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12 Mar 20. The US Army roughs out its $1bn cyber training contract. The US Army released its draft proposal March 10 for a contract that could worth as much as $1bn to provide cyber training for the Department of Defense.
The Cyber Training, Readiness, Integration, Delivery and Enterprise Technology (TRIDENT) is a contract vehicle to offer a more streamlined approach for procuring the military’s cyber training capabilities.
The largest part of that contact will be the Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE). PCTE is an online client in which members of U.S. Cyber Command’s cyber mission force can log on from anywhere in the world for training and to rehearse missions. Cyber Command leaders have said the component is one of the organization’s most critical needs. Currently, no integrated or robust cyber training environment exists.
The procurement is being organized by the Army on behalf of the Defense Department.
According to slides from a December industry day, a final solicitation is slated for the end of second quarter 2020 with an award expected at the beginning of 2021.
“The objective of Cyber TRIDENT is to provide for the managed evolution of the PCTE Platform and to provide support across all facets of the Acquisition Life Cycle for PCTE,” the documents read. “The goal of Cyber TRIDENT is to continue development operations with the integration of software and hardware enhancements from third party vendors as technology insertion occurs while conducting testing, providing periodic system updates, and fielding technology upgrades of PCTE to the Cyber Mission Forces (CMF) through an agile cadence. The vision is to leverage the existing PCTE baseline and investment in cyber training software and related infrastructure through Associate Contractor Agreements (ACAs) or subcontracts with current platform vendors.”
The notice also describes how the program manager envisions management, maintenance, and evolution of the PCTE platform. This includes platform architecture and product management, agile development and delivery systems engineering processes, development and automation, hardware and software infrastructure management, user event support, development operations (DevOps) environment management, PCTE infrastructure tool management, help desk support and onsite and remote support.
Using what are known as Cyber Innovation Challenges to award smaller companies a piece of the program, the program office is already incrementally building a platform, which is in use and is helping to prove out the concept for PCTE, refine requirements for the final contract, and reduce risk.
Officials and members of industry have indicated that the awardee of TRIDENT will inherit the final prototype version of PCTE, dubbed Version C, and advance that forward.
Industry officials noted that the draft document doesn’t include many surprises and that DoD leaders have been receptive to feedback, through the prototyping process and industry engagements. (Source: Fifth Domain)
12 Mar 20. L3Harris reveals new compact team radio. L3Harris is developing a new compact team radio in response to customer requests and revealed details during a briefing at the SMi Future Soldier Technology conference in London from 10-11 March 2020.
The RF-9820S is a small form factor, wideband (WB) mobile ad hoc network (MANET) radio. Its capabilities have evolved from a number of requirements expressed by potential customers. At the higher level these included the use of non-Type 1 commercial cryptography; the ability to run TrellisWare Technologies’ TSM 6.1 waveform; have standard USB interfaces to interface with other devices; frequency ranges of 225-450 MHz and above 1,300 MHz; and bandwidth of 1.2 MHz or greater. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Mar 20. Netherlands acts fast on cyber. The Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 11 March that it is setting up a rapid response cyber security team comprising experts from a number of European partner countries. The Netherlands will work alongside counterparts from Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Poland and Romania. A MoU was signed which reiterates their co-operation, according to an MoD statement released on 11 March.
Estonia is a significant partner as it already hosts the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, which is sponsored by Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the US. There are plans to broaden the partner base by 2021 to include countries as far afield as Australia and Japan. (Source: Shephard)
11 Mar 20. UK MoD seeks replacement for vehicle-based Land Environment Air Picture Provision. The UK Ministry of Defence has issued an initial Invitation to Tender (ITT) for a replacement for the British Army’s vehicle-based Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) capability, which was published on the Defence Contracts Online website on 5 March. The value of the contract is up to GBP10m (USD12m). LEAPP provides air situational awareness to land formation headquarters. Integrated with the Saab Giraffe Agile Multi-Beam (G-AMB) 3D surveillance radar, it fuses the local air picture and the recognised air picture (RAP) utilising Link 16 and other tactical datalinks (TDLs), and provides integrated weapon engagement management. The existing solution is based on Lockheed Martin UK’s (LMUK’s) SkyKeeper system and is truck-mounted. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Mar 20. $5m partnership between DST, Flinders Uni to build EW centre of excellence. Flinders University, DST and DEWC have announced a $5m memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a centre of excellence to support research and development and the growth of an electronic warfare workforce in South Australia. A five-year, $5m initiative to develop and sustain electronic warfare (EW) related skills in the defence sector is being established at Flinders University.
Jointly funded by Defence and Flinders University, the centre will use training programs and research to develop and sustain EW related skills in defence – the new National Electronic Warfare Centre will be established as part of the $5m initiative to grow the EW defence workforce.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds welcomed the launch of the centre, stating, “This government is committed to providing the ADF with the best possible capability to defend Australia’s national interests. That is why we are investing an unprecedented $20bn over the next decade in electronic warfare capabilities in the ADF.
“Key to ensuring these capabilities are fit-for-purpose is a strong workforce, comprised of practitioners and researchers across the ADF, Australian Public Service, academia and industry.”
EW involves protection and management of the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, including radar, electro-optic and communications systems.
Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro said that this initiative exemplifies Defence’s strategy of co-investing with universities and industries to grow research capacity and training pathways in identified areas of national priority.
The chair will provide leadership in the establishment of Flinders University as one of the world-leading providers of education and research in EW and establish and deliver within Flinders University a range of significant joint R&D activities that will explore potential and emerging disruptive technologies related to EW.
Flinders University vice-chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said it is further evidence of Flinders’ research strength in defence.
“The establishment of an EW chair at Flinders University will leverage our research expertise, contribute to strengthening Australia’s sovereign defence capability and is a further example of our approach to building a skilled workforce to meet the current and emerging needs of the defence sector,” Professor Stirling said.
DEWC T&E chief executive Glenn Murray added, “This strategic partnership will build on our shared expertise in delivering EW-related skills fundamental to building a workforce capable of supporting major defence projects, the Australian Defence Force and defence industry nationally.
“The partnership will utilise DEWC’s School of Information Operations EW expertise to support the building and delivery of education and training.”
Recruitment for the chair will begin immediately, and new undergraduate and post graduate courses in electromagnetic systems and security are being developed that will complement and include topics from Flinders University’s strong programs in cyber security. Courses will commence from January 2021. The centre will be based at the Flinders University Tonsley campus in South Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Mar 20. DOD’s Cyber Strategy of Past Year Outlined Before Congress. The 2018 Defense Department cyber strategy prioritizes the challenge of great-power competition and recognizes that DOD must defend forward to counter U.S. competitors’ long-term, coordinated campaigns of malicious activity to gain political, economic and military advantage, a DOD official said on Capitol Hill.
”The strategy normalizes the department’s efforts in the cyberspace domain, integrating cyberspace operations into military operations across all physical domains, and reinforces the need to prevent or degrade threats before they harm U.S. national interests,” Kenneth P. Rapuano, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, told the House Armed Forces Committee.
Also appearing with Rapuano was Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, commander, U.S. Cyber Command and director, National Security Agency chief, Central Security Service.
“Since last year … we have had a number of successes, including defining the cyber operations forces, initiating the first DOD-wide effort to achieve 100% visibility of network devices at the operating system level, defining what constitutes the department’s cyberspace operating force and finalizing readiness standards for the cyber mission force and finally, maturing the concept of layered deterrence,” the assistant secretary said.
DOD has also made progress in operationalizing the new more proactive approach in cyberspace, he added.
“Defending elections is an enduring mission of DOD,” Rapuano said. “To that end, we are supporting a whole-of-government effort to defend the 2020 elections.”
DOD, principally through U.S. Cyber Command and NSA’s election security group, is complementing other federal departments by leveraging its unique authorities and capabilities and their proactive approach to defend forward, he noted.
U.S. cyber forces are increasingly engaged in cyberspace to promote stability and security and to defend the nation, the assistant secretary said, adding, “Our interagency and private sector partners are key to ensuring that DOD can operate and project power in a contested cyber environment.”
The increasingly provocative activities of key competitors demonstrate how vulnerable DOD is to attacks against the many non-DOD owned assets that are critical to our ability to execute our missions, Rapuano said.
“Their vulnerability means that adversaries could disrupt military operations without actually targeting military networks and systems themselves,” he added. “To address these challenges, we are strengthening alliances and attracting new partners to take a whole-of-society approach to enabling better security and resilience of key assets.”
The key theme of DOD cyber strategy is strengthening international alliances and attracting new partners, Rapuano emphasized. In 2019, the defense secretary issued new international cybersecurity cooperation guidance to clarify priorities for addressing cyber threats through building the capacities of DOD’s international partners and refining responsibilities among DOD components.
“The guidance directs how DOD components will collaboratively pursue the objectives of the National Defense Strategy, the National Cyber Strategy and the DOD Cyber Strategy as they apply to security cooperation in cyberspace,” Rapuano said.
Cyber Command is providing clear returns on the investment the nation has made in it, Nakasone said.
Three issues are at the forefront of Cyber Command today, he noted: elections, readiness and the people that make up the DOD cyber force. “We are 244 days from the 2020 presidential election. My top priority is a safe and secure election that is free from foreign influence.”
Nakasone pointed out that malicious actors are trying to test U.S. defenses and resolve.
“We’re ready for them, and for any others who may try to interfere with our democratic processes,” the general said. “I have great confidence in the cyber mission force to execute missions because it is a mission-ready force.”
The readiness and operational success of the cyber mission force is a testament to the quality of its people, Nakasone said.
Recruiting, training, developing and retaining the best talent is essential for the military to defend the nation in cyberspace, he said.
“I continue to pursue creative ways to leverage our nation’s best and brightest to want to contribute to our missions,” Nakasone said, “especially through closer partnerships with a National Guard and the reserves.” (Source: US DoD)
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Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, internationally renowned award-winning information security and communications specialist with a proven record of accomplishment.
Spectra is a dynamic, agile and security-accredited organisation that offers secure Hosted and Managed Solutions and Cyber Advisory Services with a track record of delivering on time, to spec and on budget.
With over 15 years of experience in delivering solutions for governments around the globe, elite militaries and private enterprises of all sizes, Spectra’s platinum and gold-level partnerships with third-party vendors ensure the supply of best value leading-edge technology.
Spectra was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2019 for SlingShot.
In November 2017, Spectra Group (UK) Ltd announced its listing as a Top 100 Government SME Supplier by the UK Crown Commercial Services.
Spectra’s CEO, Simon Davies, was awarded 2017 Businessman of the Year by Battlespace magazine.
Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Hereford, UK and holds ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation.