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09 Apr 20. Intel Joins Georgia Tech in DARPA Program to Mitigate Machine Learning Deception Attacks. What’s New: Intel and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) announced today that they have been selected to lead a Guaranteeing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Robustness against Deception (GARD) program team for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Intel is the prime contractor in this four-year, multimillion-dollar joint effort to improve cybersecurity defenses against deception attacks on machine learning (ML) models.
“Intel and Georgia Tech are working together to advance the ecosystem’s collective understanding of and ability to mitigate against AI and ML vulnerabilities. Through innovative research in coherence techniques, we are collaborating on an approach to enhance object detection and to improve the ability for AI and ML to respond to adversarial attacks.”
–Jason Martin, principal engineer at Intel Labs and principal investigator for the DARPA GARD program from Intel
Why It Matters: While rare, adversarial attacks attempt to deceive, alter or corrupt the ML algorithm interpretation of data. As AI and ML models are increasingly incorporated into semi-autonomous and autonomous systems, it is critical to continuously improve the stability, safety and security of unexpected or deceptive interactions. For example, AI misclassifications and misinterpretations at the pixel level could lead to image misinterpretation and mislabeling scenarios, or subtle modifications to real-world objects could confuse AI perception systems. GARD will help AI and ML technologies become better equipped to defend against potential future attacks.
The Details: Current defense efforts are designed to protect against specific pre-defined adversarial attacks, but remain vulnerable to attacks when tested outside their specified design parameters. GARD intends to approach ML defense differently – by developing broad-based defenses that address the numerous possible attacks in given scenarios that could cause an ML model to misclassify or misinterpret data. Due to its broad architectural footprint and security leadership, Intel is uniquely positioned to help drive innovations in AI and ML technology with a significant stake in the outcome.
The goal of the GARD program is to establish theoretical ML system foundations that will not only identify system vulnerabilities and characterize properties to enhance system robustness, but also promote the creation of effective defenses. Through these program elements, GARD aims to create deception-resistant ML technologies with stringent criteria for evaluating their effectiveness.
What’s Next: In the first phase of GARD, Intel and Georgia Tech are enhancing object detection technologies through spatial, temporal and semantic coherence for both still images and videos. Intel is committed to driving AI and ML innovation and believes that working with skilled security researchers across the globe is a crucial part of addressing potential security vulnerabilities for the broader industry and our customers.
More Context: Defending Against Adversarial Artificial Intelligence (DARPA Website) | Artificial Intelligence at Intel (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
09 Apr 20. Real-time Airspace Awareness and De-confliction for Future Battles. Advanced low-cost sensors, AI algorithms, and virtual technology to enable common operational picture. The airspace above future battlefields is expected to be increasingly congested with large numbers of unmanned aerial systems, manned aircraft, munitions and missiles filling the skies. To de-conflict airspace activities of friendly forces and rapidly counter an enemy’s actions on the battlefield requires new technologies to effectively integrate effects from all domains.
To that end, DARPA today announced its Air Space Total Awareness for Rapid Tactical Execution (ASTARTE) program, which is being conducted in partnership with the Army and Air Force. The program’s goal is to enable efficient and effective airspace operations and de-confliction in a highly congested future battlespace. This capability is especially critical for implementing DARPA’s Mosaic Warfare concept, which calls for seamless coordination across a complex web of aerial, ground, and sea nodes providing firepower and other effects to overwhelm an adversary.
“ASTARTE aims to provide a real-time, common operational picture of the dynamic airspace in the most complex and challenging adversary anti-access/area denial, or A2/AD, environments,” said Paul Zablocky, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office. “We want to provide a more accurate and timely picture of the airspace that will allow for long-range fire missions as well as manned and unmanned aircraft operations to occur simultaneously and more safely in the same airspace.”
ASTARTE will focus on the most challenging airspace problem – the airspace above an Army Division operating under an enemy’s A2/AD bubble. This volume of airspace can contain Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Special Operations Forces, coalition and adversary manned/unmanned aircraft, and munitions. This effort was briefed to leaders in both the Army and Air Force, and it has received support throughout. As the military services wrestle with integration and future conflicts, ASTARTE complements recent Joint Staff and service-level experiments designed to address these issues and complements new warfighting concepts being developed across DoD to support Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) operations.
“Current airspace planning and control is a largely manual process with fairly static air corridors, lanes, and zones established for de-confliction that don’t allow for rapid re-tasking of air assets in a fast-paced environment,” Zablocky said. “The way we coordinate between Joint fires and airspace users today is slow and inexact, requiring verbal coordination, which often gives an adversary time to fire and maneuver unchallenged.”
ASTARTE will not only provide a continuously updating, real-time, four-dimensional (space and time) moving picture of the battlespace for friendly forces but will also use its sensor network to detect and map adversary locations, increasing situational awareness within A2/AD environments. Unlike previous attempts to create a dynamic airspace common operating picture, ASTARTE does not seek to develop a common framework of software and hardware that Joint and Coalition partners would have to acquire. The new ASTARTE “engine” or “brain” will be designed for compatibility with existing and future command and control systems (C2) used by the military Services, and will automatically push the most current and relevant airspace information to all Joint units on their native C2 systems.
To achieve its objectives, ASTARTE is focused on three technical areas.
The first technical area is developing algorithms for understanding and decision making that can predict airspace usage conflicts, propose de-confliction solutions with associated risk levels, and direct sensors in the ASTARTE network to maintain the necessary airspace picture at a given moment in time. These algorithms would be usable from any C2 system.
Technical Area 2 addresses the sensors themselves, where performers will be asked to develop or leverage existing low-cost sensors to detect and track, in real-time, manned and unmanned aircraft, airborne weapons, and other potential flight safety hazards, such as unmanned balloons, in an A2/AD setting.
The third technical area calls for the development of a virtual laboratory testbed. This laboratory allows for modeling, simulation, and virtual experimentation using a combination of current C2 systems and ASTARTE technology.
“This is an excellent opportunity for proposers to create diverse teams built with academic partners and other traditional/non-traditional DoD partners with highly specialized technical expertise,” Zablocky said. “There are numerous civilian and commercial technologies such as gaming, virtualization, and artificial intelligence that could also provide unique insights and capabilities to a defense contractor team proposing to this effort.” (Source: ASD Network/DARPA)
09 Apr 20. Schiebel Extends Camcopter S-100 Control with Mobile Antenna. Schiebel has introduced a new mobile antenna system to its Camcopter S-100 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) product range, expanding the line-of-sight (LOS) connectivity between the company’s existing antennas and the UAS, the company told Jane’s. The mobile antenna is derived from a Salzgitter Maschinenbau AG (SMAG) mast and is designed to support the company’s existing antennas, which have ranges of up to 200 km, boosting its operational flexibility for users. Jane’s understands from a company spokesperson that the system is called the SMAG 25 – which denotes its ability to extend up to 25 m in height – and enables users to “establish a [LOS] even when high obstacles, like trees, are in the way”. (Source: UAS VISION/Jane’s)
08 Apr 20. US Navy’s ONR grants $14m to support scientific research. The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded $14m in grants to 26 candidates under the 2020 Young Investigator Program (YIP). The recipients will share and utilise the funding to carry out scientific research to benefit the naval forces and US Marine Corps.
Established in 1985, the ONR YIP is an early-career programme that seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers, and fund their defence-related research to address evolving combat challenges.
The 26 candidates were selected from more than 275 applicants, who all obtained a PhD in the last seven years and are currently working as a faculty in colleges or universities.
Chief of naval research rear admiral David Hahn said: “It’s no secret that our nation is in the midst of a great power competition.
“To maintain a military edge over our adversaries, it’s critical that we attract the best and brightest scientists and engineers from across academia to address naval warfighting challenges.
“The Young Investigator Program does just that, and I’m honoured to announce the recipients for 2020.”
Overall, the awardees come from 19 different academic institutions.
They are engaged in various naval-related researches from the fields of wireless communications, energetics, power and energy, machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensors and weather forecasting, among others.
Typically, the YIP grant ranges between $510,000 and $750,000 over a three-year period.
The funding can be used as a scholarship, stipend or to purchase laboratory equipment and other expenses related to the planned research.
Last year, ONR announced that it is supporting the development of a new type of ‘omniphobic’ ship coating that can repel water, oil and alcohol and help to drive operational efficiency. (Source: naval-technology.com)
07 Apr 20. US Army Tries to ‘Find, Fix, Finish’ Startups. For the Army, the gleaming glass and steel skyscraper a few blocks from the Texas state capitol has to be considered a “target-rich environment.”
Several floors of the building have been overrun with exactly what the service has spent the last few years hunting down — entrepreneurs and startups possessing that most elusive quarry: innovation.
This anthill of young go-getters might be a reason why Army Futures Command chose Austin as its headquarters. The city, best known for being the “music capital of the world” also wants to challenge Silicon Valley as the innovation capital of the world.
One place that is happening is within the skyscraper where The Capital Factory — a sort of one-stop gathering place for tech startups — has taken over several floors since it was founded 11 years ago.
“We’re the only ones that have really tried to take an entire startup ecosystem and put it underneath one umbrella of a brand name,” Gordon Daugherty, president of the company, explained to a roomful of National Defense Industrial Association members touring the facility recently.
Workspaces are popping up all over. Tech accelerators are a “dime a dozen,” he said. Venture capital funds were once primarily found in California. The Capital Factory sought to put the three together under one roof.
More than 2,500 entrepreneurs called the building home in 2019. Its accelerator and venture fund portfolios have about 500 startups. The organization has hundreds of mentors to “wrap their arms around” the typical 21- or 22-year-old entrepreneurs just out of college who need both a guiding hand and some funds to get their ideas off the ground.
The Capital Factory only asks for 1 percent equity, Daugherty said. “And they live with us as long as they want, all the way until they crash and burn or until they exit — they sell the company or do an IPO.”
But why in Texas? Why in Austin, a spot once primarily known as a college/government town and for its vibrant music scene. The answer gives some insight into why the Army has taken up some floor space in The Capital Factory. The Defense Innovation Unit and the Air Force’s AFWERX also rent offices in the same building.
Texas by itself would be the 10th largest economy in the world if it were a separate nation, Daugherty explained. Located in a hub with Austin, are San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. The latter two metropolitan areas are home to a host of billionaires and all their capital, including dozens of Fortune 500 company headquarters.
San Antonio is a military town and minority-majority city, and diversity to Daugherty is a hallmark of innovation. All these cities are an easy drive or flight from each other.
“If you’re a startup that needs to partner with large enterprises as a strategic partner, a marketing partner, a distribution partner, you like to be close to them,” he said.
The Army has taken up much of The Capital Factory’s eighth floor. When the doors are open, young entrepreneurs are welcome to hang out and use the workspace there. That’s just what Futures Command wants, Daugherty said. He estimates that the startups using the facilities garnered about $50m in military contracts in the last couple years — mostly small business innovation research grants.
The command’s face-forward is the Army Applications Lab, where the service hopes to lure in newbies developing dual-use technologies it can use for its missions.
Inside, a pair of Army lieutenant colonels wearing blue-jeans and button-down shirts told the NDIA members how they intend to do this.
Tim Crane is a Special Forces officer who last served in the Rapid Equipping Force, and Tim Sugars spent 11 years in Army acquisitions before receiving orders to report to Austin.
For Crane, he’s doing exactly what he was trained to do in special ops and what he actually did in Afghanistan, namely, build a network of people. The lab is aiming to be “a functioning concierge service” for those who have ideas that can benefit the Army.
“The Army has, historically, had a very bad time innovating, or having a relationship with industry where we can work in a truly open, innovative environment and work out a problem instead of being overly prescriptive,” said Crane, who is the lab’s director of commercial operations.
The year-old organization doesn’t have Google-like money to invest in startups. It can’t by itself change Defense Department acquisition policies. But it can try to be more transparent and accessible to the startups.
The lab is still in its infancy. It’s still “getting its reps in” to find what works, Crane said.
Sugars, who serves as the director of program integration, said a lot of what he does is taking requirements documents and problem statements and rendering them into two to four sentences.
“We are talking about young men and women a year or two out of college. They don’t understand these requirement documents. They barely know that the DoD is all about. We have got to speak their language,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
06 Apr 20. DARPA seeks enhanced low-light navigation performance for unmanned systems. A new programme from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) aims to address a key weakness of autonomous and semi-autonomous land systems: the need for active illumination to navigate in low-light conditions.
Unmanned systems rely on active illumination – anything that emits light or electromagnetic radiation, such as light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems – to navigate at night or underground.
However, according to Joe Altepeter, programme manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, this approach creates significant security concerns, as such emissions could be detected by potential adversaries.
The Invisible Headlights programme aims to address this challenge by exploiting ambient thermal emissions, Altepeter explained, noting that “infrared light is emitted by everything in the world around us, whether animate or inanimate”.
The programme aims to discover what type of information can be captured from even an extremely small amount of thermal radiation, and develop passive sensors and algorithms that can build this information into 3D maps that unmanned systems could then exploit, rather than having to emit active illumination.
If the programme is successful, it could create benefits beyond the obvious security advantages, Altepeter told Jane’s. He pointed out that if an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) or similar platform is effectively relying on a kind of light-based sonar to receive a very specific type of information if it employs LIDAR.
“The platform uses information on the distance from objects around it to build a kind of pixelated view of the world,” said Altepeter.
However, the use of ambient thermal emissions would enable the systems to build much more complex pictures of their environment – images that would be in colour, as opposed to the black-and-white pictures the system can create using LIDAR and other forms of active illumination. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Apr 20. RN to trial MAD equipment on Merlin HM2. The UK Royal Navy (RN) is to conduct an evaluation of the benefits that magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment could offer its Merlin HM2 helicopter fleet in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role.
A two-year contract was awarded in March 2020 to CAE UK for the provision of two MAD-XR sensor systems and ancillaries, including training and support. A MAD system uses a highly sensitive magnetometer to sense small changes in the earth’s magnetic field. Such equipment can be used by maritime patrol aircraft and ASW helicopters to detect the disturbance in the normal earth field produced by a submarine’s metallic hull. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Apr 20. The Rambam Healthcare Campus (“Rambam”) in Haifa, Israel starts operating EX-TEAMS, a cellular based management and control system that was jointly developed with Elbit Systems. EX-TEAMS is based on an Elbit Systems’ Command & Control (C2) technology that was repurposed in recent weeks for management and control of medical workforce and patients. The development effort was led by Doctor Oren Caspi from Rambam and a team from Elbit Systems.
The EX-TEAMS system has been already installed on the personal cellular handsets to 100 medical professionals who directly provide care to Coronavirus patients providing the teams with enhanced capabilities 24/7. Rambam intends to soon extend the deployment to more than 1,000 of its employees. “Defeating the Coronavirus requires a joint effort and multi-disciplinal cooperation-high-tech, defense and medical”, noted Dr. Caspi, adding “the challenge is the sharp increase the number of patients and beds, which is compounded by a deficient workforce that operates under protective cloth in a noisy environment. Coping with such an accumulative challenge clarifies the insufficiency of the traditional methods for management, communication and coordination (PA system, Pagers, Walkie Talkies). Effective answer to such a management and control challenge is critical calling for the implementation of an advanced and proven military-like command and control technology.”
EX-TEAMS is a cellular cloud-based application that is installed on the personal mobile phones of teams that operate in the healthcare campus, enabling to manage missions performed by large and diverse workforce operating in a range of locations reflecting a comprehensive real-time picture of all operations and needs across the healthcare campus. EX-TEAMS provides location-based personal and group voice data and video communications that are seamlessly operated also under protective suites. It also enables a typing-less medical paperwork processing. The system prioritizes response efforts, efficient mission-focused allocation of workforce and assets and rapid assignment and deployment of emergency teams. All the transmitted information is encrypted maintaining security and medical confidentiality. The EX-TEAMS can be deployed within few days requiring neither investment in new equipment nor changes to existing communication and IT networks.
Michael (Mickey) Halbertal, General Director of Rambam Health Care Campus, said: “The Coronavirus situation is a war the like of which we have never fought before. We are encouraged to receive great help from allies in the Israeli high-tech that will allow us to cope and prevail. In the next phase during which we will have to provide care for patients in large numbers, management and control of medical and logistical team will make the difference between failure and success. The amazing capability of Elbit to provide us with a winning technological solution is an example of the unique capacity of the Israeli high-tech to enlist, adapt and win.”
Haim Delmar, the General Manager of Elbit Systems C4I & Cyber, commented: “We are proud to be in a position to apply advanced and proven battlefield technological capabilities in order to improve the operations of medical centers and additional organizations that stand in the frontlines of the fight against the Coronavirus. I thank Rambam’s team for the cooperation.”
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.