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  • How GSA is Helping Small Businesses Get Contracts Faster

    31 juillet 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    How GSA is Helping Small Businesses Get Contracts Faster

    By Jack Corrigan A newly launched pilot program lets the agency's contracting experts help push deals over the finish line. Officials at the General Services Administration on Monday said a new pilot program will speed up the government's adoption of innovative technologies by helping companies in the Small Business Innovation Research program more quickly strike deals with federal agencies. Last week GSA launched a pilot that would open up Assisted Acquisition Services to agencies and vendors in the third and final phase of the SBIR program. Run by the Small Business Administration, SBIR is divided into three phases. The first and second phases focus primarily on research and development, and during the third, companies work to commercialize their products. Under the pilot, GSA would collaborate with both customer agencies and SBIR vendors to hammer out initial contracts. After the products become commercialized, GSA would work to make them more widely available across government. Most of the 13 agencies involved in SBIR don't have specialists dedicated to finalizing phase three contracts, and delegating that responsibility to GSA would enable speedier deals and make products more widely available, said Mark Lee, assistant commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service Office of Policy and Compliance. “Currently there isn't a shared services offering that provides assisted acquisition for SBIR contracts,” Lee said in a conversation with reporters. “[The pilot] would be setting up that capability across government.” While GSA will offer the additional services to all SBIR participants, Lee said he sees the program making a particular impact on the acquisition of cybersecurity and threat detection products, as well as emerging battlefield technologies. The pilot will be led by the GSA Assisted Acquisition Services' Great Lakes regional office and run through the end of fiscal 2019. Depending on the program's success, GSA will determine whether it can offer the service more broadly, said Senior Procurement Executive Jeff Koses. Koses told reporters the program originated after defense agencies approached GSA looking for ways to streamline the contracting process. The pilot comes as part of the administration's larger push to simplify acquisition policy, he said, while still including “a set of guardrails to make sure that we're innovative but with essential controls.” Koses added he hopes accelerating the contracting process would help attract more small businesses to the federal marketplace, which agencies have historically struggled to do. “I think this is a great example of us listening to our customer agencies, our industry partners and the Small Business Administration and [figuring out] where we can provide value in the federal marketplace,” said Lee. “We think this is an opportunity to inject innovation into the federal marketplace, help support commercialization of these unique solutions and ultimately help grow jobs.”

  • The US Air Force’s top acquisition exec talks hypersonic prototypes and more

    31 juillet 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    The US Air Force’s top acquisition exec talks hypersonic prototypes and more

    By: Valerie Insinna FARNBOROUGH, England — Will Roper took the job of assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics in February, but he's likely better known for his prior gig as head of the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office. As the first-ever director of the new SCO, Roper drew attention for projects that used off-the-shelf tech to prototype new capabilities like swarming drones. Now he's turning his eye toward making sure the Air Force quickens the pace in which it acquires new weapons, focusing especially on prototyping as a method to push the service toward a solution on a faster timeline, he told Defense News in a July 16 interview at Farnborough Airshow. What current programs involve prototyping? We've got a whole set of programs that we're accelerating, and what I love about our acceleration is that there's no rhyme or reason to what type of program they are. Some of them are sustainment programs like putting a new engine on the B-52. Others are more traditional prototype efforts like hypersonics where we're doing an advanced weapon acceleration. Others are software, where we're accelerating F-22 software drops, our protected [satellite communications] delivery. The good news about this is it doesn't appear that there is [only] one type of program that's able to be accelerated. The difference is that we're not using traditional [Department of Defense] 5000 [acquisition principles]. Instead we're using the new authorities from Congress, and all they encourage us to do is to tailor the way that we acquire the system to the specific needs of what we're buying. And that sounds completely obvious. You ought to do something specific to the needs of what you're buying. But if you look at the 5000 process, which is traditional acquisition, it has more of a generic approach. And in that generic approach, there are a lot of steps that don't make sense for all systems. So we're just cutting those out, and that's where the acceleration is coming in. How are you prototyping new B-52 engines? Aren't there off-the-shelf systems already available? There are. That's what we want to use. The question is: How do you go out and do that acquisition? If you do it a traditional way, you'll spend years doing studies, [with] the government pretending it knows enough about those commercial engines to make a decision to pick one and go field it. If we were a company, we would know that we don't know enough about those engines without getting our hands dirty, without getting some grease on our hands and sleeves. So they would go out. They would downselect to a top set of vendors, have each one create a digital twin of their engine, do the digital representation of its integration on their aircraft, fly them off against each other, determine which one will give you the most fuel savings and then pick the engine based on the one that saves you the most money overall. By: Valerie Insinna So, a simulated flyoff? Exactly. So in the accelerated acquisition paradigm, which uses the 804 authority, we don't have to go the 5000 route of doing years of study. We can do it like a commercial company. And what I love about this example is that it's not just faster, it's about three-and-a-half to four years faster in total time. It's also better because we'll be making the decision with a lot more data than we would if we were staring at a wad of paper that was analysis but not actual simulation. This is an example of what tailoring means and what it gets you. This approach may not apply to other programs, but it makes a ton of sense for this one. So that's what we're developing right now, is buying a commercial engine the way a company would. Buying and integrating it the way a company would, not a military. What's the schedule? We're working the acquisition plan right now. I've approved it for one of our 804 accelerations, so we'll use the new authorities. I've given this guidance to the program office. Let's go do a digital twin flyoff the way that industry would, and I'm just letting them work the details before we approve and get started. But it's a great example; a digital twin flyoff is pretty cool. You wouldn't think putting a new engine on the B-52 would be a cool program. You would expect the hypersonics program would be where all the cool kids would go. But in my view, there's a lot of great engineering and great acquisition to be done in all programs, and what's been awesome about being in this job is I'm seeing innovation across the Air Force, not just in the high-tech programs you'd expect. The light-attack experiment is obviously one example where you're doing this prototyping and experimentation. Some in Congress want to give you money in fiscal 2019 to buy planes, but the Air Force hasn't even figured out whether to turn this into a program of record. Do you have the contractual authorities to make that happen? I think we can do it using new authorities that Congress gave us in the last National Defense Authorization Act. Light attack is a great example of being able to move into an authority called “middle-tier rapid procurement fielding.” The requirement is that it's something that you need to be able to buy off the shelf with only a little upfront development in six months total. And light attack is a great example of doing experiments to make sure that you understand the ability of existing planes to do a mission we need to do, and then moving into an acquisition decision which is based on buying a currently available product. I'm confident as we go through all of the light experiment data — we're doing that right now — that any of the options we look at, I'm confident none of them will be 100 percent perfect, but that's exactly what's wrong with acquisition today. We pursue 100 percent solutions until we get them. Light attack is a great example of realizing that we can get 90 to 95 percent today at a lower cost, and since we've gone out and flown before we bought, I think we have a much better chance of doing this acquisition with confidence, that what we give the operators will do the mission and be sufficient. By: Valerie Insinna You mentioned hypersonics as another area that involves prototyping. Can you say more about that? Hypersonics is an area that I'm very passionate about. I feel like we need to not fall behind any country in this domain. And it was an area, coming in from SCO, I really wanted to dive into these prototyping efforts and see is there anything that we can do to speed them up. And in fact, there is. This is another example of another program where the rapid authorities appear to make a big difference on how quickly you can go. But the big difference is really shifting the program so that it embraces the potential for failure. You saw this a lot from me at my last job. Failure is very much an option, and as a matter of fact, if we're going to fail and we do it early in a program, we've probably learned something valuable that we need to understand before progressing. Hypersonics is a program where I would expect us to get out and learn a lot as we test. So rather than taking time to ensure that your tests are checking the box of something you're confident you can do, you compress the schedule to go out and make the test focused on learning something. Just that difference in mindset takes years out of our hypersonics program. We're hoping to [get to initial operational capability] within three to four years, and all of that is due to doing it as an experimental test program vice a long compliance period. Are you speaking of the hypersonic weapons program that Lockheed Martin recently won? We just awarded a contract to Lockheed, and that will be the vehicle that we use to fund this. Are you relying on digital prototyping or physical demonstrators? It will be all [of them]. Hypersonics is a new regime for weaponry, so we very much want to have digital models that we believe. So getting in the wind tunnel so that we can go out and simulate flights before we do them. But because this is a pretty exotic domain of physics in terms of pressures and temperatures, we're going to need to get out and fly and test [real prototypes]. [Information technology is] very important that we're instrumenting our flight bodies so that we're collecting data. There's nothing that I'm telling you that's peculiar to this program — this is pretty common for any envelope-pushing program. I think the big difference in hypersonics now versus a couple of years ago is just shifting to a test focus and embracing the potential for failure as a spectacular learning event or whatever word you want to use as a good name for failure. It's a great failure of our English language that there's no word that means “good failure.” We say we need to embrace failure. We don't often do it because it still comes with a stigma, and that's one of the things I'm really hoping to do in this job. I'm looking for those people to take smart risks, to go out to be daring, and my job is going to be to give them top cover, applaud them and reward them when they do because we're going to need that across the Air Force if we're going to speed up. Can you give me a status update on T-X? On T-X, we're going through source selection, so we're hopeful we'll get through that — should be in the fall. The fall? We had been hearing summer. I guess, if September is summer — I guess September is technically summer. End of summer is still fair based on where we are now. With JSTARS, I understand the Air Force is still doing source selection as Congress figures out the path forward. Will it be ready to announce in short order if you are forced to move forward on the program? We're hoping that we can shift to the new [advanced battle management system] ABMS program because if we're going to deal with a contested environment, we are going to have to learn to take things that used to be integrated, complicated system that are high-value targets, and break them up into less contestable targets that can work together. I don't view that as particular to JSTARS; it's something we need to learn how to do writ large. I view it as an architecture challenge that the Air Force has to pick up if we're going to learn how to do distributed systems. I would like to be able to do it for JSTARS because I think it's a great candidate. If Congress does require us to do the recap, we're making sure that we have not dropped the ball on doing that. But we are hoping to be able to shift to the future concept. As an SCO director and former program manager, I would love to manage that program. I think there will be a lot of things to learn and tryn and it definitely needs to be a program where we embrace failure up front and prototype because there's going to be a lot of learning to do about how do you make things work together as a team. We get a sense of how commercial industry is solving it, and I imagine we can use a lot of their lessons learned, but probably not all of them. It sounds like the ABMS architecture is still being worked through as far as what will fit in that and how. I'd say it's an architecture at this point. And that's unusual for a program when, if you were in my job, you're getting tasked like, “I need a new airplane, I need a new sensor pod,” and you get a list of how well it has to perform. ABMS is more [like], you're given a mission and your can choose how to allocate the requirements for that mission across a system of systems. So it's not the mission requirements — you're doing the design requirements. And you can just imagine one designer saying: “I'm going to collect a lot of data from nose to the edge. I'm going to do a massive amount of processing at the middle.” I bet you'd get high performance that way, but you'd have huge communication challenges. Another designer might say: “I'm going to put my processing on the edges themselves, so I'm not dependent on getting to that central node.” You probably have more graceful degradation if you have one of those nodes taken out. But you might give up performance. This is a real architecture problem, and acquisition historically does not do architecture. When we need to build something, we don't allocate it across systems of systems. In the future, it looks like we're going to have to start doing that.

  • A new cold war: How the Army is preparing for a fight in the Arctic

    31 juillet 2018 | International, Terrestre

    A new cold war: How the Army is preparing for a fight in the Arctic

    By: Todd South As Russia beefs up its Arctic presence with new units, equipment and weaponry for the cold weather fight, the Army has slowly begun to shift some resources to improving its own capabilities — though it lags behind its Arctic allies and lacks large-scale capacity to train or provide high numbers of troops for a potential Arctic battle. Melting polar ice is opening a region once thought nearly impenetrable to competition for shipping traffic, natural resources and potential land grabs some experts think could start a new Cold War. In recent years, Canada, Norway and Russia have realigned their focus to improving and expanding their Arctic capabilities. Along with those neighboring nations, which include Denmark, Finland and Sweden, the United States and United Kingdom all have varying levels of competing claims on Arctic resources. It wasn't always so. As recently as 2012, experts such as Siemon Weizeman with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute were analyzing cooperative efforts between Russia, the United States and other Arctic nations. In the U.S. Department of Defense 2013 Arctic Strategy, Russia is barely mentioned. But following the 2014 war in Ukraine, stoked by Russia, leaders have shifted their view about the nation's role in the Arctic. In that time, Russia has pushed resources in that direction. Its 2014 Russian Military Doctrine paper for the first time included the task of “protecting Russian interests in the Arctic.” So far, that's included building up to 40 heavy icebreaking ships, more than a dozen new airfields, 16 deep-water ports, a broad range of tactical airpower, dedicated training centers, and stationing of paratroopers, counterterrorism, electronic warfare and other forces in the region, said Maj. Gen. Laurie Hummel, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, at a June conference on Guard interests in the Arctic. The talk was put on by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Those ground forces include naval infantry and two army brigades on the Kola Peninsula, with aims to guard the Northern Sea route. And all of that is tied together under a recently established Russian Arctic Strategic Command, Hummel said. In addition, although China does not border the Arctic, it has “aspirational” goals for the region and wants to exploit sea lane passages for shipping and fishing waters, she said. In January, China released its first Arctic strategy white paper titled the “Polar Silk Road.” The paper focuses on Arctic shipping routes and states a cooperative goal for infrastructure and other development. China's polar strategy echoes its One Belt One Road policy in Africa, which seeks partnerships to provide natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals. The Chinese government is looking to a liquefied natural gas project in northern Russia called Yamal to supply it with millions of tons of fuel a year upon program fruition. These and other factors are pushing key U.S. military and government leaders to look at how to shore up Arctic capabilities. “It is time for our nation to have a comprehensive and overarching arctic strategy,” Hummel said at the Wilson Center conference. Shifting priorities Right now, the U.S. military's ground forces under U.S. Army Alaska, which falls under Indo-Pacific Command, includes a combined force of only 25,000 active duty, National Guard and Reserve troops. That's about 2.5 percent of the entire force. In recent years, the Army has increased unit training in the Arctic, including airborne operations in 2014, armored vehicle deployment exercises in 2015, and the return of the 75th Ranger Regiment to Alaska for training for the first time since 2001. As of 2016, the Northern Warfare Training Center hosted an estimated 1,400 troops annually for training in an arctic region. The Northern Warfare Training Center in Alaska provided the following numbers of troops trained there over the past decade: Cold Weather Leaders Course — 3,025 Cold Weather Orientation Course — 1,188 Basic Military Mountaineering Course — 1,440 Advanced Military Mountaineering Course — 150 Mountain Warfare Orientation Course — 360 Military Ski Course — 36 Total all events (some not listed) — 7,100 NWTC focuses on small units and training unit leaders in effective cold weather and mountaineering skills. It seldom hosts large units, said John Pennell, spokesman for U.S. Army Pacific Command. Other training areas are available, though they are more accurately classified as subarctic than Arctic, and that has major implications. In 2015, Fort Drum, New York, home of the 10th Mountain Division, was reclassified from Zone 5 to Zone 7, which put it in the ranks of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. The shift pushed an additional $12.5 million in funding for equipment and infrastructure to the site. Some Army funding has also gone to upgrade individual equipment for soldiers at Fort Drum, Fort Wainwright and in Italy. New items include new gloves, headgear, sleds and skis. In June, the Army posted a Request for Information from industry on building an over-the-snow vehicle capable of operating in 50-below conditions. Dubbed the Joint All Weather All Terrain Support Vehicle, or JAASV, it would replace the decades-old Small Unit Support Vehicle, or SUSV, a tracked vehicle that typically supports an infantry platoon-sized element. How cold is too cold? New equipment, even a new vehicle, doesn't necessarily equal a force ready to perform in truly Arctic conditions. Capt. Nathan Fry, the officer-in-charge of the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School's training division, told Army Times that people unfamiliar with Arctic environments often confuse “northern training,” which can be cold weather or high-altitude focused, with Arctic training. But the two are not equal. As Fry noted, gear that works well in freezing conditions can fail spectacularly when temperatures drop to minus-50 Fahrenheit. He would know. For the past few years, he's been one of the U.S. representatives on the Guerrier Nordique team that spends weeks in Arctic and sub-Arctic areas of Canada. The exercise began in 2012 and was, in some ways, a small-scale attempt to recapture lost lessons of Arctic warfare that were explored regularly and in depth by the U.S. military throughout the 1940s and 1950s, as the United States prepared for a potential Cold War through operations such as Ice Cap in Greenland, Nanook, Snow Chute, Snow Drop, Snow Fall and Snow Storm. There must be a better understanding of the differences between cold weather and Arctic training, Fry said. Some think that if soldiers can fight in minus-10-degree weather, then they can do it at 60 degrees below zero. “That's just not true,” Fry said. “It's just like the mountain warfare fight, it's really tricky.” Fry left active duty Army service in part to go to his current post at the Guard-run mountain warfare school and push for more work and preparation in the Arctic sphere. Outside of the annual Arctic Eagle Exercise with U.S. Army Alaska and the recent Fort Drum conference, Fry said he's not seen a lot of improved Arctic policy. “From my foxhole, I haven't seen a whole lot of forward progress,” Fry said. But the interest is there. Fry said that his school has seen a drastic increase in demand for mountain and cold weather training, and they began running extra classes to meet the need. And next year's calendar is filling quickly. Though a byproduct of the school's mountain and cold weather training can better inform soldiers on how to plan, survive and fight in some ways in extreme conditions, it is not Arctic focused. Items that are simple in normal weather conditions — how much fuel will people and vehicles need to stay warm and conduct operations? What rate of travel can be expected for either mounted or dismounted soldiers? How much water will soldiers need? — are complicated in extreme cold weather. Soldiers can have a frozen 5-gallon water jug but not be able to use it. “If I can't melt it, then I can't drink it,” Fry said. “Lack of fuel will absolutely shut you down.” While some cold weather training teaches students to use snow, the amount of water yield from snow is far less than ice. And leaders must plan for fuel use to melt the snow or the ice in ways they wouldn't have to in a desert or woodland environment. Fitting it all in And most training, from that being done in Alaska, Vermont or New York, is at the small unit, tactical level. “We are not thinking in terms of a staff exercise,” Fry said. “We're not testing brigade staff on how to conduct resupply missions in cold weather environments.” And that's a problem when soldiers are in extreme, austere environments where the only resources are those that they bring with them. Fry pointed to work that the Marines have long done with the Norwegians as something the Army should consider. Marines rotate a force of 300 to Norway for extended joint training. That number was recently more than doubled to 700. One suggestion the captain has might be to value Arctic training the same way the Army does airborne qualifications, including with a Skill Qualification Identifier. That number makes it easier for leadership to track how many soldiers have the appropriate training. And that mentality, coupled with an integrated Arctic focus similar to that given to airborne training, would help commanders prioritize unit training to emphasize those qualifications and seek more training opportunities. For example, the 10th Mountain Division is designated as a light infantry unit. That means that although its soldiers have access to mountain training and the current commander has emphasized “putting the mountain back into 10th Mountain,” without Army-directed prioritization those skills can fall to the bottom of the checklist. Small changes, such as a Skill Qualification Identifier, can direct the focus of commanders and resources, Fry said. “It's like being in the 82nd Airborne Division,” Fry said. “Do we do range time or refresher jumps? Somehow they fit it all in.”

  • Busting The Green Door: Army SIGINT Refocuses On Russia & China

    31 juillet 2018 | International, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Busting The Green Door: Army SIGINT Refocuses On Russia & China

    Over 17 years of fighting terrorists and insurgents, “our SIGINT forces mastered the art and science of identifying and tracking individual threats with pinpoint precision," Lt. Gen. Berrier said. "We now face a significant challenge on a much larger scale." By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR. CAPITOL HILL: The Army has a new, two-pronged strategy for Signals Intelligence, its top intelligence official said at a recent forum here. First, SIGINT forces must continue their post-9/11 evolution from a secretive, insular priesthood to a hands-on helper for frontline troops. At the same time, SIGINT must scale up the “precision” techniques developed to track insurgents‘ and terrorists‘ transmissions so it can tackle much bigger and more sophisticated adversaries like Russia and China. Instead of pinpointing terrorist leaders for drone strikes or commando raids, SIGINT may be finding electronic weak points in enemy networks that US cyber and electronic warfare teams can then hack or jam. There is a foundation of success to build on, Army leaders told the Capitol Hill forum, which was organized by the Association of Old Crows, the leading professional association for electronic warfare. Intelligence in general and SIGINT in particular, they said, have gotten better integrated with other Army branches since 9/11 — and especially since 2016. “It has been a remarkable two years,” said Brig. Gen. Jennifer Buckner. Formerly deputy commander of Joint Task Force ARES, which led Cyber Command operations against ISIS, she is now cyber director in Section G-3/5/7 of the Army's Pentagon staff. Increasingly close cooperation between intelligence analysts and tactical commanders, she said, has made it possible “to normalize operations like this so we truly are using the intelligence to inform and enable further targeting.” Ultimately, said the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence (G-2), Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the Army and its fellow services need to integrate intelligence, cyber warfare, and electronic warfare to realize their vision of Multi-Domain Operations, in which US forces launch coordinated attacks, both physical and electronic, from land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. Over 17 years of fighting terrorists and insurgents, “our SIGINT forces mastered the art and science of identifying and tracking individual threats with pinpoint precision,” Berrier told the forum. “We now face a significant challenge on a much larger scale, combat operations with near-peer and peer competitors.” Even if we never fight Russia or China directly, Berrier said — and let's hope we never do — we'll face the technology they sell around the world. In places like Ukraine, US partners are already fighting Russian proxies. So to meet this challenge, Berrier said, he recently approved a Signals Intelligence strategy with four main lines of effort: Build a SIGINT force that's responsive to and closely integrated with tactical units, from corps headquarters on down; Apply what SIGINT has learned in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism over the last 17 years to high-intensity warfare; Buy new equipment, ground-based and airborne, that's up to the challenge of great power adversaries; and Develop new doctrine, field manuals and concepts for large-scale combat. Thanks to enthusiastic support from both Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, and recently departed chief of Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, an experimental unit called the Multi-Domain Task Force is already exercising some of these concepts in PACOM. It's built around an Army artillery brigade — both cannons and long-range missiles — augmented with long-range sensors to find targets and an integrated Intelligence, Cyber, & Electronic Warfare (ICEW) team that can stage non-physical attacks. “If you want to shoot 500 or a thousand miles, you have to see 500 or a thousand miles,” Berrier said. “This is the way of the future.” Getting there, though, requires overcoming the ways of the past. The “Green Door” Problem For generations, Army commanders have complained that Signals Intelligence operated behind a “green door” of security restrictions that kept them from sharing vital intelligence in time to act on it. For its part, Army SIGINT tended to see its primary customer as the National Security Agency, not combat units. In this context, the SIGINT community was leery of anyone actually taking action based on intelligence, lest it give away a source of long-term strategic value for a short-term tactical gain. But in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the US military was trying to find, target, and capture or kill key insurgents and terrorists, who kept constantly on the move. That meant intelligence on their location had to get to tactical commanders fast, before the target moved again. If you wanted the drone to fire the Hellfire at the right target, or the special operators to kick down the right door, you needed to bust down the green door first. Conversely, once ground troops grabbed a High Value Target, they had to get his cellphone, laptop, and other devices to the intelligence analysts ASAP so his contacts could be tracked down and special operators could go after them before they scattered. The result was a self-reinforcing cycle that generated much more intelligence than you'd get by just passively listening to the enemy. So today, tight integration between signals intelligence and tactical commanders for such “intelligence-driven operations” has become almost routine — on a small scale. But there's a big difference between targeting a Taliban bomb-maker on his cellphone in someone's garage as opposed to a Russian general on a high-security network in the middle of a tank division. For the many scenarios in high-end warfare when a target is too well-protected for other forces to bomb or capture, the Army wants the option to hack the target's network or jam its radio signals — to disrupt what it cannot destroy. That requires SIGINT to hand the target data to so-called “non-kinetic” ways of disrupting the enemy through cyber and electronic warfare. But there's a profound institutional imbalance here. SIGINT is one of the most influential and well established technical branches of the Army, in large part due to its intimate relationship with the NSA. But cyber is the newest branch, albeit benefiting from rapid growth and high-level attention, with its offensive capabilities highly secret and tightly restricted. And Army electronic warfare was largely disbanded after the Cold War and remains a small, underfunded force with very little actual hardware beyond short-range jammers to keep roadside bombs from detonating. So while the “green door” between intelligence and operations may have been kicked down, very real barriers remain between intelligence, cyber, and electronic warfare. The CENTCOM Model Central Command — which oversees Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria — has forced intelligence officers and combat commanders to work together in new ways, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty. This is possible, in part, because intelligence has gotten better at “sanitizing” information so tactical operators can use it without inadvertently revealing intelligence sources and methods, he said. But intel has also grown more willing to take the “tremendous risk” that something might slip out anyway, because the greater risk was that not acting on the intelligence would cost lives. Fogarty lived all this first-hand. Now head of Army Cyber Command, he was previously head of the Army cyber school at Fort Gordon and the top intelligence officer (J-2) for Afghanistan and, later, CENTCOM as a whole. But Fogarty's far from alone: Not only his fellow high-level panelists, but two veterans in the audience members on Capitol Hill — a young officer and a retired general — took the microphone to agree with him. “What I saw in theater, [in] my time in CENTCOM and multiple trips to Afghanistan, is that SIGINT drove operations...down to the most tactical level,” Fogarty said. National Security Agency SIGINTers — “both civilian and military” — were actually sitting side-by-side with combat officers in Army brigade headquarters and, in some cases, even on company-sized Combat Outposts (COPs), he said. (This is very similar to how the National Reconnaissance Office has operated over the last decade on the battlefield with its Field Representative program.) Now many of the company, battalion, and brigade commanders who grew accustomed to this close support are leading the Army. “The guys who were lieutenants, captains, majors, lieutenant colonels that are now two, three, and four stars today, that's what they expect,” Fogarty said. Of course, what broke down the traditional barriers between intelligence and operations was “the tremendous pressure” of wartime, when US and allied lives were in danger every day. “What we've got to make sure,” Fogarty said, “is we maintain that pressure and that we don't regress to where we were potentially back in the Cold War.” What's New? So what is Army intelligence actually doing to build on the counterterrorist successes of the past and prepare for a great power conflict in the future? Most immediately, the Army is changing how it trains, everything from new schoolhouse courses for officers to new field exercises for entire brigades. When an infantryman or tanker gets promoted to a leadership role, Berrier noted, they attend specialized courses to help them develop a bigger-picture perspective on the battlefield. For their part, intelligence leaders need to go beyond technical training in purely intelligence tasks — as complex and challenging as that is — and learn how to “integrate our highly technical skills into tactical formations” alongside infantry, armor, artillery, aviation, cyber/electronic warfare, and the rest. Intelligence soldiers and officers also need to practice their technical and tactical skills in real-world conditions. That's not easy to arrange. First, the law is far more restrictive of training in the US than operations overseas, especially when it comes to intelligence collection in the vicinity of US citizens. Second, the electromagnetic transmissions SIGINTers need to practice detecting can interfere with civilian electronics, and the Army doesn't want to fight the FCC. Training for electronic warfare, which involves deliberately disrupting signals, is even trickier. The best site for such training in the US, not coincidentally, is the Army Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, home of the intelligence branch. Berrier commanded Fort Huachuca until he handed the job over to Maj. Gen. Robert Walters. Since units testing or training there are isolated from civilian population centers by broad deserts and high mountains, Walters told the Capitol Hill forum, “they can turn their jammers on and we don't have planes crashing in Tucson.” Unfortunately, US electronic warriors don't have many jammers to turn on, not yet. (We'll delve into that tomorrow). But at least Army SIGINT systems like Prophet can train at Huachuca on detecting and analyzing real signals. The Army is also trying to replicate or simulate enemy signals at its Combat Training Centers in California, Louisiana, and Germany. Even so, some aspects of high-tech, high-intensity warfare may only be replicable in simulations, Berrier said. The Army's key tool here is a simulator called IEWTPT, the Intelligence Electronic Warfare Tactical Proficiency Trainer. Training to do better with current technology, however, is not enough. Current systems were designed and fielded at a time when the US could operate freely in the electromagnetic spectrum, Berrier said, where the main problem was not enemy activity but inadvertent interference from other US systems (known as “electronic fratricide” or “blue on blue”). Against Russia, China — or anyone who's bought their latest systems — the spectrum will become a battlefield. So the Army needs to develop new equipment designed to withstand hacking, jamming, and other rigors of high-tech combat, like advanced anti-aircraft systems that can shoot down scout planes, drones, and helicopters. Ultimately, the Army envisions multi-purpose systems that can not only detect and analyze enemy signals — the SIGINT function — but also disrupt or subvert those signals — the cyber/electronic warfare functions. That makes a lot of sense, in theory, since cyber/EW needs SIGINT to find its targets in the first place. But it's much more complicated to implement in practice, less because the technology is tricky than because of the intense tribal rivalries within the Army. We'll delve into those divisions and possible solutions in a second article, due out tomorrow.

  • Boeing’s new F-15X may replace an aging fleet of F-15C/D Eagles

    31 juillet 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Boeing’s new F-15X may replace an aging fleet of F-15C/D Eagles

    By: Kyle Rempfer The Air Force's fleet of F-15 C and D Eagle fighters are aging faster than F-35 joint strike fighters are being fielded, a gap in the transition that some think needs to be filled. And even when more F-35s have been fielded, F-15s could still fill a tactical role to help the Air Force carry out its mission. Boeing's new, single-seat F-15X design may be the Air Force's answer to that issue. Very little has been made known about the F-15X initiative, which was first reported by Defense One, and the Air Force's Pentagon officials could not provide comment on it, only telling Air Force Times that “there is no acquisition program” with respect to the new platform. But multiple media outlets still reported this week that the F-15X was being pitched to the Air Force by Boeing. Alternatively, some reports state that the Air Force first solicited Boeing for the new fighter. Regardless, the possibility of a new platform to replace aging the fourth-generation F-15 fighters could alleviate the strain put on F-22 Raptors and make up for the F-35s slow roll-out. Created during the Cold War, the more than 40-year-old F-15 has been the U.S. Air Force's primary air-to-air fighter jet for decades. The aircraft has been known for its range of operational roles, however, to include close-air support in the Global War on Terrorism. Dan Grazier, the Jack Shanahan Military Fellow at the Project On Government Oversight, writes extensively on military procurement, to include the F-35 acquisition. He said that while he can't comment on the specific designs of the F-15X, it is generally better to develop weapon systems from “an evolutionary approach.” “Whenever the military possesses a proven basic design like the F-15, the Pentagon should focus its efforts on maintaining and improving it until the state of technology changes to the point where the basic design is no longer viable,” Grazier told Air Force Times. “Until that happens, there is no reason to continually reinvent the wheel. If it is possible to incorporate improved technology into a design that has already been bought and paid for, then it only makes financial and common sense to do so.” “There will doubtless be arguments made that the unit flyaway costs of the F-15X and F-35 will be roughly comparable," he said. "When you factor in the development costs of both into the program unit average cost, I bet the F-15X will be much less expensive.” While the F-35 is a supposed to be a multi-role aircraft — capable of a stealth mode, as well as an air-to-ground combat mode once air dominance is achieved — it has been questioned whether the F-35 can outperform an F-15 in an air-to-air dogfight, or an A-10 Warthog in close-air support missions. As to what the F-15X includes that separates it from older F-15s, not too much is definitively known. Citing sources close to the initiative, The War Zone reported the most extensive breakdown so far. The F-15X reportedly came out of an Air Force inquiry to Boeing and Lockheed Martin about fielding an aircraft that could easily transition into the service's existing air combat infrastructure, specifically to help counter the Air Force's shrinking force. There were some caveats to the solicitation: it needs to be cost-effective, low-risk and not considered an alternative to the larger F-35 procurement program, The War Zone reported. It seems those requirements were met, based on the reported features. The F-15X armament would be designed for a mixed air-to-air and air-ground-role, including “eight air-to-air missiles and 28 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs), or up to seven 2,000-pound bombs and eight air-to-air missiles," according to The War Zone. The F-15X would allegedly be very affordable, as well. The aircraft reportedly costs roughly $27,000 per hour to fly. Meanwhile, the F-35A costs more than $40,000 an hour to fly, according to The War Zone. Finally, The War Zone said the F-15X will have a 20,000-hour service life, meaning it could be flying for several more decades. Still, Boeing officials have not outright confirmed they were pitching the F-15X. “We see the marketplace expanding internationally and it's creating opportunities then to go back and talk to the U.S. Air Force about what might be future upgrades or even potentially future acquisitions of the F-15 aircraft,” Gene Cunningham, vice president of global sales of Defense, Space & Security, told DefenseOne. The Air Force has been considering retiring its F-15 Eagles for some time. In March 2016, service officials said they were considering a retirement for the more than 230 F-15 C and D fighters, and replacing them with F-16 Fighting Falcons. Speaking before the Senate Armed Services air land forces subcommittee in April, Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, said the service was still looking at options for the F-15 fleet. “There's nothing off the table,” Harris said. “We're looking at, as we bring F-35s in, can we grow our capacity rather than just replace one-for-one? If we can't do that, what's our least-capable asset to retire, based on the value that it would provide for us?”


    30 juillet 2018 | International, Terrestre


    DALLAS, July 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) was selected by the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) as the Integrated Systems Developer for its Expedient Leader Follower (ExLF) program. In this role, Lockheed Martin will lead a three-year effort to develop, integrate and test unmanned prototype systems for supporting leader/follower convoy activities within an asymmetric threat environment. Soldiers will conduct operational technology demonstrations using the prototypes developed in the ExLF program to establish operating procedures and shape future programs of record. "We are leveraging 15 years of experience in developing autonomous capabilities for our customers," said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires & Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Our goal as the Integrated Systems Developer is to help coordinate a number of systems and vendors in achieving mature, reliable autonomous convoys to support our warfighters in complex environments." Soldiers conduct resupply convoys within an asymmetric threat environment compounded by long sustainment missions, adverse weather/environment and night operations. These conditions adversely impact operator safety, degrade driver/operator situational awareness and reduce resupply efficiency. "The Expedient Leader Follower effort will equip a number of existing military ground vehicles with scalable robotic technology through the integration of modular kits, common interfaces and an open architecture to increase operator safety, improve situational awareness and increase resupply efficiency," Campbell said. About Lockheed Martin Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. This year the company received three Edison Awards for ground-breaking innovations in autonomy, satellite technology and directed energy.

  • IARPA selects Raytheon for predictive analytics competition

    30 juillet 2018 | International, C4ISR

    IARPA selects Raytheon for predictive analytics competition

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity awarded Raytheon BBN Technologies (NYSE: RTN) a $14.5 million contract to develop a system that improves the accuracy of predicting a range of geopolitical events – including elections, conflict, and disease outbreak. The contract was awarded last year under IARPA's Hybrid Forecasting Competition. "Event forecasters have struggled with the best way to combine the capabilities of human and machine analysts," said Lance Ramshaw, principal investigator and lead scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies. "We're identifying the optimal combination to develop the best forecasting system possible." While human analysts are flexible and can apply context to their event forecasting models, machines can more quickly process massive amounts of data to make unbiased forecasts. Together, Raytheon BBN's hybrid forecasting system uses the benefits of both by providing: Automated aids that increase human forecasters' efficiency, including intelligent search, automatically computed indicators and alerts about changes or new information. Tools for sharing machine reasoning and results with human forecasters. Automatic combination of varied human forecasts, with more weight assigned to predictions from historically accurate forecasters. As prime contractor, Raytheon BBN leads a team that includes Lumenogic and Wright State Research Institute, who contribute to the technology research. Subject matter expertise related to elections and opinion, military events, science, disease outbreak, conflict and leadership and macro-economics are provided by the American Center for Democracy, Ipsos Public Affairs, Systems and Technology Research and Tufts University. About Raytheon Raytheon Company, with 2017 sales of $25 billion and 64,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 96 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5ITM products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.Follow us on Twitter.

  • A Five Eyes ship on the horizon?

    30 juillet 2018 | Local, Naval

    A Five Eyes ship on the horizon?

    by Beth Maundrill in London With final proposals submitted for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project, the Lockheed Martin-led Combat Ship Team is bullish about the prospects of another Type 26 win. Specifically the company has highlighted that with three Commonwealth and Five Eye member nations potentially operating the same vessel could bring great benefits ...

  • Pentagon Creates ‘Do Not Buy’ List of Russian, Chinese Software

    30 juillet 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Pentagon Creates ‘Do Not Buy’ List of Russian, Chinese Software

    Increasingly alarmed at foreign hacking, DOD and intelligence officials are racing to educate the military and defense contractors. The Pentagon is warning the military and its contractors not to use software it deems to have Russian and Chinese connections, according to the U.S. Defense Department's acquisition chief. Officials have begun circulating a “Do Not Buy” list of software that does not meet “national security standards,” Ellen Lord, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said Friday. “We had specific issues ... that caused us to focus on this,” Lord told reporters at the Pentagon. “What we are doing is making sure that we do not buy software that's Russian or Chinese provenance,” she said. “Quite often that's difficult to tell at at first glance because of holding companies.” The Pentagon started compiling the list about six months ago. Suspicious companies are put on a list that is circulated to the military's software buyers. Now the Pentagon is working with the three major defense industry trade associations — the Aerospace industries Association, National Defense Industrial Association and Professional Services Council — to alert contractors small and large.

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