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  • US military aims for $1 billion missile defense radar in Hawaii

    June 27, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    US military aims for $1 billion missile defense radar in Hawaii

    By: Audrey McAvoy, The Associated Press HONOLULU — The U.S. military wants to install missile defense radar in Hawaii to identify any ballistic missiles that are fired from North Korea or elsewhere, officials said Tuesday. The $1 billion system would spot warheads on missiles headed for Hawaii and other U.S. states, and provide that information to ground-based interceptors in Alaska designed to shoot them down. It would be able to distinguish warheads from decoys that are designed to trick missile defense systems. The radar would help give the Alaska missiles “better eyes,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii and a supporter of the project. So far, lawmakers have appropriated $61 million for planning but not funds for construction. Schatz, who serves on the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he doesn't have much doubt about the likelihood of follow-on funding. The radar would be about 30 to 50 feet wide and 60 feet to 80 feet high, according to the Missile Defense Agency. It will likely to have a flat-face surface like one in Shemya, Alaska, instead of a ball-like appearance of other military radar. Experts say the larger the face, the more precisely it will be able to distinguish between warheads and decoys. The agency is studying two possible locations for the radar, both of which are on Oahu's North Shore. It's collecting public comment through July 16. Schatz said lawmakers discussed the radar with the previous commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry Harris, who recently retired and has been nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to South Korea. “We already have robust capabilities, but working with Admiral Harris, we wanted to double down and make sure we have the most powerful combination of missile interceptors and radar systems anywhere,” Schatz said in a phone interview. The radar would help identify long-range ballistic missile threats mid-way through flight. David Santoro, a director and senior fellow for nuclear policy at the Pacific Forum think tank in Honolulu, said threats from North Korea were increasing as Pyongyang developed more sophisticated missiles and nuclear weapons. “Over the past few weeks, we have seen a so-called peace initiative developing, but the reality is the threat is still there. It's not going away,” Santoro said. The U.S. would be expected to build a radar system to counter the threats, he said. U.S. concerns about the threat from North Korean missiles spiked last year as North Korea test-fired long-range missile over Japan and threatened to launch ballistic missiles toward the Guam, a major U.S. military hub in the Pacific. President Donald Trump warned the U.S. military was “locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely” and that the U.S. would unleash “fire and fury” on the North if it continued to threaten America. But then Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, met in Singapore earlier this month and issued a declaration agreeing to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The statement did not define a process, say when it would begin or say how long it might take.

  • Foreign defense companies want in on US Army modernization efforts

    June 27, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Foreign defense companies want in on US Army modernization efforts

    By: Jen Judson and Sebastian Sprenger PARIS, France — The U.S. Army has honed in on six modernization priorities, none of which can afford to linger in a sluggish acquisition process as threats grow in sophistication and the battlefield grows more complex, which has piqued the interest of many foreign companies, who are banking on having an increased chance at playing in the U.S. market due to the pace at which the Army wants to prototype and procure capabilities. At European defense conference Eurosatory, several companies unveiled not just paper or miniature model concepts but actual capabilities targeting the top two priorities: The Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) and Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF). The Army announced last fall that it would establish a four-star command to tackle its modernization priorities in short order. They are LRPF, NGCV, Future Vertical Lift, the Network,Air-and-Missile Defense and Soldier Lethality, in that order. And since that announcement, the service has set up cross-functional teams to focus on each priority. Many leaders of the CFTs said earlier this year that they planned to prototype capabilities within just a few years and get them into the hands of soldiers. Next-gen combat vehicles The U.S. Army's first stab at building prototypes for what it intends to be an innovative, leap-ahead NGCV and its robotic wingman will be ready for soldier evaluations in fiscal 2020 with a follow-on prototypes expected in 2022 and 2024. Germany's Rheinmetall Defence revealed its new Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicle at Eurosatory on June 12 with an eye toward the U.S. market. The company pulled out all the stops including a 10:00 a.m. champagne toast to christen the vehicle. It's sometimes the case, at a unveiling, for the vehicle to just be a non-functioning, life-size model to convey the concept, but Rheinmetall made it clear the vehicle being shown is real. The company has publicly available footage of the vehicle's rigorous test campaigns. Executives at Rheinmetall told Defense News it believes the stars could be aligned for a successful pitch of the Lynx vehicle to the U.S. Army. Due to its modular design, a few hours of work can turn the Lynx into anything from a medium tank to a battlefield ambulance. Ben Hudson, head of the company's vehicle systems division, hopes the feature will be an interesting proposition for the U.S. Army's NGCV. “We are highly interested in it, and we have been below the radar for a little for the last couple of years while we've delivered this,” Hudson told Defense News following the unveiling. “We don't want to deliver a PowerPoint, we want to deliver a real vehicle, and we have shown this to some people in the U.S. Army and I think it is fair to say there is some genuine interest for the U.S. to look at this vehicle as a serious competitor for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle.” When asked how Rheinmetall might become involved in that collaboration, Hudson said there have been a lot of changes over the past several months as the Army's new cross-functional team under its new Futures Command moves forward with efforts to bring an NGCV capability online. “All I can say is the next six months for that program are going to be very interesting, and we look forward to things that may occur early next year. That's all I can really say about that for now,” he said. What's still missing, however, is an official U.S. partner company that could give the bid an American face and manage domestic production. Such teaming is practically mandatory these days, and Hudson said there is no shortage of suitors. “We've had significant interest from U.S. companies at Eurosatory over the last couple of days,” he said. “We've had a lot of people interested in partnering with us because we don't only have a concept, we've got a real vehicle and turret for the program.” Israeli company Rafael didn't have a dramatic unveiling at the show, but told Defense News that it was developing and testing a 30mm weapon station outfitted with its Trophy active protection system as an all-in-one system. The Army is outfitting several brigades worth of Trophy APS on its Abrams tanks. The turret can be purchase with our without the Trophy system, Rafael's Michael L. told Defense News at the show. Michael's last name has been withheld for security reasons. One customer is buying more than a hundred 30mm weapon stations, he said. And while Rafael is envisioning the possibility of its 30mm turret and APS system being a good option for outfitting upgunned Strykers going forward, it's also setting its sights on becoming involved in NGCV prototyping with its work in flexible turret design as well as in its long history fielding APS capability. But not every leading tank manufacturer outside of the U.S. is clamoring to get involved in the U.S. combat vehicles market. In the case of Germany's Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and its French partner Nexter, executives believe the odds of selling entire vehicles to the American armed forces are dim. “We play a role in the U.S., we are selling in the U.S., but not on a system level,” KMW boss Frank Haun said during an interview at Eurosatory. Mayer, his Nexter counterpart, added that “political reasons” and the “industry landscape” make it difficult for outsiders to break into a market tightly controlled by domestic players. In Haun's experience, arms sales to the U.S. have the highest chance of succeeding when there is little money at stake. “Whatever is under the radar of senators and congressmen will work,” he said. U.S. defense contractors have significant influence in Congress thanks to traditional lobbying campaigns targeting both Democrats and Republicans. In addition, many large companies employ workers in plants across the United States, which means lawmakers from those areas are eager to ensure a continued flow of defense money to the contractors. Long-range precision fires The U.S. Army will demonstrate LRPF technology from a precision-strike missile to hypersonics and ramjet capabilities within the next couple of years, according to the service's LRPF CFT. In the near future, the service is looking at how it will evolve its current M109A7 self-propelled howitzer — or the Paladin Integrated Management — into extended-range cannon artillery. At the same time, a competition is ongoing to build a new LRPF capability that replaces and surpasses the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). Norwegian ammunition company Nammo unveiled what it's calling an “extreme range” artillery concept using ramjet propulsion that it hopes will meet the emerging LRPF requirements for a variety of countries, including the United States. Nammo has combined its experience in both ammunition and rocket-propulsion technology, and it's merging those capabilities to create an artillery shell capable of reaching more than 100 kilometers in range without changing the gun on a standard 155mm howitzer, according to Thomas Danbolt, company vice president of large caliber ammunition, who spoke at Eurosatory, one of the largest land warfare conferences in Europe. The company displayed a model of the artillery shell at the exposition and plans to test several LRPF capabilities in the coming years, particularly its new extreme-range artillery projectile. The projectile will go through a flight demonstration in the 2019 or 2020 time frame, according to Erland Orbekk, company vice president for ramjet technology, which coincides with the Army's LRPF CFTs tentative plans to test ramjet and hypersonics capabilities as early as 2019. Swedish company Saab has also teamed up with Boeing to develop a Ground-Launched Small-Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) and announced at the show that the pair had demonstrated — in cooperation with the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) — its capabilities for ground forces during a test fire where the laser-enabled weapon launched and then tracked and engaged a moving target at a distance of 100 kilometers. The range ultimately will be closer to 150 kilometers. The partnership allows for the team to easily tap the U.S. market as well as international customers interested in improving rocket artillery capability, according to Boeing's Jon Milner, within the company's direct attack weapons international programs division. Milner said Boeing and Saab would continue to assess what customers want. The U.S. Army has made it clear it needs longer range artillery in order to avoid being out-gunned and out-ranged by adversaries, but also a lot of NATO countries are interested in the capability because of NATO mandates which creates a significant international market for the weapon.

  • Florence Parly lance une initiative européenne de défense à neuf

    June 26, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Florence Parly lance une initiative européenne de défense à neuf

    LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - Neuf pays européens dont l'Allemagne, la Belgique et le Royaume-Uni ont signé lundi la lettre d'intention de l'initiative européenne d'intervention (IEI) prônée par Paris pour porter une approche novatrice de la défense hors des dispositifs de l'UE. Par l'IEI, la France ambitionne de doter les Européens d'une capacité d'action et de prévention autonome de l'UE, pour des conflits mais aussi des crises humanitaires ou environnementales, en mutualisant la planification militaire, le soutien aux opérations, l'anticipation et le renseignement. “Face aux doutes éventuels, il faut affirmer ses convictions”, a déclaré la ministre des Armées Florence Parly à l'issue de la signature. “Les Européens doivent être forts, les Européens doivent être capables, de plus en plus, d'assurer leur protection et leur souveraineté et donc cette initiative est en faveur de la souveraineté européenne”, a-t-elle ajouté. L'Allemagne, la Belgique, le Danemark, les Pays-Bas, l'Estonie, la France, le Portugal, l'Espagne et le Royaume-Uni ont signé lundi à Luxembourg le premier acte de l'initiative. La ministre des Armées, qui a porté le projet qu'Emmanuel Macron avait appelé de ses voeux en septembre lors d'un discours à la Sorbonne, a estimé qu'il répondait en outre aux appels américains pour une Europe qui assume plus sa sécurité. “Cette étape va permettre de commencer très vite des travaux communs qui impliqueront les états-majors des différentes forces armées”, a-t-elle précisé dans un entretien au Figaro. “Une première rencontre aura lieu mi-septembre à Paris pour mettre en place un programme de travail concernant l'anticipation, la planification et l'organisation d'exercice”, poursuit-elle, évoquant l'étude de scénarios concrets, “par exemple pour préparer l'exfiltration de ressortissants”. Absente de la liste des signataires, l'Italie “réfléchit à la possibilité de rejoindre cette initiative, mais n'a pas pris de décision définitive”, a précisé Florence Parly. Dans un communiqué, elle ajoute que “d'autres pays européens, capables, volontaires et partageant les objectifs de l'IEI, pourront rejoindre l'Initiative européenne d'intervention”. MOBILISATION PLUS RAPIDE L'accord à neuf a ménagé des concessions à l'Allemagne sur le maintien d'un lien fort entre l'IEI et la Coopération structurée permanente (Pesco ou CSP), le pacte de défense entériné en décembre dernier par 25 pays de l'Union européenne (excluant un Royaume-Uni sur le départ). “L'Allemagne ne souhaitait pas que l'Initiative européenne d'intervention soit détachée de la CSP. C'est parce que nous maintiendrons entre les deux mécanismes un lien fort qu'elle a décidé d'adhérer”, a précisé Florence Parly. En dépit d'inquiétudes quant à l'accumulation de dispositifs, le secrétaire général de l'Otan Jens Stoltenberg a salué la décision, jugeant que l'initiative faciliterait la modernisation des armées européennes et leur rapidité de mobilisation. “Je pense que cela peut renforcer la disponibilité des forces, car nous avons besoin d'une disponibilité élevée”, a-t-il déclaré à la presse en marge de la réunion des ministres de la Défense et des Affaires étrangères de l'Union européenne. Paris, qui entend stimuler des réponses européennes plus promptes face aux crises, se place au centre d'une réorganisation des structures européennes de défense post-Brexit, en incluant la puissance militaire britannique au sein de cette nouvelle initiative. Le ministre allemand des Affaires étrangères, Heiko Mass, a paru lundi partager l'impatience française et a dit souhaiter que la politique étrangère européenne soit décidée par un vote à la majorité à l'avenir, et non par une décision à l'unanimité. Londres entend conclure un traité avec l'Union européenne en matière de sécurité d'ici 2019, en vue notamment de garder après le Brexit accès aux bases de données, contrats d'armement et au partage d'informations au sein de l'Union, un projet soutenu par plusieurs Etats membres mais dont d'autres ne veulent pas. “Notre engagement dans la sécurité de ce continent est sans conditions”, a déclaré lundi un diplomate britannique, qui déplore la vision idéologique de certains pays pour lesquels le départ du Royaume-Uni de l'Union doit être total.

  • Team Dedrone Wins USSOCOM ‘Game of Drones’ Competition

    June 26, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Team Dedrone Wins USSOCOM ‘Game of Drones’ Competition

    Dedrone announced that its team of Echodyne Corporation, Squarehead Technologies and Battelle, won first place at ThunderDrone's “Game of Drones” outdoor demonstration at Nellis Air Force Base and AFWERX enclave, June 18-20. Hosted by AFWERX, Team Dedrone bested five other teams in the last of three ThunderDrone rapid prototyping events focusing on countering small, unmanned aerial drones. Team Dedrone successfully demonstrated the capabilities of a layered detection, tracking, classification and mitigation solution that defends protected airspace against aerial drone threats. Initially 93 counter-drone technology companies formed teams and were narrowed down through a series of three rapid prototyping events. The Dedrone platform is a fully automatic counter-drone solution, designed to detect, classify and mitigate drone-based threats. Dedrone's software, DroneTracker, gathers intelligence from Dedrone's RF sensors, Echodyne's MESA radar and Squarehead Discovair acoustic sensor. Once DroneTracker makes a positive identification of a drone, Battelle's non-kinetic defense system, DroneDefender™, is automatically triggered to defeat the drone and eliminate the threat. The Dedrone platform combines hardware sensors and machine-learning software, providing early warning, classification of and mitigation against all drone threats. Based in San Francisco, Dedrone was founded in 2014. ThunderDrone is a U.S. Special Operations Command and SOFWERX initiative dedicated to drone prototyping, which focuses on exploring drone technologies through idea formation, testing and demonstrating efforts that are being conducted collaboratively with the Department of Defense's Strategic Capabilities Office. SOFWERX leads collaboration between special operations warfighters and select contributors from industry and academia on technology and innovation efforts to bring drones, tactical swarms and their associated data science applications to the special operations community. Team Dedrone Quotes: “Dedrone's open platform and architecture allows customers to combine the best in drone detection and mitigation technology, such as with RF sensors from Dedrone, radar from Echodyne, acoustic sensors from Squarehead, and jammers from Battelle,” shares Joerg Lamprecht, CEO and co-founder of Dedrone. “This multi-layered sensor platform ensures that all organizations, including those under USSOCOM, are provided complete airspace security that is safe from all drone threats.” “ThunderDrone provided us with our first opportunity to simultaneously engage against multiple UAVs with two DroneDefender V2 systems,” shares Alex Morrow, Technical Director of cUAS Programs at Battelle. “Battelle is pleased with another successful demonstration of our DroneDefender V2.” “Echodyne's compact solid-state radar repeatedly demonstrates an unparalleled combination of range, tracking accuracy and value in countering UAS threats,” notes Eben Frankenberg, Echodyne CEO. “We're pleased that our beam steering radar once again contributed its indispensable capabilities as part of the award-winning Team Dedrone solution.” “Discovair's directional acoustics add a near unspoofable layer of super hearing. The ability to deal with drones hinges on detection. In cluttered areas and up against any drone system, even passive ones – Discovair acoustic sensor has proven to shine,” shares Stig Nyvold, CEO of Squarehead Technology. “Discovair's importance as part in the systems of systems has once again been proved. We are very excited to be part of this team and look forward to the future.”

  • How the Navy can lean in to software superiority

    June 26, 2018 | International, Naval, C4ISR

    How the Navy can lean in to software superiority

    Andrew C. Jarocki The Navy needs to take a "hard look” at its digital needs according to a senior Navy software official, especially in technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, or risk vital weapons systems failing on the future battlefield. Attendees of the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit in Washington June 21 heard warnings that obsolete and slow approaches are driving up costs of time and resources for the Navy's newest technologies that interact with one another in combat. "It's really a matter of making System A talk to System B,” said Richard Jack, a lead engineer and project director at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific. “A logistics system that needs to be able to interact with a weapons system.” Software superiority is an important part of the Navy's plan for a global competitive edge, from unmanned underwater vehicles to drones operated from ships. Unless the Navy wants to get an error message at a crucial combat moment, they will have to search outside their own technology labs for the solution to the interoperability challenge, Jack said. “The Navy can't do this alone, as 99 percent of the brain trust is in the cloud service providers and the industry,” Jack stated. He expressed the need to “take advantage” of lessons learned by cloud industry leaders on big data collection and interpreting results to make predictions . Jack suggested accelerating operations with increased cloud computing, creating shared infrastructure to make sure data centers are connected, eliminating duplicative investments across some programs, and further expanding AI and machine learning advancements. The software engineer expressed confidence that learning from cloud service providers will result in the Navy enhancing warfighting abilities, envisioning a cloud to allow instant data sharing “between a weapons system, an airframe, a UAV, and a logistics system” at the same time. Jack also praised cloud computing as important to the “compile to combat” program, in which the Navy is experimenting with ways to deploy new software capabilities to ships at sea in less than 24 hours. While the cloud can “be super fast and super efficient” for accessing large amounts of data anywhere, Jack also promised that it also allows the Navy to “really push the boundaries of machine learning,” even though “we are behind the curve” at the moment. Through “strategic partnerships” with the “Amazons, Googles and IBM Watsons of the world,” Jack promised the Navy could accomplish even more in the areas of AI and machine learning that will dominate warfighting in the era of the cloud.

  • Security and defence cooperation: EU will enhance its capacity to act as a security provider, its strategic autonomy, and its ability to cooperate with partners

    June 26, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Security and defence cooperation: EU will enhance its capacity to act as a security provider, its strategic autonomy, and its ability to cooperate with partners

    Today, foreign affairs ministers and defence ministers discussed the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in the area of security and defence. The Council then adopted conclusions which highlight the significant progress in strengthening cooperation in the area of security and defence and provide further guidance on next steps. Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) The Council adopted today a common set of governance rules for projects within the PESCO framework. The sequencing of the more binding commitments undertaken by member states participating in PESCO is expected to be defined through a Council recommendation, in principle in July 2018. An updated list of PESCO projects and their participants, including a second wave of projects, is expected by November 2018. The general conditions for third state participation in PESCO projects are expected to be set out in a Council decision in principle also in November. Capability development plan and coordinated annual review on defence (CARD) The Council approved the progress catalogue 2018, which provides a military assessment of the prioritised capability shortfalls and high impact capability goals to be achieved in a phased approach. It forms a key contribution to the EU capability development priorities. These priorities are recognised by the Council as a key reference for both member states' and EU defence capability development initiatives. The aim of CARD, for which a trial run is being conducted by the European Defence Agency, is to establish a process which will provide a better overview of national defence spending plans. This would make it easier to address European capability shortfalls and identify new collaborative opportunities, ensuring the most effective and coherent use of defence spending plans. European defence fund The European Defence Fund is one of the key security and defence initiatives by the Commission, reaffirmed in its proposal for the future multiannual financial framework (2021-2027), with a proposed envelope of €13 billion. The European Defence Fund aims to foster innovation and allow economies of scale in defence research and in the industrial development phase by supporting collaborative projects in line with capability priorities identified by Member States within the CFSP framework. This will strengthen the competitiveness of the Union's defence industry. Under the current financial framework, with the same objectives, the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) was agreed by the representatives of the co-legislators on 22 May 2018. The Council welcomes this agreement. The EDIDP should aim at incentivising collaborative development programmes in line with defence capability priorities commonly agreed by EU member states, in particular in the context of the capability development plan. European peace facility The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy proposed the creation of a European Peace Facility in the context of the future multiannual financial framework, an off-EU budget fund devoted to security and defence. The aim of the facility would be: funding the common costs of military operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy (currently covered by the Athena mechanism); contributing to the financing of military peace support operations led by other international actors (currently covered by, for example, the African Peace Facility); and providing support to third states' armed forces to prevent conflicts, build peace and strengthen international security. The Council takes note of the proposal and invites the relevant Council preparatory bodies to take the work forward and present concrete recommendations on the proposed facility. Military mobility The aim of improving military mobility is to address those obstacles which hinder the movement of military equipment and personnel across the EU. The High Representative and the Commission presented a joint communication on improving military mobility in the EU on 10 November 2017 and an action plan on 28 March 2018. The Council welcomes this action plan and calls for its swift implementation. As a first step in this direction, the Council approves the overarching high-level part of the military requirements for military mobility within and beyond the EU. The Council also stresses that improvement in military mobility can only be achieved with the full involvement and commitment of all member states, fully respecting their national sovereignty. The conclusions also touch on other strands of work in the field of EU security and defence, including strengthening civilian CSDP, developing a more strategic approach for EU partnerships on security and defence with third countries, and increasing resilience and bolstering capabilities to counter hybrid threats, including further developing the EU's strategic communication approach together with member states. Background On 14 November 2016, the Council adopted conclusions on implementing the EU Global Strategy in the area of security and defence. These conclusions set out three strategic priorities in this regard: responding to external conflicts and crises, building the capacities of partners, and protecting the European Union and its citizens. Since then, the EU has significantly increased its efforts in the area of security and defence. Progress was noted and further guidance provided through Council conclusions on 6 March 2017, on 18 May 2017 and 13 November 2017. Council conclusions on strengthening civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) were adopted on 28 May 2018. At the same time, the EU has also increased its cooperation with NATO, on the basis of the joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation signed by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and NATO Secretary-General on 8 July 2016 in the margins of the Warsaw summit.

  • Big reveal of UK modernization plan expected in Brussels

    June 26, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Big reveal of UK modernization plan expected in Brussels

    Andrew Chuter LONDON ― The British Ministry of Defence's Modernising Defence Programme, essentially a review of spending and capabilities, should start to see the light of day around the time of the July 11-12 NATO summit in Brussels. British Prime Minister Theresa May could unveil the headline conclusions of the program at the summit, with the details to follow sometime in the future. The fear is that without the government handing the military more money over the next decade, capabilities will be lost and procurement programs abandoned or delayed ― and in some instances, that is already happening. The MoD has been battling for additional cash from the Treasury for months, but with the British government announcing June 18 plans to spend billions of pounds more on health over the next few years, the chances of defense getting any significant boost appears increasingly remote. Instead the MoD will likely have to persevere with efficiency and other cuts to reduce a black hole in the 10-year equipment plan that the National Audit Office, the government's financial watchdog, said earlier this year could be unaffordable to the tune of between £4.9 billion and £20.8 billion (U.S. $5.7 billion and U.S. $24.1 billion). The parliamentary Defence and Public Accounts committees are so worried about “severe“ budgetary pressures that they took the unusual step of jointly writing to the prime minister in early June to voice their concerns. A June 18 report by the Defence Committee said that if the government wants to have the resources to keep the country safe, it “must begin moving the level of defence expenditure back towards 3% [from the current level of 2 percent] of GDP, as it was in the mid-1990s.”

  • The US made the wrong bet on radiofrequency, and now it could pay the price

    June 22, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    The US made the wrong bet on radiofrequency, and now it could pay the price

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON – The Pentagon's belief in its technology drove the Department of Defense to trust it would have control over the electromagnetic spectrum for years to come, but that decision has left America vulnerable to new leaps in technology from China and Russia, according to a top military official. Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has now concluded that the Pentagon needs to ensure it is keeping up with those near-peer nations, let along reestablishing dominance of electronic warfare and networking. “I think we assumed wrongly that encryption and our domination over the precision timing signals would allow us to evade the enemy in the electromagnetic spectrum. I think that was a bad assumption,” Selva said Thursday at the annual Center for a New American Security conference. “It's not that we disarmed, it's that we took a path that they have now figured out,” Selva said. China and Russia instead focused on deploying “digitally managed radio frequency manipulation, which changed the game in electronic warfare.” He added that a DoD study looking at the next decade concluded “We have some work to do.” Specifically, the United States needs to discover what Selva dubbed “alternative pathways” for communications and command and control systems. “It doesn't have to be a [radiofrequency] game. It's an RF game because we choose to make it so. And we're going to have to do some targeted investments in expanding the capacity of the networks that we use for command and control and battle management,” he said. “If we fail to do that, we're going to kick ourselves into the force-counterforce game inside the electromagnetic spectrum for the balance of the next couple of decades. “We have to adapt to that, and adapt quickly. The work has been done to characterize the problem, and the problem is, we're locked in this point-counterpoint fight with two potential competitors who have taken alternative paths. So we have to unlock a different way to do that work.”

  • Top intelligence officials fear U.S. behind in quantum computing, cyber

    June 22, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Top intelligence officials fear U.S. behind in quantum computing, cyber

    By: Justin Lynch The universities and research institutions in the United States focusing on quantum computing are “sub-par,” a top National Security Agency official said June 21. The complaint is among a laundry list of examples, topped by cybersecurity, where American innovation in the intelligence field is struggling, said George Barnes, deputy director at the NSA. “We have to be better at playing the long game,” he said. Barnes added that the Chinese “can play the long game” and “they are taking steps that might not be realized for 20 years.” The warnings, made at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum in Washington, highlighted mistrust between the government and private sector, as well as the structural challenges of supporting innovation. Whether it is quantum computing, space or artificial intelligence, Robert Cardillo, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency worried that “the moment will be too late” for American innovation. Experts say that when quantum computers are fully operational, they will upend the use of password-protected systems, artificial intelligence and other areas of information technology. “Whoever achieves quantum first, everything they are doing and have been doing is irrelevant,” Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said. He added the United States needs to treat quantum the way it treated the Y2K crisis, where the government “spent billions of dollars and spent a decade preparing ... We need to be the leader.” Hurd said that he supports a recently proposed bill from Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, that aims to “accelerate quantum research and development.” But the intelligence officials at the forum said that the very nature of American government that prioritizes short-term gains may harm innovation. With their centralized five-year plans, China does not have the potential sequesters and fluctuating budgets that are features of the U.S. government. Rob Joyce, the newly installed senior adviser at the NSA, said that government needs to give “more people the license to fail.” He said that while the agency doesn't want to squander taxpayer money, “oversight regulation” does not encourage innovation. Joyce said that the agency needs to boost partnerships with the banking industry, power companies and other areas of critical infrastructure because government has moved to a “support” role. “We are not the finishers now,” Joyce said. Asked what the most important emerging threat was for the NSA, Barnes answered with one word: “Cybersecurity.” “The attack surface is broad and the solution requires government and the public sector together,”Barnes added. Barnes said that that agency is not used to working with the private sector however, and it harms cybersecurity. “Trust is an issue.”

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