Monkton Inc., Vienna, Virginia, has been awarded a $500,000,000 hybrid firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the commercialization of mobile strategy. This contract provides for the technology and support necessary to enable the Department of Defense to rapidly design, develop and deploy mission enabling solutions to uniformed active duty members, reservist and civil servants that operate at the tactical edge. Work will be performed in Tysons, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by October 1, 2025. This award is the result of a Small Business Innovation Research (SIBR) Program and is a Phase III award directly born from Monkton Inc.'s SBIR Phase I award. Fiscal 2020 operations and
Mobile technology is not always available to military or government personnel in all environments. Operating in a secure facility requires cellular phones or other mobile devices to be stowed outside the door. Companies are preparing solutions to enable the use of mobile devices in such accredited facilities in ways not seen before.
“The Defense Department deals with very sophisticated adversaries, and as a result, those devices are banned in many places and need to be controlled,” says Mike Fong, founder and CEO of Privoro.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is working to improve the resiliency of smartphones and other mobile technologies through directed research and development initiatives. Not as secure as office computers, mobile devices are becoming the preferred target for malicious actions by cyber adversaries. In many cases, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices simply do not have the same protections available for more traditional computing technologies, experts say. The level of attacks also is moving “deeper down the mobile device stack,” from the application and mobile operating system layers to the hardware and infrastructure layers, according to the department.
Aiming to accelerate the U.S. government’s use of secure mobile technologies, the Cyber Security Division (CSD) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is pursuing several research and development (R&D) projects, among other efforts, that focus on two main areas: mobile device security and mobile application security. The projects and related vendors are working to improve device security:
As enterprises mobilize business processes, more and more sensitive information passes through and resides on mobile devices. BlackBerry, a virtual grandfather in the handheld devices world, offers chief information officers (CIOs) an idea of what they’re up against when attempting to ensure the security of data flying through cyberspace.
Smartphones and tablets offer more storage, processing power and functionality than an enterprise-class mainframe computer did less than a generation ago. Such dramatic advances make mobile devices powerful business tools and allow military forces to conduct combat missions around the clock, regardless of location.
Rep. Ted Lieu is no stranger to having his cellphone "hacked." Intruders recently were able to track his whereabouts, eavesdrop on conversations with staff members and access his text messages and email.
Fortunately for Lieu, the intrusion was part of a 60 Minutes segment last year that the TV news program did to highlight mobile device vulnerabilities. The California Democrat knew of the hackers who had successfully exploited his phone's Signaling System Seven, aka SS7, security flaw that compromises the global network that connects phone carriers. The same vulnerabilities still exist one year later, Lieu shared on Thursday during a Capitol Hill demonstration about mobile security, or lack thereof.
Blue Tech Inc.,* San Diego (W52P1J-17-D-0009); Iron Bow Technologies LLC,* Chantilly, Virginia (W52P1J-17-D-0010); Red River Computers Co. Inc.,* Claremont, New Hampshire (W52P1J-17-D-0011); Intelligent Decisions Inc.,* Ashburn, Virginia (W52P1J-17-D-0012); NCS Technologies Inc.,* Gainesville, Virginia (W52P1J-17-D-0013); Dell Federal Systems LP, Round Rock, Texas (W52P1J-17-D-0014); Strategic Communications LLC,* Louisville, Kentucky (W52P1J-17-D-0015); GovSmart Inc.,* Charlottesville, Virginia (W52P1J-17-D-0016); and Ideal Systems Solutions Inc.,* Minnetonka, Minnesota (W52P1J-17-D-0017), were awarded a $2.5 billion firm-fixed-price contract for Army Desktop and Mobile Computing-3 (ADMC-3).
Global security readiness received an overall score of 70 percent, or a C- rating, on the 2017 Global Cybersecurity Assurance Report Card, a decline of six points from last year and lower than the U.S. tally of 78 percent, according to recently released survey results.
The survey, created by Tenable Network Security and conducted by CyberEdge Group, solicited insights from 700 security practitioners in nine countries and across seven like-industries to calculate the global index score. It measures practitioners’ attitudes and perceptions rather than actual cybersecurity system effectiveness and seeks to determine whether cyber defenses meet expectations.
A tiny London-based firm has a way with words, particularly when they are arranged in groups of three. It has parsed the planet into 3-meter-by-3-meter (about 10-foot-by-10-foot) squares in a global addressing system, applying an algorithmic engine to assign three-word identifiers to each and every one of the 57 trillion squares that compose a global map.
The future of the U.S. Marine Corps lies in apps. Warfighting applications will transform mobility, much like the assembly line did for the automotive industry, predicts Kenneth Bible, Marine Corps deputy chief information officer.
“The automobile was around for many years before anybody could afford it,” says Bible, also the Corps’ deputy director of command, control, communications and computers (C4). “The idea of an automobile wasn’t really disruptive. It was when the assembly line opened up mass production and drove the cost down that the market changed ... and average citizens could buy a car and retire their wagon and horses.
Warfighters and decision makers alike laud the advent of mobile command, control, communications and computers (C4). Yet in many ways, our forces are relegated to dealing with legacy systems—even newly fielded ones—that employ relatively old technology compared with today’s rapidly evolving commercial wireless capabilities. Commercial technology development and adoption have outpaced their military counterparts, and our adversaries are exploiting this gap. Nonetheless, this same commercial technology offers our military an opportunity to greatly advance the use of mobile C4 and increase its effectiveness.
Mobile data traffic generated by cellphones and tablets will approach almost 197,000 petabytes by 2019, according to Juniper Research. That is the data equivalent to more than 10 billion Blu-ray movies.
On the same day that news headlines implicated Russian hackers in a significant cyber attack and breach on the White House, officials attending a cybersecurity summit Tuesday in the nation’s capital warned of the uptick in the number of nation-state sponsored cyber attacks against the U.S. government and businesses.
The amplification could be worrisome because cybersecurity experts already cannot keep up with, much less get ahead of, the cyber activities that pose a national threat and have risen to the level of a national emergency.
With the information world marching en masse to the cloud, one global firm is offering direct peer-to-peer encryption to reduce the threat of an intervening cyber intercept. This approach is applicable to dedicated hardware as well as to commercial off-the-shelf consumer communications equipment, and its operation is relatively transparent to the user.
“There's an app for that” is truer than ever these days. As bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and bring-your-own-app (BYOA) concepts are increasingly infiltrating government agencies, public sector information technology departments must consider the impact these apps and devices have on their own environments. In this blog post, we’ll look at two security strategies in use at agencies today and how to balance security and flexibility in today’s mobile environment.
Security Strategy 1: Pure Separation
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is preparing recommendations to help organizations leverage the benefits of mobile apps while managing their risks. The publication’s authors are seeking public comments about the draft of "Technical Considerations for Vetting 3rd Party Mobile Applications." The deadline for comments is Sept. 18.
While apps can improve productivity, they also can introduce vulnerabilities that put sensitive data and network resources at risk. The draft publication describes tests that software security analysts can employ to find and understand these security gaps before the app is approved for use.
Do you love listening to podcasts? The new Overcast app, developed by Marco Arment, co-founder of Tumblr and creator of Instapaper, offers a simple, intuitive interface to listen to all your favorites.
What makes Overcast stand out from the many podcast options found in the app store? It allows users to download podcasts and listen anytime, even offline; search and browse new episodes; create custom playlists; subscribe to shows; enhance and normalize speech volume with Voice Boost; and adjust playback using Smart Speed to pick up extra speed without distortion.
It’s traditional for journalists to end an interview with some version of the question, “What would you like to add?” On the surface, it is the softest of softball questions—so broad and general that there is no wrong answer.
Some sources take this opportunity to repeat their major talking points. Others simply say they have nothing to add. And some will offer a warm and fuzzy, feel-good quote about partnering or working hand-in-hand, or about how great their employees are. All are perfectly legitimate responses.
But on very rare occasions, a source will take this opportunity to make news. And from a reporter’s perspective, this is the absolute best kind of answer.
Have you ever walked into a business meeting and wished you could know a bit about each person to spark real conversation and bypass typical small talk? The free Refresh app for iOS aims to make it possible by providing a quick overview of the people you're about to meet, aggregating information from across the Web.
The app syncs with your calendar, contacts and scheduled meetings to display relevant insights from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and email about the people you will meet.
A key tenet of the Joint Information Environment (JIE) will be the ability of users to have access to the same information system capabilities regardless of physical location, according to Defense Information System Agency (DISA) officials. Speaking on the final day of AFCEA’s three-day JIE Mission Partner Symposium being held in Baltimore May 12-14, the panel of officials described the importance of mobile capability as well as connectivity.
Once the Joint Information Environment (JIE) is in place, the U.S. Defense Department may be able to deploy secure mobile apps much more quickly than it can with today’s cumbersome process, according to Teri Takai, Defense Department chief information officer.
Is there an app for that? If you want news about the Navy, there is.
The U.S. Navy has launched a multiplatform mobile app to connect sailors and families with relevant and updated content.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is only interested in mobile communication if it allows the agency to perform functions it could not perform otherwise, Mark Borkowski, component acquisition executive and assistant commissioner with the CBP Office of Technology Innovation and Acquisition, told the audience at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday. "We're not interested in mobility for mobility's sake but because it allows us to do something we haven't done before," Borkowski said, while participating in a panel on mobility and interoperability.
The U.S. Defense Department will deploy version 1.0 of its unclassified mobility capability on January 31 with plans to expand the capacity to support up to 100,000 users by the end of the fiscal year. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is the lead agency for the program and has made substantial progress toward delivering the capability.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently joined with a coalition of private-sector partners from the telecommunications industry to expand the Warriors 4 Wireless pilot program, a new nonprofit effort aimed at connecting veterans and returning service members to jobs in the rapidly growing wireless telecommunications industry. The program is designed to help address the shortage of skilled jobs for returning veterans while satisfying the wireless industry’s immediate need for skilled employees.
A recent survey of government employees reveals that federal agencies benefit financially from the flexibility mobile devices afford the work force. Responses from more than 200 federal employees at the management level indicate that 81 percent connect to work remotely at least once a week, 54 percent connect at least once a day and 45 percent connect several times a day. Respondents estimate that, in addition to their full-time work schedule, they spend more than another full workday—nine hours—each week checking their mobile devices for messages and email.
10th Mountain Division U.S. Army Rangers and soldiers on the battlefield are now wearing commercial smartphones to communicate with each other and higher commands. Nett Warrior is a Samsung Galaxy Note II with its commercial memory wiped clean and Army-developed software loaded. It displays the locations of fellow soldiers, allows placement of location digital chem-light markers, and enables warfighters to communicate through texting. This information is then relayed to commanders over encrypted tactical radios.
DISA’s Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization awarded a firm fixed price contract for the Mobile Device Management (MDM) system and Mobile Application Store (MAS) to Digital Management Inc. (DMI) of Bethesda, Md., Thursday for an initial award amount of $2.9 million, with four six-month option periods for a total lifecycle amount of nearly $16 million. The base period of performance for this contract is July 9, 2013 to July 8, 2014.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the most comprehensive update to the government’s computer security guide since 2005. The fourth revision of “Security and Privacy Controls for Federal information Systems and Organizations” (SP 800-53) addresses issues such as mobile and cloud computing, applications security, supply chain risks and privacy concerns. It also calls for maintaining routine best practices to reduce information security risks while applying state-of-the-practice architecture and engineering principles to minimize the impact of threats such as cyber attacks.
The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) began working on its Yourcloud solution about two years ago and expects to have the cloud computing solution in place by year's end. You can read more about this in "U.S. Nuclear Agency Enhances Cybersecurity With Cloud Computing ."
Despite continued budget crunching, U.S. Defense Department officials are continuing to implement a three-phase plan to equip the department’s 600,000 mobile-device users with secure classified and protected unclassified mobile solutions that leverage commercial products. In conjunction with the Defense Information Systems Agency, the department’s chief information officer is establishing a basic multivendor mobility capability with the Defense Department for assessment. This first phase, which continues through April, deploys voice and data services over a commercial wireless network, and a contract will be awarded for the department’s initial enterprise mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application store (MAS).
Following the lead set by NASA, the Department of Veterans Affairs and several other federal agencies, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has posted a solicitation for an enterprisewide Mobile Device Management system and Mobile Application Store (MDM-MAS). As many as 260,000 devices could reach authorized security resources and data initially through the DISA app store, which could eventually expand to support the needs of the entire Defense Department.
The U.S. Defense Department must move to a single identity management system, the department's chief information officer said today at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference. Teri Takai stated that enterprise email is a driver of that system but acknowledged that the bigger concern is the identity management rather than whether all the military services embrace the email migration. Despite arguments among members of a military chief information officer panel earlier in the day, Takai said she is glad the discussion came up because people need to understand that finding the right solution for identity management is difficult.
From circuit-switched networks (CSN), to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), to Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), technology has reached the point where it is now feasible to secure mobile communications. Only recent mobile devices-witness the iPhone-can keep up with security demands required for secure communications. The National Security Agency (NSA) is developing a midterm pilot program aiming for the end goal of a mobile platform developed using only commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components.
The effort to field mobile devices down to the squad level continues as the U.S. Defense Department certifies security credentials for the iPhone and Android operating systems. However, the arduous accreditation process still poses many hurdles for the military as it moves toward a more mobile communications environment.
The U.S. government is adopting changes to the cloud computing certification program that will better protect against potential insider threats. The improvements include additional penetration testing, more thorough testing of mobile devices, tighter controls over systems being carried from a facility and more stringent scrutiny of systems connecting from outside the network.
U.S. Defense Department and interagency special operators are scheduled to begin receiving new tactical mesh networking equipment this month. The kit provides a mobile, ad hoc, self-healing network that offers a full range of situational awareness data, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance feeds, blue force tracking and a voice over Internet protocol capability.
The widespread use of mobile devices on the battlefield, which may have seemed an improbability just a few years ago, may become an actuality within the next few. A recently released strategy document supports that pending reality, which is expected to increase situational awareness, improve operational effectiveness and enhance the operational advantage for U.S. forces.
“I don’t think it’s going to be 10 or 15 years before these devices are going to be the preponderance of what we see on the battlefield. We’re probably three to four years away from that,” says John Hickey, Defense Department mobility portfolio manager, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).
U.K. government entities at various levels are looking into bring-your-own-device policies for their purposes. And while their mandates differ, they all have one factor in common—a need for the right level of security. To help groups at the most open classification levels make the right choices, a U.K. security agency has released a series of guidance documents that outlines what decision makers should consider.
The jury is still out in the corporate world as to whether the bring-your-own-device trend will gain a permanent foothold. While the movement creates security worries and extra work for information technology employees, it presents a few perks corporate leaders are reluctant to turn down: cost savings and increased employee productivity. Efforts for full implementation for both businesses and government entities are stymied much more by policy than by technology, or the lack thereof, experts say. While some technological shortcomings create some security risk, viable solutions are on the horizon.
A new mobile operations fusion kit that provides easy, rapid and on-the-go interoperability for mobile field operations and communications piqued the interest recently of the U.S. Marine Corps’ research and development community. It was impressed by the technology that proved successful in interoperability testing in June. Known as Operations Fusion Kit 2.0, the unit is a multimedia communications system bundled into a compact, lightweight, waterproof, ruggedized Pelican carrying case that enables secure voice, full-motion video and information sharing on a global, real-time basis.
The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab this week wrapped up an Advanced Warfighting Experiment (AWE) in the jungles of Hawaii, which tested a total of 16 systems including unmanned ground vehicles. The experiment was part of the July 9 -14 Rim of the Pacific exercise and could help determine how future Marine forces will fight and which technologies they will use.
The experiment included Marines aboard Navy ships as well as three company landing teams, a relatively new organization construct for the service. The company landing teams are altered rifle companies and represent a different approach to the Battalion Landing Team.
The U.S. Army’s current tactical network delivers a wide range of capabilities for warfighters, including unprecedented communications on the move. But the complexity can overwhelm commanders who have countless critical tasks to complete and soldiers’ lives in their hands. Future tactical networks will automate many processes and may be smart enough to advise commanders, similar to JARVIS, Iron Man’s computerized assistant.
The complexities of the U.S. Army’s networks and spectrum allocation processes interfere with the need to reassign units to different tasks, creating major delays and presenting serious challenges. To solve the issue, researchers intend to deliver a wide range of technologies, including automated spectrum planning and allocation tools and smarter radios, that will use spectrum more efficiently, network more effectively and provide commanders the flexibility to reorganize as needed.
The Defense Department drive toward its Joint Information Environment is picking up speed as it progresses toward its goal of assimilating military networks across the warfighting realm. Individual services are developing solutions, some of which are targeted for their own requirements, that are being applied to the overarching goal of linking the entire defense environment.
Early successes in Europe have advanced Joint Information Environment (JIE) efforts elsewhere, including the continental United States. Some activities have been accelerated as a result of lessons learned, and they have been implemented ahead of schedule in regions not slated to receive them for months or even years.
The U.S. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) is helping the service put its joint modernization plans into place. As the command responsible for handling cyberspace, communications and information missions, it is the Air Force’s instrument in meeting major Defense Department technology goals, such as establishing the Joint Information Environment (JIE).
Warfighters on foot equipped with night vision systems now can give their commanders a real-time glimpse of what they’re seeing in the field. A new system that combines a portable radio with night vision goggles allows the optical imagery to be captured and sent across the same radio channels used for voice and data communications.
Each piece of hardware—the portable radio and the night vision system—is in service with the armed forces of several countries around the world. Engineers basically combined the two functions to produce a single system that allows commanders to remotely view a night scene from the warfighter’s eye view accompanied with geolocation information.
Homeland Security Conference Show Daily, Day 1
Information sharing and interoperability have come a long way since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but challenges still remain, agreed speakers and panelists on the first day of the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C.