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  • Cyber Command moves closer to a major new weapon

    3 juillet 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Cyber Command moves closer to a major new weapon

    By: Mark Pomerleau  The Air Force issued a formal proposal earlier this month for the Department of Defense’s long-awaited cyber weapon system, known as the Unified Platform, sources tell Fifth Domain. DoD officials have said the Unified Platform is one of U.S. Cyber Command’s largest and most critical acquisition programs to date. Industry officials have said it is necessary to conduct cyber operations and is critical to national security. Just as sailors rely on an aircraft carrier, pilots need airplanes or soldiers need tanks, cyber warriors require a system to which they launch their attacks. Pentagon leaders have said the Unified Platform will house offensive and defensive tools, allow for command and control, situational awareness and planning. Industry officials have referred to the programs as a “cyber carrier” used to launch cyber operations and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. But details on what the Air Force, which issued the request on behalf of Cyber Command, wants in a Unified Platform are scarce. Sources told Fifth Domain a formal request for proposal was released through the General Services Administration’s premier enterprise Alliant Governmentwide Acquisition Contract vehicle, which “provides flexible access to customized IT solutions from a large, diverse pool of industry partners … [and] allows for long-term planning of large-scale program requirements.” Under this model, GSA completes much of the initial contracting legwork and, in this case, allows the Air Force to focus on the specific technical requirements, sources said. Companies compete to be eligible for task orders under the Alliant contract and then GSA selects contractors who compete against each other for individual task orders on the final program. This means, only vetted companies would work on the program. Alliant is also designed to streamline contracts for IT projects only, eschewing some of the documentation and financials in typical contracts enabling faster awards. The Unified Platform proposal was only released to companies on the contract about two weeks ago, sources said, and is due in mid-July. Today, each of the individual services use their own disparate systems, many of which are not linked together. The spokesman added that efforts are underway to review and consolidate existing service and Cyber Command’s platforms. Unified Platform seeks to take the best of breed of these and provide all cyber warriors a consolidated system. “In concert with US Cyber Command and all Services, the Air Force as Executive Agent is directing development and deployment to ensure timely and relevant full-spectrum capabilities for our cyber warriors,” an Air Force spokeswoman said. An Air Force spokeswoman said that the Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center will serve as the system integrator and will lead a multi-contractor, agile development/operations effort to launch and expand the Unified Platform. Currently, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Booz Allen Hamilton are known to be competing for the contract. Sources said other companies may also be considering a bid. The Air Force, in its research and development budget for fiscal 2019, asked for $29.8 million for the Unified Platform program this year. It requested $10 million for fiscal year 2020 and $6 million in fiscal 2021. The total cost of the program is not immediately clear. Other companies are also working on Unified Platform prototypes in the interim. Enlighten IT Consulting, a Maryland based company, was awarded earlier this year a sole source contract to provide a Unified Platform prototype, Duane Shugars, Enlighten’s vice president of operations, told Fifth Domain. Enlighten is providing a capability Cyber Command’s cyber mission force is using in real world missions today in which they collect data, push it into their analytics to run and share it for intelligence fusion. As the command continues to grow and mature leaders have said it will need its own infrastructure to conduct operations. As recently as 2015, top Pentagon officials acknowledged Cyber Command did not possess a robust joint computer network infrastructure capability, a robust command and control platform and systems to plan and execute fast-moving, large-scale cyber operations. During his confirmation process to lead Cyber Command, Gen. Paul Nakasone said the organization needs its own infrastructure separate from the National Security Agency, which is currently co-located with Cyber Command and has traditionally shared personnel and infrastructure. “Operating under the constraint of the intelligence authorities that govern NSA infrastructure and tools would severely limit USCYBERCOM’s ability to effectively support wartime cyber operations,” he said. https://www.fifthdomain.com/dod/cybercom/2018/06/29/cyber-command-moves-closer-to-a-major-new-weapon/

  • A Senate panel wants to spend an extra $400 million on microelectronics

    29 juin 2018 | International, C4ISR

    A Senate panel wants to spend an extra $400 million on microelectronics

    By: Daniel Cebul When the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense released a summary of their spending priorities June 26, the bill included a significant increase for one emerging technology. The panel recommended setting aside an additional $447 million for microelectronics. Specifically, the committee wanted to ensure the Department of Defense has access to trusted microelectronics and can develop manufacturing processes for next-generation microprocessor chips. To do so, the bill raised the fiscal year 2019 research, development, testing and evaluation budget for microelectronic technology from $169 million in the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request to $616 million. Already, concern about the domestic production of microelectronics is expected to be part of a large defense industrial base review now underway. But what exactly are microelectronics, and why is their development worth so much to DoD? Microelectronic chips are essentially integrated electric circuits that regulate energy consumption, and perform complex computations that enable capabilities like global positioning systems, radar and command and control. Imagine all of the components that go into your computer ― memory, graphics processors, wifi modules, etc ― all on a single silicon chip, called a wafer. eading-edge wafers typically are 300 mm in diameter and loaded with transistors, resistors, insulators and conductors that control the flow of electrons (read electrical energy) across the chip. The smaller and smaller these components are, specifically transistors, the more can be fit on a chip, enabling faster and more efficient processing. Transistors themselves are measured in nanometers (nm), and are unfathomably small to most non-scientists and engineers. One nanometer equates to a billionth of meter! To put that into perspective, the average diameter of a human hair is 75,000 nm. The most cutting-edge transistors used in microelectronics measure between 10 and 7 nm, and are expected to get smaller in coming years. Smaller and smaller transistors will contribute to breakthroughs in “machine learning, data sorting for recognition of events, and countering electromagnetic threats,” according to a Defense Advance Research Project Agency backgrounder. Because Pentagon leaders believe this technology is vital for current and future capabilities, technology officials say it is important DoD can trust microelectronics are reliable and secure from adversary attacks and sabotage. For this reason, DARPA launched the five-year, up to $200 million Electronics Resurgence Initiative in September 2017 “to nurture research in advanced new materials, circuit design tools, and system architectures.” A key thrust of this initiative is partnership with top universities through the Joint University Microelectronics Program, or JUMP. The program enlists top researchers to work on proejcts like cognitive computing, secure cellular infrastructure to support autonomous vehicles and intelligent highways and other technologies enabled by microelectronics. Under the Senate defense subcommittee’s markup, ERI received an additional $30 million to help “reestablish U.S. primacy in assured microelectronics technology.” https://www.c4isrnet.com/it-networks/2018/06/28/a-senate-panel-wants-to-spend-an-extra-400-million-on-microelectronics/

  • The new cyber leader focused on national defense

    28 juin 2018 | International, C4ISR

    The new cyber leader focused on national defense

    By: Mark Pomerleau Air Force Brig. Gen. Timothy Haugh has assumed command of U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber National Mission Force. As one of CYBERCOM’s four main headquarters elements, the CNMF is in charge of deterring and disrupting cyberspace operations to defend the nation. CNMF components include cyber support teams that provide intelligence support, cyber protection teams that specialize in defending the Department of Defense Information Network, and national mission teams that help protect the DoDIN and, when ordered, other U.S. cyberspace. NMTs are also aligned against specific nation-state actors. With potential changes to the construct of CYBERCOM’s cyber teams writ large, some have indicated that the CNMF construct is a good model. “The way the Cyber National Mission Force is organized, having … mission teams, support teams and CPTs, that is an ideal construct for doing full-spectrum operations,” Brig. Gen. Maria Barrett, who formerly served as deputy of operations at CYBERCOM, said. Senators have previously pushed CYBERCOM to be more aggressive in using NMTs to deter malicious cyber activities in the U.S., particularly those conducted by Russia. “With the authority or the direction of the president of the United States national mission teams can disrupt these attacks at the point of origin, is that correct?” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., asked during a February congressional hearing. While they could be tasked to do that, the former commander of CYBERCOM, Adm. Michael Rogers, was careful to say it depends on specifics not wanting to overpromise. Haugh, who took over June 4, was most recently the director of intelligence at CYBERCOM. Previous holders of this role include Gen. Paul Nakasone, who is now the commander of CYBECOM and director of the NSA, as well as most recently Vice Adm. Timothy White, who now commands 10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command. https://www.fifthdomain.com/dod/cybercom/2018/06/27/the-new-cyber-leader-that-could-help-stop-malicious-activities/

  • Australia commits to Triton in $5 billion deal

    28 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    Australia commits to Triton in $5 billion deal

    By: Nigel Pittaway  MELBOURNE, Australia — Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on June 26 that the Australian government will purchase six Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft. The initial investment in the Triton capability is AU$1.4 billion (U.S. $1.03 billion), which includes AU$200 million to enter into a cooperative development program with the U.S. Navy; and AU$364 million for major infrastructure works at two Royal Australian Air Force bases. The total cost of the deal, including whole of life sustainment costs, is estimated to be AU$6.9 billion Australian dollars (U.S. $5.1 billion). The first aircraft will be delivered in 2023 and the last in 2025. They will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia and at Tindal in the Northern Territory, but are also likely to be forward-deployed to other airfields around the continent, including a string of bare bases to the north and north-west. The announcement marks the Gate 2 milestone in the Australian Defence’s Force’s Air 7000 Phase 1B program, which seeks to acquire a high altitude, long endurance maritime surveillance platform to complement its eventual fleet of 12 Boeing P-8A Poseidon manned maritime patrol aircraft. Australia’s Triton program earlier achieved Gate 1 approval in 2014, and the 2016 Defence White Paper affirmed the government’s commitment to the acquisition of the capability, subject to the successful completion of the U.S. Navy’s Triton development program. At that time the requirement was for seven Tritons , one less than the six announced yesterday, and was initially capped at AU$4 billion, although this did not include through-life sustainment costs. “The Triton will complement the surveillance role of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft through sustained operations at long ranges as well as being able to undertake a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks,” according to a joint statement by Prime Minister Turnbull, Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne. “Together these aircraft will significantly enhance our anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike capability, as well as our search and rescue capability.” Minister Pyne said that the Triton will be responsible for surveillance of Australia’s areas of maritime responsibility, which represents over 10 percent of the world’s surface. “They will provide surveillance and reconnaissance across the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean as far as Antarctica,” he said. “Triton provides unprecedented endurance and 360-degree coverage through its unique sensor suite,” commented Doug Shaffer, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of Triton programs. “Australia has one of the largest sea zones in the world over which it has rights to use marine resources, also known as an Economic Exclusion Zone. As a flexible platform, Triton can serve in missions as varied as maritime domain awareness, target acquisition, fisheries protection, oil field monitoring and humanitarian relief.” The Australian Defence Force estimates Triton is capable of establishing a ten-hour orbit in the Southern Ocean, south of Heard Island, or similar efforts to the north of Guam and to the East of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean, from bases around the country. Australia is interested in the multi-intelligence (MULTI-INT), also known as integration functional capability 4 version of the Triton. This features several enhancements over the baseline aircraft and includes a signals intelligence payload which, in U.S. Navy service, is intended to replace the Lockheed EP-3E Aries surveillance platform. The cooperative development program Australia has signed with the U.S. Navy is similar to the agreement it has with the Navy regarding P-8A spiral development and will seek to influence the further development of the MULTI-INT Triton to meet Australia’s specific needs. Items of interest are understood to include the integration of a weather radar system, for prolonged operations in tropical conditions where daily thunderstorms are a fact of life, and a ground moving target indicator to facilitate overland ISR missions in addition to the blue water maritime surveillance role. “This cooperative program will strengthen our ability to develop advanced capability and conduct joint military operations,” Prime Minister Turnbull said. https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2018/06/27/australia-commits-to-triton-in-5-billion-deal/

  • Army: Individual Soldiers Will One Day Control Swarms of Robots

    28 juin 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Army: Individual Soldiers Will One Day Control Swarms of Robots

    By Matthew Cox Army robotics officials at Fort Benning, Georgia are trying to give individual soldiers the capability to control swarms of air and ground robotic systems for missions that often require large numbers of troops to accomplish. U.S. ground forces have used small ground robots and unmanned aerial systems for years, but only on a small scale, said Don Sando, director Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate at Benning. "To really get a large benefit from robotic systems, we have to break the one-soldier, one-robot link, because right now, you generally need one operator for one robotic system and that is effective and interesting, but when I can have dozens of robotic systems controlled by one soldier, now I have a significant advantage," Sando told a group of defense reporters today on a conference call. A single soldier could conduct reconnaissance over "large areas with fewer soldiers and many dozens of robotic systems," Sando said. "That starts to matter especially in conditions such as dense urban environment," Sando said. "The problem with urban environments is they consume soldiers ... limited lines of sight, tunnels, buildings -- all the things that just take manpower to overcome and control. "If we can expand that with robotic systems, both air and ground, then that has significant impact." The concept could be developed to enhance communications battlefields when networks are hampered by enemy activity as well as natural obstacles. "If our communications infrastructure is going to be contested, as we know it will, then how can I regenerate quickly and effectively in a given area with robotic systems, both air and ground, to create that network?" Sando said. CDID officials are developing a common controller that can control air and ground robots regardless of the model. "We are very close on that; we did some assessment last year. We proved the feasibility of about three different versions of controllers that can effectively control air and ground robotic systems," Sando said. "The advantage to that is a soldier only has to learn one system as opposed to every robot has its own unique controller." The goal is to make a decision on a common controller by late fiscal 2019, Sando said. But the problem is more than just choosing the right controller. "How do you train a soldier, and how do you train leaders to do that? Sando said. "It's one thing to have two hands on your rifle -- one soldier, one system. It's one thing to be a small unit leader, to have a few subordinate leaders under your control -- it's something else to have dozens of under your control." Organizations continue to come to Benning to "practice and develop algorithms to employ swarming unmanned aerial systems," Sando said. "The next thing beyond that is OK, how do I swarm ground robotic systems? How can I do that?" he said. "That is the thing we are least developed on and that's the thing we want to start trying to emphasize. "We are going to continue to develop that and test that and I think that poses the next really large return on investment as we expand robotic systems." https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/06/27/army-individual-soldiers-will-one-day-control-swarms-robots.html

  • Here’s how artificial intelligence could predict when your Army vehicle will break down

    28 juin 2018 | International, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Here’s how artificial intelligence could predict when your Army vehicle will break down

    By: Victoria Leoni The Army wants to use artificial intelligence software to predict when vehicle parts might break down and prevent equipment failures before they happen. Uptake, a Chicago-based AI company, recently received a $1 million contract from the Army to test its technology on a group of deployed Bradley M2A3 combat vehicles, according to the Washington Post. Depending on how the trial goes, the AI software could be applied on a much larger scale. “We’re looking to see if we can leverage some of Uptake’s machine learning algorithms to spot equipment failures before they happen,” Lt. Col. Chris Conley, Army program manager for the Bradley fleet, said in the report. “If this pans out and can provide some real capability, the Army could look to expand this to the entire Bradley fleet as well as other combat vehicle fleets.” Uptake’s technology will analyze the signals produced by the Army’s equipment to provide updates on the equipment’s maintenance status. If a vehicle part shows signs of being faulty, for example, commanders will be alerted and have the ability to repair or replace the part before the entire vehicle is compromised. “Just like humans have been putting their statuses on Facebook and Twitter, these machines have been putting out their statuses for decades and nobody’s been listening,” Ganesh Bell, president of Uptake Technologies, told the Post. “Only recently do we have the technology to understand that.” M2 and M3 Bradleys are some of the most widely used Army vehicles in peacekeeping and combat missions. This will be the first application of the technology to military vehicles. “I’m not convinced that this will be successful, but I’m really excited about the potential of it,” Conley told the Post. “We’re doing a pilot test to verify their claims before we do anything at scale.” Retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an Uptake shareholder, told the Post the AI technology is what the military needs to ensure readiness and efficiency. “What I’ve seen on the component side is you almost wait for failure and then figure it out,” he said. “Based on the results I’ve seen there is a huge potential here for better outcomes and a lot less expense, which is what anybody in the military is focused on.” https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/06/27/heres-how-artificial-intelligence-could-predict-when-your-army-vehicle-will-break-down/

  • Will $95B for R&D make its way to the final defense appropriations bill?

    27 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Will $95B for R&D make its way to the final defense appropriations bill?

    By: Joe Gould   WASHINGTON — Senate defense appropriators have advanced a proposed $675 billion Pentagon spending measure for 2019, touting its heavy investment in innovation and research to maintain America’s military edge. Hewing to the bipartisan, two-year budget deal, the spending bill includes $607.1 billion in base budget funding and $67.9 billion in the war budget. It is $20.4 billion higher than the fiscal 2018-enacted level. The bill contains $95 billion for research and development, the largest R&D budget in the Pentagon’s history, adjusted for inflation, according to Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Dick Durbin, D-Ill. The bill also includes $2.8 billion in added basic research funding the president’s budget did not request. The bill also seems to surpass the Senate-passed policy bill’s emphasis on future warfare, with $929 million for hypersonics, $564 million to develop advanced offensive and defensive space capabilities, $317 million to develop a directed-energy weapon, and $308 million for artificial intelligence, according to a summary released Tuesday. “This bill sustains U.S. force structure and improves military readiness. It also recommends investments in future technologies needed to defend our nation in an increasingly complex and competitive national security environment,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who also leads the sub-panel. “Our military must maintain its technological superiority. I am pleased that our subcommittee has identified the resources needed to make that happen ― investing in basic research, hypersonics, directed energy, missile defense, cybersecurity, and our test and evaluation infrastructure,” he said. Aviation programs would get $42 billion, to include $1.2 billion for eight F-35 carrier variants and four short takeoff and vertical landing Joint Strike Fighters, and it includes $375 million for the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System — as well as sustainment of the legacy fleet of JSTARS aircraft. The bill allocates $24 billion toward shipbuilding, which includes two Virginia-class summaries, three DDG-51 destroyers and two littoral combat ships. There’s $250 in advance procurement funding for one more DDG-51 in 2020 and $250 million for submarine industrial-base expansion. Munitions would get $18.5 billion, with $125 million to expand procurement for the anti-ship cruise missile LRASM for the Navy, and the JASSM long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision-standoff missile for the Air Force and Navy, as well as $57 million for Army industrial facilities. For personnel, the bill supports a military pay raise of 2.6 percent and includes $974 million for defense medical research. The bill’s end-strength boost of 6,961 falls below the president’s request for 25,900 more troops. The spending bill is several steps from becoming law. The House is due to take up its version of the legislation this week, and the Senate must pass its version of the bill before the two versions are reconciled. The full Senate Appropriations Committee is set to hold its markup on Thursday. The Senate this week passed a “minibus,” which merged funding for energy and water programs, the legislative branch, military construction, and Veterans Affairs. The strategy is meant to ensure passage for domestic spending priorities that Democrats have demanded in recent years. Democrats seem to favor merging the proposed defense spending bill with the coming spending bill for labor, health and human services, education, and related agencies. Durbin said as much Tuesday: “We have a confident path to conclusion for both.” “I believe in this bill, I think its a good bill and I could easily support it, defend it,” Durbin said of the defense spending bill, calling a merger helpful to “the best ending for the appropriations process.” https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/06/26/pentagon-money-bill-with-heavy-rampd-accent-passes-senate-subpanel/

  • ‘We need to be impatient’: Estonia’s No. 2 defense official dives into NATO priorities

    27 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    ‘We need to be impatient’: Estonia’s No. 2 defense official dives into NATO priorities

    By: Aaron Mehta  WASHINGTON ― As a border state with Russia, Estonia is well aware it is ground zero for any potential conflict between Moscow and NATO. The country is hitting the target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, as requested by the alliance, and it is trying to modernize and build up its military capabilities. But like many nations in Europe, Estonia faces tough budgetary realities. Jonatan Vseviov, the permanent secretary of the Estonian Ministry of Defence, serves as the point man in directing those investments ― and per local news reports, he is on the short list to be the next ambassador to the United States. He talked to Defense News about those issues, as well as cyber challenges, during a June visit to Washington. I want to start with the big picture. Estonia is going to the summit in a couple of weeks. What are some of the priorities you are looking at? NATO is the cornerstone of our security. We expect a lot, not only from this summit but from NATO in general. NATO has been doing a lot of good work on defense and deterrence, bolstering up its presence in the Baltic states as well as in other regions in the eastern part of the alliance. I think that work needs to continue, and we expect a good number of decisions from the summit regarding the readiness of alliance forces, regarding reinforcement, the ability of the alliance to reinforce different regions. Obviously burden-sharing is going to be a key topic for NATO. We, as you might know, are one of the nations that contribute more than 2 percent of our GDP towards national defense. That is going to be a topic that will be discussed, I’m sure at length, at the summit. We are obviously aware of the fact that output is as important as input. And what I mean by that is that what you actually get for your defense dollars or euros is what, at the end of the day, matters. But there is no output without sufficient input. So both input and output are important. We need to be impatient. We need to ask for more and faster results. And we’ve been doing that for the past few years, and I think we are on the right track. One of the things that is expected to come out of the summit is standing up a new Atlantic Command. There’s been a lot of talk about something along those lines for the Baltic. Where is Estonia on the idea of a Baltic command? And can it happen, given how NATO resources are always constrained? When it comes to, for instance, reinforcement, there are several key elements to that. One is the readiness of all forces. Military mobility, which has become a very famous topic, which is obviously crucially important not only for the Baltic states but for the alliance in general. Discussion on pre-positioning, for instance, as part of the overall military mobility issue. Planning and exercise: It’s something that we often talk about in the context of defense and deterrence and then obviously also command structure. The NATO command structure has been and will be adapted to make it more fit for the time we’re in right now. There is also NATO force structure, which is crucially important. We do expect to see a divisional level or two-star HQ that would concentrate on the Baltic states. Discussions are underway between us and the Latvians and Danes to set up what is known as a Multinational Division North to complement what Multinational Division North East in Poland is already doing, to complement what the NATO force structure in general, as well as the command structure, is doing. So I think our command structure needs to evolve as the challenges evolve, and as the forces that we have available for our defense evolve. I think we’re on the right path; and the Multinational Division North ― not only is it necessary, it is also a decision that will come at a very, very right time. There are no silver bullets when it comes to security in general ― no silver bullets in policy and no silver bullets and capability. It’s a complex picture, so we need to concentrate on alliance relationships. Part of your job is to figure out investments for the money you’re spending ― the best way to build Estonian forces. What are some of the key investments that Estonia is making in the next couple years? And what are the areas that you’re hoping to start investing in the next couple of years? Most of our procurement, a good portion of procurement, is relatively small stuff, but more than 20 percent [of defense spending] is major equipment. Some of the examples: We’re mechanizing one of our battalions, which is a lengthy process. It started back in 2013 [and] will continue for the next few years. We are investing heavily in infrastructure not only for our own purposes but for the purposes of hosting allies. We are investing in ammunition. All of our acquisitions are targeted at making sure that we are not creating a hollow force. And the most important element of making sure that you don’t have a hollow force is ammunition, whether you have it or you don’t. So we’re spending a lot out of our procurement budget on making sure that we actually have the ammunition for the weapon systems that we have in the armed forces. Self-propelled howitzers, one of the latest developments that we are about to procure together with Finland, which is a good example of a joint procurement. We spent a lot of money on intelligence early warning both within the military as well as within the civilian sector, and we’re setting up a cyber command within the armed forces. We’ve been talking about cyber for a long time, we’ve been working on cyber. We are a very internet-dependent society, but only now are we creating a separate cyber command within the armed forces, so that will require additional investments. These are probably some of the key areas where we intend to spend our money on in the next few years. Since you mentioned it, let’s talk cyber. If Estonia is known for anything worldwide, it might well be cyber capabilities. You’re also home to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. Where is NATO on cyber? Is it getting where it needs to be or lagging behind? How concerned should the allies be about where they stand on cyber? I think we should always be concerned when it comes to cyber, and this is a very fast, developing domain. During the summit in Warsaw, for instance, the heads of state and government declared cyber to be one of the domains in security. I think that was a very important decision. In theory, it could trigger Article 5 now. Well, there is a good level of what I would call “constructive ambiguity“ built into the wording of the Washington Treaty and also Article 5. So Article 5 is what we decide to be Article 5, and that is very useful. We don’t want to give anybody a list of attacks that would trigger Article 5 because that would obviously mean that we automatically also create a list of potential attacks that would not trigger Article 5. Cyber is certainly a new domain. We are, I think, still scratching the surface of what it all means. It took us several years, perhaps even several decades, to think through, for instance, the air domain after airplanes arrived on the horizon and were used in major conflicts. We still didn’t have an air force until, in most cases, in the late 1940s or 1950s. So it will take us time to figure out how best to operate, how best to organize ourselves in the cyber domain. What is certain, though, is that the government alone cannot defend the cyber society, if you will. And will require not only a whole-of-government but really a whole-of-society approach. And secondly, obviously, the physical borders do not matter in cyber. So national initiatives are important, but they are nothing if there is no international component to our efforts. So figuring out all of this, thinking through the legal aspects, the policy aspects, is one of the things that the center of excellence in Tallinn does. We’re certain that we are again on the right path, in both NATO and the European Union, but I think it will take time for us to fully comprehend the best way to operate in this new domain. But how well, in your estimation, are the NATO allies integrating with cyber? I think there’s still a long way to go. Cyber tends to be a very sensitive area for obvious reasons, oftentimes also harnessed within intelligence organizations. But we’re making progress. There is more sharing, information sharing in NATO as well as between allies bilaterally, than there was a few years ago. So I think people are realizing that we need international cooperation; and without international cooperation, we simply cannot succeed in this new domain. https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nato-priorities/2018/06/26/we-need-to-be-impatient-estonias-no-2-defense-official-dives-into-nato-priorities/

  • Maintaining UK and US military relationship could cost Britain more than $10 billion a year

    27 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Maintaining UK and US military relationship could cost Britain more than $10 billion a year

    LONDON — Britain needs to raise defense spending by over £8 billion a year, or U.S. $10.59 billion, to not undermine the military relationship with the U.S. says a report by the parliamentary defence committee. The report, which looks at the U.K.’s defense relations with the U.S. and NATO, recommends Britain increases the percentage of gross domestic product being allocated to the military first to 2.5 percent and eventually 3 percent if the country is to maintain the military relationship with the U.S. and keep its leading role in NATO. “The U.K. armed forces and the Treasury benefit from our close relationship with the U.S. However, that will continue to be true only while the U.K. military retains both the capacity and capability to maintain interoperability with the U.S. military and to relieve U.S. burdens. For this to be the case the U.K. armed forces must be funded appropriately,” said the report released June 26. The lawmakers urged a significant rise in a defense budget which currently just manages to squeeze above the 2 percent of gross domestic product demanded by NATO for defense spending. “We calculate that raising defence spending to 2.5% of GDP would result in a forecast spend of £50 billion per annum and raising it to 3% of GDP would take this to £60 billion per annum,” said the lawmakers. The defense budget this year is set at £37 billion with small real term increases expected annually up to 2022. A rise to 3 percent would see defence spending return to a level — in GDP percentage terms —that has not been seen since 1995. The release of the document comes at a bad time for anyone advocating increases in defense spending here. Last week Chancellor Philip Hammond, an ex-defense secretary, revealed plans to spend an additional £20 billion a year on health care and made it clear that there was little or nothing left to bolster the finances of other departments, including defense. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been battling for months to secure additional funding to fill a black hole that the National Audit Office, the government’s financial watchdog, has previously estimated could be anything between £4.8 billion and £20 billion in equipment spending alone over the next decade. The exact amount depends to some degree on how much the military can save in efficiency improvements and reprioritizing and cutting capabilities and programs. The headline outcomes of a Minstry of Defence review into the future size and shape of British forces, officially called the Modernising Defence Programme, could come at the NATO summit scheduled for Brussels starting July 11. Media reports Sunday on the defense funding battle highlighted the seemingly growing rift between Williamson and senior government figures over the issue. The reports followed strong denials from Prime Minister Theresa May last week that the government here was considering a watering down of Britain’s ‘tier-one’ status as a military power after the Financial Times reported that May asked Williamson to justify continuance of that position. The U.S, Britain, China, Russia and France are the only nations with a tier one status — which basically means they are able to fight nuclear, conventional and other conflicts around the world. The committee said military-to-military engagement between the U.K. and the U.S. was one of the linchpins of the bilateral relationship between the two nations. The report said the U.K. benefits greatly from the width and depth of the U.K.-U.S. defense and security relationship, but such a relationship requires a degree of interoperability that can be sustained only through investment in U.K. armed forces. The importance of the military relationship between the U.S. and Europe’s leading military power also extends into NATO. Lawmakers said the relationship is vital to the functioning of NATO while the U.K.’s leading contribution to the alliance helps to sustain the relationship between London and Washington. Julian Lewis, the Defence Committee chairman, said in a statement: “Defence spending is an area where a strong message needs to be sent to our allies and adversaries alike. The Government has consistently talked about increasing the U.K.’s commitment to NATO after our departure from the European Union. An increased commitment, in the face of new and intensified threats, means that further investment is essential,” said Lewis. The warning in the report over the risks to the military relationship between London and Washington follows a similar warning in February by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis that Britain had to retain a credible military if the relationship between the two nations was to endure and strengthen. Williamson said that in financial terms alone the U.K. benefits to the tune of £3 billion a year from the U.K.-U.S. defense relationship. John Spellar MP, the Defence Committee’s senior Labour Party member and former armed forces minister said the inquiry has “underlined the importance of the U.K.-U.S. relationship in the area of defense and security and emphasizes the benefit which the U.K. receives as a result.” “We have heard that there are perceptions in the U.S. that the U.K.’s defense capabilities have slipped and that concerns have been raised about the U.K.’s ability to operate independently. We need to challenge this perception and the Modernising Defence Programme is an excellent opportunity to do so,” said Spellar. https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nato-priorities/2018/06/26/maintaining-uk-and-us-military-relationship-could-cost-britain-more-than-10-billion-a-year/

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