Back to news

June 11, 2018 | International, C4ISR

Cyberwarriors need a training platform, and fast

By:

U.S. Cyber Command's cyber teams are now built and transitioning to readiness, and now the force needs a dedicated platform to conduct training.

Given the importance of properly preparing cyberwarriors, the Army (acting as Cyber Command's executive agent for all the service's cyber teams) has been using a rapid acquisition approach called other transaction authorities to field a training platform.

The Persistent Cyber Training Environment, or PCTE, is not a single entity, but rather a complex system of systems that will require many moving parts for individual and collective training, as well as mission rehearsal.

According to Jim Keffer, director of cyber at Lockheed Martin, it will be more than just a cyber range. It'll require event management; scheduling for training exercises; scenario design features; control of the exercises; assessments; red forces; library of capabilities that can be linked to designing adversary network mock-ups (which will require good intelligence); and classrooms to put all this together.

The reason such a high-end training environment is being fast-tracked is because cyberwarriors don't currently have anything akin to what traditional war fighters use to prepare for combat. Capstone cyber exercises that only occur once or twice a year are not enough for the force, and in many cases the first-time cyberwarriors will engage with an adversary in the real world and not in simulations.

“It's like a fighter pilot going up and the first time he's flown actual combat is against a real adversary,” Keffer told Fifth Domain. “That's not a good way to fight wars. That's not a good way to train your troops. That's not a good way to decrease the risk to your forces.”

Incremental approach

The overall PCTE is made up of a number of cyber investment challenges, or CICs, that the Army is releasing incrementally and will eventually string together.

This will “bring together some of the best technology that's out there” to address immediate needs in various categories as the longer-term vision of what PCTE might look like coalesces, Deon Viergutz, vice president of Cyber Solutions at Lockheed Martin, told Fifth Domain in an interview.

The Army will release five CIC's to get multiple industry approaches as it heads up the full PCTE indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, Viergutz said, adding, “I believe that is still under work, the long term for PCTE and the acquisition.”

While CIC one has been awarded, CIC two should be awarded in the next few weeks. According to contracting documents, CIC two is focused on enabling user access to the PCTE and training aids through a portal. CIC three, which is forthcoming in mid- to late-June, is focused on red team planning, as well as master exercise control. CIC four, estimated for release in July, will focus on training assessment.

There is no information released yet regarding CIC five.

One important question remains unclear, however: In the end, who will be the integrator of systems — the government or a contractor?

“The seams between all these capabilities tend to be the weak points. Having an integrator to kind of tie all that together — the ranges and all these different capabilities — would be important to make sure that the cyberwarriors get the best capability that they deserve ... as quickly as possible,” Keffer said.

“If the government wants to be the integrator, we'll do all we can to help them out. If they want industry to be the integrator, industry has a lot of experience doing that, especially Lockheed Martin; we're big in the training business.”

https://www.fifthdomain.com/dod/2018/06/04/cyberwarriors-need-a-training-platform-and-fast/

On the same subject

  • UK industry team demos new counter-missile protection for armored vehicles

    September 15, 2021 | International, Land

    UK industry team demos new counter-missile protection for armored vehicles

    A Leonardo-led, U.K.-based industry team has demonstrated an active vehicle protection system that includes soft and hard kill options for the British military.

  • The US Navy is eyeing a big change to its new stealth destroyers

    May 8, 2019 | International, Naval

    The US Navy is eyeing a big change to its new stealth destroyers

    By: David B. Larter NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The U.S. Navy is considering a significant change to its new stealth destroyers, one driven by the change of mission announced in last year's budget documents, the head of the program said May 7 at the Sea-Air-Space conference. The service has been struggling to find a use for the ship's advanced gun system — the largest of its type fielded by the service since World War II — and now is considering stripping them off the platform entirely, said Capt. Kevin Smith, the DDG-1000 program manager at Program Executive Officer Ships. The Navy sidelined the guns after the service truncated the buy to just three ships, and after the ammunition, called the Long-Range Land-Attack Projectile, ballooned in price to more than $800,000 per round. "The guns are in layup,” Smith said. “We're waiting for that bullet to come around that will give us the most range possible. But given that that is offensive surface strike, we're going to look at other capabilities potentially that we could use in that volume.” The ships shifted missions from land attack to ship-hunting and -killing last year. The Navy is integrating the SM-6 missile, which has a surface-attack mode, and are integrating the maritime strike Tomahawk to fill out the new capabilities. In April testimony, the Navy's top requirements officer, Vice Adm. William Merz, told Congress that the slow development of the Advanced Gun System was holding back the Zumwalt. “Even at the high cost, we still weren't really getting what we had asked for,” he said. “So what we've elected to do is to separate the gun effort from the ship effort because we really got to the point where now we're holding up the ship.” The Navy has touted the ship's excess space, weight, power and cooling as advantages the service would want throughout the ship's life. Everything from directed energy and electromagnetic rail guns to electronic warfare equipment has been floated as add-ons to the Zumwalt-class destroyers. The Navy got in its present pickle with the 155mm/.62-caliber gun with automated magazine and handling system because the service cut the buy from 28 ships, to seven, and finally to three. The AGS was developed specifically for the Zumwalt class, as was the LRLAP round it was intended to shoot. There was no backup plan, so when the buy went from 28 to three, the costs remained static, driving the price of the rounds through the roof. The program itself is coming along, said Smith. The Zumwalt is going through trials as its combat system installation wraps up; the Michael Monsoor is heading into the yards for its combat system installation; and the Lyndon B. Johnson is nearly 85 percent complete. The remaining work on Johnson involves running cables, painting spaces and otherwise putting the finishing touches on the ship. The ship will then leave Bath, Maine, and head toward its home port of San Diego, California. “We're going to energize high voltage in September, lighting off the generators in the spring, then we'll be going to test and activation for the [hull, mechanical and electrical systems], trials in the fall, then delivery.” https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/navy-league/2019/05/07/the-us-navy-is-eyeing-a-big-change-to-its-new-stealth-destroyers

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense – October 13, 2020

    October 14, 2020 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense – October 13, 2020

    ARMY Longbow Ltd., Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $32,154,552 modification (P00001) to contract W58RGZ-20-F-0464 for generic spare parts kits for AH-64E Apache helicopters. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2024. Fiscal 2020 Foreign Military Sales (India, Morocco, Netherlands, and United Arab Emirates) funds in the amount of $32,154,552 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. Spence Brothers, Saginaw, Michigan, was awarded a $19,304,000 firm-fixed-price contract to modify the Union Street Dam and a bi-directional fish passage. Bids were solicited via the internet with five received. Work will be performed in Traverse City, Michigan, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 2, 2024. Fiscal 2021 Great Lakes Fishery Commission funds in the amount of $19,304,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W911XK-21-C-0001). DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Altamira Ltd., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been awarded a maximum $11,875,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for medical equipment and accessories for the Defense Logistics Agency electronic catalog. This was a competitive acquisition with 130 responses received. This is a five-year contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Pennsylvania, with an Oct. 12, 2025, ordering period end date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2026 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2DH-21-D-0051). https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/2380512/source/GovDelivery/

All news