AFCEA Europe’s second-largest flagship event, TechNet Europe, featured the latest topics in cybersecurity and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR). This year’s conference, held October 3-5 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, was organized under the patronage of the Netherlands Ministry of Defense in cooperation with AFCEA’s The Hague Chapter and welcomed more than 200 attendees from 17 countries.
A nation that once was part of the Soviet bloc now finds itself on the front lines of unrest in Ukraine, territorial disputes in the Black Sea and state-sponsored attacks in cyberspace. Romania, now a stalwart member of NATO and the European Union, is playing an increasing role in cybersecurity, both regionally and internationally. It is passing a national cybersecurity law and reaching out to assist other nations, directly and indirectly, with cyber defense.
Machine has not quite fully replaced man yet, but a new development in unmanned technology is coming close. An emerging system successfully tested in Europe this spring might help keep infantry troops safer while also lightening their transport load.
The Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System, or THeMIS, developed by Estonia-based company Milrem, is an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that can be adapted to a number of battlefield missions, from logistical support to reconnaissance and surveillance, border patrol, medical evacuation and high-technology weapon systems.
Urbanization, migration and disaster relief are topics that are ubiquitous in the 21st-century news media. Frequently, critical or crisis-related aspects are in the foreground. These include megacities out of control, migration flows triggered by economic and violent conflicts, and inadequate or delayed disaster relief.
However, most crises in the context of conurbations, migration and environmental disasters are not short-term developments, but evolve over the long or medium term. Governments and nongovernmental organizations must deal with these phenomena promptly and permanently, address them publicly and face up to the challenges resulting from them.
Extensive cooperation among NATO member nations, their industries and their academics will be necessary to address the challenges facing the Atlantic alliance, according to speakers at NITEC 2015. Some examples of that cooperation emerged during the May 5-7 conference in Madrid, which had a theme of “Enabling C4ISR: Applications, Education and Training.”
A recent NATO exercise in Eastern Europe established criteria for NATO Response Force communications, including new technologies and cybersecurity, that will be essential if the rapid-reaction unit is called on in the event of a crisis imposed on an alliance member. The test of communications and information systems set the stage for an overall force exercise later this year, and it substantiated a broader concept of networking across NATO.
Technology developers and commercial service providers are racing to exploit elements of the radio frequency spectrum with advances that could be at odds with each other. Increased consumer demand for wireless services is driving providers to develop new capabilities for their systems, and the emerging Internet of Things has hardware firms vying for standard-setting technologies that would define the marketplace for future generations.
The European Union faces the same formidable increase in cyber attacks perpetrated by adversaries with improved scope and sophistication as the United States—but comes up against issues compounded by disparate national laws and cybersecurity expertise, experts say.
Estonia has established a dedicated cyberdefense infrastructure and implemented new policies that are serving as models for other allied nations gearing up for potential cyber attacks. The Estonian measures come in the wake of the Baltic nation undergoing a severe cyber attack in 2007, which ultimately led to Estonia hosting the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.
Defenders of cyberspace need to concentrate on the critical services provided by the critical infrastructure, not the infrastructure itself, according to a leading cyber expert. Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies and former acting senior director for cyberspace with the National Security Council, said that the future of the West is held hostage by the fact that its security and resilience are threatened.
Even with the rising tide of nation-sponsored cyber attacks, NATO does not yet have a policy—let alone a definition—of what constitutes a cyber attack that would mandate a response under Article 5 of the alliance’s Washington Treaty, according to NATO officials. Article 5 defines an attack on a NATO member as “an attack on all,” requiring a response by all members against an aggressor.
DRS Technical Services Incorporated, Herndon, Virginia, and M. C.
At a time when the European Union and the United States are both facing moderate to severe austerity in the years ahead, it's more important than ever to do more with less.
Claude-France Arnould, chief executive of the European Defense Agency (EDA), told the European Institute's Transatlantic Roundtable on Defense and Security Affairs that the effects of the financial crisis in most EU nations has begun to hit "full force," and the defense ministries of many EU members are experiencing cuts of between 15 and 25 percent in some cases.
DRS Technologies Incorporated, Herndon, Virginia, is being awarded a potential $169 million contract modification for satellite internet protocol services to support morale, welfare and recreation and other non-Global Information Grid operations and programs supported by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, European Office. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract, including this modification, to $497 million. Work will be performed in Southwest Asia (95 percent) and Europe (5 percent), and is expected to be completed December 2011. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, South Carolina, is the contracting activity.
The U.S. Air Force-Europe (USAFE) has awarded ITT Systems, Colorado Springs, Colorado, the USAFE Communication Support Contract. The total potential value of the contract is almost $18 million over the course of six years. ITT will provide program management, communications equipment maintenance, logistics support, computers and computer peripherals and cellular instrument support for base communications throughout Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Turkey, as well as long-haul communications support across Europe.
Emergency responders may be able to anticipate unfolding disasters before they have to respond, as a result of a new system that combines situational input with simulation. When floodwaters are rising or a fire is spewing toxic fumes, emergency personnel can simulate in real time how the threat might expand and evolve and plan their responses accordingly.
The system incorporates modules that allow it to simulate and predict how a disaster scenario might evolve. Different emergency response groups can use it to coordinate activities. With its situational awareness inputs, this permits responders to stay a step ahead of an unfolding disaster while ensuring an efficient, coordinated response during and after the emergency.
The United States is in the midst of preparing its largest intelligence hub outside of its own national borders. The center will accommodate operations with reach into several global areas, including those rife with anti-terrorism operations. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being poured into the work that includes consolidating resources from other installations.
U.K. government entities at various levels are looking into bring-your-own-device policies for their purposes. And while their mandates differ, they all have one factor in common—a need for the right level of security. To help groups at the most open classification levels make the right choices, a U.K. security agency has released a series of guidance documents that outlines what decision makers should consider.
Mining big data for salient information points presents a plethora of challenges, but in Europe a different issue with the action has emerged as a concern. Regulations prohibiting researchers and others from searching through the data in certain documents are putting countries on the continent at a competitive disadvantage in a number of fields, studies are revealing. With several economies there already in dire straits, the legal encumbrances could add to difficulties in improving financial situations.
Cyber, defense technology, coalition interoperability, NATO contracting opportunities and Ukraine were among the topics discussed at the NATO Industry Conference and TechNet International 2014, held in Bucharest, Romania. For the third time, the NATO Communications and Information Agency and AFCEA Europe organized a joint conference and exposition. The two organizations generated a program with an agenda of truly intertwined sessions relevant to all.