Cyber

February 21, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Photo Illustration. Credit: Shutterstock/Dmitri Ma

Five cyber technology firms will vie for top honors as a six-month series of Innovation Showcase competitions reaches its climax on February 27 in Arlington, Virginia. These efforts are part of an ongoing attempt by AFCEA to apply the principle of the popular venture capital television show to bring new technologies to the attention of government organizations seeking vital solutions. Following the cyber technology Innovation Showcase, AFCEA will host another Innovation Showcase at its Small Business Innovation Summit on May 1.

October 9, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
A U.S. Navy lieutenant stands watch in the command control center aboard an amphibious transport dock ship as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit team. The Navy and the Marine Corps are undertaking a rebuild of their information technology capabilities in the face of increased global threats.

The U.S. Navy is moving beyond evolution into revolution as it plans its information technology for the foreseeable future. Efforts span the reach of existing technologies while keeping room open for new media that may bring dominant emerging capabilities.

Within about 90 days, the Department of the Navy’s data strategy will be drafted and signed out, said Thomas M. Sasala, director of data strategy, Office of the Chief Management Officer, Department of the Navy. He added that the service will adapt the Defense Department data strategy in its implementation plan.

October 2, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
The NSA's new Cybersecurity Directorate will initially focus on securing weapon systems and the defense industrial base. Credit: Shutterstock/honglouwawa

The National Security Agency (NSA) has created a new Cybersecurity Directorate as a recognition that “the best defense against devastating cyber attacks is to unify as a nation against our threats,” the agency has announced.

October 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
A soldier reacts to a mock opposition forces attack during training at Fort Irwin, California, in June. Cybersecurity projects within the Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6 will improve cybersecurity for tactical systems. Credit: Air National Guard Master Sgt. Joshua Allmaras​

Cyber policy traditionally has focused more on enterprise networks than tactical systems, according to Nancy Kreidler, the Army’s new leader for the Cybersecurity and Information Assurance Directorate within the Office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6. But new initiatives emphasize cybersecurity in the tactical environment, including networks, weaponry and any other systems used by warfighters.

October 1, 2019
By Katherine Gronberg
This generator produces power for all of the facilities on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. It enables the depot to continue operations while completely disconnected from the normal commercial utility grid. Credit: Lance Cpl. Ryan Hageali, USMC

The U.S. arsenal boasts diverse weapons that share a common cybersecurity challenge: They depend on power generated by U.S. Defense Department or civilian-owned infrastructures that are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attack. Disrupting the availability of these power systems could impact not only the United States’ ability to project U.S. military power globally but also to respond to a domestic attack.

October 1, 2019
By Cadet Dalton Burk, USMA
Sgt.1st Class Joshua Shirey, USA, maintenance instructor for the Army’s new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, teaches a class about suspension to 33 soldiers enrolled in the first-ever iteration of the course at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. The 96-hour Field-Level Maintenance New Equipment Training course involves classroom and hands-on training for soldiers and contractors. Credit: Staff Sgt. Brigitte Morgan, USAR

Leaders in multiple military organizations need increased awareness of the dangers that arise from the systems used daily in training, deployment and garrison environments. The attacks these settings face are becoming more advanced and more specific as cyber attackers’ capabilities continue to improve. To mitigate the potential risk to military systems, the networks’ individual components must be identified and understood particularly at a time when component parts are manufactured outside the United States.

October 1, 2019
By John Nix
The first week of Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy (FCRA) coursework takes place at U.S. Department of Education headquarters, where students are immersed in the SANS CyberStart Essentials course. Credit: Denis Largeron

A new federal cyber academy aims to help relieve the shortage in skilled cyber workers. The inaugural Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy graduating class demonstrates that individuals with high aptitude and motivation can be successful in technical training and can gain the skills needed to enter the national cybersecurity workforce.

October 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force’s Air Combat Command, newly in charge of the service’s Cyber Mission, is deploying specialized mission defense teams to protect particular weapon systems such as an F-22, pictured flying over Alaska during an exercise in May, or an F-35 or a key infrastructure component such as an air operations center. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony

On top of other defenses, the U.S. Air Force is turning to a persistent cybersecurity model to guard its major weapon systems. Led by the Air Combat Command, which took on the service’s Cyber Mission from the Air Force Space Command last year, the service’s integration of cybersecurity includes deploying protective crews to its key airborne platforms and infrastructure.

October 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Tech. Sgt. David Mooers (l) and Senior Airman Mario Lunato, 2nd System Operations Squadron system administrators, access one of the core servers in the 557th Weather Wing enterprise at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The wing is employing specialized cybersecurity crews on top of other cyber defenses to protect weather intelligence. U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk

Given increasing threat levels, the Air Force is employing cybersecurity measures to protect its data, especially to safeguard information that is weather-related and feeds into military decision making. The service is applying mission defense teams, or specialized cybersecurity crews, to safeguard weather intelligence. The cyber mission defense team structure is in action at the 557th Weather Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska.

September 19, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Once approved for his new role as commander of the Air Force's new information warfare Numbered Air Force, Maj. Gen. Haugh will be the Air Force’s representative to the U.S. Cyber Command, among other roles.  Photo Credit: U.S.  Air Force

In the next month or so, the U.S. Air Force will be standing up its latest Numbered Air Force, the 16th Air Force, leaders report.

As part of the move, the Air Force selected Maj. Gen. (frocked) Timothy Haugh, USAF, to be the commander of the 16th Air Force, Air Combat Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
A phalanx of U.S. intelligence chiefs review the community's progress to close out the Intelligence & National Security Summit. Pictured are (l-r) panel moderator David Ignatius, associate editor and columnist, The Washington Post; Lt. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, USA, commander, CYBERCOM and NSA; Christopher Scolese, director, NRO; Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, USA, director, DIA; Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, USN, director, NGA; and Paul Abbate, associate deputy director, FBI. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

Government agencies are working together much more effectively as they counter terrorism and state-sponsored attacks in cyberspace. But more remains to be done as adversaries introduce new tactics and capabilities.

A panel comprising the top U.S. intelligence officials reviewed these issues as they closed out the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Their points ranged from foreign interference in U.S. elections to cooperation—or the lack thereof—from industry with the U.S. government.

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Describing U.S. actions against cyber attacks at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit are (l-r) panel moderator David Sanger, The New York Times; Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command; Rick Howard, chief security officer, Palo Alto Networks; Jeanette Manfra, assistant director for cybersecurity, DHS; and Tonya Ugoretz, deputy assistant director for cyber, FBI. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

The United States is now presenting cyber adversaries with a bill for their malevolent activities. Counter-cyber efforts have joined traditional defensive measures as the intelligence community confronts cybermarauders with greater detection, discovery and prevention.

Several high-ranking intelligence officials described this new tack in combating cyber threats during a panel discussion at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Their observations ranged from election meddling to a potential all-out cyber war.

September 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Many experts think the future of identity verification is a single authentication that applies across all disciplines of verification. Credit: ktsdesign/Shutterstock

The secret word is out and crypto is in as government and commercial experts lay the groundwork for the next generation of identity proving and authentication. Passwords are being abandoned in favor of a range of new methods that are more secure and, in some cases, more user friendly.

Biometrics are just part of the solution. They have been paired with public key cryptography in preliminary efforts. Ultimately, the solution may emerge from an entirely new concept of identity that applies across a broad spectrum of applications.

September 1, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program is developing technology that improves the ability to control machines using only the brain—without surgical implants. Credit: Fer Gregory, Shutterstock

In four years, researchers funded by the U.S. military may develop a working prototype of a system that allows for a nonsurgical interface between the human brain and technology. Such a system could improve brain control of unmanned vehicles, robots, cybersecurity systems and mechanical prosthetics while also improving the interface between humans and artificial intelligence (AI) agents.

September 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Sergey Cherviakov/Shutterstock

From the outer space environment of the moon to the virtual realm of cyberspace, technology challenges have the potential to vex the intelligence community. Many of the tools that the community is counting on to accomplish its future mission can be co-opted or adopted by adversaries well-schooled in basic scientific disciplines. So U.S. intelligence officials must move at warp speed to develop innovations that give them an advantage over adversaries while concurrently denying foes the use of the same innovations against the United States.

September 1, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Increased adversarial threats, combined with a growing demand for intelligence, is driving the Defense Intelligence Agency’s effort in providing advanced tools to the military’s intelligence officers worldwide. Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

Trusted intelligence is needed in an era in which the United States is facing growing threats. The military and other entities in the intelligence community rely on the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency to provide not only actionable intelligence but also the platforms or information technology systems that enable intelligence gathering, processing and analysis. To meet the increasing demand for intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, known as the DIA, has distributed part of its workforce to the various U.S. military commands that it supports. This global deployment has altered the role of the DIA, explains Jean Schaffer, the agency’s chief information security officer (CISO) and chief of Cyber and Enterprise Operations.

September 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA (Ret.)
Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

Second of a two-part series.

Few if any topics cause more stress across the Defense Department than cybersecurity. As I noted in my last column, department leaders have taken many steps to address the problem. While most of these steps are helpful, we still see a lot of emphasis placed on setting and enforcing cyber standards across the department and its broader ecosystem of stakeholders.

August 23, 2019
By George I. Seffers
The Multi-Function Electronic Warfare-Air Large program will integrate an offensive electronic warfare pod onto an MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system. It, along with two other programs, offers the Army an opportunity for interoperability. Credit: U.S. Army

The U.S. Army is enjoying a renaissance period for cyber and electronic warfare (EW) technologies and has a chance to lay a foundation of interoperability in cyber systems, says Col. Kevin Finch, USA, program manager for electronic warfare and cyber within the Program Executive Office-Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors.

Col. Finch made the comments on the final day of the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. AFCEA added an extra day to the annual conference to highlight procurement and acquisition.

August 22, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Maj. Gen. Neil Hersey, USA, commander, of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, speaks at TechNet Augusta. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Maj. Gen. Neil Hersey, USA, commander, of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, said the center could potentially change its name, but that close cooperation among the centers of excellence essentially already provides the benefits of an information warfare center of excellence.

The change—if it happens—would follow the lead of the Army Cyber Command. Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, who leads Army Cyber Command, has been pushing to change the name to Army Information Warfare Operations Command. The service’s centers of excellence fall under the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).

August 23, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Sgt. Gabrielle Hurd, 237th Military Police Company, New Hampshire Army National Guard, shows her team the route they will take before embarking on an overnight hike to the summit of Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire, during an Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular Soldier Touchpoint in July. PEO-Soldier incorporates soldier feedback into the ENVG-B product and many others which helps the Army integrate the current needs of soldiers with the Army’s future, multidomain battlefield. Photo by Patrick Ferraris

Brig. Gen. Anthony “Tony” Potts, program executive officer (PEO)-soldier, recently signed a new standard for 256-bit encryption for individual soldier systems. That is an increase from 128-bit encryption.

And since beginning the job about 18 months ago, he has stopped the once-common practice in the PEO-Soldier shop of signing cybersecurity waivers for the individual soldier equipment being developed. Furthermore, he is building a “robust capability” Risk Management Framework, which essentially specifies security controls for a system that involves organizational risk.

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