December 23, 2011

See You Next Year

Prettige Feestdagen
Season's Greetings
Meilleurs Voeux
Forhe Festtage
Felices Fiestas
Boas Festas
Buone Feste
God Jul

Dear Readers, this blog will be back on duty on next January 9th, 2012.

Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
The Editor

December 22, 2011

Rockwell Collins and NASA working together for allowing Unmanned Aerial Systems to operate in civil airspace

News Report

As announced in a recent press release, Rockwell Collins is collaborating with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) control and non-payload communications (CNPC) data link that will eventually enable unmanned aircraft to safely operate in the national airspace.

As a team member in the three-year NASA UAS Communications Research Sub-Project, Rockwell Collins will work closely with NASA engineers and subject matter experts to define the waveform for the CNPC data link. The results of this collaboration will help industry and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration develop the appropriate set of rules and requirements for reliable unmanned flight operations in the national U.S. airspace system.

The Technology

Current civil UAS operations are significantly constrained by the lack of a standardized, certified control and non-payload communications (CNPC) system. The UAS CNPC system is to provide communications functions between the Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and the UA ground control station for such applications as:
  • telecommands
  • non-payload telemetry
  • navigation aid data
  • air traffic control (ATC) voice relay
  • air traffic services (ATS) data relay
  • sense and avoid data relay
  • airborne weather radar data
  • non-payload situational awareness video

New and innovative approaches to providing terrestrial and space-based high-bandwidth CNPC systems that are inexpensive, small, low latency, reliable, and secure offer opportunities for quantum jumps in UAS utility and capabilities. Of particular interest are technologies for the enhancement/improvement of CNPC performance for UAS operations in urban locations, taking into account the propagation, reflection/refraction and shadowing/blockage environment encountered in the urban environment.

A prototype radio hardware is being designed and developed in order to validate and verify draft performance requirements by collecting performance data in relevant laboratory and flight environments. This prototype radio system is targeted for use in all UAS classes, from those weighing less than 55 lbs flying below 3,000 ft. up to and including those weighing greater than 1,320 lbs flying above 18,000 ft.

The primary focus is operations within the U.S. National Airspace System, but these systems should be capable of operations outside the U.S. The UAS C2 system is to support control and non-payload communications (CNPC) between the Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and the UA control station.

The Context

The goal for UAV introduction into the U.S. National Air Space is an equivalent level of safety, including collision avoidance for UAV operation, when compared to piloted aircraft. The goal is the certification of a system of technology, feedback, analysis and control, which reduces the risk of an air to air collision, to the same level of risk currently enjoyed for manned flight, is of paramount interest and importance.

In this contex, on last March 2011, NASA Glenn Research Center issued an RFI for potential sources and partners for the design and development of a Command and Control communication (C2) system prototype for unmanned aircraft. Even though both terrestrial and satellite based solutions are under consideration in the standards bodies, the focus of this effort was on a terrestrial system.

The intended partnership between NASA and one or more industry partners will jointly develop the design(s) to meet the requirements, develop prototype radio hardware, perform laboratory testing, and execute flight testing of the prototype radio system in relevant environment.


The reason we were selected is because we’re one of a few companies that have both commercial avionics experience and UAS data links in theater. It’s really the intersection of our core technologies,” said David Vos, senior director of UAS and Control Technologies at Rockwell Collins. “We know the challenges, we know how to certify avionics and we’re experts in military data links and waveform development.

References: Rockwell Collins (1), NASA (2), UAS Vision (3), UAV Market Space (4)

Contract Award: CenturyLink to support U.S. DoD communications transport services

News Report

As announced in a recent press release, CenturyLink has won a multi-year task order valued at more than $250 million from the Defense Information Systems Agency/Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DISA/DITCO) to provide private line services for dedicated high-speed connections between military installations.

With private line services from CenturyLink, U.S. DoD will benefit from reliable transport service; scalable, low latency; and the ability to support multiple applications with flexible network configurations. These private line connections will be dedicated for military use, and the information they carry will be protected with one of the most secure services available.

Under the terms of the order by DISA/DITCO, CenturyLink Government will provide private line services to the U.S. DoD as it migrates to Networx, the largest global communications contract program ever developed for the federal government by the U.S. General Services Administration. When the five-year task order is fully implemented in 2012, CenturyLink Government will provide private line services to all U.S. DoD agencies, including the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy.

The Context

The largest U.S. government telecommunications program in history, Networx is a 10-year governmentwide contract valued at more than $68 billion. It replaced the FTS2001 contract, which expired Jan. 1, 2008, and offers more advanced telecom technologies and services, such as IP telephony and managed e-authentication services, which FTS2001 did not.

Networx is the largest and most ambitious government telecommunications contract to date. Its aim is to make all voice, data, wireless and IP-related solutions available through one convenient contract, and it was designed under the theory that it can provide the latest technologies at the lowest prices because it drives the billions of dollars that agencies spend on telecom through one contract, therefore cutting prices through economies of scale.

The U.S. General Services Administration manages the Networx contract, which is a way for 135 federal agencies operating out of 191 countries to buy services from the largest telecom companies in the United States, including voice and phone-related services, Virtual Private Networks, IP telephone and IP-related services, managed firewalls, e-authentication and other security services, cell phone and wireless services, video conferencing, web conferencing, storage and other management and application services.

Networx offers thus comprehensive, best value telecommunications providing for new technologies, industry partners and ways to achieve a more efficient, and effective government. Networx allows agencies to focus their resources on building seamless, secure operating environments while ensuring access to the best technology industry has to offer.

The Networx program provides:
  • Service continuity
  • Competitive prices
  • High quality service
  • Full-service offerings (a broad array of services and the ability to expand services throughout the life of the contracts)
  • Alternative sources (access to a broad spectrum of industry service providers, including the major telecommunications companies)
  • Operations support (ordering, billing, and inventory management functions)Transition support - timely and efficient transition coordination and assistance
  • Performance based contracts (Service Level Agreements to ensure contractor performance and quality of service)

"CenturyLink will deploy its optical network infrastructure to deliver highly reliable and capable private line services to support the critical and growing needs of our Defense customers," said Diana Gowen, senior vice president and general manager of CenturyLink Government, which is headquartered in Arlington, Va. "CenturyLink's private line services have extensive geographic coverage that will ensure fast, direct, and secure communications between U.S. military bases, posts, camps, and stations."

References: CenturyLink (1), Gsa.Gov (2), GovernmentExecutive (3)

December 21, 2011

U.S. Army's Common Operating Environment

News Report

As reported on U.S. Army's web-page, U.S. Land Forces are focused on the development of a Common Operating Environment that will streamline communications between Soldiers in vehicles and higher headquarters, creating seamless interoperability between the computers, sensors and applications they use.

The Technology

Developed in October 2010 by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, the Common Operating Environment, or COE, is a set of computing technologies and standards. They are designed to enable secure and interoperable applications to be rapidly developed and executed across a variety of environments. "Through this Army-wide effort to collapse capabilities and integrate them into vehicles, Soldiers can communicate more seamlessly with upper echelons," said Peter Dugan, a systems engineer with the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, known as PEO C3T.

The Mounted Computing Environment, or Mounted CE, is one of several computing environments that support this goal. The Mounted CE is a standard in which systems are set inside vehicles that have large amounts of processing power, but contain much less bandwidth than a tactical operations center. The application includes three classes of capabilities: the first involves transmitting small messages connected to a host; the second includes integrating more functionality and sharing data at the local level; and the third concerns adapting to the new environment.

Michael Anthony, chief of the Mission Command Division for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, Command and Control Directorate, known as C2D, said employing a common set of standards into a Common Operating Environment on the tactical network would enable users to "copy and paste" information across separate tactical applications. "Just like we do when we take a bullet from a Microsoft Word document and paste it into a PowerPoint slide," he said.

In addition to the Mounted CE, the Other computing enviroments that support the goal of the COE are:
  • Data Center/Cloud CE: a service-based infrastructure for hosting and accessing enterprise-wide software applications, services and data. Common services and standard applications for use by a large number of users over wide area networks.
  • Command Post CE: client and server software and hardware, as well as common services (i.e. network management, collaboration, synchronization, planning, analysis) to implement mission command capabilities.
  • Mobile/Handheld CE: which provides operating and run-time system, native and common applications and services, software development kits (SDK), and standards and technologies for hand held/wearable devices.
  • Sensor CE: which provides a common interoperability layer, implementing standards and technology for data services, NetOps, and security for specialized, human-controlled or unattended sensors. The Sensor CE does not specify specific hardware and software for the sensors.
  • Real-Time/Safety Critical/Embedded CE: which provides the real-time infrastructure that allows the development of telemetry (i.e. avionics and vetronics) as well as the integration of vehicle health sensors. This CE will include an abstraction layer to reduce the burden of integrating C2, Comm and Sensor systems to the real-time platform.
  • Generating Force CE (pending): business systems which span all Computing Environments and include Post, Camps and Stations, and the Operating Force. This also includes the U.S. Army’s Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) systems.
The Context

Conventional approach to information technology implementation and management may be cumbersome and inadequate to keep up with the pace of change. The acquisition process focuses on the development and fielding of systems by programs that were established to deliver capability for a specific combat or business function. Based on functional proponent requirements, program managers individually choose and field hardware platforms and software infrastructures. Meanwhile, to support ongoing conflicts, U.S. Army and combatant commanders independently procure commercially available solutions, often installing and customizing them in theater. As a result, deploying and deployed units frequently must plan and execute operations using multiple computer systems with different hardware, operating systems, databases, security configurations and end-user devices.

On the 28 of December 2009, a Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (VCSA)'s memorandum requested the U.S. Chief Information Office/G-6 to develop both 'as is' and 'end state' network architectures. The requirement for a Common Operating Environment (COE) became central to the directive to CIO/G-6. The intent was to standardize end-user environments and software development kits, establish streamlined enterprise software processes that rely on common pre-certified, reusable software components, and develop deployment strategies that allow the users direct access to new capability.

The "Army Network Architecture Strategy – Tactical version 1.1", dated 6 April 2010, was crafted in response to the VCSA‘s memorandum. Since then, CIO/G-6 has written the Guidance for ‘End State’ Army Enterprise Network Architecture version 2.0 to provide direction for the entire Army Enterprise Network.

On October 2010, the U.S. Army published a guidance for a Common Operating Environment Architecture for the Army Enterprise Network. Both the Chief Information Office/G-6 and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)) approved the guidance on Oct. 20, 2010.

The COE Architecture and the U.S. Army’s overarching “End State” Architecture are expected to drastically reduce the time it takes to deliver relevant applications to those who need them. The COE augments Army Software Transformation, an effort to standardize end-user environments and software development kits, establish streamlined enterprise software processes that rely on common pre-certified, reusable software components, and develop deployment strategies that allow users direct access to new capability.

The benefits of a COE Architecture are lower costs, improved inter-operability and easier system maintenance. In order to obtain funding for developing and acquiring IT devices or systems, all programs under the U.S. Army Acquisition Executive will need to comply with the COE guidance and plan. The guidance and plan also provide direction to industry partners.

The guidance is one of several annexes to the overarching document “End-State Army Enterprise Architecture” that guides future network procurements and establishes minimum technical architecture standards for the acquisition or development of IT and National Security Systems.  The “End State” document and some of the annexes will be published in the near future. To help guide the COE effort, the Army CIO/G6 developed a maturity model that can be used to conduct cost-benefit trades and to evaluate programs’ alignment with the COE goals.

References: U.S. Army (1,3,4), AFCEA (2)

Contract Award: Panasonic to support digitization of Brazilian Military Police

News Report

As reported by Brazilian Blog Forcas Terrestres, Panasonic has been awarded the sale of ruggedized Toughbook U1 computers to the Military Road Police of Parana (Policia Militar Rodoviária do Paraná).

The Military Road Police of Parana is the first in Latin America to exploit ruggedized portable computers, integrated with applications developed for remote access in cloud computing, in order to modernize the state highway patrol with the use of technology. Panasomic computers were delivered in December, a period of greater movement on the roads, to enhance the security of the population.

The Product

The Toughbook U1 Essential is the original member of the Toughbook U1 family, and is the clear alternative to legacy Windows Mobile solutions when there is the need for mobile workers to operate in the field. The equipment exploits rugged modular design, and a host of integrated options like GPS, Gobi™ mobile broadband, 2MP camera, barcode readers, enhanced outdoor screen viewability, processing power and Windows 7 support.


"The acquisition of computers includes the launch of our online consultation service, which will facilitate access to real-time information, such as police reports and tracking of stolen vehicles, reducing the inspection time from 20 to 5 minutes," said the Secretary for Infrastructure and Logistics, José Richa Filho.

According to Secretary, "with the system, you may take proceedings against offenders in the online site, and registration will be immediately stored in the system of fines, facilitating access to police databases."

References: Forcas Terrestres (1), Panasonic (2)

December 20, 2011

Contract Award: Raytheon to complete system integration for DDG 1000 Zumwalt class destroyer

News Report

As announced in a recent press release, Raytheon has been awarded a $254 million contract modification for the completion of software development for the DDG 1000-class destroyer program.

Under the contract, Raytheon will perform development engineering activities for Total Ship Computing Environment Infrastructure integration, ship control systems, as well as associated Mission Systems Equipment software development and integration. The contract modification includes development, test and delivery of DDG 1000 Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE) software for Self Defense Test Ship, post-delivery availability, post-shakedown availability, SPY-3 volume search software and firmware development, as well as software maintenance in support of the Zumwalt-class destroyer program.

The Technology

Raytheon's TSCE encompasses all shipboard computing applications, including the combat management system; command, control, communications, computers and intelligence elements; ship machinery control systems; damage control; embedded training; and support systems. The system leverages a modern open system architecture that provides a scalable platform for cost-efficient delivery of new mission capability.

The TSCE is the first large-scale implementation of the U.S. Navy’s Open Architecture strategy. Designed to bind all Zumwalt systems together, the TSCE creates a shipboard enterprise network allowing seamless integration of all on-board systems. It also gives the Navy increased ability to use standardized software and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware on a fleet-wide basis.

Zumwalt's TSCE provides a scalable platform for cost-efficient delivery of new mission capability while capitalizing on the reuse of millions of lines of code from existing U.S. Navy programs. The system delivers an unprecedented level of Mission Systems Integration and automation.

The Context

SC-21 (Surface Combatant for the 21st century) was a program started in 1994 to design land attack ships for the United States Navy. A wide variety of designs were examined, including an arsenal ship with 500 cruise missiles, but eventually a "tumblehome" design of around 16,000 tons with two long-range guns and 128 missile tubes was selected as the DD-21, the Destroyer for the 21st century.

In November 2001, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that the DD 21 programme had been revised and would now be known as DD(X). The programme focus would now be on a family of advanced technology surface combatants, rather than a single ship class. A revised request for proposals was issued and in April 2002, Northrop Grumman was selected as the lead design agent for DD(X). Northrop Grumman led the 'gold team', which included Raytheon as the systems integrator.

In November 2005, DD(X) was approved for system development and demonstration. In April 2006, the U.S. Navy announced that the first ship of the class was designated DDG 1000 Zumwalt.

References: Raytheon (1,3), Naval Technology (2), DefenceProcurementNews (3)

Iran to boost its offensive and defensive cyber-warfare capabilities

News Report

As reported by The Jerusalem PostIran has embarked on an ambitious plan to boost its offensive and defensive cyber-warfare capabilities and is investing $1 billion in developing new technology and hiring new computer experts.

Iran has been the victim of a number of cyber attacks in recent years, including the famous Stuxnet attack which is believed, at its prime, to have destroyed 1,000 centrifuges at the Natanz fuel enrichment facility by sabotaging their motors. Iran recently confirmed that a new virus called Duqu had been detected in its computer systems, although the extent of the damage is unknown. While Stuxnet was aimed at crippling industrial control systems and may have destroyed some of the centrifuges Iran uses to enrich uranium, experts say Duqu appeared designed to gather data to make it easier to launch future cyber attacks.

References: The Jerusalem Post (1)

Contemporary airborne battle management systems

A remarkable review of contemporary airborne battle management systems has been issued by Jane's, which illustrates how modern technologies have evolved to aid the fight by increasing situational awareness, facilitating mission execution and suppyling tactical information quickly to commanders.
Although the technologies involved have advanced massively since their inception, current activity in the field has its roots in American, French and Soviet air-mobile doctrine and the Vietnam War where there was a need for effective, near-realtime management of close air-support assets. The air-mobility requirement has generated a number of helicopter applications that are capable of acting as airborne and ground-based command posts, with fixed-wing assets such as America's EC-130E Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC) handling the air-support management role.
Among the key systems and platforms that underwent to Jane's review we mention the following ones:
  • The Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center Capsules (ABCCC) that are embarked on U.S. EC-130s. As an Air Combat Command asset, ABCCC is an integral part of the Tactical Air Control System. While functioning as a direct extension of ground-based command and control authorities, the primary mission is providing flexibility in the overall control of tactical air resources. In addition, to maintain positive control of air operations, ABCCC can provide communications to higher headquarters, including national command authorities, in both peace and wartime environments.
  • The Racal (subsequently Thales) Airborne Mission Support System (AMSS), deriving from derived from its carry-on Light Mission Support System (LMSS), equipped aboard three UK E-3D aircrafts, which provides a two-star commander with tactical information such as air-tasking orders, combat search-and-rescue plans, area weather reports and intelligence updates in near-realtime.
  • The Direct Air Support Center - Air (DASC-A) C2 architecture exploited by U.S. Marine Corps' KC-130 transport/tanker aircrafts, which is capapble to process immediate air support requests; to coordinate aircraft employment with other supporting arms; to manages terminal control assets supporting Ground Combat Elements and combat service support element forces; to control assigned aircrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and itinerant aircraft transiting through DASC controlled airspace.
  • The rail-mounted French Army's HM-PC Valorisé helicopter-based airborne command post system, designed for installation aboard legacy Cougar and Puma helicopters, which is expected to become operational in 2013 at the conclusion of technical and operational field evaluations. The system provides the staff users with voice links and data connections from platform level all the way up to divisional headquarters, interlinking the battle-management system terminals installed in individual reconnaissance and support helicopters.
  • Northrop Grumman's Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), already installed in three E-11A Global Express aircrafts and two Global Hawk UAVs, which enables essential situational awareness from small ground units in contact up to the highest command levels.

Read the Full Report (subscription is required)

Other References: (1), Northrop Grumman (2)

NATO activites and planned acquisition in the Cyberspace (second part)

News Report

Yesterday we focused our attention on the important developments that are occurring in the area of cyber defence within the NATO. By reporting the speech of NC3A's General Manager Mr Georges D’hollander (at the last AFCEA Cyber Security Defence Conference), we introduced the key activities that are under development within the Alliance for supporting member and partner Nations in the possible event of a significant cyber attack.

In this context, The NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) appears as the basic program that will increase NATO’s Cyber Defence capability to respond to computer security threats and vulnerabilities. NCIRC is expected to provide the means for handling and reporting incidents as well as disseminating important incident-related information to system and security management. It concentrates incident handling into one centralised and co-ordinated effort, thereby eliminating duplication of effort.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal and other news sources, NATO is starting to collect bids from more than 300 companies across its 28 member nations for the NCIRC. The list of the bidders includes some of the world's top defense companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Finmeccanica, IBM and SAIC.

Finmeccaninca and Northrop Grumman, in particular, announced the signing of a cooperation agreement for bidding on the NCIRC. The agreement - which does not indicate timing or potential value - should meet the requirements for NCIRC Full Operational Capability (FOC). Finmeccanica will participate in the program through its Cyber ​​Solutions unit, a new brand which is responsible in for all the activites of the Group dealing with the Cybersphere. "This is an intense collaboration that combines the power, resources and expertise of both companies in the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy, which led to an offer capable of satisfying the requirements of this major program of NATO," said Alberto de Benedictis, CEO of Finmeccanica UK.

The €32 million ($42 million) contract for NCIRC, although valued at less than the price of one fighter jet, holds great significance because it cements the alliance's role in protecting cutting-edge infrastructure, say NATO officials.

In the meantime, NATO conducted from 13 to 15 December a cyber defence exercise in order to test technical and operational Alliance cyber defence capabilities. The exercise, called Cyber Coalition 2011, was an opportunity to test Alliance working procedures for responding to large scale cyber attacks targeting information infra-structures of NATO and individual countries. The exercise was based  on a fictitious crisis in which all participant nations had to deal with simulated cyber attacks. The scenario of the exercise required action, coordination and collaboration from cyber defence specialists and management bodies. A total of 23 NATO and six partner nations nations were involved in the exercise. Around 100 specialists took part in the exercise from locations in the Alliance’s SHAPE Headquarters in Mons and the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. A similar number of national experts participated from national cyber defence facilities in their respective countries. 

References: C4I Technology News (1), The Wall Street Journal (2), GovconWire (3), DedaloNews (4), NATO (5)

December 19, 2011

NATO developments in the area of Cyber Defence

News Report

On last 7 December 2011, NC3A's General Manager Mr Georges D’hollander, spoke at the AFCEA Cyber Security Defence Conference presenting some important development in the area of cyber defence in NATO.

Here we report a few excerpts of his speech.

The Key Role of Intelligence

When we talk of cyber defence, we often jump straight away to new capabilities and technologies that the Alliance is developing. This is certainly important. But we should not forget about NATO’s traditional capabilities such as intelligence-sharing, defence planning or exercises. A cyber attack is in many ways similar to a ballistic missile attack. When the attack is launched, you only have minutes to respond. The warhead is not physical one, but it can be equally devastating. This is why you want as much intelligence as you can beforehand, to predict a potential threat. This is also why you want your response to be as well rehearsed as possible. One of my messages to the national representatives here is – do not treat cyber defence purely as a matter of technology.


The NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) IOC (Initial Operating Capability) currently provides NATO’s Cyber Defence capability to respond to computer security threats and vulnerabilities rapidly and effectively. It provides the means for handling and reporting incidents as well as disseminating important incident-related information to system and security management. It concentrates incident handling into one centralised and co-ordinated effort, thereby eliminating duplication of effort. However, it does not yet protect all the networks within NATO. The upcoming NCIRC Full Operating Capability (FOC) project, for which my Agency is the procurement agent, aims not only at a technology refresh of the existing NCIRC IOC capability but will also introduce new technologies to improve cyber defence situational awareness and enhance NATO’s ability to respond to evolving cyber-threats.This upgraded capability, which will be implemented by the end of 2012, will lay out a strong foundation for cyber defence information sharing in a federated environment. Later increments of the NCIRC FOC project will provide NATO with the means to further develop cyber defence situational awareness by dynamically assessing and managing the level of risk in its CIS thus providing the Alliance greater flexibility in its conduct of network centric warfare. In any case, the term ‘Full operational Capability’ is quite a misnomer since, given the evolution of cyber threats, it is unlikely that any capability to counter them could ever be final or full. The project will, however, significantly boost NATO’s capability to face the evolving threat.

Coordination between NATO and National Cyber Authorities

To reap full benefit of the common interests in achieving cyber defence capabilities, a greater effort is required to align national activities in addition to coordination. This requires a dedicated structure to continually monitor national requirements and efforts and to coordinate and strategize on the way forward so as to ensure that there is no dispersion of efforts and that the tempo of research and development activities is in line with the assessment of the risks against NATO and national CIS. Establishing this structure and facilitating the coordinated development of cyber defence capabilities is the purpose of the MNCD programme (Multinational Cyber Defence Capability Development) initiated by NC3A.

Through an informal analysis of existing capabilities and needs, the following three areas have been identified as possible initial targets for MNCD: 1) cyber defence information sharing, 2) cyber situational awareness, and 3) a distributed multi-sensor collection and correlation capability.

The development of an initial cyber-defence information sharing capability, would enable efficient exchange of cyber defence information such as incident information, attack signatures, and threat assessments, between national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) including the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC).

Concerning cyber situational awareness, for most NATO Nations operational cyber defence is performed using a variety of tools and products including Intrusion Detection System (IDS) and other sensors, Security Incident and Event Managers (SIEM), vulnerability databases, and network monitoring software. These tools typically operate individually and there is no overall view. Cyber defence situational awareness is, therefore, achieved by experts manually consulting and consolidating a variety of feeds. Significant competency and a lot of manual effort are required. The joint development of this capability would simplify and enable quick decision making in the cyber domain, especially in a coalition environment, by providing a flexible set of visual interfaces (e.g. dashboards, dynamic views, and reporting features).

Distributed Multi-sensor Collection and Correlation Infrastructure capability would provide the means to coherently collect and correlate data from multiple sensors in an efficient and distributed manner so as to enable flexible management of sensor data storage and run a variety of correlation algorithms against the collected data.

Read the Full Speech

NATO provides virtualised information services in Afghanistan

News Report

As reported by Digital Battlespace and other news sources, the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) has successfully achieved a fully virtualised information services infrastructure for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

In a statement released on 10 December, NC3A said the ‘significant three-year engineering and programmatic effort’ comprised ‘a major step forward, one that is still to be equalled in the NATO static command structure’. The organisation’s Capability Area Team has ‘evolved’ the ISAF server and storage infrastructure into a ‘modern, resilient and energy efficient capability’, the statement outlined.

The first virtualised solution was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 under the Centrix-ISAF project, which installed the initial resilient Network Interconnection Points connecting the US Centrix-ISAF capability and NATO, thus creating the single information domain now known as the Afghanistan Mission Network. From there, with the creation of the ISAF Joint Command HQ (IJC) at the Kabul International Airport in 2010 the concept advanced, again with a redundant server room approach.

In March 2011, fully virtualised server rooms were installed at Kandahar Airfield. Since then all server rooms at the Regional Commands, HQ Kabul and IJC have been virtualised, and all Functional Area Services have migrated into this infrastructure, ahead of schedule. This move towards virtualisation is believed to have saved ISAF a total of some $1.2 million, broken down into $65,000 in non-recurring costs, and $234,000 per year in operating costs over a five-year life cycle, according to NC3A.

It allows commanders to quickly recover information from equipment failures without loss of data through this new method, and hardware deployment into theatre becomes less of an issue because NC3A provides it also.

Related Documents
  • NATO supporting ISAF (video)

References: Digital Battlespace (1)

December 16, 2011

NATO Air Command and Control Information Services project passes the Critical Design Review

News Report

As reported on NC3A Newsroom, the NATO Air Command and Control Information Services project (AirC2IS) has successfully passed the Critical Design Review milestone and produced a solid design for the first of three AirC2IS implementation increments. This blue sky system implementation is  unique for NATO: designed according to the NATO Network Enabled Capability (NNEC) tenets, it will operate, in the ever changing coalition environment, as the air functional service of the Bi-Strategic Command Automated Information System (Bi-SC AIS).

The System

The purpose of the AirC2IS system is to provide the NATO Air Operations Staff with an integrated, robust and flexible capability for the planning, analysis, monitoring and coordination of air operations. The AirC2IS capability will be used by Allied strategic and operational HQs established under the NATO Command Structure including: the Allied Command Operations, Joint Force Commands and Component Commands. It is also expected that the AirC2IS capability will be used by Combined Joint Task Force HQs, High Readiness Force HQs, Crises Response Operations forces, coalitions and other supporting activities, as authorised.

The system will also support distributed air planning and execution across all component commands. Allied Transformation Command (ACT) will use AirC2IS capabilities for transformation experimentation related to Air C2 and for training and exercise as well.

The AirC2IS is intended to operate as a fully integrated component of the NATO Bi-Strategic Command (Bi-SC) Automated Information System (AIS) and to serve as a baseline for future enhancement. The services provided by the AirC2IS are required to complement the Bi-SC AIS core services with an integrated and supported suite of Air C2 services, capable of supporting the work of Air staffs at all static and deployable Command Facilities of the NATO Command Structure.

AirC2IS will be NATO’s first Network Enabled Capability by design.It will be a system that is forward looking and will equip the operational users to face the changing NATO environment and security challenges. This modern implementation will set a benchmark for future NATO Bi-SC AIS Functional Services.The project will deliver a key component of the NATO active layered theatre ballistic missile defence (ALTBMD) Initial Operational Capability and provide a foundation which may be leveraged in the future for Missile Defence.

In accordance with the NATO AirC2IS Capability Package, the project is implemented based on a Spiral Development approach that will be executed in three increments to complete the AirC2IS capability. Each increment should provide an integral, usable, and operationally-fielded capability. The AirC2IS Increment 1 (AirC2IS-1) capability is also envisioned to expose those services and products needed by other Bi-SC AIS functional areas, such as the Air Operations Directive (AOD), Air Space Control Order (ACO), Recognized Air Picture, and reporting of air order of battle information.
The initial AirC2IS baseline is scheduled to be piloted at two operational sites in the fourth quarter of 2012, andd an initial operational capability, installed at all sites, is expected by second quarter 2013.

The signature ceremony for the Air C2IS contract was held on last January 2001, between NC3A and Siemens IT Solutions and Services Turkey.

Reference: NC3A (1,2)

Thales' SelTrac Communications-Based Train Control system

News Report

As announced in a recent press release, Thales has opened the last phase of Mecca’s new 18.5 km metro line on schedule and in time for the Hajj pilgrimage, the world’s largest religious gathering. Thus, the line transports pilgrims between holy sites, reducing travel time between Arafat and Muzdalifah from five hours to just ten minutes.

The Automatic Train Operation system for the Mecca metro improves performance by allowing “hands off” operation by drivers. The solution ensures that trains comply with required track speeds and operating conditions to ensure efficient, safe travel at all times.

Thales has provided a complete solution for the Mecca metro project, including signalling solutions based on its SelTrac Communications-Based Train Control system (CBTC) , fully integrated communications, an Operation Control Centre (OCC) to supervise the line and an automated passenger information system.

The System

With the constant pressure to minimize operating costs and the need to bring system improvements on line faster, many transit operators are preferring the flexibility that communications-based train control technology provides. Answering the call for modern signalling, Thales' SelTrac CBTC offers the opportunity to enhance performance and safety and lower life-cycle costs. SelTrac systems are installed on transit networks around the world.

From fully automated, integrated solutions to upgradeable solutions and overlay re-signalling techniques to reach beyond the limitations of conventional fixed-block designs, SelTrac system solutions readily meet the needs to move more people more quickly and increase revenue potential.

With built-in flexibility, SelTrac addresses the diverse requirements of operators needing basic Automatic Train Protection (ATP), cab-signalling, or CBTC-based operations.


"After managing the security supervision of the holy sites, Thales is very proud to have contributed once again to the improvement of the pilgrimage with this automatic metro,” said Michelangelo Neri, VP for Thales’s civil business in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “The new transportation system developed for the Mecca metro combines all the latest signalling and communications technologies.”

References: Thales (1,2)

GEOS-15 satellite is ready to provide improved weather forecasts and environmental intelligence

News Report

As announced in a recent press release from ITT Exelis, the new generation of weather and environmental satellites, GOES-15, officially became operational as GOES-West on Dec. 13, 2011. As a result, communities across the Western United States and Pacific region will begin to benefit from improved weather forecasts and environmental intelligence.

ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems, an operating division of ITT Exelis , designed and built the imager and sounder instruments flying on board GOES-15 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in cooperation with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.  In addition to producing the familiar weather pictures on U.S. newscasts, these instruments will enable GOES-15 to provide early warnings of severe weather conditions like tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes and hail storms.

The System

GOES systems (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites) provide meteorologists with nearly continuous images as well as temperature and moisture data, enabling more accurate weather forecasts. GOES data is also used for climate-weather prediction models; ocean temperature; charting ice; snow and glacier mapping; land temperature measurement; and monitoring agricultural crop conditions.

GOES has become the backbone for the U.S. civil early warning weather system. With ITT's Imager's multi-spectral design and increased sensitivity it can detect temperature fluctuations; variation in low-level moisture; track hurricanes from their inception as tropical storms; track tornadoes and other severe storms; and alert residents as high-velocity winds approach land. In compiling such data, meteorologists are able to issue warnings and advisories long before they take their effect.

The Context

For 12 years, GOES-11, one of NOAA's geostationary satellites, tracked weather and severe storms that impacted the U.S. West Coast, Hawaii and the Pacific region.  On last December 6th, NOAA began the process to deactivate the satellite, which is approaching the end of its useful life, and replace it with a new, more advanced spacecraft. Launched May 3rd, 2000, GOES-11 was originally planned for a five-year mission, but lasted nearly seven years longer.

The new geostationary satellite, GOES-15, has taken the place of GOES-11 and now becomes NOAA’s GOES West spacecraft in a fixed orbit over the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and the West Coast and 22,300 miles above the equator. GOES-15 provides more data, with better resolution and image stability than GOES-11. GOES-15 joins NOAA’s other operational geostationary satellite, GOES-13, which serves as the GOES East spacecraft. The GOES are not only used for weather applications, but also track space weather, oceanographic changes, forest fires and other hazards and provide scientific data collection and information for search and rescue operations.

GOES-15 was launched March 4, 2010. After reaching geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the U.S. and prior to being activated, the satellite underwent six months of extensive post-launch testing before being parked in on-orbit storage.

NOAA is planning the next generation of geostationary satellites, called GOES-R, with the first set to launch in 2015. GOES-R is expected to more than double the clarity of today’s GOES imagery and provide more atmospheric observations than current capabilities with more frequent images. In addition, data from GOES-R instruments will be used to create many different products NOAA meteorologists and others will use to monitor the atmosphere, land, ocean and the sun.

This next-generation environmental satellite will include the most advanced meteorological imaging instrument ever built for operational weather forecasting, the ITT's Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). ABI will monitor three times the number of atmospheric conditions currently measured and will produce images that can discern objects as small as one-half a kilometer. ABI is also much faster, updating data every 30 seconds versus the current rate of 7.5 minutes. At that speed, ABI can create a full-earth image in five minutes versus 30 minutes for the current imagers. ABI also will zoom in and track a single storm while simultaneously collecting continent-wide data and imagery. All these improvements add up to faster and more accurate forecasts, improved hazardous- weather tracking and increased capability to study and monitor climate change.


Providing timely access to environmental intelligence is critical to protecting lives, property and infrastructure,” said Rob Mitrevski, vice president, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance programs at ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems. “The satellite instruments built by ITT Exelis continue to be an integral part of our nation’s weather forecast ability, enabling our country to see and solve some of the toughest environmental challenges.

References: ITT Exelis (1,2), NOAA (3)

December 15, 2011

Learning to Hack

An interesting article is available on National Defence Magazine, addressing the shortage of personnel skilled enough to protect critical government and military networks against cyber attacks and cyber incidents. In order to overcome the problem, the U.S. Defense Department is looking at recruiting Internet security experts from military academies, and then putting these young men and women in pertinent roles when they enter their respective services.
We’ve been doing this longer than the Army has thought it important,” said Lt. Col. David Raymond, who teaches a senior cybersecurity capstone course at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. About 30 information technology, computer science and electrical engineering majors take the course each year. “But very few of these guys go into cybersecurity positions,” Raymond said. “The Army is just now trying to figure out what the right career path is for someone who graduates with a cybersecurity focus. That may be changing in the near future,” he said. Officials at U.S. Army Cyber Command are investigating if there should be a branch or functional area that allows the service to take a newly minted lieutenant with a suitable background and place him in a cybersecurity role immediately, he explained.
From a classroom on their Annapolis campus, a group of freshmen “plebes” and their professor recently sniffed out open computer ports around the world to take control of webcams, moving them around and peering into lives of strangers thousands of miles away. Far from a primer on voyeurism, these students were being taught a lesson about the dangers of the Internet and how keeping a port open is like leaving a backdoor unlocked for a burglar. If they want to learn how to protect critical networks, these future sailors and Marines have to know what it takes to bring them down, said their instructor Navy Capt. Steven “Doc” Simon.
These kids grew up with smartphones and computers in their houses. One school of thought says we aren’t going to be able to teach these kids anything, because they know it all already,” Simon said. “What we came to find out was these guys are outstanding computer users. They know Facebook, they know Google, they can do stuff with their phones . . . But they don’t really know, with the exception of a very small number, what’s going on behind the curtain.
Read the Full Story

U.S. Army completes key operational tests of General Dynamics' Rifleman Radio

News Report

We have already highlighted the importance of U.S. Army's Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs) as an effective process to integrate and mature the U.S. Army’s tactical network, as well as to evaluate deliberate and rapid acquisition solutions (NIE has been selected as one of the key C4I trends of the last months).

In such context, we report a recent press release from General Dynamics which announces that the JTRS HMS AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radio completed its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation during the U.S. Army’s recently concluded NIE 12.1 at Fort Bliss, Texas. Members of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD) evaluated the AN/PRC-154 Rifleman radio in a variety of tactical exercises that included convoy operations, reconnaissance, counterinsurgency and medical evacuation missions.

The Rifleman radio, one of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) family of radios, is the first JTRS radio to use the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) to enable secure networked communications among platoon, squad and team-level soldiers and their leaders. The Initial Operational Test and Evaluation is the last formal test required by the military before the radios enter full-rate production.

During the NIE exercise, soldiers used the radios in conjunction with handheld devices running Joint Battle Command-Platform software, i.e. the future version of the U.S. Army's friendly force tracking and messaging system, which also allows users to plot hazards and enemy locations on a digital map. Plugged into the Rifleman Radio, these devices provided mission command and situational awareness information down to soldiers at the tactical edge.

During the test, the Army captured data on the radio's performance in two ways: through instrumentation on the systems themselves, and through human data collectors who accompanied soldiers throughout their missions. U.S. Army will evaluate those test results during the coming months, as it finalizes the makeup of its network Capability Set 13, which will begin fielding to up to eight brigade combat teams in fiscal year 2013.

The System

General Dynamics' Rifleman Radio delivers networking connectivity to the frontline soldier in a lightweight, ruggedized, body worn device. The radio transmits voice and data simultaneously utilizing the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW), which operates in the 1.755-1.850 GHZ frequency range and supports digital 16 KBPS voice and data at 1 MBPS.

SRW represents a networking waveform capable to perform in a complex military environment, in the presence of adversarial threats, and providing a secure high-bandwidth communications link specifically designed for platforms that are small, light, don’t consume much power and use low-profile antennas.

The AN/PRC-154 is body worn, minimizing the warfighter’s combat load while increasing functionality. Designed to bring secure (Type 2) inter-squad communications to any warfighter on the tactical edge of the battlefield, this radio also enables Team and Squad Leaders to track individual soldier GPS locations. This radio connects every warfighter to the combat network, emphasizing safety and enabling enhanced situational awareness and better decisions at the very edge of the battlefield.

The software-programmable AN/PRC-154 radios, which can use encryption to safeguard information, are built to send Internet Protocol packets of data, voice, video and images via multiple waveforms between static command centers, vehicles on the move, and dismounted individual soldiers on patrol. The JTRS waveforms, SRW and the Wideband Networking Waveform, known as WNW, are integrated with the satellite communications backbone of the Army network, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, to transmit that information on the upper tactical internet.

The Context

The Rifleman Radio is part of the JTRS Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit, or simply JTRS HMS, family of radios.

JTRS HMS is a materiel solution meeting the requirements to support U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Navy communication needs.

In June 2011, the JTRS HMS program achieved a Milestone C decision, enabling the Low Rate Initial Production of 6,250 AN/PRC-154 Rifleman and 100 AN/PRC-155 Manpack radios. JTRS HMS radios take full advantage of the government’s library of waveforms, including the Soldier Radio Waveform, and in the future, the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) and Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) critical to communicating on the U.S. Army’s emerging tactical communications network.

The Embedded Small Form Fit versions of HMS will be used for Joint Service Ground Sensor Networks, Intelligent Munitions deployment and usage, Unmanned Vehicles and other platform applications, including support for the Early-Infantry Brigade Combat Team technical performance and integration.

General Dynamics C4 Systems is prime contractor for the JTRS HMS program. The JTRS HMS team includes BAE Systems, Rockwell Collins, and Thales Communications.

The results of the tests on the Rifleman Radio should now dissolve the questions of a possible affect of the JTRS GMR program termination on the JTRS HMS program. As already discussed, large cost overruns and numerous schedule delays forced the U.S. Army to cancel the JTRS Ground Mobile Radio system. The GMR program has been terminated on last October in line with the Nunn-McCurdy statute, which calls for a program's termination once unit-procurement costs exceed the original estimate by 25 percent unless it is deemed essential to national security.


We’re getting great feedback from soldiers who prefer the Rifleman radio, rather than lugging bulky wideband handheld radios that require extra batteries,” said Chris Brady, vice president of Assured Communications for General Dynamics C4 Systems. “With the Rifleman Radio, soldiers can connect their cell phone or computer and join the network—anywhere they fight.

"I use it for overall command and control because it builds a network that allows me to talk to my subordinate elements," said Capt. Ryan McNally, company commander with the 2/1 AD. "It's the first time I've actually had radios down at the squad level. So my dismounted riflemen, they all have the radio as well. It allows them to talk to their team leaders when they're spread out, and also allows them to talk to the squad leader."

"No matter what kind of organization you're running, if you have dismounts who are going to be on the ground you like to be able to see where your personnel are," said 2nd Lt. Travis V. Mount, 2/1 AD platoon leader, speaking about the capability of the Rifleman Radio to show the positions of his troops, which allowed him to save time by immediately adapting and executing his plans rather than tracking down personnel first. "If all I need is information on their position, I don't have to go through an intermediary. I can on the spot adapt my plan."

"Instead of having to go to the tactical operations center at the end of the day to download the information on the events and observations, I can either (do it in) real time or when I have a lull in the mission," Mount said. "I can just plug it in right there."

Further Readings
  • Joint Tactical Radio System HMS (pdf)

References: General Dynamics (1,2), JITC (3), Defense Systems (4), DVIDS (5), JPEOJTRS(6)

Secure Cross Domain Data Transfers with Raytheon's High Speed Guard

News Report

As announced in a recent press release, Rayheon's High Speed Guard cross domain technology (HSG) is now commercially available as an off-the-shelf product. High Speed Guard, previously offered as a service, has been on the U.S. Department of Defense's Unified Cross Domain Management Office baseline list of approved solutions since May of 2010.

The new HSG 3.0.3 release lowers data center maintenance cost and improves monitoring by enabling consolidated network management. Previously, customers would pay for each additional feature that was added to the product. Now, through commercialization of HSG, customers can benefit from product enhancements at no charge as part of a standard maintenance agreement. Another advantage of commercialization is that HSG will no longer be sold as an appliance. This allows customers' freedom of choice in selecting a hardware platform on which to run HSG

The Technology

The sharing and movement of data from a wide variety of sources is essential to the rapid, accurate, and precise execution of almost all applications. Modern military, intelligence, and law enforcement operations, in particular, critically depend on a timely sharing of information. Data collected at higher security levels is typically processed into intelligence meant to be shared at lower security levels, including releasable data for coalition partners. Command and control systems in the field require automated access to higher security level tasking and reporting systems.

Unfortunately, the persistent threat of cyber attack, penetration, and data loss requires that only the most secure methods are utilized to allow information sharing and transfer.

Cross domain solutions provide the ability to manually or automatically access or transfer between two or more differing security domains and thus enable transfer of information among incompatible security domains or levels of classification. Current security policies require a trusted entity to independently validate data being moved between top secret, secret, releasable and unclassified networks. These products are commonly known as trusted guards, high assurance guards, or just guards. Guards typically function as proxies, providing network separation between the two systems being connected.

High Speed Guard™ (HSG) is an accredited software solution that enables highly complex, bi-directional, automated data transfers between multiple domains. HSG has demonstrated the fastest bi-directional transfer rates of more than 9 gigabits per second (Gb/s) on dual processor commodity servers, running a hardened Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® operating system with a strict Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) policy.

HSG supports a wide variety of data transfer scenarios through the use of flexible transfer mechanisms and extensive data support. These include web services, flow real-time Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG2 and MPEG4) video, transfer imagery of multiple formats, imagery metadata files, eXtensible Markup Language (XML), inter-system messaging, Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) data, and a wide variety of proprietary data formats.

Multiple accredited transfer mechanisms provide a variety of fixed security protections and secure transfer methods. These mechanisms include:
  • Streaming Video. High-Speed Guard enables real-time video streaming while providing unparalleled control and auditing of video streams through its MPEG2 parsing capability. This validates key metadata fields, including classification and release caveats. The High-Speed Guard provides the same validation capability for video clip files.
  • Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Web Services. High-Speed Guard includes built-in support forWeb services utilizing HTTP. In addition to providing complete inspection of all HTTP headers, the XML parsing capabilities provide full validation support for SOAP based services. Complete support is also provided for SOAP attachments, enabling product retrieval services with multi-gigabyte payloads, while enforcing complete data inspection routines.
  • High Performance Transfer. High-Speed Guard delivers data transactions through simultaneous, bi-directional information transfers using separate transmission sockets. This allows it to sustain rates of more than 9Gb/s on two CPU commodity commercial off-the-shelf servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 with a Strict SELinux policy.
  • Automated Secure Transfer (AST). High-Speed Guard supports file “drop box” transfers utilizing Secure Shell’s Secure Copy or FTP. AST validates files using the same rule engine as other High-Speed Guard services, a COTS virus scanner, digital signatures, or any combination thereof. Interaction with remote systems is highly customizable, including the mechanism used to indicate files are ready for transfer. Failed files can automatically be re-directed to a HRM. AST supports a “one-to-many” capability for copying files to multiple destinations in a single transaction.
High Speed Guard is deployed with an audit configuration that meets standard requirements across the cross domain community. Each deployment is enhanced with auditing specific to the data flows and security policies for that deployment. This unique auditing is driven by the Rule Engine, permitting the security policy to send any data deemed appropriate to the audit trail at any time. HSG supports local and remote log consolidation of the standard operating system syslog, binary auditing, and data transfer logging. All log and audit data is actively collected, parsed and reduced for immediate administrator notification of security eventsƒ.

High Speed Guard is engineered to satisfy cross domain security requirements for Top Secret/SCI and Below Interoperability (TSABI) and Secret and Below Interoperability (SABI) C&A processes. Multiple customers, including NGA, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and several classified customers have deployed HSG and received accreditation under Director of Central Intelligence Directive (DCID) 6/3, National Institute of 800-53 and 8500.2 security controls.

The Context

High-Speed Guard received its first certification and accreditation in 1998. Since then, it has been fielded to the National Geospatial - Intelligence Agency, Air Force and several other agencies that require critical infrastructures that guard U.S. classified information.

In 2002, High-Speed Guard became certified against Director of Central Intelligence Directive 6/3, Protection Level 4 - Integrity and Availability High, and Appendix E requirements.

In 2010, High-Speed Guard was added to the Unified Cross Domain Management Office (UCDMO) Baseline. UCDMO is the U.S. DoD office that provides centralized coordination and oversight of all cross domain initiatives across the U.S. DoD and the Intelligence Community.


"The commercialization of HSG provides significant advantages to customers," stated Ed Hammersla, chief operating officer for Raytheon Trusted Computer Solutions. "Now they can purchase a product license and maintenance contract and will receive all new product enhancements as well as customer support."

References: Raytheon (1,2,3,4), UCDMO (5)

Evolving Satellite Ground Systems into Smartphone Applications

News Report

As reported in a recent press release, Lockheed Martin has signed a three-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Air Force’s Space Development and Test Directorate and Air Force Research Laboratory to improve the operation and affordability of satellite command and control.

Lockheed Martin will leverage its best engineering technologies from across U.S. DoD, Intelligence, and Civil programs to meet the challenges of operationally responsive ground system configuration to achieve “lights out” operations.  Additionally, Lockheed Martin is scaling its ground station from a Space Operations Center down to a single laptop, and instantiating a ground system remotely from its host hardware (micro-cloud computing architecture), all while supporting multiple concurrent classified missions.

The project will culminate with live demonstrations in the Multi-Mission Satellite Operations Center (MMSOC) at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., late this year, 2012, and 2013. As the leader in USAF ground systems R&D, the Space Development and Test Directorate will provide access to space missions and the MMSOC for live experimentation. The Directorate will help guide the investigations, provide system configuration and flight operations support to experiments, and assess the potential technologies on behalf of the DoD.


This agreement is a first step in opening up our architecture to the best ground station technologies in the private and civil sectors.” said Colonel John Anttonen, Chief of the Space Test and Operations Division at Kirtland AFB. “We are bringing the smartphone concept to our next generation ground systems where satellites are flown as apps and new technology can be rapidly inserted.

Under the agreement, the parties are working to research, develop, demonstrate, and evaluate successful technologies to more quickly and affordably configure and autonomously operate satellite command and control systems,” said Bob Kramer, Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense vice president for Operational Systems and Services. “We look forward to working with the Air Force on this important operationally-responsive C2 project.

References: Lockheed Martin (1)

December 14, 2011

C4I Quarterly Trends, Reader's Choice and Editor's Pick

Within this entry, you'll find which news and reports got the highest level of attention during the last three months, organized in three separate charts.
The analysis of the posts published in this blog over the past three months has highlighted the following topics as real "trends" in the domain of C4I:
  1. The U.S. Network Integration Evaluation (NIE). The NIEs are a series of field exercises designed to integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network, as well as to evaluate deliberate and rapid acquisition solutions. Soldier feedback and test results from the NIEs are directly shaping the makeup of the U.S. Army's network Capability Set 13, which will begin fielding in fiscal year 2013 to up to eight brigade combat teams. Several reports on the last NIE (NIE 12.1) appeared on this blog in the last months, discussing the results of the experimentations in different technological areas: Network Integration Evaluation 12.1, U.S. Army concludes the NIE 12.1, The U.S. Army's assessment of Company Level network-centric capabilities, Network Management in Modern U.S. Army's Military Operations.
  2. Advances in manned to unmanned systems integrationAn increasing family of programs and activities are dedicated on improving the level of integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems within military C4I architectures, as witnessed by the high number of entries that appeared in this blog in the last three months, such as: U.S. Navy demonstrates UAV to Weapons interoperability through a Service Oriented Architecture, Manned to Unmanned, Contract Award: Northrop Grumman to add Tactical Data Link technology on U.S. Army's "Hunter", Harris introduces multi-UAS controlling capabilities on Falcon III Radios, Controlling the drones during the battle.
  3. Cyber Defence goes on the Offensive. It is now clear that the new step in implementing an effective Cyber Defence capability requires the development of proper tools, procedures and legal frameworks for allowing offensive moves in cyberspace. This topic has been discussed in a number of posts, including: Finland's Cyber Strategy goes on the Offensive, U.S. Army's updated Information Operations Primer focuses on Cyber, U.S. Army's Cyber Brigade.
  4. Superior Quality Location Intelligence. Knowledge of the terrain over which military operations will be conducted is an essential prerequisite for their success, and as a matter of fact Armed Forces and Government Agencies are acquiring the best technologies to gather, process and distribute geographical information. Here are some of the most interesting posts on this topic: Contract Award: Thales and EADS to enhance the French Armed Forces' geographic database system, Contract Award: GeoEye to provide Web Hosting Services for US National Gospatial Intelligence Agency, SAIC unveils GeoRover Mobile software solution, RemoteView: Textron's imagery and geospatial analysis software.

The following chart presents the entries that catched the highest level of attention by the readers of this blog.
  1. Contract Award: Thales and EADS to enhance the French Armed Forces' geographic database system. On last November, the French geographic Institute IGN (Institut Géographique National), acting as the contracting authority on behalf of the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) of the French Ministry of Defence, has contracted Thales and Cassidian to carry out the second phase of the TopoBase Défense Operation. The goal of this operation is to produce data to feed into defence geographical databases.
  2. Contract Award: US AOC Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System goes SOA. On last October, Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract for the design, development, test, and deployment of Increment 10.2, modernization of the Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System. Increment 10.2 is intended to bring net-centric capabilities to the Geographic Air and Space Operations Center Weapons Systems, thereby allowing data to flow seamlessly across various platforms and process workflows rather than being locked in separate information technology system “silos” to be accessed and retransmitted by humans, as is the process today.
  3. Project Review: the Afghan Mission Network. On the battlefields of Afghanistan, the Afghan Mission Network has transformed the way Coalition Commanders share information. Independent discussions and planning efforts between separate Commanders of different nations have been replaced by data sharing across the network.
  4. The UK Cyber Security Strategy. After a couple of postponements, on last November the UK Government has finally published its Cyber Security Strategy, which details UK plans to secure critical infrastructure and improve the country’s cyber-defenses to protect national security and citizens from multiple cyber-threats. The UK government classified cyber-security as a "tier one" national security priority in 2010 and set aside 650 million pounds over the next four years to be used for cyber-defense.
  5. Exercise SUDARSHAN SHAKTI: Indian Army's biggest war game to date. On last November sixty thousand troops and 300 tanks of the Indian Armed Forces (IAF) participated in the exercise codenamed 'Sudarshan Shakti', aimed at strengthening war fighting skills of army's Southern Command and IAF's South Western Air Command by bringing together all elements including air power on one single platform.  In this overall effort, Network Centric Warfare (NCW) was one of the crucial aspects being validated.

And finally, here there is the list of the five most interesting posts as selected by the editor of this blog.

  1. Discussing the JTRS GMR "graceful termination". Large cost overruns and numerous schedule delays forced the US Army's hand in canceling the JTRS Ground Mobile Radio system. The US Army now plans to conduct a full and open competition early next year for a lower-cost alternative, said Major Christopher Kasker, a US Army spokesman. US Army spokesmans also reiterated that the backbone of the Army's networking strategy will be the waveforms and not the specific hardware transmitting them.
  2. NATO approves Air Command and Control System Factory System TestsThe NATO Air Command And Control System (ACCS) is intended to combine, and automate, at the tactical level the planning and tasking and execution of all air operations. When operational, the ACCS will provide a unified air command and control system, enabling NATO’s European nations (including new Alliance members) to seamlessly manage all types of air operations over their territory, and beyond. On last September, ThalesRaytheonSystems has received approval from the NATO Air Command and Control System Management Agency (NACMA) for successfully completing the NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS) Factory System Test.
  3. Forza NEC moves on. Italian Land Forces have recently completed a set of trials and exercitations aimed at evaluating the achieved level of interoperability among the newly developed units of the Forza NEC digitalized Brigade. During the exercises, all the key C4I components of the Forza NEC architecture were interconnected at both the operational and tactical level and allowed the creation of a Joint Common Situation Awareness to be exploited by ground, naval and air forces.
  4. Planned Acquisition: Norwegian Defence to purchase Thales' Digitised Soldier System. The Norwegian Defence has led a comprehensive program on forming the future Norwegian soldier solution in close collaboration with operational forces and Norwegian defence industry. The key program, NORMANS, has been through a 10 year process of iterative development, where Thales Norway has led the industrialisation of NORMANS digitised soldier system with Teleplan Globe as partner. Norwegian Defence has documented significant improvement in operational effectiveness and increased safety for the soldier with NORMANS compared to the current solution which is based on paper maps and hand held GPS.
  5. The U.S. Air-Sea Battle Office. The U.S. Department of Defense announced last week the creation of a new office to integrate air and naval combat capabilities in support of emerging national security requirements, named the Air-Sea Battle Office (ASBO). The Air-Sea Battle concept will guide the services as they work together to maintain a continued U.S. advantage against the global proliferation of advanced military technologies and A2/AD capabilities (anti-access/area denial). Air-Sea Battle will leverage military and technological capabilities that reflect unprecedented Navy, Marine and Air Force collaboration, cooperation, integration, and resource investments.
All of you are now invited to provide your comments and feedbacks on the above charts and selections. You can comment this post or, alternatively, you are encouraged to contact the editor by following the link that is specified on top of the right column. Keep in touch!!