29 janvier 2024 | International, Terrestre, Sécurité
By: Mark Pomerleau
U.S. Cyber Command is still in the beginning stages of building out an acquisition capability.
Eight years after its launch and about two years after being granted limited acquisition authority from Congress, the command is still working to demonstrate that its wares and abilities make good use of funds and that it is capable of managing contracts, its acquisition executive said.
“I will say we are in our infancy from an acquisition perspective. We are putting the foundation of the personnel and the skills,” Stephen Schanberger said Sept. 6 at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit. “We're in the beginning stages right now.”
In the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, Congress gave Cyber Command limited acquisition authority capped at $75 million with a sunsetting in 2021. Congressional aides have equated this authority to that of Special Operations Command, noting that they wanted to employ a crawl, walk, run mentality to make sure Cyber Command can execute it.
Schanberger said the command is asking for more on both fronts, with a ceiling of $250 million and a sunset of 2025 — the timeline being the most important element as it makes it easier to work with vendors who know contracts might not be in doubt three years from now.
For Congress's part, Schanberger said they want the command to show it can use the authority in the way it's supposed to and start to stand up the backbone of a contracting organization. This includes being able to put together solicitation packages, plan contracting strategy for years ahead and be able to effectively implement and put out proposals and award them without making a mess, he said.
Schanberger said the command currently has one contracting officer and one specialist and a couple of contractors aside from himself in the contracting shop, though he expects those numbers to double in the next three months.
Schanberger said the command awarded only one contract in fiscal 2017, due in part to the fact they lacked a contract writing system, which is now in place. In fiscal 2018, the command is on track to award roughly $40 million in contracts and in fiscal 2019 is on a path to get close to its cap, Schanberger said.
Congress has also asked what the delineation lines are between the acquisition efforts of Cyber Command and those of the services, Schanberger said.
“Right now what we really look at are what are the gaps between us and our service partners and how do we help fill those gaps,” he said.
“Typically, there are a couple of programs where we did the prototyping efforts and we transitioned that to the services. That's where we see our most value ... things that can benefit all our service cyber components.”
Some within Congress have expressed that Cyber Command has approached acquisition cautiously and are concerned the services aren't budgeting and providing the tools and capabilities that the cyber mission force needs.
Schanberger said he thinks that command has demonstrated that it can issue contracts effectively, efficiently and quickly. However, he noted, he still does not think the command has the wherewithal internally to run something as big as the Unified Platform, one of DoD's most critical cyber programs, from a resource perspective.
29 janvier 2024 | International, Terrestre, Sécurité
4 janvier 2019 | International, Terrestre
By: Sebastian Sprenger COLOGNE, Germany — Germany begins the new year with two prominent defense and diplomacy assignments: leadership of NATO's highest-alert combat formation, and a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council. The two new responsibilities follow recent pledges by Berlin to play a more active role in global affairs, offering German Chancellor Angela Merkel an instant test to make good on those proclamations during the final years of her tenure. As of Jan. 1, Germany is on the hook to provide 5,000 soldiers for NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF. The formation must be ready to fight wherever it is needed within 48 to 72 hours. Partner nations for this year's rotation include the Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania, bringing the total package to about 8,000. A key rationale for the quick-reaction force is to display to Russia the ability to rapidly ferry combat power across Europe at a time when speed is believed to be a Russian advantage. European governments are still wary from the 2014 Russian annexation of Ukraine's Crimea, and more recently from a naval standoff between the two countries in the Sea of Asov. Both incidents fit into a pattern of Russia steering clear of outright war while trying to shake up the post-Soviet order around its borders, according to issue experts. The German Defence Ministry's logistics planning for the VJTF role takes into account the need to quickly move combat gear if needed. Its acquisition office last month announced a $110 million support contract to ensure rapid access to military rail transport from civilian providers during Germany's one-year tenure. The Bundeswehr, plagued by equipment shortfalls, management problems or both — depending on who is asked — has had to dig deep to assemble the needed equipment for the task force lead. In the end, funneling supplies from across the force to the tip of the spear appears to have worked, but it has depleted the readiness of many units, said Christian Mölling, an analyst with the Berlin-based German Council on Foreign Relations. “It means the rest of the Bundeswehr is no longer the kind of deterrent it is meant to be,” he said in an interview. With the task force now on high alert, Mölling said, the thing to watch will be Germany's national decision-making process in the event that it will be called up. Parliament and the government, he argues, lack a well-rehearsed process for assessing whether a given conflict warrants deploying the task force, potentially kicking off a comprehensive national debate that would negate any hope of a rapid reaction. That is especially the case because of Moscow's penchant to keep its activities just below the conflict threshold that would trigger Article 5, NATO's clause for collective defense when one member is attacked. Amid deepening global crises and a deteriorating relationship between Europe and the U.S., a German government debating the definition of a worthy VJTF deployment would probably lead to Russian President Vladimir Putin “grabbing a bag of popcorn,” Mölling quipped. “We just don't have the necessary routine for a case like that,” he said. As a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council, it's easy to foresee the animosity between Germany and the Trump administration in Washington coming to a head in New York, said Ulrike Franke, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Many Germans are deeply wary of the U.S. president and his knocking of NATO and other multilateral institutions that have brought Berlin back from the devastation of World War II. That is even more the case since Jim Mattis, a vocal believer in America's global alliances, called it quits as defense secretary last month. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Jan. 1 tweeted a list of objectives for Germany during its Security Council tenure. They include countering climate change and related global security effects, and a commitment to arms control and disarmament — issues that the Trump administration has dismissed. When it comes to the voting pattern of Berlin and Washington, often aligned on the Security Council stage, things could get a little awkward, Franke predicts. In practical terms, however, “I'm pessimistic that a lot will change,” she said. But Germany's term holds the promise that government leaders here will get into the habit of developing truly global foreign policy positions and selling them to audiences foreign and domestic, she said. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2019/01/02/germany-picks-up-two-thorny-defense-and-diplomacy-assignments-in-2019/
1 août 2023 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR
Indonesia has bought 12 new drones from Turkish Aerospace worth $300 million, its defence ministry said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of purchases aimed at modernising the country's ageing military equipment.