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02 Aug 18. Cyber Command chief will weigh in on split from NSA. One of the most hotly contested debates surrounding the maturation of U.S. Cyber Command is its eventual split from the National Security Agency. Top officials have long maintained the so-called dual-hat relationship, where one leader oversees both organization, was temporary. But Cyber Command’s new leader, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has said he will re-examine the issue in an assessment to the Secretary of Defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff within his first 90 days in charge. That 90 day mark falls on Aug. 2. A Cyber Command spokesman confirmed Nakasone is working on the report. Nakasone, who now also leads NSA, said during his confirmation hearings he did not have a strong feeling about the split.
“Any decision with respect to terminating the dual-hat leadership arrangement … must be conditions based — that is to say that processes and decisions which enable effective mutual collaboration and deconfliction are well-established and operating,” he wrote in response to questions prior to the March 15 Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing.
Despite Nakasone’s report, a final decision on a split is made by the Secretary of Defense or president. Many senior officials at the end of the Obama administration reportedly advocated for the split. However, President Barack Obama demurred. Congress, concerned about a premature split, took steps to prevent the split until the Secretary of Defense certified a variety of requirements. The Secretary of Defense still must certify these eight items have been met. Among their conditions were that a split can’t occur until Cyber Command’s cyber mission force reached what is known as full operational capability. That designation occurred in May, leading some expert observers to question whether a split might soon be imminent. Another requirement was a determination that the two organizations could carry out their respective roles and responsibilities independently. Sources have said that NSA regularly shares personnel and infrastructure with Cyber Command. There’s even a phrase in which NSA operators “flip their hats,” from Title 50 intelligence operations to Title 10 military operations. Such actions have made some former employees uncomfortable. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office has noted that in May 2017, Nakasone’s predecessor testified that a division would impair mission effectiveness. Senior Pentagon leaders, including Nakasone, have said that even after a split, the two organizations will remain inextricably linked as Cyber Command will rely on the intelligence the NSA gleans from penetrating foreign networks.
“Whatever decision is made, the partnership between the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command is going to be one that is critically important to our nation,” Nakasone said at the Aspen Security Forum in late July. “Whether or not that’s one person or two people, that partnership, I would offer, is the most important thing we should think about.”
Sources have told Fifth Domain that the two organizations have been planning for a spilt and the lines of authority are becoming clearer. Notably, the two agencies are working on deconflicting activity within foreign networks. This includes assigning roles for when NSA, through its support to military operations, will act and for when Cyber Command will act as a warfighting organization. Nakasone also will likely need to address infrastructure concerns. As the command continues to grow and mature leaders have said it will need its own equipment, not the systems shared with the NSA, to conduct operations. As recently as 2015, top Pentagon officials acknowledged Cyber Command did not possess a robust joint computer network infrastructure capability, a robust command and control platform or systems to plan and execute fast-moving, large-scale cyber operations. (Source: Fifth Domain)
03 Aug 18. General Dynamics wins Army IT contract worth billions. The Army awarded General Dynamics Mission Systems a contract worth as much as $3.9bn for commercial off-the-shelf IT hardware that could be purchased quickly during the next three years. In an Aug. 1 announcement, the Department of Defense said the contract would be used for the Army’s common hardware systems 5th generation (CHS-5) program. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a three-year base and a possible $3.9bn ceiling that includes two one-year options. The CHS-5 funding will serve as a kind of piggy bank for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and more than 120 DoD program offices to draw from for the rapid acquisition and delivery of tactical commercial-off-the-shelf IT hardware. The contract also covers technical assistance support services and logistics support, including repair and replacement of equipment. In a traditional year, the program accounts for between 75,000 to 100,00 pieces of hardware, an Army spokesman said. The hardware comes from 65 small businesses and 40 large businesses.
“The buying power and rapid execution of COTS IT hardware procurements and services are what makes CHS valuable to the Army,” Breck Tarr, the program’s product lead, said in an September 2017 press release. “The ability to deliver the exact configuration when the Government needs hardware is critical to supporting fielding schedules and sustainment.”
The contract helps the Army minimize cyber security risks and helps assures that a user who turns in equipment for repair receives the exact same equipment in return in 72 hours or less. It also includes a hotline for soldiers to call to help find the nearest regional support center, an Army spokesman said. CHS-5 builds on the previous contract, the unsurprisingly named CHS-4. The new contract was expected to include a pre-negotiation pricing schedule for the life of the contract; additional warranty options with up to eight years of coverage; incentives to provide the lowest price hardware; and the ability to procure technical data packages based on competitive pricing, according to an Army press release. Army leaders said in September they were seeking competition for the contract, but the Aug. 1 announcement said the Defense Department received just one bid.
“The CHS program is a great example of how the Army and industry can partner to ensure military services can rapidly acquire C4ISR solutions and other products that are not only cost-competitive with the commercial market, but logistically managed and supported for an extended period,” Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics Mission Systems, said in an Aug. 2 press release. “More importantly, the ability of the CHS program to quickly adapt to the evolving challenges of today’s battlefield plays a critical role in supporting the Army’s tactical network modernization efforts.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
01 Aug 18. US working on new Arctic strategy. The United States could have a new Arctic strategy before the end of the year, according to Admiral Karl Schultz, the US Coast Guard (USCG) commandant.
“We are working on a rewrite [of] the Arctic Strategy,” Adm Schultz said on 1 August after a discussion about the state of the USCG at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The revamped strategy, the admiral said, would likely focus more on “national security” efforts and would likely be released within about three months. The United States can no longer only worry about what it plans to do about Arctic operations in the future, said Adm Schultz, but must take more direct action now.
“It’s no longer an emerging frontier,” he said. “It’s a competitive space, it is about competition. We’ve got to press into that.” While the United States struggles to find funding and resources to build an icebreaker fleet, for example, Russia has a substantial fleet operating in the region and is building a nuclear icebreaker. China, meanwhile, which is not officially an Arctic nation, is building its own icebreakers, Adm Schultz noted. The country recently declared itself a “near-Arctic” state. The United States needs at least six icebreakers, said the admiral, three of which should be heavy icebreakers. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Aug 18. FY19 Defense Authorization Bill Passes Congress in Record Speed. $717bn Budget Critical to Rebuilding, Restoring Readiness. The Department of Defense applauds the passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act at the swiftest pace in 20 years. This year’s bill passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support – a vote of 87-10 in the Senate and 359-54 in the House. The FY19 NDAA authorizes a $717bn national defense budget that rebuilds our military, increases lethality, strengthens our alliances and partnerships and reforms the way we do business.
“I am grateful for the strong commitment of members on both sides of the aisle to pass this year’s NDAA in record time. Together, they have demonstrated the deep and abiding bipartisan support our military enjoys,” said Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis. “It is now our duty to implement these policies responsibly and ensure a culture of performance and accountability.”
The approved bill:
- Increases the military’s authorized active-duty end strength by 15,600
- Raises service member pay by 2.6 percent – the highest in nine years
- Recognizes the importance of modernizing and strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to more effectively guard against the risk to national security posed by certain types of foreign investment
- Provides waiver relief to key U.S. partners and allies from certain Russian-related sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act
- Strengthens cyber defenses, prioritizes U.S. Cyber Command readiness and affirms the cyber authorities of the Secretary of Defense
The department looks forward to working with Congress in the same strong bipartisan spirit to fund our nation’s defense priorities before the end of the fiscal year. (Source: US DoD)
01 Aug 18. $717bn Budget Critical to Rebuilding, Restoring Readiness, Pentagon Officials Say. The Defense Department applauds the passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act at the swiftest pace in 20 years, Pentagon officials said today. In a statement, DoD officials noted that this year’s bill passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support — a vote of 87-10 in the Senate and 359-54 in the House. The bill authorizes a $717bn national defense budget that “rebuilds our military, increases lethality, strengthens our alliances and partnerships and reforms the way we do business,” the Defense Department statement said.
“I am grateful for the strong commitment of members on both sides of the aisle to pass this year’s NDAA in record time. Together, they have demonstrated the deep and abiding bipartisan support our military enjoys,” Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said. “It is now our duty to implement these policies responsibly and ensure a culture of performance and accountability.”
The Pentagon statement said the approved bill:
— Increases the military’s authorized active-duty end strength by 15,600;
— Raises service member pay by 2.6 percent, the largest raise in nine years;
— Recognizes the importance of modernizing and strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to more effectively guard against the risk to national security posed by certain types of foreign investment;
— Provides waiver relief to key U.S. partners and allies from certain Russian-related sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act; and
— Strengthens cyber defenses, prioritizes U.S. Cyber Command readiness and affirms the cyber authorities of the secretary of defense.
“The department looks forward to working with Congress in the same strong bipartisan spirit to fund our nation’s defense priorities before the end of the fiscal year,” the Pentagon statement said. (Source: US DoD)
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