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Royal Navy Rejoins Big Leagues

March 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

The U.K. Royal Navy has re-established itself as a world-class force in the area of maritime air defense through the launch of its new destroyers, the most advanced ships the British ever have sent to sea. The latest of the vessels recently returned from its maiden deployment, proving not only the capabilities of its class but also its own flexibility and adaptability.

NATO Focuses on Terrorist Cyber Exploitation

March 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

NATO’s efforts to defend against terrorism now are focusing on cyberspace as a tool of terrorists instead of merely as a vulnerability for striking at alliance nations and their critical infrastructure. These efforts cover aspects of cyber exploitation that range from understanding terrorists’ behavior to how they might use social media.

Cyber Contest Hones Military Cadets' Skills

February 6, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Defense Department launched a new competition to promote cybersecurity education and training in the nation’s military service academies. Beginning last November, the three service academies created teams to compete in the Service Academy Cyber Stakes, which culminated in a major interschool event held over the weekend of February 1-2 at the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh.

For some years, the Defense Department has been working to increase the number of cybersecurity personnel. One major goal is to have some 4,000 specialists trained by 2017. To get the number and quality of cyber experts needed, the Defense Department has focused on training and educating—especially for future officers who will be charged with defending national cyber assets.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Carnegie Mellon University and New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering managed the Cyber Stakes event. It involved some 50 cadets and midshipmen from West Point and the Naval and Air Force academies participating in individual and small team competitions, explains Dr. Daniel Ragsdale, DARPA program manager. While the cadets competed against one another, they shared a large room. This proximity promoted team building and participation between the competitors, which helped with information sharing. More importantly, this competitive yet cooperative atmosphere will be important in helping create long-term professional relationships between these junior officers as they begin their careers, Ragsdale says.

The Bottom Line: Revolution Through Evolution

November 15, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

The bottom line is that today's military structure is not set up to foster creative solutions and incorporate them into the bureaucracy, but a revolution quietly erupted in October. More than 80 innovators came together to discuss their ideas about how to solve some of the military's most vexing problems.

Cubic to Provide Combat Trainer to Four Countries

November 4, 2013
George I. Seffers

Cubic Defense Applications Inc., San Diego, Calif., has been awarded a $24,999,949 firm-fixed-price contract for foreign military sales P5Combat Training System (P5CTS), combined hardware buy. Contractor will provide P5CTS hardware to provide an instrumented training capability that increases, maintains, and assesses combat proficiency in the following mission areas: counter air, close air support, strategic attack, air interdiction, and electronic combat. This award is for the governments of Singapore, Morocco, Oman and Saudi Arabia under the Foreign Military Sales program. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8678-14-C-0046).

DynCorp to Support Joint Primary Aircraft Training System

November 1, 2013
George I. Seffers

The DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $76,577,468 modification (P00016) on an existing firm-fixed-price contract (FA8617-12-C-6208) for contractor operated and maintained base supply (COMBS) non-personnel services for the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System T-6A/B Texan II aircraft. The contract modification exercises an option for fiscal 2014 COMBS services being procured under the basic contract. The Joint Primary Aircraft Training System, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Training Aircraft Division, Mobility Directorate, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

Boeing Awarded P-8A Trainer Funds

October 30, 2013
George I. Seffers

The Boeing Co., Seattle, Wash., is being awarded a $99,606,355 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-09-C-0022) to incorporate a Maintenance Training Device Suite (MTDS) and Ordnance Load Trainer into the P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime aircraft Low Rate Initial Production II. The MTDS Suite will include six Virtual Maintenance Trainer Devices and 14 Hardware Type II devices. The Naval Air System Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

New Army Cyber Commander Confronts Personnel, Resource Issues

October 29, 2013
By Max Cacas

The new head of the U.S. Army Cyber Command cites the importance of looking carefully at what cyberwarriors do to determine how best to manage the men and women tasked with protecting the service’s information technology networks. This focus on personnel addresses challenges ranging from retaining talent to ensuring that cyber operations have the best resources—human and technological—for their mission.

Speaking in a media briefing in Washington, D.C., Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, USA, addressed the issue raised by Gen. Keith Alexander USA, head of the U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, that the disciplines of the signal community, signals intelligence and the cyber community be combined into a “cyberteam community.”

“When you hear this, it’s usually in the context of how you manage a cyberforce, that’s the construct,” Gen. Cardon began. “There are several different ways you can do this in the Army. You can use a skills identifier, you can create a functional area or you can create a separate branch. We have not resolved how we’re going to do this yet.”

With just six weeks on the job under his belt, Gen. Cardon decried “micro-management” efforts by the Army to manage cybersecurity personnel and resources. “I do know that we need to have a way to manage the talent, because it takes a long time to train them. We can’t take the time to train them and then have them for a year and then put them in a regular unit,” he declared. “That would be fiscally irresponsible.” The general went on to say that he is working with Army staff to determine how best to manage the staff under his command.

Boeing to Upgrade P-8A Trainers

October 28, 2013
George I. Seffers

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $26,650,000 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-09-C-0022) to incorporate the Test Release 21.1 block software upgrade on eight operational flight trainers, six weapons tactics trainers, three part task trainers, and 44 mission system desktop trainers in support of the P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime aircraft low rate initial production II. The Naval Air System Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. 

The Failing of Air Force Cyber

November 1, 2013
By 1st Lt. 
Robert M. 
Lee, USAF

The U.S. Air Force cyber community is failing for a single fundamental reason: the community does not exist. In 2010, the communications community began to be identified as the cyber community. An operational cyberspace badge was created, and those who previously had been communications professionals now were seen as cyberwarriors. This change did not effectively take into account that cyber and communications are two distinct fields and should be entirely separate communities.

When attempting to identify cyber operators, it is impossible to look at the cyber Air Force specialty codes (AFSCs) as an indicator. In the officer ranks, only a small fraction ever takes part in on-keyboard or operational missions where the effects of cyber are leveraged for exploitation, attack or defense. Yet, all of the personnel wear the badge and identify themselves, some cynically so, as part of the cybercommunity.

This faux community creates problems when trying to identify the personnel needed for a mission. It is a distinct way of thinking and set of skills that enables an operator to target adversary networks or take an active role in defense. As an example, many people consider themselves computer network defense operators and are consulted as such. Yet, often they participate in more of a communications or maintenance role. They establish, maintain and oversee networks. This is a very important role—maybe even more important than a defense operator’s role when done correctly—but it is different. Applying vendor-issued software patches is not defense; it is maintenance.

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