the milestone, reporters were given a sneak peak of what the command’s cross-functional teams have produced in the past year. Here’s a quick look at three projects:
From video games to the battlefield
The Synthetic Training Environment team has been busy designing an all-in-one heads-up display for the tactical environment.
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) looks like a pair of heavy-duty goggles, but it is a single platform that can run augmented reality training, individual performance assessment and biometric applications.
IVAS project manager Col. Chris Schneider told Defense Systems during a July 16 media event at Ft. Myer-Henderson, Va., the headset features enhanced night and thermal vision capabilities and uses augmented-reality capabilities to overlay map displays and data or simulated images in a soldier’s view of the real environment. The display is also connected to a soldier’s weapon sensor, Schneider said. That means a rifle’s muzzle and barrel pop into view of the headset as the weapon is raised and aimed, similar to the user view in the Halo first-person shooter game. Schneider said that feature can improve shooting accuracy.
Warfighters can use it for training and rehearsing missions. It is designed to be the next generation of the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle binocular and Nett Warrior mobile device systems the Army’s command and control system used for dismounted squads, Schneider said.
The team started with the commercially available Microsoft HoloLens headset and plans to integrate more sensors into the platform in October, Schneider said.
“You’re bringing a lot of different things into IVAS at once. And the big deal about this is that we’re using soldiers” to test it and provide feedback. They’ve spent 3,000 hours with it over seven months, Schneider said, with a goal of 50,000 hours by the first operational test.
Soldiers and researchers comment weekly via surveys so the feedback loop is continuous with tweaked devices rotating into the field. Changes can happen daily on the software, Schneider said.
IVAS is scheduled to be fielded across the force in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021. In the meantime, the team has three more capability sets to complete in October, November, and July 2020, the last of which will feature the device in its final form. Schneider said he hopes to have the combat-ready version by the end of next year before heading into operational testing.
Location, location, communication
The Assured Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (APNT) team is exploring technologies to give warfighters GPS alternatives or enhancements when they operate in contested environments.
Col. Nick Kioutas, project manager for the Positioning, Navigation, and Timing said his team is updating software of the legacy Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR) system to enhance spoof protection. DAGR was written in Ada and other old software languages, which required the original programmers to be rehired to work on the program, Kioutas said. The project is targeted for completion by the end of fiscal 2020.
The team has also made progress getting satellite imagery to small troop units for situational awareness, reconnaissance and communications. The Kestrel Eye, a small satellite that is in preliminary testing, would give soldiers an aerial view covering several hundred kilometers so they could see over a mountain range to assess what’s ahead, Jeri Manley, deputy director for the APNT team said. Once the satellite is in low-Earth orbit, essentially all the soldiers need are an antenna and a laptop to get access to the imagery.
“We are looking to take this proof of concept that was demonstrated with INDOPACOM (Indo-Pacific Command) and move into the prototyping phase,” Manley said. The plan is to produce a constellation’s worth of the small satellites and “put those in lower Earth orbit to provide persistent reconnaissance surveillance and target acquisition for soldiers.”
Manley said the prototyping contract is underway in conjunction with the Air Force and Space Development Agency. The constellation should be ready in 2021 or 2022.
It’s all about the network
Col. Garth Winterle, project manager for tactical radios for the Network Command, Control, Communication and Intelligence cross-functional team said his team has been experimenting with leveraging commercial 4G cellular networks and what place they have, if any, on the battlefield.
“The challenges in a tactical scenario are the architecture you need to bring with you. On an installation, you can run fiber to that tower and then your radios just have to get connectivity,” he said. But in the field or on patrol in urban environments, reliable access can be harder to come by, which makes tapping into cellular networks a possible option. Spectrum complications can also come up with 4G – and ultimately will with 5G — depending on where end users are in the world, Winterle added.
But where there’s a problem, unique solutions can arise. The team is also using antenna carrying drones to expand its network capabilities.
“What these really bring is a massive ability to really extend your range, especially in rolling terrain,” Winterle said. “That’s a game-changer.”
Radio frequencies can become distorted because of the terrain, so the drones get the antenna up high enough for a smoother signal, Winterle said. That means radios can be up to 40 kilometers away from each other and still connect thanks to the drone-enabled, mesh network.
The team has also developed an app, Black Sails, for its Nett Warrior radios that allow users to control the channels they’re talking on and easily add a new radio and user to the network with the scan of a QR code. (Source: Defense Systems)
26 Jul 19. US Army starts testing smart-city communication tools. The Army Research Laboratory is studying how smart cities’ connected infrastructure could boost the military’s capabilities in dense urban environments.
ARL researchers were interested in exploring how the emerging internet of battlefield things (IoBT) environment can best use sensors and other equipment, so they tested the capabilities of a commercial networking protocol — the long-range wide-area network (LoRaWAN). The technology was developed to connect large numbers of internet-of-things devices over long ranges and is often used in smart-city deployments. ARL wanted to see how it would perform in an urban environment, where tall buildings can obstruct transmission.
James Michaelis, an ARL computer scientist, said researchers attached different combinations of connected devices to the roof of a single vehicle and drove it around Montreal. The IoT devices were configured to transmit at three LoRaWAN data transmission rates — each sending messages of different size — in the 915 MHz band, which is reserved for North American industrial, scientific and medical use.
The test involved a combination of ARL-developed IoT architecture and commercially available smart-city hardware and software, and it sought to demonstrate whether the integrated system could support situational awareness and command-and-control capabilities in tactical environments.
While traveling through Montreal, the devices transmitted the vehicle’s GPS coordinates. That data showed that the maximum transmission distance across the city’s central business district was 5 kilometers, or about 3.1 miles, from the receiver.
“In doing this testing, a key objective involved getting as comprehensive coverage as possible, given roadways in and around downtown Montreal,” Michaelis said. “One challenge in doing this was that several roadways were not consistently accessible (due to issues such as road construction). As such, data collection had to be spread out over multiple routes and urban terrains.”
Researchers applied data from the test to two additional areas of research: coverage gap analysis, which assesses conditions where LoRaWAN coverage may be obstructed, and data rate coverage, which assesses the impact of data transmission rates on coverage.
“These both represent ongoing areas of work, involving identification of methods to assess LoRaWAN and the performance of other communication protocols in the presence of varying types of urban infrastructure,” Michaelis said. “A near-term goal will involve work on developing urban terrain profiles, encompassing factors such as buildings, as well as natural terrains, which could be applied to support analysis of network coverage and capability.”
The research has not incorporated 5G or other communications protocols yet.
Michaelis said IoBT aligns with the Army’s modernization priorities, which involve equipping soldiers with the best technology for secure networks and communications.
“IoT infrastructures may be deployed in a variety of settings,” he said. “One is Army installations, which can be viewed as cities in their own right and represent a target for modernization. Such modernizations will likely include smart infrastructure and intelligent systems that operate them.”
The Army’s city-like forward operating bases and tactical operations centers are also likely to incorporate IoBT, he added.
Use cases include perimeter defense where smart technologies can improve environmental monitoring, including identification of and response to potential threats. Another example is humanitarian and disaster relief efforts where situational awareness over the affected areas is required before deploying. To gain those insights, sensors and civilian-owned assets such as traffic cameras can help, Michaelis said.
“Military installations will utilize commercially available technologies in many applications,” he said. “The underlying science of smart device and network technologies is very similar, and our focus is on the related basic research and less on specific locations. Each operating environment is unique, but many of the same technologies may be employed across a variety of settings.”
One challenge is the lack of uniformity in IoT infrastructure due to the number of vendors working with cities to help them collect and analyze data in different ways. Standardization can help, Michaelis said, but that’s no guarantee of system interoperability over the life of an Army installation, for example, because technologies change and improve.
“The problem of transparent interoperability, with and without standards, is a good example of the fundamental scientific challenges involved in integrating IoT infrastructures,” he said.
Michaelis and his team will next expand ARL’s data on LoRaWAN coverage to include other urban areas, add corresponding research on coverage gap analysis and assess ways the Army could use LoRaWAN in smart installations and other communications infrastructures.
“From the perspective of the internet of battlefield things, the notion of a smart city is really just a general way to categorize underlying scientific and engineering challenges that involve smart device/system technologies,” Michaelis said. (Source: Defense Systems)
29 Jul 19. DOD responds to JEDI ruling. The Defense Department is pushing back on a legal opinion in a recently concluded lawsuit on the agency’s planned $10bn cloud acquisition.
The Court of Federal Claims ruled in the Defense Department’s favor in a lawsuit brought by Oracle alleging conflict of interest and rigged requirements in the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement. But Judge Eric Bruggink also ruled that a provision in the contract allowing DOD to include future cloud services under the current fixed-price structure of JEDI stretched the limits of contracting regulation.
DOD wanted the option of obtaining services over the life of the contract as they are invented and adopted by the chosen cloud services provider. The request for proposals included a technology refresh provision to account for new services and stipulated that the Pentagon could acquire these under JEDI.
“In an ordinary reading, prices for specific services must be ‘established’ at the time of contracting,” Bruggink wrote. “Prices for new, additional services to be identified and priced in the future, even if they may be capped in some cases, are not, by definition, fixed or established at the time of contracting.”
DOD doesn’t see it the same way.
“While DOD disagrees with the Court’s analysis on the Department’s use of the fixed price justification for the single award determination, we also note the Court upheld DOD’s companion justification for a single award,” Department of Defense spokeswoman Elissa Smith said in a July 28 statement.
The planned cloud acquisition has been generating significant attention and scrutiny in recent days. President Donald Trump weighed in from the White House, and the new Pentagon chief has pledged to take a look at the procurement.
“I’ve heard from everybody about the … JEDI contract, and that’s one of the things I want to take a hard look at,” newly installed Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a July 24 press conference.
An award is expected in August with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft in the running. (Source: Defense Systems)
01 Aug 19. 4 tasks facing the next US director of intelligence. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is on the way out, but that doesn’t mean life stops moving for the rest of the intelligence community. Coats offered his letter of resignation July 28, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to nominate a new director of national intelligence.
While multiple DC-area trade groups for intelligence officials declined to comment on what new leadership would mean, recent legislation presents a picture of what the next director of national intelligence will face. Coats’ resignation comes as the House and Senate are on the verge of approving the first intelligence oversight bill in three years ― and the legislation is chock full of tasks for the director. With Coats on the way out, these issues will have to be taken up by the next director of national intelligence. President Donald Trump has said he plans to nominate Rep. John Racliffe, R-Texas, for the position.
Here are four things Congress wants to see from whomever ends up replacing Coats:
A secure supply chain
A major concern of the intelligence community is the security of the supply chain: can contractors be trusted as they work on classified programs? Ensuring that details about intelligence programs don’t wind up in the hands of foreign powers through weak links in the supply chain is a growing focus for the United States. Intelligence community leaders, including Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon, have repeatedly warned of efforts by China to steal American technology by targeting private sector contractors.
The Intelligence Authorization Act, as it stands now, would charge the director with conducting an assessment of how intelligence agencies are taking into account supply chain risks when engaging with contracts with ties to foreign countries that are not trustworthy. Under that provision, the director would also have to produce a report detailing companies seeking intelligence community contracts who have ties to or contracts with those governments.
Congress also wants the director to establish a supply chain and counterintelligence risk management task force. The task force would be charged with communicating the counterintelligence threats to the supply chain faced by American businesses.
A study on 5G
In a similar vein, Congress is worried about the threat posed by foreign governments and companies controlled or influenced by foreign governments in the development of 5G networks.
This provision appears to be a veiled reference to Huawei, a Chinese company that has come to dominate 5G technologies. The intelligence community has warned that the company’s close ties to the Chinese government is an issue, and technology provided by Huawei could be used by that government to steal data sent over the network, spread malware, or disable the network.
Congress wants a report from the director on what threat these companies pose to the establishment of a 5G network. The director would also be tasked with setting up a $5m prize competition to promote 5G technology research and development.
The Senate version of the bill includes additional 5G provisions, including the establishment of a 5G testing infrastructure at the Nevada Test and Training Range.
A report on election interference
Interference in U.S. elections, especially by Russia, remains a major concern of Congress since the 2016 election. While the intelligence community collaborated to release an unclassified report on interference in that election, legislators clearly want the director of national intelligence to continue reporting on election interference efforts.
The proposed legislation would require reports on foreign counterintelligence and cybersecurity threats to campaigns for federal office and tips on how to counter those threats.
Coats took some action on election security during his tenure. As one of his last actions in office, Coats on July 19 named Shelby Pierson as the first intelligence community election threats executive, a newly created position to advise the director on election security and integrate those efforts across the intelligence community.
“In order to build on our successful approach to the 2018 elections, the IC must properly align its resources to bring the strongest level of support to this critical issue,” Coats said at the time.
A public-private exchange of talent
A major concern with the intelligence community is recruiting and retaining talent. Congress wants to address this and charged the director with developing a public-private talent exchange. This would allow intelligence community employees to go work at a private sector organization, and vice versa. This allows for the exchange of ideas and experience between the government and the private sector companies it works with.
Lawmakers want the director to have policies for the exchange set up within 270 days of the bill becoming law.
Both chambers of Congress have passed a version of the Intelligence Authorization Act, with the Senate passing their version on June 27 and the House passing theirs July 17. Now the two bodies will have to work out the remaining differences between the two pieces of legislation before sending it on to the president for his signature.(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
01 Aug 19. Cyberwarfare division will open new fronts for army. The British Army will today establish its first “hybrid warfare” division to orchestrate cyberattacks, spread misinformation and deploy electronic weapons. The new structure, the 6th Division, will exist alongside the 3rd Division, the heavy armoured brigades, and 1st Division, the light brigades. It will complement the regular activities of the field army, partly by seeking to influence adversaries through information. The Times understands that defence chiefs have become increasingly concerned that Britain has fallen behind Russia in developing offensive capability in the so-called “grey zone”, the area outside the traditional battlefield that is nonetheless vulnerable to attacks.
The 6th Division has a mysterious badge to go with its secretive role
British military officers and spies conducted successful trials against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, including blocking and spoofing financial transactions within the terrorist network and publishing false propaganda to confuse its followers. The moves served to disrupt Isis activities and to damage its fighters’ morale.
Moscow has attempted to sow malicious narratives against British armed forces in recent months. At the end of an exercise in Croatia a spate of fake news reports accusing British soldiers of misbehaviour proliferated online.
The division reprises a name used in the First World War and most recently re-formed to serve in Afghanistan. It will have its headquarters at Upavon in Wiltshire and its badge will be a white halo on a black background.
Lieutenant-General Ivan Jones, commander field army, said that the army had to evolve in the face of changing threats. He added: “The character of warfare continues to change as the boundaries between conventional and unconventional warfare become increasingly blurred.”
Many defence insiders believe that the world has plunged into a 21st-century version of the Great Game, the state of global competition, marked by political and diplomatic antagonism, that dominated the 19th century.
The 6th is not set to get new funding but hybrid operations are likely to be a priority in the next defence review. (Source: The Times)
01 Aug 19. DHS Cyber Security Agency Outlines Risks With 5G Adoption. There are number of risks associated with the fledgling adoption of fifth-generation mobile networks including the introduction of technology from untrusted suppliers and pathways as well as vulnerabilities that carry over from legacy networks, the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber security agency said on Wednesday. The new risk characterization of 5G deployments says the adoption of the new technology “will introduce vulnerabilities related to supply chains, deployment, network security, and the loss of competition and trusted options.”
The Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Note from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is an initial risk summary related to the implementation and adoption of 5G networks, which are expected to usher in advances in autonomous vehicle use, the Internet of Things, and automation generally due to increased bandwidths and faster speeds. The first page of the 16-page document contains four bullet points of concerns, including the use of 5G components from untrusted sources that “could expose U.S. entities to risks
introduced by malicious software and hardware, counterfeit components, and component flaws cause by poor manufacturing processes and maintenance procedures.” It says that even if U.S. networks are secure, data that travels through overseas networks could be at risk. Christopher Krebs, the director of CISA, said on Wednesday that with logistical vulnerabilities come supply chain concerns.
“Do we have sufficient trusted vendors in the marketplace?” he said at a 5G event hosted bythe Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Who are the untrustworthy vendors? How do we encourage and incentivize more trustworthy diversity of options going forward?”
5G networks will also rely on more components than previous generations, increasing the attack surface, which means “security enhancements will in part depend on proper implementation and configuration,” the note says.
Vulnerabilities with 5G networks are unknown and these networks will build upon previous mobile networks that “contain legacy vulnerabilities,” the assessment says.
Finally, the assessment says 5G technologies of untrusted companies may not be standardized for interoperability, which means entities that rely on these companies may have trouble updating, repairing and replacing these technologies, which could increase lifecycle costs.
“The lack of interoperability may also have negative impacts on the competitive market as companies could be driven out if the available competitive market decreases,” the risk summary says.
The risk characterization was produced through ongoing work by CISA’s National Risk Management Center and its Information and Communications Technology Supply Chain Risk Management Task Force. The task force is a public-private partnership consisting of companies such as AT&T [T], CenturyLink [CTL], Cisco Systems [CSCO], Sprint [S], Verizon [VZ],
Microsoft [MSFT], and others, as well as government agencies such as DHS, the Defense Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and others. The assessment includes six mitigations and six recommendations that the U.S. government can lead, Krebs said. These include encouraging development of trusted 5G technologies and services, development of future trusted generations of technologies, promoting consensus based international standards that are open and transparent that don’t disadvantage trusted companies, limiting adoption of vulnerable 5G technologies, work with the private sector on identifying risks and mitigating them, and “ensuring robust security capabilities for 5G applications and services,” according to the summary.
Krebs said it’s going to take the entire government working together to mitigate risks from 5G networks, including at the strategic, policy, tactical and operational levels. Government and industry also have to coordinate closely, he said, highlighting that the private sector knows their technologies and networks better than anyone. (Source: Defense Daily)
01 Aug 19. U.S. Working To Push Partners From Working With Chinese Firms On 5G, State Department Official Says. The State Department has started working with international partners on adopting a set of 5G implementation principles that includes looking to push countries away from working with Chinese telecommunication firms, a department cyber official said Wednesday.
“What we need is risk-based security approach to 5G networks. And as part of that, we need to look very closely at the supply chain,” Strayer said. “In particular, because 5G is going to put the vendor in a privileged position of being able to update those networks with the massive amounts of software that are going to be more and more a part of our telecommunications works and the applications that are going to ride on top of those, including for our critical infrastructure.”
Strayer said the U.S. and allies have to focus on working with “only the most trusted partners” when it comes to supplying patches and firmware for 5G networks, an argument he said is rooted in security rather than only trying to benefit homegrown vendors.
“We’re not arguing our concerns about certain vendors because we’re trying to benefit an American company, in particular,” Strayer said. “There’s a great propaganda campaign out there to try to establish that there’s one company that is so far ahead of everybody else that there will be no way you could go with another set of technology other than that company.”
The State Department’s particular focus is on ensuring trusted vendors occupy the market space over China’s main telecommunications firms, Huawei and ZTE.
“We have reviewed the Chinese national intelligence law, and we’re very concerned about the ability of China to influence a vendor to take actions with respect to technologies that are not in the country’s interest but are being driven by the intelligence and security services in China,” Strayer said.
Strayer noted the State Department participated in an international conference in Prague this May where over over 30 countries derived a set of 20 principles for “fair, transparent” implementation of 5G technologies.
“One [principle] in particular that is very important is talking about the legal system and the ability of a third party country to influence a particular vendor,” Strayer said.
The European Union has also finalized its own set of 5G principles and tasked its member nations with assessing the security posture of their respective telecommunications networks. (Source: Defense Daily)
31 Jul 19. How the US Army will approach cyber 10 years from now. The US Army Cyber Institute (ACI) at West Point serves as the service’s think tank, helping the Army identify and address key cyber problems to come. Balancing the priorities of the operational force and Army Cyber Command, the ACI uses a variety of research projects and even internships with cadets to push concepts out into the future. One effort the ACI’s 70-person team is undertaking is called threat-casting — an attempt to calculate upcoming threats to the United States in the cyber and information environment.
“We take a look and we use a variety of people, diverse populations, diverse ideas, get into small groups, come up with threats of what might happen 10 years out and then we look and work backwards to identify the flags and the gates that might happen on the way to that particular future,” Col. Andrew Hall, director of ACI, told Fifth Domain during a July visit to West Point, explaining that a flag is something they can see, whereas a gate is something that can be controlled.
These threat-casting events — one of which took place in the early summer, while another will take place in September — seek to envision a future person in a place with a particular problem, as opposed to evolving the operating procedures of certain threat actors today 10 years into the future.
“A particular person is in San Francisco and their personal health robot has been hacked … the on-demand medicines that are being created every morning for this person have been hacked,” Hall offered as an example. “Then you build all the way back and say how this would happen.”
Ultimately, the threat-casting events help to frame the decision space for the operational commanders, namely Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, who’s in charge of Army Cyber Command.
“If we’re looking at what are we worried about in 2030, we hope to be able to have a good answer for [Gen. Fogarty] on some of the things we need to work on,” Hall said.
ACI also runs the Jack Voltaic series, which are exercises that test local governments in their ability to respond to critical infrastructure cyber incidents.
The next event in the series will expand to two Southern coastal cities and tie into a major Army exercise, Defender 2020, to test what might impact local infrastructure that could hamper how the Army can move equipment to Europe for an upcoming deployment.
In addition to these efforts that feed directly to the operational world, the ACI also hosts interns over the summer who work on a variety of projects that examine the future of cyber capabilities. Two Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets each examined facets of tactical cyber if they were to be expanded to the general infantry ranks.
One project looked at using facial recognition capabilities mounted to heads-up displays, enabling soldiers to more accurately identify enemies entering a village with the intent of doing harm to a political figure giving a speech.
Using war-gaming software, it was found that 76 percent of the time enemies got through the check point without the facial recognition capability. With the capability, those numbers dropped by 52 to 84 percent.
Another project envisioned the use of tactical cyber capability to eliminate a high-value target in a village. One scenario modeled if forces assaulting a village could hack into the local electrical grid and cut the power to the specific set of buildings they would raid to eliminate the target.
The second scenario involved tracking the cellphone numbers of known enemies in the village and geotagging their exact location. Those locations were then sent to soldiers conducting a raid on the village in real time and displayed on a heads-up display, enabling them to know where the enemy forces are at all times. This can allow them to more accurately locate the high-value target and potentially not engage other enemy forces.
For both scenarios, friendly forces were reduced from the baseline scenario that didn’t have any tactical cyber capabilities from 20 to eight forces against nine enemies in all three.
The success rate for the baseline mission was 89 percent. In scenario one it jumped to 91 percent and in scenario two it jumped even higher to 96 percent. This means smaller forces can be more effective.
“That’s one of the big things with tactical cyber is pushing down, that ability,” Vikram Mittal, assistant professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at West Point and ACI fellow, told Fifth Domain. “But being able to give on the fly ability to a squad to pinpoint a location would effectively give a brand new capability altogether for surgical strike.”
While these technologies and capabilities are not yet realized in the real or operational world, they are helping to set the stage for how they could be used in the future and provide data points for the operational and acquisition community. (Source: Fifth Domain)
30 Jul 19. Canada wants new terminals to work more closely with NATO. The U.S. State Department today cleared a weapons sales for Canada, which could net American firms about $44m in revenues. An announcement was published online by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. DSCA announcements are not final sales; if cleared by Congress, contract figures can change during future negotiations.
Canada is looking to buy 152 American-made radios, for $44m. Known formally as the Multifunctional Information Distribution System – Joint Tactical Radio System, the radio is Link 16 enabled, an important capability for the NATO ally.
“Canada intends to upgrade its current inventory of CF-18 aircraft, CC-130J, and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s ground stations with the purchase of these MIDS JTRS (5) terminals to be fully interoperable with U.S. and allied forces to support and compliment joint operations in a net-enabled environment; have modernized electronic protection and secure, jam-resistant wave forms; and be capable of improved Link 16 message exchange and information fidelity including support to advanced weapon employment,” the DSCA announcement says.
Primary vendors are Viasat and Data Link Solutions, and some form of industrial offset is expected. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
31 Jul 19. Fujitsu launches next-generation Cyber Resilience Centre. Fujitsu has announced the launch of its security operations centre in Canberra to provide cyber security services across Oceania. The next-generation Cyber Resilience Centre (CRC) provides a centralised model for the management of new core security-as-a-service (SECaaS) offerings and the continuous delivery of end-to-end security services for Fujitsu’s customers.
The company confirmed that the facility would be used to oversee managed and professional security services across the Oceania region, with services hosted on the Protected Cloud (ASD certified).
Located within Fujitsu’s Canberra office, the CRC will provide federal and state government customers with a dedicated, physical location for cyber security, an escalation point for security services, and the ability to operate at a classified level with complete managed detection and response capability.
The facility will grow to include a ‘virtual security operations centre’, which will service the entire Oceania region. This will complement the physical model and allow the facility’s services to be leveraged across the region where needed.
“Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand has invested in this next-generation facility to make sure we are well-positioned to protect our customers from ever-increasing cyber security threats. As Fujitsu helps customers on their digital transformation journey, security is an essential consideration in developing a foundation for growth,” Mike Foster, chief executive of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand, said.
“Fujitsu’s CRC teams will be on the frontline of defence for Fujitsu’s customers against cyber security threats. They will be monitoring the latest threats, responding to the requirements of new security standards, and formulating the best ways to deal with a wide range of issues as they arise.
“The CRC sits at the heart of Fujitsu’s security portfolio, providing support for security requirements across our offerings, including hybrid IT, cloud, digital workplace services and digital solutions. The integrated solution removes the clutter and complexity of managing multiple single security functions, providing additional value, increased efficiency, speed of detection and analysis, and quicker response to critical threat incidents.”
The CRC will deliver a comprehensive suite of managed cyber security services including:
- Threat analytics – collation and analysis of events and the protection, detection and remediation of security incidents as well as enabling retrospective analysis to support security investigations.
- Vulnerability management – probing of assets and configurations to identify weaknesses. This information can then be used to drive the remediation activity and enhance the protection of critical information assets.
- Threat intelligence – tracking external feeds to give early indications of potential targets.
- Threat response – proactively working with customers to plan how to react effectively in the event of a breach or potential breach.
The CRC certification and processes are based on industry standards including ISO27001 and comply with the Australian Signals Directorate’s Cyber Security Manual, privacy legislation and sector specific regulations, as well as Australian government standards. (Source: Defence Connect)
30 Jul 19. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has received a $44m contract award for the Electronic Attack Pod Upgrade Program (EAPUP) from the U.S. Air Force. Placed under an existing contract, this third production order will significantly increase the number of EAPUP systems for the Air Force. Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Attack Pod Upgrade Program brings fifth-generation electronic countermeasures to the fourth-generation fleet. Operating in the modern air warfare environment with advanced, rapidly proliferating electronic warfare systems and radar-guided weapons requires an equally sophisticated level of protection and proven technology. The EAPUP — an upgraded, digital AN/ALQ-131 pod — will replace the Air Force’s current electronic attack pods. The AN/ALQ-131A is currently available to international partners.
“The new technology in EAPUP will protect U.S. Air Force pilots and coalition partner aircraft from modern and future threats,” said Michelle Scarpella, vice president and general manager, global logistics and modernization, Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman received the order following a series of rigorous tests designed to verify the system’s capabilities and readiness for operations. The tests were representative of modern combat scenarios and involved multiple, simultaneous threats. The pod demonstrated the ability to identify, locate and counter sophisticated threats and keep aircrews safe during missions in contested airspace.
“The advanced electronic warfare capability integrated in EAPUP is mature, scalable and in production today. Available globally, it is ready to give aircrews the protection they need in dense electromagnetic spectrum environments,” said Brent Toland, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman.
EAPUP will bring the Air Force’s electronic attack pod inventory into the digital age, delivering fifth-generation capability to fourth-generation aircraft and making it among the most capable electronic warfare pod in the Department of Defense inventory. At the core of EAPUP is Northrop Grumman’s advanced electronic warfare technology, built upon the expertise gained from the company’s broad portfolio of programs for multiple services.
Northrop Grumman has more than 60 years of experience delivering electronic warfare systems for a wide variety of fighter, bomber and transport aircraft.
29 Jul 19. How the US Army will take advantage of tactical cloud. The US Army has its sights set on cloud computing and is looking to the “tactical cloud” to bring forward the power, speed and scalability benefits of commercial cloud deployments.
“We want to take the flexibility of enterprise cloud, the big commercial cloud services, and put that into the tactical theater,” said Tom Sasala, director of operations and architecture and chief data officer in the Army’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6.
The vision: to embed interconnected, high-power computing capability into a wide array of drones, soldier-worn sensors and vehicle-mounted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools. Rather than collect data in the field and ship it back for processing — a time-consuming and bandwidth-intensive process — the Army would leverage the cloud to process on the edge. So, how would tactical cloud transform the fighting force?
Better data, faster
In a recent document on future trends in tactical networking, Army leaders pointed to the tactical cloud to get data in the hands of war fighters more effectively.
“Edge computing enables war fighters to gain access to data and software previously available only at large data centers … even when wide area network [WAN] access is down,” they noted.
That data could take several possible forms, according to Brad Curran, principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan:
- Operations. A field commander pulls down drone imagery of a potential danger zone. With local cloud processing, that imagery could be enhanced by multiple data feeds in real time. “Maybe a squad defused a mine here yesterday and that will be indicated here. Maybe there’s a choke point where you might have an ambush. You could overlay those maps and live UAV feeds with recent intelligence data and recent operational data,” Curran said.
- Blue force tracking. The ability to manage vast swaths of data via computing at the edge could enhance soldiers’ ability to see one another. “Instead of the division command seeing battalion commanders and battalion commanders seeing company commanders, now you can do it at the small unit level. You can see the individual soldiers,” he said.
- Soldier health. Advanced sensors can track soldier heart rate and other vital signs, but it takes cloud-scale computing to process these data-heavy feeds. If Army could do that computing at the edge, it could better manage soldier safety. “If the guys are too tired, if their breathing is off, the squad commander can tell them to take a break and can move up another squad,” he said.
These diverse use cases depend on the Army being able to quickly and reliably access, share and process data at the local level. That’s the inherent advantage of a tactical cloud.
“In the regular cloud you have a machine that talks to some remote server,” said Tarek Abdelzaher, a professor at University of Illinois at Urbana Champagne. With tactical cloud, “you will execute functions on whatever resource is available. They can be mobile and heterogeneous, you can have handheld devices, things mounted on mobile platforms or unattended ground sensors. We should be able to execute computing on any of these resources.”
That ability to leverage big-muscle computing on a much smaller, nimble platform should give commanders the inputs that they need to react more effectively to fast-changing circumstances.
“You can plug a bunch of sensors into it — basically any device that measures something — to give you instant situational awareness,” Abdelzaher said. “You can have a vibration sensor, so that if there are fires, you can localize the shooter. You can measure the electromagnetic spectrum to find where the enemy is. Then you can put those things together to find a rocket launcher in a particular site, and then tie in a targeting device to pinpoint and perhaps destroy it.”
In this way, cloud supports a faster operations tempo, allowing commanders to act on valuable sensor data in real time.
“Being able to communicate what you see locally enables you to take action locally,” Abdelzaher said.
Tactical cloud also will be a key component supporting the Army’s emerging artificial intelligence capability, military leaders said.
Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, the director of the Army’s network cross-functional team, pointed to artificial intelligence and machine learning as technologies that could benefit from this computing power. “Both will be critical regarding how soldiers manage, interpret and use data,” In an email to C4ISRNET, he noted three potential use cases in which the enhanced power of edge computing could drive AI adoption:
- Predictive maintenance. Cloud at the edge could support Army’s effort to use AI’s predictive power to streamline maintenance and improve readiness.
- War-gaming. AI would help commanders explore multiple possible courses of action, while best positioning the force to retain the initiative for future operations.
- Wayfinding. The Army could leverage a range of GPS, traffic, weather, terrain and even local friendly and enemy force information for optimal mission planning.
The ability of military hardware to chart its own course may also come into play.
“The vision for future warfare is moving toward fewer people in the field — taking people out of harm’s way and adding more things instead,” Abdelzaher said. Just as soldiers need to communicate locally, enabled devices will need robust connectivity and data sharing. “Devices will need the same ability to coordinate locally amongst themselves, to plan collectively and deal with changing situations.”
In the bigger picture, a cloud capability deployed at the edge could substantially reduce the IT burden, streamlining technology requirements in the command post and simplifying the hardware aspects of a military deployment.
“Rather than being locked into a certain number of servers in your footprint, we could virtualize and share that compute and storage across a range of applications,” Sasala said. “It’s going to reduce the total amount of hardware in the command post, taking that internet scale and deploying it in a much smaller footprint.”
Localized cloud could also ease the pressure on satellites and other networking infrastructure, with processing at the edge freeing those assets for higher-end uses.
All this could come to pass in the relatively near term. Sasala’s team has funding for a pathfinder project in the current fiscal year and he anticipates field deployment of the tactical cloud around 2023.
Even as the Army readies itself for tactical cloud, the service wants to nail down the best uses for this emerging compute paradigm.
“We need to ferret out what is the optimal use of this technology, what are some of these novel and unique uses that could potentially be involved, what are the most effective uses near term,” Sasala said.
The service also will investigate practical means for scaling out tactical cloud for widespread adoption.
“It is a non-trivial task to roll this out across something the size of the Army,” he said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
30 Jul 19. Spain validates SISCAP soldier system. Spain’s Sistema Combatiente a Pie (Foot Soldier System, SISCAP) programme is set to complete its Phase I validation in November and operational testing by the end of the year. Phase I is a research and development (R&D) activity focused on the design, development and validation of demonstrator equipment to meet the desired functionalities of SISCAP’s fire efficiency (EFU), communications and information system (SIC), and power source (FAL) subsystems. A Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told Jane’s, “The current schedule includes an operational demonstration that will allow the demonstrators to be validated by the operational units by the end of 2019.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Jul 19. ‘Flawed’ Contract Strategy, Potential Ethics Violations .Not Enough To Impact DoD’s JEDI Cloud Procurement, Court Says. Two weeks after a federal court cleared the Pentagon against a legal challenge to its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud program, the full ruling unsealed on Friday has detailed the project’s “flawed” contract strategy and potential ethics violations. Judge Eric Bruggink noted since Oracle conceded it could not meet JEDI’s gate criteria the court was unable to demonstrate prejudice in the JEDI program “even if the procurement was otherwise flawed.”
Bruggink denied Oracle’s challenge to JEDI earlier this month in a brief opinion, clearing the way for a late August contract award for the potential $10bn JEDI program to either AWS or Microsoft [MSFT], the two vendors to meet the gate criteria (Defense Daily, July 12). In the full version of the ruling, the court found the Pentagon did not adhere to a 2008 law requiring IDIQ contracts over $112m to be awarded to multiple vendors. While the provision does allow for exceptions, Bruggink found officials’ justification that future orders would be placed with firm, fixed prices was not applicable. Bruggink agreed with Oracle’s claim that the provision doesn’t account for requirements that the eventual vendor build in future commercial cloud capabilities as new technologies are developed.
Elissa Smith, a DoD spokeswoman, said in a statement the department “disagrees with the court’s analysis on the department’s use of the fixed price justification for the single award determination,” but was pleased to see the justification for the program was upheld.
“As DoD has asserted all along, and as confirmed by the Court, DoD reasonably evaluated and equally treated all offerors. The court’s decision unequivocally concludes that JEDI is a full and open competition and, despite uninformed speculation to the contrary, its integrity remains intact,” Smith said.
The ruling details industry’s pushback on the single award approach following the release of the RFI, which included eventual finalist Microsoft noting that a multi-cloud approach would offer greater competition and flexibility.
“Many responders questioned whether a single award would offer the best cost model, whether one vendor could possibly be the leader in all areas, and whether a single vendor would devalue investment made by existing vendors,” Bruggink wrote.
The court also acknowledged allegations against several individuals associated with the JEDI program and potential ties to AWS, while reaching a similar conclusion to previous investigations that the relationships did not affect the procurement effort.
Bruggink noted that a former deputy chief of staff for the defense secretary was an AWS consultant before joining the Pentagon and a Defense Digital Service official previously worked with the technology company, while finding their work had no impact on the integrity of the program.
“While they should not have had the opportunity to work on the JEDI Cloud procurement at all, or at least for certain periods of time, nevertheless, their involvement does not taint the work of many other persons who had the real control of the direction of the JEDI Cloud project,” Bruggink wrote.
Smith noted that the court’s decision aligned with previous investigations and the JEDI contracting officer’s own findings that potential ethical violations didn’t prevent the program from moving forward.
“The court concurs with DoD’s extensive review – that the individuals at issue were ‘bit players,’ in the Court’s own words, and the alleged conflicts had no impact on the integrity of the procurement,” Smith said.
Newly appointed Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters he would take a “hard look” into JEDI following the president’s recent remarks that he had received complaints from several companies about the program (Defense Daily, July 26). (Source: Defense Daily)
26 Jul 19. New Cyber Security Alliance. The International Society of Automation (ISA), which has developed cyber security standards for automation and control systems, has created a new alliance to promote the standards and share information. The founding members of the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance include Schneider Electric, Rockwell Automation, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Claroty, and Nozomi Networks. “Accelerating and expanding globally relevant standards, certification, and education programs will increase workforce competence, and help end users identify gaps, reduce risks, and ensure they have the tools and systems they need to protect their facilities and installations,” says Mary Ramsey, ISA executive director. “Through the proliferation of standards and compliance programs, we will strengthen our global cyber culture and transform the way industry identifies and manages cyber security threats and vulnerabilities to their operations.” (Source: Defense Daily)
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.