New challenges facing the West have compelled NATO to refresh domestic capabilities that have long been overlooked, alliance leaders say. These capabilities focus largely on logistics, but they also encompass new areas of concern such as cybersecurity and the supply chain.
For the last six months, the U.S. military has been on the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic, providing necessary supplies and medical support across the country. Meanwhile, internally, the U.S. Defense Department has faced the threat of the virus with its warfighters. More than 55,000 Defense Department personnel have had the COVID-19 virus, and there have been 79 deaths—including one active-duty member, seven reservists or National Guard personnel and 71 dependents, retirees or family members, reported Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, USA, director, Defense Health Agency (DHA).
The Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud effort has been tied up in the Court of Federal Claims since a preliminary injunction was issued in February. And although that has prevented the DOD from implementing Microsoft Azure cloud computing solutions, the department is not sitting idle, according to Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy.
“Cloud for me has always been first and foremost about supporting the warfighter,” Deasy told a group of reporters yesterday during a virtual Defense Writers Group meeting. “And when we got put on hold with JEDI, that didn't mean we were going to stop working on figuring out ways to support the warfighter.”
“We’ve always done it this way.”
When statements like this become commonplace within teams, they can corrode even the best of organizations. Innovation is stifled, work becomes routine and experts disengage and move on.
Yet in many organizations, the resistance to change is an enduring part of its culture—to the delight of adversaries and competitors.
As a way to provide sea denial in support of naval operations, expeditionary advanced base operations are the Marine Corps’ bid for success in disrupting the fait accompli strategies of great power competitors. While highly promising, this concept possesses a critical vulnerability: signature management.
Detection or denial of command and control systems will hamstring expeditionary advanced base operations. Any misstep in communications discipline will reveal the locations of expeditionary advanced bases, putting them at risk. But emerging communications techniques and technologies provide viable solutions to signature management, validating the concept and ensuring the sea services will maintain a critical edge.
The new fiscal year brings a more solidified U.S. Space Force. Beginning October 1, the service will stand up its three field commands: the Space Systems Command, the Space Operations Command and a Space Training and Readiness Command, reports Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, USSF, deputy chief, Space Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear, U.S. Space Force.
Gen. Saltzman spoke virtually to AFCEA International’s Northern Virginia or NOVA Chapter on September 18, 2020. “Our goal is to be able to increase the decision cycle as fast as possible so that we can provide operations, decisions and warfighting capabilities at an operationally relevant speed,” Gen. Saltzman emphasized.
The Army Futures Command (AFC) has named Austin Community College District (ACC) as the home for its new Software Factory. The first of its kind, the Software Factory at ACC will provide a training pipeline for soldiers and ACC students. It’s designed to help students rapidly scope and solve real-life problems through advanced software development processes.
The secure nature of providing foreign military intelligence to the U.S. Department of Defense and the intelligence community requires careful stewardship of information and employees in an unclassified and classified environment. Once the COVID-10 pandemic hit, shuttering businesses and altering daily life, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, known as DIA, immediately had to examine and prioritize how to perform that work.
With space a contested domain, the U.S. military’s newest service, the Space Force, must be bold and faster in its operations, reports Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, USSF, chief of Space of Operations, U.S. Space Force.
The leader, who is responsible for organizing, training and equipping the service’s space force as well as providing space-based capabilities, is spearheading a digital-based vision for the service. Part of this new force design is making sure that electronic- and computing-based capabilities underpin its structure.
The global economy—and especially more technologically advanced countries like the United States—are increasingly dependent on space-based capabilities like GPS and satellite communications.
“When considering our daily lives,” explained retired Canadian Gen. Robert Mazzolin, now chief cybersecurity strategist for the Rhea Group, a global engineering firm. “There’s not an operation or activity that’s conducted anywhere at any level that’s not somehow dependent on space capabilities,” he went on.
On both sides of the Atlantic, NATO and European leaders are struggling to address the threat posed to vital space systems by foreign hackers, cyber warfare and online espionage. Huge swathes of the global economy are utterly dependent on orbital capabilities like GPS that look increasingly fragile as space becomes more crowded and contested.
To fully counter the threats posed by adversaries, the Department of Defense needs to harness autonomous and robotic systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The nation’s military is falling short of pursuing those systems on the large scale necessary, an expert says. Moreover, the department needs to holistically consider the purpose for which it is harnessing artificial intelligence, or AI, across the services, says Robert Work, the former 32nd deputy secretary of defense.
The European Union has established the basis of an organizational structure to safeguard its important satellite assets, particularly those that provide vital positioning, navigation and timing data. As its Galileo constellation has grown in size and significance, the European Union is establishing the necessary organizational infrastructure to build and coordinate a collective effort to secure space against a broad range of threats.
The first lesson of economics is scarcity. When supply is low and demand high, prices soar, and some will go without. In the U.S. Defense Department, both the demands and costs for reliable, resilient, and robust communication services continue to grow. As the services consider options to privatize aspects of communication, both the opportunities and challenges require thorough consideration.
The U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command, headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia and known as ACC, has a new leader. In a ceremony broadcast via video on August 28, Gen. Mark Kelly, USAF, took over the command from retiring Gen. Mike Holmes, USAF. Gen. Kelly also received his fourth star at the event, promoting him from lieutenant general.
Most recently, Gen. Kelly served since August 2018 as the deputy chief of staff for ACC operations at the Pentagon. The deputy chief of staff determines the requirements, capabilities and training necessary for the service to conduct its missions.
The U.S. Navy is focusing on parallel development of its new digital assets and capabilities as it works to rush advanced information innovations to the fleet. With the need for better technologies increasing coincidental to the rapidly evolving threat picture, the service has opted for concurrence as its main tool for implementing both upgrades and innovations.
A first-of-its-kind Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) pilot seeks to leverage small business innovators to help increase the rate of fire of self-propelled howitzer systems. A new program, the Special Program Awards for Required Technology Needs (SPARTN), is combining government and industry best practices to introduce a whole-of-Army, collaborative approach to solution innovation.
On August 26, the U.S. Space Force announced that its Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) had successfully completed a key test of an anti-jamming capability designed for its Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) Communication platform.
The new solution, known as MAJE, or Mitigation and Anti-Jam Enhancement, includes both software and hardware upgrades for the Global SATCOM Configuration Control Element (GSCCE) ground system, which is operated by the U.S. Army.
“MAJE will double the anti-jam SATCOM capabilities for six Geographic Combatant Commands,” added Col. John Dukes, USAF, SMC’s Geosynchronous Polar Orbit Division senior materiel leader.