NewsBriefs

November 10, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Partnering with Near Earth Autonomy, L3 Harris successfully completed an Army demonstration with its FVR-90 autonomous aircraft, which can fly up to 18 hours with up to 22 pounds of payload. The effort is part of a project to get medical supplies and whole blood to warfighters in hard-to-reach places. Credit: L3 Harris

Pittsburgh-based Near Earth Autonomy, developer of autonomous flight systems, and Melbourne, Florida-based L3 Harris Technologies are partnering in a medically oriented effort and are seeing progress. According to Near Earth, the companies successfully demonstrated an unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) and system that can autonomously deliver whole blood and other medical supplies hundreds of miles from an operational base to medics in precise locations.

November 8, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Lockheed Martin will provide sustainment and modernization of the F-22 Raptor for the Air Force over the next ten years. Credit: Lockheed Martin

On November 5, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, or LCMC, issued a 10-year, $10,863,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas, for the Advanced Raptor Enhancement & Sustainment (ARES) program of the Air Force's F-22 Program Office. Under the effort, Lockheed will provide the necessary supplies and services to sustain and modernize the F-22 Raptor, including modernization hardware kit procurement and services such as upgrades, enhancements and fixes, as well as performance-based logistics services.

October 25, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosts a town hall with the State Department’s chiefs of mission at the department’s Washington, D.C., headquarters on October 25. Secretary Blinken has approved the creation of a new bureau-level cyber organization at the department. Credit: State Department photo by Freddie Everett

The United States is adding another tool in its attempt to improve cybersecurity. The U.S. State Department is in the process of standing up a bureau of cyberspace and digital policy. The new organization will conduct cyber diplomacy around the globe and set international norms around cybersecurity. The department is also creating a new position at State called the special envoy for critical and emerging technology.

Compared to an ambassador who is stationed in a foreign country to increase bilateral ties with the United States, a special envoy oversees a specific portfolio, in this case, critical and emerging technology. Both the senior bureau official and the special envoy roles would require Senate confirmation.

October 25, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Army picks General Atomics and Boeing for a lethal vehicle-based high-energy laser system. Credit: Photographic representation courtesy of Boeing

The U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, or RCCTO, has selected General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing to produce a 300 kilowatt-class solid state distributed gain high energy laser weapon system. Work under the contract will be performed in San Diego and Albuquerque.

RCCTO is pursuing the effort to demonstrate the laser weapon’s power and design, which could be vehicle or ground mounted.

Boeing will supply and integrate the laser beam director and the associated precision acquisition, tracking and pointing software while GA-EMS will provide the scalable distributed gain laser technology.

October 14, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
One of two semifinalists of U.S. Air Force’s Material Command (AFMC) Spark Tank competition, Gregory Monroe, Air Force Lifecycle and Management Center, created a web-based system to provide coordinated flight test planning. Credit: AFMC

The U.S. Air Force’s Material Command, or AFMC, will pursue several new innovative efforts across open architecture for fighter jets, digital administration forms, flight testing and medical field operations. The command, led by Gen. Arnold Bunch, USAF, announced its 2022 Spark Tank winners in an October 12 release. AFMC leaders selected five semifinalists out of 97 submissions in the competition; last week the semifinalists presented their solutions to leaders during the command’s fall Senior Leader Conference.

September 1, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Detachment 12, otherwise known as Kessel Run, has created a powerful command and control tool called C2IMERA that will provide airmen, wing commanders and major command leaders with a real-time operational sight picture of installation resources for force projection and emergency management, amongst other mission applications. Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of the Air Combat Command (ACC) has directed its use at all of ACC’s installations. Credit: Kessel Run

The Command and Control Incident Management Emergency Response Application, or C2IMERA, software tool, created by Kessel Run, one of the U.S. Air Force’s software factories, will now be employed at all of Air Combat Command’s facilities, the Boston-based Kessel Run announced on September 1.

Gen. Mark Kelly, USAF, commander of Air Combat Command (ACC), has specified that the tool—which provides installation reporting, planning, force generation, emergency management, and command and control (C2) monitoring and execution functions—be used at all of its installations.

August 13, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, commander, Space Systems Command, pictured at the podium during the official stand up ceremony of the U.S. Space Force’s new Space Systems Command August 13, takes the reins as the command’s first leader.

The U.S. Space Force officially stood up the Space Systems Command, or SSC, today. Leaders spent the last year developing the new field command redesignated from the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base.

The SSC stand up cleared one of the last hurdles with the U.S. Senate’s July 26 voice vote approval of SSC’s first commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Guetlein, USSF, to become lieutenant general. The commander, who had most recently served as the deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), took lead of SSC during a ceremony at the base today; Lt. Gen. John Thompson, USAF, the commander of SMC, retired July 27.

June 9, 2021
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Matt Eichenfield (l) and Lisa Hackett, scientists at Sandia National Labs, recently created a groundbreaking acoustic circulator, a key radio component that separates transmitted and received signals, and is much smaller in size. Credit: Sandia National Labs/Bret Latter

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have constructed a miniaturized acoustic amplifier, which they claim is the world’s smallest. The new acoustic, 276-megahertz amplifier is 0.0008 square inch (0.5 square millimeter). The Sandia researchers made the amplifier with thin-film semiconductor materials that are only 83 layers of atoms thick—1,000 times thinner than a human hair, the laboratory reported. In addition, the researchers were able to successfully harness the use of sound waves for the acousto-electric chip that includes the radio-frequency amplifier, circulator and filter.

December 17, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The extent of the global cyber attack by purported Russian threat actors has the U.S. government forming a new group to provide a coordinated response. Credit: Shutterstock/Alexander Limbach

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, reported yesterday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Director of Intelligence and CISA itself had created a Cyber Unified Coordination Group. The move was necessary given the alarming cyber compromise, a Trojan-style attack by threat-actor UNC2452 with ties to Russia. The attack, identified by FireEye, reached North American, European, Asian and Middle Eastern governments, technology firms, telecommunications, consulting companies and other entities, the company said. 

December 16, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new pilot program to assess how radio frequency geospatial data and analytical solutions from the commercial sector is looking promising, the agency says. So far it is trying out HawkEye 360 LLC's global spectrum sensing platform to identify and map radio frequency emitters. Credit: HawkEye 360

So far, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA's) pilot to assess how radio frequency (RF) geospatial data and analytical solutions from the commercial sector could support the agency’s mission is going well, according to the Springfield, Virginia-based intelligence arm. The so-called Predictive GEOINT Prototype supports an agile development approach, the  NGA said.

Although the program is limited in scope, the NGA is already initially benefiting from the RF data coming from HawkEye 360 LLC that is being delivered to analysts at the NGA and the U.S. combatant commands. The company’s data and analytics are meant to augment the agency’s existing geospatial intelligence activities.

December 2, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Lockheed Martin's SBIRS GEO-5 satellite is tested in a vacuum chamber at the company's Sunnyvale, California, production facility in April. The U.S. Space Force has ruled that the satellite is now ready for launching in 2021. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite, known as SBIRS GEO-5, is ready for launch in 2021. The U.S. Space Force deemed complete the high priority program satellite, which will provide worldwide missile warning capability to the U.S. military. The service’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Production Corps at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, and industry partner Lockheed Martin Space, in Sunnyvale, California, prepared the important warning system in record time.

November 2, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The new $4.4 Billion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions blanket purchase agreement will provide comprehensive cloud-based enterprise capabilities, including productivity tools. Credit: Shutterstock/jijomathaidesigners

The General Services Administration (GSA) and the Defense Department reported on October 30 that the $4.4 billion, 10-year Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) had been awarded again to General Dynamics Information Technology.

The original DEOS BPA award in August 2019 was heavily protested. The GSA then amended the solicitation, received and evaluated new quotes and according to the GSA, “made an award to the vendor that was determined to provide the best value to the government.”

October 30, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Defense Department's new electromagnetic spectrum strategy looks to bolster the nation's associated operational environment and security. Credit: Shutterstock/Fouad A. Saad

The U.S. is facing an increasingly congested, constrained and contested electromagnetic spectrum. Adversaries are challenging the United State’s dominance across the air, land, sea, space and cyberspace domains, which threatens our reliance on the spectrum. And because the United States depends on electromagnetic spectrum for much more than warfighting purposes, our nation’s economic wellbeing is at stake, says Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

October 14, 2020
Posted by: Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Col. Natashia Coleman (c) assumes the role as product lead for the Unified Network Capabilities and Integration (UNCI) office created in January. The UNCI office is consolidating tactical network integration efforts to support future capabilities, including the pursuit of Sustainment Tactical Network. Credit: U.S. Army photo by Lynn Harkins, PM TN Graphics

On October 14 the U.S. Army released a request for information to industry about how commercially-managed satellite communication (SATCOM) services could support the service’s logistics network modernization efforts in constructing a Sustainment Tactical Network, also known as the STN.

The STN, meant for general purpose users, will include new baseband, local transport and antenna hardware solutions. In addition, STN systems will provide the network connectivity for sustainment, medical and administrative information to be exchanged on the battlefield across multiple echelons, according to a statement from the U.S. Army’s Program Execute Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T).

September 1, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Five Eyes nations, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, conducted extensive joint research on cyber breeches, culminating in an incident response playbook for the extended community of partners and network administrators. Credit: Shutterstock/Metamorworks

The cybersecurity representatives of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence partners are working together to improve cyber event incident response across the extended community of the countries of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States. 

August 26, 2020
Posted by: Kimberly Underwood
The Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC's) Wideband Global Satellite-10 (WGS-10) is encapsulated in the Delta IV rocket for its launch in March 2019 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SMC just completed a test of a key anti-jamming technology that it plans to add to satellites WGS 1 through WGS 10. Credit: Van Ha, SMC Public Affairs.

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.

August 21, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Army Gen. James Dickinson accepts command of the U.S. Space Command on August 20, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Credit: DOD Photo by Lewis Carlyle

In a changing of command ceremony yesterday at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Gen. James Dickinson, USA, stepped into the role as commander of the U.S. Space Command.

Gen. Dickinson takes over from Gen. John Raymond, USAF, who ushered the new Space Command—which is the nation’s 11th Combatant Command—through its reestablishment last August. Relinquishing one of his two hats, Gen. Raymond will still continue in his role as the first Chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force.

May 19, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Credit: Shutterstock/Pogorelova Olga

The Space Force has announced that the planned satellite hacking challenge known as Space Security Challenge 2020: Hack-A-Sat would proceed as planned, but in a virtual format due to the pandemic. The Department of the Air Force and the Defense Digital Service's (DDS's) event includes an online qualification event May 22-24, followed by a final August 7-9. During the final, participants will attempt to reverse-engineer representative ground-based and on-orbit satellite system components to overcome planted “flags” or software code.

April 15, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
North Korea's sponsored malicious cyber operations are an attempt to raise funds for weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, the U.S. government warns. Credit: Shutterstock/hotsum

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State, Treasury and Homeland Security departments issued a detailed 12-page advisory on April 15 alerting the nation to an increased threat of malicious cyber activity by North Korea. The U.S. government’s advisory warned financial entities in particular of aggressive action by North Korea intended to harm the financial system, as well as threats to critical infrastructure.