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07 Nov 19. Hybrid warfare: the new face of global competition. Businesses and governments targeted by cyber attacks, subversion and espionage. Hybrid warfare uses techniques such as cyber attacks, fake news campaigns and espionage to coerce and subvert victims. It is alternatively called “grey zone” conflict and is in the news almost daily. Yet the main focus to-date of “hybrid warfare” — which uses non-military means to achieve warlike ends — has predominantly been on tactical methods such as cyber attacks, fake news campaigns and espionage. But understanding hybrid warfare’s strategic context equips political and business leaders better to address it. In simplest terms, hybrid warfare uses capabilities not normally associated with war to coerce or subvert. Such techniques are intended to delay recognition that an attack is under way, paralyse decision making through confusion and discourage the victim from responding forcefully due to the absence of “legitimate” military targets. China, Russia (and to lesser degrees Iran and North Korea) are taking on capitalist democracies and hoping to re-make the international political, economic and trade systems through a co-ordinated hybrid effort that is taking place largely outside the traditional military or diplomatic realms.
China’s People’s Liberation Army first openly advocated the benefits of a hybrid approach in its 1999 publication Unrestricted Warfare, which proposes avoiding democracies’ strengths and instead targeting areas such as a reliance on technology and respect for the rule of law. In simplest terms, hybrid warfare uses capabilities not normally associated with war to coerce or subvert Scott Tait, chief executive of Alfa Strategy and managing director for war-games at BlackOps Partners. The authors proposed the concept that “commonplace things that are close to them can also become weapons with which to engage in war . . . [people] will awake to discover with surprise that quite a few gentle and kind things have begun to have offensive and lethal characteristics”. The goals of these hybrid efforts are to erode economic strength; undermine the legitimacy of key institutions such as governance bodies, academia, diplomatic entities and the media; encourage social discord; and weaken the bonds between the nations and international organisations. The erosion of economic strength is probably the most important element and likely the hardest to reverse once it is accomplished.
The key targets in this effort are businesses and the model was best described by John Demers, US assistant attorney-general, as “rob, replicate and replace. Rob the American company of its intellectual property, replicate that technology and replace the American company in the Chinese market and, one day, in the global market,” he told a US Senate hearing in December. “We cannot tolerate a nation that steals the fruits of our brainpower.” Hybrid warfare is intended to bring down states and companies, but commonly consists of a large number of small attacks that target intellectual property of a foreign entity. First, the attacking government works with a “private sector” (but often state-owned or influenced) partner to identify desirable IP, then the full spectrum of state espionage assets are brought to bear to acquire it. Recommended Cyber Security Companies urged to bolster infrastructure cyber defences Second, state research and development resources assist in the rapid commercialisation of the stolen IP. Finally, the state assists the partner-company in replacing the original producer of the IP, initially inside China and eventually in international markets. This assistance may go well beyond conventional “national champion” protections and include elements such as cyber attacks to slow or corrupt the IP originator’s development effort; regulatory or legal action to weaken market position; campaigns to undermine market confidence; disruption of supply chains or sales channels; and attacks on employees through blackmail or other coercive means. So what can be done? First, we must acknowledge this as a dangerous reality and interpret individual events that might otherwise appear as random incidents in the broader and deliberate context of a hybrid war. Second, we should focus on the effects these attacks have, rather than the way in which the attacks are conducted.
Third, corporate leaders must ensure their organisation is informed so that indicators of attack are quickly recognised, and a well-rehearsed response and communication plan is at the ready. Countering such threats also requires that we develop more effective mechanisms for private-public co-operation, establishing relationships that help us to anticipate, avoid, defeat or recover from hybrid attacks. We must overcome the often adversarial relationship between business and government to form effective and mutually-supportive partnerships. The global competitive framework has changed significantly: hybrid warfare will be a key feature of the strategic environment for the foreseeable future. It is different, but not less dangerous, than other conflicts we have experienced. The writers of Unrestricted Warfare provided prescient insight: “A kinder war in which bloodshed may be avoided is still war. It may alter the cruel process of war, but there is no way to change the essence of war, which is one of compulsion, and therefore it cannot alter its cruel outcome, either.” (Source: FT.com)
07 Nov 19. US Army and Rice University research advanced communications. The US Army has signed a cooperative agreement with Rice University to conduct research in next-generation networks and advanced materials.
The five-year, $30m agreement seeks to deliver revolutionary technologies to the army. The research work will enable advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
The research team comprises personnel from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Rice University, and will focus on next-generation wireless networks and radio frequency (RF) electronics.
ARL Army Combat Capabilities Development Command director Phil Perconti said: “This is all about modernisation for the US Army.
“Our relationship with Rice is setting the stage for bringing new, disruptive research technologies, transformative research, to the army so that it can increase its capabilities in the future.”
The partnership dates back to April this year when commanding general US Army Futures Command general John Murray visited Rice University to explore partnership opportunities to drive army modernisation.
The ARL-Rice diamond materials team is jointly led by Rice Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering chairperson Pulickel Ajayan and ARL Electronics and RF Division branch chief Tony Ivanov.
The team is focused on developing an ultrawide-bandgap successor to gallium nitride to deliver improvements in RF electronics.
In a release, Rice University stated that enhancements in RF hardware could also help efforts to improve the process of setting up and managing wireless networks.
One of the priorities is to build a facility at the university for ‘growing ultrapure diamond films and heterostructures of diamond and other materials that can be used in RF electronic prototypes’.
The networking team is working on building distributed, self-aware networks capable of detecting attacks and protecting themselves by adaption or stealth.
ARL South regional director Heidi Maupin said: “We want to deliver the capability of quickly deploying secure, robust army communications networks wherever and whenever they’re needed.
“The technology needed for that will benefit the world by transforming the economics of rural broadband, reducing response times to natural disasters, opening new opportunities for online education and more.” (Source: army-technology.com)
06 Nov 19. Oracle takes JEDI back to court with appeal to rebid contract. The Department of Defense awarded its 10-year, $10bn enterprise cloud computing contract to Microsoft on Oct. 25, but a lawsuit that alleged that the requirements were constructed with Amazon Web Services in mind is still proceeding. Oracle filed an appeal in its long-running lawsuit against DOD alleging multiple violations of procurement law and practices in putting the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract out for bid as a single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity acquisition. Additionally, Oracle claimed that key figures with business ties to AWS helped shape the requirements to favor the cloud computing giant and that the Court of Federal Claims was in error when it accepted the contracting officer’s “flawed determination that the admitted misconduct did not corrupt the procurement.”
According to Oracle’s filing, “a remand to DoD to resolicit JEDI lawfully and restore the public trust in this high dollar acquisition is both required and needed.”
Does the JEDI award to Microsoft, which goes unmentioned in the filing, mean that Oracle is out of court when it insists the procurement was in the tank for AWS?
Not necessarily, said one expert on procurement law.
“Strange as it may seem, there’s no reason to think that DOD’s award to Microsoft dramatically alters Oracle’s litigation — or, more accurately, appellate — strategy or its likelihood of success,” Steven Schooner, professor of government procurement law at George Washington University, told FCW via email. “It might be easier to think of it as a largely unrelated parallel track.”
Schooner said he doesn’t think that the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals will second-guess DOD’s exclusion of Oracle on technical grounds, but the facts of the conflict of interest established in the DOD’s own report and included in the Court of Federal Claims decision could be decisive on their own. (Source: Defense Systems)
06 Nov 19. Should the military treat the electromagnetic spectrum as its own domain? Military leaders are reluctant to treat the electromagnetic spectrum as a separate domain of warfare as they do with air, land, sea, space and cyber, even as the service increasingly recognize the importance of superiority in this area.
At the Association of Old Crows conference Oct. 30, representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force weighed in on a lingering debate: whether the electromagnetic spectrum should be considered its own domain.
In short, while the spectrum can legitimately be described as a physically distinct domain, it does not make sense logistically for the Department of Defense to declare it a separate domain of warfare, they said.
“It’s something that we’ve had a lot of discussion about … In one way, you can argue that the physical nature of the electromagnetic spectrum, the physical nature of it being a domain. However, I understand the implications and those are different challenges for a large organization like the Department of Defense. So I think that there’s a little bit of a different discussion when you talk about domain and what that implies for the Department of Defense and each of the departments in a different way,” said Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke, director of electromagnetic spectrum superiority for the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements.
Regardless of whether it’s an independent domain, military leaders made clear that leveraging the electromagnetic spectrum is a priority for every department and every platform.
“We’re going to operate from strategic down to tactical, and EMS … is going to enable all of our forces to communicate and maneuver effectively, so we’ll have a layered approach across all the domains that we operate in,” said Laurence Mixon from the Army’s Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. “EMS is definitely an aspect of the operational environment that every tactician has to be aware of, understand and leverage. And on the acquisition side we have to consider EMS when we are developing every one of our systems. I think since EMS crosses all of the domains that we currently have today that we identify and use in the joint parlance–I don’t think the Army is ready to call it a domain.”
Similarly, while the Navy is working to understand how EMS works best within the maritime domain, Rear Adm. Steve Parode, director of the Navy’s Warfare Integration Directorate, N2/N6F, indicated that there was no rush to declare EMS a separate domain.
“For the Navy, we’re pretty comfortable with the way we are into the maritime domain as our principal operational sphere. We are working through understanding the EMS and the way it relates to physical properties in that domain. We know where we’re strong and we know where we’re weak. And we understand principally why we’re weak. We’re making decisions about how to get better,” said Parode. (Source: Defense News)
07 Nov 19. Aussie SME provides secure mobility and comms for government users. Canberra-based cyber security firm Penten has officially launched the AltoCrypt phone, designed to provide a secure device with chat, browser, email, video and audio for government and Defence clients.
Working with global partners inside and out of government, Penten has revealed its vision for secure mobility for government users. Penten’s AltoCrypt Phone delivers a suite of secure applications to stay connected with chat, voice and video, email and calendar on a managed iPhone.
Penten’s AltoCrypt Phone will deliver modern tools for accessing classified information and enabling modern work practices while respecting doctrine, regulation and sovereignty.
This new capability is not just about gaining advantage through improved situational awareness, informed decision making and workplace flexibility for Defence, it is also about maintaining intellectual advantage.
The AltoCrypt Phone solves many of the traditional information security problems – namely needing to return to hardened, fixed workspaces or carrying around bundles of printed material by delivering a modern hardened device with the advanced features and functionality to provide classified information to mobile users.
Convenient, familiar and flexible to rapidly deliver new applications, the AltoCrypt Phone provides government users with a trusted device that enables secure peer-to-peer collaboration across voice, video chat and email services.
Penten CEO Matthew Wilson told Defence Connect, “The release of the AltoCrypt Phone has been the culmination of nearly a decade of work and goes back to Penten’s core focus, which is providing the warfighter, defence leadership and political and policy leaders with secure mobility in a familiar, easy to use piece of technology.”
Additionally, the AltoCrypt Phone provides controlled access to data from less trusted security contexts from across the enterprise to users, anywhere and anytime. The AltoCrypt Phone is built on commercial off the shelf consumer hardware, using an assured secure supply chain and supported by a sovereign secure repair capability.
“Part of the process in designing and developing the capability was a firm focus on the workspace of the future and ensuring that the end user is familiar with the system, that is why we chose to work with Apple to deliver this capability,” Wilson added.
This solution gives users a communication device that they are familiar with, providing simple access to sensitive networks and information from less trusted environments to make informed decisions when and where they need to.
Penten’s AltoCrypt Phone enables enterprise situational awareness without attracting attention or data compromise.
Wilson added, “Built around the classified user, security is included in everything we do – we are focused on supporting the end user from the warfighter at the tactical level, through to leadership in Defence, ministerial offices and other relevant departments, it is about making the decision-making process in these environments quicker, easier and secure.
“The next generation of war fighters and policy makers have had a mobile device in their hands for much of their lives, mobile devices support how they work, learn and live. AltoCrypt Phone will give them the tool they need to maximise their potential in government, securely.”
The AltoCrypt Phone uses a secure software module that protects data in transit using high assurance encryption protocols. This software has been designed to directly connect to existing access gateways and crypto infrastructure standards, which are in service throughout the Australian government.
With a long pedigree in secure mobility for government, Penten and its partners are delivering modern layered security architectures, secure applications, tuned devices and networks to support world leading secure mobility capability to its global customers.
“The issue of secure mobility is not unique to Australia and it’s prevalent across both the Five Eyes and Australia’s broader alliance base, so we have a firm eye on those potentialities as well.”
Penten’s AltoCrypt family of secure mobility solutions enable mobile secure access to classified information for government. This access provides government workers with the accessibility and flexibility of a modern workplace.
Penten’s Applied AI business unit creates realistic decoys using a novel combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect and track sophisticated cyber adversaries. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Nov 19. Saab’s New Electronic Attack Jammer Pod in the Air. Saab carried out the first flight tests with its new advanced Electronic Attack Jammer Pod (EAJP) with successful results on 4 November 2019. The pod’s interfaces with the aircraft’s hardware and software as well as cockpit control and monitoring were tested during the flight.
The purpose of Saab’s new EAJP pod is to protect aircraft against radars by sophisticated jamming functions, thereby blocking the opponent’s ability to attack them. The first flight marks an important step of the pod’s development programme.
Saab is sharpening its electronic attack capabilities and the new advanced pod is an important element of this development. The EAJP is a strong complement to the built-in electronic attack capabilities of the highly advanced on-board electronic warfare system on Saab’s new Gripen E/F fighter. It can also be used on other aircraft types. The pod forms part of Saab’s Arexis family of electronic warfare systems.
“We performed the flight tests with a Gripen fighter and this new pod is an important part of the development of our new electronic attack capability”, says Anders Carp, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab’s business area Surveillance.
Electronic warfare systems are also used for self-protection by passively detecting hostile radar systems and missiles, protecting the aircraft or platform by using active and passive countermeasures. Offensive electronic warfare, also known as electronic attack, involves actively sending jamming signals to disrupt the sensors in the enemy’s air defence systems so they do no longer constitute a threat.
Saab is a leading provider of electronic warfare systems, including sophisticated jamming technology, and has delivered advanced solutions for more than 50 years.
06 Nov 19. In The City. Submarines are attractive naval COMINT collection assets due to their ability to operate covertly close to a nation’s coastline. Coastal cities will mushroom in population in the coming years. Naval COMINT systems will be vital for collecting strategic and tactical intelligence from international waters.
According to the Washington DC-based non-government organisation the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) three billion people, around half the world’s population, live within 200 kilometres/km (124 miles) of a coastline. The PRB expects this number to double by 2025. Grayline Capital, a consultancy based in Austin, Texas, says that this urban migration is driven by several factors: Mechanisation and automation of agriculture decreases the quantity of workers required for farming, forcing those from rural areas into the city to look for work. This is particularly apparent in developing countries where agricultural automation is relatively recent. In addition the knowledge economy and its concentration in urban areas prompt movements of aspirant workers in this sector into cities to seek opportunities and networks in their chosen fields. Similarly, the economic growth of cities encourages urban immigration from those seeking work in the service industries supporting affluent residents and businesses.
Why does this concern naval Communications Intelligence (COMINT)? While the vast majority of those people seeking a new life and prosperity in the world’s coastal cities will be law-abiding citizens, some may have nefarious intentions. Mao Zedong, the People’s Republic of China’s founding father and chairman of the Communist Party of China, argued that “the guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.” What better place to do this than in a large conurbation which may present not only lucrative targets but sources of recruitment and materiel, fellow cadres and access to economic opportunities to finance operations. Cities maybe ideal for intelligence agents to ply their trade, as well as places where counter-insurgency operations or peacekeeping missions may occur; witness Operation Gothic Serpent, the US led initiative to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid which occurred between August and October 1993. Likewise amphibious forces may mount such operations in proximity to coastal cities. At the same time, these conurbations generate their own highly congested electromagnetic environments. The worldpopulationreview.com website estimates that the population of Mumbai and its environs on India’s west coast could be over 22 million. The mind boggles at how many million cell phone users this includes. As a result of such pressures, Naval COMINT systems need to tease the signal of interest out from the miasma of urban electromagnetic noise: As such they must have the “ability to operate in a very dense electromagnetic environment (near the shore) and to track a high number of targets simultaneously,” a written statement supplied by Thales told Armada Analysis.
Intuitive user interfaces are a sine qua non for naval COMINT systems, all the more so given the increasing saturation of the electromagnetic spectrum in cities.
Collecting strategic COMINT relating to persons of interest is an ideal task for navies: “Naval forces worldwide are facing changes in their mission requirements,” says a written statement from Rohde and Schwarz supplied to Armada Analysis: “Besides naval warfare, operations against terrorism, acts of piracy, smuggling, and organised crime at sea have become challenges” says Torsten Düsing, business case manager for naval solutions at PLATH. He notes that “you can move COMINT sensors to blind spots, and a naval platform is ideal for this role as it is not restricted by borders.” Put simply, a warship can position herself beyond a nation’s twelve nautical mile (22.5km) territorial waters limit, activate her COMINT sensors and start gathering intelligence. At its basic level “a naval COMINT system must provide sensitive sensors for all communications signals in the High Frequency (HF: three megahertz/MHz to 30MHz), Very High Frequency (VHF: 30MHz to 300MHz) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF: 300MHz to three gigahertz/GHz) bands to maximize capabilities and efficiency on different types of missions,” Rohde and Schwarz’ statement continued. Alongside these frequency bands, naval COMINT systems must cope with an array of waveforms and “should also be able to intercept civil and military wireless communications, including analogue and digital signals in fixed-frequency and frequency-agile modes, as well as commercial radio signals.”
The challenge for navies, Mr. Düsing states, is that the propagation ranges for V/UHF communications can be in the order of tens of kilometres. This means that navies must get as close to the shore as possible to gather COMINT on such transmissions. Gathering intelligence on cellphone transmissions, even when this close to the shore, can be challenging, Mr. Düsing continues, without having a specialised antenna. Such equipment is usually the preserve of dedicated naval SIGINT collection vessels like the Marine Nationale’s (French Navy) Dupuy de Lôme or the Marina Militare’s (Italian Navy) Elettra. As Klaus Weighardt, vice president and director of sales and marketing at Saab’s Medav division states: “Today warships and submarines have a limited level of COMINT Systems on board, as a fully comprehensive suite of system is typically carried by SIGINT ships operated by intelligence services.”
This does not stop naval combatants equipped with standard COMINT equipment playing a valuable role in gathering strategic COMINT, particularly regarding HF or V/UHF commercial or military radios being used in a sprawling metropolis. Mr. Düsing states that, to be effective, naval COMINT systems used in these and other environments must use receivers with a low noise figure. He says that PLATH offers naval COMINT systems with noise figures as low as six decibels: “We must be able to hear a very weak signal across a very large distance: The lower the noise figure, the wider the detection range.” Other key requirements are a need to have a good dynamic range and wide instantaneous bandwidth to cope with the saturation which accompanies the urban electromagnetic environment. Mr. Weighardt agrees, stressing the need “to provide enough real-time bandwidth to intercept modern communications signals.” He adds that it will be imperative for naval COMINT systems to accommodate the migration of some telecommunications into higher parts of the electromagnetic spectrum: “Due to the extension in frequency ranges used for communication signals, modern COMINT equipment will need to be able to process much higher frequency signals and cross correlate target signals that share the spectrum with other types of signals like radars.”
Furthermore ease of upgrade and a modular construction and architecture, Mr. Düsing continues, are both a sine qua non. Rohde and Schwarz posit that the need to share COMINT and fuse it with other intelligence is also paramount: “The system must allow data fusion with intercepted data from other sensors, including radar and the radar electronic support measure. It must be possible to transfer data automatically to the command system for assisting targeting.” New innovations should also be embraced to ease the analytical task of interpreting the torrents of COMINT that these systems will collect from the shore: “Artificial intelligence and other new digital technologies can definitely help navies by enabling COMINT operators make smarter decisions in real time,” Thales’ statement continues.
The spectrum will become increasingly congested around the world’s coastal cities, reflecting global demographic changes. Fortunately, navies have the tools at their disposal to keep tabs on how the fish swimming in the sea of the population is communicating. (Source: Armada)
06 Nov 19. The Generation Game. The increase in wireless device users and data heralded by 5G could pose challenges for COMINT practitioners fortunately, the community is tackling this issue with alacrity. The advent of fifth-generation cellular communications could pose challenges for communications intelligence professionals.
The global proliferation of wireless devices and smartphones, and the demand for more bandwidth for those devices, are two of the drivers that have influenced the developments of fifth generation (5G) wireless communications. A May 2019 report published by businesswire.com predicted that the global smartphone market will grow by 6.1 percent between 2019 and 2025. Similarly, the IDC market intelligence company predicted in December 2018 that the collective sum of the world’s data will increase from 33 zettabytes/ZB (33 trillion gigabytes/GB) in 2019 to 175ZB (175 trillion GB) in 2025.
What is 5G? Broadly speaking, 5G is a catch-all term for communications protocols which will handle this growth in wireless device use and data traffic. Wireless communications currently occupy several segments of the spectrum between 380 megahertz/MHz up to 1.9 gigahertz/GHz. To avoid saturation of the ultra high frequency waveband 5G will move wireless communications into higher frequencies of 26GHz, 28GHz, 38GHz and 60GHz. Low-band 5G will use frequencies of 600MHz up to six gigahertz, notably in the 3.5GHz to 4.2GHz waveband. Frequencies of 30GHz and above will allow download speeds of up to 20 gigabits-per-second. Moving wireless communications to higher bandwidths will enable cellphones, tablets and other wireless devices to use smaller antennas. This will have the corresponding effect of allowing each antenna on a device to use a particular part of waveband. Therefore if one part of the phone’s waveband is not working efficiently due to congestion or interference then another part can be utilised by another antenna to avoid this. Similarly if all parts of the phone’s allotted wavebands are working efficiently the phone can combine transmissions across these antennas to provide high speed traffic.
So far, so good; all of this sounds great for the consumer, but what will be the implications for Communications Intelligence (COMINT)? Kevin Davis, vice president of product and channel management at TCI, a company specialising in SIGINT equipment based in Fremont, California, told Armada Analysis that one of the major challenges with 5G is that it uses very narrow transmission beam widths. What this means in practice is that these transmissions will be directional (pointing in a straight line), rather than omni directional (covering a 360 degree radius) potentially making them very difficult to detect amidst the prevailing electromagnetic noise, particularly in urban areas. Thus “5G could complicate trying to locate and monitor a specific actor in an urban environment when they could be using a directional very or ultra high frequency radio or cellphone.” He adds that “a 5G transmission could have lower power and hence get lost in the wider local electromagnetic spectrum.” The implications of this is that the COMINT practitioner will need to get closer to their target to collect their intelligence, something which can be risky in covert counter-insurgency or special forces operations.
Mr. Davis and his colleagues have not been idle in tackling these challenges. When things need to be covert, go small, he believes: “We are looking at lower SWAP (Size, Weight and Power) COMINT systems. These will be more useful and covert for mobile applications.” While this takes care of discretion, the company plans to increase the waveband that its COMINT systems handle up to 40GHz. This will allow them to take in some of the frequencies 5G will be using. The company will be launching a new 5G-compatible manpack COMINT system at the Association of Old Crows convention and conference in Washington DC in late October.
The good news is that the COMINT community is taking the 5G challenge seriously, says Mr. Davis: “We started engaging our US customers in conversations about 5G and the need for extended frequencies around 18 months ago. The US is doing a very good job at thinking about that. European customers are similarly engaged in those types of concerns.” (Source: Armada)
06 Nov 19. Tiger Balm. The US Marine Corps performed the first operational flight of the AN/ALQ-231(V)3 Intrepid Tiger-II self-protection pod in 2016. Roll-out of the AN/ALQ-231(V)4 version is expected by 2024. The US Marine Corps expects to complete the roll-out of its AN/ALQ-231(V) Intrepid Tiger-II self-protection pods across its fixed-wing and rotary fleet by 2024.
The AN/ALQ-231(V)’s genesis can be traced back to late 2008 when the US Marine Corps (USMC) issued an operational requirement letter pertaining to the Marine Air Ground Task Force Electronic Warfare 2020 plan. This dealt with USMC airborne capabilities upon the retirement of the forces’ Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft which occurred in March 2019.
The AN/ALQ-231(V) is an aircraft self-protection system which presently furnishes several USMC aircraft. The AN/ALQ-231(V)1 variant equips the Marine’s McDonnell Douglas/Boeing AV-8B Harrier-2 combat aircraft while the AN/ALQ-231(V)3 outfits the Bell UH-1Y Venom light utility helicopter. Although not published, the AN/ALQ-231(V)1/3 is thought to cover a waveband of at least 30 megahertz to three gigahertz. Open sources note that the pod can perform electronic attack against hostile communications systems. The USMC notes that plans are afoot to roll out the AN/ALQ-231 across other airframes. For example the AN/ALQ-231(V)1 pod has commenced integration onboard the Corps’ Lockheed Martin KC-130J tankers.
Over the longer term, the AN/ALQ-231(V)3 is expected to be cleared for service onboard the Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter with integration and testing commencing in the 2021 to 2024 timeframe. Similarly, modernisations of the AN/ALQ-231(V)1/3 hardware are on the horizon. USMC documents note that the AN/ALQ-231(V)4 incarnation is expected to commence production between 2021 and 2023. This will include the wherewithal to act as a communications electronic support measure as well as performing electronic attack against hostile communications systems. The documents continued that this variant could migrate to the Insitu/Boeing RC-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial vehicle flown by the Marines. The AH-1Z, UH-1Y and the RQ-21A will receive the AN/ALQ-231(V)4 from 2024, 2022 and 2024 respectively.
Meanwhile, the AN/ALQ-231(V)1 Block-X evolution may see the expansion of the pod’s capabilities to perform electronic attack against hostile radars. This implies a potential bandwidth extension beyond three gigahertz/GHz, possibly to 18GHz or 40GHz. The documents continued that this version could be developed as a podded system to equip the AV-8B and McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18A/B and Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters. Conversely, the AN/ALQ-231(V)1 Block-X could outfit the Bell-Boeing MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor as an internal payload. In terms of timeframe, the AN/ALQ-231(V)1 Block-X could begin to outfit the F/A-18 from 2022, the AV-8B from 2023, the MV-22B from 2024, the KC-130J from 2025 and Sikorsky CH-53E/K heavylift helicopters from 2026. (Source: Armada)
05 Nov 19. Airbus proposes ECR/SEAD Eurofighter, emphasises German requirement. Airbus Defence and Space (DS) has showcased a new electronic attack and counter-ground-based air defence variant of the Eurofighter combat aircraft as it looks to secure Germany’s Tornado replacement requirement.
Speaking at the company’s Manching facility in southern Germany on 5 November, Kurt Rossner, head of Air Combat, provided the first insight into Airbus DS plans for an Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR)/Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) version of the Eurofighter to replace the Luftwaffe’s Tornado ECR aircraft. This Tornado ECR replacement covers 40 aircraft as part of the wider Tornado IDR/ECR replacement programme for 85 aircraft.
As noted by Rossner, the ECR/SEAD configuration is a collaborative German industrial effort and forms part of the key technology roadmap for the aircraft. An ECR/SEAD Eurofighter offers the possibility of combining the escort and stand-in jammer platforms of any strike package, with an initial capability to be gained through podded systems before a more integrated solution is developed.
The ECR/SEAD configuration shown by Airbus comprises a pair of escort jammer pods on the underwing stations currently typically used to carry drop tanks, while three 1,000 litre tanks would be carried on the centreline and two inboard underwing pylons. These three stations are currently ‘dry’, and would need to be plumbed to carry fuel tanks. The aircraft is also shown carrying the SPEAR-EW weapon recently showcased by MBDA as a future SEAD weapons system, wingtip emitter locator stations, and both short- and long-range air-to-air missiles.
As noted by Rossner, the ECR/SEAD Eurofighter would “almost certainly” be a twin-seat aircraft with the rear cockpit devoted to operating the complex mission systems.
The ECR/SEAD configuration is part of a wider long-term capability development plan for the Typhoon combat aircraft that will span the coming decades.
Announced at the Paris Airshow in June, this project that has been agreed with the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) on behalf of the partner countries, is called the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) plan. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Nov 19. Battle management modernisation efforts continue. The German Army is modernising its battle management and communications systems which will enhance command and control, and situational awareness at the brigade, battalion, company and platoon levels.
Central to these efforts is the procurement of Rohde and Schwarz’ SVFUA (Streitkraeftegemeinsame, Verbundfaehige Funkgeraete-Ausstattung/Armed Forces Joint Composite Radio Equipment) vehicular radio.
The SVFUA programme got underway in 2017 following the award of a contract to the company by the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support to equip a host of army vehicles with the system. Platforms to receive the architecture include the Puma infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and Boxer armoured fighting vehicle (AFVs, pictured).
Additional armoured vehicles are expected to also receive the radio in the future, although contracts are yet to be awarded to this end.
The SVFUA is a multiband radio covering a waveband of 1.5MHz to 3GHz. This will be used to carry a high data rate (HDR) waveform being developed by Rohde and Schwarz, alongside other standard waveforms such as NATO’s HAVEQUICK-I/II digital ground-to-air/air-to-ground waveform.
In the near future, the SVFUA may also carry the pan-European ESSOR (European Secure Software Defined Radio) HDR waveform should Germany join Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden in this initiative. This will provide HDR communications between disparate radios equipped with the ESSOR waveform used by jointly deployed national armies to enhance coalition networking.
HDR waveforms will be integral for the carriage of the German Army’s MOTIV and MOTAKO networking software and battle management system (BMS). MOTAKO is an IP (Internet Protocol) based BMS which will be hosted by the MOTIV software.
Over the long term up to 30,000 vehicles will carry the MOTIV/MOTAKO architecture with a battalion-strength formation receiving this by 2024. The German Army is adopting a spiral approach to the implementation of MOTIV/MOTAKO and will then spin lessons learned from this battalion implementation on to the architecture which will then equip a brigade-sized formation.
This approach will then be repeated until seven German Amy brigades have received the MOTIV/MOTAKO ensemble by circa 2040.
This initiative forms part of a wider modernisation of the German Army’s tactical radios. Over the long term the force is expected to replace over 90,000 individual radios, comprising 30 different types. Alongside the SVFUA the force has embarked upon an initiative to outfit its dismounted troops with new personal role radios.
Elbit Systems is delivering its PNR-1000 transceivers to fulfil this requirement. These radios cover a 225MHz to 512MHz waveband and use IP standards to carry voice and data traffic. Up to 64 users can be hosted on a single PNR-1000 network, and each radio has 225 channels available allotted into 15 groups each containing 15 channels. Up to 320kb-per-second of data can be carried by these radios using bandwidths of up to 200kHz. The PNR-1000 radios will be used by mounted and dismounted troops equipping IFVs and AFVs such as the Puma and Boxer, and also dismounted platoon and company leaders. (Source: Shephard)
04 Nov 19. New DISA Contracts To Focus On Cell Phone Protection. DISA will offer industry multiple contract opportunities to provide third-party tools to defend against malware and Zero Day attacks. The traditional cybersecurity structure of in-depth network protections is quickly crumbling into irrelevance as the network perimeter pushes out to wherever (the cloud) and whatever (laptops, tablets or mobile phones) users want to use to connect to the network. That makes the log-in screen on each individual device (or endpoint) the new perimeter against attackers, with both the military and commercial sectors working to secure that entry point.
It’s a topic Acting DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy has mentioned repeatedly in speeches and in testimony before House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
“DOD requires robust end point solutions that are commercially-based, threat informed, and capable of: identifying what is on the network; ensuring the endpoints are secure and in compliance with enterprise standards; supporting real-time monitoring and near real-time response and remediation to threats; providing situational awareness to our network defenders; and, protecting the integrity and confidentiality of the data and information assets, enabling mission owner confidence in the information they are using,” Deasy said earlier this year.
Leading DoD’s efforts to improve that protection is the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which used its annual Forecast to Industry day to describe the contracts it will let in the 2020 timeframe to address endpoint and perimeter security.
“In FY20, we’ll be focusing on machine learning capability, sharing threat intelligence information, and moving more to cloud-based technology and automation,” said Diane Phan, chief of DISA’s Endpoint Security Division, who described endpoint security as moving protections closer to the data that needs to be defended.
The following section examines the RFPs and contracts that DISA expects to award next year (plus a couple expected in the following year) under the subject of endpoint security.
The Army seeks a next-generation armed scout helicopter with increased speed, range, survivability and even autonomy – not just a conventional helicopter.
Endpoint Security Integration: A single-award contract to address the integration of third-party endpoint security tools. The RFP is expected to be released by the second quarter of fiscal 2020, with a single award by the end of the fiscal year. Said Phan: “I need an integration service support contractor that can help integrate all these various capabilities. We’ll mainly focus on maintaining a baseline, interoperability testing, and (risk management framework) packages.”
Endpoint Detection and Response: This will provide a new endpoint security capability so cyber defenders can detect and investigate security incidents, automatically detect malicious system activities and behaviors, and support mitigation/remediation actions. The RFP is expected to be released the second quarter of fiscal 2020, with a single award several months later.
Application Containment: Here DISA is looking for new endpoint security capabilities that can restrict execution of high-risk applications and computer processing activities to an isolated environment on the system. The RFP is expected to be released the second quarter of fiscal 2020, with a single award in the third quarter. Said Phan: “This is a capability identified as a capability gap in 2017 (along with endpoint detection and response). We operationalized a pilot of this capability in the FY18 timeframe and I’m ready to move forward (with) an acquisition at the enterprise level.”
Comply to Connect: This will be a framework of tools and technologies organized to: restrict unauthorized device access; reduce known vulnerabilities; take action to detect, identify, characterize, report, and deter behaviors associated with malware or the unauthorized activities of users; and to maintain the networks security and its information resources. This is to be a multiple award contract that will incorporate various industry solutions, with awards in the third or fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.
Secure Configuration Management (SCM) Development and Operations: This will address continued support, sustainment, and enhancement of existing SCM capabilities, and rapid implementation of new features, updates, and improvements, including redesign of some SCM capabilities. This will be a single award with RFP schedule for the third quarter of fiscal 2021 and an award in the beginning of fiscal 2022.
Enterprise Mission Assurance Support Service: This is designed to provide DoD users with a tool that identifies and reports risk related to endpoint devices. This is to be a single award with RFP in the fourth quarter 2021 and an award the first quarter of the next year.
Moving on from endpoints to perimeters, DISA’s Perimeter Defense Division serves as a primary layer of protection between Internet access points and the NIPRNet. It evaluates and assesses the security posture of the DoD Information Network to ensure that sufficient protection resides at the boundary, according to Malachi Outen, information systems security manager for the division.
It’s working hard on moving the SHARKSEER program from the National Security Agency to DISA. SHARKSEER detects and mitigates web-based Zero Day attacks (malware that infects systems before developers are able to patch the vulnerability) and advanced persistent threats using commercial off-the-shelf technology. Two vendors presently provide the government with COTS systems for Zero Day detection: FireEye and McAfee.
An RFP for a single-award, full and open competition, is expected to be released in second quarter 2020 with an award in in the next quarter.
The Perimeter Defense Division’s other main program for next year is for web content filtering.
Web Content Filtering (WCF): This program provides signature-based detection of malware, meaning that it flags infection based on code previously identified as being malware, and blocks malicious inbound and outbound traffic at the NIPRNet/Internet access points. This will be a single award under DISA Encore III contract (a 10-year, $17.5bn contract that is the agency’s main vehicle for IT services). The RFP is scheduled for first quarter 2020 with award in the third quarter. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
04 Nov 19. What makes the US Navy’s Next Generation Jammer so powerful? For years, officials have touted the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer as the joint force’s premier standoff electronic attack platform, one at least 10 times more powerful than the legacy one. Part of what will make these three pods — covering the mid, low and high range of the electromagnetic spectrum — so much more effective than the legacy ALQ-99 pod is the sheer power, range and tasking ability.
The 50-year-old analog ALQ-99 jammer can only be upgraded so much. The new, digitized jammer program will be able to “do things that the previous jammer couldn’t even think about,” Ernest “Bert” Winston, senior manager of strategy and business development for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, told C4ISRNET at the Association of Old Crows International Symposium in Washington in late October.
Raytheon was awarded the contract for the Next Generation Jammer’s mid band in 2016, while the Navy awarded Northrop Grumman and L3 a technology demonstration contract for low band. Last year’s budget documents do provide funding for high band.
As a standoff jammer, an EA-18 Growler equipped with a Next Generation Jammer will deny enemy assets the ability to identify and target friendly assets within the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing them to penetrate enemy airspace. It does this by jamming radars within certain frequencies, but modern radars and threat are more dynamic than in years past, necessitating the new three-band approach.
“It is extremely powerful because it has to be, because the standoff ranges,” Winston said.
Adversaries are looking to push out the range of enemies through more advanced radars and electronic sensing capabilities, called anti-access/area denial, so U.S. forces will have jam and confuse these systems farther away, allowing other strike platforms to penetrate. This necessitates a need for more capability, and more reserves.
“We have additional power now in the pod … which allows you to make more jamming assignments, but also to be farther away, which can buy you more opportunities,” Tim Murphy, manager, naval aviation campaigns at Northrop Grumman, told C4ISRNET at the same conference.
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Both Winston and Murphy said the pods being developed will have to have self-contained power supplied given the capacity they’ll need to generate, which will be too much power to be generated from the airplane, Murphy said. Winston noted this will also help facilitate the speed that the Next Generation Jammer will be able to switch between frequencies to keep up with targets that are incredibly fast.
“When it’s jamming between two different radars and switching beams, it can do it faster than the radars’ look through cycle,” he said. “The previous jammer when jamming between frequencies would take forever to go — forever in a digital sense — from the first frequency from the next. NGJ can do it almost instantaneously.”
The legacy jammer was good at talking to one target, but was much slower when talking to two. The new jammer can talk to two or more targets at the same time, unbeknownst to them, Winston said.
The pods will also be designed with integration and modularity in mind. Given there is a phased approach for integrating the three pods to the force, they will have to continue to work with the legacy equipment to some degree. Moreover, depending on the mission and available space on the airframe, it should be easy for maintainers to be able to take one pod off an aircraft and add it to another based on the types of targets for the mission, Murphy said.
“It’s got to be seamless for the squadrons, for the maintainer to be able to load them, but also seamless with the air crew to make their jamming assignments inside the airplane — to be able to go whether one type of pod is on the airplane; it shouldn’t be a challenge to them to tie up their time,” he said. “You want to be able to give that autonomy to the tactical situation, what the squadron decides to do for that specific mission.”
This increased capacity and modularity helps with force optimization, Winston said, as a single Growler can do more on mission, potentially freeing up others to perform missions elsewhere.
“There’s only so many of them on a flight deck to go, and flight deck cycles determine how many aircraft you can launch at a time,” he said. “Being able to put up a jammer in the air that can hit so many more targets at the same time gives the strike group and the air wing and the Growler squadron so many more options for how they want to use their Growlers because now, instead of launching all three for a strike, maybe I only need one on that strike and I have one over here doing something else.”
Progress on the various components of the Next Generation Jammer is moving along. Raytheon announced in late October that it completed the first-power generation flight test of the mid-band pod mounted to an airborne asset, though not a Growler itself.
The test is a “huge milestone,” according to Winston, because, until this point, it had all been lab tests.
“The great thing about an airborne test is all the unknowns that happen while you’re flying, and we’re able to open the doors, generate power,” he said.
First to second quarter 2020 is when the first Growler flight test is expected, with an IOC date of third quarter 2022.
It is still unclear, however, what squadrons will get the mid-band pod as there are a lot of variables between now and 2022, Winston said, noting that decision is ultimately up to the Navy.
Raytheon has also delivered a few pods to the Navy so they can conduct their own tests. The Navy has also fit-tested them to Growlers.
L3 and Northrop Grumman — whose team consists of Harris and Comtech PST — were selected to separately demonstrate solutions for the low band to help the Navy refine requirements for the final program and reduce risk. Each were awarded a 20-month contract in October 2018.
L3Harris declined to speak about the ongoing work with the demonstration of existing technologies. The Navy awarded the contracts prior to the merger between the two companies, with officials noting there have been internal firewalls established between the two teams.
Murphy said the demonstration will go until the spring. The formal request for proposals for the low-band pod went out at the end of September, he said with proposals due in January and an award expected at the end of the summer 2020.
The proposal is an open competition, though the demonstration looked at “a couple of representatives from industry to show the government that they’re mature enough to be able to enter the low band program at milestone B, which is a change,” Murphy said. “This is really a way of accelerating the delivery … by jumping in at milestone B so you bypass that first 18 months.”
So far, tests have only occurred on the ground for low band. There have not been any airborne tests yet, though Murphy said technologies being used by Northrop for low band are flying with other customers.
The rough IOC date for low band is 2025. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
04 Nov 19. DISA’s 10 tech focuses for 2020. The Defense Information Systems Agency wants to improve the military’s cybersecurity posture in 2020 and that focus is evident in the agency’s top priorities for emerging technologies.
Stephen Wallace, systems innovation scientist at the agency’s emerging technology directorate, outlined 10 technologies for the upcoming year during DISA’s annual Forecast to Industry event Nov. 4.
The priorities include:
Assured identity. DISA is taking another look at how the Common Access Card, which currently operates as a point in time authentication, is used today. Over the next year, DISA wants to apply assured identity to its mobile and desktop devices. In addition, officials want to know how they can continuously monitor the user’s identity “in the background. “How can we build a profile of that user’s identity and their day-to-day actions,” Wallace said. “We’ve had a few successful prototypes so far and we expect to do more as time progresses.”
Automation. Wallace stressed that the agency has to apply automation to more workloads. He pointed specifically to data centers, where automation would allow him to increase efficiency on workloads.
Browser isolation. DISA wants to take a new approach to how it defends the Department of Defense Information Network (DoDIN) by taking a browser and operating it in a commercial provider, which then provides a “video stream” back to the user, Wallace said. DISA is evaluating two vendors for the capability in a test that includes 15,000 users, he said. The browser isolation project marked the first two times DISA used its Other Transaction Authority. DISA has rolled this capability out to all agency users, but has eight other partners testing the offering. The goal is to reach 100,000 more users in the next three to six months, Wallace told reporters at a round table. “This is just a test of technology and then we’ll go from there,” Wallace said.
DevSecOps. DISA wants to take the principles of DevSecOps, an approach to secure software development, and apply it to how it deploys products. Wallace said that with similar devices across the agency, it makes sense for DISA to treat the devices as code. By doing so, DISA can easily share information across its programs and be better prepared for re-accreditation of its devices.
Distributed ledger. Though Wallace said that DISA is on the “backside of that hype curve” on blockchain, he told reporters that the agency is testing distributed ledger in one of its data centers to “explore the technology.” Wallace said DISA has found some areas where the product is useful in the logistics realm with data set sharing, simplifying database management by removing the need for a centralized database access.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning. DISA doesn’t have a dedicated AI/ML office, but the agency is interested in the technology and has several use cases for the technology, Wallace said. The agency is using machine learning on some shared identity projects that are constantly validating user identity. “It’s a technology enabler,” Wallace said. “You will see it pop up in a number of things.”
Mobile/desktop convergence. With users spending so much time on mobile devices like tablets and laptops, DISA wants to allow employees to bring these devices into the office and work on them as a desktop. “The idea is that I can have that mobile device that I’m off working with, come into my office, drop it into a cradle [and] I get a full desktop experience and pick it up, walk away and get a full desktop again,” Wallace said. In the future, DISA wants to provide this service across classification levels.
Security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR). SOAR is an automated approach to cybersecurity and incident response and Wallace said DISA has several projects in this realm. “Our adversaries are better leveraging automation, ML/AI,” Wallace said. “We need to get more in the game of automating our response.”
Wireless transport. The emergence of 5G technology will provide DISA with the ability to provide faster network capabilities to the warfighter, Wallace said. DISA is exploring peer-to-peer communication capabilities brought on by 5G that will provide the warfighter to communicate better at the tactical edge. DISA is also looking at network splicing, in which network operators can designate specific parts of their networks for specific activities. Network splicing will allow DISA to “change the way that we basically ship traffic across the carriers’ networks,” Wallace said. DISA want to use the technology to harness the faster compute capabilities at the edge that will come with 5G.
Zero trust. Under DISA’s current approach to network security, Wallace said, the agency uses the user credential to identify the user and then places them in the network depending on where they are coming from, like the internet or the DoD’s internal unclassified network. Under a zero trust framework, DISA would add new indicators to verify user identity, like the device the user is using, the time of day and the credential. “We think that we can take many of those concepts … and apply [them] to what we do for the department,” Wallace said. (Source: Fifth Domain)
01 Nov 19. Germany continues pursuit of Tactical Edge Networking. The German Army continues to consider requirements to support its next-generation tactical communications programme with industry sources suggesting the effort remains a ‘very fluent process’. The German Army initially launched a pair of programmes to support the future connectivity requirements of mounted and dismounted combat teams, including the Mobile Tactical Communications (MoTAKO) and Mobile Tactical Information Network (MoTIV) efforts.
After combining both programmes into the unified Digitalisation of Land Based Operations (DLBOP) programme, the German Army signed an MoU with the Netherlands in June 2019 to jointly pursue the Tactical Edge Networking (TEN) programme.
However, the German Army will continue to stipulate its own set of requirements under the TEN-DLBO nomenclature before combining demand signals with its counterpart Dutch programme, TEN-FOXTROT.
Programme officials from TEN-DLBO confirmed to Shephard how a Joint Programme Office with TEN-FOXTROT is due to be established by the end of the year with an RfI following in February 2020.
This will include a series of spiral developments focused on supporting soldiers operating at the tactical edge with interoperability with partner nation forces a top priority. Approval of the first spiral is expected to be confirmed in December with product selection due to following in 2022. The first units within the German Army are expecting to receive the first tranches of equipment in 2023.
Addressing delegates at DSEI in London on 11 September, TEN programme officials described how German and Dutch armed forces must cooperate in order to manage expectations in the face of the ‘increasing speed of change in the information technology environment’.
‘We need a different mindset to find a solution to faster improve our equipment and renew technology. Our ambition is to enable new technology and make information technology a prime weapon system which we can take into action,’ officials explained while asserting how mobility remains a ‘prime’ requirement for the programme.
‘We need to be faster and swifter,’ officials added before illustrating demand signals to further enhance the Sensor-to-Shooter requirements of mounted and dismounted close combat units.
TEN-DLBO and TEN-FOXTROT are also due to benefit from a Tactical Core reference architecture, capable of supporting the wider TEN programme over the next 15 years and beyond.
Speaking to Shephard in September, TEN-DLBO’s programme manager, Christian Peters of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), described the programme’s philosophy to allow ground commanders to operate ‘securely [and] be interoperable and effective in their missions’.
‘That is why we build the new bi-national organisation TEN. Both ministers of Defence in Germany and The Netherlands acknowledged the need for a different way of working and concluded this with the signature of the agreement to jointly follow the journey of modernisation with TEN. A key milestone,’ Peters added. (Source: Shephard)
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