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  • US defense industry pushes back on White House’s proposed $33B budget cut

    November 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    US defense industry pushes back on White House’s proposed $33B budget cut

    By: Joe Gould and Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — The American defense industry is warning that defense cuts proposed by the Trump administration could undermine the Pentagon's efforts to modernize the military and address threats from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and transnational terrorism. The Aerospace Industries Association, with the weight of the country's large and small defense firms behind it, issued a statement Thursday warning President Donald Trump and Congress “to provide steady and stable growth in defense spending in the fiscal year 2020 budget request and beyond” if they want to be able to meet those threats. The message comes as Democrats — expected to prioritize domestic spending and question record defense increases — won the House this week, and after White House budget director Mick Mulvaney ordered the Pentagon to prepare for a $700 billion national defense budget proposal for fiscal 2020. (For comparison's sake, the Pentagon is also continuing to prep the $733 billion budget it was expecting.) AIA argued in its statement that the last two years of budget growth have helped the Department of Defense and industry turn things around after years of war and budget instability, but not entirely. “As a result, military readiness is improving, and our industry is responding with more innovation and advanced capabilities,” the statement reads. “But the shortfalls of the last decade cannot be erased in the space of two years, and now the Administration has announced potential reductions in defense investment that could undermine the improvements that are just now materializing.” Last year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testified that the Pentagon needed 3 to 5 percent annual growth above inflation through 2023 to stay ahead of near-peer adversaries Russia and China. Congress responded with a $700 billion national defense budget for 2018 and $716 billion for 2019 — but also a $1 trillion tax cut that's grown the national deficit. National security adviser John Bolton said publicly, days before Tuesday's election, that the national debt is “an existential threat to society” and that Pentagon spending will have to “flatten out” in the near term. Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan had signaled in recent weeks that modernization programs like hypersonic weapons systems would take a hit if the budget falls. “It comes down to a judgment call, how fast do we modernize? And that's probably the biggest knob that we have to turn,” he said. Along similar lines, AIA argued that to achieve the Pentagon's National Defense Strategy — which "requires armed forces that are large and capable enough to meet multiple threats in multiple environments” — “we must continue to invest in the most effective technology and weapons we can provide.” “America's competitors and adversaries have made huge strides in their offensive and defensive capabilities, from submarines to cyberspace, and continue to develop advanced technology and sophisticated operational concepts,” the statement warns. Though it's unclear how sensitive the administration will be to this call, it has been vocal about its focus on the defense-industrial base in concert with Trump's emphasis on the American economy. A Trump-ordered study found roughly 300 gaps and vulnerabilities across America's network of defense suppliers; Pentagon officials are hopeful a third of those issues will be addressed in the next year. Whatever the administration does with its budget submission, it will be up to the new Congress to tweak it. Following the midterm elections, analysts have predictedlawmakers in next year's divided government will overcome gridlock to reach a budget deal that maintains flat defense spending. https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2018/11/08/us-defense-industry-pushes-back-on-white-houses-proposed-33b-budget-cut

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 8, 2018

    November 9, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 8, 2018

    AIR FORCE Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded a $255,418,494 firm-fixed-price contract modification (P00008) to previously awarded contract FA8810-18-C-0002 for the Weather System Follow-on Microwave. This contract modification provides for the exercise of an option for development and fabrication of the Weather System Follow-on Microwave Space Vehicle 1. Work will be performed in Boulder, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 15, 2023. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds are being obligated at the time of award. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $349,552,413. The Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity. Crew Training International Inc., Memphis, Tennessee, has been awarded a $241,410,854 firm-fixed-price contract for the MQ-9 Contract Aircrew Training and Courseware Development training program. Work will be performed at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada; Holloman AFB, New Mexico; March Air Reserve Base, California; Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, New York, and other locations that may be required in the future in accordance with the performance work statement. Work is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2023. This award is a result of a competitive acquisition and eight offers were received. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $1,006,536 are being obligated at time of award for the phase-in period. Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Join Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, is the contracting activity (FA4890-19-C-0003). (Awarded Nov. 7, 2018) UNKS Construction, Las Vegas, Nevada (FA4686-19-D-A001); Trinity North Star Construction JV, Plumas Lake, California (FA4686-19-D-A002); Hesperia Construction Co., Pleasanton, California (FA4686-19-D-A003); Utility Construction, Mesa, Arizona (FA4686-19-D-A004); Atwood Hay Inc., Beale Air Force Base, California (FA4686-19-D-A005); Synergy Electric Co. Inc., Santee, California (FA4686-19-D-A006); Tri-Technic Inc., Sonora, California (FA4686-19-D-A007); and Nomlaki Technologies, Yuba City, California (FA4686-19-D-A008), have been awarded a not-to-exceed $93,000,000 firm-fixed-price, multiple-award, electric-construction, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Task orders will provide the execution of a broad range of projects, including, but not limited to, construction, repair, replacement and installation of various electrical distribution components. Work will be performed at Beale AFB, California, and is expected to be completed November 8, 2023. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and 10 offers were received. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $16,000 ($2,000 for each awardee) are being obligated at the time of award. The 9th Contracting Squadron, Beale AFB, California, is the contracting activity. ARMY Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC, West Hartford, Connecticut, was awarded an $88,607,109 modification (P00008) to contract W15QKN-15-D-0102 for M4 and M4A1 carbines. Work will be performed in West Hartford, Connecticut, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 25, 2020. Fiscal 2019 and 2020 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $88,607,109 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, New Jersey, is the contracting activity. FN America LLC, Columbia, South Carolina, was awarded an $88,607,109 modification (P00009) to contract W15QKN-15-D-0072 for M4 and M4A1 carbines. Work will be performed in Columbia, South Carolina, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 25, 2020. Fiscal 2019 and 2020 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $88,607,709 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, New Jersey, is the contracting activity. Deloitte & Touche LLP, Arlington, Virginia, was awarded an $18,056,941 firm-fixed-price contract to provide a cyberspace analytics capability. Twenty-eight bids were solicited with four received. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 7, 2023. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $1,250,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity (W52P1J-19-C-0004). Parsons Government Services Inc., Pasadena, California, was awarded a $15,837,195 firm-fixed-price contract to provide Defensive Cyberspace Operations Mission Planning program. Nineteen bids were solicited with seven received. Work will be performed in Centerville, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 7, 2019. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $1,000,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity (W52P1J-19-C-0005). Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. LLC, Oak Brook, Illinois, was awarded a $10,779,850 firm-fixed-price contract for maintenance dredging. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Mayport, Florida, with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2019. Fiscal 2019 other funds in the amount of $10,779,850 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville, Florida, is the contracting activity (W912EP-19-C-0002). IronMountain Solutions Inc.,* Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded a $9,000,081 Foreign Military Sales (Brazil, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Slovakia, Sweden, Tunisia, Thailand and United Arab Emirates) modification (000024) to contract W31P4Q-17-A-0001 for support services for non-AMRDEC technical support for the Utility Helicopter Project Office. Bids were solicited via the internet with three bids received. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of May 14, 2019. Fiscal 2018 foreign military sales; research, development, test and evaluation; and other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $9,000,081 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. Longbow LLC, Orlando, Florida, was awarded an $8,973,759 modification (P00073) to contract W31P4Q-16-C-0035 for laser and longbow HELLFIRE engineering services. Work will be performed in Orlando and Ocala, Florida, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 7, 2019. Fiscal 2018 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $8,973,759 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Arizona, is being awarded a $74,847,815 sole-source, cost-plus-incentive-fee modification (P00049) to contract HQ0276-15-C-0003. This modification award is for the execution of the Guidance Electronics Unit (GEU) Phase III procurement under the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA contract. Congress was notified of the Phase II procurement in December 2016. Under this contract, the contractor will continue efforts for qualification, test and integration of the enhanced GEU capability to the SM-3 Block IIA missile. The modification brings the total face value of the SM-3 BLK IIA contract to $1,192,183,647 from $1,117,335,832. The work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, with an expected Phase III completion date of Sept. 30, 2020. The performance period is from Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, 2020. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $1,000,000 will be obligated at the time of award. The Missile Defense Agency, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity (HQ0276-15-C-0003). DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY General Dynamics Land Systems Inc., Sterling Heights, Michigan, has been awarded a maximum $12,243,227 firm-fixed-price contract for tank periscope head assemblies with storage containers for the M1A1 Abrams tank. This is a one-year base contract with one 180-day option period being exercised at time of award. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. Locations of performance are South Carolina and Michigan, with a Dec. 15, 2022, performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2022 Army working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Warren, Michigan (SPRDL1-18-C-0317). Knox County Association for Retarded Citizens,** Vincennes, Indiana, has been awarded a $8,999,635 modification (P0002) exercising the first option period of a one-year base contract (SPE1C1-18-D-N024) with two one-year option periods for undershirts. This is a firm-fixed-price contract. Location of performance is Indiana, with a Nov. 12, 2019, performance completion date. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Central Power Systems & Services Inc.,* Liberty, Missouri, has been awarded a maximum $7,240,000 firm-fixed-price contract for diesel engines. This is a three-year contract with no option periods. This was an acquisition permitting other than full and open competition for manufacturer parts with two responses received, using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. Location of performance is Missouri, with a Nov. 8, 2021, performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2021 Army working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Warren, Michigan (SPRDL1-19-D-0012). NAVY DRS Laurel Technologies, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is awarded $8,608,626 for firm-fixed-price delivery order N0002419F5601 under previously-awarded contract N00024-15-D-5201 for 18 Technical Insertion (TI) 16 Common Processing System (CPS) water-cooled core computing system production cabinets and six TI-16 CPS water-cooled advanced storage area network production cabinets. The CPS provides the computer processing and memory, data storage and extraction and input/output interfaces to support host software applications of Navy combat systems. This delivery order involves foreign military sales to the Republic of Korea. Work will be performed in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and is expected to be completed by December 2019. Foreign military sales funding in the amount of $8,608,626 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity. *Small business **Mandatory source https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1686733/source/GovDelivery/

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 7, 2018

    November 8, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 7, 2018

    ARMY Aegis Defense Services LLC, McLean, Virginia (W52P1J-19-D-0001); Janus Global Operations LLC, Lenoir City, Tennessee (W52P1J-19-D-0002); Reed International Inc., Leesburg, Virginia (W52P1J-19-D-0003); Sallyport Global Services, Reston, Virginia (W52P1J-19-D-0004); and Triple Canopy Inc., Reston, Virginia (W52P1J-19-D-0005), will compete for each order of the $4,000,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for security support services. Bids were solicited via the internet with seven received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 1, 2024. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity. DRS Network & Imaging Systems LLC, Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded a $129,209,418 cost-plus-fixed-fee Foreign Military Sales (Australia, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq Morocco and Saudi Arabia) contract for system technical support services, system sustainment technical support services, and post production software support services for the Direct Support Electrical System Test Set, embedded diagnostics, software loader/verifier, combined application platform and power and diagnostics services. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 6, 2023. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-19-D-0009). DMCA Inc.,* Arlington, Virginia (W91278-19-D-0001); Doyon Project Services LLC,* Federal Way, Washington (W91278-19-D-0002); Facility Services Management Inc.,* Clarksville, Tennessee (W91278-19-D-0003); Herman Construction Group Inc.,* Escondido, California (W91278-19-D-0004); LEGO Construction Co.,* Miami, Florida (W91278-19-D-0005); Royce Construction Services LLC,* Reston, Virginia (W91278-19-D-0006); and T&C Services LLC,* Anchorage, Alaska (W91278-19-D-0007), will compete for each order of the $49,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for medical facility repair and minor construction. Bids were solicited via the internet with eight received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2023. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Alabama, is the contracting activity. Oshkosh Defense LLC, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded an $11,981,727 modification (P00137) to contract W56HZV-15-C-0095 for Revision One to Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Retrofit Work Directive. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 13, 2019. Fiscal 2018 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $11,981,727 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity. Kipper Tool Co., Gainesville, Georgia, was awarded a $10,419,853 firm-fixed-price contract for hydraulic, electric, pneumatic operated equipment. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in Gainesville, Georgia, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 27, 2019. Fiscal 2017 National Guard and Reserve Equipment Appropriation funds in the amount of $10,419,853 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-19-F-0051). AIR FORCE The Boeing Co., Heath, Ohio, has been awarded an $18,491,168, requirements task order for guidance and navigation system repairs for multiple aircraft platforms. Work will be performed in Heath, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 29, 2019. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2019 working capital funds in the amount of $18,491,168, are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity (FA8117-15-F-0030). Materials Engineering and Technical Support Services, Westerville, Ohio, has been awarded a $9,750,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for research, development, test and evaluation of methods and technologies to mitigate chemical and biological threat hazards. This contract provides for literature, policy, and technology reviews; laboratory and field studies; and modeling and simulation activities to further expand the understanding of the impact of chemical and biological threat agents. Work will be performed in Westerville, Ohio; and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and expected to be completed by Nov. 7, 2024. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and one offer was received. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Fiscal 2018, research, development, test and evaluation funds will be obligated on the initial task order. Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-19-D-6993). L-3 Communications, Greenville, Texas, has been awarded a $7,298,360 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to contract FA8620-11-G-4026 for advanced engineering services. The contract modification is for additional engineering efforts. Work will be performed in Greenville, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2019. This contract involves 100 percent foreign military sales (FMS). This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. FMS funds in the amount of $7,298,360 are being obligated at the time of award. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $59,019,376. The 645th Aeronautical Systems Group, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. NAVY Canadian Commercial Corp., Ontario, Canada, is awarded a $9,999,999 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the refurbishment and manufacturing of the TR-343 transducer tube assemblies in support of the repair of TR-343 sonar transducers. The transducer tube assemblies are a critical component of the TR-343 transducer used in the AN/SQS-53C hull-mounted sonar array subsystem for the AN/SQQ-89(V) acoustic sonar weapons system. Work will be performed in Toronto, Canada, and is expected to be completed by November 2023. Fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); and fiscal 2019 working capital fund funding in the amount of $1,127,528 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured through the Federal Business Opportunities website, with two offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N0016419DGP35). *Small Business https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1685262/source/GovDelivery/

  • DARPA Names Potential Sites for Launch Challenge, Eighteen Teams Prequalify

    November 7, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    DARPA Names Potential Sites for Launch Challenge, Eighteen Teams Prequalify

    Teams focus on qualification phase in challenge aimed at launching small payloads on short notice OUTREACH@DARPA.MIL 11/6/2018 DARPA has narrowed the potential launch locations for the DARPA Launch Challenge to eight, with options for both vertical and horizontal launch. The challenge will culminate in late 2019 with two separate launches to low Earth orbit within weeks of each other from two different sites. Competitors will receive information about the final launch sites, payloads, and targeted orbit in the weeks prior to each launch. The potential sites are spread across the United States: California Spaceport, Vandenberg Air Force Base Cape Canaveral Spaceport, Florida Cecil Spaceport, Jacksonville, Florida Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Wallops Island, Virginia Mojave Air and Space Port, California Naval Outlying Field, San Nicolas Island, California Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska, Kodiak Spaceport America, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico Eighteen teams have prequalified to participate in the challenge, passing the first hurdle in the milestone process by proposing a viable solution for flexible and responsive launch. The diverse pool of applicants reflects the growth of the small commercial launch industry, and its potential to support emerging national security needs. “Response from teams with different ways of achieving flexible and responsive launch solutions on short notice has been tremendous,” said Todd Master, program manager for the Launch Challenge in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office. “The different approaches to technologies used, launch requirements, fuel use, and teaming are a testament to the evolving space community.” To successfully pass the qualification phase, potential competitors must complete three discrete applications. Potential competitors submitted pre-qualification applications in mid-October, and the DARPA Launch Challenge application is due by Nov. 30. Teams also must submit and receive acceptance of an FAA license application by Feb. 1, 2019. The complexity of commercial space transportation regulations can present challenges for both new and experienced applicants. Teams are encouraged to consult with the FAA well in advance of submitting a launch license application to reduce programmatic risk by identifying and addressing potential regulatory questions or issues. If teams successfully complete all three steps, they will qualify for the launch phase and receive an initial $400,000 cash prize. Teams successfully completing the first launch will receive a $2 million prize. For a successful second launch, prizes of $10 million, $9 million and $8 million are available for the top three teams respectively, ranked by factors including mass, time to orbit, and orbit accuracy. https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2018-11-06

  • Bringing Photonic Signaling to Digital Microelectronics

    November 7, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Bringing Photonic Signaling to Digital Microelectronics

    DARPA program seeks to unleash the performance of modern multi-chip modules by integrating optical signaling at the chip-level OUTREACH@DARPA.MIL 11/1/2018 Parallelism – or the act of several processors simultaneously executing on an application or computation – has been increasingly embraced by the microelectronics industry as a way of sustaining demand for increased system performance. Today, parallel computing architectures have become pervasive across all application domains and system scales – from multicore processing units in consumer devices to high-performance computing in DoD systems. However, the performance gains from parallelism are increasingly constrained not by the computational limits of individual nodes, but rather by the movement of data between them. When residing on modern multi-chip modules (MCMs), these nodes rely on electrical links for short-reach connectivity, but once systems scale to the circuit board level and beyond, the performance of electrical links rapidly degrades, requiring large amounts of energy to move data between integrated circuits. Expanding the use of optical rather than electrical components for data transfer could help significantly reduce energy consumption while increasing data capacity, enabling the advancement of massive parallelism. “Today, microelectronic systems are severely constrained by the high cost of data movement, whether measured in terms of energy, footprint, or latency,” said Dr. Gordon Keeler, program manager in DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office (MTO). “Efficient photonic signaling offers a path to disruptive system scalability because it eliminates the need to keep data local, and it promises to impact data-intensive applications, including machine learning, large scale emulation, and advanced sensors.” Photonic transceiver modules already enable optical signaling over long distances with high bandwidth and minimal loss using optical fiber. Bottlenecks result, however, when data moves between optical transceivers and advanced integrated circuits in the electrical domain, which significantly limits performance. Integrating photonic solutions into the microelectronics package would remove this limitation and enable new levels of parallel computing. A new DARPA program, the Photonics in the Package for Extreme Scalability (PIPES) program, seeks to enable future system scalability by developing high-bandwidth optical signaling technologies for digital microelectronics. Working across three technical areas, PIPES aims to develop and embed integrated optical transceiver capabilities into cutting-edge MCMs and create advanced optical packaging and switching technologies to address the data movement demands of highly parallel systems. The efficient, high-bandwidth, package-level photonic signaling developed through PIPES will be important to a number of emerging applications for both the commercial and defense sectors. The first technical area of the PIPES program is focused on the development of high-performance optical input/output (I/O) technologies packaged with advanced integrated circuits (ICs), including field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), graphics processing units (GPUs), and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). Beyond technology development, the program seeks to facilitate a domestic ecosystem to support wider deployment of resulting technologies and broaden their impact. Projections of historic scaling trends predict the need for enormous improvements in bandwidth density and energy consumption to accommodate future microelectronics I/O. To help address this challenge, the second technical area will investigate novel component technologies and advanced link concepts for disruptive approaches to highly scalable, in-package optical I/O for unprecedented throughput. The successful development of package-level photonic I/O from PIPES' first two technical areas will create new challenges for systems architects. The development of massively interconnected networks with distributed parallelism will create hundreds to thousands of nodes that will be exceedingly difficult to manage. To help address this complexity, the third technical area of the PIPES program will focus on the creation of low-loss optical packaging approaches to enable high channel density and port counts, as well as reconfigurable, low-power optical switching technologies. A full description of the program is available in the Broad Agency Announcement. For more information, please visit: https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/HR001119S0004/listing.html https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2018-11-01

  • David J. Bercuson: Why Japan is building its military, fast

    November 7, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    David J. Bercuson: Why Japan is building its military, fast

    David J. Bercuson With 18 diesel electric submarines, four so-called “helicopter destroyers” that look suspiciously like small aircraft carriers, 43 destroyers and destroyer escorts, 25 minesweepers and training ships, fleet oilers, submarine rescue ships and other vessels, Japan's navy — the Maritime Self-Defense Force — is the second largest in Asia and one of the largest in the world. It is also highly advanced technologically and is growing all the time. The two 27,000 ton Izumo-class helicopter destroyers, the largest in the fleet, with flat flight decks and islands on the starboard side of the vessels, are small compared to the United States Navy's Nimitz-class aircraft carriers (approximately 100,000 tons) or Britain's new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers (65,000 tons). But if equipped with the new short-take-off-and-vertical-landing F-35B stealth fighter they will still pack a powerful punch. And Japan is considering adding more of these aircraft carriers to its fleet and advanced U.S.-style Aegis class destroyers, capable of shooting down medium-range ballistic missiles. The irony in all of this is that Japan's post Second World War constitution still contains a provision — Article 9 — that prohibits it from possessing any offensive military capability. In the early 1950s, Japan began to build its self-defence forces and now has a powerful navy, a modern medium-sized air force that will soon fly the F-35 along with specially built F-15s, alongside more than 300 fighter aircraft and 50,000 personnel, and a growing land army and marine sea landing capability. Are these military assets “defensive” in nature? Partly, but aircraft carriers, high-speed destroyers, modern fighter aircraft and assault ships are surely as offensive as they are defensive. And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it plain that in less than two years, he intends to seek to change the Japanese constitution to drastically curtail any obligation Japan has to maintain a purely defensive capability. In other words, he will ask the Japanese people and legislature to bless what Japan has already done. That could be more problematic than people realize. Like Germany, Japan suffered greatly in the Second World War. Virtually all its great cities were levelled either with atomic bombs (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) or fire raids that were carried out by giant B-29 bombers at low altitude at night. The attacks burned the heart out of Japan's cities. In March 1945, 100,000 people were killed in one night in a fire raid on Tokyo and many acres of the city were burned to the ground. Submarine blockades of Japan drastically curtailed food and fuel supplies. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers were killed either in the United States' march across the Pacific or in the Russian invasion of Manchuria near the end of the war. Japan was a prostrate nation by the end of 1945 and its ancient system of government was a shambles. Full article: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/david-j-bercuson-why-japan-is-building-its-military-fast

  • Defence Minister hails UK-US transatlantic partnership

    November 7, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Defence Minister hails UK-US transatlantic partnership

    From: Ministry of Defence and Stuart Andrew MP Defence Minister Stuart Andrew was in Washington today to discuss the enduring UK-US defence present and future relationship and met with some of the biggest players in the US defence industry. As part of the visit, the Minister met with the US Navy Under Secretary Thomas Modly and US Army Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy to discuss bilateral capability priorities and future areas of collaboration between the two armed forces. This came as the Minister addressed the Heritage Foundation think-tank, where he highlighted the threats that both nations face and emphasised the vital role of Nato and the need for long-term planning and the depth of UK-US collaboration. Addressing the Heritage Foundation, Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: Over the years, the deep UK-US alliance has endured through two World conflicts, the chill of the Cold War, and the continuing struggle against extremist terror. Today our forces work highly effectively together across the globe – on land and sea, in the air, space and cyberspace. We are stronger together. Just as our Armed Forces' capabilities are effectively inter-twined, so too are our industries. We are now moving even nearer the goal of full interoperability, leveraging the talent, strength and innovation of both our Defence industries to meet the challenges of the future. In a move to reinforce stronger industrial partnerships, the Minister also met with the headliners in the American defence industry, meeting with likes of Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics. The UK and US are the biggest overseas suppliers to each other's militaries and have worked closely on numerous key projects. The most prominent of these is the F-35 fighter jet programme, with the aircraft now embarked for flight trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth as she sailed into New York just last month. Other recent examples of collaboration are the Unmanned Air Systems programme and a Common Missile Compartment for UK-US Ballistic Missile Submarines. Both nations also play leading roles in Nato, which is vital to the transatlantic partnership and have been calling for other nations to invest more in security and to increase the readiness of their forces. By the end of 2018, eight members will be meeting the commitment of spending 2% of their GDP on defence compared with just three in 2014. In further display of solidarity, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson recently announced that the Red Arrows are set to carry out their largest ever tour of North America in 2019 as the UK looks to strengthen ties and sign trade deals outside of Europe. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/defence-minister-hails-uk-us-transatlantic-partnership

  • Ce qu’est l’Europe de la défense. Ce qu’elle n’est pas

    November 7, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Ce qu’est l’Europe de la défense. Ce qu’elle n’est pas

    (B2) Alors que le serpent de mer de l'armée européenne ressurgit par la gr'ce d'Emmanuel Macron (*), il n'est pas inutile de revenir sur terre. Ce qui existe aujourd'hui ... et ce qui n'existe pas en matière de défense au niveau européen. La réalité inscrite dans les Traités européens actuels est la politique (européenne) de sécurité et de défense commune (PeSDC). Ou en langage commun, l'Europe de la défense. Elle n'est cependant pas comparable à ce qui se définit au plan national comme une politique de défense. Que ce soit dans le langage des pro ou des anti-intégrations européennes, cet aspect est bien souvent gommé. Or, il est primordial d'avoir une vue ‘honnête' et ‘objective' de la situation actuelle. Une politique nationale de défense D'un point de vue national, une politique de défense se définit tout d'abord par une autorité qui imprime sa marque et un circuit décisionnel court (comme en France avec un président de la république acteur principal) ou plus long (comme en Allemagne avec une décision du gouvernement, une approbation du parlement). Elle répond à une stratégie de défense, qui est élaborée par strates successives, en répondant à des antécédents historiques et une logique politique. Elle se développe ensuite dans un budget d'investissement d'une armée, des équipements militaires, des troupes, une logique d'action et une légitimité dans l'opinion publique qui accepte, plus ou moins, un engagement militaire intérieur ou extérieur, à risque ou non. L'Europe de la défense : un projet politique L'Europe de la défense est tout d'abord un projet politique, qui vise à affirmer la place de l'Europe dans le monde, au service d'une politique étrangère. Elle ne consiste pas ainsi à assurer la défense du territoire ni la protection des citoyens (malgré les déclarations politiques en ce sens). Elle ne procède que d'une coordination des efforts des États membres. Son circuit décisionnel repose ainsi toujours, à toutes les étapes, de l'initiative à l'approbation puis au commandement et au contrôle, sur un accord de tous les États membres, de façon collégiale. Mettre tout le monde d'accord au même moment sur un enjeu commun est un véritable ‘challenge'. Elle a comme objectif unique d'avoir une capacité d'intervention, limitée, dans des missions ou opérations de paix ou de consolidation de l'état de droit. Elle n'est pas ainsi une force d'intervention tout azimut, n'a pas de commandement militaire direct (national) ou intégré (comme l'OTAN), ni de troupes ou de forces disponibles en permanence ni en propre. Elle ne peut intervenir qu'à l'extérieur des frontières, avec le consentement des États concernés (ou au moins de leurs gouvernements) et de la communauté internationale. On est ainsi très loin des ‘fondamentaux' d'une armée européenne. Quand on met face à face ainsi les principes d'une défense nationale et ceux de l'Europe de la défense, il est inévitable que la seconde soit moins efficace que la première. On peut considérer qu'il s'agit d'une faiblesse temporaire, due aux personnalités politiques du moment. Ce peut être le cas parfois. Mais il ne faut pas minorer les faiblesses structurelles dû à un fait principal : l'Europe n'est pas un État mais une structure juridique et économique de concertation et de coopération avant tout. Si on veut donner un aperçu plus mathématique, j'ai évalué, sous forme d'une note — sur une échelle de 0 à 3 — quels points remplit l'Union européenne, une fois mis en place tous les projets évoqués ces derniers temps. On va ainsi d'une note de 0 à 3 selon les thèmes : de 0 pour les équipements et les forces disponibles à 2 pour le budget de recherche, en passant par le mode de décision et le consensus politique que je cote à 1 sur 3. Article complet: https://www.bruxelles2.eu/2018/11/07/ce-quest-leurope-de-la-defense-ce-quelle-nest-pas/

  • The chief of naval research on AI: ‘If we don’t all dogpile on this thing, were going to find ourselves behind’

    November 7, 2018 | International, Naval, C4ISR

    The chief of naval research on AI: ‘If we don’t all dogpile on this thing, were going to find ourselves behind’

    By: Jill Aitoro Most of us are comfortable with Suri, or Alexa, or “Hey, Google.” But many will tell you artificial intelligence and autonomy in the context of military operations is a whole a different animal. That said, if you ask Rear Admiral David Hahn, one factor remains the same: the need for trust. Understand the algorithm and the consequences, he argues, but then relinquish (some) control. He shared his vision of AI in the military in an interview following the Defense News Conference in September. Much of the discussion around artificial intelligence and autonomy involves the proper role of machine versus human. Where do you stand? We're at an inflection point for what technology will allow us to do. For artificial intelligence that could be brought to bear in the military context, there has been anexpectation that the human is always going to be in control. But as the sophistication of these algorithms and the sophistication of the application of the tools now out there mature, and are brought into the operational space, we need to get at a place of trust. [We need trust] between the algorithm, what's behind that curtain, and our ability as the humans to agree that the decision or the space that it's going to operate in – the context in which its making that decision – is understood by us. And that more and more is going to have to happen at machine speed, because when machines are interacting with machines, we're going to have to comfortably move from a human in the loop to a human on the loop. That doesn't mean it's an unsupervised act; it means we understand it well enough to trust it. So, there is relinquishing of control? There is, but there are clearly pieces of our system today where we do that. That happens when you let your car park itself – you relinquish that control and trust that the machine is not going to run into the grocery cart behind you or the car next to you. That's already part of the conversation. And as we get more used to machines performing, and performing accurately over and over and over, our ability to trust these machines [increases], if we understand the algorithm and the consequence. It's not ‘I just ran into a shopping cart' if the consequence we're talking about is the release of weapons, or something along those lines; but we've gotten to the point where we're comfortable [because of our understanding of the technology]. We had similar conversations in recent years on cybersecurity, in terms of confidence in the technology, whether we could be sure networks are properly protected, and accepting a degree of risk. Has progress there helped with progress in AI? I think it's helping and it will continue to drive us toward this human-machine teaming environment that we all see coming. There are clearly pieces of our system that make us uncomfortable. But we see more and more, that if we don't take the action to allow it to occur, we might as well have not even created the tool. It's a shift in culture, beyond policy. Is that happening yet? Or is it too soon to expect that? I don't think we're too early, and I think it's happening. And it's going to be one of those things where we didn't know it was happening, then we find ourselves there. Ten years ago, the App Store opened. Can you imagine a world without the App Store and what that's enabled you to do in your daily life with your smartphone? The young people today are almost at a point where there was never a world without a smartphone, there was never a world without an App Store. If you start at that point, this is not a big leap. It's happening around us, and we just need to find a way to keep up. Looking ahead, 5 or 10 years, how do you see AI being used in an operational capacity? The limiting factor is not going to be the tools. To borrow a phrase, the ‘democratization' of the tools that are associated with developing AI capabilities will allow anybody to work on the data. Our challenge will be whether we have harnessed our own data and done it in a way where we can make the connections between relevant data sets to optimize the mission effect we could get by applying those tools available to everybody. That's our challenge. And it's a challenge we'll need to figure out within each service, amongst the services in the joint environment, from that joint environment into the same space with partners and allies, from the DoD or military into the industrial base, all while moving seamlessly across academia, and [keeping in mind how] the commercial industry plays. If we don't all dogpile on this thing, were going to find ourselves behind in this great power competition in a very important space. So, establish a playbook so to speak? And recognize that as soon as we've established that playbook, it will change. https://www.c4isrnet.com/it-networks/2018/11/06/the-chief-of-naval-research-on-ai-if-we-dont-all-dogpile-on-this-thing-were-going-to-find-ourselves-behind

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