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23 Jan 20. How the US Army and Air Force are linking comms. Military leaders have said future battlefields will be contested and congested, an environment that will require the seamless transfer of data between networks, systems, platforms and especially U.S. military services.
Now, at the direction of the Joint Staff, the services are beginning to work together on common frameworks for networks under the banner of what the Department of Defense is calling Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).
“It’s not a system, it’s not a program, it’s not a bunch of buzzwords, it’s reality. It’s what the senior [leaders] of the Department of Defense are expecting all the services to deliver,” Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, director of the Army’s network cross functional team, said at an AFCEA conference Jan. 21.
JADC2 “started about last July. That’s what we are going to deliver with our network modernization strategy.”
The Army and Air Force are partnering in the network space, as first reported by Breaking Defense.
Gallagher told C4ISRNET that over the past few months the Army had begun to engage with the Air Force at the colonel level, but more recently representatives from Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (C3T), the Mission Command Center of Excellence and the Futures and Concepts Center have gone to various Air Force bases for meetings and demonstrations.
Gallagher as well as Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the head of C3T, went to Eglin Air Force Base at the end of last year for a demonstration of the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). Then a few weeks ago, Gallagher, Gen. John Murray, the leader of Army Futures Command, and other Army leaders went to Nellis Air Force Base to learn more about Air Force efforts.
ABMS is the Air Force architecture to connect a variety of platforms.
Bassett told C4ISRNET that Pentagon leaders recognize that no single service contribution will be able to meet all the needs for the joint force. As a result, teams are cooperating on a common concept.
“There are some things that can be common across the joint force and we’re absolutely committed to working with the other services to identify what elements of the architecture can be common,” Bassett said. “We’re working predominantly with the Air Force here, early on, as they look at their ABMS architecture. We’re looking at areas where we can bring Army solutions to show that they can become part of that in an interoperable and seamless way.”
ABMS is the Air Force’s contribution while the Army’s tactical network modernization effort — the integrated tactical network — is its piece.
The integrated tactical network its contribution is made up of a mix of existing programs of record and commercial off-the-shelf capabilities and is expected to improve communications and situational awareness from command post to the tactical edge. Portions of it will be delivered to units every two years adding in more capability as technology matures.
Bassett said other areas the Army envisions as potential contributions are the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node — a new Army program that is billed as the service’s generation ground control station — on the sensor side, the Command Post Computing Environment and the data fabric the Army wants to build as it approaches its capability set for 2023.
The Army has also begun to partner with the Marine Corps to ensure they have strong links with their ground partners as well. Already, senior leaders have plans for near term future meetings to work on the technical parameters of a new common network architecture.
Gallagher said ultimately there won’t be one primary system, but rather a series of systems that are interconnected.
“What are those application processing interfaces needed in the architecture and network design that’s going to allow the data to flow so over time this aspirational goal of any sensor any shooter any C2 node near real time with the right authorities,” he said, adding this is still all very notional. “I think the ability to set your computing environment on echelon and with common standards is going to allow that to flow.”
PEO C3T has shared some of its technical information such as application processing interfaces and software development kits with key stakeholders, Gallagher said.
“There’s some areas where the Army has been leaning forward very heavily and others where the Air Force, I think, is establishing very clean, clear framework for the way they envision data flowing,” Bassett said. “We’re in the process of iterating on that”
Ultimately, this comes down to being a better and more integrated joint force fighting toward a common goal.
“We’ve got to get past buzzwords and bumper stickers and get down to the brass tacks of what are the technical specifications and how are we going to interface as a joint force,” Gallagher said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
23 Jan 20. DOD Agency Offers ‘milDrive’ Desktop-Integrated Cloud Computing. The Defense Information Systems Agency has been offering “milDrive,” a cloud-based storage solution for desktop users, for nearly a year.
The cloud service already has about 18,000 users across 20 organizations, the program manager said.
“There’s quite a large user base in the queue right now that’s interested, and we are currently piloting with and developing a migration strategy for them,” said Carissa Landymore. “The need is definitely there.”
The milDrive service is available for users on DODIN, the unclassified Defense Department information network.
Users often store files on network drives so they can be shared with others within their organizations. The milDrive service gives users that ability, and it also allows them to access files from any common access card-enabled computer on the network and from their government cell phones and tablets. Typically, network shared drives only allow users to access files when they are on their home network.
Unlike other cloud-service solutions in use by some DOD agencies, milDrive allows users to store files that contain personally identifiable information, personal health information and “for official use only” information because the storage for milDrive is maintained by DISA, rather than by a commercial provider, Landymore said.
“From a security perspective, all the data is always encrypted, in transit and at rest,” she said. “So, it’s always providing that extra blanket of security.”
Also, unlike with typical network shares, milDrive users can grant access to their files to any milDrive user in the Defense Department, Landymore said. Users can even share files with other DOD personnel who don’t have milDrive access through a web-based interface. And unlike some web-based cloud service solutions, milDrive is thoroughly integrated into the desktop environment, which means users can create, read and manipulate files stored in the cloud using the software already installed on their desktop computers.
“It’s completely integrated and transparent on your desktop,” she said. “It’s the same traditional look and feel as Windows File Explorer and used like any other location to open or save files.
Landymore said DISA offers 1 terabyte or 20 gigabyte licenses for individual users. Both licenses cost less than $10 a month. Organizations can also order “team drives” starting at 1 TB. As with traditional network shares; milDrive “Team Folders” allow organizations the ability to collaborate traditionally with the added benefits of online and offline access, mobility and portability of group data they do not have today.
Guidance from the DOD chief information officer and DISA direction is going in the direction of the cloud, Landymore said. “MilDrive is going to help the department get there faster,” she said. “It’s going to help folks immediately migrate off their end-of-service-life equipment right onto another service that DISA is already invested into. We’ve made that investment to really help the department long-term, getting to a cloud solution and realizing our cost savings with economies of scale.”
Jeremiah Collins, the information technology services deputy director at Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas, said milDrive has provided the command with cost savings over traditional storage solutions and a reduction in workload for a limited information technology staff.
Army Futures Command stood up in July 2018, and Collins said the command has used milDrive as its storage solution from the start.
“When we were standing up the command, we really needed a storage solution that would support a mobile workforce beyond just the installation boundaries,” Collins said. “So, where teams are collaborating, no matter where they are located, they can reach back to those documents. Traditional network storage doesn’t allow for that. But with milDrive, anybody that has a CAC can access it from any web browser. That was monumental in our decision to choose milDrive.”
Additionally, Collins said, the low cost of storage was a deciding factor in the command’s decision to go with milDrive.
“The DISA milDrive was about a third of the cost of traditional storage,” Collins said. “It wasn’t even close.”
The cost of milDrive isn’t the only way the command saves money, he said. There’s also a reduction in workload by information technology support staff — something Collins said is important in Army Futures Command, where they have both limited space and a limited staff.
“For us, we don’t have the luxury of a lot of resources in our IT shop,” he said. “We have to be very diligent in what we assign for tasks. With milDrive, it’s simply provisioning a user to a milDrive account, which is exponentially easier for the staff here to execute based on our current resourcing thresholds.”
To achieve a seamless, transparent use of milDrive, software does have to be installed on a user’s computer. Until that software is installed, users can access files via a web-based application. Collins said initial use of milDrive at Army Futures Command was complicated by that requirement, but those challenges disappeared after the software was approved for use on their network.
“Quite frankly, ever since the application was installed, we’ve received zero complaints,” Collins said.
Landymore said organizations that want to make use of milDrive can check out the services catalogue on the DISA website. In addition, she said, DISA can help organizational IT staffs migrate data on existing storage services to milDrive. (Source: US DoD)
23 Jan 20. Colonel Marc Espitalier, Coordinating Officer, Army Staff Capability, Artificial Intelligence – Robotic & Autonomous Systems, French Army, gave an interesting talk on, FRENCH CONSIDERATIONS FOR LEVERAGING AI & AUTONOMOUS CAPABILITY at IAV. He said the French Army was progressing with the integration of AI in three stages. Stage one was the integration into the Scorpion vehicle, Stage 2 was developing teaming solutions between maned and unmanned vehicles whilst Stage 3 would see the development of teamed systems. The process is expected to take 10 years and designed to ensure that robots work with soldiers not replace them. He ended with the statement “Who is going to live?2 Who is going to die,” as a pointer to the need for the human interface.
23 Jan 20. US Army’s new Cloud office set to become operational. The new Enterprise Cloud Management Office (ECMO) created by the US Army is set to become fully operational by March.
The move comes as the army aims to modernise and safeguard its networks against great-power competitors.
US Army CIO/G-6 lieutenant general Bruce Crawford said that the ECMO was initially established in November last year and is currently focused on talent recruitment.
The new office will serve as a cohesive, dedicated Cloud migration resource for US Army data and application owners and will help manage Cloud hosting environments.
Crawford said: “The ECMO is designed to better army commands through a centralised office, and improve the ability to facilitate Cloud projects and oversee migration to the cloud network.”
“The Cloud and data migration is a monumental task. We can’t do it without harvesting our data, divesting any of the legacy applications, and moving the data that’s most important into a Cloud.”
Once the Cloud office becomes completely operational, it will deliver the army’s enterprise Cloud and facilitate the operationalisation of data.
When the new office was announced, Paul Puckett III was recruited as ECMO’s first director.
Puckett will convert information into a global strategic asset of the US Army by leading the unified vision and delivery of cloud services and resources.
The new office will use Puckett’s experience in IT and cybersecurity contract, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning capability development.
By fiscal year 2023, the army expects to make nearly $1bn of investment to improve its Cloud efforts.
Last November, the army awarded the Human Resources Command Cloud Computing Environment (HRC2E) contract to Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) to move its enterprise applications to a Cloud computing environment. (Source: army-technology.com)
23 Jan 20. Thales unveils Cybels Analytics, its new AI-based platform to detect the most complex cyberattacks.
- Thales’s new Cybels Analytics platform combines several approaches to attack detection and forensics in a single tool for real-time detection and hunting of the most complex cyberattacks, including previously unknown threats, thanks to artificial intelligence algorithms applying the principles of Thales True AI.
- Cybels Analytics detects advanced persistent threats considerably faster, reducing detection time from an average of three months to just a few days. The solution also provides a sharper, more exhaustive attack detection, increasing the number of indicators of detection by a factor of three.
At the 2020 edition of the International Cybersecurity Forum (FIC), Thales is unveiling Cybels Analytics, an innovative cybersecurity platform relying on advanced artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics technologies. The platform provides faster, sharper, more exhaustive detection of the most complex attacks in real time or proactively in differed time (hunting). It meets the needs of the most demanding customers, operating as a single, simple platform that even allows individual users to adapt the AI algorithms to the specific operational context of each sector.
The cyberattack techniques that have emerged in recent years are increasingly complex and hard to detect. Despite growing awareness on the part of organisations, and frequent deployments of rules-based detection systems designed around well-known attack patterns, cybersecurity analysts also need to detect previously unknown threats, detect attacks more quickly and save time in conducting investigation analysis once a system has been compromised.
Thales has developed Cybels Analytics, a comprehensive and advanced attack detection solution, to meet these needs. The innovative platform combines real-time threat detection based on analysis of existing threats (Cyber Threat Intelligence) and proactive search for advanced and unprecedented cyberattacks (“cold” investigation or Hunting), thanks to artificial intelligence and graphic visualization modules. These capabilities significantly reduce the time taken to detect advanced persistent threats from three months in average to just a few days, according to test results.
Cybels Analytics uses machine learning algorithms developed by Thales to detect abnormal situations based on huge volumes of heterogeneous data from multiple sources (network data, end point analysis, OT logging, etc.), helping to identify attack patterns and discover previously unknown threats. These algorithms, based on the principles of Thales TrUE AI, can be tailored to the specific needs of each business sector of activity by customers themselves via an easy-to-use graphical interface.
Cybels Analytics can be integrated with an on-premise Security Operations Centre (SOC) or provided as a service in the cloud, enabling all the user’s detection systems (SIEM, EDR, NIDS, etc.) to work together and complement one another. The platform is an important addition to Thales’s cybersecurity offering, rounding out the range of managed services provided through its SOC network and supporting the Cybels Sensor trusted probe, which is accredited by France’s National Agency for Information System Security (ANSSI). Cybels Analytics is also connected to the Thales Cyber Threat Intelligence service. By cross-referencing information about existing cyberthreats with an organisation’s system logs, Cybels Analytics ensures more acute, more exhaustive detection of untargeted attacks, revealing three times more indicators of compromise detection than conventional attack detection products.
With the entire threat detection ecosystem integrated on the same platform, Cybels Analytics improves the customer’s detection capabilities while simplifying the process for users. In addition, to tailor the platform to the specific environment of each sector of activity, powerful data visualisation modules enable users to run their own searches easily, identify any anomalies at a glance and save precious time at the investigation analysis stage. While it often takes weeks to build a complete picture of an organisation’s information system using standard investigation products, Cybels Analytics shortens this process to just a few hours.
Thales’s Cybels Analytics platform is a powerful log analytics solution that automatically learns from experience, allowing enterprise and government customers to detect more anomalies faster and better, and continuously improving the operational efficiency of their efforts to detect new threats and tailor their cyber defences to their specific operating environments.
“We developed Cybels Analytics to help cybersecurity analysts overcome the challenges they face on a daily basis: growing data volumes, long detection times and investigation procedures, and the difficult task of qualifying previously unknown situations. Cybels Analytics is a trusted solution that delivers more efficient results, more simply and in a significantly shorter timeframe so that users can focus on value-added tasks in an area where talent is scarce and needs are constantly rising.”
– Laurent Maury, Vice President, Cybersecurity and Critical Information Systems, Thales
1 Trustable, Understandable and Ethical: the Thales TrUE AI approach is based on transparent AI, where users can see the data used to reach a conclusion; understandable AI that can explain and justify the results; and ethical AI that follows objective protocols and laws, and protects human rights.
22 Jan 20. Viasat wins Air Force contract worth up to $90m for new radios. The U.S. Air Force has awarded Viasat a contract worth as much as $90m to provide special warfare airmen new handheld radios, according to a Jan. 21 press release from the company.
Under an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, which runs through 2023, Viasat will provide its Battlefield Awareness Targeting System-Dismounted (BATS-D) handheld Link 16 radios, which give warfighters access to real-time, secure and reliable communication for enhanced close air support communications. Viasat will also provide operator training and maintenance. The contract came from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
“We continue to see strong demand for [the radios’] use across multiple military branches, and among coalition partners as it has the proven ability to significantly enhance situational awareness, improve mission coordination and accelerate decision timelines in a multi-domain battlespace,” said Ken Peterman, president of government systems at Viasat.
Link 16 is a tactical data exchange network that provides a picture of where friendly and enemy forces are located, allowing the military to share a common understanding of the battlefield. Military leaders rely on Link 16 as a critical tool in identifying friend from foe in the heat of a battle.
The radio features direct voice communications with other Link 16 users, which “dramatically shortens the kill chain and decreases the risk of fratricide,” according to Viasat.
In 2019, Viasat announced it had shipped its 1,000th BATS-D radio. To date, Over 2,000 BATS-D radios have been shipped to U.S. warfighters worldwide, according to the release.
In 2018, the National Security Agency authorized Viasat to immediately open the use of the radios to members of Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The training and maintenance will take place in Carlsbad, California through December 31, 2023, according to the Department of Defense. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
22 Jan 20. What a deployment to the Middle East means for testing a new Army network. After a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Pentagon leaders sent a brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division to Kuwait. But that brigade had been slated to serve as the test unit for the first part of the Army’s new Integrated Tactical Network, known as capability set 2021, and which is made up of a mix of existing programs of record and commercial off-the-shelf capabilities and is expected to improve communications and situational awareness from command post to the tactical edge.
Now, Army officials said Jan. 21 they plan on using a series of events to validate the first full delivery of its modernized tactical network to four brigades in 2021 rather than a single test event.
“We’re looking at some alternative events, potentially some forward operational assessments” in place of the planned operational test for the kit, Maj. Gen. Dave Bassett, program executive officer of command, control, communications-tactical, told C4ISRNET. “We now have a slightly longer timeline to get after that to give us, we think, the same kind of information, which allows us to make the design decisions we need to make as well as the procurement decisions that follow.”
The strategy – which is also being worked through with the Pentagon – will include using a series of targeted individual events to get specific data points for specific parts of the equipment. This could be an operational deployment for soldier feedback on how the system performs during operations – which won’t be instrumented – or leveraging events within the United States at proving grounds that will be instrumented.
Officials also explained that a lot of the instrumentation has already been conducted in a lab environment.
“Despite the fact that we think some subset of that equipment could be going with the operational unit, we can gather the information we need in other ways and keep that process moving forward,” Bassett said. “I think there’s a misconception; the only way that we can learn this is in one big operational assessment. What we said to the team was ‘we’re not doing that anymore.”
Bassett explained that the priority is giving the deployed – or potentially deploying unit – the equipment it needs to conduct its mission. And Bassett, along with the operational commanders, have asserted that this kit, despite not having passed an official assessment, is better than the legacy equipment.
On the back end, the issue for the PEO is figuring out the best way to continue to answer the necessary questions to make the program decisions backed up by the relevant data.
“We’re saying maybe we can do it in a smaller set of disparate events that nevertheless answer the same questions,” Bassett said. “There’s this perception that if you haven’t done it exactly that way, there’s zero value. Maybe we get 90 percent of the value of this through this alternative set of events and there maybe some things where we actually add a little more data because we weren’t constrained by the timeline leading up to that one event.”
Bassett also pointed out that most, if not all, of the equipment associated with the ITN has been in the hands of soldiers previously.
“All the piece parts of ITN, whether it’s with [Special Operations Command] or other soldier touchpoints, none of this stuff is new, he said, adding, “This is kind of the final refinement of that.” (Source: Defense News)
22 Jan 20. Pentagon will start figuring out AI for lethality in 2020. The Pentagon is eager to plug artificial intelligence into lethality. How the benefits of modern information processing, so far mostly realized in the commercial sector, will be applied to the use of weapons in war remains unclear, but it is a problem the military is interested in solving.
“We are ready to start our first lethality project next year in the joint war fighter targeting space,” said Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said in December in an exclusive interview with sister brand Defense News.
This vision will be carried out by the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, the military’s AI coordinating and developing organ. As for the specifics of how, exactly, it will bring the benefits of algorithmic processing to the fight, JAIC is still too early in the process to have much concrete information on offer.
The project will be part of a mission initiative under JAIC called Joint Warfighting.
While joint war fighting could in theory encompass every part of combat that involves more than one branch of the military, JAIC spokesperson Arlo Abrahamson clarified that the initiative encompasses, somewhat more narrowly, “Joint All-Domain Command and Control; autonomous ground reconnaissance and surveillance; accelerated sensor-to-shooter timelines; operations center workflows; and deliberate and dynamic targeting solutions.”
In other words, when the JAIC pairs AI with tools that aid in the use of force, it will come through either a communication tool, scout robots, battlefield targeting tools, workforce management software, or other targeting tools.
“The JAIC is participating in dialogue with a variety of commercial tech firms through industry days and other industry engagement activities to help accelerate the Joint Warfighting initiative,” said Abrahamson. “Contracting information for this mission initiative is under development.”
And while the JAIC is still figuring out if the first lethality project will be a robot, a sensor system, or logistics software, it is still explicitly interested in making sure that whatever the use of AI, it ultimately serves the interests of the humans relying on it in a fight.
As plainly as the JAIC can put it, the initiative is looking for “AI solutions that help manage information so humans can make decisions safely and quickly in battle,” said Abrahmson.
Humans, then, will still be the author of any lethal action. Those humans will just have some AI help. (Source: Defense News)
22 Jan 20. The USAF tested its Advanced Battle Management System. Here’s what worked, and what didn’t. The first field test of the U.S. Air Force’s experimental Advanced Battle Management System in December was a success, with about 26 out of 28 capabilities showing some semblance of functionality during a recent exercise, the service’s acquisition chief said Tuesday.
But the service will seek to be more ambitious during a second demonstration in April, which will focus on space and bring in elements from U.S. Space Command and U.S. Strategic Command, said Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics.
“I am thrilled to say that 26 out of 28 things work. That is too high of a success rate at this point in time, but I’ll take it. We should be taking more risk than that,” he told reporters during a roundtable.
The three-day test took place at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and involved a potential cruise missile attack on the United States simulated by QF-16 drones. Through the exercise, Air Force F-22 jets, Air Force and Navy F-35 fighters, the Navy destroyer Thomas Hudner, an Army unit equipped with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, as well as special operators shared data in real time in ways the services cannot currently do in an operational environment.
What will ABMS eventually look like? That’s still a mystery, even to the Air Force, which wants to test different solutions for connecting platforms, crunching data and sending it to other assets with the goal of eventually fielding what works and abandoning what doesn’t.
“We gave the team the goals of: Pull what you can together in three and a half months to see how far we can stretch, how quickly we could achieve something,” said Air Force chief architect Preston Dunlap, who manages the ABMS effort. “We were quite happy actually, even with 10 percent solutions.”
Here’s a rundown of some notable successes so far, as well as major failures:
The F-35 and F-22 were able to stealthily exchange data. Despite the two jets having advanced “sensor fusion” capabilities, the Air Force’s two most advanced fighters can’t really talk to each other. The F-35 uses the Multifunction Advanced Data Link, or MADL, to securely share sensitive information with other F-35s, while the F-22 has its own data link, the Intra-Flight Data Link, or IFDL.
Even using a non-stealthy connection to share information has its limitations: While the F-35 can both transmit and receive data via the Link 16, which meets NATO standards, the F-22 currently can only receive data.
However, the first ABMS test showed hopeful signs for fifth-generation fighter communication. The demonstration involved radio systems — built by F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin as well as Northrop Grumman, which manufactures key structures and mission systems for the aircraft, including MADL, Dunlap said. The demo also included Honeywell-made antennas built to speak across both MADL and IFDL, he added.
Those systems were integrated onto a ground based rig that “look[ed] like a big piece of hardware with radios on it,” according to Roper.
Then, the F-35 and F-22 flew over the system, exchanging data by bouncing it back-and-forth from the ground-based radios, Dunlap said.
He noted that the test verified that existing technology can be used to overcome three obstacles: translating the F-35’s MADL to the F-22’s IFDL; moving data across the different frequencies; and securing the communication.
“It was really herculean,” Dunlap said. “[The contractors] were excited by the speed of the acquisition team to get the ball going.”
During the next ABMS demo in April, the Air Force plans to stretch the capability by putting the translation system inside the unmanned Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie for flight-based testing.
“I also challenged the team to expand the amount of information translated between the different platforms so they can take advantage of new information on the displays,” Dunlap said.
An AC-130 gunship connected with SpaceX’s Starlink constellation. Although Dunlap did not provide much detail on this element of the exercise, he confirmed that the AC-130 was able to pass data through the constellation of small, high-bandwidth commercial internet satellites.
The Air Force has shown interest in connecting its platforms to commercial broadband satellites through its Global Lightning experiment. A demonstration with Starlink and the KC-135 tanker aircraft is in the works, and the service also plans to evaluate equipment from Iridium, OneWeb and L3Harris.
The Air Force created a cloud-based application for command and control. Typically, the service performs command and control from air operations centers — physical buildings where analysts sit in front of computers with specialized software that provides data from multiple assets, Dunlap said. Changes to software don’t necessarily happen automatically, and they may require assistance from information technology experts.
In the ABMS exercise, the Air Force demonstrated a cloud-based battle management and situational awareness application for the first time. It used a “CloudOne” system to host data up to the secret level, which will be a formative system underlying ABMS, Dunlap said.
Both Amazon and Microsoft are involved in standing up the CloudOne technology, but Roper said the Air Force could use the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract vehicle for CloudOne if JEDI winner Microsoft provides better rates.
The robot dogs were a swing and a miss. U.S. Special Operations Command brought the robots that are capable of augmenting surveillance operations to the ABMS field test, but operators couldn’t figure out how to connect them with the other platforms involved in the exercise.
“We had some robot dogs — apparently those exist — that can go and do patrol. We were never able to patch their feeds in,” Roper said.
There’s hope for cybernetic canines becoming part of ABMS in the future though. Roper added that the ABMS team would be welcome to try to integrate the robots in future exercises. (Source: Defense News)
22 Jan 20. Manpack SIGINT systems capable of collecting communications intelligence are increasingly sought after by dismounted troops. Such equipment is highly versatile. It can be used when troops are dismounted and on the move. Manpack SIGINT equipment can be used in a vehicle, using the latter’s power supplies and organic antennas to serve as a mobile Communications Intelligence (COMINT) gathering system. They can even be left unattended at a particular location to clandestinely collect signals of interest.
In the dismounted configuration SIGINT manpacks can be used in the vanguard of the manoeuvre force to gather detailed COMINT on hostile communications traffic at the forward edge of the battle area: It may be impractical or too dangerous for vehicles to operate in such locations. In the special forces domain, this apparatus can provide local COMINT during counter-insurgency missions, or during operations targeting high value individuals.
Jim Kilgallen, the president and chief executive officer of COMINT Consulting states that manpack SIGINT systems should ideally cover a waveband of three megahertz/MHz to three gigahertz. This is essential for collecting COMINT regarding High Frequency (HF: three megahertz to 30MHz), Very High Frequency (VHF: 30MHz to 300MHz) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF: 300MHz to three gigahertz/GHz) transmissions.
SIGINT manpacks should be capable of accurate direction-finding and/or the ability to network several systems together to ascertain emitter locations. Other technical requirements stressed by Mr. Kilgallen include at a minimum a 16-bit Analogue-to-Digital (ADC) converter embedded in the Software Defined Radios (SDR) integral to COMINT collection systems to provide as accurate information on the incoming signal as possible.
“An SDR whose ADC is less than 16-bits simply lacks the bit depth necessary to process complex, modern waveforms … None of these essential target signals can be collected with adequate enough fidelity to have a reasonable expectation of full demodulation and decoding and thus, maximum content extraction for subsequent decision-making.” Kevin Davis, vice president of product and channel at TCI International, adds that other manpack SIGINT system requirements include low Size, Weight and Power (SWAP) penalties, a rugged construction and ease of use.
COMINT Consulting’s Krypto500 and Krypto1000 software suites are used extensively in SIGINT manpacks in service with US and allied nations. Mr. Kilgallen says that the company worked hard to ensure that this software provides “extremely deep, matched, adaptive and heuristic filters capable of identifying even a single incorrect bit due to atmospherics or the vagaries of propagation,” adding that “A system using our software should be able to inform decision-makers of a target radio’s make and model, give a precision classification of the actual modem make and model as well as decode target communications and derive a network diagram, all in real-time or very near real-time … This gives a SIGINT or EW officer a complete, detailed picture with which to take action.”
TCI International, meanwhile, will be launching new products towards the end of 2020: “We will be rolling out a new hardware platform in late-2020 that provides higher performance and lower SWAP to support fixed, mobile, transportable and manpack solutions.” Beyond this, the firm sees manpack SIGINT technology evolving particularly with regards to the deepening connectivity of such systems with “other elements in the electronic warfare kill chain.”
In addition, there will be an imperative to ensure that emerging SIGINT products are “5G ready,” Mr. Davis explains, referring to the fifth generation wireless and cellular communications protocols which will proliferate during this decade. 5G will use frequencies of 450MHz to six gigahertz, and could eventually expand into and beyond the 24.25GHz to 52.6GHz waveband in the near future.
Mr. Davis adds that the imperative to reduce SWAP will continue possibly towards soldier-wearable devices which can be used to collect SIGINT. From the software perspective, COMINT Consulting expects to add more artificial intelligence capabilities to its products in the future “to provide even more autonomous assistance to an often busy or overloaded tactical operator,” Mr. Kilgallen notes. This will be alongside “more precision classifiers and decoders … The company will also continue to release more of its unique-in-the-market precision classifiers for even more modulation types.” (Source: Armada)
22 Jan 20. Hitting Where it Hurts. Eurofighter has proposed a variant of its Typhoon combat aircraft as a potential replacement for the Luftwaffe’s Tornado-ECR. This aircraft could potentially carry the AEA pod. Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) forms a cornerstone of the European Union’s Common Defence and Security Policy (CSDP). PESCO projects serve to deepen cooperation and resource-sharing on military equipment research and development; acquisition and employment. The latter concerns those programmes under the auspices of the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Union’s (EU) organisation tasked with improving Europe’s defence capabilities.
The Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) pod was launched in April 2019 with the intention of developing a “pod to be used by EU air platforms in contested electromagnetic environments,” according to the original funding and tender opportunity published by the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch.
The document continued that the AEA “must find, locate and track electromagnetic threats and deliver high power jamming signals in the full radio frequency spectrum used in military operations.”
The publication added that the proliferation of sophisticated ground-based air defences such as Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems with engagement ranges in excess of 216 nautical miles/nm (400 kilometres/km) posed dangers by creating areas where “air power cannot operate or be projected,” with the risk that such weapons could deny “access to large swathes of territory over an EU nation’s airspace.”
This appears to be a thinly-veiled reference to Russia’s Almaz-Antey S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler) SAM system. One month before the solicitation was published, it was reported that Russia had deployed an S-400 battery to protect its Kaliningrad enclave in the Baltic region.
The AEA will use electronic attack to protect formations of aircraft against such threats by jamming the latter’s radars. It appears that the initiative is also aimed at easing the dependence of EU nations on the US air defence suppression assets the US Air Force has deployed in Europe, should EU members be involved in future multilateral operations sans the United States.
These capabilities include around 24 General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16CJ Viper Weasel air defence suppression aircraft deployed with the 480th Fighter Squadron, part of the 52nd Fighter Wing, at Spangdahlem airbase, western Germany. These aircraft are equipped with Raytheon’s AN/ASQ-213(V) HTS (HARM Targeting System) to detect and geo-locate hostile emitters, and the Raytheon AGM-88B/C High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) family of air-to-surface weapons to prosecute such targets.
CONOPs and Performance
Once in service, the AEA pod could complement the kinetic SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defence) capabilities in service with the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), and the Aeronautica Militaire (Italian Air Force). These include 21 Panavia Tornado-ECR jets flown by the Luftwaffe and five similar aircraft flown by the Aeronautica Militaire.
These aircraft can also deploy the AGM-88B/C, and are transitioning to the more advanced Northrop Grumman AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile. In place of the AN/ASQ-213(V) the Tornado-ECR uses Raytheon’s Emitter Locator System which is similar in performance to the HTS.
Over the long term, the Luftwaffe is considering a replacement for the Tornado-ECR with the jet expected to be retired by circa 2030.
In November Airbus offered a variant of its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft series configured to support the SEAD mission. Reports stated that this variant of the aircraft could be equipped with an escort jammer, for which the AEA could be a prime candidate, along with MBDA’s Spear-EW stand-in jammer. This would allow the aircraft to provide an electronic attack escort for strike packages of aircraft ingressing and egressing towards their targets, and a fire-and-forget jammer which could provide additional electronic protection to aircraft loitering in contested airspace.
Sources close to the initiative have also told Armada Analysis that a variant of MBDA’s Meteor radar-guided beyond-line-of-sight air-to-air missile, configured with a radio frequency seeker to detect and home in on hostile radar transmissions could equip the aircraft. This would be dependent on the development of this missile being financed by Germany or several European nations through the EDA.
No details have been publicly released regarding the technical aspects of the AEA. It is reasonable to assume that it would be capable of detecting, prioritising and jamming early warning, ground-based air surveillance and fire control radars transmitting in a waveband of two gigahertz/GHz to 40GHz.
The inclusion of a digital radio frequency memory could allow the pod to transmit discreet jamming waveforms and use sophisticated electronic attack tactics such as range and velocity gate pull-off and angle deception, to name just three. This will no doubt be in addition to conventional spot and barrage jamming techniques.
An open architecture design will enable the pod to be easily upgraded with software improvements such as new jamming waveforms as and when necessary, while an active electronically scanned array is certain to be used to ensure that multiple threats can be jammed simultaneously.
Furthermore, electronic intelligence collection by the pod will allow the later analysis of new signals of interest encountered during a mission. It is reasonable to speculate that cyber attack functions maybe added to the pod to allow it to transmit malicious code into a radar and potentially elsewhere into a hostile IADS via the radar’s antenna: Cyber attack is fast becoming another arrow in the electronic warfare practitioner’s quiver.
All things considered the AEA looks like an important shot-in-the-arm for European SEAD capabilities at a moment when some of those capabilities are reaching the end of their service lives, and when the long term strategic US commitment to the continent is under debate. (Source: Armada)
21 Jan 20. What new documents reveal about Cyber Command’s biggest operation. New documents provide insight into the growing pains U.S. Cyber Command faced in building a force while simultaneously conducting operations. The documents, which were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request from the National Security Archive at George Washington University and later shared with journalists, are a series of internal briefings and lessons from the Defense Department’s most complex cyber operation at the time, Operation Glowing Symphony.
That operation was part of the larger counter-ISIS operations — Joint Task Force-Ares — but specifically targeted ISIS’s media and online operations, taking out infrastructure and preventing ISIS members from communicating and posting propaganda.
While Cyber Command described the operation, which took place in November of 2016, as a victory in the sense that it “successfully contested [ISIS] in the information domain,” the documents demonstrate the extent to which the command was still learning how to conduct operations and the exact steps to follow.
“Process maturation is something they pull out a lot. Obviously, as CYBERCOM was standing up, it was pulling together plans for how they were going to operate. They actually hadn’t operated that much,” Michael Martelle, cyber vault fellow at the National Security Archive, told reporters. “A lot of these frameworks were formed in theory. Now they go to try them out in practice.”
Cyber Command leaders have stressed in public remarks for years that the command was building its force while operating. But the extent of those operations has been limited. Officials in recent years have explained that the command didn’t undertake many offensive operations. One official said last year he could count on less than two fingers the number of operations, Cyber Command conducted in the last decade or so. One member of Congress said DoD didn’t conduct an offensive cyber operation in five years.
But when they were in action, in this case with Operation Glowing Symphony, Martelle said the documents show cyber leaders did not anticipate the amount of data they would access.
“They actually weren’t prepared for the amount of data they were pulling off of ISIS servers … CYBERCOM was not set up for an operation of this magnitude from day one,” he said. “They had to learn on the fly, they had to acquire on the fly, they had to grow on the fly.”
The documents note that Cyber Command’s capability development group, is “developing USCYBERCOM data storage solutions.”
The capabilities develop group, now known as the J9, serves as the advanced concepts and technology directorate and worked to plan and synchronizing cyber capability development and developed capabilities to meet urgent operational needs.
Experts had noted that in the past the CDG/J9 had been stressed in recent years by a limited staff and burdened by developing tools for operational needs, namely Joint Task Force-Ares.
Another example of potential growing pains the documents point to was the fact that updates to operations checklists were not made available readily to the team.
Finally, the documents note that authorities and processes the command was operating under that the time were restrictive in some cases.
“Absent of significant policy changes from [the office of the secretary of defense], USCYBERCOM is limited in its ability to challenge ISIS [redacted]. As a result, USCYBERCOM has [redacted] to achieve our objectives,” the executive summary of a 120-day assessment of Operation Glowing Symphony says.
Those authorities and processes have been streamlined by the executive branch and Congress in recent years.
Commanders now follow a process that defaults toward action, Maj. Gen. Dennis Crall, deputy principal cyber adviser and senior military adviser for cyber policy, said during an event Jan. 9. He explained the updated process provides continuity, tempo, pace and timing.
Ultimately, Martelle noted that the real importance behind Operation Glowing Symphony is that Cyber Command used the experience from those events and Joint Task Force-Ares more broadly as a template for future operations.
Cyber Command’s top official, Gen. Paul Nakasone, who was also led Joint Task Force-Ares, has noted that the task force laid the foundation for the Russia Small Group, which was created to combat election interference in the 2018 midterms.
“This concept of a task force lives on. A lot of that thinking came from what we were doing in 2016,” he told NPR.
That task force has now evolved to be more all encompassing covering election threats more broadly. (Source: Fifth Domain)
21 Jan 20. IAV OPENING KEYNOTE ADDRESS: NATO ALLIED LAND COMMAND., Lieutenant General Richard Cripwell CB CBE, Deputy Commander, NATO Allied Land Command. Artificial Intelligence (AI) central to the development of NATO as a fighting force. LG Richard Cripwell, CBE, Deputy Commander NATO Allied Land Command gave his vison of the future fighting ability of NATO, making AI a key enabler to future force projection. LG Cripwell stressed the need for NATO and other forces to work closely with industry and academia to develop advanced military AI systems which would reduce the command chain and improve efficiency. Better AI would improve targeting systems, improve rapid deployments and improve the information chain through the chain of command. The introduction of AI should be introduced on an incremental basis to ensure the safety and security of the system and to ensure target identification at distance. He stressed the need for better techniques to work with SMEs to ensure rapid introduction of new technology. However, he dodged a question form the Editor at the end of the brief who questioned why the Treasury was preventing SMEs form competing for programmes as their balance sheets did not reflect a robust ability to manage programmes over ten year. Quite clearly the proposed reforms suggested by Dominic Cummings may cut the time required to not only introduce mew technology but to manage and develop the systems. One caveat with AI is its inability to spot the terrorist hiding as a civilian; the use of AI may increase fratricide of civilians. One nuance which crept out in his speech was the suggestion that protection could be sacrificed for better mobility which suggest that he recognises that the current trend to upgun and uparmour existing platforms has reached its zenith and is proving counter productive for mobility and the ability of the vehicle to work off road and avoid IED traps. The recent cancellation of the US OMFV reflects this conundrum.
21 Jan 20. MISSION COMMAND ON THE MOVE: ARMOURED PLATFORMS, COMMAND VEHICLES, AND COMMAND POSTS, Al Mosher (Colonel, USA RET), Senior Director Strategic Campaigns and Planning, DRS Land Electronics at IAV. Al Mosher of Leonardo DRS gave an upbeat brief on Leonardo DRS’s capabilities in providing mission command on the move technology to international customers. Having won the multi-billion Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) US FBCB2 replacement contract, DRS is now winning orders overseas including in Indonesia for battle management systems, the UAE where it is equipping the armed forces with a new C3 system, Australia, where MFoCS is installed on the M1A1 tank fleet and the UK where it continues to support the Army under the Bowman and now Morpheus requirement.
One key element of these systems is the
Data Distribution Unit (DDU) which unites a multitude of platforms and capabilities with one smarter, more efficient mission system.
An all-powerful tool for Warfighters, the DDU unites individual C4ISR and EW platforms into one user-friendly workstation, disseminating data across the network in near-real time. Using this workstation, users can monitor, control and interact with the entire system simultaneously.
In addition, the DDU provides its own inherent vast array of capabilities, acting as a tactical router, voice cross banding and call management system, tactical server, network video distribution system, peripheral control/radio management/sensor interfaces and GPS distributor.
All this in one small, efficient, rugged package with a modular design allowing for rapid upgrades rendering the DDU Unit essentially future-proof.
Coupled to its MFoCS capability, DRS is also promoting its Titan Onboard Vehicle Power System which has recently been chosen by the US for the THHAD missile system. TITAN ON-BOARD VEHICLE POWER (OBVP)
Generate usable power through harnessed vehicle energy.
TITAN On-Board Vehicle Power (OBVP) vehicles can support a variety of military missions: Mobile Command Posts (MCP), Tactical Operation Centers (TOC), Combat Operations Center (COC), Company Tactical Command Post (TAC), or may be used to power a variety of emergency facilities such as field hospitals, triage units, fueling stations, or any other component requiring clean, reliable power.
The TITAN OBVP system has been designed, tested, and delivered to address the military’s increasing need for more electrical power to support missions. OBVP also reduces the logistical complexity by significantly reducing or eliminating the need for towed or tunnel generator requirements.
TITAN equipped vehicles greatly improve the operational adaptability of the advancing forces by providing mobile, expeditionary power when speed, range, agility, and flexibility are critical to mission success.
DRS aims to reduce the time required to build and dismantle expeditionary headquarters to ensure rapid deployment of forces. The system has been installed on a purpose built Stryker Command Post vehicle and a NAVISTAR MAXPRO MRAP Command Post.
Mosher told BATTLESPACE that Titan can produce 130kw and supply enough power to run a Divisional command post. Titan can also export power to other locations via the host vehicle. One of the main benefits is that Titan can provide power on the move thus modems, antennae, radios and other equipment do not have to be rebooted when the Command Post is re-established. In addition the Titan equipped vehicle can move away from any impending attack by UAV or artillery whilst tented systems have to been dismantled. In a recent NIE Exercise the Titan was installed on two MAXPRO vehicles and was in constant operation for 45 days with no effect on the wear and tear of the engine. In addition Titan consumes one third of the fuel of a standard generator. When asked why the system was not already in service with the US Army, Al Mosher said that red tape had held up its introduction into service due to the fact that it fell between being a generator and a vehicle!
21 Jan 20. ABMS Demos Speed New Capabilities To Warfighters. ABMS is essentially the first effort by the Defense Department to “build the Internet of Things for the military,” Will Roper, head of Air Force acquisition, says. Keen to build support for its Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) for command and control of future multi-domain operations, the Air Force will let combatant commands “walk away” with and field emerging technologies tested in its quarterly series of exercises, senior officials say.
“The whole plan here is that If something is built and that warfighter says ‘I like that; I’m good with that 10 percent or 20 percent solution,’ we want to be able to let them go home with it,” Preston Dunlap, the Air Force’s Chief Architect, told reporters today in a briefing with Will Roper, the service’s acquisition chief.
Another goal of the ABMS exercises is to demonstrate how existing platforms can be upgraded to allowing them to communicate machine-to-machine with each other, sensors such as satellites and soldiers on the field. The capability to communicate in near-real time is the linchpin in DoD’s evolving concept for MDO.
Indeed, Roper said, one of the key successes of the first “ABMS OnRamp” exercise held Dec. 16-18 was demonstrating a new “gateway” — essentially a radio and antenna system put together by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Honeywell — that allowed Navy and Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to exchange data with F-22 Raptors with a low probability of detection. As Breaking D readers know well, the F-22’s Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL) and the F-35 Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) computer languages currently are incompatible.
Further, the service is pushing its sister services and the combatant commands to offer new technologies they have been working on to the ABMS demonstrations, the two officials explained, so they can field new capabilities as fast as possible. As an incentive, Roper said, the ABMS program will be willing to help fund development of the systems even though they come from the Navy, Marines or Army if they commit to using ABMS products.
ABMS, Roper explained, is essentially the first effort by DoD to “build the Internet of Things for the military.”
The Air Force used the briefing to publicly unveil an organization chart of the ABMS family of systems. ABMS is comprised of six key technology types or “product areas,” and the 28 specific products it intends to develop over time, Dunlap and Brig. Gen. David “Kumo” Kumashiro, the key Air Force military officer involved in ABMS development, told me in an exclusive interview Dec. 13.
Each of those ABMS component parts have been labeled with the moniker ONE: such as “gatewayONE” for the radio-antenna system providing translation services between the F-22 and F-35.
For the December exercise, “gatewayONE” was on the ground but the Air Force intends to install it on a drone during the next exercise, currently planned for the first two weeks of April. Dunlap added that the successful demo has prompted Transportation Command to consider how it might utilize the gateway to link its various tanker aircraft.
Roper said “the best option” for flying the gateway is the service’s Skyborg, being built by Kratos. “That’s the preferred carrier of choice,” he said, but “we won’t wait on Skyborg” if it’s not ready by April. Instead, the service will find another platform to carry it to keep the ABMS schedule on track, which, as Breaking D readers know, are to be held every four months.
Dunlap said that the other “successes” during the exercise were:
- demonstrating that an aircraft, in this case a C-130, could link to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) communications satellites, in the case a SpaceX Starlink;
- demonstrating up to secret level access to a cloud-based C2 and situational awareness application via “cloudONE” (rather than commanders being tied to a specific local computer in a building);
- and, showing that connectivity between operators could be maintained outside of a “brick and mortar” command post by setting up in a tent.
Pressed by reporters, Roper explained that the Air Force eventually hopes to link cloudONE to the planned DoD-wide JEDI cloud — which is embroiled in a highly political spat between President Donald Trump and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“We’re huge fans of the cloud. That’s why we have one,” Roper said. “That’s why we’ve gone ahead and worked ahead of the JEDI contract to make sure that we’re learning how to fight with both Global Cloud and Cloud at the Edge.”
“The two providers that are providing cloudONE are Amazon and Microsoft,” he added. “Microsoft is the selected performer for JEDI, so when they’re up and running, if their contract vehicle provides better rates or advantages on, we will, of course, use it.”
While today was the first time the media has seen the Air Force’s ABMS “Quick Reference Guide,” senior service officials used it to brief senior Army and Navy leaders at its annual command and control summit last week as part of its campaign to sell its sister services on the value of ABMS. Roper said he also recently briefed Capitol Hill on the ABMS concept as the Air Force pushes to convince skeptical lawmakers to pump up the budget. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
21 Jan 20. MIDS on Ship programme poised for full-rate production. MIDS on Ship (MOS) programme, a BAE System platform designed to enable US Navy warships to employ Link 16 tactical datalink communications across domains through Data Link Solutions’ Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS JTRS), is poised to begin full-rate distribution once programme officials complete sea state trials.
The company has sent several of the MIDS JTRS-based Link 16 datalink platforms to the navy for the testing, which is slated to begin in the coming weeks, BAE Systems’ director of Business Development Electronic Systems John Byrnes said on 14 January. The trials are the final step in the sea service’s evaluation of MOS, which is a joint venture between BAE Systems, Rockwell Collins, and Data Link Solutions. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Jan 20. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today it was recently awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract worth a maximum ceiling of $90m, to provide special warfare operators of the United States Air Force (USAF) with Viasat’s Battlefield Awareness Targeting System—Dismounted (BATS-D) handheld Link 16 radios (also known in the U.S. Department of Defense nomenclature as the AN/PRC-161 radio). In addition to equipment, the IDIQ award covers associated operator training and maintenance.
BATS-D is the world’s first and only handheld Link 16 radio. It bridges a critical gap between air and ground forces by providing warfighters at the tactical edge with real-time, secure, reliable access to integrated air and ground information for improved situational awareness and enhanced close air support communications.
“This IDIQ award demonstrates the value of the AN/PRC-161 handheld Link 16 radio for the unique mission requirements of today’s USAF operators,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “Today, nearly 2,500 AN/PRC-161 BATS-D radios have been shipped to U.S. warfighters worldwide, and we continue to see strong demand for its use across multiple military branches, and among coalition partners as it has the proven ability to significantly enhance situational awareness, improve mission coordination and accelerate decision timelines in a multi-domain battlespace.”
The IDIQ contract was awarded by the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
20 Jan 20. Crystal Group, Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of rugged computer and electronic hardware, announced today that their PASS™ SAS solid state drives (SSD) are the first ruggedized and accredited data-encrypted drives for secure data storage at the tactical edge.
Through a partnership with Seagate Government Solutions (SGS), Crystal Group is the sole provider of this leading-edge data-at-rest solution that meets strict U.S. government computer security standards, including FIPS 140-2 and NIAP accreditation. The unique combination of SGS’s commercial, high-capacity 2.5” SAS SSDs and Crystal Group’s proprietary ruggedization processes, ensures critical data protection for our military in the most extreme and unpredictable conditions.
“Our partnership provides a data storage solution that not only meets military environmental standards, but is also certified as cybersecure,” said Todd Prouty, business development manager for military programs at Crystal Group. “This SAS SSD meets the Department of Defense (DoD) cyber requirements as well as the warfighters’ immediate need for secure, actionable data in any domain.”
“Crystal Group’s reputation for designing and delivering high-performing rugged computer hardware that can withstand the extreme demands of military operations made them a clear choice to ruggedize and sell this segment of our accredited drives,” said Henry Newman, chief technology officer for Seagate Government Solutions. “Our complementary expertise enables a solution that supports our military’s current and long-term needs for exceptional data security.”
As the U.S. DoD moves closer to a dual-encryption standard for their data strategy requirements, these drives deliver the first layer of accredited, hardware-based data encryption. In turn, it will be easier for the DoD to integrate the next layer of cryptographic key management encryption for CSfC requirements.
Ruggedized to protect from the elements and adversarial tampering, these trailblazing drives provide both internal and external data path protection, ensuring data is only accessible by authorized users.
17 Jan 20. Estonia, US launch effort to ease sharing of cyberthreat intel. Estonian and U.S. specialists are setting up a new project aimed at easing the transfer of cyberthreat information between the two nations. The five-year effort will attempt to find ways around a conundrum that often prevents even close allies from telling each other about threats in the virtual domain: Doing so exposes one’s own vulnerabilities.
“No nation wants to do this,” said Kusti Salm, the director general of the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment. And while cybersecurity technology as a whole continues to evolve quickly, enabling intelligence sharing without simultaneously creating security risks is relatively unstudied, he said.
“There hasn’t been too much progress in this field. It’s pretty ambitious stuff,” Salm told Defense News.
The Estonian Centre for Defence Investment oversees acquisitions and research for the small Baltic country’s military. Salm said his organization controls about 60 percent of Estonia’s annual defense budget, which currently sits around $660m.
Despite its small size, Estonia has been on the forefront of cyber defense after a massive 2007 cyberattack that analysts believe originated in neighboring Russia. The Kremlin has denied any involvement, but Western officials were spooked enough by the events that NATO created its Cyber Defence Center of Excellence in Estonia’s capital Tallinn.
The new collaboration with the United States aims to build automation into the intelligence sharing process, meaning a lot of data gleaned from sensors could be exchanged continuously, according to Salm.
“The cyberthreat is ever-growing, and it doesn’t accept any national borders,” he said.
Initial insights from the effort are expected within three years. Estonian officials have said that other countries could join the project at some point, including nations from the European Union.
Estonian company Cybernetica, a key player in hardening the country’s public sector infrastructure against hacking, is the main contractor for the project. “This is the first-ever joint capability developed in the cyber domain between the two countries,” CEO Oliver Väärtnõu was quoted as saying in a statement.
Officials are more tight-lipped about what role the United States will play.
“I can confirm there is a cooperation agreement, joint financing model and workshare allocation packages between the U.S. and Estonia,” Salm said. (Source: Defense News)
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