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  • NATO advances in its new operational domain: cyberspace

    6 juillet 2018 | International, C4ISR

    NATO advances in its new operational domain: cyberspace

    By: Sorin Ducaru As NATO prepares for its annual summit, to be held July 11-12 in Brussels, media attention has been focused on whether member states will boost their defense spending and readiness across the traditional operational domains of land, air and sea. This reflects a needed focus on important, but frankly longstanding alliance priorities. What many NATO-watchers are missing, however, is NATO's full embrace of its newest operational domain: cyberspace. Just two years ago, at the Warsaw Summit, allied nations recognized cyberspace as a new “operational domain in which NATO must defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land and at sea.” Since the Warsaw Summit, NATO has developed an ambitious roadmap to implement the cyber operational domain approach, with profound implications along lines of effort, such as: training, capability development, organizational construct, operational planning, training, exercises and strategic communications. Work in these areas is conducted with the aim to augment the cyber resilience and achieve mission success, in a cyber environment that is increasingly contested by adversaries. This is in line with the alliance's cyber pledge to prioritize investment in cyber skills and capabilities. Furthermore, the recognition of cyberspace as an operational domain opens the way for the integration of voluntary sovereign national cyber contributions into NATO operations and missions. Keeping in line with the other operational domains, NATO itself will not acquire offensive capabilities, but will rely on the contributions of its member nations. Already, the United Kingdom has led the efforts. In a Chatham House address last year, Sir Michael Fallon, former U.K. defense secretary, announced publicly that “the United Kingdom is ready to become one of the first NATO members to publicly offer such support to NATO operations as and when required.” At the NATO defense ministers' meeting last November, allies agreed on a framework of political and legal principles to guide the integration of voluntary cyber contributions from member nations. The framework ensures that any allied engagement in cyberspace will abide by NATO's defensive mandate, political oversight and compliance with international law. This is also in line with allies' support for the development of norms and confidence building measures, for security and stability in cyberspace. This year, allies' defense ministers agreed to establish a Cyber Operations Centre as part of the new NATO command structure, the first cyber-dedicated entity within NATO's command structure. This is the first step toward integrating cyber capabilities into NATO planning and operations, but specific considerations should be kept in mind. In the physical domains of land, air and sea, operational planning refers to of the physical forces or capabilities provided. In the cyber domain, integration will focus on the effects generated by the voluntary national cyber contributions, rather than the capabilities themselves, given that most cyber tools are unique and discrete. Within NATO, there has been a growing emphasis on developing the “digital IQ” of the allied military. In Portugal, a NATO Cyber and Communication-Information Systems Academy is being set-up, while cyber resilience is now featured in coordinated training curricula in every NATO member state. Cyber has been also streamlined across all NATO exercises. The NATO Cyber Center of Excellence in Estonia organizes two annual cyber-dedicated exercises. The first, “Cyber Coalition,” is testing the alliances readiness and response procedures and policies in situations of wide-reaching, persistent cyberattacks. The second exercise, under the Locked Shields banner, tests the skills of cyber experts in red-team/blue-team war games scenarios. This year, NATO's blue team won the exercises, signaling the growing interest of member nations to strengthen NATO's new operational domain. “All crises today have a cyber dimension,” noted Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg earlier this month. Soon after in London, Stoltenberg hinted that the July NATO summit will “take decisions on integrating national cyber capabilities into NATO operations.” This reflects a game-changing approach in terms of mainstreaming cyber across strategy and tactics, training and exercises, as well as military planning in all operational domains. This is consistent with the recent U.S. Department of Defense strategy, which aims to “invest in cyber defense, resilience and the continued integration of cyber capabilities into the full spectrum of military operations.” It is no secret that, in cyberspace, we are under attack as we speak. As the threat landscape expands, so does NATO's commitment to the new cyber operational domain. Ambassador Sorin Ducaru is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Between September 2013 and November 2017, he was NATO assistant secretary general and chair of NATO's Cyber Defense Committee and Cyber Defense Management Board, having a leading role in NATO's cyber policy development and implementation. He is also a special advisor of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace.

  • 5 technology trends driving an intelligent military

    6 juillet 2018 | International, C4ISR

    5 technology trends driving an intelligent military

    By: Antti Kolehmainen The rise of non-traditional actors, cyberattacks and state-sponsored subversion is challenging democratic governance and creating an increasingly volatile operational and security environment for defense agencies. To address these threats, military organizations must be able to operate seamlessly and intelligently across a network of multinational partners. This year's Accenture Technology Vision identified five trends that are essential components of any intelligent defense organization: Citizen AI, extended reality, data veracity, frictionless business and Internet of Thinking. Private AI: training AI as an effective troop member Harnessing AI's potential is no longer just about training it to perform a specific task: AI will increasingly function alongside people as a full-fledged member of a team. In the high-stakes world of defense, it's especially important that AI systems act as trustworthy, responsible and efficient colleagues. AI could have a major impact for military organizations, including defense logistics and cybersecurity. An adversary equipped with advanced AI capabilities will not wait for its enemies to catch up technologically before launching an offensive. AI's ability to process and analyze vast amounts of data has significant implications across the Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) loop. From augmenting our ability to detect new threats to analyzing countless variables, AI could transform surveillance and situational awareness. Extended Reality: The end of distance Extended reality (XR), which includes virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), is the first technology to relocate people in both time and place—effectively eliminating distance. For the defense sector, the ability to simulate and share a common view of an operational theatre is immensely powerful. Recently, Accenture created a mixed reality proof of concept using Microsoft HoloLens and gaming engine Unity that provides military personnel with an interactive map showing real-time location and status data for troops and resources on the ground. With a simple command, a user can order reinforcements or supplies, or create and test different scenarios through a mixed reality interface. XR technology can also enhance operational command capabilities in the field. For example, AR goggles could provide dashboards and data visualizations where and when they are needed – such as at an operating base. XR also will have major implications for training, allowing soldiers and pilots to engage in highly realistic combat simulations. Data veracity: the importance of trust As defense organizations become increasingly data-driven, inaccurate and manipulated information is a persistent and serious threat. Agencies can address this vulnerability by building confidence in three key data-focused tenets: provenance, or verifying data from its origin throughout its life cycle; context, or considering the circumstances around its use; and integrity, or securing and maintaining data. The ability to trust and verify the data that flows between multinational partners is critically important. Organizations must be capable of delivering the right data to the right recipient, at the right time – which can only be accomplished by radically reorienting how data is shared across today's armed forces. Today's vertical approach involves passing information up and down the command stack of a nation's military. In contrast, multinational military operations demand that information is also shared horizontally across the forces of different nations and partners. This shift requires a profound change in technology, mindset and culture within agencies. Frictionless defense: built to partner at scale Our recent survey found that 36 percent of public service leaders report working with twice as many strategic partners than two years ago. And when partnerships between industry, academia and military organizations are horizontally integrated and technology-based, they can expand faster and further than ever before. But legacy systems weren't built to support this kind of expansion, and soon, outdated systems will be major hindrances to collaboration. With this in mind, defense organizations must develop new IT architectures to reduce complexity. Agile IT systems will allow innovation to flourish, unimpeded by internal politics and employee resistance. A modern IT architecture will push organizations to clearly define the services they offer and turn each service into a potential enabler of collaboration. The Internet of Thinking: intelligent distributed defense capabilities Today's technology infrastructures are designed around a few basic assumptions: enough bandwidth to support remote applications, an abundance of computing power in a remote cloud and nearly infinite storage. But the demand for immediate response times defies this approach. Recent projections suggest that by 2020, smart sensors and other Internet of Things devices will generate at least 507.5 zettabytes of data. Trying to manage the computational “heavy-lifting” offsite will become limiting. The need for real-time systems puts hardware back in focus: special-purpose and customizable hardware is making devices at the edge of networks more powerful and energy efficient than ever before. Public service organizations are taking note: our survey indicates 79 percent of leaders believe it will be very critical over the next two years to leverage custom hardware and accelerators to meet new computing demands. The next generation of military strategies ride on pushing intelligence into the physical world. Defense organizations have to embrace new operating models to enable high-speed data flows, harness the potential of distributed intelligence and successfully neutralize threats. The defense sector is challenged to respond to new types of threat, political volatility and even new combat arenas, and acquiring new technology capabilities is a strategic imperative. Delivering greater situational awareness and the ability to respond rapidly to unpredictable adversaries requires investments in AI, edge computing and other emerging technologies. Likewise, today's information architectures will need to be redesigned to collaborate quickly, effectively and securely. Antti Kolehmainen is managing director, defense business service global lead at Accenture.

  • Belgian Navy tests Austrian copter drone for at-sea surveillance

    5 juillet 2018 | International, Naval, C4ISR

    Belgian Navy tests Austrian copter drone for at-sea surveillance

    By: Sebastian Sprenger COLOGNE, Germany ― The Belgian Navy has finished a weekslong series of test flights with Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 drone as part of the sea service's search for new maritime-surveillance and search-and-rescue equipment, the company announced Tuesday. The test plan, which ran June 21 to July 1, constituted an initial step for Belgian officials to identify “the possibilities of such systems and sensors,” Lt. Cmdr. D. Biermans is quoted as saying in the statement. In particular, officials had an eye on the unmanned copter's operation in the country's confined airspace — on land and over water ― and “opportunities for the domain of coastal security and prospects for further developments,” Biermans said. Belgium sports a relatively straight coastline measuring close to 70 kilometers, roughly equivalent in length to that between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in Florida. The European nation is joining a growing trend among navies worldwide to employ UAVs to act as the eyes and ears of military and coast guard vessels. Equipped with a variety of sensors, the aircraft can help spot potential threats and help rescue people lost at sea. “Given the complexity of introducing a [maritime tactical unmanned aircraft system] within the Navy and its impact on the concepts of operation and tactics, this was a first informative step and will be part of a series of tests and experiments with a variety of vehicles and sensors,” Biermans said. Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 has performed “thousands” of takeoffs and landings from aboard more than 30 ships by a host of international customers, company spokeswoman Sanna Raza told Defense News. She declined to say what countries' programs the company is eyeing next, citing confidentiality agreements. Based in Vienna, Austria, Schiebel plans to focus on integrating next-generation sensors to further expand its portfolio in the areas of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, according to Raza.


    5 juillet 2018 | International, C4ISR


    Lily Hay Newman EVERY DAY, COMPANIES like Google and Apple wage a constant battle to keep malicious apps out of their marketplaces and off people's phones. And while they do catch a lot of malware before it does any damage, there are always a few nasty infiltrators that manage to sneak by and end up getting downloaded by thousands of consumers. No one wants these mistakes to happen, but when you're a crucial app store for the Department of Defense, these mistakes can't happen. That was the problem facing the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as it set about creating a flexible yet ultrasecure app store in 2012. NGA is a combat support organization that primarily assesses and distributes geospatial intelligence. The agency wanted to provide sensitive and mission-critical apps to groups across the DOD through a platform that had the security and resilience of a government defense product, while also offering a streamlined, up-to-date user experience similar to ubiquitous commercial app stores. "We recognized that we did not know everything when it came to apps, and we wanted to be using the innovation that was happening in the commercial sector," says Joedy Saffel, division chief and source director of NGA who has worked on the GEOINT App Store from the beginning. "But how do we do that in a safe, secure manner? How do we do that from a contractual perspective? And how do we do that in a way that nontraditional vendors will trust doing business with the government? It was a great challenge." The key, Saffel says, is getting developers to agree to hand over the source code of their apps for in-depth analysis and review. Whether an app is a simple time/speed/distance calculator for a pilot or a hyper-specialized classified tool, sharing source code is a big risk for developers, because it means trusting third parties with the core intellectual property they have built their businesses on. But NGA soon realized that full access was the only way its project could work. So NGA's GEOINT App Store runs its security protections and screening processes in a way a commercial platform never could. Need To Know You can browse through the GEOINT App Store yourself today and see many of the mapping, aeronautical, weather-forecasting, location-sharing, and travel-alert services that it hosts for Android, iOS, desktop, and web. But that's just the public unclassified section—one crucial aspect of designing the platform was building segmentation controls so DOD employees with different levels of clearance, or simply different needs, could have gated access to different apps. "We built the App Store to be a completely unclassified environment that's open to the public," says Ben Foster, a technical director at NGA who is the product manager for the app store. "But it also has identity management that uses a federated approach to authentication. It's even flexible enough to integrate with other identity-management platforms across DOD. If a user is a helicopter pilot, they might see and get different apps then someone who is a tactical operator in the Army." This system also works with the platform's pricing variations: Some apps are free to everyone, some downloads come with a fee that needs to be taken out of a particular department's budget, and some apps are licensed by NGA or another agency. The most radical part of the GEOINT App Store from a government perspective is the speed with which NGA can process apps and get them live in the store. In general, government acquisition processes take many months or years, a clear problem when it comes to constantly evolving software. So NGA worked with its chief information officer, IT Directorate, legal team, international affairs division, and contracting office to establish a streamlined app-vetting process that would be acceptable under federal acquisition regulations. The agency also contracted with a private firm called Engility to directly manage the outreach, acquisition, and development environment for customizing prospective apps to NGA's requirements. The process, known as the Innovative GEOINT Application Provider Program, or IGAPP, minimizes bureaucratic hurdles and guides developers who want to submit an app through a pipeline that vets, modifies, and generally grooms apps for NGA's store. "What we focused on early on was providing tools so developers can bring their app and do a lot of the pre-testing and development with Engility," NGA's Saffel says. "We're able to be flexible with that because it's being done outside of the government footprint in a brokered environment. And then NGA has a governance board that meets every week, and the whole process has matured enough that by the time an app comes to NGA, we can review it and get that application into the app store and exposed within two weeks' time." Though the process might be even faster if NGA only did the minimum vetting required, Saffel says that the GEOINT team worked to find a balance where the apps go live quickly, but there's still time for the automated code analyses and human audits that commercial app stores can't do. Check It Out After a developer submits their app, Engility does extensive source code analysis and vulnerability scanning and produces an initial findings report. John Holcomb, the IGAPP program manager from Engility, notes that an initial vulnerability report can have as many as 1,000 items on it that a developer needs to address. "It's a little intimidating at first," Holcomb says. "But we walk them through it, and they go back and modify their code—it's their code, we don't modify it for them. We might go through four runs of that on a brand-new app, but by the time we're done, they will have remediated their code down to the level that the government needs. There are still going to be bureaucratic hurdles, but it's our job to break through those." In addition to digging deep into source code, IGAPP also tests how apps function in practice, to make sure that there aren't benign-looking aspects of the code that actually underlie a shady function. "We take the compiled application and we watch what it does," Holcomb says. "Who does it phone home to? Is it sending private information unencrypted?" After an app gets approved for inclusion in the GEOINT App Store, developers continue to work with IGAPP on developing and vetting software updates so that patches and improvements can be pushed out quickly. The brokered vetting process means that the government never holds developers' source code directly. The inspection is always mediated by Engility, which signs nondisclosure agreements with developers and isn't a software maker itself. Holcomb says that the company carefully guards app data while storing it, and once a project is done, Engility doesn't just do a soft data deletion; it hard-purges the information from its cloud servers within 30 days. NGA's Saffel and Holcomb both note that developers were apprehensive about the unusual workflow at first, but over the years the app store has gained credibility. Developers say they benefit from the IGAPP process both by securing lucrative government contracts and by integrating the improvements from the IGAPP development into their commercial products. The code audits and security vetting IGAPP offers are expensive, so developers generally don't do such extensive assessment on their own. "Everyone's dream is to sell to the government, but it normally takes years of effort to get to a position where you can. In our case, I was able to sell to the government in less than a month," says Bill DeWeese, CEO of the firm Aviation Mobile Apps, which has had six apps accepted into the GEOINT App Store. "You do feel a little anxiety about sharing source code, you worry about your IP leaking and someone getting ahold of it. But I haven't had any issues, and the benefit is the increased quality of your products at no cost—you get the analysis for free and you can put it in your commercial offerings." NGA's Saffel says the governance board that evaluates the apps at the end of the process is careful to stay vigilant so nothing goes into the store by accident. The board will still push back on apps or turn them away when warranted, but Saffel says the process has matured such that most of what the board sees these days is ready or very near ready to go live. And IGAPP prioritizes its patching process and infrastructure, to make it easy for developers to push bug fixes and improvements throughout the life of an app. All of this means a consumer-grade turnaround time for critical Department of Defense tools without the consumer-grade security concerns. "NGA is kind of a unique combat-support agency," Saffel says. "With the GEOINT App Store we chose to go into a very risky new frontier for DOD and the government in general, but I think we've demonstrated that we can do things differently and still be secure and still control access. We're supporting a lot of different mission sets, and I expect that the app store will keep growing."

  • UK must compete future surveillance aircraft procurement, parliament states

    4 juillet 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    UK must compete future surveillance aircraft procurement, parliament states

    Gareth Jennings The United Kingdom must hold a fair and open competition before selecting any new surveillance aircraft to replace its current Boeing E-3D Sentry airborne warning and control system (AWACS), the country's parliament has said. The intervention by the Defence Committee followed earlier media reports that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had already decided to procure the Boeing E-737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft to replace the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) increasingly unserviceable and expensive E-3Ds. “The chairman of the Defence Committee has written to the Minister of Defence Procurement to request that any requirement for replacing the UK's AWACS aircraft be put out to a competitive tender, rather than bought ‘off-the-shelf' with no competition taking place,” the committee declared on 3 July, adding: “On the possibility of Sentry being replaced with a new system, the [committee] notes the advantages of a competitive tender in terms of maximising value for money and allowing proper consideration of a range of alternatives. The committee also considers that a competition is particularly appropriate in this case, as there are viable alternatives available, which deserve to be given fair consideration.” The RAF currently has six E-3Ds in its operational fleet, with the type having entered service in 1991. While other operators of the type have benefited from regular upgrades, the RAF's fleet has fallen behind in terms of capabilities due to a lack of investment. In January 2017, the fleet was temporarily grounded due to an electrical fault, and despite an announcement in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) of 2015 that the fleet would be upgraded and extended from 2025 to 2035, the legacy Boeing 707 host airframe is becoming too expensive to sustain and an alternative is understood to be being sought.

  • Does DoD know how to supply intel for cyber ops?

    3 juillet 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Does DoD know how to supply intel for cyber ops?

    By: Mark Pomerleau Cyber has been an official domain of warfare for nearly a decade, yet the Department of Defense is still learning how to integrate it with operations. And some members of Congress are concerned the traditional military intelligence organs to this day don't understand intel support to cyber ops. The House Armed Services Committee is directing that a briefing on the subject must take place by December 1, 2018. The briefing — delivered by the under secretary of defense for intelligence, in coordination with the Defense Intelligence Agency and the military services — is expected, according to a provision in the committee's annual defense policy bill, to address multiple issues, including: Efforts to standardize a common military doctrine for intelligence preparation of the battlefield for cyber operations; Efforts to develop all-source intelligence analysts with the capability to support cyber operations; and Efforts to resource intelligence analysis support elements at U.S. Cyber Command and the service cyber components. “The committee is concerned about the Defense Intelligence Enterprise's ability to provide the cyber community with all-source intelligence support, consistent with the support provided to operations in other domains,” the provision, called an “item of special interest,” says. In some cases, other intelligence disciplines, such as human intelligence or signals intelligence, might be needed to help enable a cyber operation. A committee aide noted that the goal is to get DoD to think about cyber operations just as operations in any domain and build the infrastructure to support that. According to Gus Hunt, Accenture Federal Services cyber strategy lead, cyber as a domain is really no different than the others from an intelligence support perspective. The objective of intelligence, he told Fifth Domain in a recent interview, is to ensure it provides timely information about the adversary, who they are, the status of their capabilities and any information about the threats that are there. “I think what you're seeing ... is that people are asking the question are we appropriately structured or resourced and focused to be as effective as we possibly can in this new realm of cyber and cyber operations,” Hunt, who previously served as the chief technology officer at the CIA, said. “Because they're asking the question, I think the obvious answer is ... we're not structured as effectively as we possibly can be ... [but] it's really good that people are sitting there asking.” The Army is experiencing similar problems, especially when it comes to experimenting with force structure changes and bringing cyber effects to the tactical edge, which currently don't exist. “We're not seeing a corresponding growth in the intel organizational structure with the cyber and” electronic warfare, Lt. Col. Chris Walls, deputy division chief for strategy and policy in the cyber directorate of the Department of the Army G-3/5/7, said at the C4ISRNET conference in May. “The existing intel force structure is really going to be stressed when we put this EW and cyber capability into the field unless they have a corresponding growth and capability as well,” Walls said of tactical cyber effects and teams.

  • US spy planes are breaking down ― and lawmakers want answers

    3 juillet 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    US spy planes are breaking down ― and lawmakers want answers

    By: Joe Gould WASHINGTON ― America's aging C-135 reconnaissance planes keep breaking down, and alarmed lawmakers want the U.S. Air Force to tell them why. Based at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, the 55th Wing's Boeing-made reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering aircraft, all more than 50 years old, are meant to carry out critical missions from operating bases in England, Greece, Japan and Qatar. But an Omaha World-Herald investigative series has found that mechanical problems plague the jets, cutting short 500 of their flights since 2016 and one of every 12 missions since 2015. That's prompted Nebraska lawmakers to write to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, urging her to probe and report on the health of the 55th Wing's worn-out fleet. Meanwhile, the Nebraska delegation is trying to fend off an effort within Congress to strip funding to recapitalize the OC-135, which conducts overflights of Russia under the 34-nation Open Skies Treaty. Some lawmakers and Pentagon officials have grown skeptical of the treaty, which allows reciprocal surveillance flights, amid alleged Russian violations, but the administration has requested funds for two new airliners to take over the mission. “It has one of the worst maintenance rates in the United States Air Force,” Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said of the OC-135 on the House floor last week. “It frequently breaks down in Russia, putting us in very hostile, awkward situations with Russians at their bases.” The chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Deb Fischer, led the letter with Sen. Ben Sasse, a SASC member; Bacon (a retired brigadier general and former 55th Wing commander who sits on the House Armed Services Committee), as well as Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith. The letter asked Wilson to report on the 55th Wing's safety, security and continued mission effectiveness as well as the Air Force's long-term plans to sustain and recapitalize the wing's capabilities. It referenced the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint, RC-135S Cobra Ball, RC-135U Combat Sent, WC-135 Constant Phoenix, TC-135 Rivet Joint Trainer and the OC-135 Open Skies aircraft. In the current budget season, House and Senate lawmakers have taken divergent approaches to the Trump administration's $222 million request for the two new aircraft. House appropriators and authorizers stripped the funding from their 2019 bills. The authorization bill withholds the funding until Russia adheres to the treaty and agrees to extradite Russians indicted for meddling in U.S. elections in 2016. Fischer helped ensure the Senate-passed 2019 authorization bill did include funding for OC-135 recapitalization, and the bill will have to be reconciled with its House counterpart. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis directed the Air Force to recapitalize the aircraft. He wrote to Fischer in May to acknowledge that unplanned maintenance issues meant the U.S. completed only 64 percent of its scheduled overflights in 2017, while Russia typically completes all of its scheduled overflights. The White House Office of Management and Budget has also issued letters objecting to the absence of OC-135 recapitalization funding in the House bills.

  • The Navy’s new acquisition tool speeds up tech prototyping

    3 juillet 2018 | International, Naval, C4ISR

    The Navy’s new acquisition tool speeds up tech prototyping

    By: Maddy Longwell A research and development collaboration management company has been awarded a contract to helm a technology prototype consortium as part of a new acquisition process employed by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, in Charleston, South Carolina. SPAWAR awarded an other transaction authority to Advanced Technology International, of Summerville, South Carolina, for consortium management for SPAWAR's Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP). Under the contract, Advanced Technology International will manage a group of defense contractors who will complete projects for the government that address SPAWAR technology needs, and the consortium will facilitate competition for projects. Topics will be open to competition beginning in August 2018, the SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic said. The contract is worth $100 million over three years. IWRP OTA is an acquisition tool that allows nontraditional industry partners to work with organizations across SPAWAR to prototype technology that supports naval information warfare capabilities. IWRP focuses on information technology areas such as cyberwarfare, cloud computing and data science. SPAWAR announced OTAs as an acquisition tool through the IWRP at an industry day in February 2018, where prospective offerors learned about OTA strategy and the technical scope of IWRP OTA projects. “The IWRP will allow us to take advantage of commercially developed capabilities that are keeping pace with emerging technologies; technologies and innovation that we cannot take advantage of in a [Federal Acquisition Regulation]-based contract environment,” said Chris Miller, executive director of SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic. OTAs, which are not covered by the FAR, are a more flexible acquisition tool used by the Department of Defense. OTAs provide for the production of prototype systems. OTA contracts are mostly awarded to nontraditional defense contractors. OTA contracts enable departments under the Department of Defense to access commercial technologies that support the overall goal of IWRP, said SSC Atlantic Deputy Executive Director Bill Deligne, in a news release. “This mechanism is faster and more attuned to getting something quickly that we want today, as opposed to traditional federal acquisition,” Deligne said.

  • French firm makes moves to fund cybersecurity expansion

    3 juillet 2018 | International, C4ISR

    French firm makes moves to fund cybersecurity expansion

    By: Pierre Tran Communications & Systèmes, a specialist in mission critical systems, launched July 2 a capital increase to raise €10.2 million (U.S. $11.9 million) and finance an announced expansion in European defense and security. The rights issue is intended to raise finance for a mergers and acquisition plan, dubbed Plan Ambition 2021, and follows the approval June 26 by a CS shareholders meeting for the acquisition of Novidy's, a cybersecurity company. “I am rather delighted. This is a step forward,” CS CEO Eric Blanc-Garin told Fifth Domain July 2. “The capital increase will enlarge the shareholder base, bring in more institutional investors and improve the stock liquidity.” The main aim is to fund the company's expansion by mergers and acquisition. “We have targets; we are in active discussion,” he said, when asked if CS has a list of companies in its M&A plan. An issue of new stock is intended to raise €10.2 million, which could rise to €11.5 million if the offer meets demand from the stock market. The new stock will be priced at €5.90 per share, a 22.2 percent discount on the closing price June 28. Current shareholders are offered two new shares for every 25 shares held. A core shareholder, Sopra Steria Group, has committed to subscribe to the stock issue. Sopra Steria holds 10.36 percent of CS and has pledged to inject €1.1 million into the company by exercising its preferential rights. “This capital increase will allow CS to have the means necessary to realize other operations of external growth with priority in Europe in the growth sectors of defense and civil security, space and cybersecurity,” the company said in a statement. Current shareholders will have a preferential right for subscribing to the stock issue. The shareholders meeting approved the capital increase, which had been announced as a second step in the Plan Ambition 2010 and follows the agreed offer for Novidy's. The acquisition of Novidy's boosts CS's annual sales in cybersecurity to €40 million, with the sector accounting for 20 percent of the company's total revenue, the company said in a June 26 statement. “We are delighted that our shareholders have unanimously approved this acquisition, which allows CS to mark a new stage in its development,” Blanc-Garin said in the statement. “This is the first significant step in our strategic plan, Ambition 2021.”

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