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  • The Army wants a better way to update software, buy smarter

    June 15, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    The Army wants a better way to update software, buy smarter

    By: Mark Pomerleau The Army is holding what it calls software solariums as a way to improve the business side of the service's multi-billion software efforts during the life of programs. “Software has become both a critically important element to readiness and a critically under-managed element of our capability portfolio,” Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, commander of Communications and Electronics Command, said at the event held May 22-23. “Cohesive software management is a necessary enabler to maintaining overmatch in the multi-domain battle.” Providing software updates to units in austere field locations can be challenging. Prolonging such updates can make the systems they run on vulnerable. The Army has sought to develop new and innovative ways for automated software updates to these units. As the Army is also undergoing major IT modernization, both to its tactical and enterprise networks, software becomes a critical enabler in that future end state. “I believe that we are literally in the midst of the largest modernization of our networks,” Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the Army CIO who began the software solariums as commander of CECOM, said at the recent event. “And that's all of our networks, from the tactical to the enterprise, to the business to the intelligence systems in the last 30 years.” With these modernization efforts, the Army realizes it must be better stewards of overall software costs. “We've got to be more holistic on how we approach this, especially when you consider that we, the U.S. taxpayer, spend 55 to 70 percent of a program's lifecycle on that post-acquisition and post-operations sustainment. That's a pretty big bill,” Taylor said. During a March conference, Crawford noted the service spends about $3 billion over a five year period on enterprise software sustainment. The previous solariums, officials said, have included new patching solutions and a goal to have no more than two fielded software baselines at any one time for all programs of record. Army leaders said CECOM will coordinate with stakeholders to finalize recommendations in the coming months. Those goals then will be submitted to the Army level Information Technology Oversight Council for approval and implementation.

  • Make room NATO ― the EU is planting its flag in cyber

    June 14, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Make room NATO ― the EU is planting its flag in cyber

    WASHINGTON — European military and staff planners from Belgium to Bulgaria gathered this week in Austria to take part in Cyber Phalanx 2018. The exercise, which involved 27 nations, aimed to strengthen European readiness against cyberattacks, with a special focus on “cyber defense decision-making and planning processes,” according to the European Defense Agency announcement. The heads of Britain and Germany's domestic intelligence agencies joined European Union officials to warn of an expanded use of cyber to undermine democratic processes by Russia. Countries like Finland have identified cyber espionage as a top threat to the survival of national technology companies. While the EU has organized little in the way of cyber exercises, the Cyber Phalanx exercise won't be the first among European allies to focus on cyber readiness and training. NATO has taken the lead in preparing member nations for cyber threats, organizing exercises like Crossed Swords for members to gain experience with cyber-kinetic operations involving drones and 5G networks. The alliance also recently declared success at its Locked Shields exercise after NATO cyber specialists defended a theoretical country's electric power grid, communication networks and other critical infrastructure from thousands of cyberattacks. NATO has also led the EU in discussions of a response to a cyberattack, even raising the possibility of treating a digital transgression as an act of war. Now, the issue may be warranting more attention from European organizations. Hosted by the EDA and the Multinational Capability Development Campaign (MCDC), Cyber Phalanx seeks to help the participants from various nations familiarize themselves with existing European online structures and their respective roles as cyber stakeholders. As governments around the world contemplate how to recognize the next threat to their networks, the exercises in Austria also will hopefully “increase interoperability” among experts and governments in Europe. Planners will also be prepared to address previously overlooked aspects of cyberwarfare, such as fake news or social media that might be used to compromise planning or execution. As the pilot Cyber Phalanx, the exercises will draw on the feedback received from participants, trainers and organizers to adapt the course and improve the concept for future iterations. The exercises concluded June 8, with lessons learned incorporated into the training curriculum for future European cyber experts.

  • House wants better tech at the Air Force’s space ops center

    June 14, 2018 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    House wants better tech at the Air Force’s space ops center

    The U.S. House of Representatives issued a rebuke to the Air Force's long-awaited space object tracking system in the annual defense authorization bill, which passed May 24. An amendment to the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act restricted all funding to theAir Force's Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) Mission System (JMS) until the Pentagon can show Congress that the program's contract embraces “best-in-breed” technology to fill gaps in current space situational capabilities. The White House objected to the decision from Congress, arguing that excessive oversight will impose a burden on the Air Force, further delaying the already time strained program. “This provision will add additional cost and schedule to [JMS] and delay delivery of a critical space situational awareness capability to the warfighter,” administration officials said in a statement. A final version of the bill must pass both chambers of Congress. The Government Accountability Office released a report May 24 detailing the continued setbacks of the second increment of JSpOC JMS. The report says the program has been delayed by two years and 11 months and attributed the slip to the $18.9 million in funding reductions through fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The GAO has said the total cost of the second increment of the program is about $320 million. The JMS will replace the Air Force's Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC), a system long begrudged by officials as dilapidated and difficult to maintain. Gen. John Hyten, the former head of Air Force Space Command, once described the legacy system as “that ancient engine that can't take data from anywhere unless it's one of ours.” Despite continued calls for system upgrades, the new system is currently scheduled to be launched in June 2019, almost three years later than its original schedule date of July 2016. In the GAO's analysis of the program, the congressional watchdog was unable to obtain performance data from JMS because the program is still in an “early development” phase. In September 2016, after missing a key deadline, the Air Force issued to Congress a critical change report regarding the JMS, formally eliminating several of the program's capability goals and delaying its estimated delivery date from July 2016 to May 2019. The JMS is part of a larger effort from the Air Force to modernize the Joint Space Operations Center, the processing center of U.S. military space operations. The program aims to replace or upgrade the hardware and software currently used for space surveillance, collision avoidance, launch support, and providing more precise and timely orbital information from data gathered the service's object tracking system, known as Space Fence.

  • Saab’s sPAD is a tablet for the battlefield

    June 14, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Saab’s sPAD is a tablet for the battlefield

    The smartphone is such an integral part of modern life that it's only natural to see battlefield adaptations. Today's novelty comes from Swedish defense giant Saab, and goes by “Soldier sPAD,” to give the convenience and utility of a small touch-screen computer, but make sure it can actually work in the kind of situations where soldiers might find iPhones or Androids lacking. The phone itself weighs just about six ounces, and the whole system, including battery, handheld tablet, cables between them, and pouches, clocks in at just under two pounds. The 3.7 inch pressure-sensitive screen of the sPAD is built to be used “with gloves, pens or any other item by putting pressure on the touch film.” The screen can both reflect light around it and be back-lit when ambient light is lacking. The sPAD is built to work in temperatures as cool as -22 degrees and as hot as 140 Fahrenheit, and can be safely stored in temperatures more extreme than those use parameters. There's an option of a non-rechargeable battery with 16 hours of power, rechargeable batteries, and hot-swapping of batteries so the tablet can remain in use even while changing out its power supply. As to what the tablet might actually be used for? App proliferation will invariably be constrained compared to commercial markets, but the present of a useful, touchable screen in the hands of troops means the possibilities are many and likely to be discovered through real-world use. Maps and communications are obvious. Displaying drone footage to an entire company through the tablet instead of just the drone operator could allow the formation to take advantage of real-time surveillance. Maybe tablets could even issue simple commands to mostly autonomous vehicles, allowing hunkered-down troops to play a bit of minesweeper in real life.

  • ViaSat acquisition boosts its secure networks portfolio

    June 14, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    ViaSat acquisition boosts its secure networks portfolio

    ViaSat, a global communications company that has contracts with the Department of Defense, announced its acquisition of Horsebridge Defence and Security, a UK-based firm focused on design, system integration and support of deployable secure networks. ViaSat said that the acquisition will give the California-founded company greater military communications integration expertise and access to the UK defense market through the relationships Horsebridge Defence and Security has with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and UK Armed Forces. “By acquiring Horsebridge Defence and Security, we hope to accelerate the trajectory of our ability to support UK defence operations,” said Ken Peterman, president of government systems at ViaSat. “By combining our strengths with the deep domain expertise of the Horsebridge Defence and Security team, we intent to reliably extend commercial, military or emergency service networks to the tactical mobile edge.” The financial details of the deal will not be disclosed, ViaSat said. However, the company does not expect the transaction to materially affect its non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings for the 2019 fiscal year. ViaSat's Defense Department contracts include a $13.7 million Defense Information Systems Agency contract in 2017 to provide ground transceivers and a $33.3 million Air Force contract for anti-jam satellite technology.

  • Defence deputy minister to start sweeping procurement-rules review this summer

    June 13, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Defence deputy minister to start sweeping procurement-rules review this summer

    By EMILY HAWS Department of National Defence deputy minister Jody Thomas says she'll work through the summer to review how the Canadian government buys defence equipment, with a view to paring down the procurement process to get projects out the door quicker. That could even mean more use of sole-source contracts, when it doesn't make sense to hold a competition. She says the department wants to ensure the money outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged—the government's 20-year defence policy unveiled last year—is spent. The department took flak earlier earlier this year for not having the capacity to push procurement projects outlined in the plan through the system at the expected pace. Speaking at a June 7 conference organized by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute think-tank in Ottawa on the first anniversary of the defence policy, Ms. Thomas suggested switching up the rules around sole-source contracting. She discussed the idea on a panel with other top DND executives Gordon Venner and Bill Matthews, moderated by CGAI defence procurement expert David Perry. “I think what we want to do and what is expected of us is to have an honest conversation,” Ms. Thomas told the audience. “Where we know there's one supplier in the world that is compliant, Five Eyes-compliant, NORAD-compliant, whatever compliancy we need—to run a competition [in that case] where there is no hope of multiple bidders wastes [everyone's] time; it's kind of disingenuous and dishonest,” she said, referring to security alliances of which Canada is a member. “We have to talk to ministers about that, and ministers are open to that conversation.” Mr. Perry said in a separate interview that the change in process would be a big deal, but it would only happen if the government decides its priority is to spend money. The department is trying to determine a better balance between spending and oversight, he said, but it needs to keep in mind that the “objective is to spend money, not follow a thousand steps and do multiple dozens of reviews.” Sometimes government officials try overly hard to make the bid process competitive, said Mr. Perry, so they end up sending to Treasury Board for review some bids that clearly don't meet requirements. This leaves Treasury Board officials with only one compliant bidder, which in turn leads these keepers of the public purse to ask more questions and perhaps conduct reviews. For example, the government is looking at buying one or more tanker aircraft, and is narrowing down the list of eligible companies, said Mr. Perry. There are basically only two companies that sell tankers, Airbus and Boeing, he said. “You set it up so that everyone has a chance, but that doesn't actually mean that you can actually have a really competitive environment that have at least two bids that actually meet all of the mandatory things you need to meet to submit a bid,” he said. Depending on the extent the rules shift, they may require approval from not just Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South, B.C.), but Treasury Board and the larger cabinet, he added. Conservative MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman, Man.) and NDP MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, B.C.), defence critics for their respective parties, said they support streamlining the procurement process, but Mr. Bezan said the Liberals just need to be more decisive. Industry representatives are also supportive, with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) calling the move “refreshing” in an emailed statement. DND is trying to increase its procurement workforce, said Ms. Thomas, adding that the procurement process is the same regardless of whether the contract is worth $1-million or $1-billion. Ms. Thomas, who has been in her role since October, said the rules were put in place after the department received criticism from the auditor general. “We've been risk-averse and we've been criticized, so a deputy's normal reaction to criticism or recommendations from the auditor general is to put process in place,” she said. “I absolutely understand that; we need to make sure it's appropriate to the complexity of the project.” She said she's going to work through the summer to analyze the number of steps in the procurement process to determine the value they serve and where they can be reduced. Ms. Thomas said she will create “sort of a lean methodology of the number of hands something has to touch, how long do we spend in project definition, [and] how long we spend in options analysis.” Byrne Furlong, a spokesperson for the defence minister, said in an emailed statement the review will accelerate approvals and delivery. “Ensuring our Canadian Armed Forces [are] well-equipped to deliver on what Canada requires of them is a significant undertaking,” she said, adding the government is committed to doing so. New defence policy ups procurement spending Earlier this year, Mr. Perry authored a report suggesting the procurement plans laid out in Strong, Secure, Engaged could be threatened by long-standing process problems. The new policy would see procurement ramp up from about $3.5-billion to $4-billion annually, in 2018-19 dollars, to $12-billion. Defence procurement budgets were cut from about 1990 until the mid-2000s, he said. Now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) is trying to play catch-up, but there's a bottlenecking of purchases. The government both doesn't have enough people to approve the projects, nor the quality of experience to work the larger, more technical jobs, Mr. Perry said in a previous interview. There are five critical steps to procuring defence equipment which spans from identification to close-out. Most work is done by DND to determine what it needs, said Mr. Perry, but the actual competition is run by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). The change in rules Ms. Thomas is contemplating would only apply to DND, she said, as that's her jurisdiction. CADSI president Christyn Cianfarani said, to her knowledge, a review in such a systematic way hasn't been done for some time. She said she sees the move as positive, allowing the government to properly balance risk and acquisition. “With the launch of SSE and the Investment Plan, the deputy minister's call to review the system is timely,” she said. “In this critical period of recapitalization, we simply cannot expect to move four times the volume of procurement through the same old procurement system.” When asked about the sole-sourcing of contracts, Ms. Cianfarani said competition is just one tool to meet policy objectives. She wants more sole-sourcing to Canadian firms and more Canadian-only competitions between companies with similar capabilities, price, and proven roots in Canada. Liberals just need to decide, says Conservative critic Mr. Bezan said sole-source contracting is almost impossible to do when the country isn't at war because one must argue it's in the best interest of national security and the taxpayer. The Liberals need to be more decisive on what equipment they want to buy, he added, saying they are risk-averse. “Fighter jets is a good example. They have punted the close of the competition—making the decision—until 2021,” he said. “Most countries run these competitions in around a year, and this was launched three to four months ago ... they should be able to close this off and make a decision within six to nine months.” The Conservative government before it tried and failed to procure fighter jets for several years too, incurring political controversy along the way, with accusations of conducting a flawed process of the purchase of billions of dollars. Mr. Garrison said the NDP welcomes efficiencies in the procurement process that benefit the armed forces and support Canadian industry, as well as meet DND targets.

  • Thales et Microsoft s’associent pour développer une solution innovante de cloud de défense pour les forces armées

    June 13, 2018 | C4ISR

    Thales et Microsoft s’associent pour développer une solution innovante de cloud de défense pour les forces armées

    Thales et Microsoft ont annoncé aujourd'hui un partenariat privilégié pour le développement d'une solution commune de cloud de défense pour les forces armées. La future solution, fruit du développement conjoint des deux groupes, reposera sur la plateforme Azure Stack de Microsoft, un environnement souple et orienté services, qui sera parfaitement cybersécurisé et adapté par Thales aux contraintes de résilience militaires. Avec cette nouvelle solution, Thales, intégrateur reconnu et expérimenté, et Microsoft, partenaire et fournisseur cloud de confiance, accompagneront la transformation numérique des forces armées, dans les centres de commandement comme sur les thé'tres d'opérations. A l'avant-garde dans de nombreux domaines, Microsoft est un leader mondial reconnu en matière de solutions de productivité cloud. Thales quant à lui est leader européen dans le domaine de la défense et de la cybersécurité. Forts de leur leadership, les deux groupes annoncent aujourd'hui la signature d'un partenariat privilégié pour le développement d'un système cloud destiné aux forces armées. Cette solution modulaire permettra aux forces armées de conserver leurs données sensibles dans le cadre de leurs propres infrastructures. Les forces armées du monde entier investissent massivement dans la transformation numérique, en particulier dans la numérisation des systèmes de communication utilisés pour le commandement et le contrôle ou bien encore sur les champs de bataille, avec le développement croissant des combats dits collaboratifs. L'équipement actuellement en phase de développement résulte de l'adoption de technologies numériques pour la Défense, mais aussi de l'émergence de plateformes mixtes (militaires et civiles), capables d'interconnecter les systèmes des champs de bataille et les réseaux numériques situés en dehors de l'environnement tactique. Dans ce contexte, après le récent lancement de son système d'infrastructure de cloud privé hautement isolé Nexium Defence Cloud, Thales devient aujourd'hui partenaire privilégié de Microsoft pour le développement d'une technologie cloud adaptée aux clients les plus exigeants. Ensemble, les deux groupes seront les premiers à proposer une solution complémentaire adaptée aux différents besoins des forces armées, des centres de commandement nationaux aux divers thé'tres d'opérations, en offrant une sécurité maximale. Pour ce faire, la solution s'appuiera sur Microsoft Azure Stack, livré en tant que système intégré, sera utilisé comme système de base, un système dans lequel Thales intègrera ses solutions de connectivité, de chiffrement et de cybersécurité intégrale. Le système gérera les données les plus sensibles, hébergées dans les quartiers généraux des Ministères de la Défense ou déployées sur le terrain. In fine le système associera la puissance du cloud computing et les fonctionnalités d'Azure Stack aux fonctionnalités robustes et résilientes de Thales en matière de cybersécurité, pour garantir la sécurité de toutes les données considérées comme sensibles et confidentielles par les forces armées, avec, à la clé, une interopérabilité et une excellence opérationnelle accrues. Les solutions Thales et Microsoft ainsi associées apportent le meilleur des deux mondes et offriront aux forces armées une plateforme d'applications cloud souple et des fonctionnalités bien plus avancées que les fonctionnalités basiques de stockage et de gestion des données : des capacités que les clouds de défense sécurisés n'offrent pas aujourd'hui. Dans le cadre de futurs développements d'applications, la plateforme Azure Stack pourrait offrir aux utilisateurs la capacité d'analyser de gros volumes de données en temps réel, gr'ce à l'expertise Guavus Reflex en matière de collecte de renseignements, mais aussi la capacité d'utiliser des applications IoT militaires, avec différents types de capteurs sur le terrain, voire même d'échanger des données avec des applications mobiles (soldats augmentés). La dernière pièce du puzzle est apportée par l'expertise de Thales en tant qu'intégrateur terrain. Et comme cette plateforme cloud sera utilisée dans un environnement très particulier (thé'tres d'opérations, bases opérationnelles avancées et lointaines...), elle devra être configurée différemment d'un système commercial. Chaque système intégré nécessitera un certain niveau d'autonomie et sera capable de fonctionner « hors ligne » en cas de perte de connexion due aux conditions sur le terrain. Il faudra également que les systèmes soient mobiles et renforcés pour assurer leur résistance lorsqu'ils sont déployés sur le terrain. Toutes ces configurations et adaptations spécifiques sont au cœur du rôle de Thales en tant qu'intégrateur de terrain et développeur de systèmes électroniques pour les forces déployées. Cet effort collaboratif offrira une synergie plus forte que jamais. Les forces armées pourront exploiter les atouts de la plateforme Azure de Microsoft en matière de taille et de périmètre, tout en bénéficiant d'un cloud robuste et sécurisé pour les informations confidentielles dont elles ont besoin pour accomplir leur mission de défense nationale, avec, à la clé, une souplesse et une sécurité maximales. « Nous sommes ravis d'annoncer notre partenariat unique avec Thales pour accélérer la transformation numérique dans le secteur de la défense. Notre solution, Microsoft Azure Stack aidera les forces armées dans l'analyse de grands volumes de données sensibles pour permettre des développements innovants. Avec Thales, nous serons en mesure de fournir une plate-forme cloud flexible avec un niveau de sécurité inégalé qui aidera à surmonter les défis de l'industrie de la défense », Jean-Philippe Courtois, président des ventes mondiales, Microsoft. « Ce partenariat privilégié reflète l'état d'esprit et la passion pour les technologies innovantes que nos deux groupes et équipes partagent incontestablement. Nous nous réjouissons, à travers cette nouvelle aventure, de renforcer encore un peu plus notre relation déjà forte avec Microsoft. Ensemble, nous créerons cette nouvelle offre technologique, adaptée aux besoins changeants des forces armées modernes en matière de sécurité, pour les accompagner dans l'accélération de leur transformation numérique », Philippe Keryer, Directeur général adjoint Stratégie, Recherche et Technologie, Thales. À propos de Microsoft Microsoft (Nasdaq « MSFT » @microsoft) facilite la transformation numérique, pour une nouvelle ère : celle du cloud intelligent et de la périphérie intelligente. Sa mission consiste à donner à chaque entreprise et à chaque individu les moyens d'aller plus loin. À propos de Thales Ceux sur lesquels nous comptons tous pour faire tourner le monde font eux-mêmes confiance à Thales. Nos clients s'adressent à nous pour atteindre des objectifs ambitieux : améliorer la vie de chacun, renforcer la sécurité. Gr'ce à l'association d'expertises, de talents et de cultures multiples et variés, nos architectes conçoivent et livrent des solutions de haute technologie véritablement exceptionnelles. Des solutions du futur pour le présent. Du fond des océans jusqu'aux profondeurs de l'espace et du cyberespace, nous aidons nos clients à réfléchir plus efficacement et à agir plus vite, en maîtrisant un environnement toujours plus complexe et en optimisant chaque moment décisif. Avec quelques 65 000 collaborateurs, répartis dans 56 pays, Thales a réalisé 15,8 milliards d'euros de chiffre d'affaires en 2017.

  • Rafale International et Thales s'allient en Belgique

    June 13, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Rafale International et Thales s'allient en Belgique

    La France poursuit activement sa campagne afin de convaincre la Belgique d'opter pour le Rafale et ainsi moderniser son aviation de combat, composée de F-16 américains vieillissants. Rafale International, le GIE qui regroupe Dassault Aviation*, le constructeur de l'avion de combat français, Thales, son électronicien, et Safran, son motoriste, a signé, mardi 12 juin, un accord de partenariat avec Thales Belgique. L'objectif est d'ouvrir un centre d'excellence industriel en cybersécurité outre-Quiévrain.

  • As European defense evolves, here’s how industry is responding

    June 13, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    As European defense evolves, here’s how industry is responding

    WASHINGTON — As priorities in Europe evolve, particularly with the threat of Russia growing more profound, industry partners are left to adapt. Defense News spoke to Kim Ernzen, vice president of land warfare systems in Raytheon Missile Systems, to find out the company's approach to meeting customer expectations. EU and NATO cooperation on defense is evolving. As they work out roles, is it challenging for industry? From an international or global footprint, we are looking to continue to expand in international marketspaces. As we look particularly to EU and NATO starting to cooperate more, the EU brings some capabilities to the table. Obviously NATO is typically backed more from the U.S. [But] it's how we merge the capabilities together so the fighting forces have what they need when they go into harm's way. From a U.S. defense industry perspective, we like to make sure we protect the latest and greatest. When we look to international, we work through the normal releasability channels to make sure we can release our products. I think there is going to be increased opportunity, because the threats are continuing to evolve. From a pure RMS perspective, we're well positioned to support [combatting] those threats. We continue to work closely not only with the U.S.-based customer, but through them, the international partners to look at the capabilities they may need. Missile defense remains a huge priority in Europe, but how have hybrid warfare tactics, particularly from Russia, influences defense strategies and as a result the investments? As we as a nation look at how to pivot from urban warfare of the last two decades to what many would consider more traditional warfare, but with added complexities of things like cyberattacks, EW. So now you go into overmatch capability, a long-range standoff capability. Army is focused on how to get long-range precision fires that supports the [combatant commands] in the international footprints, being able to protect the European front against advancing Russia threats. And it's got to have that standup capability, they also have to be able to see further. From a company perspective, we're involved in the PRSM [program] — the new Long Range Precision Fire competition between us and Lockheed Martin. And we're also working to enhance the sighting capability on the vehicle, so they can see farther and identity threats sooner. We see a lot of exercises in Europe. Does industry have enough of a seat at the table? We don't necessarily engage one-on-one with the exercising activities that go on; we'll get feedback through customer communities. This is something we talk with our customers about continually: the more we can be engaged, the more we can bring to bear, whether company investments, a spin on the product; the more we can partner with the customer community, sooner, the better it is for them and us as well. We just haven't necessarily always done that. We've seen a great deal of emphasis on increased defense spending of our European allies. Have you seen a bump up? Or if not, where do you see them focusing in on in terms of spending? We have seen a modest increase, particularly across the munitions fronts. Everyone [is looking] in the cupboard drawer, wanting to make sure they have the right stockpiles should they need to go into any engagement with the enemy. We're also continuing to see internationally more system integrated solutions. Not just coming forward with a product, but how a system would work and operate so they can be more nimble in the battlefield. That's a transition we're seeing. The FMS system can be painful to work through. Have their been improvements? We need to look at [whether we] can start converting more programs to direct commercial sales, depending on where we're at in a lifecycle of a product, and what it is we're trying to protect or throttle. FMS is a slow an laborious process. It hinders industry from capitalizing on market opportunities. The more we can change the paradigm and partner with the government side to do more [direct sales], the more they will benefit long term because they get the volume to drive down prices, and allow us to recoup funds to invests in future technology. But there are challenges, because each branches has organizations that support foreign military sales. There's a balance. As more and more countries seek indigenous capacities as well as a return on defense investments domestically, has the nature of partnership changed? Part of partnering with some of these countries involves offset requirements. Often as we start to partner with indigenous capable industries, it used to be ok to [offer up] basic machining. But there is more pull for being able to put high levels of noble work into these countries. Some are more advanced in capabilities, and as we look to partner, how to do we strike that balance, leveraging some technology they may bring to bear, with what we're trying to keep domestically and protected? It's an interesting paradigm. And a tipping point with how U.S. industry deals with going international.

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