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  • Turkey provides tax breaks, loans to attract investment in local defense programs

    24 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Turkey provides tax breaks, loans to attract investment in local defense programs

    By: Burak Ege Bekdil ANKARA, Turkey — In an effort to boost indigenous defense programs, Turkey is providing incentives, which include generous tax breaks, tax reductions and exemptions from import duties. The incentives include additional levies and soft loans. In just the first two months of 2018, the government incorporated 13 defense investment projects submitted by 12 companies into its incentives program. These investments are worth $350 million. The largest investment program benefiting from the incentives during the January/February time frame was Roketsan’s new production line. The state-controlled missile maker’s investment plan is worth $217 million. Military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense company, has won incentives support for its new $35 million investment in electronic systems and new $40 million investment in aerial and missile systems. Official figures show a boom in private defense investment, too. According to the Ministry of Economy, $1.9 billion of defense investment by private companies will be subsidized by government incentives this year. These investment plans include a total of $220 million for armored vehicles, a laser gun and unmanned land vehicles; and $125 million in diesel tank engines by armored vehicle producer BMC, a Turkish-Qatari private joint venture. Private firm Most Makina will receive government incentives for its planned $385 million investment in steel equipment for defense systems. Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI, will invest $1.2 billion in its TF-X program, an ambitious plan for the design, development and production of Turkey’s first indigenous fighter jet. TAI is developing the TF-X with BAE Systems.

  • How the Army plans to improve its friendly force tracking

    24 avril 2018 | International, Terrestre, C4ISR

    How the Army plans to improve its friendly force tracking

    By: Mark Pomerleau The Army is upgrading how it tracks friendly forces to increase readiness. During the fiscal 2019 budget roll out in February, Army officials at the Pentagon indicated that the service would be accelerating its Joint Battle Command-Platform, which provides friendly forces awareness information known as blue force tracking, as well as encrypted data and faster satellite network connectivity. The change is intended to solve mounted mission command problems across all formations. The new budget request shows the service is serious about the issue. The Army asked for $431 million for the program in FY2019. That’s up from a total of $283 million during the FY2018 budget. Moreover, the Army plans to procure 26,355 systems as opposed to 16,552 from the FY2018 budget. However, officials in the program office were careful to note this was not a “plus-up, so to speak,” but an effort to accelerate the fielding of the tracking systems. C4ISRNET’s Mark Pomerleau recently spoke about the program’s modernization efforts with Col. Troy Crosby, project manager for Mission Command, alongside Lt. Col. Shane Sims, product manager for JBC-P, assigned to Project Mission Command. C4ISRNET: How should we interpret the FY2019 budget request for this program? COL. TROY CROSBY: It’s important to understand that there wasn’t necessarily a plus-up. Really what happened is we shifted already approved authorizations to the left. We’re just expediting sooner. The Army asked us what we could do to modernize faster … essentially, we went back to them and said give us the funding and the resources to move a lot of those units to the left because every year the G-3/5/7 comes out with this priority list and we weren’t able to get down to that priority list because of funding. That’s really what you’re seeing with that movement of money from the out years closer in to the left. C4ISRNET: What led to the decision to baseline the program across formations? CROSBY: The Army’s looking to standardize their baselines not only on the platforms like JBC-P, but also a similar effort in the command post with software baseline reduction. Moving to the standard baseline on the platform-side helps with training, readiness and the physical constraints as we can depreciate the older versions of FBCB2/BFT [Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below/Blue Force Tracking] out of sustainment. C4ISRNET: How does standardization help the Army? CROSBY: Any time you’re greatly standardized in a organization the size of the Army, you’re going to get easier interoperability down at the tactical level. If Lt. Col. Sims is Sgt. Sims and he is in a unit at Fort Stewart and we were trained on the current systems in the force and then he gets [a permanent change of station] out to Fort Riley, he already has a base of knowledge when he hits the ground on what those systems are because they’re the same across the force. So, the training burden for his new units greatly reduced. I think it also helps in readiness as units and soldiers move around the battlespace. The other reason the Army really wants to standardize on JBC-P is, like with all systems in the tactical network, we’re always looking to improve cyber posture, and there were multiple improvements in our cyber posturing that the department felt were relevant to try to accelerate so we could get that capability to the entire force as quickly as possible. C4ISRNET: In terms of cyber, what are some modernization efforts you’re undertaking to help this platform perform in the more dynamic environments? CROSBY: I think the best way that we can characterize it is looking to … achieve a cyber posture that allows us to operate both in a counter-insurgency/counterterrorism role and a near-peer adversary role. We’re looking to answer both sides of that coin. Yes, current fight, but we’re also looking to make sure we’re cyber postured for a near-peer. LT. COL. SHANE SIMS: You can probably draw some conclusions from what you know on the commercial side. Imagine having a computer that’s over 20 years old — that’s where some of our platforms are right now when you’re talking about the FBCB2 that was fielded almost two decades ago. C4ISRNET: In terms of your FY19 funding, could it be characterized as investing in standards to help increase readiness and lethality? CROSBY: Very much so. The plus-up kind of touched a couple of areas. On the research and development side, the plus-up helps us in looking at ways to modernize and bring new capability for the blue force tracking network side. We’re really looking to expedite that fielding for better cyber posture. C4ISRNET: It sounds like standardization is very important from an Army readiness and lethality perspective. SIMS: When talking JBC-P, there are really three components: the software, the hardware and then the network. Really, what we’re doing on a couple fronts [is] we’re expediting the fielding to get the hardware out there but that’s going to set the conditions for what we’re doing in the command post with the infrastructure. That same infrastructure is going to reside on our hardware that’s in the platform. The commanders are in environments where they experience something completely different in the command post than you experience on the platforms. You hear repeatedly from the commanders, “Can I have the same type of user experience?” Data’s really what we’re addressing with the modernization of the command post and the mounted computing environment. That user experience is going to be one and the same for the commander when he or she is in the command post and then when they get in the vehicle. That is really what we’re doing with modernization for JBC-P. C4ISRNET: The National Defense Strategy has stressed prioritization on great power competition. How does JBC-P modernization and standardization fit into that strategy? CROSBY: The first one is looking to modernize JBC-P mission command on the move at the platform level. How we continue to modernize and field as fast as we can so that we can maintain both that counter-insurgency/counterterrorism fight and near-peer adversaries is one piece of this.

  • Pentagon creates new position to help guide software acquisition, F-35 development

    24 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    Pentagon creates new position to help guide software acquisition, F-35 development

      By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department is creating a new position to help formulate its software strategy and ensure it keeps pace with commercial advancements — and the most important resposiblity will be overseeing the F-35 joint strike fighter’s agile software strategy. During a Friday roundtable with reporters, Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, announced that she has tapped Jeff Boleng to the newly created position of special assistant for software acquisition. Boleng, currently the acting chief technology officer at Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, will start April 16 as a member of Lord’s team. “Jeff Boleng will spend over 90 percent of his time on F-35. He is going to be the individual who is working amongst all of the groups to enable us to bring the right talent onboard,” Lord said. “We have a challenge, I think both within the JPO [F-35 joint program office] as well as Lockheed Martin, in terms of getting a critical mass of contemporary software skill sets to begin to move in the direction we want to.” As the F-35 joint program office embarks on a new strategy called Continuous Capability Development and Delivery, or C2D2, which involves introducing agile software development, Lord wants to ensure that both the JPO and Lockheed have employees with the right training to execute the effort and that they can attract new professionals with additional software expertise. “This is something that [Lockheed CEO] Marillyn Hewson and I have talked about,” she said. “Lockheed Martin has some excellent software capability throughout the corporation. My expectation is that they’re going to leverage that on the F-35. And as we within the Department of Defense really increase our capability for software development focused on C2D2, our expectation is that Lockheed Martin will do the exact same thing. “So they have the capability. I’m very energized about the leadership focus that I have seen in the last four to eight weeks, so I have great expectations that that will continue and that Lockheed Martin will keep pace or outpace DoD in terms of modernization for F-35 software development.” Boleng, a former cyberspace operations officer and software engineer who served more than 20 years with the Air Force, last held the position of teaching computer science at the Air Force Academy before moving to the private sector. At Carnegie Mellon, he is responsible for spearheading the institutes research and development portfolio, which includes software development, data analytics and cyber security activities in support of the Defense Department. As the special assistant for software acquisition, he will help develop department-wide software development standards and policies and “advise department leadership on latest best practices in commercial software development.” Boleng will also interface with Pentagon organizations charged with ramping up the department’s software prowess such as Defense Digital Services, a small group of former private-sector tech professionals who led the department’s “Hack the Pentagon” events and have conducted a few assessments of F-35 software. That starts with a meeting today between Lord, Boleng and a Defense Innovation Board group centered on software acquisition, which has been embedded both with the joint program office and Lockheed Martin, Lord said.

  • Stimuler la création d’emplois et l’innovation au Canada grâce à des investissements en défense

    23 avril 2018 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Stimuler la création d’emplois et l’innovation au Canada grâce à des investissements en défense

    Le Canada, un chef de file mondial dans cinq secteurs de technologies émergentes, continue de mettre à profit ses forces Le 23 avril 2018, Ottawa L’industrie de la défense du Canada est saine et novatrice, alors que plus de 650 entreprises emploient plus de 60 000 Canadiens. Le gouvernement du Canada soutient cette industrie notamment au moyen de la Politique des retombées industrielles et technologiques (RIT), qui exige que, pour chaque acquisition d’importance, les fournisseurs qui remportent un marché de la défense effectuent des investissements au Canada d’une valeur égale à celle du contrat obtenu. Au cours des 30 dernières années, la Politique des RIT a entraîné des investissements de 30 milliards de dollars dans l’économie canadienne, et permet la création d’environ 40 000 emplois annuellement. Grâce à la politique de défense du Canada – Protection, Sécurité, Engagement, les milliards de dollars investis dans l’approvisionnement en matière de défense se traduisent par des retombées économiques et la création d’emplois pour la classe moyenne. Afin de tirer profit de cette situation, le ministre de l’Innovation, des Sciences et du Développement économique, l’honorable Navdeep Bains, a annoncé aujourd’hui que le gouvernement se servira de la Politique sur les RIT pour inciter les détenteurs de contrats de défense à investir dans les capacités industrielles clés. Le Canada a de fortes capacités industrielles dans cinq domaines liés aux nouvelles technologies qui présentent un potentiel de croissance rapide. Il existe également 11 domaines où les capacités industrielles sont déjà concurrentielles à l’échelle internationale et des domaines où la capacité industrielle est essentielle à la sécurité nationale. Technologies émergentes Matériaux de pointe Intelligence artificielle Cyberrésilience Systèmes télépilotés et technologies autonomes Systèmes spatiaux Principales compétences et services industriels essentiels Systèmes et composantes aérospatiaux Blindage Intégration des systèmes de défense Systèmes électro-optiques et infrarouges Solutions en matière de véhicules terrestres Soutien en service Systèmes de mission et systèmes de plateforme navales Munitions Services de construction navale, de conception et d’ingénierie Sonars et systèmes acoustiques Formation et simulation Les capacités industrielles clés se marient bien au Plan pour l’innovation et les compétences du gouvernement, car elles permettent le développement des compétences et stimulent l’innovation dans le secteur de la défense au Canada.   Citations   « Notre industrie de la défense avait besoin de capacités industrielles clés et c’est ce que nous lui avons donné. En favorisant les investissements dans des secteurs présentant un fort potentiel de croissance rapide, nous permettons à nos forces armées d’être mieux équipées, à l’économie d’être plus forte et aux Canadiens de la classe moyenne d’avoir accès à des milliers d’emplois. » — Le ministre de l’Innovation, des Sciences et du Développement économique, l’honorable Navdeep Bains   « Pour l’industrie de la défense du Canada, les capacités industrielles clés constituent un important outil stratégique permettant de solidifier le partenariat entre le gouvernement et l’industrie. Ces capacités industrielles clés favorisent les investissements stratégiques dans des secteurs de la défense et de la sécurité, actifs ou émergents, pour lesquels le Canada est un chef de file mondial possédant des technologies concurrentielles. Les capacités présentées aujourd’hui sont le reflet des industries canadiennes de la défense et de la sécurité, industries de classe mondiale axées sur l’innovation. » — La présidente de l’Association des industries canadiennes de défense et de sécurité, Christyn Cianfarani   « Par la définition de capacités industrielles clés, le gouvernement offre un autre outil important visant à utiliser les approvisionnements publics pour augmenter les investissements dans des secteurs où le Canada est bien positionné et offre diverses possibilités. L’importance de l’aérospatiale pour ce qui est des capacités industrielles clés définies par le gouvernement aujourd’hui démontre bien la vitalité de notre industrie, tout comme son potentiel à poursuivre sur sa lancée afin de conserver son avantage concurrentiel pour les années à venir. Nous sommes vraiment heureux que le gouvernement ait dévoilé ses capacités industrielles clés et nous félicitons le ministre Bains pour le lancement réussi de cet outil des plus utiles en matière d’approvisionnement. » — Le président et chef de la direction de l’Association des industries aérospatiales du Canada, Jim Quick Faits en bref La composition de la liste des capacités industrielles clés change au fil du temps, afin de tenir compte des avancées technologiques et des besoins changeants en matière de défense. La liste sera revue et mise à jour régulièrement. L’adoption de ces capacités industrielles clés a été proposée dans le rapport de 2013, Le Canada d’abord –  Exploiter l’approvisionnement militaire en s’appuyant sur les capacités industrielles clés (aussi connu sous le nom de Rapport Jenkins). L’industrie de la défense est une industrie novatrice où il se fait 4,5 fois plus de R-D que la moyenne de ce qui se fait dans l’industrie manufacturière canadienne. Cette industrie est également axée sur l’exportation, avec 60 % de ses ventes destinées aux marchés internationaux en 2016. De 1986 à 2016, le portefeuille des obligations à l’égard des RIT avait à son actif 137 marchés dont la valeur a atteint 41,5 milliards de dollars, dont 28,3 milliards de dollars pour des projets d’activités commerciales terminés, 9,4 milliards de dollars pour des activités en cours et 3,8 milliards de dollars pour des activités à venir. Liens connexes Politique des Retombées industrielles et technologique (RIT) Capacités industrielles clés du Canada Guide d’acquisition de la Défense 2016 Protection, Sécurité, Engagement Plan pour l’innovation et les compétences Le Canada d’abord – Exploiter l’approvisionnement militaire en s’appuyant sur les capacités industrielles clés Personnes-ressources Suivez le Ministère sur Twitter : @ISDE_CA Renseignements : Karl W. Sasseville Attaché de presse Cabinet du ministre de l’Innovation, des Sciences et du Développement économique  343-291-2500 Relations avec les médias Innovation, Sciences et Développement économique Canada 343-291-1777

  • Le gouvernement du Canada annonce l’attribution d’un contrat à Cellula Robotics Ltée pour la recherche et le développement à l’appui de la surveillance sous-marine dans l’Arctique

    23 avril 2018 | Local, Naval

    Le gouvernement du Canada annonce l’attribution d’un contrat à Cellula Robotics Ltée pour la recherche et le développement à l’appui de la surveillance sous-marine dans l’Arctique

    Communiqué de presse De : Défense nationale Le 6 avril 2018 – Ottawa (Ontario) – Défense nationale/Forces armées canadiennes Dans la politique de défense du Canada, Protection, Sécurité, Engagement, le ministère de la Défense nationale (MDN) s’engage à mettre l’accent sur la recherche et le développement en matière de défense afin de trouver des solutions novatrices aux problèmes de surveillance dans le Nord, y compris les secteurs prioritaires du renseignement, de la surveillance et de la reconnaissance dans l’Arctique. Le Gouvernement du Canada a attribué un contrat à Cellula Robotics ltée pour la mise au point d’une pile à combustible qui améliorera la capacité des véhicules sous-marins autonomes de stocker suffisamment d’énergie pour entreprendre des missions lointaines et de longue durée. Ce contrat, d’une valeur totale de près de 648 000 $, est attribué dans le cadre de l’appel de propositions d’innovation 2016 pour le programme de sciences et technologie (S & T) sur la connaissance de la situation dans tous les domaines (CSTD). Les solutions de surveillance appuient la capacité du gouvernement du Canada d’exercer sa souveraineté dans le Nord et sensibilisent davantage aux enjeux en matière de sécurité, ainsi qu’aux activités commerciales et de transport dans l’Arctique canadien. De plus, des solutions peuvent contribuer aux efforts conjoints du Canada et des États-Unis pour renouveler le Système d’alerte du Nord et moderniser des éléments du Commandement de la défense aérospatiale de l’Amérique du Nord (NORAD). Grâce à un investissement de près de 133 millions de dollars jusqu’en 2020, les responsables du programme de S & T sur la CSTD coordonnent et financent des recherches et des analyses novatrices pour appuyer l’élaboration d’options visant à améliorer la connaissance du domaine des approches aériennes, maritimes et sous-marines du Canada, en particulier dans l’Arctique   Citations « Afin de relever les défis canadiens, nous devons explorer des solutions novatrices canadiennes, surtout compte tenu de l’étendue du littoral de l’Arctique. Nos établissements d’enseignement et notre industrie de l’innovation comptent parmi les meilleurs au monde, et nous sommes fiers de travailler avec eux pour traiter des questions de surveillance particulièrement complexes concernant l’Arctique. » Ministre de la Défense Harjit S. Saijan « Notre gouvernement s’est engagé à fournir aux militaires des Forces armées canadiennes les outils dont ils ont besoin pour réaliser leur travail, tout en assurant le meilleur rapport qualité-prix possible pour les Canadiennes et les Canadiens. Ces contrats feront appel à l’expertise canadienne pour élaborer des technologies de surveillance de pointe pour l’Arctique. » Ministre des Services publics et Approvisionnement, l’honorable Carla Qualtrough Faits en bref La CSTD est un programme dirigé par le MDN, qui vise à tirer parti de l’expertise scientifique et technologique innovatrice d’autres ministères, du milieu universitaire, de l’industrie et des alliés, afin d’identifier, d’évaluer et de valider les technologies à l’appui de la surveillance aérienne et maritime, en particulier dans le Nord. Recherche et développement pour la défense Canada (RDDC), l’organisation de la Défense nationale spécialisant en sciences et technologie, est le chef de file national en S & T. Cette organisation fournit à la communauté de S & T pour la défense, aux Forces armées canadiennes et à d’autres ministères, ainsi qu’aux groupes de sécurité publique, les connaissances et la technologie nécessaires pour défendre et protéger les intérêts du Canada au pays et à l’étranger. Produits connexes Documentation - Le gouvernement du Canada annonce l’attribution d’un contrat à Cellula Robotics Ltée pour la recherche et le développement à l’appui de la surveillance sous-marine dans l’Arctique Liens connexes Programme de connaissance de la situation dans tous les domaines Le gouvernement du Canada annonce les contrats attribués dans le cadre du Programme de science et technologie pour la connaissance de la situation dans tous les domaines Le gouvernement du Canada annonce la période de présentation des soumissions en réponse au processus d’appel de propositions 2016 pour des investissements en sciences et technologie Personnes-ressources Relations avec les médias Ministère de la Défense nationale Téléphone : 613-996-2353 Courriel : Suivez Sciences et technologie de la Défense nationale (@DRDC_RDDC) sur Twitter Pour plus de renseignements, visitez le

  • The unlikely tool that’s improving physical security at military bases

    23 avril 2018 | International, Sécurité

    The unlikely tool that’s improving physical security at military bases

    By: Adam Stone From their perch in the operations center at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., security analysts peer down like hawks over the Naval Research Lab, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and a half-dozen other major military installations scattered around the national capital region. It takes just 10 people to maintain constant surveillance over all those disparate sites, “but you need machines to help you,” said Robert Baker, command information officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. Those machines include a complex network of cameras and sensors, supported by analytics software. When the software spots a suspect event – traffic headed in the wrong direction, for example – that video feed gets pushed to the foreground for human analysis. This is just one example of how the military looks to technology to improve physical security. The real-world influence of technology is evident across the military: Everything from targeting systems to logistics to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance has been enhanced in some way by IT. Physical security represents an emerging frontier, where artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous technologies and other advances could give the military an edge. Force multiplier At Edwards Air Force Base in California last summer, a security team installed a ground-based radar system to monitor a wide landscape using electro-optical and infrared sensors. The team turned to technology to give them insight across a massive 308,000-acre facility. “The driving need for this system is to proactively defend Edwards AFB. Given the mission of Edwards, and how much terrain we have, we need a system that can overcome the difficulties of patrolling the vast amount of land Edwards presents to our patrols,” Staff Sgt. Alexander Deguzman, an installation security technician with the 412th security forces squadron said in a news release. As at the Navy Yard, the effort at Edwards is all about using some combination of remote sensing, networked surveillance and machine intelligence to create a force multiplier in physical security. Analysts say such initiatives could make bases and installations markedly safer at a lower cost and with less labor required. The rise of artificial intelligence is a critical technology moving forward. Security often involves the constant observation of multiple video and data feeds for prolonged periods of time. Human analysts get tired. They look away for a moment. In short, they miss stuff. “A human can look at things once or twice, but after 100 times they start to lose their edge,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Bob Elder, chair of the cyber and emerging technologies division at the National Defense Industrial Association. “AI goes beyond what a human can do, because it doesn’t get tired.” Elder envisions a future in the near-term in which routine surveillance can be carried out by software-supported machines, with computers scanning for anomalies and alerting human analysts to potential threats. That saves on labor. In addition, such as approach also would allow the military to use less highly-skilled operators, relying instead on the machine’s expertise and accuracy. Eyes in the sky Industry’s interest in this subject has helped bring AI and autonomy to the fore as potential security assets. With the rise of the drones and the imminent arrival of driverless cars, some experts are looking to autonomy as the next logical step in military security. Drones alone don’t offer a security fix: Their batteries run down too fast. The military might however consider the use of tethered drones, autonomous ISR assets that can hover in place and remain attached to a power source for ongoing operations. Put one at each corner of a base camp and leaders can put together a big-picture view of any approaching hazard. “This kind of solution is really smart, because you can constantly feed it power, you don’t have to worry about it flying away, and if someone tries to damage it or take control of it, you know about it right away,” said Steve Surfaro, chairman of the Security Industry Association public safety working group. Another key industry trend, biometrics, may also point the way forward on physical security. “Investing in facial recognition software … can improve perimeter security by automating aspects of it to speed up entry to bases for those authorized and focus screening attention on those that represent a risk,” according to a Deloitte report on smart military bases titled “Byting the Bullet.” The networking needs To make the most of the technological imperative around security, experts say, the military will have to give serious thought to issues of infrastructure. Security is becoming a data function: Sensor streams, video feeds, drone surveillance and other methodologies all will require robust network support and substantial compute resources. The data will need to flow freely, even in great quantities, with ample processing available to put it to use. Much of the processing will be done in the cloud, “but you still need to have a reliable connection to that cloud, which means you want diversity and redundancy. At a minimum you want two connections and ideally you want three ways of doing it – wires, line of sight wireless, and satellite,” Elder said. “You need a reliable way to get to your cloud services.” Such an implementation will require, at the least, a significant amount of bandwidth. At the Navy Yard, Baker said he is able to overcome that hurdle through thoughtful network design. In other words: Rather than pushing all the information back to the operations center for processing, new video and sensor analytics takes place on the edge, shrinking the overall networking demand. “The more processing you can do at the edge of the network, the less robust your network needs to be,” he said. Efficient network design weeds out routine activity “and then the really interesting information is being sent for human analysis.” While emerging technologies can enhance the military’s security operations, some argue that IT capabilities are not, in themselves, a rationale for upgrading systems that may already be meeting mission. Budgetary constraints apply. “You could make processing faster, but what is the threat that we are trying to counter? If we are seeing zero incidents, why we would gold-plate that area? We want to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollars,” Baker said. “At the same time, if there was some high-risk area where we needed to do that better, we would absolutely want to put resources against that.”

  • States Turn To National Guard To Help Protect Future Elections From Hackers

    23 avril 2018 | International, C4ISR, Sécurité

    States Turn To National Guard To Help Protect Future Elections From Hackers

    DAVE MISTICH In elections past, the integrity of the vote was protected by poll workers and election officials. But in 2018 and likely beyond, elections are being protected by people like the anonymous man who works in the basement of the West Virginia Capitol. He's member of the West Virginia National Guard who is a cybersecurity specialist responsible for monitoring any computer-related threats to the state's elections. Since August of last year, he's been attached full time to the office of Secretary of State Mac Warner. After Russian-backed hackers probed election-related systems in at least 21 states in 2016, election officials, whose focus has traditionally been on making sure that polling places run smoothly and that results are speedily reported, now have to focus on protecting their computer systems. Oftentimes lacking those resources in-house, National Guard specialists have been called in to monitor vital election systems in a handful of additional states, including Colorado, Ohio and South Carolina. Neither the West Virginia National Guard nor Warner's office would permit the soldier to speak on the record, but Warner emphasized how crucial the role is. "We, just like every other government entity and people in business, are getting pinged all the time. Somebody is checking to see are there any open doors [or] open windows for targets of opportunity," Warner said. Warner's current use of the National Guard builds upon his predecessor, Natalie Tennant, who enlisted their cybersecurity expertise to scan the state's election systems for vulnerabilities and patch them in the final stretch of the 2016 election. In January 2017, the outgoing Obama administration designated elections as part of the country's critical infrastructure. That meant new federal resources and scrutiny. The Department of Homeland Security is working to give security clearances to state officials so they can receive intelligence briefings and assessments. Warner, like other state-level election officials, is in the middle of a months-long process of getting cleared. Using Guard soldiers who already have a high-level clearance, "is a way to bridge the gap without causing a problem in that security system process," said West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General James Hoyer. State officials are trying to figure out how to prepare for a threat they had never before anticipated, said Eric Rosenbach, a former Defense Department official who now directs a program on election security at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. "These state election officials are the pointy tip of the spear for nation-state actors like the Russians trying to attack our democracy. That's never before been their job," said Rosenbach. "If part of [the National Guard's] responsibilities is to protect the things most precious to a state — it kind of makes sense that you would want them to support an effort like that." While the regular military can't be involved in domestic law enforcement due to a post-Civil War federal law known as Posse comitatus, National Guard soldiers are under the jurisdiction of the governor unless they're activated by the federal government. "The threat is new and we need to evolve with the times — as long as it still fits in the right legal framework and we're doing something that, you know, all Americans would agree are part of our democratic traditions," Rosenbach said. Moving forward, Warner sees his office's partnership with the National Guard continuing. "The cybersecurity arena is one of those where we as public officials have to get it right every time. The hackers only have to penetrate one time to do substantial damage," Warner said. "So, it's a foot race that we have to stay one step ahead and it never ends. It just goes on and on." So far, the National Guard has monitored a few small local elections in West Virginia and Warner's office says they have yet to receive a threat that has risen to a level of what they called "actionable." With the state's primary election slated for May 8, the Guard's first big election cybersecurity test is already underway.  

  • Are you a small business? The Navy wants to work with you

    23 avril 2018 | International, Naval

    Are you a small business? The Navy wants to work with you

    By: Daniel Cebul WASHINGTON — To reach its acquisition goals, the Navy wants to make it easier to partner with small businesses. Speaking from the Sea-Air-Space Exposition to a Facebook Live audience, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts outlined his views on the important role small businesses play in Navy acquisition programs. “Small business is an incredible source for innovation, for adaptability, for agility, and resilience,” Geurts said. “My main goal [is to figure out], how do we leverage small business for things they are really good at?” Geurts emphasized the importance of small business in achieving U.S. security goals. Looking at the National Defense Strategy for guidance, Geurtz summarized the document to be one focused on how the United States will continue to compete and win as a nation. “Winning teams figure out how to use all the players available, use them for what their strengths are, continue to grow them, and expand,” he said. “Small business is a big piece of that equation for us.” One way small businesses can get connected to the right program is by clearly communicating their technological capabilities and ability to execute awarded contracts. “If you’re a small business you’ve got to let us know what your capabilities are,” Geurts said. By clearly communicating capability, businesses “make it easy for [the Navy] to know what capabilities you have so we can be fully informed in putting a program together,” he added.

  • Defense Department halts F-35 deliveries amid repair bill disagreement with Lockheed

    20 avril 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Defense Department halts F-35 deliveries amid repair bill disagreement with Lockheed

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has suspended acceptance of most F-35 deliveries as manufacturer Lockheed Martin and the F-35 program office debate who should be responsible for fixing jets after a production issue last year. “While all work in our factories remains active, the F-35 Joint Program Office has temporarily suspended accepting aircraft until we reach an agreement on a contractual issue and we expect this to be resolved soon,” a Lockheed spokeswoman confirmed in a statement, adding that the company remains confident that it can meet its delivery target of 91 aircraft for 2018. News of the delivery pause was first reported by Reuters. The dispute is rooted in a quality control issue that caused F-35 deliveries to stop from Sept. 21 to Oct. 20. At the time, corrosion was found in fastener holes of F-35As being repaired at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Lockheed and the JPO were able to agree on a corrective action plan, one source said, and Lockheed was able to complete planned deliveries of the F-35 for 2017. But sometime after that, a dispute over who should pay for the fix resurfaced and the Defense Department opted to take another production pause, a source said, declining to comment on how long deliveries have been suspended. “Per the direction of the program executive officer, F-35 deliveries have been temporarily paused while the government and Lockheed Martin reach an agreement on a contractual issue regarding repair work to remediate the known aircraft fastener hole primer quality escape,” said a statement from the F-35 joint program office. “This is not a safety of flight issue but rather a contractual resourcing issue that needs to be resolved. The government has implemented this pause to ensure the warfighter receives a quality product from industry. We look forward to a swift resolution of this issue.” Production of the aircraft is ongoing at Lockheed’s line in Fort Worth, Texas, and at final assembly and check out facilities in Nagoya, Japan, and Cameri, Italy. A source noted that some customers have accepted planes due to warfighter demands. According to Reuters, two aircraft have been delivered to the Defense Department since it imposed the suspension. Meanwhile, a repair bill for more than 200 jets is on the line. The corrosion issue is just one of several production problems that has plagued the F-35 over the last couple years. Vice Adm. Mat Winter, the F-35 joint program executive officer, spoke Wednesday at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference but did not disclose the fact that deliveries had stopped. A statement from the F-35 joint program office was added at 9:05EST on April 12.

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