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Defense Challenges Converge in Asia-Pacific

February 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

All the challenges vexing a modern military—budgetary limitations; information technologies; cyber; and joint and coalition interoperability—are defining operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Covering more than half the Earth’s surface and comprising dozens of nations, the vast area is rife with geopolitical rivalries that complicate efforts at regional security. And, the one domain that knows no geographic bounds—cyberspace—weighs heavily on the success of potential warfighting operations in that region.

Three days of government, military and industry speakers and panelists from around the Pacific Rim examined these issues at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013, held December 3-5 in Honolulu. The theme of “Building Coalitions Through Cyber” launched discussions that extended far beyond the digital realm.

Cyber was the dominant topic, with dialogues ranging from its advantages to its pitfalls. Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, USMC, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), quoted his commander, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, USN, as saying, “We have built cyber on a house of cards.” Gen. Conant stated PACOM is beholden on what cyber has promised, but its full capabilities may not be available during a conflict. “We’re going to be on a denied battlespace; they won’t let us have all the comms,” Gen. Conant said of cyber activities by adversaries. “We’ll have to learn how to do task forces again.”

Scott Dewar, the Australian consulate general in Honolulu, called for domestic and international coalitions to generate approaches for cybersecurity. Effective cybersecurity ultimately will depend on the ability of nations with shared interests forming coalitions that influence the development of international rules and regulations, Dewar said, calling for “a global approach to cybersecurity and common rules of operation.”

Transforming Defense Acquisition From the Inside

February 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

U.S. military officials may delay the next iteration of the Pentagon’s premier acquisition reform initiative, Better Buying Power 3.0, which likely will continue to improve service acquisition and exportability processes.

Officially launched in 2010, the Better Buying Power (BBP) initiative is a broad effort for the defense acquisition community to reform itself from within. BBP encompasses a set of fundamental acquisition principles to achieve greater efficiencies through affordability, cost control, elimination of unproductive processes and bureaucracy, and promotion of competition. BBP initiatives also are designed to incentivize productivity and innovation in industry and government and improve tradecraft in the acquisition of services, according to the BBP website.

“We’re already looking at a Better Buying Power 3.0 to constantly take the data from our activities and adjust in smaller increments, so that in the future we gradually learn enough from our past to come to a better overall system for acquisition,” says Katrina McFarland, assistant secretary of defense for acquisition.

Because of recent budgetary uncertainties, however, the release date for BBP 3.0 is uncertain. “We’re trying to do this on a two-year cycle. We’re dealing with a lot of budget uncertainty. That impacts our ability to collect meaningful data. That’s a fact of life,” McFarland states, adding that department officials want to avoid making short-sighted decisions without enough data. “We may actually look at a longer cycle this particular time before we initiate the release of the Better Buying Power 3.0 because we may not have enough of an indication of what the success or challenges are in the Better Buying Power 2.0 initiative before we can go on to the next.”

Big Data Is Driving Information
Technology Planning and Investment

February 1, 2014
By Kent R. Schneider

This rarely happens, but for 2014, defense and technology analysts are in agreement that big data and cybersecurity are the two drivers in planning and investment for information technology, both in government and in industry. Most everything else will be enabling these two key capabilities. While much attention has been focused on the threats and work being done globally on cybersecurity, I want to focus on big data.

Big data is critical because, unless it is collected, analyzed, managed and made ubiquitously available, many analysts and decision makers will be buried in information they cannot use effectively in a timely fashion. It also is the starting and ending point for many of the technologies and capabilities we care about: networks, data centers, cloud initiatives, storage, search, analytics and secure access

U.S. Military Solidifies Standards for Sea Operations

February 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has updated its maritime joint command and control guidance, reflecting changing practices across the fleet. Although the rewrite is part of regularly scheduled reviews, the timing is apt for world conditions. U.S. attention is moving east to a far more watery environment than the one the country has focused on for the last dozen or more years, and contentions among nations for waterway control continue to mount in areas such as the East China Sea.

Multiple Elements Come Together to Aid Philippines Typhoon Response

February 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

The success of Operation Damayan, the massive Philippines typhoon relief effort by the U.S. Pacific Command, owes as much to preparation as to execution, according to a U.S. official involved in the operation. Military communications equipment designed for easy entry and quick activation provided essential networking capabilities. Longtime multinational and bilateral exercises laid the groundwork for interoperability, both technological and organizational, between U.S. and Philippine armed forces. 

Full Steam Ahead for Next-Generation Shipboard Network

February 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Navy officials expect to award a full-deployment contract for a new shipboard network this spring, and they plan to install the system on nine ships this year. The network provides commonality across the fleet, replacing multiple aging networks, improving interoperability and driving down costs. The Common Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program represents a new business model for delivering capability to the fleet, Navy officials say. The program consolidates five legacy networks into one, which enhances operational effectiveness and provides better quality of life for deployed sailors.

System Fuses Many Sensors' Data Into a Single Image

February 1, 2014
By Henry S. Kenyon

An upgrade featuring a lightweight sensor and software system added to smaller unmanned vehicles can provide capabilities similar to those available on larger vehicles. As the Defense Department realigns its operational focus to the Pacific, deployable forces, such as special operations teams and Marine Corps expeditionary forces, need high-quality airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. While such capabilities are normally provided by unmanned aircraft such as the MQ-1 Predator, smaller platforms have to meet this need for troops operating in remote areas. These smaller vehicles require fewer personnel and are easier to maintain, but they are also less capable.

Boeing Awarded Combat Survivor Evader Locator Contract

January 13, 2013

The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, Calif., has been awarded a $7,131,719 firm-fixed-price contract for Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) contractor logistics support 2014-2017. The contractor will provide maintenance, sustaining engineering, new equipment training for users/operators; engineering support for the entire CSEL system on a continuous, around-the-clock basis; and analysis, tools, countermeasures, and software development and integration solutions for all Department of Defense cyber security and information assurance directives, instructions, procedures, threats and policies. Battle Management Directorate, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8730-14-C-0013).
 

BriarTek to Provide Man Overboard Alert System

January 13, 2013

BriarTek Inc., Alexandria, Va., is being awarded an $8,070,975 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for supplies and services for the procurement of the Man Overboard Indicator (MOBI) Ship Installation Support System, logistics and training services. The overall objective of the MOBI program is to outfit each ship with a system capable of alerting the crew to a man overboard event, so that a lifesaving rescue can be affected. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Ship System Engineering Station, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N65540-14-D-0001).
 

Airtec to Provide ISR Services in Colombia

January 13, 2013

Airtec Inc., California, Md., is being awarded a $9,477,860 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N68335-13-D-0010) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services in support of the U.S. Southern Command. The contractor will provide ISR services utilizing two contractor-owned, contractor-operated aircraft, with government furnished property previously installed on the aircraft. Work will be performed in Bogota, Colombia, and is expected to be completed in September 2014. The Naval Air Warfare Center, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity. 
 

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