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22 Aug 19. Israel a global leader in growing market for cyber weapons. Israel, a leading provider of hacking and surveillance tools known as cyber weapons, or spyware, is easing requirements on selling the technology abroad.
** Global demand for offensive cyber systems is expected to rise 39% by 2027 to $9.7bn, according to defence research group Market Forecast, which identified companies in the United States, Israel and the European Union as dominating the market.
** Israel’s annual exports of cyber attack tools amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, a source close to the industry estimated. That’s a small chunk of Israel’s $7bn in cybersecurity exports, which are dominated by defensive technologies and account for close to 10% of the global market.
** Israeli cyber startups have raised $539m so far in 2019, compared with $828m in all of 2018, according to data from Tracxn Technologies. This figure includes offensive and defensive technologies.
** London-based charity Privacy International ranked Israel in the top five globally for surveillance technologies, with 27 companies selling such systems. (Source: Reuters)
22 Aug 19. Hailed as “experts in RF over fiber”, ViaLite Communications returns to IBC this year to showcase the latest in RF over fiber products and technology. Launching at the show, on stand 1.A23 (hall 1), will be ViaLite’s smallest outdoor enclosure yet; the ODE-MINI. The IP65-rated enclosure houses two ViaLiteHD Blue OEM modules (including ViaLite’s C-Band and Ethernet links) and optional SNMP for monitoring and control.
John Golding, ViaLite Product Manager, said: “This is ViaLite’s smallest, most economical and versatile enclosure. We wanted to expand our existing enclosure range to include a simple, basic option. It can also be upgraded with optional extras to suit differing needs.
“We saw market opportunities where much smaller enclosures could be easily applied, and it allows for additional links to be easily added to an existing system.”
ViaLite also recently launched its System Designer tool; a first to the market. It allows customers to design RF over fiber systems online; dragging and dropping components, and then reviewing the link budget and performance figures. The tool is ideal for complex system designs requiring DWDM products (a number of which will also be on display by ViaLite). IBC visitors are invited to the stand (1.A23) to have a go using the tool.
Further new RF over fiber developments on show will include ViaLite’s Local Integrated GPS Splitter and C-Band RF over fiber link products (purple OEM module and rack chassis card). The C-Band products boast a full operational range of 500 MHz-7.5 GHz – far exceeding that of the C-Band range alone (3.4-7.1 GHz) – opening them up for a range of applications.
16 Aug 19. US Navy boosts CIO role, adds more cyber and data authorities. After an effort to establish a Senate-confirmed top tech position with the rank of assistant secretary of the Navy was shot down by Congress, the service is taking another try at redefining tech leadership.
The new plan is to establish a special assistant to the secretary for information management/chief information officer with broad authority over technology, data, digital strategy and cybersecurity, Navy Undersecretary Thomas Modly announced on a conference call with reporters Aug. 16.
There is a candidate set to accept the position, but Modly declined to name the individual because the hiring paperwork is not complete.
Modly has been serving as CIO in addition to his duties as undersecretary and chief management officer for the past 20 months.
The shift comes in part as a response to a scathing cybersecurity review released in March that recommended the Navy improve top-down governance by naming a CIO to take control of cybersecurity standards, to have approval over IT acquisition and to report directly to the secretary of the Navy
“I don’t think anyone had any major arguments with the findings from the cyber study and the need to sort of develop a broader strategy, a more integrated strategy between the Navy and Marine Corps and across the department,” Modly said on the call. “I sure hope that no one thinks this is just a refresh of what we’ve done before, because it’s not.”
The old Department of the Navy CIO organization “was more of a compliance shop and less proactive in developing strategy for the department,” Modly said. He’s looking to the newly elevated CIO to be more strategic. (Source: Defense Systems)
20 Aug 19. IC looks to stand up a new enterprise IT program office. The intelligence community wants to stand up a new program executive office to help develop new IT capabilities.
John Sherman, the CIO for the intelligence community, announced at the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DODIIS) Worldwide Conference on in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 20, that the IC was considering the new program office with full-time, in-person access to subject matter experts.
In 2018, the IC CIO stood up a virtual program office to coordinate the development of new capabilities, such as secure file transfer and chat. The new PEO would continue that work, Sherman said.
Additionally, the IC recently released its cloud strategyand is working on a data strategy.
Sherman said the IC recently completed its cybersecurity implementation plan, which focuses on knowing, managing and sharing the state of the enterprise.
“Using a new approach that we call the cybersecurity performance evaluation model, we started just this last month to receive our first tranche of [critical infrastructure protection]-related asset inventory data into our IC security coordination center,” Sherman said.
Earlier this year the IC CIO began requiring each of its 17 members to take comprehensive inventory of its “edge, backroom and so-called shadow IT that is resident in just about every organization.”
The Defense Intelligence Agency is taking that strategy a bit further and overhauling the defense intelligence community’s top secret communications system now that its workload has increased. The DIA runs the top secret network Joint Worldwide Intel Communications System (JWICS), on top of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s DOD Information Network.
Jean Schaffer, the DIA’s cyber and enterprise operations chief, said that while JWICS is already hardened due to being a top secret network, DIA needs to raise its security posture to better protect it from insider threats as more people are added to the network.
Part of the overhaul, which includes revisiting the architecture and design, means transitioning from a network protection model to a data protection model to understand the “on and off ramps for JWICS” and defining domain edges and data pathways, Schaffer said at DODIIS.
Schaffer also said DIA is looking to employ two-factor authentication on JWICS, a function already available on the non-classified internet protocol router (NIPRNET) network.
Schaffer said DIA’s digital transformation was less about “fixing something that’s broken and more about changing our mindsets.”
For cyber, this means developing a baseline of normal behavior so that anomalous actions activate an alert. It also includes configuring tools to pick up the alerts that feeds into a central source where cybersecurity analysts respond. (Source: Defense Systems)
19 Aug 19. DISA streamlines cloud authorizations. Defense Department mission partners and service components can now host DOD Impact Level 2 (IL2) data on FedRAMP-compliant clouds without waiting for an explicit written authorization from DOD. On Aug. 15, the Defense Information Systems Agency issued a provisional authorization for moderate-baseline workloads to run in clouds authorized by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. The move will streamline cloud migration for mission partners and reduce the steps cloud service providers go through to offer FedRAMP moderate solutions for DOD customers.
“This authorization allows for data designated publically releasable or IL2, to be stored in the cloud on authorized FedRAMP offerings without waiting for DOD to issue a specific authorization document,” said Roger Greenwell, DISA’s risk management executive and authorizing official. “We worked with officials from the DOD, Chief Information Office (CIO), and mission partners on the drafting of the policy, and believe this approach provides significant benefit to both the DOD community as well as the cloud industry.”
This reciprocity memo stipulates that FedRAMP moderate services be hosted on data centers located in the United States or its territories and listed in the FedRAMP marketplace, DISA said in its Aug. 16 announcement. CSPs must also have Joint Authorization Board or agency authorization for the cloud service and adhere to continuous monitoring practices. If those authorizations are suspended, so is the reciprocity agreement. (Source: Defense Systems)
20 Aug 19. Familiar workforce woes haunt Army cyber, electronic warfare units. The Army understands cyber and electronic warfare will become standard on the battlefield, but it doesn’t have the staff to meet expectations and isn’t doing the requisite risk assessments to stand units up faster, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.
The Army is in the process of modifying its doctrine to emphasize multi-domain operations across cyber, space, air, land, and sea and describe how certain units will function. But in testing out different force configurations, the Army hasn’t been able to properly assess training and staffing concerns, GAO said.
“As a result, senior Army leaders may not know what other challenges could arise, such as sustainment, as the units grow in capability,” GAO wrote in its report released Aug. 15. “If the Army does not assess risks for units activated at an accelerated pace, those units may be unable to effectively conduct multi-domain operations.”
The Army is authorized to have nearly 400 cyber and electronic-warfare staff, but it has just a fraction of that. According to the report, the Army’s Intelligence, Cyber, Electronic Warfare, and Space (ICEWS) unit has just over half (110) of the 199 authorized personnel. The 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion has 30 (18%) of the 171 authorized personnel.
“The Army activated a cyber battalion in December 2018, and as of March 2019, this unit was understaffed by more than 80 percent,” GAO said, adding that accelerating the battalion’s development prevented proper assessment of staffing, equipping and training risk.
The report highlights an ever-growing concern of too few cyber personnel available to work for the Defense Department, including both federal employees and private tech contractors.
GAO recommended the Army conduct a comprehensive risk assessment for existing ICEWS and 915th Cyber Warfare Support Battalion personnel, focusing on staffing, equipping and training. The watchdog agency said the assessment should take place before the ICEWS unit is incorporated into the first Multi-Domain Task Force in fiscal year 2020 and the battalion is expanded to full operating capability. (Source: Defense Systems)
22 Aug 19. Capturing the Airwaves: RF decode delivers strategic advantage for Special Ops users. Actionable, real-time and mission-critical information on the electromagnetic environment is provided to Special Operations users by a new scanning/decoding system from PPM Systems. Known as Crossbow, the multi-role unit uses the latest software defined radio (SDR) technology.
The rugged platform provides decoding, analysis, recording and processing of off-air data for customisable user applications, with data held securely on an integral encrypted solid state drive. Its advanced design provides a strategic advantage while allowing operators to work in safety.
Designed for an electronic surveillance application at the request of HMG, the outdoor military standard unit features a reconfigurable user interface, local or remote antennas, and a multi-channel RF front end. It can be re-tasked in the field to meet changing mission objectives.
An In Service Support (ISS) package covering the product for its full operational life is also being provided, and the system has passed a rigorous design verification and NCSC cyber accreditation process.
PPM is targeting adjacent markets with Crossbow, as it is suitable for a range of related applications, and the company is in talks with other potential customers.
Software defined radio communication technology, where some or all of the physical layer functions are software defined, is predicted to become the dominant technology in military and civilian radio communications. It offers numerous advantages over traditional radio systems including wider operating ranges, high instantaneous bandwidth and increased operating freedom.
PPM SDR platforms integrate seamlessly with the company’s state-of-the-art RF over fibre solutions; offering a complete end-to-end solution. For more information about PPM Systems, please visit www.ppmsystems.com.
21 Aug 19. BAE Systems to Enhance F-35 Electronic Warfare Capabilities. BAE Systems received a Block 4 Modernization contract award from Lockheed Martin to enhance the electronic warfare capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. (Photo: BAE Systems)
BAE Systems, a global leader in electronic warfare, has received a Block 4 Modernization contract award from Lockheed Martin to enhance the offensive and defensive electronic warfare (EW) capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter aircraft. Under the contract, BAE Systems will modernize its AN/ASQ-239 Electronic Warfare/Countermeasures (EW/CM) system to address emerging threats and maintain U.S. and allied warfighters’ ability to safely conduct missions in contested airspace.
“The F-35 will be in service for decades, and we’re committed to providing our pilots with an AN/ASQ-239 capability that affords a decisive and sustained EW operational advantage,” said Deborah Norton, VP of F-35 Solutions at BAE Systems. “Our robust, modular architecture enables us to efficiently insert new capabilities, supporting the next wave of technical innovation while proactively addressing total product lifecycle sustainability.”
BAE Systems has been the EW supplier for the F-35 program for the past 14 years, successfully designing and developing the Block 1, Block 2, and Block 3 configurations, and delivering production units for each of the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lots 1-11. The Block 4 program is a multi-year, multi-contract design and development effort that will add eleven new capabilities to the EW system. These improvements will be made as part of the new F-35 agile contracting and development paradigm called Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2). The C2D2 construct is one in which capabilities are continuously being developed and fielded in 6-12 month intervals, providing warfighters with incremental enhancements to keep pace with the evolving threats.
BAE Systems has delivered more than 500 F-35 AN/ASQ-239 EW/CM shipsets to date, and is currently matching aircraft production with continual on-time delivery as the program ramps to full-rate production. As part of its rigorous development process, the company invested in process automation, facility optimization, quality assurance, human capital, and supply chain excellence to deliver capabilities to the warfighter with speed and agility.
As a leading EW provider, BAE Systems has a deep understanding of the evolving threat environment and warfighter needs, and has more than 60 years of experience designing, qualifying, delivering, and sustaining highly reliable and maintainable systems. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 Aug 19. BAE Systems Holds Ribbon Cutting for New Innovation Hub at the Georgia Cyber Center. BAE Systems officially opened offices in the new Georgia Cyber Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony this week, growing its presence in Augusta and furthering its commitment to innovation. The company values the area’s highly skilled workforce and proximity to key customers. Located on the Nathan Deal Campus for Innovation in downtown Augusta, the Cyber Center is home to both commercial cyber companies and a number of cybersecurity and technology training programs. Present at the ribbon cutting were Al Whitmore, president of BAE Systems’ Intelligence and Security sector and Peder Jungck, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Intelligence Solutions business. Also on hand were, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr., Susan Parr, CEO of the Augusta Chamber of Commerce and representatives of U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and U.S. Representatives Rick Allen and Jody Hice.
“We’re incredibly excited about our partnership with the Georgia Cyber Center and continuing to grow our workforce in the Augusta and Ft. Gordon areas,” said Jungck. “The potential for collaboration, innovation, and mentorship that comes from sharing a campus with some of the brightest minds in cybersecurity today is truly limitless.”
The opening of BAE Systems’ offices within the Cyber Center marks an expansion of their existing work in the area. The company currently has more than 400 employees in Fort Gordon and Augusta providing advanced analytics and information assurance mission support. BAE Systems is a leading provider of secure IT support and services for the U.S. Army in the region, and a trusted partner on critical national security programs.
As a leader in secure cloud services and systems integration, BAE Systems is excited to continue work on its key initiatives in Augusta. At the grand opening, the company showcased some of its competitive technology solutions. Project Sunday, the company’s solution for a secure work/life balance for employees with sensitive missions, is among the cybersecurity programs the company will continue to work on with its Cyber Center partners. Also on display and discussed with collaborators were the company’s Robotic Operations Center and Machine Assisted Analytics program. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
20 Aug 19. 4 big problems the intelligence community faces moving to a new data system. The Defense Intelligence Agency wants to move quickly in developing the Machine-assisted Analytic Rapid-repository System, but the massive project, which will transform how the intelligence community uses data, faces some hard problems. The Defense Intelligence Agency is responsible for informing war fighters and policy makers on the military capabilities of foreign nations.
Currently, the agency relies on the Modernized Integrated Database to house foundational military intelligence, but the 20-year old database wasn’t built for the 21st century data landscape. The DIA wants to replace MIDB with MARS, a comprehensive, adaptable, scalable and rigorous data environment. With more data that is better labeled and organized, MARS will allow analysts to use applications to sort and process that data to make connections they couldn’t otherwise.
Last year, the DIA issued a broad agency announcement to solicit industry feedback from MARS. They’ve spent the year going over that information and are now preparing to actually build it.
“2019 was about learning,” said Terry Busch, chief of DIA’s integrated analysis and methodologies division. “This was the year of prepping to get started. In 2020 we get started … We’re going to move from designing to building very very quickly.”
Irving Townsend, also of the DIA, added that the agency was working to make some components of MARS available to the United States’ closest allies in 2020 so leaders in those countries can begin looking at how they can use that data. In summer 2020, the MARS application programming interface will be released to the public, Busch said.
But even as the DIA gears up to begin building MARS, the agency has four big problems left to solve. Perhaps the most pressing problem with creating a unified resource such as MARS is ensuring that the data fed into the system has been labeled and handled in a uniform way. That’s easier said than done. According to Busch, there are 1,300 different data standards in the Department of Defense.
“I work a lot with (the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) and DIA because we have a very similar path for our data,” said Busch. “The NGA has done some wonderful work with some of their data standardization and modeling (…) because NGA’s been in the data making business for a long time.”
Making the data collected by the various agencies and services interoperable is essential for the MARS enterprise.
The amount of data collected by the intelligence community that MARS needs to encompass is staggering. Hosting images and videos, like those collected by the National Reconnaissance Office, for instance, takes up a lot of space.
Because of this, MARS will not actually host all of the data itself. Instead, MARS will refer to intelligence hosted by other agencies. Instead, MARS needs to be able to index that intelligence. Theoretically, users will be able to click a link to access that data hosted on other servers. The DIA will have to figure out how this solution for MARS to operate effectively.
The black box problem
In developing a massive dataset of intelligence, the DIA wants all intelligence to be explainable, meaning that analysts need to be able to see how the intelligence was arrived at. In other words, can analysts and systems show their work?
“It’s really, really important to understand that we’re not going to accept a black box,” said Townsend. “Our analysts are not going to accept that.”
This is a problem for intelligence agencies and contractors who don’t want to reveal their methods or proprietary information. Townsend noted that companies are going to have to figure out how to explain their intelligence without giving away that information.
Another problem with moving to MARS? Many legacy systems will not be able to move to the MARS framework.
While MARS will incorporate all of the MIDB data, some legacy systems will not be able to use the new system and will instead remain reliant on MIDB.
“The transition is difficult. Many of our war fighters are impinged by legacy technology,” said Busch. “There is not turning MIDB off. Not for the foreseeable future.”
Busch noted that while Congress may not like funding both programs simultaneously, it is necessary until those legacy systems can be replaced or upgraded. The DIA will discuss these problems at a MARS industry day Sept. 10, where they are expected to explain what the agency wants from industry. (Source: Defense News)
19 Aug 19. Big Data On The Army Front Line: DCGS-A Upgraded. The US Army is upgrading its intelligence system to give forward commanders full access to the cloud — and work when the enemy takes the network down.
As the Army upgrades its intelligence analysis system, DCGS-A, it must confront the big data dilemma that bedevils all the armed forces as they refocus on high-intensity, high-tech war. Globe-spanning networks, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence could provide vital data rapidly to frontline units. But forward commanders must not become dependent on all that data, because hacking, jamming, or a well-aimed missile hitting a key network node can all cut off access.
“We certainly see many of the benefits of cloud — they are phenomenal,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO-IEWS), in a roundtable with reporters here on Friday. “A lot of my focus is on making sure … we’re ready and postured to be able to host into the cloud.” That includes both the intelligence community’s existing C2S, he said, and the proposed Defense Department-wide JEDI system.
The Pentagon’s plan to consolidate many — but not all — of its 500-plus cloud contracts into a single Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). Note the suggestion that the single “pathfinder” contract for JEDI might evolve into multiple JEDI contracts.
At the same time, Collins continued, frontline troops must be able to function during prolonged periods when their data pipeline is cut off, just as they need to keep fighting when their physical supply lines are cut. “For all the goodness as we go into the cloud, we may have instances where we need an edge node or kind of a hybrid implementation,” he told reporters. “Just like you go into the battlespace with 72 hours worth of fuel” — and ammo, food, water, spare parts — “you may need an edge node that can give you 72 hours worth of data.”
So how is the Distributed Common Ground System – Army actually delivering on these principles? The “foundational layer” for future upgrades, Collins said, is a package of new hardware and software called Capability Drop 1 (CD-1). The Army’s already working on the next iteration, CD-2, with industry proposals due today.
The goal of CD-1 is to give battalion headquarters — which typically command a few hundred soldiers — the same kind of access to intelligence data as a brigade — which has several thousand. What’s more, the upgraded system is meant to provide that access on the move because battalion HQs rapidly redeploy to keep up with rapid maneuvers and evade enemy artillery, in contrast the lavishly networked but easily targeted permanent bases that the US built up in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The previous iteration of DCGS-A required a constant network connection to a 480-pound server stack, said the program manager, Col. Tom Nguyen: Capability Drop-1 runs on a laptop.
Now, users won’t be able to access the full range of high-level intelligence databases without a network connection, Nguyen and his staff told reporters. But laptops will cache the latest downloads so soldiers can work with them off-line and update information the next time they reconnect.
What might this mean in practice? Imagine you’re an intelligence analyst who’s feverishly working on an update for the battalion commander — and then everyone gets the order to pack up the command post and move. (This kind of rapid relocation rarely occurred in counterinsurgency, but in a great power war it would be required to survive). With the old version of DCGS-A, you’re out of luck as soon as they pack up that 480-pound server. With CD-1, you grumble, log off, jump in the back of a Humvee, and flip your laptop back open to work with your cached data as you ride to the new location.
(This is assuming your Humvee isn’t itself specifically rigged to connect to the DCSG-A network, like the one pictured above).
Sure, it’s uncomfortable and you don’t have the latest data. But you still have all your digital maps, automated terrain analysis for troop movements, automated analysis of forecasted weather effects on upcoming operations, reported friendly and hostile locations, and other essentials. Then, as soon as you reconnect to the wider network, you’ll get updates, like new unit positions or alerts that a High Value Target on your watchlist has been spotted.
What’s more, Nguyen’s team said, just because you lose access to one network, that doesn’t mean you lose access to them all. You’re much more likely to get cut off from global databases than you are from shorter-range, more tactical connections, like the AFATDS network that lets you point out targets for your artillery, or the DDS network with the rest of your battalion command post. Each battalion HQ will get three ruggedized laptops, which will synch data and act as back-ups for one another.
In the longer run, Collins said, the Army wants to expand frontline troops’ access to ever more data sources — most of them not operated by the Army itself. “The Joint Strike Fighter is going to be a phenomenal collector of intelligence,” Collins said. He wants future Army ground stations to be “like a Lego… a base building block that can be built upon” to connect to a wide array of joint aircraft and orbiting satellites, with artificial intelligence to help the operator make sense of it all.
“We have ubiquitous sensors and a tremendous amount of data,” Collins said. As he works with experts from across the Army on the service’s network modernization team, he said, “we’re all realizing it’s all about the data.” (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
19 Aug 19. US Extends Limited Reprieve on Tech Sales to China’s Huawei. The Trump administration has extended a limited reprieve on U.S. technology sales to Huawei, even as questions remain over how much of an effect broader sanctions are having on the Chinese technology giant.
Huawei has become enmeshed in the trade war between Washington and Beijing, with President Donald Trump showing a willingness to use the sanctions as a bargaining chip. The U.S. government blacklisted Huawei in May, deeming it a national security risk, meaning U.S. firms aren’t allow to sell the company technology without government approval.
At the time, the U.S. exempted a narrow list of products and services. That exemption would have expired Monday, but the Commerce Department extended it for another 90 days, as expected.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the main aim of Monday’s announcement is to give smaller U.S. internet and wireless companies that rely on Huawei more time to transition away from reliance on its products.
“Some of the rural companies are dependent on Huawei, so we’re giving them a little more time to wean themselves off,” Ross said in an interview with Fox Business Network.
Other exports to Huawei officially remain restricted, though it’s not clear how much is in practice. Those sanctions, for instance, don’t bar U.S. telecom companies from buying Huawei equipment. And U.S. semiconductor companies that supply Huawei have determined that the export sanctions don’t apply to a significant portion of their sales.
“Most of the ongoing shipments of U.S. semiconductors to China are not covered,” said Paul Triolo, an analyst with the Eurasia Group global risk assessment firm.
The greater effect appears to be on Google’s Android mobile operating system, which Huawei can no longer use in its smartphones. Huawei has developed its own operating system as a replacement, though executives say they still hope to be able to keep using Android.
Huawei released a statement saying Monday’s extension “does not change the fact that Huawei has been treated unjustly.” The company said the extension “won’t have a substantial impact on Huawei’s business either way.” (Source: glstrade.com/New York Times.com)
20 Aug 19. Industry competitors submit bids for next iteration of DCGS-A. Companies vying to develop the next iteration of the US Army’s Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) submitted bids to service officials on 19 August, kicking off what will likely be a closely watched competition. Industry competitors sent in proposals for DCGS-A Capability Drop 2 (CD-2) to the programme manager’s office under US Army’s Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (IEW&S) directorate, headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland. Programme officials on 18 July officially released the request for proposals (RfPs) for CD-2, with an estimated price tag of USD824m. As of this writing, IEW&S spokesperson Brandon Pollachek had yet to respond to queries from Jane’s regarding which companies had submitted bids for the CD-2 programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Aug 19. US Army to accelerate software work on electronic warfare mapping tool. Officials at the US Army’s Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (IEW&S) directorate are ramping up software development on a new electronic warfare (EW) management tool, aiming to get future iterations of the combat planning programme into the hands of army commanders within months, instead of years. Thus far, programme officials at IEW&S have followed about a year-long software development timeline for previous versions of the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT), including software integrated into the most recent Capability Drop 3 version, said Army Lieutenant Colonel Jason Marshall, product manager for EW integration within IEW&S’s electronic warfare and cyber programme office (PM EW&C). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Aug 19. DIA Director Outlines Top 3 Priorities. Within a decade, China and Russia’s militaries will be using data visualization, artificial intelligence, machine learning and possibly quantum encryption and communications, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency said.
These tools are used to collect, analyze and secure data accurately and at high speeds. Both China and Russia realize that “whoever can leverage the data and understands that can dominate,” Army Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr. said today at the 2019 Department of Defense Intelligence Information System Worldwide Conference in Tampa, Fla.
China already is moving rapidly ahead with digital advances, he said, citing Huawei’s Smart City Intelligent Operation Center, which is using big data, 5G, machine learning and AI to collect, monitor and analyze security, transportation and emergencies, and to track people.
DIA’s efforts at improving intelligence gathering have a three-pronged focus:
- First, the general said, the agency needs to ensure that its intelligence-sharing tool, the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, has adequate resourcing to ensure it remains secure, reliable and resilient.
- Second, Ashley said, the Machine-Assisted Analytic Rapid-Repository System, which is still in development, will become DIA’s database of the future, using cloud computing, AI and machine learning, automating many of the tasks currently done manually by operators.
- Third, open-source intelligence will be used to a much greater extent. Open-source intelligence is data collected from publicly available sources. When combined with other intelligence data, it can provide a much more accurate intelligence picture that will further DIA’s mission of “providing intelligence on foreign militaries to prevent and decisively win wars.”
In addition to systems, Ashley said, people are the agency’s foundational strength.
People work best when they are on teams to use one another’s strengths, he said. DIA has organized analytic data teams composed of data scientists, tool developers, methodologists and all-source analysts to look at information and refine algorithms to get a more accurate intelligence picture.
DIA also needs to strengthen its teaming with allies and partners, Ashley said, notably data sharing. Currently, a brigade is pretty good at speed in sharing intelligence within the brigade, he said.
However, when it comes to sharing intelligence between brigades and between each of the military services, it slows down, he said. And, it’s even slower between allies and partners.
It took World War II to compel better information sharing between allies, he said. The U.S. cracked Japan’s Purple Encryption Machine early in the war. About the same time, the United Kingdom cracked the Enigma Machine used by the Germans. A decision was made at the very top for the two nations to share their work, and it probably shortened the war by two years. It shouldn’t take another war like that to enable intelligence sharing, Ashley said. (Source: US DoD)
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19 Aug 19. Crystal Group unveils new military-grade NAS system. Crystal Group has unveiled a military-grade Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution for hardware-level protection of classified data.
The rugged and secure high-performance storage solution is designed to cater to data classified as top secret and below.
It has been designed keeping in mind the ‘dynamic environments of multi-domain battlefields’. The system will expand cybersecurity to the tactical edge.
Crystal Group will launch the solution at the ongoing Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) Worldwide Conference in Tampa, Florida, US. The turnkey, scalable, multipurpose storage solution can provide FIPS 140-2 certified data encryption with near-zero latency.
Other features include instant data destruction and integrated key management.
Crystal Group Engineering executive vice-president Jim Shaw said: “With a secure, rugged NAS solution that dependably operates in all conditions and is optimised to process and store data at near-zero latency, our customers gain a tactical advantage and confidence that mission-critical data is protected.”
The system meets MIL-SPEC environmental performance and NIST compliance. It has low size, weight, and power (SWaP) and serves a range of defence applications.
The NAS solution consists of Fully Optimized Rugged Computer Equipment (FORCE) rugged storage server, RCS7450 network switch, small form factor rugged embedded computer and 19in rugged display.
These systems are integrated into a rugged transit case designed for mobile and tactical environments. With end-to-end encryption and near-zero latency capabilities, the storage solution ensures secure, real-time data processing. The FORCE rugged servers support tactical military deployments in volatile environments. The system can be configured with up to 12 different modules for high-speed communication and expanded storage capacity. In June this year, Crystal Group achieved the milestone of delivering 15,000 rugged servers to the US Navy. (Source: army-technology.com)
17 Aug 19. What’s the best way for the Pentagon to invest in artificial intelligence? The Department of Defense is poised to spend nearly $1bn on artificial intelligence in the next year. The Pentagon’s proposed budget for fiscal 2020 includes some $927m for AI, as well as machine learning, according to Ainikki Riikonen, a research assistant for the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.
This includes $208m earmarked for the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, which was created in 2018. The Center’s initial efforts have delivered “a very mature, insightful high-level view” of issues surrounding AI, said Ian McCulloh, chief data scientist at Accenture Federal Services.
AI encompasses hardware, software, people and processes. With nearly a $1bn bankroll, Defense Department leaders and the intelligence community are now looking for the best ways to leverage this emerging capability most effectively.
A deep dive into the numbers shows an early emphasis on basic research. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s budget request includes $138m for advanced land systems technology, up from $109m in fiscal 2019. That program includes research into urban reconnaissance and AI-driven subterranean operations. DARPA’s budget also includes $10m for the Highly Networked Dissemination of Relevant Data Project, a situational awareness tool, as well as $161m for the AI Human Machine Symbiosis Project, up from $97m.
“That’s all about creating systems and people that actually understand each other,” Riikonen said.
These foundational research efforts could yield practical results for the war fighter. But before the Pentagon can make use of AI’s analytic and predictive powers, military leaders will need to ensure they have the underlying infrastructure in place.
“There’s so much data available to the military, but it’s stored all over the place, and rarely in a format that is easily transferrable into an algorithm,” said Todd Probert, vice president for Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “If the military wants to set itself up for success, they should focus on data curation, labeling and cleaning, as well as recruiting and training the data scientists necessary to make use of it.”
Good data requires good technical people, and those aren’t easy to come by. “Talent isn’t cheap and it’s in high demand. The government will be competing directly with industry for a very small pool of people,” Probert said. This indicates a need for early investments on talented professionals.
From there, defense can begin to look at funding specific projects and programs that take advantage of AI’s capabilities.
The Pentagon might begin by considering the potential for AI as a weapon of war. “We are only starting to scratch the surface on the impact of AI and how it can be manipulated by adversaries for nefarious purposes,” said Rahul Kashyap, president and chief executive of network traffic analysis company Awake Security.
Machine learning might help military systems be more effective, but the reliance on data could also make those systems vulnerable to new kinds of attack. “With the adversarial use of AI, there are already discussions about ways in which data we have come to rely on may be poisoned to trick the machine inputs and algorithms,” Kashyap said.
Some experts suggest that any early investments should address this potential risk, building in a defensive capability as part of AI’s foundational layer.
Others say that the low-hanging fruit lies in the military’s ability to leverage AI in support of mundane, but nonetheless critical, tasks.
In the near term, for example, AI spending could help provide transparency around inventory and supply chain management.
“AI could help manage the complexity behind the connectivity and flow between transportation, people, facilities and supplies including equipment, spare parts and fuel in a predictive manner,” said Brigham Bechtel, chief strategy officer for intelligence and defense at big data applications firm MarkLogic.
In this scenario, AI would leverage existing data on materiel availability and equipment performance to drive preventative maintenance, as well as parts procurement — “keeping records of millions of screws, wire couplers, and even tank gun barrels to support scaling to operational demand,” Bechtel said. That’s a task for which machine-scale intelligence is ideally suited.
In the realm of ISR, some industry representatives point to “open-source intelligence” (such as social media) as a prime target for AI investments.
Sources such as Facebook and Twitter contain “significant intelligence that is beyond the scale of humans or classic computation analysis,” said Chad Steelberg, chief executive and chairman of AI-based analysis company Veritone.
As in logistics, open-source intelligence offers ample data in a space where machine-scale analytics could have a deep impact. “The war of ideas, ranging from ISIS recruiting to state-sponsored propaganda, is the most dangerous battlefronts today,” Steelberg said. “With the source of ideas now being influenced by AI, the countries that harness this new weapon most effectively will have a distinct advantage.”
The intelligence community also could benefit from AI’s analytic powers to manage the sheer volume of sensor data in the field.
“Is the analyst overwhelmed with data? If so, AI has the potential to help,” said Graham Gilmer, a principal in Booz Allen Hamilton’s analytics business. “Generating a more robust search capability, fusing data from multiple sources, and generally doing the heavy lifting to cue the analyst are the most immediate applications.”
In addition to addressing external data, the intelligence community could score an early win by building AI models that scrutinize conversations amongst analysts themselves.
“In an ISR suite there can be as many as 15 chat rooms going at any time, with info coming in from various units and intelligence agencies,” Probert said. “That’s too much data and crosstalk for a person to manage, so information is inevitably going to be missed. We need machine learning tools that can flag critical data and alert analysts to what’s important.”
All these represent valid points of inquiry and the Pentagon likely will pursue diverse variations on these themes. In the short term, though, analysts predict AI will mostly be about robots.
“Advanced automation is the fastest growing category in AI, with the rise of unmanned systems,” Riikonen said, noting it would be a natural evolution for the military to leverage private sector learning to utilize AI in support of autonomous systems. “That fits very well with the overall U.S. defense strategy, which is all about having more of these autonomous systems that support war fighters in denied and contested environments.”
In order to achieve those goals, the Defense Department may have to adopt a new way of investing in technology.
Rather than a single development effort that leads to a completed product, however, AI requires an iterative process in which the computers learn over time.
“You do small chunks, you do small bites,” said Paul Johnson, Grant Thornton public sector senior strategic adviser for the defense and intelligence community.
In this light, AI investment will require not just algorithmic development, but investment in organizational change, to spur deep interactions between stakeholders. “We need to get the coders in the same room with the end users and start having the conversation about the art of the possible,” Johnson said. “You have to have that conversation early, often and repeatedly, for the coders to understand what they need to do.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 Aug 19. The US Navy thinks it has a better idea for a CIO position. The Navy is making major changes at its senior levels by creating a new special assistant to the secretary that will oversee cybersecurity, data and information. The effort, announced by Under Secretary Thomas Modly at the Pentagon Aug. 16, is essentially reimagining the service’s chief information officer position. The changes come following a department-wide cybersecurity review that leaders kicked off last year.
Modly said the review’s conclusions ― which the secretary of the Navy commissioned a year ago in response to significant breaches in the Navy’s industrial base ― “pretty forcefully made recommendations that we should organize differently to address this particular threat.”
As part of a new setup, Modly said the special assistant will oversee four directorates:
- The Navy’s chief technology office, which will be responsible for guiding acquisition and priorities around the technical infrastructure;
- The service’s chief digital strategy office, which will be responsible for moving the Navy into a digital era by leveraging applications, adopting best commercial practices and managing digital information;
- The Navy’s chief data office, which will help structure data that can be used in areas such as artificial intelligence and analytics;
- A chief information security/cybersecurity office that will help guide the Navy through a cultural shift to improve poor cyber hygiene, which has been the culprit for major breaches.
“It’s going to be far more strategic than I think the former [Department of Navy] CIO office was,” Modly said. “It’s the broader portfolio. It’s the digital strategy, it’s the data strategy, it’s the whole chief technology piece that will reside underneath there.”
The original plan the Navy had — creating an assistant secretary of the Navy — was rejected by Congress. The special assistant role was plan B, Modly said. This new hierarchy requires no legislation and still elevates the roles of cybersecurity, data and information to a senior level.
Modly said a “very credible” individual has been selected for the special assistant role but declined to offer a name.
The new office will have two military deputies: Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence, and Lt. Gen. Lori Reynolds, deputy commandant for information. This provides representation for the Navy and Marine Corps at senior levels.
The office, which Modly hopes to formally establish in weeks, will include about 15 to 20 government staff through the four directorates. The office also plans to bring in personnel from the private sector by taking advantage of new authorities from Congress that allow for more competitive compensation as a way to bolster expertise in the community. (Source: Fifth Domain)
15 Aug 19. USMC will be getting these ‘tacticool’ over-the-ear headsets. The iconic over-the-ear style headsets worn by the Corps’ special operations Raiders will soon be in the hands of conventional Marines.
The Marine Corps is ordering 4,519 headsets produced by INVISIO to the tune of $4,800,340.89, according to Manny Pacheco, a spokesman with Marine Corps Systems Command. INVISIO is expected to deliver those headsets between this November and March 2020, with the first order going to artillery and recon Marines, according to Pacheco. Pacheco explained that infantry Marines will be fielded new headsets on another contract.
Marines will be getting two versions of INVISIO’s T5 headset, according to Ray Clarke, a spokesman for INVISIO.
One headset will be a stand-alone to provide hearing protection, while the other will interface with Marine Corps radio systems allowing for hearing protection and communications, Clarke said.
INVISIO said in a press release that the headsets being delivered to the Corps would be compatible with the enhanced combat helmet.
“Infantry, artillery, reconnaissance and combat engineer Marines decided on INVISIO systems based on fit, form, function and comfort,” the release said.
Marines will also be getting the V50 controller that will serve as a communications hub and allow Marines to better operate their radio systems. The Marine Corps announced in September that it was ready to order thousands of new headsets and was looking at a range of systems.
As part of that effort, the Corps also kicked off testing of various mid to high cut versions of the enhanced combat helmet to gauge the best ballistic and hearing protection fit. For that testing, the Corps ordered nearly 200 ECH helmets from Gentex Corp., the maker of the iconic Ops-Core helmets worn by special operators. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Aug 19. Perspecta to modernise Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. Perspecta has secured a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to modernise the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) to improve management operations. Worth up to $162m, the five-year contract was awarded by the USAF Enterprise Information Technology and Cyber Infrastructure Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks (C3I&N) Program Executive Office (PEO).
The SIPRNet Enterprise Modernization programme is intended to streamline the network’s infrastructure to improve management operations and achieve security compliance.
Under the contract, Perspecta will develop, install and integrate a new single infrastructure and active directory domain for the USAF.
Work also includes operating, managing and sustaining the full capability and functionality of the system over the programme lifecycle.
Perspecta president and CEO Mac Curtis said: “We are honoured that the airforce has selected us as their partner of choice for this critical transformation programme.
“With a long history of successfully modernising and managing complex, high-value networks and systems, we are confident that we have the right people, processes and technology to help our airforce customer accelerate their modernisation journey.”
The standardisation of the management architecture will allow all airforce bases to meet security requirements and maintain updates to ensure preparedness for persistent network attacks and cyber threats.
In February last year, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) completed the SIPRNet Access Migration Project. The project transformed SIPRNet into a virtual network. Other improvements included greater bandwidth capacity and reduced network size. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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.