27 Feb 12. The U.S. Air Force still has impressive plans for the future, including tying space and cyber operations more tightly into its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operation. Driving that decision is the statistic that more than 90% of cyber intrusions are actually intelligence-gathering efforts. However, near-term initiatives are showing a negative impact on ISR due to falling defense budgets and operational reassessments, particularly in a post-Afghanistan period. Concerns are now focusing on how to conduct operations in less-permissive airspace where a foe employs anti-access and aerial denial (A2AD) weapons and sensors. A critical eye is being cast on the value of high-altitude, long-dwell ISR platforms, for example.
“Does more altitude buy you survivability, or does persistence provide a radical improvement in the ability to collect intelligence?” says Lt. Gen. Larry James, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff and former director of signals intelligence for the National Reconnaissance Office. “I don’t think we know the answer.” The Air Force will also examine the usefulness of small, unmanned aircraft in the more lethal A2AD world.
“Do nano or swarming remotely piloted aircraft buy you anything in that environment?” James says. “Those are things we’ll have to sort out.”
New decisions and studies already involve the Global Hawk, special missions aircraft, U-2s, airborne radar, ISR bases and next-generation unmanned aircraft programs. The need to field a stealthy aircraft that can both penetrate enemy defenses and persist in the battlespace for a long period appears to be receding for now.
“We may be able to penetrate, but not stay long,” James predicts. “There may be other systems that can stay on in the area [that include space and cyber tools]. Or maybe I improve my sensors so that I can standoff outside the threat. I don’t necessarily think all of those things need to be combined in one platform. (Source: Aviation Week)
29 Feb 12. Are smartphones and other devices the scourge of cyber security warriors worldwide? Seems they are the root of lots of evil no matter how you slice it if you take a look at testimony given today by DARPA Deputy Director, Kaigham Gabriel to the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
“Computing, imaging and communications capabilities that, as recently as 15 years ago, were the exclusive domain of military systems, are now in the hands of hundreds of millions of people around the world,” explained Gabriel. And the pace at which these systems, formerly the purview of a few peer adversaries, are being developed is increasing. “From a new system every 10 years decades ago,” Gabriel stated, “to one every 1.5 years today.” Other news: 12 seriously cool “toys” for big boys and girls
Gabriel went on to say that the threat brought on by mobile technology is not an abstract vulnerability. “We have not enjoyed spectrum dominance since about 1997. Up until then, our electronic warfare systems could both detect and respond effectively to electronic warfare threats directed at us. In the last 15 or so years, however, that has ceased to be true. In both waveform complexity and carrier frequency, adversaries have moved to operating regimes currently beyond the capabilities of our systems,” he said. According to Gabriel nearly a dozen countries are producing electronic warfare systems using mostly commercial off-the-shelf technology (COTS). “COTS electronics are a formidable source of new, high performance technology, but it has inherent limitations. The main one is economics- industry is motivated by the profit incentive, and modern electronics is extremely expensive to design and produce in small volumes. This high volume manufacturing is why the extremely complex technology inside cell phones appears to be so cheap,” Gabriel stated. (Source: Len Zuga/Network World)
28 Feb 12. Nato awarded the biggest cyber defence contra