Sponsored by Exensor
26 Feb 22. U.S. Continues Providing Arms for Ukraine’s Defense Against Russian Aggression. Ukrainian resistance to invading forces is stiffer than Russia expected, as the U.S. and NATO continue to supply security assistance to Ukraine, a senior defense official said.
“We continue to believe, based on what we’ve observed, that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected. And we have indications that the Russians are increasingly frustrated by their lack of momentum over the last 24 hours, particularly in the north parts of Ukraine,” that official said.
Ukrainian air defenses, including aircraft, continue to be operable and continue to engage and deny access to Russian aircraft in places over the country, the official said.
“As of this morning, we have no indication that the Russian military has taken control over any cities, and we still believe that Russia has yet to achieve air superiority,” the official said.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine over the last 24 hours has been observed to occur over three main axes: from the south — including an amphibious assault from the Sea of Azov; from the north central; and from the northeast, a senior defense official said.
Over the last 24 hours or so, the U.S. has continued to observe more than 250 Russian missile launches, mostly short-range ballistic missiles, the official said.
“We continue to see civilian infrastructure and residential areas impacted and damaged by these missile strikes,” the official said, adding that it’s not clear if those strikes were intentional.
Altogether, Russia has more than 150,000 troops arrayed against Ukraine, with more than 50% inside the country — up from one-third over the last 24 hours — and the rest are still along the border, the official said. There are also some Russian reconnaissance forces inside Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city.
Also, there are an increasing number of Ukrainians leaving the country, the official said. “The lines are stacking up on the Ukrainian side of the of the border with Poland.”
Yesterday, President Joe Biden authorized an additional $350m of military assistance from Defense Department inventories — including anti-armor, small arms, various munitions, body armor and related equipment — to support Ukraine’s frontline defenders, who are facing down Russia’s unprovoked attack, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said Saturday.
That brings the total U.S. security assistance approved for Ukraine to $1bn over the past year. It’s the third time Biden has expedited emergency security assistance for Ukraine’s defense in recent months using his presidential authority, Kirby said.
“We, along with our allies and partners, are standing together to continue to expedite security assistance to Ukraine and are employing all available security cooperation tools in support of the Ukrainian people as they defend themselves against this aggression,” Kirby said.
“Our commitment and deliveries continue as a sign of our unwavering support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added. (Source: US DoD)
24 Feb 22. Biden Condemns Russian Attack on Ukraine, Orders More Troops to Europe. President Joe Biden condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine and has imposed sanctions on the renegade nation and its leaders. The president has also authorized the deployment of more U.S. troops from the United States to Europe, to reassure NATO allies of America’s commitment to their collective defense.
“The Russian military has begun a brutal assault on the people of Ukraine without provocation, without justification, without necessity,” the president said during a White House statement today. “This is a premeditated attack. Vladimir Putin has been planning this for months.”
Biden said the Russian leader ordered more than 175,000 troops that he had amassed along Russia’s border with Ukraine and inside Russian ally Belarus to strike.
Biden called the Russian invasion a “needless conflict” and denounced the Russian leader for turning away from dialogue and diplomacy to avoid bloodshed. “For weeks—for weeks—we have been warning that this would happen,” Biden said. “And now it’s unfolding largely as we predicted.”
The president laid the blame for this conflict at the feet of the Russian leader. “Putin is the aggressor,” he said. “Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences.”
In addition to outlining a series of sanctions on Russia and its leaders, Biden is also ensuring the defense of NATO’s frontline states: the Baltic Republics, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. “Tomorrow, NATO will convene a summit will be there to bring together the leaders of 30 allied nations and close partners to affirm our solidarity, and to map out the next steps we will take to further strengthen all aspects of our NATO alliance,” he said.
Biden stressed that American forces will not fight in Ukraine. “Our forces are not and will not be engaged in a conflict with Russia in Ukraine,” he said. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in East. As I made crystal clear, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with a full force of American power.”
The president said NATO is united and more determined than ever. “There is no doubt — no doubt — that the United States and every NATO ally will meet our Article Five commitments, which says an attack on one is an attack on all,” he said.
Over the past few weeks, Biden has ordered thousands of American troops to Europe to defend NATO and reassure allies. He has authorized the shifting of troops within U.S. European Command to the Baltic Republics, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.
“Now, I’m authorizing additional U.S. force capabilities to deploy to Germany as part of NATO’s response, including some the U.S. based forces that the Department of Defense placed on standby weeks ago,” the president said.
He said he is in constant contact with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “should it become necessary to protect our NATO allies and support the greatest military alliance in the history of the world, NATO.” (Source: US DoD)
24 Feb 22. Defense Department Releases Report on Strengthening Defense-Critical Supply Chains. Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) released a strategic roadmap to address supply chain vulnerabilities in the defense industrial base (DIB). Executive Order (E.O.) 14017, America’s Supply Chains, directed Cabinet agencies to assess supply chains in sectors critical for America’s economic and national security. In the report, Securing Defense-Critical Supply Chains, DoD presents recommendations for high-priority areas in the DIB, with input from other agencies, the National Security Council (NSC) and National Economic Council (NEC). The report highlights the historic strength and value of America’s supply chains, and reinforces the need for transformative investments in the 21st century to build greater supply chain resilience. It focuses specifically on addressing challenges in high-priority areas critical to operational readiness, including kinetic capabilities, energy storage and batteries, castings and forgings, microelectronics, and strategic and critical materials. The department also highlights a set of strategic enablers that underpin overall mission success and supply chain resilience, such as workforce, cyber posture, small business, and manufacturing capabilities.
“A clear national consensus has emerged around the need for bold action in support of supply chain resilience,” said Andrew Hunter, who is performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. “This report is a strategic roadmap for the department to build lasting resilience in our defense industrial base.”
The department outlines not only a whole-of-government, but a whole-of-nation, strategy to assessing and strengthening supply chains critical to the DIB and overall U.S. national security. The strategy encompasses efforts needed internally within DoD, as well as those in collaboration with interagency, industry, and international partners and allies.
“Supply chain resiliency is vital to the Defense Department,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks. “We will prioritize cooperation with our defense industrial base and with all others who have a stake in our national and economic security to collaboratively safeguard global market integrity and strengthen defense-critical supply chains.”
The report outlines a wide-ranging set of recommendations, including applied research, workforce development initiatives, policy and procedure reviews, and more. The department has already made significant investments in key industrial base sectors, and this report provides a blueprint for making further targeted investments to build supply chain resilience. The full report can be found here: https://media.defense.gov/2022/Feb/24/2002944158/-1/-1/1/DOD-EO-14017-REPORT-SECURING-DEFENSE-CRITICAL-SUPPLY-CHAINS.PDF?source=GovDelivery (Source: US DoD)
23 Feb 22. Project Convergence reinforces the need for shared standards across the services. Months after the U.S. Army completed its largest networking and technology experiment in Yuma, Arizona, Army Futures Command officials say the lessons learned from the event underscore the value of aligning data and network standards across the joint force.
More than 110 pieces of cutting-edge tech were tested and studied last year at Project Convergence 2021, producing useful information and other insights to be applied in the near future. The process further “reinforced the importance of standardizing approaches and communications to maximize the efficiency of Joint operations,” according to a recap shared by the command Feb. 22.
Officials made similar points last week during a conversation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. Both Lt. Gen. James Richardson, the acting commanding general at Army Futures Command, and Col. Toby Magsig, the Army’s deputy exercise director for Project Convergence, on Feb. 16 referenced data as “the new ammunition,” highlighting its worth as well as its potentially devastating applications.
Reducing or eliminating the many obstacles data must traverse as it flows from team to team, service to service, is critical to developing a military capable of besting the toughest opponents, they suggested.
“Without access to and the ability to share, parse, understand and recode data, we’re going to be sort of left fighting how we did in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” said Magsig.
Because the fight of the future is going to be so different to that of today, reforms must be made, Richardson said. Parochial habits need breaking. New standards need setting. Stovepipes need disassembling.
“We don’t want a translator anymore, or a cross-domain solution. Going forward, we want to be connected from a standards and a data perspective and a message format perspective,” Richardson said. “It sounds simple, but that was the ‘aha moment.’”
The quick passing of information and decision-making between once-incompatible battlefield players — a concept known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control — has been a Department of Defense goal for some time now, with each service taking their own approach to implementing it. Project Convergence is the Army’s contribution to JADC2. Likewise, the Navy has Project Overmatch, and the Air Force has the Advanced Battle Management System.
Project Convergence 2022 will involve U.S. allies, a first for the so-called “campaign of learning.”
“When you look forward to PC ‘22, it’s not just the U.S. as a joint force. It’s our combined joint force,” Magsig said. “So, taking our closest allies and partners, being able to pass data seamlessly, being able to have that trust in the data that we pass so that you know an Australian shooter might feel very comfortable off of a British sensor or a Canadian C2 network.”
The next iteration of Project Convergence is expected this fall. It will incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomy, robotics and common data standards and architectures, according to Army Futures Command. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
23 Feb 22. Top oversight Dems to Pentagon: Stop ‘hiding’ info on weapons programs from public. In a letter obtained by Breaking Defense, lawmakers called on Sec. Austin to review the “controlled unclassified information” and “publicly release the greatest amount of information possible about these systems, consistent with the continued protection of sensitive information.” Four top Democrats on the House’s oversight committee are calling for the Defense Department to release some of the “controlled unclassified information” that it restricted from its annual weapons report, according to a letter sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin today and obtained by Breaking Defense.
The prevalent and unprecedented redactions effectively hid information on the status of multi-billion-dollar weapons programs from US taxpayers footing the bill, says the letter, which cites Breaking Defense reporting.
In a departure from previous years, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation (DOT&E) in January released two versions of its 2021 report, which documents the performance, and flaws, of major weapon programs. Along with a public version, the department also released a new “controlled unclassified version” with more information available only inside the department and to Congress.
The Pentagon’s top tester said the change was due to security concerns, but Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who leads the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and three other lawmakers on the panel wrote today they are concerned that the Pentagon may have “inappropriately limited access” to information that is typically released to the public by watering down the public report.
“While we recognize the importance of protecting sensitive information, DOD and DOT&E appear to have applied this concern too broadly,” the lawmakers stated in the letter. “As a result, information on military weapon systems that was previously available to the public is now marked CUI in multiple instances, hiding it from the view of U.S. taxpayers.”
Maloney, a New York Democrat, was joined on the letter by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who leads the committee’s subpanel on national security; Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., who leads the committee’s subpanel on government operations; and committee member Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif.
The lawmakers called on Austin to review the information in the report that was marked CUI and “publicly release the greatest amount of information possible about these systems, consistent with the continued protection of sensitive information.”
They also gave the Pentagon a March 9 deadline to hand over information that justifies why information was marked CUI for each weapon system evaluated in the report, and what entity was responsible for making that determination.
Throughout the letter, Maloney and the other lawmakers cited reporting from Breaking Defense, which found that “controlled” information had been redacted in at least 22 weapons programs evaluated by the office.
These redactions included information pertaining to some of the Pentagon’s most expensive and troubled programs. For instance, the section on the Marine Corps’ CH-53K helicopter contained no data about the performance of the aircraft during tests, whereas previous reports included detailed information about deficiencies encountered in testing, as well as where the aircraft had made improvements compared to previous years.
The lawmakers also raised their own concerns about the section of the public DOT&E report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which they stated excluded many details that had been disclosed in previous reports, such as reliability and availability metrics, information on hardware and software deficiencies, and details about how the F135 engine shortage is impacting readiness.
“Excessively marking information as CUI withholds important details about the performance of military weapon systems, such as critical design deficiencies, safety issues, and capability shortfalls,” the lawmakers stated.
“It also limits broader oversight of military weapon systems, restricting the ability of U.S. taxpayers to evaluate the viability of weapon systems they are paying for and hindering Congress’ ability to address problems with these systems. In the long term, this could limit the government’s ability to procure effective and safe weapon systems and lead to lower-performing weapon systems.”
The House Oversight letter is the second to raise alarms about the latest version of the report. Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., slammed the department’s decision to restrict unclassified information about weapons testing, stating that it reduces accountability and increases the risk that weapon systems are fielded with flaws that put troops’ safety at risk.
“This unjustified restriction of public access will not serve to protect national security information, but will instead be abused to avoid disclosure of failures in our major weapons programs,” wrote Warren, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in letters to Austin and DOT&E head Nickolas Guertin. “I urge you to reverse the decision to classify these reports.”
Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell declined to comment on the new letter from the House Oversight members, saying, “As with all Congressional correspondence, we will respond directly to the authors of the letter.”
However, the Pentagon has stood by DOT&E’s decision to publish two versions of the report.
In a statement to Breaking Defense earlier this month, Maxwell said that DOT&E opted to release a CUI version of the report after reviewing the department’s latest security classification guidance and concluding that Congress would not have “the level of detail they were used to receiving” unless controlled technical information was included.
“In consultation with Congress they expressed the desire that DOT&E also publish an edition of the report to maximize the information available to the public while ensuring the control of sensitive unclassified information is not released,” Maxwell said, adding that DOT&E was not responsible for approving the department’s classification guidelines or deciding which information is considered “controlled.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
22 Feb 22. DoD Awards $35m to MP Materials to Build U.S. Heavy Rare Earth Separation Capacity. The Department of Defense (DoD) awarded a $35m contract to MP Materials Corp. (MP) of Las Vegas, Nevada to design and build a facility to process heavy rare earth elements (HREE) at the company’s Mountain Pass, California production site. This project will establish the first processing and separation facility of its kind for HREEs in support of both defense and commercial applications in the United States.
This award is part of DoD’s rare earth supply chain resiliency efforts, and directly supports the administration’s initiatives to strengthen America’s supply chains as outlined in Executive Order 14017, America’s Supply Chains. To date, DoD has invested over $100m in enhancing America’s rare earth supply chain resiliency as part of its commitments to expanding domestic rare earth element processing capabilities and capacity.
This investment funds a commercial-scale operation designed, constructed, and operated by MP Materials at Mountain Pass. This facility will deploy new domestic HREE separation and processing technologies to enable integration of HREE products into DoD and civilian applications, ensuring downstream HREE industries have access to a reliable feedstock supplier. Additionally, this award requires MP to find innovative solutions to bring HREE production costs on par with the international market within five years of the first production batch.
“HREEs are fundamental building blocks of the modern economy, enabling trillions of dollars in global economic development via a wide range of clean energy, information technology, defense, and industrial applications,” said Andrew Hunter, who is performing the duties of Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. “This effort will enable new domestic industrial capacity, to improve supply chain resilience and to operationalize the policies in Executive Order 14017 on America’s Supply Chains.”
This project operates under a public-private partnership, bringing together industry innovation leaders such as MP Materials with technology materials companies at home and abroad.
MP Materials Chairman and CEO, James Litinsky, stated, “This project will enable products that depend on heavy rare earths to be readily served by a U.S. supply chain. MP Materials’ domestic processing capabilities will reduce commercialization risk and improve America’s economic and national security.”
“The primary applications for HREEs include permanent magnets used in products ranging from electric motors in electric vehicles – to the energy generators within wind turbines,” stated Deborah Rosenblum who is performing the duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy. “Without rare earths, these products would not be possible.”
In December 2021, General Motors entered into a long-term agreement with MP Materials, and they will be a key consumer of magnets produced through MP’s HREE mining, separation, and processing efforts. These magnets help create the torque that will propel their electric vehicles.
The Department has also been engaging with MP Materials on scientific advancements to address rare earth processing. In July 2021, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Director Stefanie Tompkins and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy Jesse Salazar visited the site and met with company leaders to discuss further developing secure, reliable, and affordable domestic sourced critical minerals used in defense and commercial manufacturing.
For additional information on this project, please email . (Source: US DoD)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Homeland Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company