As the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) embraces a more data-centric vision, the agency is developing policies for enhanced data management and identifying necessary technical capabilities to support agency operations, and improved decision making and operability for warfighters, said Caroline Kuharske, DISA acting chief data officer, on April 27 speaking with Michelle Lee, director, Threat Intelligence at Lumen Technologies, during AFCEA’s TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore.
A panel of artificial intelligence (AI) experts from industry discussed some of the technology’s promise and perils and predicted its future during an AFCEA TechNet Cyber Conference panel April 26 in Baltimore.
The panelists were all members of AFCEA’s Emerging Leaders Committee who have achieved expertise in their given fields before the age of 40. The group discussed AI in the cyber realm.
With the creation of its first Chief Data Office, the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency is stepping into a more data-centric vision. The need for enhanced data management, technologies and policies is necessary to support greater ventures of agency operations and improved decision making and operability for warfighters, explained Caroline Kuharske, acting chief data officer, Defense Information Systems Agency.
Modern organizations run on data, but they need a workforce skilled at interpreting and managing that information for the greatest advantage, says James Stanger, the chief technology evangelist at the Computing Technology Industry Association, or CompTIA.
Last year’s evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan was a massive undertaking with multiple challenges and successes. The withdrawal required enormous amounts of data, which also presented some obstacles, but ultimately proved successful and offered lessons learned for future operations, according to U.S. Defense Department officials.
The U.S. National Guard Bureau has put in place its first chief data officer. In his role as CDO, Martin Akerman, the former director of data strategy for the Department of the Air Force, is leading the National Guard’s Digital Modernization “from the ground up,” the service reported.
The Joint All-Domain Command and Control Cross-Functional Team (JADC2 CFT) is adding a sixth working group to examine and resolve data transport issues and also intends to develop a scorecard to help assess how well systems conform to the Defense Department’s joint all-domain warfighting goals.
Brig. Gen. Robert Parker, USA, deputy director, J-6, and JADC2 CFT chair, broke the news on both fronts during a keynote presentation at the TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore, and during an exclusive interview with SIGNAL Magazine following his presentation.
The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is assessing the possibility of using process automation bots to perform a variety of mundane tasks, saving substantial time for the agency’s human employees.
The agency has been working with robotic process automation (RPA) tools for about three years for finance-related tasks and is now assessing the use of automation bots for other purposes, according to Stephen Wallace, DISA’s chief technology officer and director of the agency’s Emerging Technologies Directorate.
The U.S. Defense Department is deploying teams of data and artificial intelligence experts to the various combatant commands as part of its efforts to implement the joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) vision. The combatant commands host some teams for relatively short visits—a matter of days—while others will remain onsite for three years.
Kathleen Hicks, deputy secretary of defense, launched the AI and data acceleration (ADA) initiative. The teams include both data and artificial intelligence experts. The chief data officer and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) coordinate and lead the effort.
Palantir USG Inc. Palo Alto, California, was awarded a $48,500,000 firm-fixed-price definitization modification (PZ0004) to contract FA8806-21-C-0010 for a Data-as-a-Service Platform. This effort will provide the government with a term software licenses, cloud hosting, enablement services, support and training for each platform solution. The location of performance is El Segundo California; Palo Alto, California, Washington, D.C.; and New York, New York. The work is expected to be completed by November 30, 2021, with three six-month options. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $91,500,000.
In order to make the unified network vision a reality, the Army will need to adopt an array of technical capabilities, including 5G, zero trust cybersecurity, software-defined networks and data fabric.
The idea of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) is spreading far and wide across the U.S. Department of Defense and its surrounding ecosystem.
The U.S. military’s sweeping effort to build a common command and control system to unite warfighting across all domains—sea, land, air, space and cyberspace—now has a formal policy to guide its further development. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has officially signed off on the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy, reported Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Cyber; and chief information officer, The Joint Staff (J-6), on Friday during a press conference at the Pentagon.
Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Virginia (N00189-18-D-Z067); CACI, Inc.
Progeny Systems Corp.,* Manassas, Virginia, is awarded a $38,876,284 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N66604-21-D-H100) containing cost type provisions. This contract is for continued development of the Data Acquisition and Retrieval System. Work will be performed in Groton, Connecticut (90%); Manassas, Virginia (5%); and Newport, Rhode Island (5%). The ordering period will be completed by May 2026. Fiscal 2021 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $245,606 will be obligated at time of award on the first task order and will not expire at the end of this fiscal year.
Competition in the information domain does not happen nationally. It happens locally, said Ben Leo, CEO and co-founder of Fraym, an international open-source intelligence and data analytics company.
“Competition in the information domain simply doesn’t happen at the national level. It happens in communities, neighborhoods, and even down to individual households or homes,” Leo said during a SIGNAL Executive Video Series discussion with Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine’s editor in chief.
Enlighten IT Consulting LLC, Linthicum Heights, Maryland, has been awarded a $66,294,372 firm-fixed-price contract to provide Enterprise Logging Ingest and Cyber Situational Awareness Refinery (ELICSAR) Big Data Platform (BDP) to provide Air Force enterprise data analytics and further development and deployment of ELICSAR in the unclassified, secret, and top secret domains. ELICSAR BDP is a government-owned, cloud-based platform that collects data and enables complex analytics to identify advanced cyber threats. Work will be performed in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, and is expected to be completed March 31, 2024. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition using AFWERX Commercial Solutions Opening authority.
The U.S. Department of Defense is progressing in its efforts to address how it will fight in a joint all-domain warfighting environment. At the center of that work is how to build a Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) platform, and one in which allies and partners can effectively communicate and operate as well, explained Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, director for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cyber and chief information officer, the Joint Staff, J-6.
For the past few months, the Joint Staff’s J-6 leader and other officials have been drafting a plan of action for implementing the Defense Department’s Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, framework. The ability for all of the services to jointly conduct operations in space, air, sea, land and cyberspace simultaneously is seen as an essential way to succeed against near-peer adversaries. How data is organized, accessed, analyzed and dispersed in real time to decision makers is key to the success of JADC2 and is a core aspect of the developing strategy, said Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Cyber; and chief information officer, Joint Staff; who is known as the J-6.
The U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) is looking to fill vital cyber and communications gaps, but with technologies tailored to its unique missions, said Maj. Gen. John Brennan, USA, commanding general, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The command is the largest divisional element in the Army, with soldiers that serve in special forces, psychological operations groups and battalions, civil affairs groups and information warfare groups and for the national mission force that operates mostly with the Joint Special Operations Command units.
Massive amounts of sensitive information on U.S. citizens are being collected, created, shared, bought and sold, and in some cases used as a weapon by the country’s adversaries, according to a panel of experts speaking at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.
The information is gathered and sold by companies such as Facebook and Google and the producers of a wide range of applications, programs and technologies.
Pentagon officials are developing a strategy related to the joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) concept that should be delivered soon to the combatant commands, according to Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, USMC, the Joint Staff's chief information officer and director of command, control, communications and computers, also known as the J-6.
Gen. Crall made the comments during the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.
Data in various forms supports a wide range of national security missions, and whichever country is best able to use that data will have a distinct advantage, according to intelligence agency experts speaking at the virtual 2020 Intelligence and National Security Summit.
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.
Network data collection, analysis and sharing are core to cyber defense, and Tinisha McMillan is on a mission to improve all three.
As division chief for the Cyber Situational Awareness and NetOps Division within the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), McMillan is responsible for building and providing cyber analytics and tools to enhance the department’s cyber information sharing to protect the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN).
The U.S. Space Force is pursuing a comprehensive data strategy, designed to harness data for strategic advantage. This next-generation data management effort is meant to be more of a precise engineering discipline—rather than an ad hoc organizational effort—and as such, includes the establishment of an associated governing body.
Unlike the other services, the military’s newest service, the U.S. Space Force, is starting with a chief data officer in place on day one of its existence. With an executive in place to guide how the service will administer its information, and with support from its top leadership, the service aims to have its data aid its strategic advantage.
The Air Force Cost Analysis Agency (AFCAA) offers multiple examples of data visualization tools being actively used for cost analysis, including the Air Force Total Ownership Cost (AFTOC) program decision support system, the Flying Hour Program and an array of research projects. However, these are far from the only examples. Data visualization tool power is popping up everywhere.
By now, federal agencies universally recognize that data is an asset with seemingly limitless value as they seek to reduce costs, boost productivity, expand capabilities and find better ways to support their mission and serve the public.
The Navy’s Readiness Analytics and Visualization Environment, known as RAVEN, which recently reached full operating capability, provides three dozen data lakes to provide a picture of readiness. The Naval Information Forces, or NAVIFOR, now intends to extend the use of RAVEN to manning, training and equipping readiness and cyber readiness, according to Vice Adm. Brian Brown, USN, commander, NAVIFOR.
Before the end of the fiscal year, the U.S. Navy intends to deliver an early version of the Information Warfare Platform to two ships, the USS Lincoln and USS Bataan before fielding more comprehensive systems to the Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group. The new capability will be enabled in part by artificial intelligence, machine learning and so-called digital twins. It is expected to offer the ability to acquire, test, install and field technologies at a faster, more affordable rate while also enhancing cybersecurity.
The U.S. Army its transforming its Department of the Army’s Management Office-Cyber (DAMO-CY) to include a wider range of joint all-domain operations capabilities.
Col. Jay Chapman, USA, division chief, Mission Command, in the Army CIO/G-6 office, revealed the change at a February 13 luncheon event in Arlington, Virginia, hosted by the AFCEA Washington, D.C. chapter.
As part of the Department of the Navy’s aggressive effort to improve its data environment in its information infrastructure, the department appointed Tom Sasala, Senior Executive Service (SES), to oversee the its data management, establishing the policies and the governance around the data fabric of the department.
The Department of the Navy, or DON, was already on a path to improve its data management when Congress passed the Open Government Data Act in January. The measure required cabinet-level agencies in the military departments to create a chief data officer position.
A company founded by military veterans uses artificial intelligence to alert clients to major events, such as natural disasters, strikes or political unrest, around the world that will affect their organizations and operations. The company, Stabilitas Intelligence Communications, has traditionally worked with large, commercial businesses, including “one of the world’s largest retailers” and “several global logistics and consumer product companies,” Stabilitas officials say. But the company is now actively seeking government customers in the national security and defense arena.
Palantir USG Inc., Palo Alto, California, was awarded an $110,814,893 other transaction agreement contract for numerous databases across the Army enterprise integrated on one platform. One bid was solicited via the internet with one bid received. Work will be performed in Washington, District of Columbia, with an estimated completion date of December 15, 2023. Fiscal year 2020 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $32,545,300 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-20-9-P001
The Army is two years into its aggressive front to modernize and shift to be a more agile, lethal force, moving away from counterinsurgency warfare. One of the service’s major priorities as part of that modernization effort is to create an integrated tactical network that can support soldiers fighting anywhere at anytime against near-peer adversaries in a contested environment, explained Maj. Gen.
If the pursuit of DNA-based data storage is a race, it is probably more of a long, arduous, challenge-laden Tough Mudder than a quick, straightforward 50-yard dash. Or it may be a tortoise and hare situation with data growing at an extraordinary pace while science moves steadily along in hopes of gaining the lead.
U.S. Army officials expect in the coming weeks or months to release a data strategy that will be closely aligned with its existing cloud strategy and are also building an enterprise cloud office, according to Gregory Garcia, the Army’s deputy chief information officer/G-6 and chief data officer.
Garcia made the remarks during an address and fireside chat on the second morning of the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Augusta, Georgia.
“We have a data strategy that’s going to be processed in the next weeks and months. That’s going to get after making sure data is visible, accessible, understandable and interoperable,” he said.
“The whole business of being a CTO has changed,” said Yuvi Kochar, managing director, technology and operations, CAQH, a nonprofit alliance creating shared initiatives to streamline the business of healthcare.
During his keynote address at the AFCEA-GMU C4I and Cyber Center Symposium, the former chief technology officer (CTO) of The Washington Post, discussed how he first became a CTO in 2000 for a small startup in Boston. “My first job was all about building technology and operating it. And that was good enough,” Kochar said.
Over time though, he’s seen the job transform into a more business-centric role. “Technology is taking more and more of a backseat,” he related.
The Defense Security Service (DSS) and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) have awarded nearly $75 million to Perspecta Enterprise Solutions LLC of Herndon, Virginia, to help reform and modernize the security clearance personnel vetting processes and develop the National Background Investigation Service (NBIS) information technology system.
Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, chief information officer/G-6, U.S. Army, suggests the possibility of an Internet of Strategic Things in addition to the Internet of Tactical Things.
“We’ve had some really good discussions about the Internet of Things. That was a thing a couple of years ago. And then we started talking about the Internet of Tactical Things. I think what’s on the horizon is more of a discussion of the Internet of Strategic Things,” Gen. Crawford told the audience on the second day of the AFCEA TechNet Cyber 2019 conference in Baltimore.
Trident Juncture 2018, a large-scale NATO military exercise, wrapped up late last year. But in the weeks since, the alliance has been doing something it has never done before by using big data science to help inform lessons learned from the exercise.
The National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering is working to create a big data ecosystem. As part of that effort, the NSF, as it is known, is expanding the National Network of Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs, first created three years ago. The hubs, with one location for each U.S. Census region—the Midwest, Northeast, South and West—grew out of the need to aid the development of big data research and to help solve complex societal problems. The hubs are having a positive impact on the growth of machine learning, increasing the access to data, methods, networks and expertise, experts say.
Burgeoning computer capabilities often are unreliable, or brittle, at first. Capabilities that work successfully in one instance may fail miserably when applied to another area. At the moment, machine learning is no different, experts say, and the government and private industry are endeavoring to get past the limitations to improve its use.
The U.S. Navy is in the nascent stages of a plan to revolutionize readiness through the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. It also may include the establishment of two new offices: a chief readiness office and an analytics office.
The U.S. Coast Guard is pursuing digital solutions to support its unique set of military, law enforcement, humanitarian, regulatory and diplomatic responsibilities. It is no small feat to provide information technology to its workforce of 87,570, as well as to its cutters, boats, and aircraft that move along the coastline and inland waterways protecting the United States.
The U.S. Defense Department lags the hype cycle for artificial intelligence, machine/deep learning and implementations like natural language processing by years. It needs to uncover the root causes contributing to this delay and create winning strategies to overcome institutional obstacles to get ahead of industrial partners and adversaries who are further along the adoption curve.
Possessing technology is neither deterministic nor decisive when waging war. The effective employment and deliberate application of technologies to enhance warfighting capabilities implies advantage over an adversary when suitably coupled with offensive and defensive tactics.
Later this month a team of researchers plans to release an online wargame that will use machine learning and data analytics to study nuclear conflict escalation and the strategic stability of nations in an artificial world.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two of the many technologies that will change the way the military operates, according to a panel of experts. However, despite the revolutionary innovations that lie ahead, humans always will need to be the controlling factor in any operation.
These experts offered their views of the future on the second day of AFCEA’s TechNet Asia-Pacific 2018, held November 14-16 in Honolulu. In a panel sponsored by the Young AFCEANs, the five experts presented a younger generation’s perspective on the advantages and pitfalls of a data-centric battlespace.
Implementing a new system can be an exciting time, but the nagging questions and doubts about the fate of data you’ve literally spent years collecting, organizing and storing can dampen this excitement.
This legacy data often comes from a variety of sources in different formats maintained by a succession of people. Somehow, all the data must converge in a uniform fashion, resulting in its utility in the new solution. Yes, it is hard work and no, it is not quick. Fortunately, this scrubbing and normalization does not have to be a chaotic process replete with multiple failures and rework.