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August 1, 2018 | International, C4ISR

Cyber Command wants to partner with private sector to stop hacks


The head of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command is advocating for a more expansive partnership between the government and the private sector amid an array of cyberthreats.

Gen. Paul Nakasone, speaking July 31 during the Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity Summit in New York City, said that partnerships are America's “advantage in cyberspace,”

"We have tremendous, exquisite, foreign intelligence reporting,” Nakasone said, but added he wanted to understand what the private sector and firms who make up America's digital infrastructure were looking for “so we can really tailor the information.”

Information from Cyber Command and the NSA will be used in a new National Risk Management Center that hopes to share cyberthreats between the government and the private sector, according to a department spokeswoman.

”Resiliency begins with a dialogue,” Nakasone said.

The new center's announcement comes after DHS said that Russia was continuing to attackAmerica's electric grid. Last week, Sen. Claire McCaskill D-Mo., said that Russian hackers tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate her office. On the same day that Nakasone spoke, Facebook said that it removed 32 accounts in an apparent influence campaign.

Ninety percent of America's critical infrastructure is in private hands, Nakasone said. Therefore, the Department of Defense is kicking off the new risk center with a “90 day sprint” to identify companies that are most essential to the U.S. way of life in an effort to protect them from foreign cyberattacks.

“Not all risks are created equal,” Nakasone said of the initial effort.

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  • Members of Congress look to make AI a priority

    September 26, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Members of Congress look to make AI a priority

    By: Jessie Bur Congress and the executive branch need to make a more concerted effort to address and prepare for the rise of artificial intelligence, Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., said in a white paper released Sept. 25. The congressmen, who serve as the chairman and ranking member of the House IT Subcommittee, compiled information gathered in past congressional hearings and meetings with experts to argue for the criticality of federal input in the many facets of AI. “In light of that potential for disruption, it's critical that the federal government address the different challenges posed by AI, including its current and future applications. The following paper presents lessons learned from the Subcommittee's oversight and hearings on AI and sets forth recommendations for moving forward,” Hurd and Kelly wrote. “Underlying these recommendations is the recognition the United States cannot maintain its global leadership in AI absent political leadership from Congress and the executive branch. Therefore, the Subcommittee recommends increased engagement on AI by Congress and the administration.” According to the White Paper, under current trends the United States is soon slated to be outpaced in research and development investments by countries like China that have prioritized artificial intelligence investment. “Particularly concerning is the prospect of an authoritarian country, such as Russia or China, overtaking the United States in AI. As the Subcommittee's hearings showed, AI is likely to have a significant impact in cybersecurity, and American competitiveness in AI will be critical to ensuring the United States does not lose any decisive cybersecurity advantage to other nation-states,” Hurd and Kelly wrote. Hurd characterized the Chinese investment in AI as a race with the U.S. “It's a race, we all know this, and one of the things we need [is] a national strategy, similar to what we've seen in the conversations around quantum computing yesterday at the White House. What we saw almost a decade ago when it came to nanotechnology. And part of that strategy does include increasing basic research, opening up data sets and making sure the U.S. is playing a part, leader on ethics when it comes to artificial intelligence,” said Hurd in a Sept. 25 press call. The paper applauded current investments in R&D, such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's creation of the Artificial Intelligence Exploration program, and encouraged government hosting more “Grand Challenges” like those conducted by DARPA to encourage outside-government innovation. “I do believe the federal government has a role, because we're sitting on data sets that could be used as a backbone of a Grand Challenge around artificial intelligence,” said Hurd, who added that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, healthcare agencies and many other components of the federal government possess the data to administer meaningful AI competitions. “I think this would be a maybe a great opportunity for a public private partnership,” added Kelly on the press call. The paper also identified four primary challenges that can arise as AI becomes more prevalent: workforce, privacy, bias and malicious use. AI has the potential to both put portions of the workforce out of a job as more tasks become automated and increase the number of jobs for those trained to work with artificial intelligence. Hurd and Kelly called on the federal government to lead the way in adapting its workforce by planning for and investing in training programs that will enable them to transition into AI work. As with many technologies, AI has the potential to infringe on privacy, as intelligent products or systems such as virtual assistants constantly collect data on individuals. That data could be exploited by both the company that created the technology and hackers looking to steal personal information. “The growing collection and use of personal data in AI systems and applications raises legitimate concerns about privacy. As such, federal agencies should review federal privacy laws, regulations, and judicial decisions to determine how they may already apply to AI products within their jurisdiction, and—where necessary—update existing regulations to account for the addition of AI,” Hurd and Kelly wrote. The white paper also calls on federal agencies to make government data more available to the public for AI experimentation, while also ensuring that any AI algorithms used by agencies to “make consequential decisions about individuals” are “inspectable” to ensure that they operate without coded bias. According to Hurd, the question of whether and how that inspectable information would be made available to the public still needs to be asked. Finally, Hurd and Kelly called on government entities to consider how AI may be used to perpetuate cyber attacks or otherwise cause harm. However, while recommending that agencies look to existing regulation and statute and some limited changes to those statutes, the paper encouraged a similar hands off approach that the federal government took to the development of the internet. “The government should begin by first assessing whether the risks to public safety or consumers already fall within existing regulatory frameworks and, if so, consideration should be made as to whether those existing frameworks can adequately address the risks,” Hurd and Kelly wrote. “At minimum, a widely agreed upon standard for measuring the safety and security of AI products and applications should precede any new regulations. A common taxonomy also would help facilitate clarity and enable accurate accounting of skills and uses of AI.”

  • Modular Northrop Grumman Vanguard Surveillance Radar Details Unveiled

    September 5, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Modular Northrop Grumman Vanguard Surveillance Radar Details Unveiled

    Northrop Grumman has revealed the details of a production-ready new radar called Vanguard that the company's Electronic Systems division quietly launched about five years ago with the ambitious goal of reinventing the active, electronically scanned array (AESA), the company confirms exclusively to Aviation Week. Northrop designed the Vanguard architecture to support a shift away from developing highly tailored AESA systems optimized for only one application to a modular approach that ...

  • Gen. Milley is right: The US Army is on the mend

    June 14, 2018 | International, Land

    Gen. Milley is right: The US Army is on the mend

    Last month, in an appearance before the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley provided a notably upbeat assessment of the state of his service. “The Army is on the mend. I can report out to you today, after two and a half years as the chief of staff of the Army, we are in significantly better shape than we were just a short time ago. And that is through the generosity of this Congress and the American people,” he said. Clearly, some of the credit for the Army's improved state of affairs is a result of the recently passed two-year budget, which provided a much-needed increase in resources. The Army has been able to grow its end strength, purchase needed munitions and spare parts, increase training activities, and recapitalize older and damaged equipment. More resources have also enabled the Army force to expand its presence in Europe, increase, albeit modestly, procurement of upgraded Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Strykers, and acquire the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle. But much of the credit goes to the Army chief of staff himself. About a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog for the National Interest titled “Perhaps the Most Remarkable CSA in More than Half a Century.” It was Gen. Milley who made modernization the measure of success for his tenure as the Army chief of staff. This change in strategic direction came just in time, ahead of the reappearance of great power competition as the greatest threat to this nation's security. Gen. Milley is not alone in his quest. In fact, it is a troika consisting of Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarty and the chief that is fashioning a new Army in record time and doing so while simultaneously transforming the Army's acquisition system. This is the proverbial case of changing the car's tires while speeding down the road. The early signs are that the Army modernization is on the mend and the acquisition system is being changed. An important example of these improvements is the Army's Rapid Capabilities Office. Established by the secretary and the chief in August 2016, the RCO is tasked to expedite critical capabilities to the field to meet combatant commanders' needs using alternative contracting mechanisms to deliver technologies in real time to the war fighter. One of the RCO's initial projects was to bring the Army back into the game with respect to electronic warfare. In 12 months, the RCO developed an initial integrated mounted and dismounted EW sensor capability that has been deployed with U.S. forces in Europe. A second phase of the project is underway that will add aerial sensors, additional ground-unit sets and improve functionality. Another program that is proceeding rapidly is a vehicle-mounted, jam-resistant positioning, navigation and timing capability for GPS-challenged environments. Prospective solutions are currently undergoing testing. The chief has directed the RCO to address several new areas. The RCO is working on a long-range cannon concept that may be able to double the range of 155mm howitzers, as well as optical augmentation technology to detect an adversary's anti-tank guided missile day/night sights and loitering munitions that can strike air-defense and artillery emplacements. The Army has been moving rapidly to address many of its critical capability gaps. To meet the challenge posed by hostile aircraft and drones, the Army intends to deploy the first battery of the Maneuver Short Range Air Defense launcher on a Stryker armored vehicle by 2020, five years ahead of schedule. Additional sensors and weapons, including a tactical laser, could be integrated into the new turret by the early 2020s. Tank-automotive and Armaments Command did a rapid assessment of active protection systems. The current plan is to equip at least four brigades of Abrams tanks with the Israeli Trophy system while testing continues on a number of solutions for other armored fighting vehicles. The Army also has used other rapid procurement organizations within the Pentagon. One of these is the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, created in 2016 to push rapid innovation based on leveraging commercial companies. Recently, DIUx led a prototype contract involving upgrades for Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The first production items from it will soon be delivered to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. There are other examples of advances in cyberwarfare, soldier systems, networking and long-range precision fires. The central point is that Gen. Milley's vision of the Army's future is turning out to be right.

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