Saturday, May 31, 2014

China Lashes Out at U.S. and Japan -

China Lashes Out at U.S. and Japan - China struck back harshly at the United States and Japan on Saturday, as a senior Chinese military official accused Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan of acting in concert to sow controversy and division in the Asia-Pacific region.

Speaking to reporters at a conference here of senior military officials from around the region, Lt. Gen. Wang Guanzhong, the deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, characterized a speech on Saturday morning by Mr. Hagel, which followed one by Mr. Abe on Friday night, as “full of threats and intimidating language,” according to Chinese news media outlets.

General Wang seemed especially annoyed that Mr. Hagel, who accused China of coercive tactics in its many maritime disputes with its neighbors, had made his accusations at a conference about regional cooperation.

“Secretary Hagel, in this kind of public space with many people, openly criticized China without reason,” General Wang said. “Secretary Hagel’s speech is full of encouragement, incitement for the Asia region’s instability giving rise to a disturbance.”

U.S. Sway in Asia Is Imperiled as China Challenges Alliances -

U.S. Sway in Asia Is Imperiled as China Challenges Alliances -

The Obama administration’s three-year-old plan to shift its foreign policy focus to Asia was supposed to shore up interests in a critical region, push new free trade pacts and re-establish United States influence as a balance to a growing China, after a decade of inattention.

But as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited this city-state for a security conference with all of the interested parties on Friday, that much-vaunted Asia policy appeared to be turning into more of a neighborhood street fight, with the United States having to simultaneously choose sides and try to play the role of referee.
All around Asia, China is pushing and probing at America’s alliances, trying to loosen the bonds that have kept the countries close to Washington and allowed the United States to be the pre-eminent power in the region since World War II.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Army, Marine howitzers getting new battery system

Army, Marine howitzers getting new battery system: Super-Phosphate batteries are to be supplied by Saft to BAE Systems for use on U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps M777A2 howitzers.

The specific value of the contract from BAE Systems, maker of the howitzer, was not disclosed.

The weapon, chosen by the Army and Marines as their next-generation medium force weapon, is a quickly deployable 155mm howitzer with aluminum and titanium components.

Saft, a manufacturer of high-tech batteries, said its Super-Phosphate batteries will replace previous lead-acid batteries used with the guns fire control system to provide advantages specific to the company's Li-ion technology, including longer battery life, faster recharge and reduced costs.

The new batteries will be integrated with Saft's field-proven 28V control and power electronics using battery enclosures designed to withstand rugged environments.

National Security Space: Then.Now.Tomorrow

National Security Space: Then.Now.Tomorrow: General William L. Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command
Colorado Springs CO at the Space Forum Symposium 2014.

Well that was far too generous of an introduction. I didn't even recognize any of that myself. It is great to be back at the symposium this year and thank you all for attending this morning. It's an honor to stand before this particular audience and it's a remarkable collection of space experts, including many friends, and by the way at this point in my life I refuse to call you old friends.

Special thanks to the Space Foundation too for 30 years of just wonderful symposiums here, it is just fantastic how this keeps growing every year and it seems like we say this every year, that it keeps getting bigger and better. Because it does, it just keeps getting bigger and better every year. And what a fantastic job the Space Foundation does in educating America about space and promoting space activity and the space industry.As Elliot said this is my last time to be able to speak to you in uniform, so I hope you don't mind if I choose this opportunity to wax a little nostalgic and talk to you about some memories over the last 38 years of service in this business, and I also wanted to share some thoughts with you about the progress of National Security Space over the years.I think it's something that we should all celebrate and I hope you'll agree with me on that. At the same time I think there is a lot of work we need to do to stay relevant in what I call the new normal of space.Hopefully you'll agree with me on that by the time we're done here, and I'll try very hard to be through in time [so] that we can do some questions and answers.You know the month of May is really a historic month for space. On May 25th, 1961 President Kennedy declared to the Congress the American objective to put a man on the moon by the end of that decade. As a youngster growing up in the great State of Oklahoma, I remember watching those early TV programs, my parents were kind enough to get me up, and let me watch those grainy black and white images and I've got to tell you I was hooked. I was hooked on the space business.After that point I knew what I wanted to do the rest of my life. And several years later, I remember watching the Apollo landing and I was watching it in my girlfriend's living room, on her TV. It was one of those events in life where you'll never forget where you were at that particular point in time. By the way, that girlfriend was not Linda, so for those of you who know Linda forget anything I said about my girlfriend. I'm sure I can trust all of you.I would submit to you that the world has been transformed by our inexorable progress in space. We have strengthened our economy, and made the world smaller. We've also used space to promote international relations and promote scientific discovery. However, the operating environment in space is very different than it was 50 years ago.So, with that thought in mind, let's look back at how our National Security Space program got started, take stock of where we are today, and also look toward our future.The earliest efforts in the space race began soon after World War II. Theodore von Karman's Toward New Horizons report in 1945 stated very concisely, the satellite is a definite possibility. In 1946 the first RAND study suggested "World Circling Spaceships" to observe Soviet missile development, warn of ballistic missile launches, communicate with and command our forces around the world, forecast the weather, and be warned of activity in space that would affect our satellites. Pretty prescient for 1946!The launch of Sputnik, and the realization that the Soviet Union now had a missile with intercontinental range, compelled the United States and the Air Force to move quickly into the launch business.America followed just a few months after Sputnik by launching our first satellite, Explorer I, which really was not much more than a simple "the art of the possible" kind of experiment. These early launches in the U.S. formed the long relationship between the ballistic missile community and the space community.Key to establishing this relationship was General Bennie Schriever. In the 50's, he led a team that simultaneously began development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, with an eye toward their use as space launch vehicles as well. As well as developing our first satellites under the program named WS-117L.When Francis Gary Powers was shot down in his U-2 over the Soviet Union in 1960, President Eisenhower accelerated the WS-117L program and established the National Reconnaissance Office.This led to the world's first successful photoreconnaissance satellite program, Corona, launched first in August of 1960. General Schriever's gang in the so-called Little Red Schoolhouse in LA also defined the set of satellite missions which would eventually become the core of what we do today in Air Force Space Command.General Schriever's team had their first success with the Atlas rocket family placing the SCORE, our first communications relay satellite, into orbit. Atlas boosters were also chosen to launch our first astronauts into space. It's a proud heritage really that continues to today with the Atlas V.The Martin Company developed the Titan ICBM, which evolved into the Titan II. In a testament to its design and development, Titan II served the Air Force as a launch vehicle until 2003.The Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile launched Discoverer 1 and Discoverer 14, which returned a capsule containing the first space-based images of the Soviet Union. Needless to say, this was a major step forward, in gaining much-needed information on what was going on with the Soviet Union.With Thor, Titan and Atlas, the Air Force was on a roll. We continued to develop more powerful technology to place heavier payloads into higher orbits. Upper-stage boosters, Agena followed by Centaur, came along in the mid-60s. These boosters sent many satellites into orbit, but truth be told, our efforts were not always successful. In fact, many met with failure.In the first ten years--and this is an amazing statistic--in the first ten years of the Air Force space program, nearly eighty launches ended in failure, far more than the number of successes. But in those days, failure was a learning experience. We made progress, made the adjustments needed and we moved on. Just a slightly different mentality than we have today, right?Through the 1970s and the early 80s, launch capability kept growing and improving. Our largest launch vehicle at the time was the Titan 34D. It had fifteen launches, but unfortunately, two of those failed as you see here on the screen.In the 1970s, the national decision was taken to make the Space Transportation System, the Space Shuttle, as our sole means of access to space. Not widely known, but there were eleven military-focused space shuttle missions. As an insurance policy, throughout the 1980's the Air Force continued work on a program called the complimentary expendable launch vehicle. In the wake of the Challenger disaster, the Air Force returned to expendable rockets for military satellite launches.Delta II, Atlas I and Atlas II, and Titan IV became our mainstay launch systems in the 1980s. These rockets successfully placed dozens of satellites in orbit, but launch failures continued to be a concern. Our payloads were becoming more and more complex and as a result, more and more expensive, and mission assurance took on even greater importance.In the late-1990's, we began work on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program with Atlas V and the Delta IV, and both had their first successful launches in 2002.As you know, these launch systems have been incredibly reliable. In fact, we've enjoyed a 100% success rate. But trust me when I say we're not taking mission assurance for granted. We treat every launch as if it's our first. And we simply don't, and won't, compromise on mission assurance, given the cost and importance of the satellites we lift.We built the systems to get us to space, now let's talk about how we built the systems to control our spacecraft after we got them there.From the outset, we created a global network of remote tracking stations to provide the communication links and computer systems to track our satellites and capture the required mission data.The central node for the Air Force Satellite Control Network was at Sunnyvale Air Force Station, California, also known as the "Blue Cube," which was later renamed Onizuka Air Force Station, in honor of Air Force Colonel Ellison Onizuka, who was one of the astronauts on board the shuttle Challenger on that fateful day in 1986. As many of you know, the Blue Cube had a very colorful history dating all the way back to the 117L program.To create a backup node for satellite operations, and in anticipation of planned military Space Shuttle operations, construction of the Consolidated Space Operations Center at Falcon Air Force Station, right outside Colorado Springs here, now called Schriever Air Force Base, began in the early 80s.For a time, we operated in a dual-node concept, we then decided we could operate solely out of Schriever Air Force Base with various backup locations for each satellite constellation. As a result, we closed Onizuka in 2010.Today, there are seven Remote Tracking Stations and fifteen fixed antennas supporting satellite operations for more than 150 DoD, allied and civil space systems. Originally, there were nine sites supported by hundreds of operators, and technicians, but with automation and communications systems improved, we reduced our footprint considerably. On an average day, we now support more than 400 satellite contacts.Lots of history associated with the Air Force Satellite Control Network and the dedicated people who have served, and those who continue to serve, at some pretty remote locations. I've got to tell you, I personally regretted our decision to close the station at Seychelles. Any of you who have been there fully appreciate what I just said.The next mission area we need to talk about is missile warning.The Cold War demanded clear confirmation of a missile launch against North America. We had to provide accurate and reliable data to allow the President to decide what his response would be. The threat of ICBMs required the creation of both ground- and space-based missile warning systems.By the early 60s, the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System had deployed to Alaska, Greenland and England. These high-powered mechanical radar systems provided fifteen to twenty-five minutes of warning time of ballistic missile launches, depending on the trajectory of that particular missile. The BMEWS radars were also among the first contributing sensors to our space surveillance mission, and I'll talk more about that in a little bit.Additionally, the advent of the Soviet's Sub-Launched Ballistic Missiles prompted the deployment of PAVE PAWS radars in the late-70s. Four sites were constructed in California, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Texas, with the first two becoming operational in 1980.PAVE PAWS deployed a far more efficient solid-state phased array technology, thereby eliminating mechanical radar components and the failure of those moving parts, and also the costly klystron transmitters at the BMEWS sites. Phased array technology was extended to the BMEWS sites, resulting in a ring of missile warning capability around the United States.Working with our mission partner, the Missile Defense Agency, we are deploying the Upgraded Early Warning Radar system to both BMEWS and PAVE PAWS radars. These new computers, significantly upgrade the accuracy, sensitivity, automation, and responsiveness of our radars. With the exception of our radar in North Dakota, our missile warning radars will all be UEWR improved by 2017.In addition to ground based radars, on-orbit architectures were developed to enhance our missile warning capabilities. During the 1960s, we developed and launched Vela to monitor Soviet nuclear testing in the atmosphere and on the ground. Vela was so successful the program actually lasted for 26 years.The next step along the way was the Missile Defense Alarm System, MIDAS, using infrared sensors to provide thirty minutes of warning of a potential ICBM attack, which when you think about it, was not bad for 1963. And it provided warning well in advance of the radars, which means, of course, more decision time for the President.MIDAS paved the way for the Defense Support Program satellite in 1970. The improved technology of the DSP satellites greatly improved global awareness. The DSP program had 23 satellites in its history and we still have some on orbit serving us well today.The successor to DSP is the Space Based Infrared System, incorporating new scanning and staring sensor technologies to deliver a far superior system. With our legacy DSP and the new SBIRS satellites operating together, we can tell you anytime a missile launches on this planet, where it launched, the missile type, and the impact point. Plus, we ring the bell for missile defenses if necessary.The data provided by SBIRS satellites thus far has been outstanding, and we anticipate continuing to wring out even more capability from these satellites. The third launch of the SBIRS GEO satellite program is expected in 2016, and combined with the block buy contract for SBIRS 5 and 6, this is going to take us through the mid-2020's with SBIRS capability.I already mentioned that our ground-based missile warning radars provided great space surveillance data for Space Situational Awareness. Our early SSA data-Space Situational Awareness data-came from these BMEWS radar sites for low earth orbiting objects. And for deep space, we counted on Baker-Nunn cameras with optical telescopes.When MIT-Lincoln Laboratory opened in 1964, the Haystack Long Range Imaging Radar was the world's most sensitive radio antenna. Its X-band radar collected high resolution data on objects in geostationary orbits and beyond.Haystack was recently upgraded to add W-band capability, and was renamed Haystack Ultra-wideband Satellite Imaging Radar, or HUSIR. HUSIR produces extraordinary images of satellites while operating in both X and W bands. Great capability for us, for characterizing things on orbit. In the late 60's, the need for a dedicated Space Situational Awareness system had become apparent. The phased array radar at Eglin gave us much-needed capability to track and characterize satellites. Eglin has been updated a number of times and it continues; dedicated to the space track mission.The addition of the Naval Space Surveillance System greatly improved the timeliness and capacity of our space surveillance mission. The Naval Space Surveillance System began operations in 1959, and it eventually became the Air Force Space Surveillance System in 2004. Advances in tracking capabilities at our other sites, as well as budget pressures, led us to close the so-called legacy space fence last year.To improve southern hemisphere coverage, we are relocating a C-band launch support radar on Antigua, as well as a Space Surveillance Telescope in New Mexico, down to Australia. You see that Space Surveillance Telescope here. This is a very capable sensor, and we're looking forward to having southern hemisphere coverage with that asset.In 2010, we launched the Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite, which is solely dedicated to timely tracking of the geosynchronous orbit traffic. SBSS brings persistent and all-weather coverage of GEO that simply cannot be matched by ground-based sensors such as radars and optical capability. I think it's imperative we continue the space-based surveillance of GEO due to the priority of the satellites we fly there.In that same vein of vital GEO coverage, we just announced the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program, GSSAP, which is scheduled to launch in July. The electro-optical payload on GSSAP gives us very close-up neighborhood watch capability that helps prevent surprise, and that protects our assets in GEO.Our space surveillance data was originally processed on early main frames at the former Ent Air Force Base here in Colorado Springs--a site now better known as the Olympic Training Center. The Space Detection and Tracking System was the first of its kind to merge radar and optical data to detect, track and catalog human-made objects in space.And then when the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center was completed in the 60s, SPADATS moved into the Mountain. The Space Defense Operations Center system eventually replaced SPADATS and is still part of our operational system today. Not something we're particularly proud of by the way. In 2007, SPADOC moved to the Joint Space Operations Center, or JSpOC, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.Today's SPADOC system is not the answer for tomorrow--or really even for today's dynamic space environment. So we're building the JSpOC Mission System program to address these shortfalls. JMS will give us a high performance computing environment to do a much better job of SSA, and provide a modern space command and control capability as well.We'll be in a much better position to process increasing data volumes that will come from improved sensors, such as the SST and the Space Fence. And with JMS, the JSpOC can become much more proactive vice reactive to space events.Now I mentioned earlier that satellites shrunk the world. Let's talk about satellite communications. World-wide command and control, and the ability for the President and DoD leadership to communicate with forces deployed around the globe, was certainly an early vision for our space program. The Air Force and the Army Signal Corps cooperated to launch the world's first communications satellite--Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment--in 1958, which broadcast President Eisenhower's holiday greeting to the world.Beginning with the Initial Defense Communications Satellite Program, later renamed the Defense Satellite Communications System, the Air Force fielded an operational space-based satellite communication network. Between 1966 and 1968, we launched twenty-seven DSCS I satellites?as many as eight at a time?into a sub-synchronous orbit. With incremental technology advances in DSCS, our communication capacity grew from 4.8 Kilobits per second to 1.544 Megabits per second.In 1971, we launched the much more capable DSCS II satellite. This spin-stabilized satellite increased available bandwidth and added multiple channels to accommodate more users. Its geostationary orbit also provided persistent communications access around the world. A total of sixteen DSCS II satellites were launched in that program.The rapid technological advancements, like three-axis stability, and a need for hardened, nuclear command and control satellites, spurred development of DSCS III in the late 70s. DSCS III dramatically increased survivability and introduced built-in jammer detection and counter-measures. Of the fourteen DSCS III satellites launched between 1981 and 2003, eight are still operational today. Amazing, and still working.But the insatiable demand for more bandwidth continued, and continues. Wideband Global SATCOM, the follow-on to DSCS, first launched in 2007. A single WGS satellite provides the same bandwidth as ten DSCS III satellites and WGS can cross-link X-band and Ka-band networks, creating enormous flexibility for the Joint Force. WGS 5 and 6 were launched last year with four more to go in our planned program.Our Space and Missile Systems Center has initiated a commercial SATCOM pathfinder program to study the feasibility of long-term leases with commercial vendors to further expand our bandwidth and examine options for our future. We're studying many SATCOM options by the way, such as buying all or part of a commercial satellite, or contracting for bandwidth as a service, as opposed to building and operating dedicated DoD SATCOM.The recognized need for nuclear-survivable, jam-proof SATCOM birthed the program, Milstar, which first launched in February of 1994. This very complex program began under President Reagan, and then went on to the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites following Milstar. First launched in 2010, AEHF continues the protected, nuclear survivable SATCOM mission and delivers secure capability to our deployed forces.As many of you will remember, we really had some challenges getting AEHF-1 into geostationary orbit, but the outstanding work of the industry team and the government team got the job done. AEHF will be an essential asset for the President and for our deployed forces through the mid-2020's at least.Like SBIRS, we put AEHF 5 and 6 on contract as a block buy. We continue to seek ways to reduce the costs in these programs in areas such as lean processing improvements, long-lead procurements and multi-satellite acquisitions. We're also looking at alternative architectures to reduce costs in these big programs, but more on that in just a few moments.Success on the battlefield sometimes depends on accurate weather forecasting.The Defense Satellite Applications Program launched in 1962 was created to provide specific weather data in support of Strategic Air Command and other national requirements. The initial DSAP satellites were relatively simple. When DSAP was later declassified and re-designated the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, these early satellites provided some great cloud-top imagery for planning reconnaissance missions primarily.Today, DMSP has evolved to include visual and infrared imagery, microwave imaging and sounding, and a variety of sensors measuring the space weather environment. We just launched DMSP Flight 19 on the third of April of this year.Everyone in this audience knows GPS, but I'm guessing many of you did not know how this program got started. In fact we heard a little bit about that last night. The Navy deployed the Transit System in the early 60's to provide two dimensional position location information to the fleet, while the Air Force worked on Project 621B to provide three dimensional position data that supported Air Force operations.Eventually, the DoD assigned joint program responsibility for GPS to the Air Force, and it has become an amazing world-wide utility, especially after presidential directives made its highest accuracy data available to people across the globe.From 1978, when the first GPS Block I satellites were launched, through 1995 when GPS Block II satellites became fully operational, the extraordinary precision provided by GPS navigation and timing signals has really revolutionized life as we know it. I'll be bold and say that everyone in this room has been touched by GPS today--either through your smart phone's GPS chip or through some financial transaction--if not both. Incredible new applications of GPS surface every day.So, that's where we are today. Our past and our present kind of paraded in front of you this morning. And I think it's clear that our ability to take advantage of the high ground of space has not only provided vast improvements to national and international security, but it also provides incalculable benefits to global commerce, farming, agriculture, earth and space weather forecasting, transportation, global imaging, research and the list just goes on and on.In the area of joint military operations, I like to challenge audiences with the following statement: all military operations, from humanitarian operations all the way to major combat operations, now depend on space, maybe critically so. Ready to be proven wrong on that statement, but I haven't been yet. And our potential adversaries have watched us employ space to great effect over the past 23 years of continuous combat.Nations with competing interests to the United States have begun to threaten our ability to operate freely within the space domain. This brings both concern and opportunity for all of us, and as a steward of the nation's military space force, I have to bang the gong loudly so people understand this is not the same environment we started with in the 1960s.In those early days of space flight, it was just us and the Soviet Union in space. Today, more than 170 countries have either a satellite of their own or some financial interest in a satellite. And we now have 11 countries with indigenous launch capability.While we certainly support those who come in peace, some of these new space faring nations have an openly aggressive agenda toward our space capabilities and this may lead to dangerous and irresponsible behavior that potentially affects all space-faring nations.Furthermore, we're all facing a huge space debris problem. Currently, we track more than 23,000 objects in space--10 centimeters in size and larger. However, our sensors cannot see the estimated 500,000 pieces of debris between 1 and 10 centimeters in size.We've learned some lessons the hard way with on-orbit collisions, and this increased traffic in space is causing collision avoidance maneuvers at a pace we never before experienced. After five decades of relatively benign operations, space is becoming an increasingly challenging place to operate.While threats to space operations existed for decades, the ability and sophistication of counterspace technology is growing at an alarming rate. We face a range of threats from the reversible to very destructive and permanent threats.For example, jamming is relatively easy to do. It's cheap and easily acquired. We're really working hard to develop methods to fight through that jamming. Also, lasers are coming along and blinding and dazzling capability exists today. Higher power lasers that would permanently damage our satellites are not that far off.Anti-satellite weapons like the one tested by China in 2007 are a serious concern for us. This one test alone created thousands of pieces of debris we will be forced to deal with for decades. Imagine multiple ASATs used in conflict. If we don't come together, as a world community, to condemn this type of weapon, we face the very real threat of making low-earth orbit unusable for years.Certainly, a nuclear detonation in space is the least likely scenario but it has the most severe consequences. A nation with nothing to lose might be tempted to use that option with devastating and long-term consequences for all of us.In the past, our satellite programs have evolved with advances in enabling technology. As we walked through the history of our various constellations, you heard a recurring theme: technological advances pacing our progress. I'm convinced our future in the national security space sector will be driven much more by the threats in space, and by the need to operate through those threats during conflict. We're already rethinking how we use technology as a part of alternative architectures to operate in this new normal of a threatening domain.With the exception of GPS, today's constellations are based on a small number of high-value assets and they were designed to meet our needs in a very different geopolitical and threat environment. These incredibly capable satellites are critical nodes which, if attacked, or if they suffer premature failure, the results are a high-impact loss of capability with extensive recovery time. In my mind, this literally screams that we must begin now to design different satellite constellations for tomorrow.Disaggregation is but one example of the types of architectural approaches that could be implemented. For example, we might host a DoD payload on a commercial satellite or other host. We're also looking at a functional disaggregation, where sensors or sub-missions previously contained on a single satellite are dispersed across several smaller, less complex, and more affordable satellites.This distributed approach, we believe, will minimize the impact of losing a single asset, and it has the added benefit of complicating an adversary's targeting calculus--what I would call passive survivability. Or said another way, added resilience to our space missions. Multi-orbit architectures may make use of creative orbits that provide the same capabilities but minimize exposure to adversary threats.And finally, multi-domain solutions can take advantage of cooperative and synergistic use of air, land, sea, space and cyber assets. All of these concepts, and maybe others still to be conceived, may be part of our constellations of tomorrow. We are literally designing our future today. The status quo of today is simply not adequate for our future, in my mind.We've made a lot of progress in maturing our thoughts on resilience and disaggregation. And we're now well along the way on several studies to define the best way to improve that resilience in many of our key capabilities.The Weather Satellite Follow-on will blaze a new trail as a simpler and smaller system. We've conducted a study to consider international partnerships, hosted payloads or a new satellite to fulfill the needed weather satellite. Our Analysis of Alternatives has been forwarded to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council and we will continue to pursue the best option, or mix of options, to provide that weather data that's needed so much by our deployed forces.We continue to improve and modernize navigation and timing with GPS III. We're building a more robust vehicle with a longer mission life and multiple signals to support both military and civilian users around the world. The first eight GPS III satellites are on contract and we look forward to them replacing failed satellites in our constellation.We're also looking at other ways to improve how we provide PNT--such as hosting navigation payloads on other satellites. Our continuing objective is to ensure GPS remains the gold standard for global space-based navigation and timing by providing highly reliable and accurate GPS signals to users around the world.From an SSA viewpoint we have lots of room to improve. As I said earlier, current systems only track objects roughly the size of a softball. We're in source selection right now to build a Space Fence on Kwajalein. It will allow us to track and catalog significantly smaller objects and vastly will increase the number of objects that we can routinely track.Of course, the mainstay of space operations is assured access. SpaceX and its Falcon rocket are working toward certification to compete for National Security Space missions.As we also look at Orbital Sciences and its Antares rocket, I'm intrigued by the prospect of competition in the space launch market. And the future of space launch could take many forms. Private ventures such as Virgin Galactic are on the cutting edge and may eventually have application to our operations as well.That said, I remain very concerned about the state of our rocket propulsion industrial base. With the assistance of the Congress, we're looking at options to develop a new domestically produced engine. As you all know, a strong U.S. industrial base is key to innovation, competition and assured access to space.Our evolution from the 1950s to the present has been about innovation. Incredible innovation by remarkable people like General Bennie Schriever, people like many of you here today. Innovation that has led to remarkable strides in space operations, transforming and becoming integral to military operations and daily life everywhere.As I look around at this audience, I suspect some of you may have caught the space fever, like me, in the early days of space flight. Others of you are young enough to not even recall a world without GPS chips in your cell phones. Regardless, I think we all share a common and remarkable history of space innovation, and I really appreciate the opportunity to reminisce with you here today.In my view, the challenge before us today is certainly different, but no less compelling than that our fellow Americans were given by President Kennedy over half a century ago. The architectural approaches to our satellite constellations we are designing now for fielding in the mid-2020s must adapt to a new situation.Because we are now so dependent on space, we must balance required capability with affordability in this era of declining budgets. This is a tough mandate all by itself, but because of the new normal in space, we need to add the third complicating factor: the absolute necessity for resilience in a very challenged space environment.The nexus, or sweet spot, in this diagram, is our target. I believe our future demands we complete the detailed study work that will provide materiel solutions that give definition to that nexus, and I know our innovative space community is up to that task.While this will be the last time you see me in uniform at this forum, rest assured that I will remain an avid and outspoken advocate and admirer of the work you do and the tremendous things that together, this Nation will accomplish. America needs your service, it needs your ideas, and it needs your dedication.It has been the privilege of a lifetime serving alongside many of you, and for those of you I don't know personally, I thank you for serving with me in this exciting business of space.Thank you very much.

Cyberespionage Attacks Tied to Hackers in Iran -

Cyberespionage Attacks Tied to Hackers in Iran - An elaborate, three-year cyberespionage campaign against United States military contractors, members of Congress, diplomats, lobbyists and Washington-based journalists has been linked to hackers in Iran.

The campaign compromised the computers of some 2,000 victims and went unnoticed since 2011, according to a report to be released Thursday by iSight Partners, a computer security firm in Dallas.

American intelligence officials have long said Iranian hackers are a serious threat, not for their technical skills, but because of the country’s vow to retaliate for Stuxnet, the computer virus created by the United States and Israel and unleashed on an Iranian nuclear site. But the skills of Iranian hackers were not believed to be on par with hackers in Russia and China.

The new report suggests that the Iranian skills gap may be closing.

“This marks the emergence of Iran on the cyberespionage landscape,” said John Hultquish, the head of cyberespionage intelligence at iSight Partners.

The report details elaborate attacks by a group that has been able to flourish, largely unnoticed.

The campaign, called “Newscaster” by iSight Partners researchers, employed “social engineering.” Hackers used a dozen fake personas and connected with victims over Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. They sent their targets malicious links, which downloaded malware onto their machines, or directed them to fake login screens to steal the usernames and passwords.

Israelis, U.S. complete Juniper Cobra 14 medical evacuation exercise > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Israelis, U.S. complete Juniper Cobra 14 medical evacuation exercise > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

During a simulated life-or-death scenario, U.S. and Israeli medical teams completed a medical evacuation exercise May 20 throughout Israel.

The exercise, held in conjunction with the missile defense-related exercise Juniper Cobra 14, or JC14, simulated treating six patients and transporting them to an Israeli hospital and then airlifting them, depending on their medical condition, to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.

"The Israelis have world-class health care, so we're not concerned about the quality of care -- that's indisputable," said Maj. Liana Vogel, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe senior medical planner. "We're not here to test their ability to care for our service members; we're here to test our ability to work with them to see if we can keep track of our patients from the point of injury to the air evacuation, to make sure that they are getting care in a timely manner."

Vogel added that tying the medical air evacuation to JC14 ultimately aided in fostering relationships between both countries, before any potential real-world medical situations.

"We've got the opportunity with JC14 to lay in a real-world role-playing patient exercise where we're physically moving patients," she said. "And that's unique to this exercise since most of (JC14) is command post-type exercise."

Within three minutes of the simulated car crash, U.S. medical teams arrived on the scene to check the vital signs of six casualties -- five soldiers donning bandages and sporting makeup and one electronic dummy complete with blinking eyes and a breathing function.

U.S. medics then made a call to Israeli Magen David Adom, or MDA, medics, to transport those victims with severe injuries to an Israel hospital. The MDA is a civilian medical organization similar to the American Red Cross.

"The Israelis will provide about 98 percent of the medical care that our Soldiers and Airmen would need should we come out here," Vogel said. "This is the first time in history that we're relying on a host nation to provide that level of care."

Upon the Israelis arriving, the scene of the accident turned into a mix of both nations' medics speaking in English and Hebrew, all to check on the safety of those in need.

Medics then transported casualties from the crash site to Sheba Medical Center near Beer Sheba, Israel. The Israelis built the medical center in 1948 as a military treatment center during the country's war for independence.

"We consider the United States as our friend and ally for many years," said Jackie Orr, the director of emergency medicine at Sheba Medical Center and a former flight surgeon in the Israeli Defense Force. "We are very experienced with drilling with the American forces. We have a mutual way of thinking at least while we're considering battle and military injuries.

"Unfortunately, Israel is more experienced in response to wars and terror attacks and non-natural disasters, she said. "I think that most of the doctors you've seen in this drill, if not all of them, are on reserve, they used to be in the Israeli forces, but they are still serving. So they are very used to treating injured soldiers."

Sheba Medical Center, is known as the premiere hospital of the country and accepts more than 180,000 admitted patients each year.

"It's very important for us to know their approach, and it's very important to us that they would be comfortable to see our abilities," Orr said. "And, of course, we will treat them as we are treating every patient who enters this department in high quality.

"We have done so but, above it, we have our emotional part of working together with the Americans. It's always a pleasure to see happy faces and always a pleasure to see professional staff who can speak the same language or terminologies to be sure that we understand each other and we are working along together."

To simulate the air evacuation element of the exercise, Israeli medics transported U.S. Army Private 1st Class James Black, a multi-channel radio operator maintainer assigned to the 44th Signal Battalion at Grafenwoehr, Germany, to the flightline of Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. A C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft parked there to simulate transporting him to Landstuhl to be returned into U.S. care.

While no flight occurred for this scenario, Black said the combined effort from both nations' medics treated him as more than just a statistic to be tracked or an element to make history.

"They treated you like you were another person," Black said. "And, with the exception of the language, I didn't feel like I was in a foreign country."

U.S., Romania conduct joint training, build partnership > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

U.S., Romania conduct joint training, build partnership > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

More than 80 Airmen and Soldiers stationed in Germany came together to take part in the Carpathian Spring 2014 May 9 - 24, in Bucharest, Romania.

Carpathian Spring is an annual training opportunity which allows C-130J Super Hercules aircrew to fly in less restrictive airspace.

"This training is important because Romanian airspace allows us to be very flexible and helps to keep us proficient," said Capt. Chad Thompson, a 37th Airlift Squadron pilot.

"We're performing daytime-visual mountain-low-level training, where we fly low through the mountains to practice threat avoidance and forcible-entry capabilities," he said. "We're also doing air-drop training with container delivery systems and Romanian paratroopers. At night we're doing (night-vision goggles, or NVG) flying and landings."

The opportunity to fulfill training requirements was essential for all personnel, but more importantly, the two-week-long training allowed service members to interact with their Romanian allies. Members from both militaries shared their perspectives and expertise, improving mission planning and tactics.

"I've learned how U.S. pilots can perform in tactical exercises and how they manage a paratrooper mission," said Romanian air force 1st Lt. Gheorghe Matis, a C-27J pilot in training. "I was very impressed. These kinds of training opportunities prepare us for real missions. This has been my first time working with Americans. I hope there are more chances in the future to take this cooperation to a higher level, because we have a lot to learn from each other."

Pilots from the 37th AS also shared similar sentiments.

"It's important to work with the Romanians because they're one of our NATO Allies," Thompson said. "They're hard working and have been accommodating, letting us bring our C-130s and opening their airspace to allow us to train better together.

"Working closely together during these types of flying training deployments helps increase our thriving relationship with the Romanian." he added.

Along with conducting flying training missions, Romanian paratroopers were also able to fulfill their jump requirements. Above Romanian drop zones, C-130J pilots, loadmasters and U.S. Air Force and Army jumpmasters worked together with Romanian paratroopers to ensure safety during static-line jumps and high-altitude low-opening jumps.

"We've been here providing jumpmaster support," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Zavala Romero, the 435th Contingency Response Group jumpmaster. "We have helped push out 300 Romanian paratroopers in the past two weeks. Part of our job is to make sure jumpers and the aircraft are both safe. This training ensures we're on the same page when we work with our allies."

Once aircrew completed their missions, Airmen from the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron were ready to do their part. The maintainers worked 12-hour shifts to keep the C-130Js flight ready.

"For two weeks our teams have been launching aircraft for day and night missions and fixing them when they return," said Staff Sgt. Jereamy Day, a 86th AMXS guidance and control craftsman. "Delivering aircraft that can perform the mission is why we're here.        

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Microsystems Technologies Office: Creating A New Electronics Revolution For National Defense

Microsystems Technologies Office: Creating A New Electronics Revolution For National Defense: Since its inception in 1992, DARPA'S Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) has helped create and prevent strategic surprise through its investments in compact microelectronic components such as microprocessors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and photonic devices.

MTO's revolutionary work applying these advanced capabilities in areas such as wide-band gap materials, phased array radars, high-energy lasers and infrared imaging have helped the United States establish and maintain technological superiority for more than two decades.

As widely successful as these initial investments have proven to be, a new set of challenges has emerged. For example, although commercialization of advanced technologies has made military systems more affordable, it has also proliferated global access to advanced electronics, reducing U.S. strategic advantage.

This reality requires MTO to remain focused on developing new leap-ahead technologies to maintain America's military hi-tech edge, while the scientific landscape, national security threats, and military missions continue to evolve.

MTO has a history of being on the forefront of emerging technologies. Most recently, MTO initiated a number of programs at the intersection of biology and engineering. The first programs of DARPA's new Biological Technologies Office (BTO) came from MTO and the Defense Sciences Office (DSO).

Earthly Conflicts Threaten US-Russia Space Cooperation

Earthly Conflicts Threaten US-Russia Space Cooperation: Angered over U.S. sanctions against Russian officials involved in the annexation of Crimea, and unrest in Eastern Ukraine, Russian deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Moscow may retaliate by re-assessing the space cooperation between the two countries.

If his threat becomes reality, it could affect future space explorations aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Russia has not formally committed to continue cooperation on the ISS until 2024, as the U.S. proposes, and now says it might pull out by 2020. But the largest and most important US-Russian space cooperative seems to be unaffected.

Astronaut Rick Mastracchio, who recently returned to earth after more than six months in orbit, says the atmosphere on the space station is as good as ever.

New method discovered to protect against chemical weapons

New method discovered to protect against chemical weapons: Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered that some compounds called polyoxoniobates can degrade and decontaminate nerve agents such as the deadly sarin gas, and have other characteristics that may make them ideal for protective suits, masks or other clothing.

The use of polyoxoniobates for this purpose had never before been demonstrated, scientists said, and the discovery could have important implications for both military and civilian protection. A United Nations report last year concluded that sarin gas was used in the conflict in Syria.

Some other compounds exist that can decontaminate nerve gases, researchers said, but they are organic, unstable, degraded by sunlight and have other characteristics that make them undesirable for protective clothing - or they are inorganic, but cannot be used on fabrics or surfaces.

By contrast, the polyoxoniobates are inorganic, do not degrade in normal environmental conditions, dissolve easily and it should be able to incorporate them onto surfaces, fabrics and other material.

Army M4 carbines getting full-auto capability

Army M4 carbines getting full-auto capability: The U.S. Army's M4 carbines are in the process of receiving new, thicker barrels for better weapon performance if used in automatic mode.

The barrels in the M4-1A configuration of the rifle weigh 7.74 pounds -- compared to the M-4's 7.46 pounds -- and absorb more heat. The weight comparisons include the back-up iron sight, forward pistol grip, empty magazine and sling, the Army reported.

Current M4s only fire in single shot or burst mode.

"Soldiers need automatic capability while providing suppression fires during fire and movement," said Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Maddi, Program Executive Office Soldier, Fort Belvoir, Va.

Maddi said soldiers deployed to Afghanistan requested an automatic fire capability. Special Operations Forces have used the M4-1A configuration since 1994.

According to Maddi, the Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga., requested the conversion in 2010, which resulted in reliability testing.

US seeks greater missile defense cooperation by Japan, South Korea

US seeks greater missile defense cooperation by Japan, South Korea: A top US military official on Wednesday called for better missile defense cooperation between Japan and South Korea, in the face of strained ties between America's two closest Asia allies and a belligerent North Korea.

"We're encouraging our allies and partners to acquire their own missile defenses and to strengthen regional missile defense cooperation that will result in better performance than individual countries acting alone," said James Winnefeld, vice-chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff.

"We will continue to emphasize the importance of developing regional ballistic missile defense systems," Winnefeld said during a speech at the Atlantic Council think tank.

"This is a very politically sensitive topic for several of our regional allies, but progress in this area would only increase our confidence in the face of persistent North Korean provocations," Winnefeld said.

"This is about ensuring we can deny the objectives of any insecure authoritarian state that believes acquisition of deliverable weapons of mass destruction is key to the preservation of its regime."

Winnefeld said that in terms of weapons capability Pyongyang poses the greatest threat, "followed by Iran."

His appeal comes with relations between Seoul and Tokyo at their lowest level in years, strained by Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea and a territorial dispute over islets in waters between the two countries.

Terror’s Front: Local Groups, Eyes on West -

Terror’s Front: Local Groups, Eyes on West -

The Benghazi militant group Ansar al-Shariah is under attack by a renegade former general trying to rid Libya of political Islam. But in response, the militia has taken aim squarely at Washington.

“We remind America of their defeats in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia,” Mohammed Ali al-Zahawi, the leader of Ansar al-Shariah, declared this week in a videotaped statement, warning that the United States would face “much worse” if it tried to intervene in Libya.
Locked in a local battle for territory but with an eye cocked warily at the West, Mr. Zahawi is in many ways a prime example of the growing terrorist threat of “decentralized Al Qaeda affiliates and extremists” that President Obama described Wednesday in a speech at West Point. Although less able or inclined to strike the American homeland, this diffuse patchwork of groups now poses “the most direct threat” to the United States and its interests, especially abroad, Mr. Obama said.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Textron AirLand to show off its subsonic attack plane

Textron AirLand to show off its subsonic attack plane: A new light attack and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft is being flown next month at air shows in Britain.

Textron AirLand LLC, a joint venture between Textron Inc. and AirLand Enterprises, said its Scorpion aircraft will be flown at the Royal Air Tattoo from July 11 to 13, and then at the Farnborough International Air Show, which begins July 14.

"We're confident that the Scorpion will excel in its first international flights, travelling about 4,700 nautical miles to the UK this July," said Bill Anderson, president of Textron AirLand. "The aircraft has passed all of its early testing milestones, and now we're excited about demonstrating its long-range performance.

The Scorpion was first flown in December and has since completed 41 test flights. It's 43.6 feet long, has a wingspan of 47.3 feet and a maximum speed of about 518 miles per hour. It is designed for a two-person crew.

Pentagon chief to take in Singapore, Europe next week

Pentagon chief to take in Singapore, Europe next week: Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel will embark Wednesday on a 12-day trip that will take in Singapore before heading to Europe for talks with NATO allies.

The tour will begin with a brief stop at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, where the US defense secretary will receive briefings on missile defense, his office said.

Two dozen GBI interceptors are deployed in Alaska to deal with the ballistic threat from North Korea in particular.

Hagel will then travel to Singapore to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major annual forum dedicated to the security of the Asia-Pacific region, which runs from May 30 to June 1.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

General Atomics Grey Eagle again proves enhanced endurance capability

General Atomics Grey Eagle again proves enhanced endurance capability: The Improved Grey Eagle prototype unmanned aerial system by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has demonstrated its improved endurance.

During a second endurance flight test of the prototype for the U.S. Army, the aircraft flew 36.7 hours, compared to the 30-hour endurance of the unimproved model.

In October last year it flew more than 45 hours in a reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition configuration -- with no external payloads integrated, GA-ASI said.

"Improved Gray Eagle is a significant capability leap forward, providing for longer UAS endurance, enhanced payload carriage, and increased reliability", said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. "We are pleased that this long-endurance flight was executed seamlessly, with all objectives met."

During the latest flight test of the IGE, the aircraft carried an external signals intelligence pod and two Hellfire missiles.

Russian space agency set to resume Glonass talks with US

Russian space agency set to resume Glonass talks with US: The Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is set to resume negotiations on the possible deployment of Glonass global navigation satellite system elements in the United States, the newspaper Izvestia wrote on Tuesday.

"Roscosmos has done paperwork for the Americans and have filed the documents with the Foreign Ministry. They [the documents] state that our countries have made big progress in bilateral relations and this success should be developed for the sake of partnership and public interests. They propose to resume the consultations shortly and to pursue the path chosen earlier," a well-informed source in Roscosmos told the newspaper.

US Senate panel budgets $100 mn for non-Russian rocket

US Senate panel budgets $100 mn for non-Russian rocket: A Senate panel set aside $100 million Thursday to develop a US rocket engine as an alternative to Russian equipment currently used to launch military satellites into orbit.

Amid broader disputes with President Vladimir Putin over Kremlin aggression in neighboring Ukraine, US lawmakers have considered ways to break from Russian rocket dependence, including blocking US firms from purchasing Russian-made engines and developing a new American-made engine.

"Mr Putin's Russia is giving us some problems," said Senator Bill Nelson, who flew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986.

"So we put $100 million in the defense bill to develop a state-of-the-art rocket engine to make sure that we have assured access to space for our astronauts as well as our military space payloads."

Obama arrives in Afghanistan on surprise visit - The Washington Post

Obama arrives in Afghanistan on surprise visit - The Washington Post: President Obama arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday for an unannounced visit to mark Memorial Day with U.S. troops, now in the final months here of America’s longest war, and to begin final discussions over the size of the U.S. force that will remain beyond the end of the year.

Obama departed from Washington on Saturday night under cover of darkness and arrived at this U.S. base outside Kabul, the capital, under the same secrecy. It is his fourth trip to Afghanistan as president and his first in two years.

Friday, May 23, 2014

U.S. Case Offers Glimpse Into China’s Hacker Army -

U.S. Case Offers Glimpse Into China’s Hacker Army -

Many hackers working directly for the Chinese government are men in their 20s and 30s who have been trained at universities run by the People’s Liberation Army and are employed by the state in myriad ways. Those working directly for the military usually follow a 9-to-5 weekday schedule and are not well paid, experts and former hackers said. Some military and government employees moonlight as mercenaries and do more hacking on their own time, selling their skills to state-owned and private companies. Some belong to the same online social networking groups.
“There are many types of relationships,” said Adam Segal, a China and cybersecurity scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “Some P.L.A. hackers offer their services under contract to state-owned enterprises. For some critical technologies, it is possible that P.L.A. hackers are tasked with attacks on specific foreign companies.”
The Obama administration makes a distinction between hacking to protect national security, which it calls fair play, and hacking to obtain trade secrets that would give an edge to corporations, which it says is illegal. China and other nations accuse the United States of being the biggest perpetrator of both kinds of espionage.
In what may be Chinese retaliation for the indictments, a state agency announced plans on Thursday for tighter checks on Internet companies that do business in China. The State Internet Information Office said the government would establish new procedures to assess potential security problems with Internet technology and with services used by sectors “related to national security and the public interest,” reported Xinhua, the state-run news agency.
In the indictments, unsealed on Monday, the United States accused Mr. Wang, Mr. Sun and three others of working in the Chinese Army’s Unit 61398, which a report last year by Mandiant, a cybersecurity company in Alexandria, Va., said operated out of a 12-story white tower on the outskirts of Shanghai. That unit is now the most infamous of China’s suspected hacking groups, and the Western cybersecurity industry variously calls it the Comment Crew, the Shanghai Group and APT1.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

LockMart Integrates Latest Ground Control Station Technology with Fury UAV

LockMart Integrates Latest Ground Control Station Technology with Fury UAV: To increase expeditionary capabilities in its long endurance Group 3 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), Lockheed Martin recently fielded its newest Expeditionary Ground Control Station, or "xGCS", for use with the Fury UAS.

Following its development and manufacturing in Huntsville, Ala., xGCS shipped and was integrated with Fury in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The first xGCS unit was delivered in early 2014 and has completed initial flight testing in preparation for upcoming Fury UAS deployments.

The small and rugged xGCS provides all processing and communications support electronics needed for Fury UAS ground control operations, as well as all supported payload tasking, processing, exploitation and dissemination. Because the xGCS is reliable, powerful and suitable to the most remote deployment locations, it delivers unprecedented flexibility to the Fury UAS.

"The Fury UAS is an expeditionary platform with best-in-industry capabilities," said Jay McConville, director of business development for Lockheed Martin's Fury UAS. "It is an Advanced Group 3 UAS with significant increases to endurance, payload capacity, communications capability, and advanced mission management.

Often times our warfighters are struggling with the 'tyranny of distance.' Fury gives them a toolset to tackle these challenges. For these reasons we needed a ground control hardware implementation that was rugged, light-weight, and incredibly powerful. The xGCS has met all of our requirements and expectations."

Lockheed Martin Introduces Latest Addition to Small UAV Family

Lockheed Martin Introduces Latest Addition to Small UAV Family: Designed for versatility and affordability, the new Lockheed Martin Vector Hawk addresses a broad set of unique missions and operating needs within a single system. With a gross takeoff weight of only four pounds and a vertical profile of only four inches, Vector Hawk boasts best-in-class payload capacity, speed and endurance.

"We are proud to deliver Vector Hawk, a waterproof system that provides leading edge multi-mission capabilities in all environments," said Kevin Westfall, director of Unmanned Solutions at Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Training business.

"The Vector Hawk can be field reconfigured to multiple missions including fixed-wing, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and tilt-rotor enabling VTOL with transition to fixed wing flight. Our fixed wing variants may be hand or tube launched, and VTOL and tilt-rotor variants may be launched from land or water surfaces."

Vector Hawk features fully autonomous flight, landing and fail-safes. It is inaudible at operational slant ranges. The data link features a high bandwidth software defined radio, mesh networking (including 3G, 4G, and LTE cellular), over-the-air reconfiguration, and is capable of employing a variety of waveforms. With an open architecture, reconfigurable variants, adaptable data link, and scalable payload, Vector Hawk is engineered for unmatched capability.

5 in China Army Face U.S. Charges of Cyberattacks -

5 in China Army Face U.S. Charges of Cyberattacks -

In the Obama administration’s most direct confrontation with China over its theft of corporate secrets, the Justice Department on Monday unsealed an indictment of five members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and charged them with hacking into the networks of Westinghouse Electric, the United States Steel Corporation and other companies.

The indictment named members of Unit 61398, which was publicly identified last year as the Shanghai-based cyberunit of the People’s Liberation Army, including its best-known hackers known online by the noms de guerre “UglyGorilla” and “KandyGoo.”
The F.B.I. and American intelligence agencies electronically tracked the activities of the hackers, one official said, and “put them inside the Datong Road headquarters” of the cyberunit, a heavily guarded 12-floor military tower near the Shanghai airport.
The move by the Justice Department was almost certainly symbolic since there is virtually no chance that the Chinese would turn over the five People’s Liberation Army members named in the indictment.

Monday, May 19, 2014

U.S. announces first criminal charges against foreign country for cyberspying - The Washington Post

U.S. announces first criminal charges against foreign country for cyberspying - The Washington Post: The Justice Department on Monday charged members of the Chinese military with conducting economic cyber-espionage against American companies, marking the first time that the United States has leveled such criminal charges against a foreign country.

Industries targeted by the alleged cyberspying ranged from nuclear to steel to solar energy, officials said. In some cases, they said, the hacking by a military unit in Shanghai was conducted for no other reason than to give a competitive advantage to Chinese companies, including state-owned enterprises.

In retaliation, the statement said, “China has decided to suspend the activities of Sino-U.S. Cyber Working Group.” It left open the prospect of “further reaction” in the case.

The indictment against members of the People’s Liberation Army follows vows by senior administration officials to hold other nations to account for computer theft of intellectual property from American industry.

China is widely seen as the nation that has been most aggressive in waging cyber-espionage against the United States.

Holder said a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh returned an indictment against five members of a Chinese military unit in a Shanghai building, accusing them of conspiring together and with others to hack into the computers of six US. entities. Named in the case as defendants were Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu and Gu Chunhui, all officers of Unit 61398 of the 3rd Department of the People’s Liberation Army. Wang is also known as UglyGorilla, his hacker handle. Gu used the alias KandyGoo and Sun was also known as Jack Sun, prosecutors said.

Natick takes protective eyewear into future | Article | The United States Army

Natick takes protective eyewear into future | Article | The United States Army

When it comes to the very best in vision protection for the warfighter, researchers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center make sure the eyes have it.

"Eyesight is fundamental to a Soldier's job, making vision protection of critical importance," said Brian Kimball, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, known as NSRDEC, researcher.

A warfighter's vision can be impacted by dust, sand, fog and changes in lighting. There are also outright threats from blast and ballistic fragmentation and lasers.

NSRDEC researchers are working to find better ways to prevent sight impairment and eye injury, now and in the future. They are also working on cutting-edge technologies for vision enhancement and shared vision applications.

"At NSRDEC, our mission is the Soldier," Kimball said. "We are honored and humbled by their service, bravery and dedication, which challenge us to pursue science and technology solutions that will enhance their safety, comfort and effectiveness."

"The number of injuries has come down with the use of protective eyewear. Although you can't prevent all injuries, the majority can be avoided, or reduced in severity, by wearing the proper protection," said Michelle Markey, who is involved with the science and technology research at NSRDEC, as well as end-item technical support for both the Army and Marines.

"Improvements are always ongoing," Kimball said.

NSRDEC officials said the success of ongoing vision protection technologies to the collaborative nature of the Department of Defense vision protection community, which has a long history of working together and sharing resources, capabilities and technology.

"This community consists of scientists, engineers, medical professionals and dedicated program and project managers," Kimball said. "These combined resources provide capabilities that could not be realized otherwise."


"Ballistic fragmentation protection is always the primary consideration," Kimball said.

Soldiers face a variety of ballistic fragmentation threats, including debris from explosions and weapons firing. They also face increased threats from improvised explosive devices.

Polycarbonate, known for its durability and ease of use in manufacturing, has long been the Army's staple material for impact resistant eyewear.

However, Army researchers are taking ballistic fragmentation eye protection into the future. NSRDEC is working to incorporate new, lightweight, transparent nylon materials into protective goggles and spectacles.

"The material is a significant improvement," Markey said. "We are looking at a 15 to 20 percent improvement in impact resistance."

"And it is lighter weight," Kimball added.

This new material, the result of research conducted by Dr. John Song, a materials research engineer at NSRDEC, is approaching the manufacturing stage of product development.


Lasers are an increasing threat to Soldiers. Battlefield lasers can cause flash blindness, corneal hemorrhaging, retinal lesions and burns, and possibly permanent blindness.

"Laser light is coherent, collimated and of a single wavelength, so that your eye focuses it to a very fine spot," Kimball said. "In this way laser light is more intense than regular white light."

Handheld versions of lasers are readily available to anyone, anywhere. Military system-based lasers are also becoming more prevalent on the battlefield. Laser hazards can come from systems such as target designators and laser-range finders.

Current laser protective lens technologies use dyes and/or optical films to absorb or reflect laser energy. Natick researchers are aiming to increase the survivability and mobility of warfighters in situations where lasers pose a threat and/or hazard. They are working to provide protection in low light conditions, especially protection that will work better at night. Their goal is to make laser protection part of a single, multifunctional lens system.


Researchers continuously face the difficult challenge of developing scratch- and fog-resistant coatings that do not interfere with ballistic fragmentation or laser protection. Natick researchers consider solving this problem is an important priority, because Soldiers tend to take off their eyewear if it is scratched or remove their eyewear when it fogs -- thus, sacrificing protection altogether.

"The most common complaints they have in the field are scratching and fogging," Markey said. "We are always looking into new technologies."

Researchers also discovered during desert conflicts that improved scratch resistance coatings are needed to protect lenses against blowing sand abrasion, such as that from sandstorms.

NSRDEC, with support from Program Executive Office Soldier, devised new methods of evaluating abrasion and fog resistance. "We are perfecting and finalizing these new methods of testing and will be investigating new coatings," Kimball said.


Many Soldiers wear prescription eyeglasses. Currently, vision is corrected by installing a prescription lens carrier with corrective lenses behind the Soldier's protective eyewear. Technologies currently being investigated by NSRDEC also have application to prescription lenses, and will help make vision correction part of the single-lens system envisioned for the future. NSRDEC foresees this as a joint venture with the U.S. Army Public Health Command and program offices.

One of the most important contributors to successful advancements in eyewear protection is early and frequent testing of new materials and coatings to make sure an advance in one area isn't detrimental to another area. Sometimes new coatings that may protect against scratching or other problems lessen impact protection and have to be abandoned.

"If we have a new capability, one of the first things I do is shoot it (with a ballistic fragment impact simulator)," Markey said.

"The key is to test it as early as you can," Kimball said.


Hindsight may be 20/20, but future sight will be even better, according to researchers.

The key to future systems, Kimball said, is to "do it all in a single lens format."

NSRDEC researchers are developing an active eyewear system that will protect the user from ballistic fragmentation and lasers, as well as provide vision enhancement in a single lens. The lens will be able to quickly adjust from very clear all the way down to a true sunglass state, allowing the Soldier to more readily adjust to rapidly changing lighting conditions. The system will protect against dangerous forms of light, to include lasers.

In addition to providing protection against numerous threats and adapting to different types of light, a single-lens system would also include vision enhancement.

"The system will have tremendous potential to give the warfighter the edge over opponents and to ultimately lighten their load by providing information and functionality that will one day replace complex stand-alone systems," Kimball said.

Soldiers will benefit from features such as zoom magnification, variable polarization, multi-spectral enhancement and selective light filtering capabilities. The technology will allow for increased situational awareness and enhanced target recognition. The single-lens system will also feature improved impact protection and hearing protection/augmentation. Energy harvesting technologies are also being investigated to make the system self-powering.

NSRDEC researchers are working to ensure that these new developments will be environmentally robust -- meaning it will function under a wide range of conditions without the performance being adversely affected -- and low in bulk and weight. Nanotechnology will allow for the creation of new materials, they said.

Eye protection for the warfighter was first developed in the 1940s, and included goggles to protect from the sun, wind and dust. From the 1980s until the beginning of the new millennium, new advances in impact protection and laser protection became available. Since then, coatings, materials and capabilities have been improved continuously to ensure the warfighter has the very best protection that technology can offer.

Protective eyewear is crucial to preventing permanent or temporary injuries to the eye in conflicts, past and present. Eyewear protection has proven to be extremely important in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, where warfighters face ongoing threats from improvised explosive devices. Protective eyewear has saved the eyesight of countless Soldiers exposed to shrapnel and the flying debris common with the use of these devices, Kimball said.

"Fortunately for our Soldiers, warfighter vision system research is a challenging area that has attracted some of the brightest minds in the country," Kimball said.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Airbus Group Inc. banners 300th UH-72A helicopter delivery

Airbus Group Inc. banners 300th UH-72A helicopter delivery: The U.S. Army this week received its 300th UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter from Airbus Group -- on time and on budget.

The UH-72 Lakota is a militarized version of the EC145 by Eurocopter, which was an EADS company. It has a cruise speed of 153 miles per hour and a range of 426 miles. The U.S. Army contracted for procurement of the aircraft in 2006 and has received Lakotas in seven variants.

Airborne surveillance program Gorgon Stare getting Exelis sensors

Airborne surveillance program Gorgon Stare getting Exelis sensors: Additional infrared sensors for a U.S. military wide-area airborne surveillance program are being supplied by Exelis under a $25 million contact.

The program is called Gorgon Stare and involves a spherical array of cameras attached to a large unmanned aerial vehicle to provide motion imagery of an entire city for analysis. Exelis has so far provided 12 sensing systems for the program -- six electro-optical/infrared and six infrared-only. The new contract calls for five more infrared systems.

"The latest increment of the Exelis system provides four times the coverage area at a higher resolution than the first increment, which gives military personnel more detailed data to make critical decisions more quickly," said S. Danny Rajan, director of regional surveillance at Exelis.

"Traditional full-motion video systems provide a limited view and context of activities occurring on the ground. However, a persistent, real-time, wide-area coverage system vastly improves a user's understanding of events."

Exelis sensors collect multiple views, 12 times per second, and combine them into a single seamless image. The image is then relayed to a ground station for transmission to analysts.

US criticizes France-Russia warship sale

US criticizes France-Russia warship sale: US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated Washington's opposition to France's sale of warships to Russia during a meeting with French counterpart Laurent Fabius earlier this week, US officials said Thursday.

Under a 1.2-billion-euro ($1.6 billion) deal agreed in 2011, France is to sell two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia, despite criticism from several allies.

The issue has strained relations between the United States and France and was prominent during Fabius's visit to Washington this week.

US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed on Thursday that Kerry and Fabius had discussed the sale during their meeting.

Lockheed Martin weapons turret demonstrated with missile system

Lockheed Martin weapons turret demonstrated with missile system: A new vehicle weapons turret developed by Lockheed Martin has been demonstrated in Britain with both a Javelin missile and a 30mm cannon fired from it.

Development of the turret and the integration of the weapons was a nine-month effort by Lockheed Martin U.K. and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in the United States.

In the demonstration, the turret solution "exceed the accuracy requirements for both static and on-the-move firing, combined with enhanced protection and ergonomically driven fightability improvements, maximizing mission success and significantly increasing crew effectiveness," the company said.

Army announces plans to develop three 30 megawatt solar arrays on Georgia installations | Article | The United States Army

Army announces plans to develop three 30 megawatt solar arrays on Georgia installations | Article | The United States Army

The U.S. Army announced plans today to develop three 30 megawatt, alternating current, solar photovoltaic arrays -- one each on Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; and Fort Benning, Ga.

The projects are expected to bring the U.S. Army nine percent closer to its commitment to the President of deploying one gigawatt of renewable energy, by 2025.

Described by the U.S. Army as "Georgia 3x30," "the project will be a platform for energy security and enable the U.S. Army to increase energy security and sustainability at all three installations," explained Hon. Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment.

The three Georgia projects are a collaborative effort among the U.S. Army Energy Initiatives Task Force, Forts Stewart, Gordon and Benning, the General Services Administration, and Georgia Power.

Georgia Power, an operating utility of Southern Company, will finance, design, build, own and operate these projects. The U.S. Army will purchase power through an existing General Services Administration Area-wide Contract with Georgia Power. Land at each of the installations will be made available for the arrays and transmission of power.

Once operational, 18 percent of the energy the U.S. Army consumes in Georgia will be generated on-site by renewable sources. Groundbreaking is planned for late 2014 with commercial operations commencing in 2015. The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Army to consume 25 percent of electricity requirements from renewable sources, by 2025.

This announcement comes just weeks after a groundbreaking for a large-scale solar project at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. "We continue to grow our relationships with other government agencies and industry and are gaining momentum in building a sustainable renewable energy portfolio," explained Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability.

The U.S. Army Energy Initiatives Task Force is currently working on additional projects in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland and New York.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DARPA-Funded DEKA Arm System Earns FDA Approval

DARPA-Funded DEKA Arm System Earns FDA Approval: DARPA launched the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program with a radical goal: gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for an advanced electromechanical prosthetic upper limb with near-natural control that enhances independence and improves quality of life for amputees. Today, less than eight years after the effort was launched, that dream is a reality; the FDA approved the DEKA Arm System.

"DARPA is a place where we can bring dreams to life," said Dr. Geoffrey Ling, M.D., Director of DARPA's Biological Technologies Office . Dr. Ling is a retired Medical Corps neuro-critical care officer who served in combat hospitals in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He launched the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program in 2006 with a desire to provide better care "to repay some of the debt we owe to our Service members."

The newly approved system expands prosthetic choices for amputees, who have generally used body-powered prosthetics - in particular the split-hook device invented in 1912. DARPA took up the challenge to advance the field of modular upper-limb prosthetics and committed to making the significant research and development investment required.

Raytheon's JSOW scores direct hits in back-to-back flight tests

Raytheon's JSOW scores direct hits in back-to-back flight tests

Raytheon and the U.S. Navy showcased the operational capability of the Joint Standoff Weapon in challenging back-to-back flight tests. Launched from F/A-18F Super Hornets, at approximately 25,000 feet, two JSOW II C air-to-ground weapons flew preplanned routes before destroying simulated cave targets.

"These test shots further validate JSOW's ability to deliver decisive battlefield effects against one of the most challenging land targets facing our warfighters," said Celeste Mohr, JSOW program director for Raytheon Missile Systems."Naval aviators employed JSOW's firepower in a tactically realistic cave scenario that included heavy radio frequency countermeasures. The result was two direct hits -- it's all about sharpening the edge."JSOW C is designed to provide fleet forces with robust and flexible capability against high value land targets, at launch ranges up to 70 nautical miles.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

U.S. Officers Kill Armed Civilians in Yemen Capital -

U.S. Officers Kill Armed Civilians in Yemen Capital -

A United States Special Operations commando and a Central Intelligence Agency officer in Yemen shot and killed two armed Yemeni civilians who tried to kidnap them while the Americans were in a barbershop in the country’s capital two weeks ago, American officials said on Friday.

The two Americans, attached to the United States Embassy, were whisked out of the volatile Middle East nation within a few days of the shooting, with the blessing of the Yemeni government, American officials said.
News of the shootings comes at a perilous moment for the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whose collaboration with American drone strikes against suspected members of Al Qaeda is already a subject of seething resentment in Yemen. Yemenis believe, with some evidence, that the drone strikes often kill nearby civilians as well as their targets, so any indication that Mr. Hadi’s government helped conceal the killing of Yemenis by American commandos could be problematic.

Friday, May 9, 2014

US warship arrives in Georgia amid Ukraine crisis

US warship arrives in Georgia amid Ukraine crisis: A US warship arrived on Thursday in Georgia's port of Batumi, the US embassy said, sending a message of support to NATO allies amid the spiralling crisis in neighbouring Ukraine.

The USS Taylor's "presence in Georgia reaffirms the United States' commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners like Georgia, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the region," the embassy said in a statement.

The US 6th Fleet frigate arrived in Georgia for three days of exercises with the country's coastguard in the Black Sea after completing joint live-fire exercises and an anti-submarine warfare scenario along with Romanian ships.

"Allied ships, planes, exercises show vigilance and resolve from the Baltic to the Black Sea. We'll keep reinforcing NATO security," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Events in neighbouring Ukraine's standoff with Russia have alarmed Tbilisi which fought and lost its own war with Moscow in 2008, and says it is still exposed to a Russian threat.

Canada revisiting ballistic missile defense: official

Canada revisiting ballistic missile defense: official

Canada is revisiting a decade-old decision not to join the US ballistic missile defense program, a top official in Ottawa said on Thursday.

James Bezan, parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defense, told a defense summit in Ottawa that the issue has come up again before both Senate and House of Commons committees. "The government hasn't made any decision" on the matter, Bezan said, explaining that it is waiting for the parliamentary committees to report back.Bezan said there has been some concern about the "accuracy" of missiles being developed by some rogue countries that could target Canada's neighbor, the United States, and end up striking Canada, he said.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Army's testing of foreign mine boots yields valuable data, officials say | Article | The United States Army

Army's testing of foreign mine boots yields valuable data, officials say | Article | The United States Army

Land mines are a persistent threat for Soldiers as they face hazards from past wars as well as improvised explosive devices planted by current adversaries.

A team from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has leveraged its international reach to identify, research and test a mine-protective boot for American Soldiers. RDECOM's International Technology Center-Latin America, or ITC, initiated the search.

Matt Davenport, a mechanical engineer with RDECOM's Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, led the effort to assess a South American company's boot.

"As opposed to us trying to draw up a new program from scratch and go through the entire process, we already have a physical product," he said. "This is a huge time and cost-saving tool for getting capabilities to the Soldier."


Important factors for evaluating a mine boot are improved blast protection, minimal additional weight and size, and no degradation to a Soldier's mobility, Davenport said.

The boot, which has been fielded in South America since 2009, demonstrates the potential to provide these capabilities, he said.

By not using any metal in the boot, it prevents secondary injury to Soldiers and avoids adding significant extra weight. In addition to blast protection, the boot uses ballistic fiber layers to provide improved fragmentation protection.

"We already have very effective mine-clearing boots for slow, unexploded ordnance procedures. They work, but they completely inhibit mobility," said Davenport, who works for NSRDEC's Personal Protective Equipment Team.

"There is the potential of having no tradeoff in mobility and still gaining protection for lower extremities," he added.

Davenport said the Army would provide the boots as a specialty item when Soldiers are deployed to an area with the threat of mines.

"If we know there are undocumented mines in the area and still need to conduct a mission there, we can provide this product to mitigate the risk and magnitude of injuries, if they do occur," he said.


The command's global network of scientists and engineers, both uniformed and civilian, partner with foreign militaries, universities and industry to identify technologies to advance the U.S. Army mission, said Dr. Wei-Jen Su, director of the ITC in Argentina.

After Su learned of the boot during a cooperative visit in 2011, he met with company officials and then passed the information to RDECOM headquarters. Initial reports indicated the boot it contained protective measures not found in the standard-issue U.S. Army boots, he said.

"It's a win-win situation for the U.S. Army and foreign partners. All will benefit from this program," Su said.

Davenport, who was assigned to Program Executive Soldier at the time, used funding through the Army's Foreign Comparative Testing Program, or FCT, for purchasing and testing the boots.

FCT's mission since 1980, has been to find and evaluate solutions to meet operational needs, said William "Randy" Everett, FCT project officer at RDECOM headquarters. The RDECOM Global Technology Integration Team manages the program for the Army.

Leveraging the ITC and FCT allowed RDECOM to address this technology gap with foreign equipment already in use, Davenport said.

"We're advancing the understanding of the state of the art, and integrating our capacities with foreign partners," he said. "We're moving out, not just with what we have in America, but also learning what we can gain from our allies.

"If we can pool our intellect and resources, we have an opportunity to advance at a far faster and cheaper rate than we could if we tried to stay isolated within our own country."


To compare the boots against U.S. military standards, RDECOM turned to the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, for extensive testing. Davenport worked with ATC engineers to design tests to fully vet the boots, incorporating blast protection, ballistics protection, and human factors.

To gain feedback during human factors evaluation, three Army National Guardsmen and three Marine Corps Reservists, with seven deployments among them, tested the boots for 20 hours over five days.

The personnel, employed by ATC as Contractors as Representative Soldiers, used a boot course, obstacle course, and military-operations-in-urban-terrain course for testing. Results were then compared with baseline testing from the standard-issue boot.

The individuals performed all Soldier functions with full mobility, Davenport said.

While testing showed that the boots are not ready for fielding at this time, the data collected will be beneficial to future research efforts, Everett said.

"The fact that the testing has been so extensive is considered a success for FCT because that accumulated data will help determine what a future requirement for a boot would be," Everett said. "We now have critical data about anti-mine warfare with regard to footwear."


Davenport said the threat of landmines remains significant despite widespread explosive ordnance disposal efforts. Terrorist organizations produce homemade devices that range from small explosives to improvised explosive devices made from artillery shells.

Mines are intended to maim, not kill, and cause foot or leg amputations, Everett said.

"When you get hit with a mine, you become a casualty. It takes two people to evacuate. The enemy has effectively eliminated three people off the battlefield for a period of time," he said. "Once you know you're in an area with mines, it has a psychological impact. Mines are the Soldiers that never sleep."