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  • NGEN-R: What is the Navy thinking?

    20 septembre 2018 | International, Naval, C4ISR

    NGEN-R: What is the Navy thinking?

    By: Amber Corrin The Navy released a long-awaited final request for proposals Sept. 18 for the re-compete of its Next Generation Enterprise Network contract. But it's part one of two, covering only the hardware side of things as the service looks to overhaul its Navy-Marine Corps Intranet. According to analysts at Deltek, each piece of the NGEN-R request is valued at roughly $250 million over a three-year period, per estimates from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. That's significantly lower than NGEN's original $3.5 billion price tag. Specifically, the RFP seeks hardware devices for use on the Department of Defense's classified and unclassified networks, including desktops, laptops, two-in-one detachable devices, tablets, ultra-small desktop computers, as well as thin- or zero-client devices. A single device could serve multiple users and associated accounts, according to the RFP. But for the roughly 400,000 devices NGEN-R looks to replace, the service in particular is looking at an end-user hardware-as-a-service arrangement. “It's breaking out the services that are being provided in a way that allows us to gain most effective advantage of how industry does business today,” Capt. Don Harder, deputy program executive officer for Navy enterprise information systems, told Federal Times in a recent interview. “The end user of hardware and devices as its own separate contract, there are those suppliers out there that that's what they specialize in. By breaking that out into its own contractual component within the NGEN-R construct ... we believe will allow us to get more effective advantage to pricing on those components.” The language in the RFP solidifies Harder's thoughts as part of the statement of work. “In acquiring EUHWaaS, the Government is only acquiring the service of using an EUHW device. This is not a purchase, and titles for all EUHWaaS devices remain with the Contractor,” the RFP states. “EUHWaaS includes the provisioning, storage of spares, configuration, testing, integration, installation, operation, maintenance, [end-of-life] disposal of NIPRNet and SIPRNet EUHW, and internal storage device removal and destruction requirements.” Bids for the hardware piece of NGEN-R are due Nov. 19. The second part of the NGEN-R RFP, service management integration and transport or SMIT, is expected in the next 30 days, according to a Navy spokesman. SMIT will cover much of NMCI's backbone and functionality, including services ranging from help desk to productivity suites to network defense — and how they're technically provided. Splitting NGEN-R into two separate contracts was an intentional move designed, at least in part, to give the Navy greater flexibility in the capabilities available to users, and the options for buying them, as technology evolves. “We are modifying how the services are broken out in a way that it allows us to sever some of those services as new mechanisms [and] provide [them as they are] brought into play or brought to our attention,” Harder said, using cloud capabilities as an example. “We may allow a mechanism to pull some of those into either a hybrid cloud or a cloud solution in the future. If so, it may go on a separate contractual vehicle at which point in time we would sever those services away from the SMIT vehicle. So, we're looking at how we take those services and how we manage them contractually, which would allow us, again additional flexibility later on down the road.” Harder said that throughout the development of NGEN-R, he's been eyeing not just the Navy, but also the broader government to benefit from the new approach. “We're building in that flexibility that allows the government the ability in the future even to find components of services that can be done in a more effective or efficient way [and] either sever them or modify them separately as opposed to having to break apart the entire contract to do something,” he said. The hardware piece of NGEN-R was released less than two weeks after Navy officials announced a one-year, $787 million extension to the incumbent provider, Perspecta. Harder declined to put a dollar figure on the NGEN-R contract, as did other Navy officials. The RFP comes after several delays — officials previously had said the contract would be up for bidding this summer. According to Harder, prior to release the RFP had to be approved by leadership at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, as well as the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy office. Harder said the Navy has taken extra time to shore up “the education piece” — ensuring the contracting process meets leaders' expectations, particularly with the new strategy. And IT modernization also has come into play, with officials from the broader DoD looking to NGEN as a possible model or even contract vehicle for defense networks down the line, he said. “We need to ensure that what we have placed in the contract and how we're going about the contract meets leadership expectations. And because we are doing things in a different way, that's taking a little bit of time,” Harder said. The Navy's approach to running NMCI today is “one of the more cost-effective ways of managing networks. And there is a desire as part of one of the many IT reform efforts [for possible] integration of networks in the future to mimic or, potentially, even ride on our contracts.”

  • Future Pakistan-Turkish defense cooperation likely to be incremental, for now

    20 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre

    Future Pakistan-Turkish defense cooperation likely to be incremental, for now

    By: Usman Ansari ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's ambassador to Turkey pledged this week to increase defense cooperation between the two countries to new levels, but after a string of recent deals, analysts believe further cooperation will be incremental. Speaking to Turkey's Daily Sabah, Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi highlighted defense relations such as recent deals for platforms like the T-129 helicopter gunships and Milgem corvettes, which he said would further improve as the countries continue to explore new opportunities. The existing deals alone are likely to see substantial offsets and technological input for Pakistani industry, and build upon existing supply of defense technology critical for all three branches of Pakistan's military. Pakistan's defense industry generally lags behind other nations, and has struggled to offer much in return bar a deal for the PAC Super Mushak basic training aircraft, further highlighting the importance of the relationship between Ankara and Islamabad. Asked exactly how that relationship may further improve, Brian Cloughley, and author, analyst, and former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad, said there is room to do so. He highlighted training as one area of cooperation, thanks to tensions between Pakistan and the U.S., along with armored personnel carriers and future orders of helicopters. While Turkish AFV-related technology is already finding its way onto Pakistani APCs and tanks, Pakistan is exploring options to supplement or even replace its M113 type APCs, perhaps with an IFV design, with Turkey's Kaplan or Tulpar IFV programs potentially of interest. Turkey's T625 multirole transport helicopter may also be considered to replace Pakistan's range of legacy types. Both countries also have active fifth generation fighter development projects, but analysts believe this level of cooperation is presently a step too far. Justin Bronk, an analyst with the RUSI think tank, raises concerns given “the lack of any proven domestic capacity in both Pakistan and Turkey to produce a fifth-generation fighter, than with any issues around security or industrial interests.” “Neither country is in any position to develop such capabilities for the foreseeable future without massive external assistance and technology transfer,” he said That idea is echoed by author, analyst, and former air force pilot Kaiser Tufail, who nevertheless stresses their respective fifth generation programs “must continue for a long-term goal of manufacture”. Tufail believes both nations should co-operate on an interim type of jet, with some of the technical characteristics of a full fifth-generation fighter “rather than jumping straight to a full-capability fifth generation fighter.” Though new to aircraft manufacture, he believes Pakistan has gained a slight edge over its potential partner, having co-produced the JF-17, “essentially a Chinese design based on PAF's specifications”, though there is still “need for collaboration in design and production of any new fighter.” Turkey in comparison, though having license produced F-16s, lacks comparable modern fighter design experience. Their close relationship makes fighter co-production “logical” though, he said. Therefore, present co-operation “could well take the shape of a ‘Block-4' JF-17 developed by Turkey and Pakistan” to be “considered for joint design and co-production”, after which “a stealth fighter would then be a logical next step.”

  • MBDA unveils Spectre combat UAV concept

    20 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    MBDA unveils Spectre combat UAV concept

    Robin Hughes, London - IHS Jane's Missiles & Rockets MBDA in the United Kingdom has unveiled a new combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) concept designed to provide on-call, low-cost organic precision effects close air support for forward-deployed land forces. Spectre is a tilt wing, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) combat air system concept capable of quickly transitioning to forward flight mode for rapid traversal over complex terrain at low altitude. Designed with an integrated modular payload bay capable of incorporating systems up to 25 kg, Spectre can be equipped with either two MBDA Enforcers or a single Missile Moyenne Portee (MMP) multirole weapons system to address light armoured, soft-skinned and unmanned threats, or heavier armoured threats. The Spectre system can ‘find and fix' beyond line-of-sight threats in complex operational environments to assist deployed ground forces. It also incorporates a ‘watch and wait' mode with a top attack capability effectively giving the Spectre an overwatch/loitering munition utility. Other mission module options include re-supply payloads, improved sensors, or electronic warfare payloads. The latter payload can be combined with kinetic effects to disrupt adversary operations. Spectre's various mission modules can be replaced by the operator in-theatre, and the system design provides for the integration of new and upgraded modules and technologies and requirements evolve. As currently envisaged, Spectre will have a cruise speed of 180 km/h, a cruising altitude of less than 100 m, and combat range in excess of 10 km with a flight endurance of more than 60 minutes. The Spectre design provides for two (front and aft) 2 m tilt wings, with four rotor assemblies: one on each wing. The all-up weight of the concept system has not been disclosed. Other features include automatic navigation, operator-over-the-loop command and control (but with firing authority always with the human operator), and anti-jam GPS navigation. Spectre can be used as a single system, or as a scalable co-operative swarming capability.

  • Obscure Pentagon Fund Nets $2B, Sets Pork Senses Tingling

    20 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Obscure Pentagon Fund Nets $2B, Sets Pork Senses Tingling

    John M. Donnelly The Pentagon will soon have received about $2.3 billion in the last nine years — money the military never requested — for a special fund intended to help replace earmarks after Congress banned them, our analysis shows. Buried deep inside the $674.4 billion Defense spending measure for fiscal 2019 that the Senate is expected to vote on this week is a chart with one line showing a $250 million appropriation for the Defense Rapid Innovation Fund, the latest installment of sizable funding for a largely unknown program that quietly disburses scores of contracts every year. To supporters, the fund is a way to bankroll innovative systems that the military may not yet know it needs. To critics, the fund is just earmarking by another name. The kinds of systems that net contracts from the innovation fund run the gamut. In fiscal 2016, they included programs to demonstrate artificial intelligence systems for aerial drones, anti-lock brakes for Humvees and underwater communications systems for undersea drones. The systems may be technologies for which the military services have not yet established a requirement because they may not know what is technically possible. It is not clear how many of the systems actually become operational. The defense fund's eclipsing of the $2 billion mark comes as debate heats up in Washington over whether to revive earmarks. And the special account highlights key elements of that debate. Talk of earmarks 2.0 Earmarks have generally been defined as parochial spending, directed by lawmakers and received by people who have not competed for it. In 2011, after earmarks were tied to several scandals and spending projects seen as excess, Congress barred them — or at least a narrow definition of them, critics contend, noting that, among other loopholes, committees could still add money for parochial projects without spelling out who supports them. President Donald Trump suggested earlier this year that a return of earmarks, which were often used in horsetrading for votes, might be beneficial. Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, has suggested he would aim to bring back earmarks if his party takes control of the House next year. The senior Democrat on Senate Appropriations, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, has also supported a comeback for the practice. Republican leaders are less vocal right now, but many of them also support a return to earmarks. “I don't doubt that the next organizing conference for the next Congress will probably wrestle with this issue,” outgoing House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters earlier this month. Account quietly amasses funds The Defense Rapid Innovation Fund was launched in 2010 (first as the Rapid Innovation Program) in the fiscal 2011 defense authorization law. It was a way to capture what proponents called the innovative spirit of programs called earmarks that were clearly about to be banned. Unlike earmarks, the defense fund's money would be competitively awarded by the Pentagon, not directed by Congress, supporters of the idea pointed out. Democrat Norm Dicks, then a senior Defense appropriator, and other advocates of the program described it at the time as a way to capture the innovation among smaller companies, including many who had received earmarks. “We have not always had an adequate way of bringing these smaller firms and their innovation into the defense pipeline,” Dicks said in 2010. Each year since its creation, the fund has received another installment of funds, never less than $175 million or more than $439 million. The program has awarded several hundred contracts, averaging about $2 million each, mostly for small businesses with technologies that were relatively mature and that could address some military need, according to a fiscal 2017 Pentagon summary of the program's results. Full article:

  • DoD releases first new cyber strategy in three years

    20 septembre 2018 | International, C4ISR

    DoD releases first new cyber strategy in three years

    By: Mark Pomerleau In its first formal cyber strategy document in three years, the Department of Defense said it would focus its cyber efforts on China and Russia and use the Pentagon's cyber capabilities to collect intelligence as well as to prepare for future conflicts. According to an unclassified summary and fact sheet released Sept. 18, the documents lay out a vision for addressing cyber threats and addresses the priorities of the department's National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, which focused on a new era of strategic great power competition. “The United States cannot afford inaction,” the summary reads. It notes that China and Russia are conducting persistent campaigns in cyberspace that pose long term risk. The documents also say that China is eroding the U.S. military's ability to overmatch opponents and that Russia is using cyber-enabled information operations to influence the U.S. population and challenge democratic processes. The DoD's strategy comes on the heels of other major movements in cyberspace from the department. These include the elevation of U.S. Cyber Command to a full unified combatant command — which affords new and exquisite authorities — the full staffing of Cyber Command's cyber teams, an update to DoD's cyber doctrine and new authorities delegating certain responsibilities from the president to DoD to conduct cyber operations abroad. The summary's lists five objectives for DoD's cyberspace strategy: - Ensuring the joint force can achieve its missions in a contested cyberspace environment; - Strengthening the joint force by conducting cyberspace operations that enhance U.S. military advantages; - Defending U.S. critical infrastructure from malicious cyber activity that alone, or as part of a campaign, could cause a significant cyber incident; - Securing DoD information and systems against malicious cyber activity, including DoD information on non-DoD-owned networks; and - Expanding DoD cyber cooperation with interagency, industry, and international partners. The strategy also describes the need to remain consistently engaged with this persistent adversary and to “defend forward” as a means of disrupting or halting malicious cyber activity at its source, including activity that falls below the level of armed conflict. While academics have criticized the U.S. response to Russian election interference, the strategy notes that the United States tends to view conflicts through the binary lens of war or peace while competitors such as Russia see themselves constantly engaged in a state of war. U.S. Cyber Command's new leader is taking a different tact. “We've got to act forward outside of our boundaries, something that we do very, very well at Cyber Command in terms of getting into our adversary's networks. That's this idea of persistent engagement, the idea that the adversary never rests, so why would we ever rest,” Gen. Paul Nakasone said during an August dinner hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. Nakasone also has described the notion of defending forward as enabling forces to act outside the boundaries of the U.S. to understand what adversaries are doing in order to better defend against them.

  • The new critical capabilities for unmanned systems

    20 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    The new critical capabilities for unmanned systems

    By: Ryan Hazlett With unmanned systems becoming ever more ubiquitous on the battlefield, the question of where unmanned systems and accompanying technologies, such as autonomy, are headed is in the limelight. First, to better understand the future direction of the unmanned field, it is instructive to note some important trends. The number of uses for unmanned systems on the battlefield has increased significantly in the post-9/11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, with the U.S. Army's Shadow® Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) program having logged nearly 1 million flight hours in those areas of operation. The proliferation and commoditization of UAS capabilities is a global phenomenon, as demonstrated by both the widespread possession of UAS hardware as well as the ability to indigenously produce at least rudimentary unmanned systems. Growth of the nascent commercial unmanned systems market has added to this trend, as has the government's emphasis on a greater use of commercial off-the-shelf solutions. But while commoditization has occurred at the platform level — particularly among smaller airborne vehicles — overcoming the challenges of adversaries employing anti-access area-denial (A2AD) military strategies requires far more capable solutions than simply having hordes of cheap drones. In this environment, how will U.S. and allied forces retain their advantage? Critical capabilities and technologies are necessary. These include the ability to dynamically swarm, conduct automatic target recognition, possess on-board autonomy and artificial intelligence, as well as have interoperable communications capabilities. First, future platforms — manned or unmanned — will increasingly need better collaboration between the sensors and payloads they carry and with allied forces. This growing level of collaboration and autonomy is already happening. Driven by advances in onboard computing power, as well as smaller and less power-intensive sensors and advanced algorithms, tomorrow's unmanned systems will be able to better communicate among themselves and make their own decisions on basic functions, such as navigation, to enable dynamic swarming or to identify areas of interest during intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Next, systems that can seamlessly operate and communicate with other military platforms across domains will be the most successful. Gone are the days when largely mission-specific platforms dominated the force composition. With platforms needing to be highly capable to meet A2AD threats, a mission-specific approach will simply be unaffordable. Instead, increasingly we see platforms that can act as highly capable but also flexible “trucks” that can easily swap payloads designed for specific missions, while the overall platform serves many needs. Multi-domain abilities for conducting command and control (C2) and other tasks will also be vital as technologies move from remote-control type operations to more of a “man monitoring the loop” concept. Technological progress in providing secure communications and a level of onboard artificial intelligence are necessary enablers, as will be data fusion technologies. Initial versions of these multi-domain C2 solutions for unmanned systems are already here. For example, the U.S. Army has years of experience operating the Universal Ground Control Station and One System Remote Video Terminal that allow soldiers in tactical units to access overhead sensor video from unmanned aircraft. Next-generation, multi-domain control and collaboration technologies to take the concept to a new level are mature, allowing a single user to simultaneously operate multiple vehicles and sensors, including the ability to control numerous types of aircraft and other multi-domain unmanned systems from different manufacturers. In addition, these systems are ready to incorporate the best available software applications as “plug-ins” to an open architecture. Industry is also investing in additional technology to ensure that tomorrow's unmanned systems continue to meet U.S. and allied needs. Among them are advanced power generation, systems with improved maneuverability, and vehicles designed to deploy with lighter support and operational footprints. Done smartly, the application of technologies such as autonomy can be better integrated into unmanned systems to enable improved navigation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as other tasks, while leaving a man in the loop for the use of weapons. Moreover, defense users can rightly leverage the commercial sector's work on areas such as self-driving cars and unmanned taxis that are at the forefront of artificial intelligence for navigation. But while the military can leverage such commercial developments, there are, and will remain, cyber hardening, survivability and other specific requirements that are unique to the defense marketplace and require experienced industrial partners with deep knowledge of national security needs. The ongoing move away from only long-term programs of record to the embrace of the “buy, try, and decide” model, as well as greater uses of funded prototyping, is helping to fast-track many of these promising new technologies. Companies can now match their internal research and development funding to move that innovation along and ensure the United States and its allies remain at the forefront of unmanned technologies. Ryan Hazlett is senior vice president at Textron Systems.

  • USAF Targets Light Attack Final RFP For December

    20 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    USAF Targets Light Attack Final RFP For December

    Lee Hudson and Steve Trimble | Aerospace Daily & Defense Report NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—The U.S. Air Force still is aiming to release the final solicitation for light attack aircraft in December and continues to discuss the findings of its recent light attack experiment with international ... Full article:

  • Europe : malgré l'aiguillon Trump, la défense commune n'avance qu'à petits pas

    20 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Europe : malgré l'aiguillon Trump, la défense commune n'avance qu'à petits pas

    Par Alain Barluet Si les coups de boutoir de Donald Trump contre l'Otan ont provoqué une prise de conscience importante, les Européens ne parviennent toujours pas à structurer un projet commun. Certains chiffres parlent d'eux-mêmes: moins de la moitié des chars en service dans les armées de l'UE sont de conception européenne et 20 % seulement pour l'artillerie. La propension limitée des Européens à «acheter européen» pour doter leurs forces, la grande disparité des matériels qu'ils utilisent (60 types d'équipements terrestres différents dans l'Union, contre 20 aux États-Unis) illustrent le chemin qui reste à parcourir sur le chemin d'une Europe de la défense. Et encore ne s'agit-il là que du domaine capacitaire. Pourtant, depuis l'an dernier, les conditions d'une prise de conscience ont progressé. Les coups de boutoir du président américain contre l'Otan, qu'il juge «obsolète», et les Européens, qu'il considère comme trop peu investis dans leur défense, ont provoqué une onde de choc de ce côté-ci de l'Atlantique. Un certain nombre de pays, dont la France, ont augmenté leur budget de ... Article complet:

  • La Pologne serait prête à payer 2 milliards de dollars pour une base américaine, qui pourrait s'appeler «Fort Trump»

    20 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Terrestre

    La Pologne serait prête à payer 2 milliards de dollars pour une base américaine, qui pourrait s'appeler «Fort Trump»

    M.C. avec AFP Une réponse au « comportement agressif » de la Russie. La Pologne est prête à débourser au moins deux milliards de dollars pour l'implantation d'une base militaire américaine sur son sol, une offre que le président Donald Trump a affirmé étudier « très sérieusement ». Le président Andrzej Duda « nous a offert beaucoup plus que deux milliards de dollars » pour l'installation d'une base permanente dans son pays, a indiqué Donald Trump lors d'une conférence de presse commune à la Maison Blanche avec son homologue polonais. « Nous étudions cela très sérieusement », avait-il fait savoir plus tôt dans le Bureau ovale avant leur entretien. Il a précisé que les Etats-Unis examinaient cette requête polonaise « d'un point de vue, en premier lieu, de protection militaire pour les deux pays et, aussi, de coût ». Dans la soirée, la Maison Blanche a indiqué dans un communiqué que « les Etats-Unis s'engagent à explorer les options pour un rôle plus important de l'armée américaine en Pologne, et nous intensifierons nos consultations pour déterminer la faisabilité du concept ». « Les résultats de ces efforts contribueront à la défense non seulement de l'Europe centrale et orientale mais aussi de l'Alliance tout entière », a poursuivi l'exécutif américain en référence à l'Otan dont fait partie la Pologne. « Fort Trump » Lors de leur conférence de presse commune, le président polonais a appelé Donald Trump à « déployer plus de soldats américains en Pologne ». « J'espère que vous prendrez la décision de déployer plus d'unités et d'équipement (...). J'aimerais voir une base américaine permanente en Pologne », a-t-il ajouté, suggérant de l'appeler « Fort Trump ». Le ministre américain de la Défense Jim Mattis a salué plus tard les efforts de la Pologne pour augmenter son budget militaire, tout en insistant sur le fait qu'aucune décision n'avait été prise concernant une éventuelle base américaine sur son territoire. « Les questions sont nombreuses », a-t-il souligné auprès de journalistes au Pentagone. « Comme vous le savez, il ne s'agit pas seulement d'une base. Il s'agit de zones d'entraînement, il s'agit d'infrastructures de maintenance au sein de la base, toutes ces choses, ce sont beaucoup de détails que nous devons étudier avec les Polonais », a-t-il expliqué. « Donc aucune décision n'a été prise, nous l'étudions et nous travaillons ensemble ». Aggraver les tensions entre l'Occident et la Russie Aux côtés de Donald Trump, Andrzej Duda a également longuement insisté sur « le comportement agressif » de la Russie, évoquant notamment la situation en Géorgie voisine ou en Crimée qui font partie de la « violation permanente du droit international » par Moscou. « Il y a toute une panoplie d'arguments en faveur du fait que la présence des forces armées des Etats-Unis dans cette région est absolument justifiée », a poursuivi Andrzej Duda. « Je suis convaincu qu'il n'y a pas de méthode plus efficace pour empêcher une guerre que de montrer que nous sommes prêts à repousser une attaque à tout moment », a-t-il affirmé. Des propos appuyés par le milliardaire new-yorkais : « Il y a beaucoup d'agressivité dans cette situation. La Russie a agi de manière agressive. Ils respectent la force. (...) Et nous avons la plus grande force au monde, surtout en ce moment ». Une telle initiative, si elle se concrétisait, pourrait cependant créer des crispations au sein de l'Otan, dont la Pologne est membre, mais aussi aggraver encore un peu plus les vives tensions entre l'Occident et la Russie.

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