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April 25 2015

April 27, 2015


25 April 2015


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DigitalGlobe unveils new tools for troops, others to use imagery

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 19 | By Andrea Shalal

(Reuters) – DigitalGlobe Inc this week unveiled new Web-based tools that could help military troops, relief workers and others use its high-resolution satellite images, social media feeds and other data without needing massive bandwidth.

The tools, which are in beta-testing now, give users access to complex data processing done in the cloud, including rapid analysis about everything from helicopter and paratrooper landing sites to social media usage in a specific area.

Accessible on any cellphone, iPad or other portable device, the analytical tools can also be downloaded and cached for later use, even when there is no connectivity, DigitalGlobe Chief Technical Officer Walter Scott said.

Scott said DigitalGlobe developed the system to allow users to benefit more from its imagery, which he called the world’s highest-quality commercial satellite data, and the growing amount of unclassified information available from sources around the world.

“This is a very, very bandwidth-light way of working with data,” he said. “All the heavy lifting is happening in the background in the cloud … and you get just the results you need.”

DigitalGlobe’s new tools come just days after the director of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency told a space conference that he was making a “seismic shift” in the agency’s work to increase access to and analysis of the vast amount of unclassified data.

DigitalGlobe’s tools use imagery taken over the previous 30 days, making it far more current that what is generally available on sites like Google Maps. It also allows users to see archived imagery to track changes over time or look at if the most current view is obscured by bad weather.

Paul Millhouse, director of technical solutions, said the new tools were ready to roll out to the 10,000 separate government agencies or other clients that already use DigitalGlobe imagery.

Using simple commands, users will be able to analyze and map Twitter feeds and dozens of other social media data in a given area, which could prove helpful during disaster relief, or in helping troops track gatherings or protests in conflict areas. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)



AF realigns B-1, LRS-B under Air Force Global Strike Command

Posted 4/20/2015 Updated 4/20/2015

by Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs


4/20/2015 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force have directed the realignment of the Air Force’s B-1 bomber fleets and Long Range Strike-Bomber program from Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command, effective Oct. 1.

The move will realign the Air Force’s core mission of global strike and all of the service’s bombers under a unified command responsible for organizing, training and equipping Airmen to perform this mission.

“This realignment places all three Air Forces bombers under one command and brings the LRS-B program with it,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “Consolidating all of our Air Force assets in this critical mission area under a single command will help provide a unified voice to maintain the high standards necessary in stewardship of our nation’s bomber forces.”

Sixty-three aircraft and approximately 7,000 people will transfer from ACC to AFGSC under the realignment. Since moving from Strategic Air Command in 1992, the B-1 has played an essential role in combating the nation’s enemies, either projecting combat power from bases in the United States or from forward operating locations around the globe.

Airmen who drive B-1 operations have demonstrated the platform’s long range strike capability, delivering its conventional weapons on target from home station, making it a perfect fit for joining the B-2 and B-52 under AFGSC, James said.

“With a single command responsible for the Air Force’s entire long range strike fleet, the Airmen in AFGSC will benefit from better coordination and increased sharing of expertise across the five bomber wings,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “Consolidating all conventional and nuclear capable bombers within the same command allows the Air Force to streamline the global strike and strategic deterrence missions, and create a lasting positive impact for the Air Force’s global strike capabilities.”

Both the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and the 28th BW at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota will continue to serve as the host wings and provide installation support and services to other units on the bases.

“We expect the transfer to be imperceptible to the majority of Airmen at Dyess and Ellsworth as they will continue to work for the same supervisors and units,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command who was recently nominated to serve as the vice commander of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Neb.

“The impacts of the realignment will become noticeable over time as crosstalk among maintainers and aviators increases across all three platforms, creating opportunities in training, tactics development, doctrine development, aircraft modernization and acquisition,” Wilson said.

The consolidation of the global strike mission under AFGSC follows the Air Force’s plan to elevate the commander of AFGSC from a three-star to a four-star general officer position, which Gen. Robin Rand, currently the commander Air Education and Training Command, will assume.


Office of Naval Research eyes PaaS as big-data solution

Michael Hardy, News Editor 4:10 p.m. EDT April 20, 2015


Platform-as-a-Service is a subset of cloud computing that simplifies life-cycle management.

From building new applications to removing outdated ones, PaaS automates the many steps and functionalities associated with each phase of an application’s life. PaaS also streamlines the distribution of patches, version updates and other routine maintenance services.

The big data and analytics capabilities of PaaS have attracted the interest of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Virginia. “Over the next four years, ONR will be funding work in these areas and is very interested in ideas and capabilities from industry that can contribute to advancing our capabilities in these areas,” said Wayne Perras, a program manager in ONR’s C4ISR department.

PaaS would help the military cut costs in three different ways, Perras said.

“First, PaaS makes more efficient use of compute and storage resources, requiring less physical compute resources than would be required in non-PaaS conditions,” he said.

PaaS capabilities can be managed by a small number of administrators across the entire military enterprise, he added, instead of requiring PaaS administrators at every system and site.

“Third, operating PaaS capabilities at the enterprise level eliminates all of the variations of local platform implementations that leads to software inconsistency and large levels of software and data incompatibility,” Perras said.


NSA Chief: Rules of War Apply to Cyberwar, Too

April 20, 2015 By Patrick Tucker


The Pentagon keeps its rapidly expanding cyber arsenal almost entirely secret, which helps keep U.S. capabilities potent but also hinders the public’s ability to meaningfully discuss their use and costs. The development of new worms or viruses doesn’t show up in the President’s annual budget request in the same way as does money for jets and tanks; and cyber weapons don’t grace the cover of magazines.

Is there a way to discuss publicly what the future of cyber operations will look like? Defense One recently put the question to Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference outside of Washington, D.C.

Rogers indicated, unsurprisingly, that full transparency will remain impossible. But he also opened up, ever so slightly, in promising that Cyber Command would follow international norms in determining how the U.S. uses what are sometimes called offensive cyber capabilities. “Remember, anything we do in the cyber arena … must follow the law of conflict. Our response must be proportional, must be in line with the broader set of norms that we’ve created over time. I don’t expect cyber to be any different,” he said.

Rogers framed the development of cyber weapons as simply the next evolutionary step in warfare, replete with all the ethical concerns that accompanied other milestones in weapons development. “I’m sure there were huge reactions to the development of mass firepower in the 1800s as a new kind of warfighting implement. Cyber represents change, a different technical application to attempt to achieve some of the exact same effects, just do it in a different way. Like those other effects, I think, over time, we’ll have a broad discussion in terms of our sense of awareness, both in terms of capabilities as well as limitations,” he said.

The cyber chief downplayed the difference between offensive cyber capabilities and more familiar types of weapons. “We tend not to get into the specifics of some kinetic systems. I don’t think in that regard that cyber is any different,” he said. (Kinetic weapons cause real physical damage; think bombs and other munitions.)

Rogers’s willingness to speak about the subject at all marks another small step forward in transparency about cyber operations, according to Shane Harris, author of @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex. “In just the past few years, U.S. officials have been talking much more openly both about the use of cyber weapons and what they think the restraints on them should be. Rogers is doing exactly that here,” Harris told Defense One. “There was a time not so long ago when you wouldn’t hear a senior U.S. even acknowledge that we engage in offensive cyber operations.”

In June 2011, the Pentagon acknowledged the existence of a list of secret weapons and offensive capabilities but didn’t detail what the items were. Probably the most famous cyber weapon of all time, the Stuxnet worm that crippled Iranian nuclear enrichment at the Natanz facility in 2010, remains officially unattributed despite wide suspicion that it was built and deployed by the United States, Israel, or both.


The Real World of Virtual Weapons

Meanwhile, the development of such weapons continues apace, as does their deployment beyond Cyber Command’s office buildings in Virginia. Future battles—at sea, on land and in the air—will have a cyber component handled not just by specialists far from the action but by soldiers at the front, according to operational military leaders who spoke beside Rogers at Sea-Air-Space.

“The risk and the resiliency associated with cyber is owned by the commander,” said Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Daniel J. O’Donohue. “We have disassociated that, frankly, by using specialized communities taking risks, acquisition managers taking risk, staffs taking risk on behalf of the commander.”

O’Donohue cautions that the U.S. does not necessarily hold an insurmountable advantage in cyber as a dimension of ground combat.

“How do you put cyber into a campaign? When you look at your enemy through your IPB [intelligence preparation for the battlefield], your terrain also includes the cyber terrain… But there’s no way you can stand up a network when the enemy is practicing 24/7 every day against you,” he said. “How to do you manage your command and control when you are penetrated, while your degraded war-fighting systems are all dependent on the network, and continue to have the resiliency to continue operations at the same time?”

One part of the solution is getting ground commanders much more involved in the creation of cyber warfare capabilities, he said: “If the operational commander doesn’t own this, we’re going to get what the CIO delivers.”

Some weapons that have cyber effects are more obvious than others. Among the more brash (and easy to point to) is the AN/ALQ-231 Intrepid Tiger II electronic warfare pod that can disrupt enemy networks and equipment. Others are more subtle. In his book, Harris discusses how elite NSA hackers with a unit called Tailored Access Operations worked with soldiers on the front lines in places like Iraq to find and manipulate enemy fighters by hacking devices and perpetrating phishing schemes, essentially a feat of online impersonation.

“The U.S. hackers sent fake text messages to insurgent fighters and roadside bombers. The messages would tell the recipient, in effect, ‘Meet at this street corner to plan the next attack,’ or ‘Go to this point on a road and plant your device.’ When the fighter got there, he’d be greeted by U.S. troops, or perhaps the business end of a Hellfire missile fired from a drone aircraft thousands of feet above,” Harris writes.

In the not-too-distant future, troops may carry situational-awareness gear that makes the cyber world relevant to the real battlespace in the same way night- vision goggles reveal what the enemy looks like in the dark. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, or DARPA, recently outlined its new Plan X program: a “foundational cyber warfare program to develop platforms for the Department of Defense to plan for, conduct, and assess cyber warfare in a manner similar to kinetic warfare.”

At the New America Foundation’s Future of War summit in Washington, D.C., in February, DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar discussed how the program seeks to give soldiers a way to visualize what’s happening in the local cyber environment: “Maybe they’ll walk through an urban environment…they’ll know a Wifi node has been implicated in a prior act of violence against U.S. troops.”

But giving troops smart-phone apps that tell them about networks and routers on the streets of Mosul is different from developing and deploying cyber weapons that turn off the lights.

Cyber weapons can scale and can replicate automatically. One string of code can potentially dismantle a wide number of enemy systems or aspects of civilian infrastructure. They deploy with the push of a button. But depending on configuration and use, an operator enjoys the luxury of turning the weapon on or off, the basis of what’s sometimes called ransomware, where an attacker locks down a system and then releases it upon receiving payment. The same tactic on the battlefield could be a way to force an opponent to submit or surrender without a shot being fired and without any equipment being lost on either side. “This versatility offers at least one set of capabilities that can operate in the transition space between diplomacy and military action, as well as more squarely in the military domain,” Maren Leed wrote in a 2013 paper for the Center for Strategic and International Studies on future cyber offensive operations.

Rogers’s assurance that the U.S. will follow the laws of conflict in how it deploys cyber weapons is significant. But since such weapons can be constructed in secret, and, often, offer victims no way to determine attribution, the world will have to take that assurance at face value—or not.


Commentary: A New Angle on Acquisition Reform

By Everett Pyatt 3:32 p.m. EDT April 20, 2015


Recently, the chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee released a proposed set of acquisition reform steps. This proposal follows dozens of others in the past decades.

Chairman Mac Thornberry said the basic principle was to do no harm, but improve incrementally. The proposal achieves that goal, but is unlikely to change system results because it focuses on operational parts, not the conceptual base or accountability of results.

Results of the acquisition system are unsatisfactory due to unaffordability, cost overruns, late operational availability, unachieved performance and program cancellations unrelated to threat changes.

Other than general condemnations, little attention is given to objective analysis highlighting root causes of poor system performance in individual programs. Based on recent studies, half of the major system projects are within 7 percent of expected costs, but the average cost growth is over 25 percent. A few projects dominate this result, the F-35 being the outstanding example. Careful analysis of the “whys” for specific failures could help improve overall acquisition performance.

Government Accountability Office (GAO) summarizes selected acquisition reports results over the past several years. Overruns have continued to grow — now $457 billion over estimates approved at program start. System introduction delays increase with each annual report and are now 29 months longer than planned. But a few programs do well. In the last report, GAO indicated a $5.3 billion cost growth, adjusted to maintain constant quantities, over the 2013 period. This is the net of $20.5 billion growth offset by $15.2 billion cost reductions. Critics of the system too frequently ignore the successes, which have to be the basis of improvement.

Acquisition reform starts with getting affordability right so that adequate numbers can be purchased within projected budgets. Solving this problem requires Congress to set long-term, stable defense allocations, and DoD to plan within these.

Recent DoD estimates suggest that annual DoD budget growth should be in the 7 percent range to accommodate real and inflation growth. This is not happening. The impact is shown in the annual 30-year plans for ships and aircraft. The current shipbuilding plan clearly illustrates that the 308-ship Navy cannot occur under historic shipbuilding budget levels. Similarly, the aircraft plan indicates maintenance of the current 14,000 aircraft inventory is impossible.

Assuming a 20-year life for aircraft, 700 should be purchased annually to maintain the fleet, but about 400 are being purchased. Force reductions are inevitable and accelerated by decisions making helicopters more expensive and the F-35 replacing the low cost A-10 as an infantry-support airplane.

The first step in fixing the affordability problem is by understanding the long-term projections, including the basis for cost estimates. This is particularly important now since major strategic force programs are being implemented that will have large budget demands.

The reform proposal includes several simplifications of the process that were implemented by law. There are too many “how to” instructions in the law. Some judgment should be allowed. An example Thornberry uses is a requirement to do corrosion abatement studies on software.

A recent GAO analysis of the acquisition process identified numerous reports required of the program manager. The value of many is questionable, but the length of time required to review them was measured in months, sometimes exceeding the preparation time. This is an unnecessary, time consuming problem for the program manager and a clear indication too many are involved in the reviews.

The best response is reduction of bureaucratic layers as the Navy did in eliminating the Navy Materiel Command. Other services should take similar actions to flatten organizations and reduce organizational layers. A place to start is the Joint Requirements Oversight process. Its role should be limited to interoperability issues. Service chiefs are best informed to make requirements decisions for their service.

Annual GAO analyses make clear that over the last decade cost overruns have continued to mount and delays grow longer. Operational test performance has been mixed with no clear signal of improvement. Therefore, it is time to try increased and sharply focused accountability. American business solves this problem with quarterly reports. Defense should try this approach using selected acquisition reports as the data source.

This change would require each service secretary and military chief to provide joint progress reports quarterly detailing the status of each major acquisition program, and actions taken and planned in achieving program goals. The performance of each service could then be compared.

Second, more focus is needed on system production cost and logistical support. Roughly 10 percent of system lifecycle cost is R&D, 20 percent production and 70 percent operation. The current management process concentrates on R&D. Assistant secretaries dealing with facilities must be refocused on production and logistical support.

The bureaucratic, process-oriented acquisition system has not produced desired improvements. It is time to try an accountability-based system where participants have a strong motivation to produce success as described in quarterly reports.

Pyatt is the leader of the Project for Defense Management and Acquisition Leadership at the McCain Institute, Arizona State University.



New Postal Service delivery fleet could include drones

Andy Medici, Staff Writer 9:42 a.m. EDT April 21, 2015


The Postal Service has winnowed down the companies bidding to build the next generation of its delivery vehicles – and one of them is offering up an all-electric truck that doubles as a drone launcher.

The agency released a list of pre-qualified sources for the contract April 14, which include Ford motor company, AM General LLC, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC and Nissan North America, Inc., among others.

But one of the companies – Workhorse Group Inc., – is hoping to make an impression by showing the Postal Service that the future could involve a drone that can deliver packages while the mail carrier works their normal route.

The electric delivery truck is called “Workhorse” while the drone that carries the packages is called “Horsefly” and is a product of a years-long partnership between the company and the University of Cincinnati, which has an unmanned vehicle research program.

“We feel very confident that our integrated drone technology on top of our electric truck is the best solution for the Postal Service as well as give them the lowest total cost of ownership for their truck needs and their future drone needs,” said Duane Hughes, director of sales at Workhorse Group, Inc.


So how would it work?

The mail carrier gets to a neighborhood to begin delivering mail or other packages. Meanwhile, the drone delivers a package either on its own or controlled by a pilot remotely to another address a mile or two away, saving the mail carrier time and allowing them to reach more addresses.

Cutting down on the time it takes the Postal Service to complete a route and delivering more packages during that time could save the Postal Service a lot of time and money, according to Hughes. The fifth generation of the Horsefly drone – its most current incarnation – weighs about 15 pounds and can carry a 10-pound package in extendable cages that lock together during flight.

The drone can fly up to 50 miles per hour, but will spend most of its time flying at about 35 miles per hour, according to Hughes.

The drone also comes with automatic stabilizers to make flight easier, and can automatically dock on top of the truck. It then charges itself using the electricity in the electric truck. Because it is attached to the truck and driven into the neighborhood, it removes the issue of a drone flying 30 or 40 miles to deliver a package from a warehouse, according to Hughes.

There is a lot at stake for the manufacturer that wins the contract. They would provide 180,000 vehicles for $25,000 to $35,000 per vehicle – making the potential contract worth more than $4.5 billion.The proposed vehicles would need to last at least 20 years, carry a minimum of 1,500 pounds and pass all safety and emissions requirements across the country.

The HorseFly drone, made by Workhorse Group, Inc., is part of a bid made by the company as it seeks to build the next generation of Postal Service vehicles. Workhorse Group, Inc.

The Postal Service also wants lower maintenance requirements and better fuel economy than its current fleet, as well as design flexibility to allow for the incorporation of future technology, according to the agency.

It is the lowered maintenance costs and the look toward the future where Hughes thinks Workhorse Group, Inc., shines. He said the electric trucks would save the Postal Service significantly on maintenance costs, while the drone platform incorporates a fast-evolving technology that will only grow over the next few years.

“As the Postal Service moves further into the package delivery business we have to look at it from the perspective of ‘we don’t’ want a truck to just last 20 years, but how is the business going to look in five, 10, 15 years out?'” Hughes said.

The electric vehicle has a range of 50 miles to 100 miles, depending on whether it recharges while on its route using a small generator included inside the vehicle. Since almost all Postal service routes fall within that range, that would alleviate the “range anxiety” that could come with electric vehicles, Hughes said.

Software included in the truck also tracks battery usage and depletion. Instead of letting the battery drain too far the generator replenishes it in small amounts, lengthening the lifetime of the battery.

The Postal Service plans on issuing a request for proposals in May, and the agency would then award several companies a contract to test a prototype and then choose the best from among them, according to the Postal Service.

The agency plans on picking the suppliers for the prototype in July, 2015 and will then test the prototypes through September, 2016. The final supplier will be selected in January, 2017, according to the Postal Service. The Postal Service would start receiving and using the vehicles one year later.

Kelly Cohen, professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati, has helped lead the research and development of the Horsefly drone system in partnership with Workhorse Group, Inc.

The drone automatically adjusts to a wide variety of air speeds and weather conditions, according to Cohen, using advanced software similar to large aircraft. He said the team has heavily emphasized overall safety and has built redundant motors and controls into the drone.

But even as his team works out the technical challenges with the drone delivery system, he said the biggest challenge would be expanding drone usage and analyzing the data of thousands of drone deliveries happening at once.

“The limitations are more on the side of integration into the air space and that concerns security and overall safety. How do we control 100,000 drones in the air flying at once? Cohen said.

He said he could see the system being rolled out slowly, starting in specific neighborhoods and expanding outward. There would then be enough data to see what possible safety concerns there would be and to adjust accordingly, Cohen added.

He said the team has been testing larger and more complex delivery drones, including larger models that can carry up to 30 pounds at once. He said as the technical issues with drones are solved and the costs begin to come down, there will be more and more companies and people calling on drones as a solution to various problems.

“What we try to do is look at the way people operate today and say what if we bring about a technological solution, what benefits would we get,” Cohen said. “The US can no longer sit back and say I don’t want any of this because other countries are really enhancing their skills and capabilities in this area.”



Almost Nobody Believes the U.S. Air Force Can Build an Affordable Bomber

David Lerman

April 22, 2015

The last time the U.S. Air Force developed a stealth bomber, the planes cost $2.2 billion each and couldn’t sit out in the rain.

The B-2 bomber, whose sensitive coating helps make it hard to detect on enemy radar, must be sheltered from the elements in climate-controlled hangars at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. None of the 20 planes is based overseas, where it could respond faster in a crisis.

Now, with little public scrutiny or debate, the Air Force is developing a next-generation bomber that it promises to build with advanced technology at a fraction of the B-2’s cost. Few outside the Pentagon take the advertised sticker price of $550 million per plane, or $55 billion for a planned fleet of 100, at face value.

“There’ll be a tendency to load this thing with every toy that can be developed because it’s the only game in town,” said Tom Christie, who watched the B-2’s costs increase in the 1980’s as a Pentagon acquisition executive and later served as director of operational testing for all weapons until he retired in 2005. “It’s worse now than it ever was.”

As the Air Force prepares to award a contract within months to build the new bomber, there’s also debate about whether it’s even needed in an era of unmanned aircraft and unconventional warfare against irregular forces.

The plane, which may not be ready for combat until the 2030s, may already be outmoded in an era of relatively inexpensive cruise missiles and drones that can be built with 3-D printers, said T.X. Hammes, a research fellow at the U.S. National Defense University.


‘Easy to Defeat’

“We’re investing in the old battleship instead of the small-smart-and-many aviation revolution,” Hammes said in an interview. “We’re going to build this incredibly expensive system that’s pretty easy to defeat” as advanced satellite technology helps adversaries unmask stealth aircraft.

Air Force officials bristle at criticism that they say isn’t deserved for a program that’s barely begun.

“There’s already the usual suspects out there telling us that we don’t need this or it won’t work,” Major General Garrett Harencak, assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said at an Air Force Association breakfast in January. The new bomber “will be affordable and it’s desperately needed,” he said.

Nuclear Triad

Pentagon officials say the new Long-Range Strike Bomber will be needed to replace existing bombers as they age.

Gordon Adams, a professor at American University in Washington who was a national security budget official in the Clinton administration, said “old doesn’t matter” because “you fly bombers sparingly,” and the B-2 and other bombers continue to be upgraded.

The B-2, which first flew in 1989, can carry nuclear weapons as part of the land-sea-air triad that’s intended to deter nuclear-armed countries such as Russia, China and North Korea.

Also, only the B-2 can carry the heaviest U.S. conventional bomb, the 30,000-pound (13,600-kilogram) Massive Ordnance Penetrator, which would be used if the U.S. sought to destroy hardened targets such as Iran’s nuclear facilities.

While the B-2 has played a limited role in combat, it was used in the 1999 air offensive over Kosovo and has flown missions over Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The Air Force built special shelters on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and Guam when the planes were deployed.


Cost Overruns

Defense officials say their latest of repeated efforts at acquisition reform will be effective, protecting taxpayers from the vast cost overruns on the B-2 and Lockheed Martin Corp.’s current work on the F-35 fighter, the costliest U.S. weapons system at $391.1 billion for a fleet of 2,443 planes.

The contest to build the new bomber pits Northrop Grumman Corp., which has an incumbent’s advantage as the builder of the B-2, against a joint bid by Lockheed and Boeing Co., which bring the expertise and clout of the biggest and second-biggest U.S. government contractors.

Winning the competition is critical for Northrop, which doesn’t have a prime contract on a defense aerospace program to rival Lockheed’s F-35 fighter or Boeing’s KC-46A Pegasus tanker, said Douglas Rothacker, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. Without it, Northrop would have to rely more heavily on its unmanned systems and radar businesses, he said.

“If Northrop doesn’t win this contract, where does that leave them in the combat aircraft production landscape?” Rothacker said. “They would be pretty much out of the game.”

Citing the bomber’s classified status, chief executive officers from all three contractors have stuck mostly to vague public expressions of optimism about their prospects and their capabilities.


Super Bowl Ad

Northrop has been most open about its ambitions, producing a television commercial with the outline of a futuristic aircraft under a shroud. It ran the spot during the Super Bowl in February in just two cities where it would be seen by decision makers — Washington and Dayton, Ohio, where Air Force acquisition officials are based. It also bought an ad on Google that placed a link to the commercial as the top result in searches for “Long-Range Strike Bomber.”

Betraying the high stakes, Jim McNerney, Boeing’s chairman and CEO, said on a Jan. 28 conference call that winning the bomber “will solidify the future of St. Louis for many, many years to come,” as orders for the F-15 and F/A-18 fighter jets made at its plant there dwindle.

“This is the closest I’ve seen to a horse race in years,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for the Teal Group and a longtime observer of the aircraft industry. “Normally, you’d have a feel for somebody having an edge, but I just can’t read this one.”


Funds Committed

The bomber project is so secret that the Defense Department won’t discuss the development work that’s already under way or say who’s doing it. Whatever contractor has done the bulk of this preliminary work “is likely to have an advantage in the production contract,” aviation analyst Jeremiah Gertler of the Congressional Research Service wrote in an analysis published in July.

The Air Force already has committed to spend $15.1 billion through 2020 to develop the new bomber, not including work from classified budgets. Funding is increasing from about $349 million in 2014 to $1.2 billion next year, according to the latest Air Force budget plan, and is projected to climb steadily each year to $3.79 billion in 2020.

Adding in development costs and inflation in coming years, the bomber’s price tag may jump by almost two-thirds, to about $900 million per plane by the mid-2030s, according to Todd Harrison, a military budget analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.


‘Wild Fantasy’

The Air Force’s $550 million cost estimate is based on 2010 dollars and assumes buying all 100 planes. The fewer it acquires, the higher the unit cost, just as the B-2’s price per plane soared as a projected fleet of 132 bombers was reduced to 75 and then to 20 after the Cold War ended. Similarly, the Air Force bought 100 of its predecessor, the B-1 bomber, instead of the 244 it had planned.

Hammes, who said it’s a “wild fantasy” that the Air Force will ever build 100 of the new bombers, predicted that the cost per plane may rise to $3 billion, exceeding that of the B-2.

Air Force Major General Paul Johnson, the service’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, said the new aircraft will have advanced technologies to remain undetectable, even as the B-2 becomes more vulnerable to air defenses.


Stealth’s Advantage

“Our adversaries recognize the advantage that stealth brings,” Johnson said. “We’re working hard to maintain that advantage, and we’re being successful at that.”

The other bombers in the U.S. arsenal — the B-52 and the supersonic B-1 — have no stealth characteristics and can’t fly in hostile environments where the enemy has modern air defenses.

A new bomber that can penetrate enemy airspace is achievable and needed, said Mark Gunzinger, a former Air Force executive now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

“Stealth as a concept will never be obsolete,” Gunzinger said. “We need our bombers to be survivable.”


Secrecy’s Limits

Depending only on stand-off weapons such as cruise missiles to strike targets isn’t adequate, said Rebecca Grant, who worked on the B-2 for the Air Force in the 1990s and is now president of IRIS Independent Research in Washington. “Cruise missiles are too small for many types of jobs,” she said.

Yet the secretive nature of the program has prevented any public discussion of how much more a new bomber could do, its cost compared with the B-2, and why it’s worth the investment of tens of billions of dollars.

“The Air Force has said flat-out nothing about this,” Grant said of the bomber program. “I think they’re making a big mistake.”

Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a longtime critic of runaway spending on weapons systems, said he needs to hear more about the new bomber.

“The Air Force has got to make the case, even if we have to have classified hearings,” the Arizona Republican said in an interview on Tuesday. “I’m not sold on it yet, but I’m not rejecting it. I want them to make their case.”


Raytheon forms cybersecurity company with partner

Michael Peck, Contributing Writer 2:04 p.m. EDT April 22, 2015


Raytheon has teamed up with Vista Equity Partners to form a joint venture that will combine Websense, a Vista company, with Raytheon Cyber Products, a part of Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services division.

“The new company will leverage Raytheon’s advanced cybersecurity technologies and Websense’s industry leading TRITON platform to provide a new level of defense-grade cybersecurity to combat the evolving cyber threat environment,” said a Raytheon announcement.

Under the $1.9 billion deal, Raytheon will own about an 80 percent stake in the new venture.

An analysis by FastCompany suggests Raytheon is looking for a way into the commercial cybersecurity market.

“That global market, which analyst firm Gartner pegs at being worth approximately $76.9 billion in spending for 2015, is something Raytheon and its competitors want a big part of,” wrote Neal Ungerleider. “The defense contractor has had enterprise-oriented cybersecurity products on the market for quite some time, but has only made limited market inroads. About 50 [percent] of Websense’s customers are overseas, which also gives Raytheon considerable pull outside their core market in America.”

“As a cybersecurity market leader, Websense provides a proven technology platform, a team with depth and breadth of industry experience, over 21,000 customers, and a delivery channel of over 2,200 partners,” said Websense CEO John McCormack.



The Post-Sony World: Why A Defense Contractor Bought A Cybersecurity Firm For $1.9 Billion

Raytheon’s Websense deal will create a cybersecurity giant for government and corporate America.

By Neal Ungerleider


One of the worst-kept secrets in the cybersecurity world is out: Raytheon, one of the world’s biggest defense contractors, just spent a staggering $1.9 billion on a cybersecurity company called Websense.

It’s one of the biggest tech deals so far this year. So why is a military firm best known for building missiles plopping down money for software and tech talent? The answer doesn’t have to do with cyberwar, but with the sweet, sweet cash of corporate America.

Let’s explore what this means. Because of a number of high-profile hack attacks over the past two years—Target, Sony Pictures, and JPMorgan Chase, just to name a few out of an even larger number of publicized and covered-up breaches—corporate America is running scared. Fear of liability, fear of customer loss, and fear of stumbling stock prices and brand reputation mean that enterprise customers feel compelled to shell out big, big bucks for cybersecurity products. Corporate boards are, perhaps understandably, nervous.

That global market, which analyst firm Gartner pegs at being worth approximately $76.9 billion in spending for 2015, is something Raytheon and its competitors want a big part of. The defense contractor has had enterprise-oriented cybersecurity products on the market for quite some time, but has only made limited market inroads. About 50% of Websense’s customers are overseas, which also gives Raytheon considerable pull outside their core market in America.

Post-acquisition, Raytheon is bundling their cybersecurity division, Raytheon Cyber Products, into Websense to create a new company. Representatives for both firms said that the new company name will be announced later this year, but it is already branded as 4-D Cybersecurity on Raytheon’s site.

The new company will be headed up by Websense CEO John McCormack and will center around Websense’s Triton platform, which is designed to prevent data theft from large corporate customers like credit card companies, banks, and retailers. Raytheon’s promotional materials for the new company emphasize “defense-grade cybersecurity” for the private sector.

“About 10% of our customers are government-related, but 90% are commercial enterprises: They span all verticals from retails to manufacturing to health care to hospitality; there probably isn’t a vertical we don’t operate in,” McCormack says. “It complements Raytheon Cyber Products, because they are the exact opposite. They’re 90% government customers, and 10% commercial.”

Announcement of the acquisition, which has been rumored for some time, was made at San Francisco’s RSA Conference, a zoo-like mega-get-together for the corporate and government cybersecurity complex where clients and vendors meet to make deals and talk shop. It fulfills a role similar in its space to those of CES for the consumer tech world or SXSW Interactive for the web world. In a sign of how much Sony and Target shook up the industry, this year’s conference was by far the biggest ever with more than 15,000 estimated guests and speakers including actor Alec Baldwin, and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information, and Services division, told Fast Company that much of the growth in cybersecurity in the past two years is due to the widespread use of mobile devices, connected machines on the “Internet of Things,” and cloud computing services that “give nation-states and other sophisticated adversaries a much broader ecosystem when they are attacking a target than ever before.”

Raytheon purchased Websense from their previous owners, private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. Vista will retain a 19.7% equity stake in the new company, along with seats on their board. The launch of 4-D Cybersecurity is tentatively scheduled f or later this year.


ONR: Swarming UAVs Could Overwhelm Defenses Cost-Effectively

Aviation Week & Space Technology

Apr 23, 2015 Graham Warwick


A demonstration to show whether autonomous, swarming small unmanned aircraft can overwhelm an adversary more cost-effectively than conventional weapon systems is planned for fiscal 2016 by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Under the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (Locust) program, ONR plans to launch 30 Raytheon Coyotes from a ship off the coast of Florida, with the expendable UAVs rapidly forming a swarm and autonomously conducting a mission.

Coyote is a tube-launched electrically powered small UAV originally developed for ONR by Advanced Ceramics Research, which was first acquired by BAE Systems then sold to Sensintel, which was acquired by Raytheon in January.

ONR has demonstrated rapid launch of Raytheon’s tube-launched Coyote small UAV. Credit: Office of Naval Research

ONR conducted several Coyote launches in March, and also demonstrated autonomous synchronization and formation flight with nine UAVs. The swarming demo is planned from ONR’s Sea Fighter technology-demonstration ship, offshore from Eglin AFB in Florida, says Lee Mastroianni, Locust program manager.

After rapid launch the Coyotes will establish communication between themselves using a low-power radio-frequency network, sharing position and other information. They will form a “parent/child” relationship, with one of the UAVs acting as the lead and the others following, he says.

“They know where they are, and tell everyone else where they are. That is part of the communications,” says Mastroianni. The UAV acting as parent may change depending on maneuvers, and the demo will look at how tightly they can formate, at what altitude and through what maneuvers, he says.

ONR’s goal is for the swarm to be autonomous. “I want to hit launch and not talk to them,” Mastroianni says. Commands can be sent to break the swarm into different packages, or to send individual UAVs off to perform other missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The UAVs are intended to be expendable, to avoid the cost of recovering them after a mission. “We need to make them cheap and disposable to make them attractive to use,” he says. ONR’s goal is a unit cost under $10,000. “It would be nice to get to $5,000-7,000.”

Weighing 12-14 lb., with 90-min. endurance, the battery-powered Coyote has fold-out surfaces. Credit: Graham Warwick/Aviation Week

For the at-sea demo in 2016, the UAVs will be recovered to avoid any harm to sea life, but that may involve flying them into a target on land, says Mastroianni.

Demonstrating rapid launch of 30 UAVs in 30 sec. or less, and subsequent fast formation of the swarm is a key enabler for the use of low-cost battery-powered vehicles. “Rapid launch is driven by endurance, which for small UAVs is not long,” he says.

Although the technology behind Locust is intended to be platform-, payload- and mission-agonistic, says Mastroianni, the need for useful endurance drives the size of the UAV and the choice for the demo of the 12-14-lb. Coyote, which can fly for 90 min.

The Locust demo “is a big first step in autonomy, and helping people get comfortable with the autonomy,” he says. Last August, in a demo on the James River in Virginia, ONR showed that swarming small unmanned surface vessels could overwhelm a hostile ship.

The technology involves a transportable kit that can be installed on almost any boat. Locust is part of an effort to develop autonomy technologies that can be applied across surface, undersea and air domains, says Rear Adm. Mat Winter, chief of naval research.


Senate to follow House’s military retirement overhaul

By Leo Shane III, Staff writer 4:04 p.m. EDT April 22, 2015


Senate Armed Services Committee leaders say they are ready to move ahead on military retirement reform this year, following the lead of their House counterparts.

Committee chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he expects some version of a new 401(k)-style military retirement system to be included in his panel’s draft of the annual defense authorization bill later this spring.

“We’ve been working closely” with the House, McCain said. “We’re basing our plan on the recommendations of the (Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization) Commission, and we feel comfortable with that.”

On Wednesday, House Armed Services Committee officials unveiled early drafts of their authorization bill proposal, including a dramatic overhaul of the 20-year, all-or-nothing current deal.

Both proposals still must survive full chamber debate and White House scrutiny before becoming law, but the dual-chamber support for the plan makes it increasingly likely that the military retirement system this year will see its biggest changes in decades.

That idea will draw praise from veterans groups clamoring for some career compensation for the estimated 83 percent of troops who leave the military before 20 years of service, the point at which they’re eligible for retirement pay under the current system.

The new plan as drafted by the House committee and compensation commission would replace that with an automatic federal contribution of 1 percent of troops’ basic pay to their Thrift Savings Plan account, plus additional matching contributions of up to 5 percent of basic pay.

Service members also would receive a lump-sum “continuation pay” if they stay beyond 12 years, and still would draw traditional retirement pay if they reach 20 years of service. However, the payout at 20 years of service would be reduced from the current 50 percent of active-duty pay to 40 percent, which has raised concerns among some outside advocates who worry about retention of senior military members.

The House committee will mark up its version of the plan next week, and the full chamber will vote on the proposal in mid-May.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said his panel’s details on similar retirement changes have not yet been finalized, but he supports “the general idea of a blended plan in the future.”

The new retirement rules would affect all troops enlisting after a new plan is put in place — October 2017, if the House proposal becomes law. Troops already in the ranks could opt into the new plan ot stick with the current “cliff vesting” system.

Both chambers also will include extensive new personal finance training for troops, to ensure they understand the benefits and risks of the new investment portfolios.


Air Force to get global forecasting system

By Jeff Schogol, Staff writer 12:27 p.m. EDT April 22, 2015


The Air Force’s current weather forecasting system looks at regions of the globe but not the entire planet.(Photo: Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel/Air Force)

The Air Force will be able to instantly forecast weather for the entire globe, rather than in just regions of the world, when a new weather forecasting system is fully in place in October.

“The Air Force clearly has a global mission, and we need to be ready at all times, anywhere in the world,” Ralph Stoffler, the Air Force’s acting director of weather, told Air Force Times on Tuesday.

With the new forecasting system, the Air Force will know what the weather is anywhere in the world at any given time, Stoffler said.

“We currently don’t have that ability,” he said. “So if the Air Force comes to me and says, ‘Well, what’s the weather in Afghanistan?’ I have to run a window over Afghanistan. If now, they want to know what the weather is over the South Pacific, I have to run another model over the South Pacific. And so on.”

The system, for which the Air Force is paying $180,000 for the software license, has its critics.The Washington Post first reported on Monday that the Air Force’s decision to change its forecast system had drawn criticism from experts, such as Clifford Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Mass told Air Force Times that the Air Force would be wasting money on a global weather forecasting system because the Navy and National Weather Service already predict global weather.

“We are talking about wasting Federal resources and undermining U.S. numerical weather prediction efforts,” Mass said in an email Tuesday. “It is important because it further divides U.S. resources, weakening our efforts to produce the best possible global weather prediction system.”

However, Stoffler said the Navy and National Weather Service forecasting systems do not meet the Air Force’s needs.

“Models are tuned for specific capabilities,” he said. “The Navy is obviously more focused on the ocean. They’ve optimized their model for ocean forecasting. As far as the National Weather Service model is concerned: We are very concerned with things like aerosols, dust, that impact engine performance. The National Weather Service does not do that.”

Another reason the Air Force is making the switch is that its current regional weather forecasting service has components outside the Air Force network, Stoffler said. If the Air Force goes into a lockdown mode, it will block data from outside sources, including those components.

Hybrid Warfare: Where’s the Beef?

Jyri Raitasalo    

April 23, 2015 ·

Lately, a lot has been said and written down on hybrid war and hybrid warfare. The hybrid war thesis has been advocated to depict the new reality of contemporary warfare. Although the concept is not a new one, it has been proposed that today we are witnessing some new features in warfare. Russia’s capture of the Crimean peninsula and its support to the separatists in Eastern Ukraine have been presented as the contemporary pinnacle of hybrid warfare. For many analysts of contemporary security and defense issues, the hubris around this buzzword seems to neglect the very basic principles of war that have been discussed and theorized for centuries. Namely, war is not — and has actually never been — a “pure” military matter that is executed only by military forces. When looking closely at the various attributes of Russian and separatist warfare in Ukraine that together are said to constitute hybrid warfare, it becomes clear that none of this is new or unique to a special kind of warfare known as hybrid.


War is War

It is true that the essence of war is related to the use of large-scale violence — military force. But to analyze war without its political context and the many spheres of human interactions that lie outside the military sphere, represents strategic myopia — a tendency to see war from a simplistic and mechanistic perspective. This way of conceptualizing war has been long dominant within the Western security community.

The technocratic Western understanding of war — looking at high-quantity violence through the prism of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), military transformation and network-centric warfare — has been challenged time and again in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and a number of other theaters where Western military superiority has not translated into politically defined goals.

The introduction of the Effects-Based (Approach to) Operations is indicative of what has been wrong in the post-Cold War Western understanding of war: Political goals (effects) should always dictate the execution of the operation. Military success on the battlefield does not automatically lead to desired (political) outcome. The old expression, “Winning the battles but losing the war,” highlights the need to devise a strategy, which takes into account what needs to be accomplished and then infers courses of action, which will lead to the desired outcome.

Many Western statesmen and strategic analysts have during the last 25 years become accustomed to the situation where no one challenges — or is capable of challenging — the principles of Western security and defense policy. During this time the West has redefined war on its own terms moving from large-scale mechanized war (and threats) to defend state and alliance territory towards expeditionary operations, with high-tech focus in operations that are only indirectly connected to the national security interests of the Western states. Because of the Western way to conceptualize war has been limited in its scope — relying too much on the “silver bullet” of high-technology — many statesmen and strategic analysts have become surprised by the crisis over Ukraine and the fact that not all states or other agents capable of generating military force will abide to the rules of war defined by the West (read: the United States).

In order to grasp what we are seeing in the behavior of Russia and the crisis over Ukraine today, we need a better understanding of the traditional concept of war rather than the concept of hybrid warfare.


The capture of Crimea

If one accepts the hybrid war thesis — that Russia has outsmarted the West in Ukraine with new means for which there have been no available countermeasures — one should be able to show what hybrid warfare elements have been used and how effective they have been. To date, this has not materialized to any serious degree.

First, the use of Russian Spetsnaz or “commandos” without clear insignia is not the reason why Russia was able to grab the Crimean peninsula. Russia already had some 20,000 soldiers in the military bases in Crimea. When the unidentified troops made their move against Ukrainian state authorities and military bases in Crimea in early 2014, there were no existing Ukrainian military forces that could have ousted these “green men” from the territory of Ukraine. Had there been even a rudimentary military capability in the hands of the Ukrainian authorities, some resistance to the masked Russian invasion forces would have made sense. So, it was not a question of the Russian forces being without insignia. It was a question of Ukraine having no tools to resist military force. The fact was — and still is — that in the twenty plus years of the post-Cold War era, Ukraine has not been able to build or maintain credible military forces against external military threats. Ukraine’s culture of corruption produced a failed state. In retrospect, it is easy to understand why Ukraine failed to hold on to Crimea and it had little to do with anything specific to hybrid warfare.


Information Campaigns and Cyber-attacks

Second, it has been argued that information campaigns and cyber tools at the disposal of Russia have had a significant influence on the crisis in Ukraine. So far no one has convincingly shown the real tangible effects of Russian information warfare, its army of internet trolls and the use of other cyber-attacks.

In fact, the reputation of Russia has plummeted during the Ukrainian crisis. No amount of information operations, political propaganda, cyber trolls, or anything like them is able to change the fact, which is obvious to all statesmen and political leaders around the world: Russia is supporting the separatists in Eastern Ukraine with men, material and military know-how. Publicly presented lies, half-truths and twisted facts do not destabilize the situational awareness among key strategic actors in world affairs. They may affect the way individual citizens view the world, the Ukrainian crisis or Russia. But this has no effect on the policies of Western states — or other actors, for that matter.

Trying to change the prevailing strategic narrative is not easy — and even when one is successful, it does not automatically change state or alliance policy. It is a question of how widely the alternative narrative is accepted, how many strategic decision-makers accept the new narrative and how willing they are to change state or alliance policy in accordance with the alternative narrative. Thus, being successful in information warfare requires much more than being capable of creating an accepted alternative narrative of events.

Much of Russia’s information campaign is directed towards Russians. There is no free press or true independent media in Russia. Putin’s regime controls much of what average Russians see or hear about different events and world affairs. This is authoritarianism, not hybrid warfare. There is nothing revolutionary about this.

In tandem, the concepts of cyber-attacks and hybrid warfare have become two of the most used buzzwords of the “military strategic industry.” Even before the latest rise of the hybrid war concept, cyber-attacks and cyber threats had made their way into the everyday parlance of statesmen and strategic analysts. Even though there is a lot of potential for change in the cyber domain, the “revolutionary” cyber-attacks that we have so far witnessed do not amount to much. In the case of Ukraine, there is even less to report.


The Economic Weapon and Using Proxies

It has been asserted that Russia has used economic weapons in order to achieve its strategic goals as a part of its hybrid warfare strategy. But this too does not indicate anything unique to hybrid warfare. Economic sanctions, embargos, economic extortion and bribes have been routine means used by a multitude of states in conflicts all around the world. Examples from history and present day international politics are easy to come by. If the combining of military operations and economic sanctions equals hybrid warfare, the West has been waging hybrid war for the majority of the post-Cold War era, if not since Prince Henry the Navigator first sent expeditions to the East to gain an advantage over other powers.

Fourth, the Russian use of proxies (read: the separatists) in Eastern Ukraine is an old technique. Proxy wars might be as old as war itself. Russian support to the East Ukrainian separatists does not make the war in Ukraine hybrid. This fact becomes apparent when looking at images from Eastern Ukraine’s battlefields — for example Donetsk. Large-scale, high-quantity violence has produced vast destruction and has caused thousands of casualties. It is clear that what we are witnessing in Ukraine is very traditional.


The Futile Hybrid War Concept

The hybrid war thesis has been advocated to depict the new reality of contemporary warfare — exemplified by the actions of Russia in Ukraine. Although the concept is not a new one, it has been proposed that today we are witnessing some new features in warfare. What the proponents of the hybrid war thesis are saying actually resonates with what in strategic studies has traditionally been conceptualized through the concept of war: using all means available — including large-scale violence by military forces — in order to achieve desired outcomes.

The post-Cold War era Western understanding of war and the use of military force has been based on the notion that there are no states capable of challenging the American “unipolar moment” and the associated military operations that the West has been conducting actively under U.S. lead. Although there has been a lot of discussion about the rise of China during the last decade, the war in Ukraine is the first large-scale war where Western definitions of co-operative security and the use of military force have become contested — by Russia. The five-day war in Georgia (2008) was a smaller-scale prelude to the Ukrainian crisis.

The Western multinational expeditionary operations tradition — called also “military crisis management” in the European context — has developed towards a comprehensive approach during the post-Cold War era. Now, in Ukraine, the Russian application of comprehensive approach to traditional warfare — combining economic, informational and military means — is supposedly something totally new, worth the name hybrid war. For years it has been crystal clear within the West that military operations must be planned and executed within a broader framework, including political, economic and cultural factors. The introduction of the term “comprehensive approach” is a case in point.

From a military perspective, a comprehensive approach is founded on not only a shared situational understanding, but also recognition that sometimes non-military actors may support the military and conversely on other occasions the military’s role will be supporting those actors … The importance of including from the outset those elements — diplomatic, civil, and economic — that are to be enabled by military success must not be underestimated. Failure to do so will at best lose the strategic initiative; at worst, it will result in strategic failure. This is the basic premise of a comprehensive approach, which NATO applies to its operations.


— AJP-01(D) ALLIED JOINT DOCTRINE, December 2010

Reverting to the concept of hybrid war in the West is understandable as a reaction to the surprise that Russia’s actions in Ukraine have caused. Seeing the world through the lenses of the traditional great power politics, Russia has contested the Western post-Cold War era tenets of security and defense policy. International politics is not only positive-sum outcomes in the globalized world. Nor is security policy only the management of common threats. Russia behaves like great powers have for centuries — using all means necessary in pursuance of the its national interest — however it is defined. This perspective is rather familiar to the number one great power of the world — the United States.

More than a new concept — hybrid war — we need better understanding of the traditional, centuries-old concept of war. Military analysts have understood war from a broad perspective for at least 2,500 years. Many Western statesmen and strategic analysts have during the last 25 years become accustomed to the situation where no-one challenges — or is capable of challenging — the principles of Western security and defense policy. At the same time, the traditional concept of war has been fading into the background. We have seen numerous “crisis management operations,” “campaigns” and other instances of the “use of military force,” but “war proper” has been on the decline. Now that Russia has stepped up and challenged the West by its actions in Ukraine, it is time to reinvigorate the discussion and debate on state-based threats and state-based war. Focus on hybrid war is a logical reaction by the Western analysts and statesmen. But it is also a telling example of the overwhelming surprise that Russia has managed to cause within the Western security community. States still wage war for desired outcomes.

Lt. Col. (GS), Dr.Pol.Sc. Jyri Raitasalo is Docent of Strategy and Security Policy at the Finnish National Defence University. Previously he has served as research officer, lecturer and head lecturer at the Department of Strategic and Defence Studies at the Finnish National Defence University


Carter Unveils New Cyber Defense Roadmap

By Sandra I. Erwin

April 23, 2015


Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is positioning the military to assume a key role in combating potentially devastating cyber attacks against the United States. Cyber threats are “one of the world’s most complex challenges today,” Carter said April 23 during a lecture at Stanford University titled “Rewiring the Pentagon: Charting a New Path on Innovation and Cybersecurity.”

The cyber threat against U.S. interests is “increasing in severity and sophistication,” said Carter. “And it comes from state and non-state actors alike. Just as Russia and China have advanced cyber capabilities and strategies ranging from stealthy network penetration to intellectual property theft, criminal and terrorist networks are also increasing their cyber operations. Low-cost and global proliferation of malware have lowered barriers to entry and made it easier for smaller malicious actors to strike in cyberspace.”

Carter’s plan for combating these threats is articulated in the Pentagon’s new cyber strategy, which he chose to release in front of a premier audience of technologists attending Stanford University’s prestigious Drell Lecture on public policy.


Of significance in this new roadmap is a clearer definition of the Pentagon’s role in defending the nation.Whereas the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are the lead agencies that deal with domestic cyber crimes and network intrusions most of the time, the Pentagon would be in charge if there were a catastrophic attack that rose to a level considered a threat to national security.

“We’re also going to work more closely with our law enforcement partners at the FBI, Homeland Security, and elsewhere,” Carter said. “There are clear lines of authority about who can work where, so as adversaries jump from foreign to U.S. networks,we need our coordination with law enforcement to work seamlessly.” In a simulated war game about two weeks ago, Pentagon cyber experts and their FBI counterparts practiced how exactly this would work.


The 2015 cyber strategy updates the one published in 2011. Four years ago, there was still interagency tension between DoD and DHS on how cyber defense responsibilities would be divvied up. Since then, the Defense Department has gained “more clarity on our missions in cyber space,” a senior defense official said. Per White House guidance, the Pentagon would have the lead role in rare cases — about 2 percent of attacks — that are considered the most serious. With the release of this strategy, the official said, the “lanes in the road are much clearer.”

The new strategy should “help guide development of DoD’s cyber forces, and it is also a reflection of DoD being more open than before,” Carter said. “Another goal is to be better prepared to defend DoD information networks, secure data, and mitigate risks to military missions. We’ll do this in part through deterrence by denial, in line with today’s best-in-class cyber security practices, building a single security architecture that’s easier to defend.”

The strategy cautions the Pentagon is not seeking to encroach on domestic law enforcement but only intends to intervene under extraordinary circumstances. Americans expect the Defense Department to protect the nation from hostile missile strikes or other acts of war, but in the cyber realm the military role is more difficult to understand. “Only when those attacks rise to the level of an armed attack” would the Pentagon’s Cyber Command take over, the official said. Events like the hacking of corporate networks or denial of service attacks would not meet that standard.

A large portion of the strategy is devoted to the notion of “deterrence” in cyberspace. While the Pentagon over decades of Cold War against the Soviets perfected strategies to deter nuclear strikes, it is finding that dissuading hackers or cyber spies is far more complicated. The strategy calls for a “clear response” to attacks, even if it is just a statement to make the perpetrator aware that there will be consequences to his actions.

“In some ways, what we’re doing about this threat is similar to what we do about more conventional threats,” said Carter. “We like to deter malicious action before it happens, and we need to be able to defend against incoming attacks – as well as pinpoint where and whom an attack came from.” The Pentagon would be ready to take offensive action if necessary, he said. “And when we do take action, defensive or otherwise, conventionally or in cyberspace, we operate under rules of engagement that comply with domestic and international law.”

Another component of the new strategy is a greater effort by the Pentagon to motivate the private sector to step up investments in cyber security and spur technology developers to work with the Defense Department. “The Department of Defense has had a strong partnership with the private sector and research institutions historically, and DoD will strengthen those historic ties to discover and validate new ideas for cyber security,” said the new strategy.

American businesses own and operate nearly 90 percent of U.S networks. “The private sector must be a key partner,” said Carter. “The U.S. government has a unique suite of cyber tools and capabilities, but we need the private sector to take its own steps to protect data and networks. We want to help where we can, but if companies themselves don’t invest, our country’s collective cyber security posture is weakened.”

Eric Rosenbach, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee last week that the Defense Department is building a cyber mission force of 133 teams. Much of that talent will come from the National Guard and Reserve, he said. The cyber mission force will include nearly 6,200 military, civilian, and contractor personnel.


A booster shot for cloud privacy standards?

April 22, 2015 | Julie Anderson, SafeGov

The Administration’s recent promise to introduce legislation based on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights has brought the integrity of personal data to the forefront. Arguably one of the most personal manifestations of these issues occurs in the health industry, as consumers have every right to demand greater protections of their personal health information (PHI).

The recent wave of wearable tech manufacturers — including Jawbone, Fitbit, and even heavyweights like Apple — are moving at lighting speed to crunch the numbers on aggregated health data. With the market for cloud-based electronic health record services forecast to quadruple to $6.7 billion between 2011 and 2018, the scope of PHI that could potentially be subjected to industrial-strength data mining technologies is broader than ever. Although the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) offers a starting point for patient privacy, cloud providers in the health industry must do more to safeguard health data.


The patient’s only line of defense

A reasonable starting point: companies must adhere to a new code of practice recently released by the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC), non-profit organizations that publish voluntary international standards on technical matters.

As it stands, HIPAA allows healthcare providers to use health information without a patient’s consent in certain circumstances: to treat the patient, to obtain payment for medical services, and to improve operations of the health care facility. HIPAA requires health providers to obtain consent before using patient data for marketing, which means “any communication about a product or service that encourages recipients to purchase or use the product or service.”


I use, therefore I consent

The consent provision can pose problems when a healthcare provider uses a cloud service that relies on mining data to bolster its bottom line. This is often because companies write their terms of use in such a way that consent is implied. Indeed, both Amazon Web Services and Google equate using their cloud services to consenting to most advertising-related uses of personal data.

Some advocates may contend that in those circumstances, patients should simply visit healthcare facilities that use cloud service providers (CSPs) whose values align with their own. But this is not how people make decisions about their health. A 2012 survey found that location, quality, and interpersonal characteristics are among the most common factors that patients consider when selecting a physician. And in cases where a specialty is needed, patients may not have the luxury of discriminating beyond a few basic factors.

Even trained medical professionals can make mistakes when using cloud products to deliver their services. In 2012, a two-physician office in Phoenix was fined for violating HIPAA requirements by using a publicly-available cloud-based calendar to schedule appointments, and in 2013 the Oregon Health and Science University ran afoul of HIPAA by using a cloud-enabled spreadsheet to track patient information. Patients cannot rely on healthcare providers to exhibit adequate adherence to HIPAA.


A new code of practice

A 2013 update to HIPAA’s privacy standards put greater restrictions on profit-making uses of PHI but did not go far enough. With the update, cloud providers have the option of adopting stronger voluntary privacy standards. Released in August 2014, the ISO/IEC code of practice (known formally as 27018) outlines standards for how providers of public cloud services should handle personally identifiable information). Though there is some overlap with HIPAA, the ISO/IEC code of practice draws several important distinctions:


• Separating consent from use: Although both HIPAA and the code of practice require CSPs to obtain consent before using personal information for advertising purposes, ISO/IEC go further by prohibiting CSPs from making consent a condition for using the service. This breaks with the all-too-common practice of embedding consent in the terms of use, thereby giving the patient greater control over his or her data.

• The right to be forgotten (or at least deleted): The ISO/IEC code of practice also requires cloud providers to “implement a policy for the return, transfer or disposal of personal data, for instance when the service comes to an end.” HIPAA has no such provision. Although ISO/IEC only extend the “right to be forgotten” to certain circumstances, protections like this give patients peace of mind that the systems storing their PHI will not be floating unprotected in the ether for eternity.

• Trust, but verify: Although health providers and their associates are legally bound to adhere to HIPAA’s requirements, there is currently no credentialing body that certifies entities for HIPAA compliance. By contrast, the code of practice offers CSPs a mechanism to undergo scheduled third-party audits in order to verify ISO/IEC adherence.


Call to action

Establishing a clear, readily-identifiable certification could help prevent incidents such as the Oregon and Phoenix infractions mentioned above. Moreover, an objective third party can help patients and health providers navigate the ever-shifting sands of CSP privacy policies — which companies can alter at any time.

In an ideal world, the measures outlined above would be mandatory for all cloud providers in all industries. For the time being, however, doctors and patients will have to vote with their feet by engaging with CSPs who voluntarily submit to the more demanding ISO/IEC standards. Companies that do so will be sending a strong signal to the marketplace of their commitment to protecting the privacy of health data.

Julie Anderson is a SafeGov expert in government and organizational transformation. She previously served as the senior policy official at the Department of Veterans Affairs as the VA implemented new health care technologies. Prior to that, Julie worked at IBM where she focused on enabling technologies for health care regulators and providers.



Lawmaker Says USIS May Have Shortchanged Cybersecurity before Hack of 27,000 Employee Records

By Aliya Sternstein

April 23, 2015 2


Government background checker USIS blocked U.S. officials from fully probing the hack of more than 27,000 employee records on its network, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

The top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also suggested the embattled company appeared to have shortchanged network security before the hack.

The new accusations come on top of a $1 billion Justice Department lawsuit alleging USIS defrauded the government by conducting incomplete background investigations.

Both OPM and USIS were attacked by hackers around the same time in March 2014, officials said Wednesday at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. The security controls in place on OPM’s networks shielded employee information. Hackers had more success with USIS’ systems — accessing sensitive data on tens of thousands of Department of Homeland Security employees.

The government took a more proactive approach than USIS to restrain the attackers, according to OPM.

“It comes down to culture and leadership,” OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour said at the hearing. “One of the things that we were able to do immediately at OPM was to recognize the problem. We were able to react to it by partnering with DHS and their partnering agencies to be able to put mitigations in place to better protect the information.”

USIS officials were not immediately able to comment.

Reportedly, a nation state, perhaps China, was believed to have been seeking the personnel files of security clearance holders in OPM’s systems.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the committee’s top Democrat, pressed Seymour on the cost of such protections, to gauge whether USIS might have been trying to cut expenses with inferior safeguards.

“Some of the appliances that you put on a network, firewalls and different software to separate data and to protect it so that it recognizes good traffic on the network from potentially erroneous traffic on the network — those can be expensive” to install, operate and maintain, Seymour said.

Cummings has been investigating the claims that USIS submitted 665,000 deficient background checks to increase profits.

“USIS could have saved money by not investing in those cyber protections, is that right?” he asked.

Seymour responded, “Yes, you can save money by not implementing security, but it is a temporary savings because these vulnerabilities and the breaches that we suffer are expensive to remediate.”

What is clear is the contractor also ultimately lost money. USIS’ parent company, Altegrity, filed for bankruptcy in February, after OPM ended major contracts.

USIS had been the government’s largest private supplier of employee background check services.

The contractor has since stonewalled efforts by Congress and the administration to closely examine its systems, Cummings and OPM officials said.

For seven months, USIS and its parent company have declined to answer questions from Cummings about why USIS’ security measures were not strong enough to squelch last year’s network breach, Cummings said.

OPM negotiated with USIS to let Homeland Security inspect part of the hacked network for vulnerabilities but was not granted full access, Seymour said.

“We were limited somewhat in our ability to scan the network because of the [distributed] architecture of the USIS network,” she said, adding that the firm allowed DHS to scan two of the “subnets” of that network.

Ultimately, the government could not get a full picture of the problem.

“Let me give you an example: If you ask me to physically secure an apartment building but you only allow me to go into two apartments, I can’t tell you what’s in those other apartments but clearly they are part of the building that you’ve asked me to secure,” Seymour said. “We were not able to go to the boundaries of the network.”

In addition to the OPM and USIS hack attacks, a breach was disclosed last year at KeyPoint Government Solutions, another background check firm. More than 48,000 federal employees might have had their personal information exposed during that incident.

AF Research Laboratory redesigns mock UAV

by Press • 24 April 2015

By Jeanne Dailey, Air Force Research Laboratory


KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Surrogate Predator Program has given the warfighter a way to train in the U.S. before deploying overseas.

AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base modified a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182 aircraft to be used for military training exercises. The Surrogate Predator has intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors that provide the capability to mimic a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle.

CAP is the official auxiliary of the Air Force with about 60,000 members nationwide, who operate a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP members perform about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions, as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, which credits CAP with saving an average of 70 lives each year.

CAP members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

AFRL, which has been part of the Surrogate Predator Program since 2008, recently completed and delivered the Enhanced Surrogate Predator 3 to CAP, according to program manager J. P. Sena.

“The Enhanced Surrogate Predator 3 is a redesign of the first two surrogate predators, which had a wing-mounted turret,” Sena said. “We designed the Cessna 206T with a retractable turret stowed in the belly of the aircraft that allows for longer flight times by reducing drag when the turret is not in operation. The operator station was also designed with ergonomics in mind to allow for more leg room, ease of controls, central location for all the equipment and a plethora of capabilities for the sensor operator.”

The Surrogate Predator is used in Green Flag exercises, where the Air Force and its allied air forces engage in air-land integration combat training exercises.

“With the use of the Surrogate Predator during Green Flag exercises, troops training for deployment get experience with what they will see overseas while the government can keep the high-value assets overseas to continue to complete missions,” Sena said. “Our government saves millions by keeping the assets in theater and completing training using the Surrogate Predators.”

In addition to its use as a military training aircraft, CAP has used the Surrogate Predators 1 and 2 in relief efforts for disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“The capabilities of the Enhanced Surrogate Predator will far exceed the previous two and I’m sure will be used in countless other ways to support the CAP mission, as well as the U.S. government,” Sena said.


Rasmussen Reports

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls


Bottom of Form

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Only 37% of Likely U.S. Voters think America’s best days are still to come. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the nation’s future.

Surprisingly, that’s the highest level of “optimism” in two years. But 45% still think the country’s best days have already come and gone. Consider, too, that even in January 2004, just over two years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 48% still felt America’s best days were in the future, and only 35% believed they had already passed us by.

Just 32% of voters now think the country is heading in the right direction. Twice as many (62%) believe America’s on the wrong track. That’s consistent with weekly findings for the past couple years.

Perhaps the continuing pessimism is due in part to a belief, as Ronald Reagan once put it, that government is the problem, not the solution. Most voters (62%) still prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a larger one with more services and higher taxes. That’s in line with surveys for years. Only 27% prefer a larger government instead.

For many, if not most, in this country, achieving a middle class lifestyle is the American dream. Forty-one percent (41%) of Americans think being middle class is determined by how much money you make. But slightly more (43%) say being middle class means you are self-supporting, self-reliant and free of dependence on the government

However, nearly two-out-of-three Americans now believe the government has too much power in this country and that too many of their fellow countrymen are dependent on the government for financial support.

So how do we keep getting more and more government even though we clearly don’t want it?

Social Security is a classic example. Back in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson decided to merge the Social Security trust fund into the general budget, so that money we paid solely for our future retirement could be spent any way Congress and the president wanted. You’ll never guess what happened. For a number of years now, we’ve been faced with the very real possibility that there won’t be enough money for promised Social Security payouts. Gee, wonder where our money went.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in an effort to raise his political profile has now proposed lowering or eliminating benefits for wealthy retirees to help keep Social Security financially afloat even though they paid their money into the system over the years just like everybody else. Is it any wonder voters suspect that any savings earned from proposed changes in Social Security won’t be used to benefit the federal retirement system anyway but will just go to new spending on something else?

Seventy-six percent (76%) are also concerned that the plan to lower or eliminate Social Security payments to wealthier Americans may later be extended to include those who earn less.

This bigger and bigger government also doesn’t seem to care what voters think about illegal immigration. Most still oppose President Obama’s plan to exempt up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation, with more than ever saying he doesn’t have the legal authority to take such action.

The president’s daily job approval index, by the way, remains in the negative teens.

The number of voters who believe terrorists are winning the fight against the United States and its allies also continues to grow, while views of Muslims in general and U.S. relations with the Islamic world have worsened.

Speaking of the war on terror, remember the problems exposed a year ago at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the unusually long waits for medical care that many military veterans suffered. The majority of voters think most of the problems at the VA remain unsolved.

Congress is now embroiled in a debate over legislation that would give the president more power to negotiate free trade deals with other countries. Republicans are in the very rare position of arguing for more power for Obama, while Democrats are in the equally rare position of opposing it.

Americans are a little less enthusiastic about free trade, even though they admit it’s better for consumers. But they’re also more likely now to see it as a job killer.

The Senate on Friday approved the long-delayed nomination of federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch to be the next U.S. attorney general. While Democrats have complained about the hold-up on the nomination, voters have been in no bigger hurry than the Republican-led Senate to make Lynch the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Voters are sure about one thing when it comes to Lynch, though: They don’t want her to be like retiring Attorney General Eric Holder

Republicans have a one-point lead on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot. The GOP has led for six of the last eight weeks.

In other surveys last week:

For White House hopefuls, what’s in a name?

— Americans rely on the Internet for more and more things in their daily lives, but most want to keep voting offline.

Most Americans continue to believe in the importance of April 22 as Earth Day, although far fewer do anything to celebrate it. They still feel, though, that individuals can make an environmental difference.

Americans see a need for big lifestyle changes to protect the environment, but very few think that’s likely to happen, especially if it costs them more money.

Nearly half of Americans dislike teachers’ unions, but they’re less upset that teachers belong to them.

— An Egyptian court this week handed down the first guilty verdict and sentencing to ousted President Mohammed Morsi for his role in the arrest and torture of protesters in 2012. American opinions of Egypt’s relationship with the United States haven’t changed, but voters are slightly more confident about the future of Egypt’s democracy than they were just after the violence there reached its peak.


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