NATO is increasing the amount of joint work on command and control (C2) systems as a result of increases in common funding, according to the alliance’s secretary general. Jens Stoltenberg told a media roundtable that “We are on the right track” as the allies are stepping up to meet changing challenges. These efforts include developing an offensive cyber capability and establishing a unified approach to China.
Standardization in communications equipment benefits multinational troops in an international environment by enabling them to communicate, increasing situational awareness for all. NATO’s Federated Mission Networking capabilities, currently in various stages of development, have been paramount in providing consistency within coalition partners in recent missions such as Afghanistan. The lines of communication remain strong because of the joint contribution of the Federated Service Management and Control capability Germany led.
As a lead nation, Germany has been successfully designing and implementing the Federated Service Management and Control capability as part of the development of the NATO Federated Mission Network. Throughout the joint approach, NATO member states, partner nations Austria and Switzerland, the NATO Communications and Information Agency, the Allied Command Transformation and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, which are both NATO strategic commands, as well as Allied Command Operations have been continuously involved in its design and incremental implementation.
Mariners can obtain situational awareness of surface maritime traffic by looking out to sea and by using devices such as radars and automated identification system transponders on ships. These systems can identify vessels along with pertinent data about their voyage. But these methods have limitations. Master mariners with powerful binoculars can tell a lot just by looking at a ship far off in the distance; however, they can’t see beyond the horizon, in bad weather or at night. The horizon even limits radar and transponder data can be manipulated or deleted.
A large number of national NATO contract competitions for resources could instigate bidding wars, causing delays during critical troop movements and confusion in the rear echelons. According to one leader of forces in Europe, adversaries may find it difficult to resist this opportunity to take advantage of the conditions to aggravate the situation by distributing disinformation and launching cyber attacks on commercial carriers. Consequently, during these critical early phases of military force mobilization, shared sensitive information and key infrastructure will need to be secured and defended.
An ad hoc group of international defense and national security experts are brainstorming the future in a two-day online symposium analyzed by tools from the world’s most well-known artificial intelligence (AI) computer. Titled “Securing the Post-COVID Future,” the event is exchanging ideas from among active duty military and civilian expertise. Findings during the 50-hour nonstop event are being evaluated by tools from the Watson platform, IBM’s question-answering computer that bested Jeopardy!’s top two champions in a competition a few years ago.
The phrase, “These are critical times for the NATO alliance,” has been used so often it is almost a cliché. But these times are not defined by a cliché, as the alliance faces multiple challenges within and without. Deliberate discussion has always been the method of determining NATO policy and direction, but the window for that approach is narrowing. NATO must decisively confront several challenges.
NATO’s longtime motto says that an attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on all the alliance. Today, this creed also applies to cyberspace, alliance leaders indicate. NATO’s new Cyberspace Operations Center, formed in August 2018, takes up the mantle of defending the alliance in the digital realm.
A burgeoning threat environment, an increasingly contentious space environment, the push toward rapid innovation and constant cost constraints are driving the U.S. military to pursue more partnerships to secure necessary satellite communications. The renewed interest in partnering with allies to get satellite systems into orbit will help shoulder the cost burden and enable the U.S. military meet its program needs, experts say.
China is at the heart of many key geopolitical issues confronting the Indo-Pacific region. It has seen dramatic and unprecedented economic growth in the last three decades and is embarked on a path supporting that growth with a major expansion in military capabilities. China is a nation on the move, and its strategic behavior underscores a long-term goal of seeking hegemony over the vast Indo-Asia region where it resides and likely exerting extraordinary influence over global affairs.
China’s growth continues apace. Having surpassed Japan in gross domestic product, China is poised to overtake the U.S. economy as the world’s largest in the next decade. By some widely accepted standards, it has already done so.
For the last decade, “informatization” of its national civilian and military infrastructure has been a top priority for the People’s Republic of China. The country’s efforts to become a global power in information and communications technology include a focus on signals intelligence. Out of its $150 billion total defense budget, the country is spending an estimated $15 billion on signals intelligence, said David Stupples, professor of electronic and radio systems, City, University of London, at an August 9 Association of Old Crows (AOC) online event.
New privacy rules that fall under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect May 25, could have a global impact both financially and socially. Effects could range from consumer demands for privacy rights trumping private-sector business practices to billions of dollars in lawsuits against commercial data collectors. The consequences are uncertain because the rules themselves are not specific enough to determine parameters for violations and penalties, information officials say.
A panel of security and counterterrorism experts from four countries—Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States—shared insights into the ability of terrorist groups to use a variety of technologies, including the Internet, bomb-dropping unmanned vehicles, bioterrorism and artificial intelligence, to wield destruction around the world.
The experts shared their comments during a presentation at the 2017 Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, D.C.
The NATO Communications and Information Agency will preview details of 40 upcoming business opportunities at its annual industry conference NITEC17 to be held April 24-26 in Ottawa, Canada. Agency officials intend to put 40 contracts out to tender in the next 18 to 24 months as part of a €3 billion ($3.26 billion) technology refresh.
Various program officials will discuss tangible opportunities coming to market, including international competitive bids in the following areas:
U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) entered into an agreement with the Belgium Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) to share space situational awareness (SSA) services and information. The arrangement is expected to enhance awareness within the space domain and increase the safety of spaceflight operations.
Maj. Gen. Clinton E. Crosier, USAF, USSTRATCOM director of plans and policy, signed a memorandum of understanding formalizing the arrangement on February 7 at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Elke Sleurs, Belgium’s secretary of state for science policy, signed on January 31 in Brussels.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department of Commerce Digital Attaché Program will expand to six new markets: South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Germany and France.
Thales is working alongside DCNS to provide a number of advanced systems for the French navy’s FTI (Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire), a medium-size frigate program recently announced by the French Defense Ministry. The FTI is intended as a replacement for the fleet’s Lafayette-class frigates beginning in 2023.
The After Active Duty blog series examines the challenges, rewards and lessons learned for those who have transitioned from active duty to the private sector and the role AFCEA played in this progression.
Col. Dean Fox, USAF (Ret.), executive vice president for cybersecurity, AECOM, has done a lot of building of one sort or another throughout his active-duty career and afterward.
Hillary Clinton is considering a SIGNAL Magazine Incoming columnist and current contributing editor as her running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.
Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.), has made Clinton’s short list as she considers candidates for vice president, according to several media organizations.
The biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise begins June 30 and will include 26 nations, 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. The theme of RIMPAC 2016 is "Capable, Adaptive, Partners." Participants will exercise a range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. The capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting.
The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency and AFCEA International this week signed a three-year Strategic Cooperation Arrangement that strengthens efforts to improve support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) needs and missions for NATO’s member nations.
Small nation-state budgets aren’t always such a bad thing, offered Ingvar Parnamae, undersecretary for defense investments for the Estonian Ministry of Defense.
It forces leaders to make good choices—it is hoped.
I had the pleasure of recently meeting Ellen Meinhart, an international trade manager for the Northern Virginia office of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), who provided an overview of opportunities available to Virginia-based small businesses to expand their portfolios to include international trade.
Five years after the Canadian government launched an official national cybersecurity strategy to combat the rise of online attacks, the country’s national police force announced Wednesday it is creating an investigative team.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) released its cyber crime strategy to reduce the threat and impact of digital criminal attacks in Canada, according to a news release.
The measure follows concerns that the country lags the United States and Europe in efforts to safeguard government, businesses and critical infrastructure from the increase in cyber attacks against Canadian interests.
Significant financial investments to advance technology in Bulgaria could amount to wasted money if the nation’s political, military and industrial leaders fail to stem the outflow of young and educated citizens, warns a prominent official.
One of the biggest challenges facing Bulgaria is not a lack of technological development, but keeping the nation’s highly trained people, particularly its youths, in the country to serve its military, government and industrial base, says Stefan Vodenicharov, president of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. “There is a brain drain problem,” Vodenicharov declares.
China is determined to project power globally by developing homegrown aircraft carriers. After purchasing a surplus Soviet-era aircraft carrier from Russia, China now is striving to establish an indigenous assembly line for carriers and the ships that would constitute a carrier task group.
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.
This blog is a followup to an article in the October issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Operation Cooperation: U.S. Defense Officials Intend to Expand Asia-Pacific Partnerships.
Although tighter budgets motivate governments to cooperate on technology development, sequestration and the budget uncertainties in the United States have negatively impacted international partnerships, says Keith Webster, director of international cooperation, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
The United States and Israel are partnering to develop technology to detect and destroy tunnels, which pose a serious threat to both countries, says Keith Webster, director of international cooperation, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
“I’m personally spearheading an effort with Israel on accelerated research and technology solutions specific to tunnel detection and destruction,” Webster reports.
Regardless of how the deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear capabilities unfolds, we need to be thinking aggressively about how to mitigate the effects of it.
Let’s review the bidding. The deal provides a weak verification regime; a limited 10- to 15-year shelf life; an immediate boatload of cash to the Iranians as sanctions are lifted without any real restrictions on their actions; and a deeply upsetting turn of events to our allies in the region. That’s the bad news.
The U.S. State Department has unveiled a new initiative called “Global Connect,” which seeks to bring 1.5 billion people who lack Internet access online by 2020. Catherine Novelli, undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment, announced the initiative during a keynote address at the UN Headquarters on “Development in the Digital Age,” which was delivered on behalf of John Kerry, secretary of state.
China is flexing its muscles and expanding its reach, particularly in the maritime domain. As the United States tries to consolidate the so-called pivot to Asia by bringing 60 percent of the U.S. fleet to bear, leaders need to be thinking through all their other options to deal with the growing ambition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Every day in the South China Sea, the Chinese are slowly adding to what Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Harry Harris, USN, has called the Great Wall of sand. This is a series of artificial islands and floating platforms, some of them large enough to have big airfields and significant numbers of troops. The Chinese are doing this to stretch their operational reach and, above all, to buttress their claims of sovereignty out to the far reaches of the so-called “nine-dash line.”
The idea of using floating bases to create operational and legal advantages has been around for centuries, but it has strengthened as technology has provided the ability to build significant platforms at sea.
The Copernicus Masters competition, launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO), seeks participants to submit ideas, applications and business concepts using Earth observation data that could lead to significant changes to the status quo in many fields. The international competition, with a deadline of July 13, offers cash prizes and support valued at more than 300,000 euros.
China is introducing designs for catamarans—and even trimarans—that seem destined to serve as the country’s littoral combat ships. Some of the trimarans closely resemble their U.S. counterparts, although differences—some quite interesting—do exist.
NATO today initiated Dynamic Mongoose, this year’s biggest antisubmarine warfare exercises in the North Sea, with a focus on detecting and defending against submarines. Eleven nations, more than a dozen surface vessels and four submarines are participating in the annual Dynamic Mongoose exercise.
The event, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow ships under NATO command to conduct a variety of antisubmarine warfare operations. The submarines will take turns trying to approach and target the ships undetected, simulating an attack.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews announced today he will lead a delegation of 20 American companies on a Cybersecurity Trade Mission to Bucharest, Romania, and Warsaw, Poland, May 11-15. Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis Marcus Jadotte also will participate in the mission.
The trade mission is designed to help U.S. companies launch or increase their business operations in Central and Southeast Europe, specifically connecting them with businesses and government leaders in Romania and Poland. It also will introduce or expand the market presence of U.S. cybersecurity companies.
The time is now for the United States, NATO and their partner nations to invest resources collectively for truly revolutionary and shared global defense. Partnerships are vital to preempt adversaries and achieve global economic vitality and political stability. This courage to share will enable new levels of success in global security and attainment of national strategic objectives. However, if these nations fail to muster this courage, they will cede advantage and opportunity to adversaries and should not be surprised when those adversaries creatively exploit this to their own benefit.
A U.S. Air Force research directorate connects scientists and engineers from many countries.
Cutting-edge warfighter technologies, ranging from nanoscience products to micro air vehicles, are advancing through the combined efforts of multinational top researchers within the Asia-Pacific region. This technical collaboration is driven in part by a U.S. Air Force research and development office in Tokyo, which is building international relationships while optimizing the intellectual talent within one of the world’s most active arenas for scientific breakthroughs.
Nations plan to launch more than 500 small satellites over the next five years, an increase of two-thirds in the number of space-bound platforms when compared with launches over the past decade, according to an international space firm report.
With a decrease in satellite needs by the commercial sector, Euroconsult reports it predicts 75 percent of the 510 small satellites scheduled for launch, which includes nanosats, cubesats, microsats and minisats, will serve government civil and defense agencies, meaning the demand for satellites by governments is expected to outpace the needs of private companies, according to a summary of the report.
The future of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region may be determined by the actions or inactions of China and North Korea. China is flexing its muscles and projecting power far beyond its traditional realm, but North Korea poses a bigger threat by nature of its irrational leadership.
Humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) has become so important a part of U.S. operations in the Asia-Pacific region that experts now are viewing it as a military doctrine and striving to improve it. In an area that constitutes half the world’s surface and contains most of its people, natural disasters that damage a nation severely occur yearly. The U.S. response to these annual crises of nature defines much of the military’s operations in that vast region.
India, a nonaligned nation long reluctant to involve itself in the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region, has begun to increase its involvement with the United States and other nations of the dynamic region. This development comes at a time when India’s decisions on critical foreign policy issues will have an increasing degree of importance, according to members of a panel on the Indo-Asia Pacific region at West 2015, being held in San Diego, February 10-12.
Viewed as an indispensable force for peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States risks losing the support it enjoys from nearly every nation in that hemisphere if it is ambiguous and not willing to take a stand during crises, said defense experts. A panel on the Indo-Asia Pacific region comprising former military flag officers and moderated by a China expert explored the developments taking place in the region and the importance of U.S. forces to peace and prosperity there.
People often ask me about what keeps me awake at night after a long career in the military. What is the country that worries me the most? Russia? China? Iran? Pakistan? All are good candidates; but the most dangerous and unpredictable is North Korea.
First and foremost, the so-called “young leader,” Kim Jong Un, is dangerous in his own right—a wolf in a clown suit whose portly figure, short stature and slightly dazed look belie a cunning and deadly actor trained in the harsh court of his father’s shark tank. He is mercurial, unstable, medically challenged and utterly ruthless.
The 3-D printer recently installed on the International Space Station has printed a replacement part for itself, proving the process works in space and potentially paving the way for long-term space expeditions.
Science Applications International Corporation, McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $7,179,527 modification (003748) to multi-year foreign military sales contract W31P4Q-05-A-0031 (Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany) for systems and computer resources support. Fiscal 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 research, development, testing and evaluation, operations and maintenance (Army), and other procurement funds in the amount of $7,179,527 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is February 20, 2017. Work will be performed at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
Six3 Intelligence Solutions Incorporated, McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $12,783,597 firm-fixed-price multi-year contract for intelligence support services in Afghanistan with an estimated completion date of July 9, 2016. One bid was solicited with one received. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $9,587,697 are being obligated at the time of the award. The Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Illinois, is the contracting activity (W560MY-15-C-0004).
Technical Communications Solutions Corporation, Swampscott, Massachusetts, was awarded a $8,622,068 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales (Jordan) contract for the installation of fiber optic cable that will satisfy the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) fiber optic-last mile (FO-LM) and fiber optic-long haul (FO-LH) requirements, and shall include the installation, testing and sustainment activities required for the JAF FO-LM and the FO-LH cable links. Work will be performed in Jordan, with an estimated completion date of January 6, 2016. One bid was solicited with one received. Fiscal 2015 other procurement funds in the amount of $8,622,068 are being obligated at the time of the award.