Thursday, May 30, 2013

Smartphone Technology Inspires Design for Smart Unattended Ground Sensor

Smartphone Technology Inspires Design for Smart Unattended Ground Sensor

DARPA's Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) program aims to transform how unattended sensors are developed for the military by using an original design manufacturer (ODM) process similar to that of the commercial smartphone industry. The goal is to develop low-cost, rapidly updatable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors in less than a year, a marked improvement to the current three-to-eight year development process.
The program has developed the core ADAPT hardware and software package using a customized Android Operating System (OS) to provide capabilities common to all ISR sensors. The program recently completed its first reference design and developed application-specific software for an unattended ground sensor (UGS) that uses the ADAPT core. This new UGS could provide users with a cost-effective ground sensing capability.The UGS design is a very small cylinder. It features applications to remotely sense ground activity for a number of potential military applications. The sensor is self-powered and can wirelessly network with other sensors or user interfaces, such as a video monitor at an operations center.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Army's 2014 modernization plan prioritizes Soldiers in fight | Article | The United States Army

Army's 2014 modernization plan prioritizes Soldiers in fight | Article | The United States Army

The Army's fiscal year 2014 Equipment Modernization Plan, now working its way through Congress, prioritizes equipping warfighters in Afghanistan while simultaneously preparing for an uncertain future.

Programs in the modernization strategy are grouped within ten "portfolios," but some of those programs the Army has called out as being priorities for the service.

Several programs that make up the Army network have been included as priorities in the plan. Among those are the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, at $1.3 billion; the Family of Networked Tactical Radios, at $402.1 million; the Joint Battle Command-Platform, at $110.6 million; the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, at $295 million; and the Nett Warrior system, at $122.6 million.

Among combat vehicles, the Army has prioritized the Ground Combat Vehicle program, at $592 million; the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, at $116 million; and the Paladin Integrated Management system, at $340.8 million.

Additionally, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is a priority for the service, at $84.2 million; as is the Kiowa Warrior, at $257.8 million.

A complete breakdown of the Army's equipment modernization plan for fiscal year 2014, including cost and what is being purchased, can be found at


In advance of plan development, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno laid out three priorities to use as guidelines, said Brig. Gen. John G. Ferrari, director, joint and futures, Army G-8. He is one of the architects responsible for assembling the plan.

First among those priorities was a focus on the Soldier and squad, Ferrari said. Developers of the Army's modernization strategy were told to ensure that as budgets come down, Soldiers will continue to be provided with advances in lethality and protection, then build outward from there.

The second priority, he said, is to enable mission command. He said that means providing viable and robust communications network capacity so Soldiers at the small-unit level can operate with "intent, guidance and mission," he said. With such a network, Soldiers will be able to pull the information they need to innovate and solve the problems and tasks they're given.

The third priority, he said, was to "always remember, we're the U.S. Army and we have to remain prepared for decisive action, to fight and win in a large conflict, because that's what the Army's all about."


Ferrari said having a modernization plan doesn't necessarily mean funding is guaranteed, or that Congress won't make changes.

There's a lot of uncertainty, he said, not only about funding for future equipment, but even with paying for programs the Army is trying to execute today.

Because of the budget control act and sequestration, the Army still doesn't know how much money it has to purchase equipment in fiscal year 2013, much less fiscal year 2014. This creates a ripple effect in purchasing, he said, causing a backlog of things that need to be purchased.

However, he pointed out that Congress is performing its constitutional duty to fund the Army and that process must be respected. He said Army leaders remain in close consultation with lawmakers regarding the process. So how does the Army make its purchasing recommendations?

The Army takes a three-pronged approach to its equipment acquisition strategy, Ferrari said, including consideration of the strategic environment, a staggered procurement approach and smarter investing.


First, the strategy takes into account the current and future strategic environment, Ferrari said. That includes equipment needed as troops leave Afghanistan and what becomes of that equipment once they're out.

The strategy also includes the shift to the Pacific and regional alignments. The president's National Security Strategy, the Defense Department, the secretary of the Army and the Army chief of staff, along with the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, provide the blueprint and inform direction.

For the strategy to work, Ferrari said, the Army needs a balanced force composed of armor brigade combat teams, or BCTs, lighter infantry BCTs and medium Stryker BCTs. Included with that, he said, is the equipment that goes with each type of unit.

Other "enablers," he said, include intelligence, military police, engineers, and medical support.


As the Army's manpower and budget shrink, it has to be more selective on what to purchase. That might include buying some things in smaller quantities and staggering those purchases out over the years as old equipment is retired, Ferrari said.

The fiscal year 20114 Equipment Modernization Plan does in fact provide a 15-year timeline for equipment purchases so lawmakers can see the rationale behind the Army's decision on how much to spend and what quantities of each item should be purchased for a given year.

Replacing all old, unserviceable or less capable equipment all at once wouldn't make sense and the dollars are not there to do it anyway, he said.

Ferrari provided an example of staggered procurement, using the early Vietnam-era M113 armored personnel carrier to illustrate.

The chassis of an M113 "is basically an aluminum box," he said. "During Vietnam, Soldiers put sandbags on the floor and sides because even then they didn't provide much protection. Yet we still have them 50 years later."

Besides lacking robust armor, the M113 is also not configured for adding network gear, he said. Also, advanced medical equipment can't be loaded on it because the engine doesn't have enough power to move it around.

In other words, he said, "you really don't want your son or daughter to go to war in that thing."

But the Army still has thousands of them and not enough money to replace them all.

A study was conducted, as is done on every piece of gear, to see what is feasible, Ferrari said. The study indicated that those M113s serving on the front lines should be removed as soon as possible and replaced by the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, a much more lethal, versatile and protected vehicle.

However, the remaining M113s could still be used in the rear and mostly out of harm's way, to move Soldiers around, he said.

Another example is the Abrams tank, said Ferrari, who's a tanker by trade. A tank, or for that matter, any vehicle or helicopter, can be divided into three big blocks.

First there's the "platform." Ferrari said that is the steel chassis that might be 30 or 40 years old on an Abrams. The chassis might be "perfectly good" and probably doesn't need to be replaced.

Then there's systems and components like engines, transmissions, guns and sights. Those need to be changed out about once a decade or they become obsolete, he said.

Finally there are the applications that go into them, like the communications and network systems. Those need to be spun out about every five years, he said.

The challenge, he said, is how to synchronize the platform, the components and applications. If too much communications equipment is loaded onto a vehicle, such as a tank, the power draw and weight might stress the engine.

Each of the enhancements must go into an equipment funding request for the appropriate year.

Ferrari said the Abrams tank is still the "best tank in the world" and has a good 10 or 15 years before replacement is necessary. But it still needs funding for such things as new electronics, improved sights and fuel efficiency.

"If you do nothing, over time you won't even be able to buy the circuit cards needed to make it work," he said.


Ferrari said the Army needs to slow down spending on development of technologies that are similar to what is already available in the private sector.

The civilian sector already is investing massive amounts of research and development dollars into its hardware, software and other electronic devices, so investing Army dollars in those same endeavors might be foolhardy, he said.

"As technology moves forward we can get the latest technology off the shelf and run with it," he said.

On the other hand, there are certain technologies the Army would be wise to invest in, he said.

Missiles, armor and rotorcraft are a few examples that the Army needs to continue focusing on, he said.

When the Army first went about looking for a replacement for the Vietnam-era OH-58 Kiowa, he said he was "surprised" that there had not been an improved platform developed since Vietnam.

"There's not a huge market for rotorcraft in the civilian world so the military needed to invest its R&D dollars on engines and blades to push technology forward," he said.

All the integrators, systems engineers and mechanical engineers who build those rotorcraft and all of the other new equipment are themselves an investment the Army needs to continue making to retain their skills, he added. No one else understands how all this stuff goes together and works.

Another example of how old and new technology might meet and save money is the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, in service for more than three decades now.

The Bradley is slated for replacement by the Ground Combat Vehicle. In the interim, however, the Bradley has a perfectly usable platform that might escape the scrap heap.

"We're going to industry and saying we want to replace the M113s and, by the way, we have around 2,000 Bradleys," he said. "We can provide you the (Bradley) hulls and you can use them to make a vehicle with more power to keep up with Abrams tanks and enough space to put a mortar or ambulance and comms, at an affordable cost and something that would offer better protection than the M113s," he said, describing ongoing discussions.

"We don't want to be so prescriptive with industry," he said. "Rather, we want to partner with them to come up with cost effective solutions."


An important step in the equipment funding request is saving money through user testing, Ferrari said.

Over the last several years the Army has conducted a number of Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, exercises on training ranges in Texas and New Mexico. These exercises are known for testing network gear, as the name implies, but they're also being used to test other equipment.

Ferrari said last year, Soldiers got to put infantry fighting vehicles from around the world through their paces.

"What better place to test it than with Soldiers in a brigade?" he said, adding, "Any time you get equipment in Soldiers' hands and let them train with it, you'll wind up with a better piece of gear."

The NIE success story has its roots in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where equipment was fielded on the battlefield within weeks.

"That's been the real success story of the war," he said. "We got Soldiers equipment that would have taken years under the normal process. We put it in their hands. Did every piece of equipment work? No. But a lot of it did."

Ferrari said there will be failures along the way, but from the kind of testing that goes on at NIE, the Army can better learn and observe how equipment will be used in the war fight.

It's a "win-win" for Soldiers and the private sector, he explained, since the Soldiers themselves are doing the market research.

"They'll tell you right away, 'there's a button is in the wrong place,' 'I don't understand the dials,' 'it takes me 14 clicks to get in there to do it, so give me something simpler,' 'I can't read this when it's dark out there,' 'this flashlight has a red filter and you wrote on it in red and I can't see it,'" Ferrari said.

"So when you get that early in the developmental process, it's much easier to fix and change than buy it and then change it," he said. "It also familiarizes us with what's in industry as well, so we know when you go to war what's out there."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bath Iron Works Lays Keel of DDG 1001

On Thursday, May 23 , General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated the keel laying of Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), the second ship in the planned three-ship Zumwalt class of guided-missile destroyers.
The ship is named for Petty Officer Second Class Michael Monsoor, a U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed in Ramadi, Iraq , in 2006. Monsoor was on a joint SEAL-Iraqi Army team operating from a rooftop when an insurgent threw a grenade at them. Monsoor jumped on the grenade, covering it and saving three fellow SEALS and eight Iraqi Army soldiers. Monsoor posthumously received the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush on April 8, 2008 . He was also awarded the Bronze Star and the Silver Star for his service in Iraq .

Michael Monsoor's parents, Sally and George Monsoor , authenticated the keel at Bath Iron Works on May 23 . Sally Monsoor is the ship's sponsor. A special steel plate containing the initials of Sally and George Monsoor was prepared for the ceremony. The two authenticated the laying of the keel by striking welding arcs onto the steel plate, assisted by David Brown , a 35-year Bath Iron Works welder.

"Thank you from the Monsoor family for your hospitality and your spirit here at the shipyard," said Sally Monsoor . "I can't wait to come back here with my children and grandchildren."

The keel unit is the 4,400-ton, heavily outfitted mid-forebody section of the ship, which was moved from the shipyard's Ultra Hall construction facility earlier in the month onto the building ways.

Brent West , DDG 1000 program manager for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed the audience of several hundred Bath Iron Works employees, Navy personnel and representatives of other major subcontractors in the program. 

"This is a special day, as it marks a milestone in the construction of a ship, a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of shipbuilding - an event that's been done for hundreds of years in this region, and for more than 120 years here at Bath Iron Works," said West. "Over the next two years, we will continue to build the Michael Monsoor with knowledge and expertise honed over the decades. We look forward to future visits with Mr. and Mrs. Monsoor, as we progress toward delivering a ship that is worthy of the name of Michael Monsoor."

CAPT James Downey , the Navy 's DDG 1000 Class program manager, spoke about Petty Officer Monsoor's sacrifice and encouraged those present to "build this ship for Mike."

The DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer is the U.S. Navy 's next-generation, guided-missile naval destroyer, leading the way for a new generation of advanced multi-mission surface combat ships. The ships will feature a low radar profile, an integrated power system and a total ship computing environment infrastructure. Armed with an array of weapons, the Zumwalt-class destroyers will provide offensive, distributed and precision fires in support of forces ashore. Bath Iron Works is the lead designer and builder for the program which employs approximately 5,300 people.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

F-35 ITF works toward night, weather certification

F-35 ITF works toward night, weather certification
The F-35 Integrated Test Force is wrapping up a series of night flights, which are testing the aircraft's capability when flying in instrument meteorological conditions.

It is a necessary step in delivering a core competency to the warfighter - the ability to fly the jet safely when there are no external visibility references for the pilot.

"This will increase the combat capability eventually. But, in the interim, it will increase the training capacity. The capability to fly at night and in the weather is one of the core competencies that must be delivered to the warfighter," said Lt. Col. Peter Vitt, F-35 ITF director of operations. "This is about safety, specification, compliance and predicting operational utility; it's our job to find out how well the system works, how well our pilots interact with the displays and how the navigational system works."

The ITF, which has the lead on all F-35 mission systems testing, is responsible for five night flights, with Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., conducting the sixth.

"The original intent was to spread the night flights around, three would be conducted here and three at Pax River with B and C variants," said Vitt. "But, as we moved into the execution phase, it made sense for us to do five here because of the variety in our pilots' backgrounds. Additionally, the airplanes fly essentially the same in an instrument environment and the mission system set is identical, so we leveraged that to make things more efficient."

For safety purposes and to ensure decision-quality data is collected, the ITF used a build-up approach to conduct the night flights. Pilots began with flying in visual meteorological conditions, familiarizing themselves with the F-35's leading-edge instrumentation.

Simulator flights, which occurred in February, also helped pilots prepare for the missions.

"This process has been in the works for many months; there is a build-up approach. We have been flying under good conditions during the day, using all the same displays. We also had to go through a series of simulator tests down in Ft. Worth, Texas where they can create those nighttime and weather conditions. Once we cleared that, we came back to fly at night," said Maj. Eric Schultz, F-35 test pilot.

"We're just finishing up those flights. The simulator is never going to be a perfect match so we had to fly it to see if the F-35 provides the displays, communications and other systems you need to safely fly at night or in weather when you're lacking the view of the outside world," he added.

When the ITF completes the night flights, a variety of capabilities will have been tested including ground operations and the pilot's ability to maneuver the aircraft without becoming disoriented. The test team will also evaluate the navigation systems, data from the instrument landing system, how well the radios work.

Just as important is the pilot's assessment, evaluating whether or not they are getting the necessary information and can adequately use it to make informed decisions.

From ground operations to landing and taxiing the aircraft, each mission is packed with test points, so the test team gets the most out of each flight.

"Ground operations, takeoff, how you get to the location you want to be at with no external references. Once you're where you need to be, the jet performs a series of different maneuvers to make sure the pilot can climb, turn and descend with relative precision without getting disoriented and not running into any problems," said Schultz. "Then it's time to go home, you complete an instrument approach process, descent, landing and then taxi the aircraft. We have test points for all of that."

Conducting instrument meteorological conditions testing proved to be somewhat of a challenge and required some ingenuity to make sure pilots had no external visual references, while avoiding weather conditions the aircraft is not yet cleared to fly in.

"There are certain weather conditions we haven't tested yet, so we can't fly there yet. We had to find a way to fly instrument conditions without flying in certain kinds of weather. The creative solutions the team came up with were to fly over the water and remote areas over land where there isn't cultural lighting to provide a horizon for the pilot," said Vitt.

"This is just another example of what happens here all the time, the ITF finds a way to accomplish the testing and get the data we need to overcome the various hurdles we see every day. It's just fantastic."

While still in the early development phase, the ITF has used the night flights as an opportunity to identify areas of improvement for the mission systems to better serve the warfighter. As the ITF successfully wraps up the night flights, the team's input will ultimately result in a safer, more capable weapon system.

This is not the first series of night flights for the F-35 ITF. In December 2011, a flight test only clearance was granted, so the test team could get an early look at the aircraft's refueling lights and assess night air refueling capabilities. Nighttime aerial refueling took place for the first time in early 2012, demonstrating the F-35's ability to safely and adequately perform the task.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

HASC Intel Panel Gently Reins In DoD Spy Service « Breaking Defense

HASC Intel Panel Gently Reins In DoD Spy Service « Breaking Defense: Intent on ensuring the American taxpayers gets value for money and the Defense Department gets tactical intelligence it needs, Rep. Mac Thornberry wants to fence half of the money for the Pentagon’s new Defense Clandestine Service.

“I think that DIA has made significant progress in developing and explaining the DCS,” Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services intelligence and emerging threats subcommittee, said in an interview. “Remember, they are not adding money or people to do this.” He argued that DCS would result in better trained and more effective human collectors. DIA has long fielded spies but they have not been trained or run by anything like the CIA’s Clandestine Service.

Thornberry said the DCS was intended to “put more structure and professionalism in the ranks. I can’t believe anyone would object to that.”

However, some intelligence professionals and Sen. John McCain have raised questions, with the Arizona senator saying he doesn’t oppose DCS but wants to ensure tight oversight. After all, the CIA has long trained and fielded spies. Why does the country need another human intelligence collection effort, I asked the congressman?

HASC Seapower OKs New Carrier $, Boosts Oversight; CNO Replies « Breaking Defense

HASC Seapower OKs New Carrier $, Boosts Oversight; CNO Replies « Breaking Defense

House Armed Services seapower chairman Randy Forbes promised a “rebirth” of oversight in my interview with him last week, and he makes a down payment on that in his subcommittee’s markup of the defense bill. It includes a host of new reporting and certification requirements.
Top of the deck comes the Navy’s over-budget aircraft carrier. The subcommittee grudgingly raises the cost cap on the immensely expensive USS Gerald Ford (CVN-78), the first of a new class intended to replace the venerable Nimitz and now expected to cost $12.9 billion.
Although Forbes does not punish the Navy in any way for it, the subcommittee mark does warn: “Continued [cost] escalation on the entirety of the ship construction accounts…is unsustainable.”
Here’s a rundown of the rest of the subcommittee’s draft bill. If these make it through the Senate version and conference, the Pentagon would have to
  • Demonstrate that the X-47B drone, which just last week made its first launch from and first “touch and go” landing on an aircraft carrier, can refuel itself in mid-air from flying tankers just like a manned aircraft;
  • Certify that software and system engineering for the X-47B’s combat-capable successor, the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike drone, are “at a low level of … risk” before proceeding with the UCLASS program;
  • Keep retired KC-135R aerial refueling tankers flyable and ready to return to service until the new KC-46 enters service;
  • Tell Congress whether the Navy’s mainstay destroyer, the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class, can really keep being upgraded to accommodate a power-hungry new radar for missile defense (there’s an interesting suggestion that the radar might be installed instead aboard the roomier LPD-17 San Antonio-class amphibious warfare ships, built in Pascagoula; someone in Mississippi must be happy that provision made it in);
  • Do a report on whether the Arleigh Burkes and other surface combatants can accommodate another high-energy technology, laser weapons (this may be a plug for the competing DDG-1000 Zumwalt class, which was cut off after three vessels because of its cost but which boasts far more electrical power)
The mark-up language would also require the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is quite independent of the Pentagon, to report on two sensitive priorities:
  • The status of the Marine Corps’s prized Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), the replacement for the disastrously over-budget Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle cancelled in 2011;
  • Whether the Navy’s current contracting structure, based on so-called “fixed-price incentive fee” (FPIF) contacts, is really reaping the savings it was intended to.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

STRATCOM strives to build coalitions for space operations

STRATCOM strives to build coalitions for space operations: Recognizing the value of multinational coalitions for operations in the land, maritime and air domains, officials at U.S. Strategic Command here hope to forge a coalition that shares assets and capabilities in space.

The U.S. and its allies are discussing details for the first agreement of its kind promoting combined space operations, Brig. Gen. David D. Thompson, the STRATCOM's deputy director of global operations, told American Forces Press Service.

The agreement could spell out specific areas in which the participating nations will work together, and what each will contribute to those efforts, Thompson said.

The agreement will formalize an arrangement tested last year during a period discovery. Based on the findings, the U.S. and its allies agreed in September to continue working toward closer combined space operations.

Thompson said he hopes the agreement will be the first step in forging international military-to-military cooperation in space that is essential to all. The STRATCOM staff already is promoting the concept with what is hoped to be the next wave of nations to join the coalition.

Raytheon's newest Standard Missile-3 takes out complex, separating short-range ballistic missile target

Raytheon's newest Standard Missile-3 takes out complex, separating short-range ballistic missile target

A Raytheon Standard Missile-3 Block IB fired from the USS Lake Erie destroyed a complex, separating short-range ballistic missile target with a sophisticated separating mock warhead.
Despite stressing conditions designed to challenge the missile's discrimination capabilities, the SM-3 successfully engaged the target using the sheer kinetic force of a massive collision in space."Combatant commanders around the globe echo the desire for more SM-3s in the fleet, because their confidence in the defensive capabilities of the missile is extraordinarily high," said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president."Today was the third successful test of Raytheon's next-generation SM-3, and it should give us all great assurance in our nation's ability to take on a wide range of ballistic missile threats."The test marks the 23rd successful intercept for the SM-3 program, a critical piece of the United States' Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense. Assessment data gained during this test will be used to support an upcoming SM-3 Block IB production decision.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Interoperability with intelligence community paramount for DCGS-A | Article | The United States Army

Interoperability with intelligence community paramount for DCGS-A | Article | The United States Army

This week, the Army Intelligence and Security Command conducted a demonstration of the Distributed Common Ground System - Army, for members of the press as well as members of Congress and their staff to help them better understand the system.

The top message coming out of the demonstration was that Distributed Common Ground System - Army, or DCGS-A, is compliant with the standards of the intelligence community, that includes the Army, the other services, the DOD intelligence agencies, and other federal government intelligence services as well.

Also a key message of Army intelligence community leaders at the demonstration was the idea that new tools and software packages could be added to the already robust DCGS-A "family of capabilities," but only if they are compliant with the standards of the intelligence community, only if they are seamlessly interoperable.

The DCGS-A is part of a larger network of DCGS systems within the DOD, including one run by the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force.

The "system" connects Soldiers involved in intelligence gathering and analysis with each other, with those in the intelligence community of joint partners, and with the larger intelligence community of the U.S.

DCGS-A is already deployed to theaters worldwide, said Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, the Army's deputy chief of staff, G-2.

"It is globally deployed," Legere said. "This is not a system that is in the lab. This is a system that is supporting and has supported nine corps, 38 divisions and 138 brigade combat teams. It has been since its inception, fielded, and supporting both of the wars, as well as spreading out to other global theaters."

Today, she said, DCGS-A is in Afghanistan and is used by Soldiers throughout the Middle East, as well as at units assigned to U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Army Pacific Command, "and anywhere you have Soldiers who are deployed."

The DCGS-A is not a piece of software, or a piece of hardware. It's really an "enterprise," Legere said.

That is, there is now a collection of different software packages, only some developed by the Army, that are used by members of the intelligence community across the Army. All of those software packages can process intelligence that is shared in a way that they can all access it and process it without the complication of incompatible data.

Intelligence information produced by Army sensors, such as a Gray Eagle, a Global Hawk or a Shadow unmanned aerial system, or by human intelligence gatherers, are easily ingested into the DCGS-A system because they are all compliant with one standard. And the data, once inside the system, is easily shared, around the world and instantly, with users of DCGS-A.

The data, because it is compliant with a single standard, can be ingested and processed by any one of dozens of intelligence analysis software tools because all the data is compatible. Output from those tools also remains compatible and visible across the DCGS-A "enterprise," across the intelligence assets of other services, and across the wider U.S. intelligence community.

Legere said DCGS-A is a "family of capabilities, [that] includes sensor controls and downlinks for data that connects our Soldiers to the joint intelligence platforms. It's a common enterprise, it ensures all the data they see is viewable and is accessible so the Soldiers can collect, analyze, collaborate, re-task and redistribute intelligence."

It's not the Army, or one defense contractor that has built DCGS-A. Legere said more than 40 private sector industry partners across the U.S. are participants in development of the system, all of whom have adjusted their own independent products they brought to the table to fit within the DCGS-A environment, and within the environment of the larger U.S. intelligence community.

Legere said that there is better software available to be included within the DCGS-A enterprise, but that in order for such software pieces to be accepted and integrated, they must first be compliant with DCGS-A, which is in turn compliant with intelligence community standards.

"We take joint and intelligence community interoperability very seriously," Legere said. "We work with the other DCGS programs [in the other services], so that nothing comes in on our hardware or software that would impede our ability to share or interact with our partners, their data or sensors."

The general went on to say that Soldier safety, and winning the war fight is the No. 1 priority of the DCGS-A program, and data standards is key to ensuring that.

"Ultimately, every decision we make about our program is about our Soldiers and their commanders," she said. "Sometimes we have to explain that that intelligence community standard, and that data access, may be more important than the thing that, quite frankly, seems easier, but creates issues."

The Army didn't create the intelligence community data standards, Legere said. But the Army does, as the largest "footprint" in any theater, have a responsibility for compliance with those standards, and like joining the Army itself, part of participation means compliance with standards.

"Other services count on the Army for this disciplined support," she said. "And our industry partners who work with us understand we do not want to compromise interoperability in order to use their products."

Friday, May 17, 2013

F-35A Completes High Angle Of Attack Testing

F-35A Completes High Angle Of Attack Testing

The latest in a series of Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35A high angle of attack (AOA) testing was recently completed. The testing accomplished high AOA beyond both the positive and negative maximum command limits, including intentionally putting the aircraft out of control in several configurations.
This included initially flying in the stealth clean wing configuration. It was followed by testing with external air-to-air pylons and missiles and then with open weapon bay doors.The F-35A began edge-of-the-envelope high AOA testing in the Fall 2012. For all testing, recovery from out of control flight has been 100 percent successful without the use of the spin recovery chute, which is carried to maximize safety.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Raytheon delivers electronic jamming capability for Gray Eagle UAS

Raytheon delivers electronic jamming capability for Gray Eagle UAS: Raytheon has delivered two electronic attack payloads in support of the U.S. Army's Networked Electronic Warfare, Remotely Operated (NERO) system. The payloads were delivered as part of a contract awarded by the U.S. Navy NAVSEA-Crane in 2012.

NERO is utilized on the Army's MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS (Umanned Aircraft System) as an airborne electronic attack system capable of jamming enemy communications systems.

The NERO system builds on the success of the Army's Communications Electronic Attack with Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CEASAR) program.

By migrating the same pod system and advanced capability to the Gray Eagle, NERO is capable of two- to three-times longer missions with reduced operating costs compared with the current C-12 based CEASAR system. It also reduces risk to the warfighter by being mounted onto an unmanned platform.

New National Strategy for the Arctic Region has Implications for Navy

New National Strategy for the Arctic Region has Implications for Navy

The White House released a new National Strategy for the Arctic Region Friday, May 10, reflecting a growing recognition that the Arctic is opening up for human enterprise and will increasingly become a strategic priority for the United States.

As a maritime domain, the Arctic is also a key area of interest for the U.S. Navy. In 2009 the Navy signaled a renewed interest in the region with the release of an Arctic Roadmap to guide Navy policy, actions, and future investments related to the region.

"In the past the Arctic Ocean was largely inaccessible due to sea ice," said Rear Adm. Jon White, the Navy's senior oceanographer and director of Task Force Climate Change. "But diminishing sea ice is opening the region for greater economic development and human activity."

In a posting on the White House blog site, Patricia Cogswell of the National Security Staff stated that the new strategy "sets the U.S. Government's strategic priorities for the Arctic region." She described the end goal as "an Arctic region that is stable and free of conflict, where nations act responsibly in a spirit of trust and cooperation, and where economic opportunities are pursued in a sustainable and responsible manner."

The strategy identifies three primary lines of effort for the federal government, each of which impacts the sea services. The first line of effort is "advancing U.S. security interests," a primary mission area of the Navy.

"The U.S. Navy is currently engaged in strategic planning to increase operational capabilities and infrastructure in the Arctic in future years," White said. "Within the next decade, I believe we'll be operating routinely in the Arctic with an appropriate presence that includes more than just submarines. We need to start preparing for that now," he added.

While he sees no imminent threat of conflict in the Arctic, White believes the presence of well-meaning naval forces acts as a stabilizing influence toward mutual prosperity and safe maritime activity.

A second line of effort is "pursuing responsible stewardship."

The strategy points out that the U.S. territorial waters in the Arctic are potentially rich in oil, natural gas, and mineral resources, and also offer commercial fishing and shipping opportunities. It emphasizes the management and development of resources in a sustainable manner that respects the fragile environment and the interests of indigenous peoples.

This line of effort includes an emphasis on research to better understand the changing climate and improve Arctic weather forecast capabilities, and on high resolution surveying of the seabed.

According to White, the Navy is already investing in significant Arctic research. "It is important that we improve our understanding of the environment for safety of operations," White noted, "because the Arctic will remain a harsh and challenging environment even as it becomes more accessible and active."

White pointed out that the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, headquartered at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., has assets that can assist in this national effort. The command manages a fleet of six world-class ocean survey vessels and operates some of the world's finest oceanographic analysis and prediction computer models.

The Navy also partners with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard to monitor polar ice movement at the National Naval Ice Center in Suitland, Md. This is in line with the National Arctic Strategy's third line of effort - building and maintaining cooperative relations with other federal agencies, as well as with Arctic nations and allies.

In an article posted by the American Forces Press Service on Friday, Dr. Daniel Y. Chiu, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, said "DoD sees the opening of the Arctic waters in the decades ahead as a prime opportunity to work cooperatively in multilateral forums over time to promote a balanced approach to improving human and environmental security in the region."

"The Navy's global area of responsibility is growing as we add new coastline and a new ocean," White said. "With the fiscal challenges confronting us, we must use cooperative multilateral partnerships to successfully build an Arctic-capable force for the future."

White noted that the remoteness of the region, the vast area, the harsh environment, and the lack of supporting infrastructure combine to make the Arctic a more challenging environment than other oceans.

"The Navy will work closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and other Arctic nation sea services to ensure we can meet the same mission requirements in the Arctic as we do in, on, and above every other ocean in the world," White said.

The new Arctic strategy also emphasizes the importance of U.S. accession to the U. N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. According to White, the Convention preserves the rights, freedoms, and use of the sea while addressing resource development and national sovereignty claims. "The Navy has long supported ratification of the convention," White said. "Our allies and partners need the U.S. to acceed to the convention so that we may help influence the resolution of complex issues in every ocean."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

ESSM intercept of high-diving threat proves expanded defensive capability

ESSM intercept of high-diving threat proves expanded defensive capability: Raytheon's Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) destroyed a high-diving, supersonic threat during a recent firing from the U.S. Navy's Self-Defense Test Ship.

"The success of this firing, highlighted by a skin-to-skin intercept, is a direct result of a series of enhancements to what is truly an international missile," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Naval and Area Mission Defense product line.

"Thanks to our multinational team's commitment to continuous improvement, each consortium member gains valuable protection for their fleets based on ESSM's interoperability with a wide range of combat systems."

ESSM provides critical layered defense by delivering protecting firepower against high-G maneuvering anti-ship cruise missiles, supersonic high-diving threats and low-velocity air threats, as well as surface targets.

Recently, ESSM was successfully launched from a ground-based system, demonstrating that the missile's performance over ground matches that over water. Significantly, no software changes were required to prove the ESSM's enhanced capability.

With 18 industrial partners representing 10 nations, ESSM is the world's premier international cooperative missile production program. ESSM is a key component of Raytheon's portfolio of products that provide a global layered defense capability to meet the needs of diverse platforms, combat system design and theaters of operation.

Lockheed Martin and the MDA Conduct Test of New Air-Launched Missile Target Prototype

Lockheed Martin and the MDA Conduct Test of New Air-Launched Missile Target Prototype: Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have successfully tested a prototype air-launched Extended Medium-range Ballistic Missile (eMRBM) target at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

In the test, a full-scale prototype of the eMRBM target was released from the cargo bay of a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft at 25,000 feet. The system's parachutes deployed, and the prototype successfully separated from the carriage extraction system.

The prototype is a replica of the missile target, without propulsion, that is being used to test and validate the air-launch equipment and carriage extraction system in preparation for the maiden flight of the eMRBM missile target planned for later this year. Supporting Lockheed Martin and the MDA in the test were the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army and subcontractors Orbital Sciences Corp. and Dynetics.

Naval Air Forces Commander Calls X-47B Catapult Launch from USS George H.W. Bush a Pivotal Moment in Naval Aviation

Naval Air Forces Commander Calls X-47B Catapult Launch from USS George H.W. Bush a Pivotal Moment in Naval Aviation

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) completed its first ever carrier-based catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia today.

"Today we saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy as we begin integration of unmanned systems into arguably the most complex warfighting environment that exists today: the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier," said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces, the Navy's "Air Boss".

The unmanned aircraft launched from the deck of George H.W. Bush at 11:18 a.m. It executed several planned low approaches to the carrier and safely transited across the Chesapeake Bay to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after a 65-minute flight.

Buss called the launch a "watershed event" in naval aviation and said he expects that decades from now, a future "Air Boss" will have a picture of the X-47B launching from Bush behind his or her desk just as he has a picture of aviation pioneer Eugene Ely's first-ever landing on the deck of a ship in 1911 behind his desk today.

"This ship and her crew continuously meet the challenges placed before them," said the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Brian E. Luther. "The successful launch of the X-47B is yet another first on USS George H.W. Bush. We were excited to host the experimental aircraft, and are proud to know we have played a part in a significant milestone in naval aviation."

Completing another important first for the UCAS-D program, the team demonstrated the ability to precisely navigate the X-47B within the controlled airspace around an aircraft carrier at sea and seamlessly pass control of the air vehicle from a "mission operator" aboard the carrier to one located in the Mission Test Control Center at NAS Patuxent River for landing.

"The flight today demonstrated that the X-47B is capable of operation from a carrier, hand-off from one mission control station to another, flight through the national airspace, and recovery at another location without degradation in safety or precision," said Matt Funk, lead test engineer for the Navy UCAS program.

Prior to the catapult launch on Tuesday, the UCAS test team also conducted deck-handling and ship-integration testing to demonstrate the capability to safely operate the X-47B in the dynamic, unforgiving environment of an aircraft carrier flight deck.

"This event is a testament to the teamwork, professionalism and expertise of everyone involved with X-47B program," said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. "Their work will positively impact future unmanned aviation development for years to come."

Over the next few weeks, the X-47B aircraft will fly approaches to the ship multiple times and eventually land on the pitching flight deck, said Navy UCAS Program Manager Capt. Jaime Engdahl.

The UCAS team will conduct additional shore-based testing with the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before its final carrier-based arrested landing demonstration later this summer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

EADS says Pentagon ending helicopter program

EADS says Pentagon ending helicopter program: The US Defense Department has decided to stop buying EADS Lakota helicopters for the Army next year, according to the head of the European aerospace's US-based unit.

"The Lakota is built by a highly skilled workforce, more than half of which are military veterans, at my company's Columbus, Mississippi, helicopter production facility," Sean O'Keefe, chairman and chief executive of EADS North America, said in an opinion article on the Defense News website.

"The Army has decided it's time to end this record of accomplishment next year," O'Keefe said, criticizing the across-the-board "sequester" federal budget cuts imposed by Congress.

"The Pentagon budget would do things such as slash its most successful helicopter program, the UH-72A Lakota, a low-cost program with more than 260 on-time and on-cost deliveries," he said.

The US Army had no one immediately available to comment on the article.

US moves troops closer as security worsens in Libya

US moves troops closer as security worsens in Libya: The United States has moved military forces closer to Libya since the Benghazi attack so they will be ready to respond to threats against diplomatic personnel, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

"We are prepared to respond if necessary, if conditions deteriorate or if we were called upon," spokesman George Little told reporters.

"Obviously we have moved assets and personnel," he said, without offering specifics.

NATO gets new supreme commander

NATO gets new supreme commander: Four-star US General Philip Breedlove assumed command of NATO Monday, promising to bolster the 28-member military alliance as it prepares for a difficult withdrawal from Afghanistan next year.

Breedlove, 57, formally took over from US Admiral James Stavridis as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) at a ceremony in Mons, southern Belgium, presided over by NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

By tradition, the US-led alliance is commanded by an American officer and Breedlove is the 17th to do so.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Rapid Threat Assessment Could Mitigate Danger from Chemical and Biological Warfare

Rapid Threat Assessment Could Mitigate Danger from Chemical and Biological Warfare: For more than fifty years, researchers have been studying exactly how aspirin affects the human body. Despite thousands of publications on the topic, our understanding is still incomplete.

Meanwhile, novel chemical and biological weapons have historically been mass produced within a year of discovery. Using current methods and technologies, researchers would require decades of study to gain a robust understanding of how new threat agents exert effects on human biological systems.

That capability gap leaves U.S. forces vulnerable, so DARPA's new five-year program, Rapid Threat Assessment (RTA), sets an aggressive new goal for researchers: develop methods and technologies that can, within 30 days of exposure, map the complete molecular mechanism through which a threat agent alters biochemical processes in human cells.

The developed technologies must identify the cellular components and mechanistic events that take place over a range of times, from the milliseconds immediately following exposure to the threat agent, to the days over which alterations in gene and protein expression might occur.

Boeing Brings B-52 into Digital Age with Significant Communications Upgrade

Boeing Brings B-52 into Digital Age with Significant Communications Upgrade: Boeing is providing an upgraded communications system for U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers so aircrews can send and receive information via satellite links, allowing crews to change mission plans and retarget weapons in flight and better interact with aircraft and ground forces.

To date, mission information has been uploaded to a B-52 only before a flight, not during. The upgrade, one of the largest improvements to the venerable bomber fleet, will therefore significantly improve B-52 effectiveness and flexibility.

"We are bringing this amazing workhorse of a bomber into the digital age and giving our customer the infrastructure necessary for continued future improvements," said Scot Oathout, Boeing B-52 program director.

The upgrade will be done through a new $76 million Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) contract that covers low rate initial production of the first CONECT kits, along with spare parts and maintenance and service at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. System installation will begin during the latter part of 2014.

Kerry warns against Russian missile sales to Syria

Kerry warns against Russian missile sales to Syria: US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday warned against Russian missiles sales to Syria saying it would be "destabilising" to the region as he seeks to build diplomatic efforts to end the bloody conflict.

He also reiterated the US stand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has no role in any transitional government which emerges from growing efforts to bring the warring sides together to map out a political solution.

After three whirlwind days of talks in Moscow and Rome, Kerry is looking to end the stalemate in the 26-month conflict and bring the opposition and the regime to negotiations to end the fighting which has claimed 70,000 lives.

But the complex situation appeared to have been further muddied by reports that Russia is planning to go ahead with a $900 million deal to sell sophisticated surface-to-air missiles to Syria.

US troops in Afghanistan after 2014 only with invite: WHouse

US troops in Afghanistan after 2014 only with invite: WHouse: US troops will stay in Afghanistan after 2014 "only at the invitation" of the Afghan government, and Washington is not seeking permanent bases there, a White House spokesman said Thursday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters traveling with US President Barack Obama to Texas that any US troop presence after that date would be "only at the invitation of the Afghans" and "subject to an agreement."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said earlier he could allow the United States to keep nine military bases in the country as part of a long-term security pact with Washington.

"As the president has already made clear, the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan, and any US presence after 2014 would only be at the invitation of the Afghan government and aimed at training Afghan forces and targeting the remnants of Al-Qaeda," Carney said.

He said the bilateral security agreement that is currently being negotiated would deal with the bases issue.

Is Iran widening its shadow war with West?

Is Iran widening its shadow war with West?: Kenya this week sentenced two Iranians convicted of plotting attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets while three Nigerian terrorist suspects allegedly trained in Iran are awaiting trial in the West African state on similar charges.

Increasingly, Africa seems to be emerging as a new front in the shadowy clandestine war between the Islamic Republic and its leading enemies.

A few weeks ago, British arms-trafficking investigators said they had found evidence that Tehran has been secretly shipping arms and ammunition to Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, the Ivory Coast and South Sudan -- all African states plagued by conflict.

These shipments, made over several years, don't appear to be directly linked to terrorist plots in Africa, or anywhere else but they underline the scale of destabilizing covert operations in which Tehran's intelligence chiefs are engaged.

It also reflects Iran's increasing focus on developing its political and intelligence interests in Africa, in large part to counter Israel's advances across the continent in its quest for diplomatic -- and intelligence -- allies.

Is Iran widening its shadow war with West?

Is Iran widening its shadow war with West?: Kenya this week sentenced two Iranians convicted of plotting attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets while three Nigerian terrorist suspects allegedly trained in Iran are awaiting trial in the West African state on similar charges.

Increasingly, Africa seems to be emerging as a new front in the shadowy clandestine war between the Islamic Republic and its leading enemies.

A few weeks ago, British arms-trafficking investigators said they had found evidence that Tehran has been secretly shipping arms and ammunition to Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, the Ivory Coast and South Sudan -- all African states plagued by conflict.

These shipments, made over several years, don't appear to be directly linked to terrorist plots in Africa, or anywhere else but they underline the scale of destabilizing covert operations in which Tehran's intelligence chiefs are engaged.

It also reflects Iran's increasing focus on developing its political and intelligence interests in Africa, in large part to counter Israel's advances across the continent in its quest for diplomatic -- and intelligence -- allies.

Boeing X-51A WaveRider Sets Record with Successful Fourth Flight

Boeing X-51A WaveRider Sets Record with Successful Fourth Flight

X-51A WaveRider unmanned hypersonic vehicle achieved the longest air-breathing, scramjet-powered hypersonic flight in history May 1, flying for three and a half minutes on scramjet power at a top speed of Mach 5.1. The vehicle flew for a total time of more than six minutes.
"This demonstration of a practical hypersonic scramjet engine is a historic achievement that has been years in the making," said Darryl Davis, president, Boeing Phantom Works."This test proves the technology has matured to the point that it opens the door to practical applications, such as advanced defense systems and more cost-effective access to space."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Beijing says US defence report hypes China threat

Beijing says US defence report hypes China threat: Beijing on Tuesday dismissed an annual Pentagon report that accused it of widespread cyberspying on the US government, rejecting it as an "irresponsible" attempt to drum up fear of China as a military threat.

The paper came as concerns in Washington have grown over Beijing's double-digit rises in defence spending and a steady hacking campaign which the Pentagon says can be traced to the Chinese government and military.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations of online attacks, and said it is committed to a peaceful rise while maintaining the right to defend itself.

The reports were "making irresponsible comments about China's legitimate and normal defence-building and hyping up the so-called idea of a China military threat", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

US shift to Asia on track despite budget cuts: admiral

US shift to Asia on track despite budget cuts: admiral: Plans to expand the American naval presence in the Pacific with new ships and hi-tech weaponry will go ahead despite steep budget cuts, the US Navy chief said before a trip to the region.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert told AFP in an interview he will seek to "reassure" partners during a nine-day trip to Japan, Singapore and South Korea that mounting pressure on military spending will not derail Washington's much-publicized shift towards Asia.

Of the Navy's current fleet of 283 ships, 101 are deployed and 52 are in Pacific waters, with plans to increase the US presence in the region to 62 ships by 2020, he said.

"We're going to grow. There's no question about the next seven to eight years," said the admiral, who departs Wednesday on his tour.

Greenert, who will meet counterparts at the IMDEX maritime security conference in Singapore, said during his talks he would outline a steadily expanding naval presence, particularly in Southeast Asia.

"I'll talk to them on deployments and how we're going to sustain our presence out there through this 2013-14 period," he said.

China's cyber spying targets US government: Pentagon

China's cyber spying targets US government: Pentagon: China has engaged in widespread cyber espionage in a bid to extract information about the US government's foreign policy and military plans, said a Pentagon report issued Monday.

China kept up a steady campaign of hacking in 2012 that included attempts to target US government computer networks, which could provide Beijing a better insight into America's policy deliberations and military capabilities, according to the Pentagon's annual assessment of China's military.

"China is using its computer network exploitation (CNE) capability to support intelligence collection against the US diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support US national defense programs," said the report to Congress.

"In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military," it said.

The report marked the most explicit statement yet from the United States that it believes China's cyber spying is focused on the US government, as well as American corporations.

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy Conduct First Arrested Landing of X-47B Unmanned Demonstrator

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy Conduct First Arrested Landing of X-47B Unmanned Demonstrator: Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have conducted the first fly-in arrested landing of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator.

Conducted May 4 at the Navy's shore-based catapult and arresting gear complex here, the test represents the first arrested landing by a Navy unmanned aircraft. It marks the beginning of the final phase of testing prior to carrier-based trials planned for later this month.

"This precision, shore-based trap by the X-47B puts the UCAS Carrier Demonstration [UCAS-D] program on final approach for a rendezvous with naval aviation history," said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the Navy's UCAS program manager. "It moves us a critical step closer to proving that unmanned systems can be integrated seamlessly into Navy carrier operations."

AFSPC Vice Commander: Innovation desperately needed for tomorrow's challenges

AFSPC Vice Commander: Innovation desperately needed for tomorrow's challenges: The kind of dramatic innovation that brought the world the Global Positioning System is desperately needed today in military space and cyberspace, according to Air Force Space Command's Vice Commander.

"Innovation is really what defines us as a Service," said Lt. Gen. John Hyten at the annual National Security Innovation Competition held here Apr. 25. "Our Service has been built on Airmen doing amazing things, fueled by innovation."

Innovation is a central theme in the new Air Force Vision. "Our Airmen's ability to rethink the battle while incorporating new technologies will improve the varied ways our Air Force accomplishes its missions," wrote Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff General Mark Walsh III, in the document released in January, 2013.

General Hyten challenged the competitors to fight for their innovations, even in the face of opposition from bureaucracies and naysayers. "We have a desperate need for innovation in both space and cyber," he said. "We have declining budgets. We have a completely different threat environment," in both cyber and space. "We need to figure out how to fight through contested environments," he said. "We have to come up with new ideas. If we don't, we fail as a nation."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

AF Academy Cadets Win NSA 'Cyber Defense' |

AF Academy Cadets Win NSA 'Cyber Defense' | The Air Force Academy Cyber Team won the National Security Agency's Cyber Defense Exercise, held April 16-18, for the second year in a row, outscoring teams from other military academies in the U.S. and Canada.

The 13th annual inter-service Cyber Defense Exercise is a large-scale computer network defense competition designed to test a cyber team's ability to create and maintain a fully functioning computer network under a hostile attack.

During the competition, cadets in the Academy's Computer Sciences 468 Secure Networks course and members of the Academy Cyber Competition Team built a network with email, web and file transfer capabilities from scratch and defended their network from hackers, solved a forensics challenge and secured a vulnerable web-server.

"Our second consecutive victory in the Cyber Defense Exercise is a result of the incredible dedication and hard work of our cadets," said Dr. Martin Carlisle, the Cyber Team's coach. "(Cadets) understand the critical role cyber plays in our nation's defense and are proactively learning as much as they can so they will be outstanding leaders in this domain."

The competition took place on virtual, private networks to provide a safe network for the exercise while preventing interference with real-world networks.

Army Set to Kill Improved Carbine Competition |

Army Set to Kill Improved Carbine Competition | The U.S. Army plans to cancel its Improved Carbine competition before conducting the final, soldier-evaluation portion of this multi-year effort to replace the M4 carbine.

Program officials are in the process of reprogramming the $49.6 million requested in the proposed fiscal 2014 budget to buy 30,000 improved carbines, according to a source familiar with the effort.

Army weapons officials recently completed Phase II of the competition where testers fired hundreds of thousands of rounds through carbines submitted by gun makers such as Heckler & Koch, FNH-USA, Remington Defense, Adcor Defense Inc. and Colt Defense LLC, the original maker of the M4 carbine.

Air Force's Experimental Scramjet Hits Mach 5 |

Air Force's Experimental Scramjet Hits Mach 5 | The final flight of the X-51A Waverider test program saw the scramjet aircraft reach Mach 5.1 over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Air Force said Friday.

The unmanned hypersonic researcher craft traveled more than 230 nautical miles in just over 6 minutes Wednesday over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range off California before crashing into the ocean as intended, an Air Force release said.

The X-51A took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California under the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress before being released at about 50,000 feet.

No Hijacking By Somali Pirates in Nearly a Year |

No Hijacking By Somali Pirates in Nearly a Year | The fight against Somali pirates has been so effective that they haven't been able to mount a successful hijacking in nearly a year, the chair of the global group trying to combat the pirates said Thursday.

U.S. diplomat Donna Leigh Hopkins credits the combined efforts of international naval forces and stepped-up security on ships including the use of armed guards. But there are also other factors including the jailing of some 1,140 Somali pirate in 21 countries "which started deglamorizing piracy," she said.

Somali pirates hijacked 46 ships in 2009, 47 in 2010, but only 25 in 2011, an indication that new on-board defenses were working. In 2012, there were just 75 attacks reported off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden - down from 237 attacks in 2011 - and only 14 ships were hijacked, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Securing Syria's chemical arms would carry huge risks

Securing Syria's chemical arms would carry huge risks: A military mission to secure Syria's chemical arsenal would require a large ground force and pose huge risks, with the outcome hinging on the quality of Western intelligence, experts say.

With the Syrian regime suspected of using chemical agents against rebels, US and Western military commanders are planning for a possible worst-case scenario in which an international force would move in to neutralize the lethal weapons.

Any attempt to seize control of chemical agents in Syria would depend on the intelligence gathered by foreign spy services, which have struggled at times to track the Damascus regime's stockpiles.

South Korea leader seeks unity, and prestige, in US

South Korea leader seeks unity, and prestige, in US

South Korea's new leader visits Washington next week on a mission to present a united front to a bellicose North Korea and also to safeguard her country's increasingly outsized role in the world.
President Park Geun-Hye took office in February as the first woman to lead a Northeast Asian nation. But she has had little time to highlight her personal story, with her tenure quickly consumed by soaring tension with North Korea.After a stop in New York, Park will meet President Barack Obama on Tuesday and address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday. The two countries cleared the way for a smooth visit by putting off a decision on a nuclear accord, one of few major items of disagreement between the allies.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

US backs Georgia bid to join NATO, EU

US backs Georgia bid to join NATO, EU

The United States on Wednesday endorsed the former Soviet republic of Georgia's democratic reforms and bid to join NATO and the EU, amid a power struggle between its president and prime minister.
US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed this support at a press conference with the visiting Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili."We are very supportive of Georgia's aspirations with respect to NATO and to Europe. And we applaud the democratic transition that has been taking place," said Kerry. Saakashvili thanked Kerry, who was a senator for 30 years before becoming secretary of state, for being "the first one to come to our rescue" when Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008."We want American support for NATO, we want American support for further European integration at this very difficult moment for Georgia's democracy and Georgia's survival," the president added.