At the height of combat missions in Afghanistan, the U.S. military occupied nearly 825 military outposts throughout the war-ravaged region. That number now stands at roughly 20. The outposts served an extensive intelligence-gathering network, using surveillance balloons and wide-range signals intelligence collection operations. The rapid drawdown of these facilities following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from the region created a black hole of information, with Afghan forces struggling to fill the gap.
The buzzwords du jour are cyber at sea, a vulnerability that quickly rose in prominence within the maritime domain to jockey for attention and funding among competing disciplines. Unrelenting cyber attacks firmly positioned the emerging specialty alongside antisubmarine warfare, autonomous undersea vehicles, mine countermeasure systems and port protections, to name a few. NATO’s knowledge repository for maritime science and technology initiatives juggles all of these in its search for innovative security solutions, says Rear Adm. Hank Ort, RNLN (Ret.), director of the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation.
Raytheon Technical Services Co. LLC, Norfolk, Virginia, is being awarded a $9,174,340 cost-plus-fixed-fee basic ordering agreement for engineering services, overhaul, repair and upgrade in support of the NATO Seasparrow Surface Missile System (NSSMS) units for the CVN 72, equipment and other associated test, ancillary and support equipment. Work will be performed in Yorktown, Virginia (70 percent); and Norfolk, Virginia (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by February 2017. Fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $125,000 will be obligated at time of award.
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.
Brig. Gen. Frank W. Tate, USA, has been assigned as deputy chief of staff, operations, Multinational Corps Northeast, NATO, Poland.
A NATO coalition of scientists and researchers recently experimented with a variety of underwater robots in a joint scientific mine countermeasures sea trial. The May 20-29 experiment involved NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), the Royal Netherlands Navy Defence Diving Group, NATO’s Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence and the United Kingdom Royal Navy Maritime Autonomous Systems Trial Team.
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.
The cyber attacks that threaten the United States are just as intense and worrisome for NATO, which comes under persistent strikes by nation-states, terrorist groups and criminal organizations all assailing with denial-of-service malware, organized criminal incursions, cyber espionage and website defacements. As the U.S. Defense Department toils at creating a unified and secure network, so too does NATO.
“The modernization program in NATO is the flagship for the future of our network as we work to achieve our objectives of having a secured, connected force and being able to support NATO in its rapid deployed content,” says Gregory B. Edwards, NATO’s director of infrastructure services in Mons, Belgium.
In recent decades, air power has been NATO’s first, and sometimes only, military response to a threat. But tightened budgets and dwindling resources are placing air power in a death spiral driven by declining readiness, a shrinking force structure and an ever-smaller residual fighting capacity, say NATO’s foremost experts on air and space power.
BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Rockville, Maryland, is being awarded an $8,480,150 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00024-14-C-5404) to exercise option year one for major production and in-service efforts such as the Evolved Seasparrow missile, NATO Seasparrow surface missile system, Stalker long-range electro-optical sensor s
Multiple autonomous underwater vehicles equipped with modern sensors relevant to NATO minehunting missions are being employed at sea during the Multinational AutoNomy Experiment (MANEX ‘14), held September 22 to October 13, 2014, along the Italian coast, between Framura and Bonassola, in the Ligurian Sea.
Estonia has established a dedicated cyberdefense infrastructure and implemented new policies that are serving as models for other allied nations gearing up for potential cyber attacks. The Estonian measures come in the wake of the Baltic nation undergoing a severe cyber attack in 2007, which ultimately led to Estonia hosting the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.
Even with the rising tide of nation-sponsored cyber attacks, NATO does not yet have a policy—let alone a definition—of what constitutes a cyber attack that would mandate a response under Article 5 of the alliance’s Washington Treaty, according to NATO officials. Article 5 defines an attack on a NATO member as “an attack on all,” requiring a response by all members against an aggressor.
Defenders of cyberspace need to concentrate on the critical services provided by the critical infrastructure, not the infrastructure itself, according to a leading cyber expert. Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies and former acting senior director for cyberspace with the National Security Council, said that the future of the West is held hostage by the fact that its security and resilience are threatened.
Encountering many variables as it strives to achieve effective cybersecurity, NATO is focusing on two long-standing constants to move forward: training and partnerships with industry. The Atlantic alliance is seeking industry help in pursuing solutions, and it is adopting many traditional methods and institutions to train personnel in vital cyberskills.
Ball Aerospace Technologies Incorporated, Boulder, Colorado, is being awarded a $23,933,170 firm-fixed-price contract for "Stalker" or long-range electro-optical/infrared/laser range finder (SLREOSS) production. SLREOSS is used with the NATO Seasparrow Missile System MK 57 on the MK 9 Tracker Illuminator System. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-14-C-5412).
Raytheon Co., Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo Calif., was awarded a $38,634,619 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for supplies and services necessary for the production and sustainment of the miniaturized airborne Global Positioning Systems receiver 2000-S24 (MAGR 2000-S24). This contract involves foreign military sales to North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other allied countries. The Space and Missile Systems Center, Global Positioning Systems Directorate, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8807-13-D-0001).
NATO is investing time, talent and treasure into advancing biometrics, Col. Bernard Wulfse, Dutch Army, commander, Joint Task Force Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED), explained at the Biometric Consortium Conference. The alliance has named biometrics a critical capability shortfall to address. Key to achieving goals for biometrics is bringing all the partner nations together—not only the few currently supporting the efforts. Methods that proved useful against IEDs have applications in the biometrics realm, and lessons can be applied from the former to the latter.
Lockheed Martin has been selected to design the Active Network Infrastructure (ANWI) for NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. This contract, worth more than $100 million, includes options under which Lockheed Martin may also be contracted to maintain the NATO network for five years. Lockheed Martin’s team will develop an infrastructure to service more than 4,500 users at the alliance’s headquarters and support up to an additional 1,500 conference visitors.