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  • House panel unveils $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

    June 11, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    House panel unveils $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

    BY REBECCA KHEEL - 06/06/18 12:39 PM EDT The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday unveiled its $674.6 billion Pentagon spending bill for fiscal 2019. The bill would provide $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding, which is about $900 million less than the Trump administration requested but $17.1 billion more than this year's spending level. The bill would also provide $68.1 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. “With the changing global dynamics and ever-growing threats to our security, it is absolutely imperative that our military is properly trained, equipped and fully supported in order to do their jobs,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said in a statement. “This legislation does all of this by including robust funding for our troops, the defense programs and activities necessary to accomplish our national goals and ideals, and to continue to rebuild our military.” The money would pay for a boost of 15,600 troops across the military and a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members, both matching what was requested by the administration. The bill would also provide $145.7 billion for equipment purchases and upgrades. That's split $133 billion for base requirements — or $2.5 billion more than requested — and $12.7 billion in OCO. The procurement money includes $22.7 billion for 12 new Navy ships, two more ships than the administration requested. The two extra ships are littoral combat ships, which Congress continues to support buying — despite the Navy's plan to transition away from the ship — so that shipyards keep working and will be able to keep pace on future orders. The bill would also fund a slew of aircraft, including $9.4 billion for 93 F-35 fighter jets and $1.9 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The bill includes funding for the procurement of 16 more F-35s than requested. The plane is built by Lockheed Martin in defense appropriations subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger's (R-Texas) district. Granger said the bill is an extension of last year's efforts to address readiness shortfalls. “It is a product of countless meetings and briefings with our military leaders and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the U.S. military is the strongest, most capable military in the world,” she said in a statement. “Our military must have the resources it needs to respond to and deter threats from countries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, and also counter violent extremists throughout the world.” http://thehill.com/policy/defense/391001-house-panel-unveils-6746b-pentagon-spending-bill

  • Pentagon’s Second Multibillion Cloud Contract to Be Bid in Coming Months

    June 11, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Pentagon’s Second Multibillion Cloud Contract to Be Bid in Coming Months

    Officials say the Defense Department's multibillion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract is expected to be bid out in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. Much of the oxygen in the federal contracting community has gone to the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract in recent months, but the Pentagon is very close to bidding out a second major cloud contract that may rival it in size. Defense officials said last month that the Defense Enterprise Office Solution acquisition, valued at approximately $8 billion, could be bid out later this month, with an expected award issued by the second quarter of 2019. The contract will have a five-year base period with five one-year options. DEOS is the Pentagon's attempt to “unify and modernize” some of its legacy systems, including enterprise email, collaboration services, voice and video services, messaging, content management and other productivity capabilities for more than 3.5 million users. Brian Herman, the Defense Information Systems Agency's unified capabilities portfolio manager, said the Pentagon isn't interested in developing new capabilities but rather wants to take advantage of existing commercial capabilities in use across industry today. “Our goal is to take the capabilities that are available now, change the way we work to take advantage of these commercial services, and receive all of the upgrades and improvements that industry brings to their commercial customers,” said Herman, speaking at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore May 16. In the commercial world, many companies have opted for cloud-based delivery of collaborative and email services. Delivered at scale across the Defense Department's massive enterprise, Herman said the approach could significantly reduce costs and improve security and efficiency. DEOS could eventually replace the Defense Enterprise Email, Defense Collaboration Services, and Defense Enterprise Portal Service, and potentially other legacy systems currently maintained by the Pentagon's IT wing. “We've had feedback from the DOD management, financial, and technical leaders. They've looked at the services used by [DOD agencies] and said, ‘You need to change the way you use these services. It's no longer necessary for every application to be on your desktop. Perhaps you can have web-based access to some of these capabilities and both improve the security and reduce the cost of these capabilities,” Herman said. DEOS will offer services through the Pentagon's unclassified and classified networks, meaning potential bidders must have provisional authorization to operate at Impact Level 5 to bid on it. Currently, only a few cloud service providers, including Microsoft, IBM, Amazon Web Services and General Dynamics, have achieved this status. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has not yet released a final solicitation for JEDI, which some industry estimates have pegged at $10 billion. The contract has drawn scrutiny from industry and Congress because of the Defense Department's decision to award it to a single cloud service provider. Initially expected to be released in mid-May for industry consideration, it has been delayed indefinitely. https://www.nextgov.com/it-modernization/2018/06/pentagons-second-multibillion-cloud-contract-be-bid-coming-months/148733/

  • DND unable to spend billions in equipment funds, pushing projects beyond next election

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    DND unable to spend billions in equipment funds, pushing projects beyond next election

    Murray Brewster National Defence fell $2.3 billion short in its plan to re-equip the military in the past year — a failing that one defence analyst says guarantees many important decisions on warplanes, ships and vehicles will be pushed beyond next year's election. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan revealed the figure Wednesday as he launched the department's long-anticipated investment plan at a major defence industry trade show in Ottawa. The plan is the Liberal government's spending roadmap for its defence policy, released a year ago, which pledged $6.2 billion in new capital spending in the first year. New figures show $3.9 billion was spent. Later in the day, the chair of the Liberal government's council of economic advisers underscored the importance of investment in the defence sector and how it will drive innovation in other sectors. "If we want to grow — and we can in Canada, and we want to grow more significantly — the defence sector is going to play an essential part in doing that," Dominic Barton said. Leading-edge military technology and the possibilities for its commercialization can transform the broader economy, he added. However, the investment plan presented by the Liberals on Wednesday leans heavily on refurbishing existing technology and equipment — mostly aircraft — in the coming decade. The Defence Capabilities Blue Print will see the air force's CF-18 fighter jets, C-140 Aurora surveillance planes, C-144 Challenger executive jets, C-150 Polaris refuellers and transports, CT-114 Tutor trainers and demonstration jets, C-149 search and rescue helicopters and CH-146 Griffons all given life extensions and upgrades. New aircraft, including drones, won't be introduced until the mid-2020s — or later. A defence analyst said that's no surprise since many major decisions will be pushed past the 2019 election. That means it will be up to the next government to make the tough decisions on how much to buy and how much to spend. "Unless we see an extremely busy June with a lot of announcements on milestone projects, a lot of the work is going to be left until later," said Dave Perry, an expert in procurement at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "They're not moving ahead as quickly as they suggested in the defence policy." The government could leave even more money on the table this year. Figures compiled by Perry, using the federal government's own budget documents and records, suggest as much as $3 billion could go unspent on military equipment in the current fiscal period. The former Conservative government was repeatedly criticized for promising the military big things in terms of equipment, but rarely delivering and allowing allocated funds to lapse. That cash was eventually kicked back to the federal treasury and used for deficit reduction. DND gets to keep money, spend it later Sajjan said defence spending is now guaranteed in the fiscal framework, the government's long-term financial plan. That means National Defence gets to keep the money and spend it later. "We always know we might not need the extra funds, but they have to be there just in case," Sajjan said. "Rest assured, the unspent $2.3 billion dollars is protected. Those funds remain available when we need them." He defended the spending "delta," saying that 30 per cent of it comes because projects came in under budget. Another 42 per cent was because of delays by defence contractors. Approximately one-third, though, relates to the department's inability to make a decision — or develop specifications on time. Sajjan took a shot at the government of former prime minister Stephen Harper, which used to regularly publish its defence spending plans, but never had specific funding attached to individual projects. Conservative defence critic James Bezan said there is a disconnect between the government's defence policy and its spending plans as outlined in federal budget documents. "Nothing seems to match," said Bezan, who treats the federal budget as the last word in spending. There was no mention of National Defence in Finance Minister Bill Morneau's latest fiscal, presented in February. Defence officials insist that is because the department's spending is already accounted for in the fiscal framework. The federal Treasury Board, however, must approve funding on a project-by-project basis — and Bezan said that hasn't been done. "There's no money to do the things Sajjan is out there talking about," he said. "We are still dealing with the problems of getting procurement done in a timely manner and getting it done on budget." The head of a defence industry group — Sajjan's audience as he made the announcement — said the government does deserve credit for consulting more about projects ahead of time, but there are obvious shortcomings. "Any time funding moves to the right, it is a predictability problem for us. We want as as predictable and as stable funding as we can get," said Christyn Cianfarani, the president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries. "I still think, systemically, there is a problem and if we don't turn it upside down and shake it — the whole procurement system — and do things differently ... many, many things differently, we'll still see sluggishness in the procurement system." He said the Liberal investment plan is not "aspirational" and states clearly where the cash is coming from. The Conservative guidebook in the end "did not deliver for the men and women in uniform," Sajjan told the audience of defence contractors. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sajjan-dnd-equipment-funds-1.4683606

  • Reports: Google won’t renew Pentagon contract to use AI

    June 11, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Reports: Google won’t renew Pentagon contract to use AI

    By: The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO — Google won't renew a contract with the Pentagon that provides the company's artificially intelligent algorithms to interpret video images and improve the targeting of drone strikes. That's according to reports in Gizmodo, Buzzfeed, and The New York Times Friday. The reports said Google Cloud business head Diane Greene told employees of the decision not to renew the 18-month deal past the end of 2019, when the current contract ends. Google representatives did not respond to a request for comment. The so-called Project Maven had riled Google employees, including several who quit and thousands of others who signed a petition asking CEO Sundar Pichai to cancel the project and enact a policy renouncing the use of Google technology in warfare. https://www.c4isrnet.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/06/03/reports-google-wont-renew-pentagon-contract-to-use-ai/

  • Cyberwarriors need a training platform, and fast

    June 11, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Cyberwarriors need a training platform, and fast

    By: Mark Pomerleau U.S. Cyber Command's cyber teams are now built and transitioning to readiness, and now the force needs a dedicated platform to conduct training. Given the importance of properly preparing cyberwarriors, the Army (acting as Cyber Command's executive agent for all the service's cyber teams) has been using a rapid acquisition approach called other transaction authorities to field a training platform. The Persistent Cyber Training Environment, or PCTE, is not a single entity, but rather a complex system of systems that will require many moving parts for individual and collective training, as well as mission rehearsal. According to Jim Keffer, director of cyber at Lockheed Martin, it will be more than just a cyber range. It'll require event management; scheduling for training exercises; scenario design features; control of the exercises; assessments; red forces; library of capabilities that can be linked to designing adversary network mock-ups (which will require good intelligence); and classrooms to put all this together. The reason such a high-end training environment is being fast-tracked is because cyberwarriors don't currently have anything akin to what traditional war fighters use to prepare for combat. Capstone cyber exercises that only occur once or twice a year are not enough for the force, and in many cases the first-time cyberwarriors will engage with an adversary in the real world and not in simulations. “It's like a fighter pilot going up and the first time he's flown actual combat is against a real adversary,” Keffer told Fifth Domain. “That's not a good way to fight wars. That's not a good way to train your troops. That's not a good way to decrease the risk to your forces.” Incremental approach The overall PCTE is made up of a number of cyber investment challenges, or CICs, that the Army is releasing incrementally and will eventually string together. This will “bring together some of the best technology that's out there” to address immediate needs in various categories as the longer-term vision of what PCTE might look like coalesces, Deon Viergutz, vice president of Cyber Solutions at Lockheed Martin, told Fifth Domain in an interview. The Army will release five CIC's to get multiple industry approaches as it heads up the full PCTE indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, Viergutz said, adding, “I believe that is still under work, the long term for PCTE and the acquisition.” While CIC one has been awarded, CIC two should be awarded in the next few weeks. According to contracting documents, CIC two is focused on enabling user access to the PCTE and training aids through a portal. CIC three, which is forthcoming in mid- to late-June, is focused on red team planning, as well as master exercise control. CIC four, estimated for release in July, will focus on training assessment. There is no information released yet regarding CIC five. One important question remains unclear, however: In the end, who will be the integrator of systems — the government or a contractor? “The seams between all these capabilities tend to be the weak points. Having an integrator to kind of tie all that together — the ranges and all these different capabilities — would be important to make sure that the cyberwarriors get the best capability that they deserve ... as quickly as possible,” Keffer said. “If the government wants to be the integrator, we'll do all we can to help them out. If they want industry to be the integrator, industry has a lot of experience doing that, especially Lockheed Martin; we're big in the training business.” https://www.fifthdomain.com/dod/2018/06/04/cyberwarriors-need-a-training-platform-and-fast/

  • State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

    May 25, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) joined forces with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) to publicly release a new report on Canada's defence industry for decision makers. Features of the report include building analytic capacity through collaborative research, economic impact, innovation, exports, and supply chains analysis. https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ad-ad.nsf/eng/h_ad03978.html

  • How would NATO respond to a cyberattack?

    May 17, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    How would NATO respond to a cyberattack?

    By: Martin Banks NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says “it is time we all woke up to the potential dangers of cyber threats.” Speaking at a conference on cyber crime in Paris May 15, Stoltenberg said, “In the Second World War there was a popular saying, ‘Loose lips sink ships.' Today, it is weak passwords, failing to add software updates, or opening unfamiliar emails. Simple things. But if we get them right, we go a long way to protecting ourselves.” Stoltenberg was speaking at the Ecole Militaire in the French capital on a major conference on NATO's so-called “Cyber Defence Pledge” which, he said, had helped nations to look at their cyber-defences in a more holistic way. NATO countries have faced a series of attacks in recent years. In France, TV-Cinq Monde was taken off air by hackers while Fancy Bear, a group associated with the Kremlin, hacked the main political parties in the United States in what Stoltenberg called “a brazen attempt to influence the 2016 election.” Last year's WannaCry attack forced Renault to halt production at several of its factories and a cyberattack brought hospitals in the UK to a standstill. “The very nature of these attacks is a challenge,” Stoltenberg said. “It is often difficult to know who has attacked you or even if you have been attacked at all. There are many different actors. “Governments, but also criminal gangs, terrorist groups and lone individuals. Nowhere is the ‘Fog of War' thicker than it is in cyberspace,” he said. “If these were hard attacks, using bombs or missiles instead of computer code, they could be considered an act of war. But instead, some are using software to wage a soft-war - a soft-war with very real, and potentially deadly consequences.” In 2014, NATO leaders agreed that a cyberattack could trigger Article 5, meaning that an attack on one ally is treated as an attack on all allies. He added, “I am often asked, ‘under what circumstances would NATO trigger Article 5 in the case of a cyber-attack?' My answer is: we will see. The level of cyberattack that would provoke a response must remain purposefully vague as will the nature of our response. “But it could include diplomatic and economic sanctions, cyber-responses, or even conventional forces, depending on the nature and consequences of the attack.But whatever the response, NATO will continue to follow the principle of restraint. And act in accordance with international law.” In less than two years, almost every ally had upgraded their cyber defences with France leading the way, investing €1.6 billion and employing thousands more cyber experts. He also pointed to Nato's new Command Structure and Cyber Rapid Reaction teams. https://www.fifthdomain.com/international/2018/05/16/how-would-nato-respond-to-a-cyber-attack-well-see/

  • Japan focuses on maritime security in new ocean policy

    May 15, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, C4ISR, Security

    Japan focuses on maritime security in new ocean policy

    Japan approved Tuesday a new ocean policy that highlights maritime security, amid perceived growing threats from North Korea and China, in a reversal from the previous version which focused largely on sea resource development. The ocean program cited threats from North Korea's launching of ballistic missiles, and operations by Chinese vessels around the Japan-controlled and China-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. “Amid an increasingly severe maritime situation, the government will come together to protect our territorial waters and interests at sea,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a meeting of the government panel on ocean policy. The contents of the third Basic Plan on Ocean Policy are expected to be reflected in the government's defense buildup guidelines that are set to be revised in December. Since its first adoption in 2008, the ocean policy has been reviewed every five years. The policy pointed out that the maritime security situation facing the nation is “highly likely to deteriorate, if no measure is taken.” The government also plans to make use of coastal radar equipment, aircraft and vessels from the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard, as well as high-tech optical satellites of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, to strengthen the nation's intelligence gathering abilities. The policy underscores the need for cooperation between the coast guard and the Fisheries Agency to enhance responses to illegal operations by North Korea and fishing vessels from other countries, amid a surge in the number of such cases in the waters surrounding Japan. To ensure sea lane safety, it also stipulates the government's promotion of the “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy advocated by Abe for maintaining and strengthening a free and open order in the region based on the rule of law. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/05/15/national/politics-diplomacy/japan-focuses-maritime-security-new-ocean-policy

  • What to expect from AI, space and other tech over the next 18 months

    May 14, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    What to expect from AI, space and other tech over the next 18 months

    By: Aaron Mehta What will the next 18 months mean for the Pentagon's ongoing challenge to maintain a technological edge over its enemies? That was the question posed to a panel of experts at the 17th annual C4ISRNET conference Thursday. And the answers underline just how wide the technical areas of expertise are that Pentagon officials need to get their heads around in the modern era — and how the situation will remain fluid going forward. For Richard Linderman, deputy director for research and engineering in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, the focus is on manufacturing the vital microelectronics that provide the base for all of America's high-end technologies. He predicts a push to create those chips at a higher rate domestically, which in turn would allow greater trust that the chips, forming the basis of communications equipment or artificial intelligence, would not be messed with by a foreign entity. Concern about the domestic production of microelectronics is expected to be part of a large defense industrial base review now underway. “If you're right out on the pointy end of the spear, you might not want chips made in China to be the foundation of your communications gear,” Linderman told the audience. “So I think you're going to see those kinds of investments increase dramatically, and it will be an exciting prospect for us to bring new dimensions to this discussion of trusted, assured microelectronics.” James Hasik, a professor at the National Defense University, said he would be keeping a close eye on how the autonomous Sea Hunter vehicle does during ongoing testing. DARPA recently transferred the Sea Hunter, designed to travel thousands of miles over open seas, for months at a time, without a crew member on board, over to the Navy for continued testing. “The economics of that concept are so compelling,” Lungu said. If the concept proves out, it could have “some profound applications for fleet structure, some profound applications for warfighting.” Clark Groves, a space expert also at NDU, predicted that the long-awaited boom in small satellites will finally reach critical mass in the near-future, driven by the desire to move the massive telecommunications market onto cheaper systems. DoD stands to benefit, as this would be happening at the same time the Pentagon seeks to move from relying on massive, expensive aggregated systems towards a disaggregated model relying on multiple cheap, smaller systems — which present more of a challenge for any enemy nation that may seek to take out American assets in space. “Once small satellites begin being produced in large numbers, that will fundamentally alter the industrial base of the status quo, and that will also affect the launch base,” Groves said, which in turn “will give opportunities to DoD for more effective per-cost basis to exploit the architecture that we need for resilience.” Finally, Ed Brindley, acting deputy chief information officer for cybersecurity at the Pentagon, pointed to a “more determined focus” inside the Pentagon to shift how it handles artificial intelligence. At the core of that, he said, is the upcoming AI Center of Excellence, which Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan predicted will be up and running in the next six months. “Part of what we will see will be opportunities for us to adopt some of what is occurring within industry today,” Brindley said, noting that AI isn't just for warfighting but could have massive impacts on the internal processes of the Pentagon, including in the medical and legal professions. https://www.c4isrnet.com/show-reporter/c4isrnet-conference/2018/05/10/what-to-expect-from-ai-space-and-other-tech-areas-over-the-next-18-months/

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