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Defense

Counterterrorism Partnerships Push Art of Possible

July 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The organization largely responsible for introducing robots on the battlefield now plans to field a miniaturized ground robot, a small unmanned aircraft, a Special Forces robotic exoskeleton and a host of other advanced technologies in an effort to combat terrorism around the world.

Military Evaluates Future Cyberforce

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

Cybersecurity remains a priority for the U.S. Defense Department, with officials protecting resources for it in the face of overall budget constraints. Guidance from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 directs a mission analysis of cybercapabilities not only in the active military, but also across partners, to help forces maintain their edge in protecting the nation.

Lone Wolf Terrorists Prowl the Balkans

June 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

In the coming months, extremists fighting in the Syrian civil war likely will begin returning to Europe, funneling through the Balkans where they can find cheap weapons, like-minded allies and temporary accomplices in the form of organized criminal groups. Conditions are ripe, according to experts, for those individuals to spread across Europe, launching terrorist attacks on major cities.

China and Russia Pose an Array of Dangers to the West

June 1, 2014
By Rita Boland

China and Russia represent two of the most robust, comprehensive concerns to worldwide stability. Almost every major geostrategic threat—cyber attack, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, capable military forces, political influence, economic power, sources of and high demand for energy—is resident in those two countries that often find themselves at odds with the United States and its allies.

U.S. Missile Defense Lags Emerging Threats

June 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

The U.S. missile defense program now trails emerging ballistic missile threats from rival nations that are outspending the United States in quests to move ahead and stay ahead, defense analysts caution. Emerging technologies such as maneuverable re-entry vehicles, a type of ballistic missile warhead capable of shifting course in flight, essentially render existing U.S. antiballistic missile defense capabilities ineffective.

Korean Cybersecurity Becomes a Joint Endeavor

June 1, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman

A new facility for cybersecurity is allowing U.S. Forces Korea to coordinate efforts with other U.S. commands as well as Republic of Korea civilian government and military forces. The Joint Cyber Center serves as the focal point for increasing international cooperation between U.S. and Korean forces in their defensive measures against increasing cyber aggression from North Korea. It blends activities from the local J-2, J-3 and J-6 along with input from other forces worldwide.

The cyber center coordinates through its headquarters and partners with its counterparts at the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Through PACOM, the center works with the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). Any direction the center receives from CYBERCOM would come through PACOM.

Col. Karlton D. Johnson, USAF, is the U.S. Forces Korea J-6 and senior communicator for U.S. forces in Korea. He says what is unique about this cyber center is its partnership with the Republic of Korea. Col. Johnson notes that, in March and June of 2012, cyber attacks hit the Korean national infrastructure and its banking sector. U.S. forces viewed the threat across the board to ensure they were defended, and it coordinated with Korean partners through the Joint Cyber Center (JCC).

The colonel emphasizes that the two countries do not share locations at the cyber center. They “share what is shareable” through their bilateral cooperation protocols. Earlier this year, Korean and U.S. forces held the first bilateral cyber tabletop exercise, in which the U.S. Forces Korea J-6 served as the synchronizing agent with Korean government and military agencies.

Col. Johnson continues that he has “an outstanding working relationship” with the commander of the Korean cyber command as well as with the Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff J-6 and the Korean Ministry of National Defense. All are focused on broad cyberdefense because Korea has been on the front lines of cyber, he notes.

National Security Agency Program Fills Critical Cyber Skills Gaps

June 1, 2014
By George I. Seffers

The first graduates are emerging from centers of excellence for cyber operations that teach the in-depth computer science and engineering skills necessary to conduct network operations. The program better prepares graduates to defend networks and should reduce the on-the-job training needed for new hires, saving both time and money.

The National Security Agency (NSA) initiated the Centers of Academic Excellence-Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) program in 2012. Eight schools were designated centers of excellence in the first two years with another round of announcements expected in mid-June. Agency officials say they hope eventually to have a total of 20 to 25 schools on the list.

The effort is a deeply technical, interdisciplinary, higher education program firmly grounded in the computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering disciplines. “We had noticed that a lot of graduates coming out of universities didn’t have quite the same skills that they’ve had in the past,” recalls Steve LaFountain, dean of the College of Cyber, National Cryptologic School, and the distinguished academic chair for information assurance and cyber, NSA. “Some of the skills needed in the cyber operations field, such as low-level programming, deep knowledge of networks and network protocols and understanding of operating systems internals, were starting to become less emphasized by academic programs.”

The change in school curricula is understandable because a lot of jobs today are focused on Web applications and mobile applications and require a different skill set than today’s cyber operations, he adds. “Instead of doing C programming, they’re now doing Java, Perl and Python programming. We decided to create this program and focus the requirements on the skills necessary for cyber operations,” LaFountain explains.

QinetiQ Wins BATMAN II Contract

May 2, 2014

QinetiQ North America Inc., Waltham, Massacusetts, has been awarded a maximum $7,750,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided Knowledge II (BATMAN II)-Advanced Technology Demonstration Program, and a $218,128 cost-plus-fixed-fee task order for BATMAN II. The BATMAN II program is designed to focus on advancing technologies relevant to the special operators of the Air Force. The complex nature of the ground operations conducted by battlefield airmen require advanced technologies to reduce fatigue and workload in austere environments, increase mission effectiveness, reduce tactical decision making time and errors, and enhance situational awareness. The technologies developed under the BATMAN II program will focus on accelerating the development, demonstration, and assessment timeline of critical mission capabilities. Air Force Research Laboratory, Human Effectiveness-Biosciences Protection Contracting, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-14-D-6529 and Task Order 0001).

General Dynamics to Support WIN-T Training

May 2, 2014

General Dynamics C4 Systems received a $59 million contract from the U.S. Army for new Warfighter Information Network–Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 vehicles and related network products to support Army soldier training. The new equipment, which includes soldier network extension and point-of-presence vehicles, will have updated software that simplifies network operations. When delivered to the Army’s LandWarNet School in Fort Gordon, Georgia, the vehicles and products will be folded into the Army’s new system-of-systems training curriculum. 

Boeing Awarded Signals Intelligence Funds

May 2, 2014

Boeing has received its first production order for the Ship’s Signal Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) Modifications program from the U.S. Navy, as well as a fifth order for SSEE Increment F systems, six for the U.S. Navy and four that will support the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy. The modifications will advance maritime forces’ ability to detect, geolocate and exploit signals sent by potential threats on selected SSEE Increment E and F systems. The fifth order for the current system will bring SSEE's real-time capabilities to a U.S. ally for the first time.  

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