October 28, 2011
As reported by the US Department of Defense, Northrop Grumman is being awarded an $119,715,682 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.
Increment 10.2 capabilities will be fielded to the Geographic Air and Space Operations Centers; a help desk at Langley Air Force Base, Va.; and the Formal Training Unit at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
In addition, the modernization contractor will be responsible for maintaining interoperability and sustainment of the Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System baseline, to include site-specific tailoring. The primary location of performance is Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Herndon, Va.
The US Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System (AOC WS) is the US Joint Force Air Component Commander's (JFACC) primary node for commanding air and space power.
The AOC is the weapon system (personnel, capabilities and equipment) through which the JFACC exercises command and control of aerospace forces. It is the senior element of the Theater Air Control System (TACS).
The JFACC employs the AOC Weapon System (AOC WS) to maneuver and mass overwhelming air and space power through centralized control and decentralized execution to produce desired operational and strategic effects in support of the Joint Force Commander's (JFC) campaign. The AOC is the air and space operations planning, execution, and assessment system for the JFACC. The AOC develops the air and space operations strategy and planning documents to meet JFACC objectives and guidance. The AOC tasks and executes day-to-day air and space operations and provides rapid reaction, positive control, coordination, and de-confliction of weapons systems.
The AOC Weapon System program is aimed at minimizing information technology footprint and integrate more than 40 independent programs into a common computing infrastructure. The program will optimize a net-centric implementation for centralized command and control (C2) and decentralized execution.
The AOC WS Increment 10.2 is focused on implementing a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) that features flexibility, interoperability, and efficiency. "We're looking to have a single computing environment for the AOC Weapon System," said Lt. Col. John Barrette, AOC WS 10.2 program manager, on last March. "Right now, there are lots of servers and workstations and not enough machine-to-machine integration. We want to implement an SOA, a services-oriented architecture, to improve the capabilities of the AOC." Integrating mission services and data into a single computing environment will improve those abilities and also bring other benefits, according to Colonel Barrette.
Today, each geographic AOC supports one theater joint forces air component commander in planning and executing the kill chain -- find, fix, track, target, engage and assess -- for the air war. Additionally, the AOC WS is composed principally of a collection of stand-alone systems. When a new capability needs to be added, or a legacy system upgraded, it can take from 12 to 18 months to field. It also is becoming more expensive to keep legacy systems operational.
"What's in the field today has been very successful for planning and executing major theater wars," Colonel Barrette said. "From a warfighter perspective, this AOC modernization will improve the operators' ability to effectively support dynamic planning for irregular warfare or counterinsurgency operations. With this RFP, we're trying to be responsive to the evolving missions of the AOC."
"My vision is to make the AOC Weapon System work for the warfighter, not vice versa," he said.
Under the awarded contract, Northrop Grumman will become the sustainment contractor for the AOC WS 10.1 baseline. The current contract for this work expired in September. Second, Northrop Grumman will need to design and prototype the common computing environment, the SOA, and be able to demonstrate integration of capabilities into that environment for the AOC WS 10.2.
References: US DoD (1), US Air Force (2)
As reported by SpaceWar and other news sources, Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated advanced technologies for ground vehicle protection and situational awareness at the Camp Roberts range. In one of the test scenarios, Northrop Grumman simulated a typical convoy mission leaving a Forward Operating Base. By using the company's Smart Integrated Vehicle Area Network (SiVAN) and vehicle-mounted sensors, crews in multiple vehicles maintained situational awareness with each other and the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) under all weather conditions.
Connected to a wireless mesh network, the systems shared target information with other networked sensors and with the TOC. Operators were able to view imagery from several sensors, Northrop said.
SiVAN is a highly survivable information network that ties current disparate technologies together into one integrated infrastructure. An infrastructure that ultimately serves as the foundation for adding all future capabilities. SiVAN operates as an open systems architecture that integrates zero configuration standards to create true plug-and-play capability.
SiVAN provides a self-forming information link between devices, local area dismounts, UAVs, and any other platform allowing them all to seamlessly interoperate.
SiVAN consists of a Smart display, an Ethernet cable, and device interfaces. Scalable and modular, SiVAN is compliant with the VICTORY architecture (Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/Electronic Warfare Interoperability), i.e. the US Army effort to develop, validate, demonstrate and maintain a set of open standards for the integration of C4ISR and related items of equipments on Army platforms.
The goals of VICTORY are to facilitate a decrease in Size, Weight, and Power requirements (SWaP) , improve technology transition and provide evolutionary growth in capabilities. VICTORY standards are developed in cooperation with industry and are open to support multi-vendor implementation. It is the intent for these standards to be used in a large number of future acquisition programs.
Other systems integrated and tested during the Camp Roberts' exercise included fire control systems, targeting systems, radar, unattended ground sensors, acoustic sensors and survivability equipment. Northrop Grumman's Rotorcraft Avionics Innovation Laboratory performed the rapid integrations.
"Military convoys are vital for resupply and force mobility in theater, but they face a number of significant threats. Improving their safety was one of the goals of our testing at Camp Roberts," said Kay Burch, vice president of communications, intelligence and networking solutions for Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems Division. "The digital interoperability we demonstrated here will improve warfighters' situational awareness by giving them greater access to the information they need, when they need it."
References: SpaceWar (1)
As announced in a recent press release, Alion Science and Technology, an employee-owned technology solutions company, has won three task orders totaling $8.6 million to continue support to the US Army Headquarters Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7 and G-8 in assessing, validating and prioritizing current and future warfighting capabilities, as well as the Army’s Battle Command Simulation and Experimentation office. Alion’s work will bolster the US Army’s efforts to expand and enhance LandWarNet, which connects literally every Army information system and electronic process, to deliver essential mission command capabilities that provide optimal return on investment.
Alion will provide subject matter experts to assist the US Army with prioritizing, integrating and mitigating LandWarNet and mission command capabilities. This will better enable US Army to make short-, mid-range and long-term decisions that impact funding, development and warfighter capabilities. Alion will also help in delivering a fully trained Army modeling and simulation (M&S) community that best meets US Army’s warfighting needs by supplying trained M&S professionals.
The Context (LandWarNet and the GIG)
LandWarNet started as a media campaign to identify the US Army's overall network strategy for the future force. The US Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Futures Center created LandWarNet as a concept and strategy so that it would be recognized in the Joint services community.
LandWarNet started off as TRADOC's operational and tactical network requirements for the future warfighter. Bringing together all those capabilities under one name, LandWarNet, helps funnel those into one view. LandWarNet integrates all the disparate efforts into one network. One giant system, with all these many pieces, come together in LandWarNet.
LandWarNet links information capabilities that enable warfighters to perform their missions. Through the validation, prioritization, analysis, simulation and integration of combat capabilities, resources are used to US Army’s best advantage, to save time and money and provide warfighters with ever-improving capabilities.
The idea behind LandWarNet is how to best support the warfighter, the Soldier. It will give Soldiers the ability to reach up and grab that information they need. LandWarNet brings together the Active and Reserve Components and connects them into the Global Information Grid (GIG), i.e. the globally interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities, associated processes, and personnel necessary to collect, process, store, disseminate, and manage information on demand for users. The GIG includes all owned and leased communications and computing systems and services, software (including applications), data, security services, and other associated services necessary to achieve information superiority.
LandWarNet is the infrastructure and services that comprise the US Army’s portion of the GIG. For strategic oversight, the development of LandWarNet has been divided into two strategic initiatives:
- developing the LandWarNet institutional infrastructure, which encompasses the network, applications, and information technology (IT) processes that support Army institutions (the generating force)
- developing LandWarNet operational capabilities, which includes network capabilities, applications, and processes that directly support the operating force.
October 27, 2011
An interesting report appeared recently on army-technology.com, which summarizes the latest technology used by high security, defence companies and the military to safeguard against increasingly hostile cyber attacks.
Here we reproduce a few excerpts.
Defence contractors and the military are charged with keeping national military secrets safe and are expected to employ the highest levels of security on their networks and computer systems.
When these defences are breached, it implies cyber attacks by hackers or enemy states have defeated security systems which failed to stay a step ahead. This made it particularly shocking when cyber attacks against supposedly secure sites made headlines over the last few months, with three particularly notable incidents:
- In May 2011, Lockheed Martin was subject to a significant cyber attack, widely held to have originated in China. The company said its security team had identified the threat immediately and ensured none of its systems had been compromised.
- Japanese defence giant Mitsubishi Heavy industries did not come off so lightly when its systems were breached in August. The company denied any data was taken, but a source close to the incident told media that one of 300,000 illegal accesses to the company's server resulted in the transmission of a large volume of data, suspected to concern the Type 80 ASM-1 missile.
- In a third incident in October, a computer virus which records every keystroke made by operators was detected in the ground control systems (GCS) used by operators to remotely control armed drones on overseas missions. The attack hit Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, from which pilots control armed Predator and Reaper drones which have been used in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Libya.
It is clear that no level of cybersecurity technology solutions will be 100% effective without taking into account the human factor through screening and training. In a worst-case scenario, without taking into account the human factor, impenetrable cybersecurity technology could prompt adversaries to approach individuals in the workforce to be an insider threat.
Read the Full Story at army-technology.com
A recent report from GAO (United States Government Accountability Office) discusses the US Department of the Army’s recent initiatives to acquire ground-based combat and tactical vehicles and an information network capability.
In the wake of the June 2009 decision to cancel the Future Combat System, which included a new class of manned ground vehicles anchored by an advanced information network, the US Army began developing plans for a new Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) and an incremental tactical network capability.
But today the US Army continues to struggle to define and implement a variety of modernization initiatives since the Future Combat System program was terminated in 2009. The most recent example of this is the termination of the ground mobile radio (more info here), which will require the US Army to develop new plans for relaying information to the soldier.
These are some excerpts from GAO's report:
"US Army has taken a number of steps to put together a more realistic strategy to develop and field an information network for its deployed forces than the network envisioned for the Future Combat System program. However, the US Army is proceeding without defining requirements for the network and articulating clearly defined capabilities. As a result, the US Army runs the risk of developing a number of stovepipe capabilities that may not work together as a network, thus wasting resources"
"Under US Army's new approach, numerous programs will be developed separately and coordinated centrally, and network increments will be integrated and demonstrated in advance of fielding rather than the previous practice of ad hoc development and integration in the field" (more info here)
"The network integration evaluation provided an extensive amount of data and knowledge on the current Army network and candidate systems for the network. However, since the network integration evaluation serves as an evaluation instrument, it is important to have test protocols that capture objective measures and data on the network’s performance. Two independent Army test oversight agencies, reflecting on the evaluation results, expressed concern over not having proper instrumentation for the overall evaluations; in particular, not having the necessary instrumentation to conduct operational tests on large integrated networks and not having clear network requirements."
Read the full report here.
October 26, 2011
An interesting report appeared recently on DefenseNews, which summarizes and correlates what has been already discussed in this blog concerning the fate of JTRS radios and US Network Integration Evaluations (NIE), i.e.
The Joint Tactical Radio System's GMR stands as the latest example, but it's only one of many changes rippling through Army plans to buy its next communications systems. It started with the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE), which will launch its second iteration Oct. 31. Army acquisition officials have already heralded the exercise, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M., as "transformative" after its first run in May and June.
The inspiration for the exercise is simple: Get the network and radios into soldiers' hands earlier rather than later to see if they are useful. And soldiers test the communications network comprehensively rather than as separate parts. "It tells the Army how well it's fitting the soldiers' needs versus the engineers'," said Heidi Shyu, acting Army acquisition executive.
"We've proven that what these soldiers say matters, so it's extremely important we give them the training so they know how to use this equipment properly," said Brig. Gen. Michael Williamson, the JTRS program executive officer. "That's another benefit of the NIE. We can train them under realistic scenarios."
Read the Full Story
As reported in a recent press release, Midas Medici Group Holdings, Inc., an innovative green IT company in the fields of virtualization, cloud computing and data management, announced that its CIMCORP brand has been awarded a $1.3 million contract from the Military Police of Sao Paulo, Brazil, known locally as the Policia Militar do Estado de Sao Paulo (or "PMESP"). CIMCORP will be upgrading the Military Police's server infrastructure and enhancing its virtualization environment.
The project is a major upgrade for the Military Police and will consist of 8 brand new physical servers, provided by HP, to replace the old server cluster. These servers will be setup and run using virtualization software to provide anywhere from 400 to 500 virtual servers to run the Military Police's entire intranet environment. This intranet environment must perform a wide variety of tasks, including: operational intelligence systems, email, monitoring end-to-end services, 190 call centers (equivalent to 911 in the United States), etc. The old servers will not be discarded, but rather reused for the Military Police's internet environment, which will be run on 50 to 60 virtual servers.
The Military Police of Sao Paulo is the largest state police force in the country of Brazil, with over 100,000 personnel in its ranks, distributed across several battalions all over the state as well as within the Greater Sao Paulo region (Grande Sao Paulo) which itself comprises 40 cities and towns.
Operating in Brazil since 1988, Midas' CIMCORP brand provides and manages a complete spectrum of IT infrastructure services and solutions to commercial and government markets. CIMCORP specializes in data center services with an emphasis on complex solutions that enable Brazilian companies to virtualize and implement cloud-based systems.
"This is another major project for Midas and our CIMCORP brand in Brazil," stated Nana Baffour, CEO and Co-Founder of Midas Medici. "Due to the sensitive nature of fighting crime, the Military Police will need a state-of-the-art system with sophisticated security architecture and data storage requirements, combined to protect mission-critical data and police records. We remain committed to providing the Military Police with CIMCORP's industry recognized quality of service, and look forward to announcing additional projects with other government agencies and large businesses throughout the remainder of 2011 as our organic sales continue to increase."
"Improving our virtualized environment while adding additional security and backup capabilities are our primary objectives and that is why CIMCORP, with its highly regarded reputation in these fields, was chosen through our selection process. Although this represents our first engagement with CIMCORP, we are pleased with how smoothly our interactions have been so far and look forward to working with them on a more consistent basis as our IT upgrade project gets underway," said Marcos Botaro Xavier, Data Center Manager at PMESP in Brazil.
References: Midas Medici (1)
October 25, 2011
As reported in a recent press release, AMERICAN SYSTEMS announced the award of the Cloud Computing and IT Support Services contract by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The award was made under the ENCORE II Multiple Award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, which provides the US Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal agencies with a full range of IT solutions.
The task order is valued at $18.3 million with a one-year base period and four one-year options.
AMERICAN SYSTEMS will provide security engineering certification and accreditation (C&A), managed hosting services, operations support to Security Cooperation Enterprise Solution (SCES), and managed IT Services.
Under the terms of the contract, AMERICAN SYSTEMS will provide 24/7/365 fully managed IT infrastructure hosting using cloud technology for SCES program support, non-production, disaster recovery, and production environments, as well as additional items of supply as they are reported in the above mentioned press release.
Cloud computing, which refers to an emerging computing model where machines in large data centers can be used to deliver services in a scalable manner, has become popular for corporations in need of inexpensive, large scale computing. With cloud computing the key enterprise services are delivered over the Internet, on demand, from a remote location, rather than residing on the organization’s servers.
Recently, the United States government has begun to utilize cloud computing architectures, platforms, and applications to deliver services and meet the needs of their constituents.
More than a decade ago, US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) and the security community began efforts to upgrade US legacy case development, implementation and execution business systems. The goal was to replace the outdated systems used by Army, Navy, and Air Force security cooperation organizations. It was a significant effort that turned out to be more difficult than anyone anticipated.
In July 2008, the DSCA and the US Business Transformation Agency (BTA) partnered with each other to define, design, develop, field and implement a Security Cooperation Enterprise Solution (SCES).
The mission of SCES is to improve access and visibility of case execution data across acquisition, logistics, and financial functional areas to better manage security cooperation programs. SCES will achieve this mission by standardizing business processes, rules, and data, applying technologies that are flexible to support a changing business environment, and accessing the case execution data currently residing in the domestic systems (e.g., acquisition data) and leveraging the US DoD emerging Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
SCES focuses on Case Execution, Case Implementation until Case Reconciliation and Closure, specifically the logistics, acquisition and financial business processes and data that support Foreign Military Sales (FMS). SCES will encompass an end-to-end view of the security cooperation processes, data requirements, reporting requirements, and systems that currently support or will support the business of FMS. The resulting enterprise solution will focus on addressing the deficiencies and improving Case Execution by establishing the business standards and data necessary to support the end-to-end security cooperation process.
“We are thrilled to be selected based on our extensive experience across a broad range of IT services that provide the federal government with IT security, flexibility and availability,” said William C. Hoover, president and CEO of AMERICAN SYSTEMS. “AMERICAN SYSTEMS’ support will significantly contribute to the federal government’s efforts to move to the cloud for cost savings, flexibility, and secure performance.”
- Moving to the Cloud: An Introduction to Cloud Computing in Government (pdf)
References: American Systems (1), FBO.gov (2), DSCA's Director Blog (3)
As announced in a recent press release, AT&T and Harris are forming an alliance to develop and deliver next generation LTE wireless solutions for agencies and first responders whose lifesaving efforts depend on timely access to critical information. Together, AT&T and Harris are exploring opportunities to provide first responders with broadband and mission critical communications systems that will enable high-speed video and data solutions. Users would benefit from network agility that delivers highly-secure, highly-reliable connectivity where and when they need it.
AT&T and Harris would bring extensive experience supporting public safety and government customers, as well as expertise in broadband and mission critical network construction and integration, interoperable device manufacturing, and network service management. As a result of this alliance, public safety agencies would benefit from a unified experience driven by integration of broadband and narrowband Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks, multiple business models to fit agencies' needs and resources, seamless roaming and nationwide interoperability using AT&T's 4G network (when outside the public safety LTE network coverage area), and a broader portfolio of wireless devices and applications designed for both commercial and public safety broadband networks.
The companies will work together to deliver a set of solutions that include:
- Handheld, vehicle-mounted and peripheral LTE-compatible devices
- Mission-critical broadband applications
- Seamless access to both private and public networks for public safety agencies
- Network management, applications and support systems
- Integrated Broadband/Project 25 infrastructure and devices
LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a wireless broadband technology designed to support mobile Internet access via cell phones and handheld devices. LTE is sometimes called 4G, or fourth generation, technology.
Although there are major step changes between LTE and its 3G predecessors, it is nevertheless looked upon as an evolution of the UMTS / 3GPP 3G standards. Although it uses a different form of radio interface, using OFDMA / SC-FDMA instead of CDMA, there are many similarities with the earlier forms of 3G architecture and there is scope for much re-use.
LTE can be seen for provide a further evolution of functionality, increased speeds and general improved performance.
LTE is the fourth-generation mobile wireless technology favored by public safety. Perhaps more important to public safety is that LTE’s uplink data rates will be between 2 Mb/s and 5 Mb/s, which typically is enough bandwidth to allow the transmission of video from an incident scene. This capability will present a substantial improvement over the current land mobile radio (LMR) networks, designed primarily for voice communications, which can't meet today's need for high-speed mobile data services.
Initiated in 2004, the Long Term Evolution (LTE) project focused on enhancing the Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA) and optimizing 3GPP’s radio access architecture. Targets were to have average user throughput of three- to four-times the Release 6 HSDPA levels in the Downlink (100Mbps), and two to three times the HSUPA levels in the Uplink (50Mbps).
In 2007, the LTE of the 3rd generation radio access technology – "E UTRA" – progressed from the feasibility study stage to the first issue of approved Technical Specifications.
By the end of 2008, the specifications were sufficiently stable for commercial implementation.
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) was selected for the Downlink and Single Carrier-Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA) for the Uplink.
Many operators have not yet upgraded their basic 3G networks, and 3GPP LTE is seen as the next logical step for many operators, who will leapfrog straight from basic 3G straight to LTE as this will avoid providing several stages of upgrade. The use of LTE will also provide the data capabilities that will be required for many years and until the full launch of the full 4G standards known as LTE Advanced.
US nation's public-safety groups have recently agreed to use LTE in the 700MHz band to deliver mobile broadband applications used by police, fire and emergency medical services. By doing so, they'll be able to take advantage of wireless broadband-which is essential for support of mission-critical services that accelerate response times, improve situational awareness-to increase the safety of the public and all personnel.
Specifically, on January 2011 the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has set LTE as the data standard for a nationwide mobile broadband network for public safety agencies that's been on the table for nearly a decade. The FCC, in a unanimous vote, adopted LTE as the common interface for the network, which will use a portion of the 700MHz spectrum. U.S. lawmakers and FCC members have been calling for a nationwide mobile broadband network for police and fire departments since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US. Many of the police and fire departments responding to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. couldn't talk to each other because they weren't using the same radio equipment on the same spectrum bands.
The FCC doesn't typically pick technology standards, but in this case it was needed, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "In order to ensure nationwide interoperability for public safety communications there's widespread agreement that a common air interface is desirable and necessary to enable nationwide interoperability," he said.
"This alliance is a first step toward making next-generation technology and services available to agencies who seek competitive options," said Chris Hill, AT&T Vice President of Advanced Business Solutions. "It's the beginning of a public safety ecosystem of open devices and applications interoperable with private broadband networks, as they become available."
"Harris has extensive experience in mission-critical communications, and a legacy of bringing new technology, such as LTE to public safety and government customers," said Steve Marschilok, President of Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications. "This alliance will look to expand the choices for a growing set of solutions that can be deployed to create an advanced, mission-critical broadband experience for public safety."
References: Harris (1), AT&T (2), RadioElectronics.com (3), 3GPP (4,5), FierceWireless (6), NetworkWorld (7)
Contract Award: GeoEye to provide Web Hosting Services for US National Gospatial Intelligence Agency
As announced in a recent press release, GeoEye received two new awards worth more than $25 million for providing Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) products to the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and Boeing, respectively.
In the first of these two contracts, GeoEye will supply a significant amount of value-added commercial imagery over a large geographic area and distribute it through the Company's EnhancedView Web Hosting Service. The EnhancedView Web Hosting Service makes commercial imagery readily accessible to licensed federal customers across the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence.
As part of this new Enhanced GEOINT Delivery award, GeoEye will expand the EnhancedView Web Hosting Service to support third-party data, crisis imagery and new government portals.
GeoEye's EnhancedView Web Hosting Service (WHS) provides users with password protected, online access to unclassified, high-resolution imagery within hours of its collection. The EnhancedView WHS evolved from the NGA's Rapid Delivery of Online GEOINT (RDOG) system that began operations in April 2010. GeoEye built the EnhancedView WHS to support users across the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG). NSG members and partners have recently used the EnhancedView WHS to improve emergency response to natural disasters in Japan and USA.
Users can access imagery through Esri's ArcGIS, Google Earth and other Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant tools and automatically receive notifications when new imagery is available for their area of interest.
The EnhancedView WHS is powered by GeoEye's online access platform, EyeQ. EyeQ enables thousands of concurrent users to easily access and download hundreds of terabytes of high-resolution imagery. Recent commercial applications have combined GeoEye-1 and IKONOS satellite imagery and MJ Harden aerial imagery with data from commercial radar providers and the USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program.
GeoEye's award is authorized under the EnhancedView award that GeoEye received from the NGA in August 2010. Through the EnhancedView program, the U.S. government has made a significant commitment to the commercial imaging industry. The EnhancedView awards enable commercial data providers to create innovative new products that exploit existing imagery collection and production services, resulting in the immediate delivery of information services to federal, state, local and civil users. They support the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) mission with timely data collection, multisource production and hosting services for immediate response, maintenance and monitoring, while incorporating evolving standards and information security requirements. This enhanced commercial GEOINT architecture allows for near realtime insertion and support for warfighters, the intelligence community, map production, humanitarian relief, and environmental and crisis response.
Commercial providers now have the opportunity to accelerate their traditional role of producing superior quality location intelligence, to include delivering products and services directly to government end-users with varying security requirements to support this significant paradigm shift in the U.S. government’s vision and mission.
Technologies made available during the EnhancedView era and beyond will provide product quality and accuracy that will be unparalleled within the GEOINT industry. As change occurs with modification or inclusion of new sensors, sources or products, technologies will continue to evolve to meet the evolving needs of tomorrow’s programs or users.
Chris Incardona, GeoEye's senior director of Government Programs – NGA, said, "We are proud to serve the NGA and other government agencies by delivering cost-effective geospatial solutions that anticipate the growing demands of their user base. These awards are a testament to the NGA's commitment to serve its federal user community with easy access to the most precise and up-to-date imagery. We will continue to expand our on-demand access capabilities with near real-time, map-ready imagery and information services."
"We have made steady investments in our EyeQ platform so our customers can quickly access and share precise imagery products to perform analysis and manage crisis response," said Chris Incardona. "The EnhancedView Web Hosting Service is the next step in our commitment to providing multi-source products, services and dissemination capabilities to help the NGA deliver online, on-demand geospatial intelligence."
References: GeoEye (1,2), V1 Magazine (3); Geospatial Intelligence Forum (4)
October 24, 2011
Contract Award: Elbit to provide its Wise Intelligence Technology to an Asian National Government Agency
As announced in a recent press release, Elbit has been awarded a $15 Million contract to supply an undisclosed national government agency in Asia with Wise Intelligence Technology System (WiT). The system will be supplied within 18 months.
A highly advanced end-to-end solution, WiT supports every stage of the intelligence and investigation process, including the collection of the data from multiple sources, databases and sensors, processing of the information, supporting intelligence personnel in the analysis and evaluation of the information and disseminating the intelligence to the intended recipient.
WiT is based upon the integration of numerous components, each foremost in their respective fields. The system is based upon a flexible and modular system architecture, which can be expanded with additional functionalities and integrated with other databases and intelligence systems. This architecture implements the Service-oriented architecture paradigm (SOA), i.e. it enables the optimization of resources by allowing the system to expose its functionally as services to external systems and utilizes functionality from external systems.
WiT includes sophisticated security mechanisms for the robust protection of data and information sources as well as safeguards against internal and external threats. A combination of tools that enable real-time monitoring of the system status and handling of system failures. A built-in document life cycle management system and central data repository supports document creation, editing, signing, revision, disseminating and archiving. The system also includes workflow tools to automate procedures and information flow within the organization.
WiT provides advanced tools for supporting every stage of the intelligence process, from planning and direction, to collection, processing, analysis and evaluation, dissemination and re-evaluation.
With respect to the collection phase of the process, WiT is capable of acquiring and processing data from a wide variety of sources and formats, including Humint, Sigint, Osint and Imint. Information is processed and converted to a common format, so that all collected data is stored in a single local repository.
Concerning the processing phase, WiT is capable of processing unstructured and structured data to create a fully integrated situational awareness picture. Tools and capabilities include: Entity Management (entity creation and updates), Entity Extraction (extraction of common entities from unstructured text), Cataloguing (adds key words and categories to incoming information), OCR Scanning (data conversion from unstructured formats), Translation (WiT supports a wide range of languages), Geographic Anchoring (the system anchors data to geographic locations).
With respect to the analysis phase of the process, WiT renders the processed information into a comprehensive intelligence picture. Advanced research and analysis tools include: Information Retrieval, Geographic Search, Link Analysis (it researches and displays connections between entities), Reports, Data Mining, Aggregated/Federated Search (WiT retrieves information from a wide variety of data sources), and Alerts.
Finally, during the creation and dissemination phases, the system supports the intelligence operators with the following capabilities: Operational Intelligence Records (WiT generates detailed up-to-date comprehensive briefings, which include actionable insights and suggestions), Intelligence Reports (tailored to operational and command personnel), Gap Analysis and Targeting (WiT identifies information deficits, to continue the intelligence gathering process), Routing (intelligence is distributed according to policies defined by management or command personnel), and Portal (information is published to intranet portals)
Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit Systems Land and C4I General Manager, noted: "We are proud to be selected to perform this sophisticated project, based on a system which is one of the few solutions to be field-proven, fully operational and customizable. The new award follows other highly advanced data management systems developed by Elbit Systems, including the Digital Army Program and other various information management systems and we hope that additional customers will follow in selecting our IT systems as their preferred solution."
References: Elbit (1,2)
October 21, 2011
As reported by DefenseNews, Finland's Ministry of Defense has drafted a national cyber defense strategy proposal that would provide substantial investment to develop an arsenal of cyber defense weaponry to protect crucial military, government and economic data networks and critical infrastructure.
The plan would increase funding for the military's dedicated Cyber Defense Unit, enabling it to mount cyber attacks on "hostile forces" as part of a counterpunch "Credible Response Platform," which is likely to deploy malware, worms and viruses against attackers on the pretext of "attack being the best form of defense"
Finland's MoD expects to have a concrete cyber defense strategy proposal to present to parliament in 2012. Specialist organizations within the military, national security and government will contribute to the final strategy, the first parts of which could be operational in 2013.
Finland's decision to bolt an offensive capacity to its cyber defense strategy follows similar developments in Sweden, where the government is considering using comparable measures.
Sweden's efforts to strengthen its cyber defense systems are a response to a malicious denial-of-service cyber attack that rendered various media and government websites inoperative in 2009. The attack targeted police data networks and key government departments.
A similar approach to Cyber Defense is going to be adopted by other Countries. The United States is still crafting a legal framework to guide any offensive moves in cyberspace, months after the Pentagon recently unveiled a broad cyber strategy.
"Attack may be an unfortunate choice of word, but there can be no defensive capability without the ability to offer a counterpunch. The two things go hand in hand," said Lt. Gen. Arto Räty, the permanent secretary at the MoD.
References: DefenseNews (1), msnbc.com (2)
As illustrated in a recent press release, technical as well as operational issues were discussed during Saab’s last Remote Tower Symposium held in Malmö, in which Saab Sales Director for Air Traffic Management Solutions, Per Ahl, described the current status of Saab’s system for air traffic control from a distance.
During the symposium, Avinor, the Norwegian Air Navigation Services Provider and operator of several Norwegian airports, explained how Remote Tower operations can help it to meet the requirements of 24-hour services and to maintain airports over the whole country.
The cost of running small and medium-sized airports consists largely of personnel costs. With the Remote Tower concept, fewer employees are needed to provide aerodrome control service, enabling airports that currently offer only Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) to offer a control service as well. In a secondary phase, one controller could potentially provide aerodrome control service for two to three towers simultaneously. Apart from staffing, costs savings can be achieved through not having to replace existing towers that have reached the end of their economically viable service life.
Saab's Remotely Operated Tower enables an airport tower to be remotely operated via the digital network. Compressed data from cameras at the airport provides a 360-degree real-time view of the airport at the Remote Tower Centre. The controller working position is equipped with the same controls as in a normal tower. The technology also increases safety by – for example – automatic video tracking of incoming aircraft, advanced zoom cameras and the ability to mark runway contours, structures and other objects at the airport so that it is possible to see them even in conditions of limited visibility.
The list of key components of Saab's Remote Operated Tower includes the following ones:
- Up to 360 degrees of live LCD or projected airfield image
- Airfield stereo sound
- Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera and signal light gun controls
- Automatic Weather Observation system, AWOS
- Integrated tower systems control
- Remote Control Monitoring system, RCMS (Airport lights, ILS, NDB, VOR, VHF/UHF, Communication)
- Flight Data Processing system, FDP
- Radar Data Processing and Display system, RDP
- Electronic Flight Progress Strip system, e-Strip
- Record and Replay System for video, audio and flight information
- System redundancy
In 2006, Saab and the Swedish Air Navigation Services Provider, LFV, engaged in a project named Remotely Operated Tower (ROT). The aim of the project was to prove the concept of remotely performing air traffic services. Ängelholm airport was chosen as the target airport. The Remote Tower Centre (RTC) was located at Malmö airport, approximately 100km away. The ROT trials where successfully concluded at the beginning of 2009. During the final month of the trials, air traffic controllers validated the platform in advanced shadow mode trials. The project was awarded the Jane's Airport Review Industry Award during the ATC Global 2010 exhibition in Amsterdam.
Since Saab hosted the first Remote Tower symposium two years ago, a lot has happened. The technology has been improved and fine-tuned, and the operational requirements have been further discussed. Airservices Australia has signed a contract for Remote Tower trials, and the Swedish Air Navigation Services Provider LFV is setting up a system in Sundsvall and Örnsköldsvik in the north of Sweden.
“We are dependent on airport services day and night," said an Avinor delegate, "in case of emergencies we need to be able to deliver services at short notice. Also, it is important for the local communities that the network of airports across Norway is kept open, and more cost-efficient provision of services will help to make this possible.”
References: Saab (1,2)
Lockheed Martin's new Multi-sensor Graphical User Interface supports route clearance and surveillance missions
As reported in a recent press release, Lockheed Martin was selected by the U.S. Army’s Research Development And Engineering Command, Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDECOM CERDEC) Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) to demonstrate an advanced slew-to-cue sensor system designed to provide greater situational awareness during route clearance and surveillance missions.
Lockheed Martin's Multi-sensor Graphical User Interface (MS GUI) is a backwards compatible upgrade kit for fielded Gyrocam systems currently deployed with the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps.
MS GUI allows the operator to use a touch screen display capability to slew between reference cameras, such as the Driver’s Vision Enhancer, and the Gyrocam Vehicle Optics Sensor System (VOSS), to simultaneously search for potential threats while interrogating identified hazards on route clearance missions.
Under a cooperative research and development agreement with NVESD, Lockheed Martin will continue to enhance capabilities of the MS GUI system for use in various situational awareness applications, paving the way for the eventual fielding of the technology.
“We are pleased to partner with NVESD to integrate MS GUI into the Gyrocam VOSS suite of capabilities to support route clearance missions,” said Kennan Walker, business development manager in Lockheed Martin’s Gyrocam Systems business. “By working together to meet the increasing demand for enhanced situational awareness, we are providing our warfighters with an advanced capability that detects, identifies and tracks insurgent threats from safe stand-off distances and significantly reduces operator fatigue.”
References: Lockheed Martin (1)
October 20, 2011
As announced in a recent press release, Thales has successfully deployed the BDSP (Base de Données de Sécurité Publique – Public Security Database), the command and information system for the Gendarmerie Nationale for conducting operations and processing operational information. In concrete terms this means that Thales, via BDSP, is able to unify and modernise the operations management and operational information applications over the entire national territory, including French overseas departments and territories.
Thales BDSP allows gendarmes, from command centre level through to the units on patrol, to access summaries of all available information associated with a mission or intervention. In this way, gendarmes can get all the information they need for executing their duties, securing intervention zones and optimising the resources deployed.
Thanks to Thales's BDSP solution, access to enriched information is possible both nationally and locally. Ultimately, this will lead to some 60,000 gendarmes on over 4300 sites permanently using and feeding data into a central database equipped with a semantic search engine and extremely high-performance operational intelligence analysis and exploitation tools.
"BDSP is a highly efficient system capable of summarising a large quantity of information and making it available in real time to gendarmes in order to facilitate the running of operationson the ground," explains Pascale Sourisse, Senior Vice President, Defence and Security C4I Systems, Thales. "We are very proud to make available to the Gendarmerie Nationale all of Thales's expertise in order to help them in their daily duties."
References: Thales (1)
As reported in a recent press release, Alcatel-Lucent announced it will conduct a six-month trial of a new system to ease road congestion in the City of Vélizy-Villacoublay, a key enterprise zone south-west of Paris. The system will improve information to motorists, providing advance warning of delays and suggestions for alternative routes, reducing journey times and the impact of pollution created by traffic congestion. It will also play a part in regional traffic and road planning in the area.
Vélizy -Villacoublay is located 14km south-west of the center of Paris. With major corporate offices, a large shopping center, factories and a French military airbase in the area, its roads are frequently congested at peak hours.
The Vélizy-Villacoublay Traffic Measurement Trial is to use Alcatel-Lucent’s Intelligent Travel Time System (ITTS) and Bluetooth® technology to measure traffic flow in real time, with roadside sensors detecting the presence of Bluetooth devices embedded in vehicles such as mobile phones and navigation systems. For local traffic authorities, real-time information gained from being able to observe traffic patterns throughout the day can help improve future planning of road and lane systems.
For motorists, using information based on route selection using on-line maps, the system provides accurate, real-time monitoring, advanced warning of road conditions and of special events such as sports competitions. It also predicts road congestion, providing personalized travel-time predictions and alternative route plans.
The ITTS system delivers this information to the motorist through road signs, radio, and mobile devices including phones and television, and through the use of internet sites such as Twitter.
Under the trial, Alcatel-Lucent is providing its Intelligent Travel Time System including ITTS Sensor and ITTS Traffic Monitoring System (TMS) to monitor the traffic congestion. Alcatel-Lucent is also providing installation, consulting, design, software integration and remote technical and maintenance support as well as system training to the City of Vélizy-Villacoublay.
Monique Loison, Deputy Mayor of the City of Vélizy-Villacoublay said:“Following the release of Alcatel-Lucent’s new real-time information technology, we were keen to test this solution so that we can help our citizens and those who work in our business area, Inovel Parc, to estimate their daily travel times. In this way, all of us can adapt our daily travel schedules and therefore better plan our professional and personal lives. Velizy-Villacoublay welcomes this trial with great interest, especially since we are the first town in France to test this real-time traffic management innovation developed by the world-renown Bell Labs”.
Pascal Homsy, CEO and Chairman of Alcatel-Lucent France said“Alcatel-Lucent’s expertise in the management of transport systems allows us to offer a cost-effective, easily deployable solution that benefits motorists and local authorities by providing increased information and improving road-safety. By reducing traffic congestion, the ITTS indirectly helps to reduce fuel waste and pollution and the roadside sensors are powered by alternative energy sources, so there is also a positive effect on the environment.”
References: Alcatel-Lucent (1)
A new product portfolio has been issued by US Army's Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO Soldier), which provides detailed information concerning over 450 pieces of equipment available or planned for US Soldiers to ensure them remain a decisive and dominant force across the full spectrum of military operations.
For the first time since the Portfolio’s initial release in 2003, PEO Soldier post the 2012 Portfolio as an online application in lieu of a printed volume. This venue provides a more immersive experience for the reader. The new format represents an initiative to increase efficiencies while reducing the impact traditional printing has on the environment.
PEO Soldier was created by the US Army with one primary purpose: to develop the best equipment and field it as quickly as possible so that US Soldiers remain second to none in missions that span the full spectrum of military operations.
As recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have vividly demonstrated, getting the right equipment to military men and women is absolutely critical. By viewing the Soldier as part of an integrated system, PEO Soldier ensures that the US Soldier and everything he or she wears or carries works together as an integrated system. The result is an overall systematic design that benefits Soldiers by enhancing their ability to accomplish individual and collective tasks, improving quality of life, building confidence, and saving lives. In this respect, PEO Soldier is at the vanguard of US Army transformation.
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, PEO Soldier designs, develops, procures, fields, and sustains virtually everything US Soldier wear or carry. By employing innovative concepts and technologies, PEO Soldier has made great strides in quickly getting improved equipment into the hands of US Soldiers when and where they need it.
Among the multiple products illustrated in the portfolio, the Electronic Data Manager (EDM) is a light, portable touch-screen computer in the form of a kneeboard that provides the aviator with global positioning system (GPS) moving map capabilities, sunlight readability, and the ability to use Windowsbased software. It is provided by Raytheon and Secure Communication Systems.
|Electronic Data Manager (EDM)|
The Nett Warrior is an integrated dismounted leader situational awareness system for use during combat operations. The system provides situational awareness to the dismounted leader, allowing for faster and more accurate decisions in the tactical fight. With advanced navigation, situational awareness, and information sharing capabilities, leaders are able to avoid fratricide and are more effective and more lethal in the execution of their combat missions. It is provided by General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Rockwell Collins.
References: PEO Soldier (1,2)
October 19, 2011
As reported on the Italian Army's website, 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.
The first part of these tests occurred between October 3rd and 7th during the "Joint Trials 2011" that took place in Brindisi and Lecce. SELEX Sistemi Integrati, the Finmeccanica Company acting as Prime Contractor and Lead System Integrator for the program, has supported the Italian Army's Mechanized Brigade "Pinerolo" in conducting a Command Post Exercise (CPT) that required network-enabled integration with Regimental Infantry Units and Joint Fire Support Teams.
During the exercise, 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.
The second part of the tests was performed on October 7th during the 31st anniversary of the Italian Army's CEPOLISPE (polyfunctional centre for the experimentation), and was focused on the demonstration of the soldier-vehicle interoperability.
Forza NEC (Network Enabled Capability) is a Large System for military operations that provides the wide range of capabilities that is required by a modern land brigade operating in joint or multinational coalitions, including: Command and Control, Maneuver / Close Combat, ISTAR, Land Fire Support (Artillery), Air Defence, Force Protection (including CBRN), Mobility and Counter-mobility, Logistic Support, Helicopter Support, Joint and Coalition Interoperability, and Civil-Military-Cooperation (CIMIC).
Forza NEC units and related operational, logistic components are designed and structured in complete
compliance with a network-enabled architecture. Architectural design plays thus a key role for the development of such a system, since it ensures that the technical requirements of the individual components achieve an Integrated Force, in compliance with the operational requirements related to the specific efficiency level.
FORZA NEC system architecture is based on the following main components:
- C4I modules, covering all the hierarchy levels spanning from Brigade commanders to single soldiers, and all the functional areas associated with requested operational capabilities.
- Communication equipments for data and voice transmission (HF/VHF/UHF wireless radios, mobile satellite communications, advanced networking devices)
- HW stations and infrastructures (shelters) for deployable command posts.
- C4I stations (BMS, Battlefield Management Systems) for mobile command posts (to be mounted on a wide family of vehicles)
- C4I components for dismounted soldiers, fully integrated with the global architecture.
- Tactical gateways and Service Oriented Architectures for achieving interoperability among network-enabled units, legacy equipments, and external C4I systems.
- Certified components for allowing secure and protected data transfer between different security levels
- Unmanned Systems (maneuver range UAVs, UGVs)
- Helicopters (combat and cactical)
- Sensors (surveillance radars, EO/IR devices, acoustic sensors)
- Battlefield Target Identification Devices
- Electronic Warfare devices
- Force protection devices (including CBRN defence assets)
Currently, the reference platforms considered within Forza NEC are the IVECO 8x8 IFV "Freccia" and the IVECO Ligth Multirole Tactical Vehicle "Lince".
Finmeccanica subsidiary SELEX Sistemi Integrati announced on June 2010 that was awared a 238 M€ contract from the Italian Ministry of Defence’s Land Armaments General Directorate, for implementing the Forza NEC digitized system.
SELEX Sistemi Integrati is the main supplier and system integrator, but they will work with a very broad alliance of Italian firms. Other Finmeccanica companies such as SELEX Elsag, SELEX Galileo, Oto Melara, AgustaWestland, and MBDA are included. So are independent firms like Elettronica, Iveco, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, the Iveco-Oto Melara consortium, and the Soldato Futuro consortium.
Italy’s system is hardly unusual, joining recent efforts in Australia (LAND 75/ 125), Canada (LCSS), Germany (FuInfoSys Heer), and Israel (Tsayad). America has its Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below system, which is being expanded and improved.
References: Italian Army (1,2), SELEX Sistemi Integrati (3), Defense Industry Daily (4)
October 18, 2011
As announced by InsideDefense.com and then reported by several other news sources, the US Defense Department communicated that the US Army's Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radio program (JTRS GMR) has been terminated.
"I can confirm the program has been terminated," said Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Melinda Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman. A notice from Frank Kendall, the acting under secretary for acquisition, was sent to the House of Representatives' and Senate Armed Services Committees on last Thursday night, she said.
The Joint Tactical Radio System, Ground Mobile Radios (JTRS GMR) is a software-programmable radio system providing secure, reliable, multi-channel voice, data, imagery and video communications for mobile military users. The system was expected to deliver networked communications on-the-move at the tactical edge supporting information sharing and combat readiness between service branches.
The JTRS is built on the Software Communications Architecture (SCA), an open-architecture framework that tells designers how hardware and software are to operate in harmony. It governs the structure and operation of the JTRS, enabling programmable radios to load waveforms, run applications, and be networked into an integrated system. A Core Framework, providing a standard operating environment, must be implemented on every hardware set. Interoperability among radio sets is increased because the same waveform software can be easily ported to all radios.
The Object Management Group (OMG), a not-for-profit consortium that produces and maintains computer industry specifications for interoperable enterprise applications, is working toward building an international commercial standard based on the SCA.
The US Army hasn’t released its most current assessment of the radio, which was scrutinized this year in a six-week Network Integration Evaluation field exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, with other JTRS radios. In a systems integration test last year, the radio “continued to demonstrate deficiencies” it had in 2009, including difficulty establishing a network and low message completion rates, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing reported.
Boeing is the prime contractor for the JTRS GMR program. Other team members include Northrop Grumman (ground vehicle systems integration and network management), Rockwell Collins (waveform and hardware development), BAE Systems (waveform and hardware development), Harris (hardware).
The JTRS program has been beset by delays and cost overruns. Problems included a decentralized management structure, changing requirements, and unexpected technical difficulties that increased size and weight goals that made it harder to add the required waveforms. Large cost overruns and numerous schedule delays forced the US Army's hand in canceling the JTRS Ground Mobile Radio system. To that end, US DoD has told Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor of the air and sea version of JTRS, to restructure that program with an eye toward affordability.
The program has been canceled 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. Concerning the JTRS GMR program, the statute was triggered after the planned purchase was slashed over the summer from 86,209 radios to 10,293. That reduction caused the radio’s unit price to rise by more than 50 percent, triggering the cost reporting law.
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.
References: InsideDefense.com (1), Chicago Tribune (2), GAO (3), Boeing (4), AOL Defense (5), Bloomberg (6)