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Insider Threats a Looming Issue for Government Contractors
By Kristen Torres



Government contractors must devote more resources and attention toward insider threat programs within their companies, a Deloitte executive said.

“Developing strategies so that employees know what kind of activities are acceptable and which ones are not is critical to the protection of data,” said Mike Gelles, director of law enforcement, intelligence and security at Deloitte and author of “Insider Threat.”

“Developing a policy isn’t enough — there has to be consistent monitoring to make sure employees are keeping critical data secured,” he told National Defense.

The book, published by Butterworth-Heinemann in May, defines an insider threat as encompassing everything from espionage and embezzlement to intellectual property theft from current or former employees.

Information leaks like Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency scandal can possibly be mitigated through cybersecurity initiatives, Gelles said.

“Cybersecurity looks at protecting the perimeter — it focuses on a company’s ability to lose potential assets from an external attack,” he added. “By creating an insider threat policy in conjunction with cybersecurity, you can monitor what is going on inside your workforce ... and determine who can be attacking from within.”

On May 18, the Defense Department released a letter indicating a change to the National Industrial Security Operating Manual (NISPOM). It requires government contractors to establish and maintain a "program to detect, deter and mitigate insider threats.” The deadline for implementing these changes is Nov. 30.

Gelles isn’t completely satisfied with the mandate, citing a lack of comprehensive solutions for protecting government data.

“I don’t know if it’s the end-all solution,” he said. “It comes up short because it [NISPOM] doesn’t require monitoring. There’s nothing to suggest they should be implementing analytics to keep track of employee activities.”

Having a policy alone isn’t enough, Gelles said. Oftentimes rules are not easily assimilated into the everyday work place, and the lack of enforcement means that information moves more readily.

“The workforce needs to remain aware,” he said. “It’s not enough for company leadership to say, ‘You cannot use this information in this way.’ There has to be a dialogue.”

Better communication across the board means that employees are much more readily able and comfortable with moving information, both within the company and from the company to an outsider. However, having this access opens the door for potential exploitation of information, Gelles said.

What he classifies as a “complacent insider” in his book — an unwitting, non-malevolent employee who sees himself/herself as above the rules and the job they’re performing — is the most threatening for an organization.

“Complacent workers are the key vulnerability between the perimeter and the inside,” Gelles said. “Because they do their job by whatever means necessary, they violate rules and controls, exposing an organization to tremendous risk.”

Activities carried out by complacent workers include clicking on phishing emails or allowing an outsider access to systems, buildings or people.

As millennials begin to come into the workforce, companies will also have to come to terms with dealing with an increasingly comfortable digital generation.

“Millennials can manipulate information and virtual systems at a far more superior rate than baby boomers can,” Gelles said.

Younger generations tend to be far more fluid in the dissemination of the information and programs they create, he added. For example, employees can take projects and information systems they created in their past roles with them when they move on to another job. That creates a hole in a company's security, Gelles said.

“Business in a virtual space makes it easy to move information to ... Dropbox or [an] email in such a way that their activities aren’t being observed like they were in the days of having to carry around physical documents,” he said.

Gelles believes the process behind a company’s insider threat policy is what matters most. “Contractors need to have programs to take on the responsibility of their workforce,” he said. “There will be a continued contractor threat if their companies don’t develop programs to safeguard their data.”

Photo: iStock

Advisory Panel: Incoming Administration to Face Fiscal Tsunami
By Sandra I. Erwin




Before every change of administration, government agencies harbor grand expectations for new leadership and a fresh vision of the future, although transformational ideas on how to manage a headstrong bureaucracy may not be necessarily welcome.

The transition at the Defense Department is always a major focus due to the nature of its mission and demanding responsibilities. Months before the November presidential election, Pentagon advisory teams have been mobilized to help prepare the next administration for the management challenges that lie ahead.

A key warning for incoming leaders is that the best laid plans at the Pentagon can fall apart in the wake of unexpected global events. A new twist in this year’s transition preparations is the chaotic political climate in the United States and the likely disruption caused by fiscal cliffs and government shutdowns.

“This is an unprecedented environment,” said Defense Business Board Chairman Michael Bayer.

The Defense Business Board is one of several advisory teams that will be involved in transition planning. The Defense Science Board and the Defense Policy Board also will be offering nonpartisan advice to the incoming administration.

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work directed the business board in a June 2 memo to “develop, from a private sector perspective, a series of topic papers germane to the department’s current and incoming senior executives and leaders, focusing on effectively managing a large-scale enterprise through transition.”

The panel met July 21 and approved a motion to get started on this effort. During the 90-minute portion of the meeting that was open to the public, panel members said they expect the handoff to the next administration to go smoothly, but worry about the fiscal picture it will face.

A gap between the Pentagon’s projected funding needs and what Congress would allow under the Budget Control Act will continue to dog the Defense Department’s leadership, board members said. Budget drives policy in Washington, they noted, and the unstable funding pattern from the past five years could continue into the next administration.

The new leadership comes in already facing a huge budget hole, said Defense Business Board member Arnold Punaro, retired Marine Corps major general and CEO of The Punaro Group.

The budget plan President Obama submitted this year for 2017-2021 is $250 billion above the spending caps set by Congress. The next secretary must either hope for relief from Congress or prepare to find ways to restrain spending, said Punaro. Defense leaders will be in a bind as Congress sets spending limits but also restricts the Pentagon from making politically unpopular cost-cutting moves like closing bases or curtailing retiree and health benefits.

All four defense secretaries under Obama sought to contain cost growth in the military and civilian personnel accounts, but ran into a buzzsaw. Punaro said the transition team will need to understand the impact of rising personnel costs — including troops, civilians and contractors. “The fully burdened cost of supporting the all-volunteer force and retirees is over 50 percent of the budget, he said. “You have to come to grips with these costs.”

Making the Pentagon leaner and nimbler has been a perennial goal of every administration. The Defense Business Board expects efforts to continue but acknowledged that private-sector practices don’t go over well in a culture that is risk averse and resistant to change. Among the recommendations the board plans to offer to incoming leaders: Delayer and flatten organizational structures, empower subordinates and create less complex organization so decisions can be made faster.   

The panel also will encourage the transition team to press on with the innovation initiatives started by current Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Deputy Secretary Work. Projects like the “third offset” strategy to modernize the military and opening technology incubators outside the Washington beltway should continue in the new administration, board members agreed.

Punaro said he is optimistic the future administration will push for change out of necessity in the tight budget environment. Business reforms are tough sells, especially when the nation is in the middle of fighting wars, he told National Defense, insisting he was not speaking on behalf of the Defense Business Board.

“You have to adjust to what’s going on in the world, much of which you have no control over,” said Punaro. The problem with changing how the Pentagon does business is that it can take decades to see results. Even a two-term presidential administration might not see the impact of its policies until it’s out of office. “It takes five to 15 years sometimes to make the changes that need to happen,” said Punaro. “The problem is they never seem to get started.”

The budget pressures will only get worse, said Punaro. “We need an additional $250 million just to get to the Obama FYDP [five year defense plan] before we add one soldier to the Army or one sailor to the Navy.” Meanwhile, there is no sign from the Congress that deeply divided factions are willing to compromise to increase federal spending. Next year, the dynamics are not expected to change, he said. “You’ll still have a conservative caucus in the House, and they won’t even agree to the $30 billion [increase to discretionary spending] we agreed to last year.”

Spending on defense over time has gone up but the size of the U.S. military force is shrinking, he added. This will continue to squeeze programs to modernize the military and increase combat readiness. There has to be a serious effort to make the Pentagon more efficient by closing unneeded infrastructure and reexaming personnel priorities, said Punaro. “We have to tame the huge cost growth, and you can’t get these changes in one or two years.”

Everyone knows that government doesn’t like to change, said Punaro. “And DoD is very resistant to these kinds of reforms. You have to have leadership at the top that’s going to drive it. And you need a Congress that cooperates.” Congress in recent years has been “extremely uncooperative and unhelpful to the Department of Defense,” he stressed. “In fact they have thrown significant new impediments. They won’t allow base closures, or study how to make commissaries more efficient, they set depot maintenance rules to keep jobs in their districts. Congress is a big part of this problem as well.”

Official: Money ‘Not An Issue’ for Future of Air Force Nuclear Deterrent
By Kristen Torres



The Air Force will get the funding it needs for nuclear modernization, a top service official said July 21.

“The money is not the issue,” Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, 
Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said at a speech hosted by the Air Force Association in Arlington, Virginia. “The president has always supported nuclear modernization in the budget.”

Concerns about the oncoming "bow wave" for nuclear funding requirements have led  analysts and officials to question the viability of the Air Force’s modernization plans. By the mid-2020s, it is expected to both develop and field the new B-21 long-range bomber and upgrade and ultimately replace its fleet of Minuteman III missiles. According to Weinstein, however, the Obama administration and the military are “firmly committed to all modernization programs” and don’t anticipate the bow wave to go up much further than 7 percent of the defense budget.

“When you look at what that number was in the 1960s and 1980s — it reached 10 percent at one point,” Weinstein said. “If we’re talking about supporting a foundation that works to keep our homeland safe, 7 percent doesn’t sound like a ridiculous amount of money.”

Budgetary issues inevitably come with modernization efforts, which necessitate prioritization, he added.

“In our current fiscal environment we must make difficult decisions about our priorities,” Weinstein said. “Twenty-first century deterrence will demand consistent and focused efforts.”

Support for a new long-range standoff weapon — an aircraft-launched nuclear cruise missile, which has been halted for budgetary reasons — has been inconsistent among lawmakers, but NATO holds a strong commitment to maintaining dual-capability aircraft, Weinstein noted. The LRSO is projected for deployment on the B-2 and B-52 bombers.

“I don’t see any future decrease in maintaining that capability,” he said. “NATO and our allies are extremely supportive of our LRSO project.”

The project faced multiple roadblocks for securing funding in the past, he said. The conversation has now shifted to a matter of when the project will continue.

“We get letters of support and dissent from both sides,” he said. “My job is to tell Congress what we need as a military based on what they’re asking us to do. What they choose to fund is their responsibility.”

Prioritization of nuclear deterrence initiatives will be crucial for the next administration. Nuclear strategies need to remain “flexible” so that both government and military officials are able to respond to the unexpected, he said.

“Our main goal is to deliver weapon systems on cost and on budget as effectively as we can,” Weinstein said. “Every capability we provide is for joint force advantages and we have to continue to modernize that capability.”

Photo: 
Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integrationAir Force
Marine Corps' F-35B Joint Strike Fighter Debuts at Red Flag (UPDATED)
By Yasmin Tadjdeh



NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada — The Marine Corps' F-35B joint strike fighter recently made its debut at the famous Exercise Red Flag, which puts aircraft and pilots through rigorous advanced aerial combat training, officials announced July 19.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” said Lt. Col. J.T. Bardo, commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121. “These opportunities are rare … so we are very excited to be here to bring the F-35 to the exercise, capitalize on its strengths and integrate with all the other … [aircraft] that are out there.”

The Marines brought a detachment of six airplanes to the exercise, he said during a media briefing at Nellis Air Force Base. VMFA-121 is the first operational F-35 squadron.

The aircraft’s debut followed other high profile events for the aircraft including its attendance at Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom in July and the standing up of a second F-35B squadron in late June. The Marine Corps reached initial operating capability last summer with the establishment of VMFA-121.

The current Red Flag began on July 11 and runs through July 29. The F-35B has participated in every exercise and has performed well, Bardo said. Scenarios include air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

Having the joint strike fighter at Red Flag is invaluable training, said Air Force Col. Bradley Bird, vice wing commander of the 552 air control wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, who is at Red Flag monitoring safety.

The services can better understand the strengths of the plane and how it can be “integrated with all of the other fighters to include fifth-gen F-22 … [and] fourth-generation F-15, F-16, etc.,” he said. It “is invaluable to be able to bring them out and get our first look. The Air Force F-35s are going to IOC on 5 October at Hill Air Force Base so it’s only going to grow from there, but this week we get the first look at it.”

A spokeswoman for Air Combat Command said a firm date for IOC has not yet been announced, but will occur between August and December.

Red Flag is so far the largest exercise that the F-35B has participated in, Bardo said. “Since IOC we have done numerous different events between the Marine Corps and the Navy and the Air Force,” he said. “This is probably the first exercise of this magnitude.”

The aircraft has also been dropping live ordnance during Red Flag, including laser-guided and precision guided-weapons weighing between 500 and 1,000 pounds.

About 100 aircraft and 3,500 personnel are attending Red Flag 16-3, Bird said. It integrates air, cyber and space assets. The exercise takes place four times a year with the next scheduled in August.

“There is no exercise like this anywhere else in the world, period. There’s really no exercise like this in the history of airpower and that’s a pretty bold statement,” Bird said. Personnel from the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Army and Special Operations Forces are all participating, he added.

“[We] all get together in these extreme … scenarios,” he said. “We get a chance to get in the room together and work it out. The only other place that’s going to happen is in a real conflict.”

While there are a number of flashpoints in the world, Red Flag designers did not adjust its training scenarios based on any of them, Bird said. 

“I don’t think any changes would be necessary,” he said. “The training that our warriors get in this exercise is to a level that’s well above [anything] you would see anywhere in the world at this time. And we do that and put the stress on them so when they go to real operational missions, they are able to easily … adapt to whatever situation is going on.”

Editor's Note: The original post has been updated with comments from Air Combat Command.

Photo: F-35Bs participate in exercise Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base. (Defense Dept.)
Survey: IT Professionals Still Not Taking Cybersecurity Seriously
By Kristen Torres
 


As the information technology industry undergoes a massive digital transformation, a Dell survey released July 19 revealed that security remains an afterthought.
 
“We surveyed over 600 global IT decision makers and nearly 90 percent identified a digital transformation happening in the industry,” Andy Vallila, general manager of North America for Dell security, said in an interview. “Yet only 50 percent believe that transformation is happening in their organization and even fewer believe they are in the middle of it themselves.”
 
The Digital Transformation Security Survey revealed that securing data from hackers is not a priority.
 
“The most shocking result of the survey is realizing that security is not playing nearly the role it should be playing,” Vallila said. “Security should be an enabler, and only 18 percent of people said any type of security was involved in their new digital initiatives.”
 
Digital transformation technology includes mobile devices, cloud applications, cloud infrastructure, internet of things and do-it-yourself company systems where employees are asked to keep track of such items as payroll or expenses. Ninety-seven percent of survey responders said that they have made “significant investments” in these types of technologies, but the number of individuals who consider themselves a part of this new revolution hovers around 30 percent.
 
The lack of fundamental security in the new digital systems creates more risk for IT professionals. Only 11 percent of all respondents are confident in their own digital transformation security strategy, the survey said.
 
As organizations begin to move to mobile networking and cloud applications as part of their business models, security work needs to be done in conjunction with network updates — not separately, Vallila added.
 
“Today, security is looked at as something that is just added on to existing initiatives and is done with a specific purpose to secure a specific set of circumstances,” Vallila said. “We recommend integrating different levels of security into the digital environment and connecting them through a level of context awareness.”
 
“Through our survey, we are recommending that security becomes part of the digital transformation itself, and begins to construct a layered approach as opposed to remaining such a small component,” Vallila said.
 
As for the government, it “needs to work on educating their user base in terms of what they can do to behave better in their organization so they don’t potentially risk breaches or compromises of data,” he said.
 
Security is currently being handled separately for different communication devices, meaning plans for securing mobile and cloud applications are conducted in two different manners with two different strategies. There are currently no tools that can integrate security for these two functions, he added.  
 
“In many government organizations, the process for securing two digital elements are separate and don’t work together. Dell believes that treating those two things with the same security platform and policy means more flexibility and administrative security,” he said.

Photo: iStock
Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker to Receive Production Green Light
By Sandra I. Erwin



Boeing's KC-46 tanker successfully refueled an A-10 combat aircraft, clearing the final hurdle before the Air Force approves the first production order.

The "milestone C" testing was completed July 15
at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. During a four-hour flight, the KC-46 offloaded 1,500 pounds of fuel to the A-10, at 15,000 feet. "This completed the required air refueling demonstrations needed for the upcoming production milestone decision," said Boeing spokesman Chick Ramey. The program has racked up more than 900 flight test hours with five aircraft.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein is expected in August to approve the tanker to begin low-rate production. The Air Force will award a contract for the first two production lots for 19 aircraft, followed by a third lot in January 2017.

“It is great to see the KC-46 boom back in action and the program moving forward to a production decision” said Col. John Newberry, the KC-46 system program manager.

The A-10 refueling at marks "the final step we needed to see on the boom fix in order to request production go-ahead,” said Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, the Air Force program executive officer for tankers.

The tanker program is the first major weapons-acquisition test for the Air Force’s new chief of staff, who was sworn in July 21.

Congress in last year’s defense policy bill gave the chiefs of the military services a frontline role in weapons procurements. Goldfein, with an extensive background leading combat forces, is likely to take a more disciplinarian role overseeing big-ticket procurements. “Goldfein comes in with no significant background in acquisition,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles R. "CR" Davis, a former weapons acquisition official and now CEO of Seabury Global Aerospace & Defense. Being in charge of combat operations is all about “accountability and performance,” he added. “Those are key attributes that are missing from the acquisition community.”

One of the hardest jobs managing procurements, he said, is to “establish accountability,” regardless of whether government officials or contractors are to blame for the problems. “The sense of responsibility and accountability in the field doesn’t exist in acquisitions,” Davis said. “To me, that is the single biggest failing of our acquisition process.

Laws and regulations over decades have focused on “oversight and process, and that does not foster leadership and accountability at the program level,” Davis said. “That’s the biggest challenge the services have in acquisitions.”

A litany of KC-46 troubles in the past two years had stunned military and industry watchers. The fixed-price development phase of the program set Boeing back nearly $1.5 billion.

Goldfein will need to make sure he gets to the bottom of what happened
and try to prevent similar setbacks in future programs, Davis suggested. “He’s got some big ones coming right on the heels of the tanker.” The Air Force in the coming years will be acquiring a new jet trainer aircraft and ground-surveillance radar planes.

“He needs to make sure the right accountability is in the right place,” Davis said. “We’re very bad across DoD on following up on the root causes of problems.”

The tanker has been a development rollercoaster. In the span of the past several weeks, the news has gone from gloom to cheer. Due to a technical hitch with the refueling system, or boom, the Air Force announced May 27 that the KC-46A had failed to refuel a C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft, just weeks after senior Boeing executives had assured investors and industry analysts that the problems were under control. Good news came July 13 when the Air Force reported the tanker had successfully refueled a C-17. That happened after the company decided to abandon attempts to fix problems through software reprogramming and instead moved to modify the hardware.

Ups and downs surely are to be expected in airplane developments, Davis noted. “Everything is good one day and a disaster occurs the next,” he said. “Coming from the flight test world, it seems to be a way of life with flight tests.” But the tanker should raise many red flags for the Air Force, he said. “If you have the right people and leadership in place, this should not have been that hard, I just cannot believe that.”

The five air refueling demonstrations required for milestone C were with the C-17 Globemaster III and F-16 Fighting Falcon using the air refueling boom, the Navy’s F-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II using the centerline and wing drogue systems, and the KC-46 as a receiver aircraft. In the July 12 C-17 refueling test, the tanker, with the latest boom hardware, offloaded 2,200 pounds of fuel to the C-17. In earlier tests, higher-than-expected axial loads on the boom were detected, which required installing hydraulic pressure relief valves.

The boom axial loads hardware fix, designed by Boeing engineers, is performing as expected to alleviate the loads, the Air Force reported. "I'm encouraged by these results," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

President and CEO of Boeing Defense & Space Leanne Caret has been insistent that the company is taking a long view of the tanker program.

“We were very aware of the bid we made on KC-46, we're very focused on the fact that we've recognized it's a franchise program that's going to be in service for decades with 400 aircraft,” Caret said last month at the Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Materials Summit.

The company is focused on strengthening the “development organization” in the tanker program, she said. “I know there has been a lot of debate about what was known when and where. … We made the decision after tests that the software solution wouldn't work that we could pivot instantly to a hardware solution because from a development organization perspective, we were operating down two paths.”

“While it took some time, this week's results confirm my confidence the Boeing team will get this figured out,” Goldfein said in a news release after the C-17 test. “It's reassuring to see the program take this important step toward the production decision in August.”

The Air Force signed a fixed-price development contract with Boeing in February 2011, and intends to acquire 179 KC-46As. Boeing was awarded a fixed-price incentive contract with a ceiling price of $4.9 billion to develop the first four aircraft.

Photo: A KC-46 Pegasus refuels an A-10 Thunderbolt II. (Boeing)
Space Command Reorganizes to Mirror Other Combat Forces
By Stew Magnuson

 

The Air Force is in the process of restructuring the way its personnel will train and fight in space.
 
Gen. John E. Hyten, Space Command commander, recently released a white paper outlining the new “Space Mission Force,” which will mimic other Air Force combat wings in the way it trains personnel so they can respond to threats.
 
Hyten in the white paper said his overarching goal was to “transform our culture” as space becomes an increasingly contested area of operations. “Our space forces must demonstrate their ability to react to a thinking adversary and operate as warfighters in this environment and not simply provide space services,” he added.
 
The construct is similar to Combat Air Forces, Mobility Air Forces and Air Force Special Operations Forces, which have “operated with incredible effectiveness in the contested air domain for several decades,” a press release said.  
 
“The Space Mission Force construct is really quite simple: we are revamping our crews to respond appropriately to threats in a dynamic environment,” Hyten said in a press release. The white paper was initially released internally June 29, but only made available to the public July 15. Some of the restructuring has already begun with one wing beginning the new training rotation in January and a second on July 1. A third wing is slated to begin its transformation next year.
 
“We are aligning to be more consistent with the Air Force, which will allow us to focus on advanced training to prepare our forces to effectively deal with the threats they have today and in the future,” Hyten said.
 
The reorganization follows years of Space Command and Defense Department leaders acknowledging that space is a vital domain for the U.S. military, but no longer a safe sanctuary from which to operate. Chinese military doctrine has identified dependence on U.S space assets as an Achilles’ heal. In 2013, China launched what has been perceived as a test for an anti-satellite weapon that could potentially reach geostationary orbit — some 25,000 miles above Earth — a region that was once believed safe for military and spy spacecraft. That followed a 2007 anti-satellite weapon test when the country destroyed one of its own spacecraft.
 
Russia, along with China, also demonstrated maneuverable satellites in low-Earth orbit, a capability the only the United States had previously achieved.
 
“The old way of training was appropriate for a benign environment, but does not ensure we will be able to deliver space effects to the rest of the joint force in a contested environment,” Hyten said.
 
The eight-page white paper outlines a process of training personnel during “dwell” time to learn fundamental skills, and then an equal amount of time applying these skills to real-world operations as part of the space mission task force, which is the Air Force’s space mission force presented to U.S. Strategic Command for operational use, the statement said.
 
The six month dwell time training — the ready spacecrew program — will maintain foundational skills and build new skills and emphasize innovation, decision making at the lowest levels and development and use of tactics to counter space threats, the statement said.   
 
The primary purpose of the dwell period is to put spacecrew members through a rigorous training cycle consisting of various types of training, advanced courses and exercises, the statement said. As spacecrew members rotate into the space mission task force, they will train as crews before a final readiness assessment, where they will apply the lessons learned in advanced training and demonstrate their readiness to perform their warfighting mission, the statement said. There will also be a robust debriefing process, it added.
 
“If we do not adopt this transformation quickly, we will lose our competitive advantage in space and jeopardize our ability to successfully confront adversaries in all domains,” Hyten wrote.

Photo: Airmen for the 527th Space Aggressor Squadron support a Navy strike carrier group. (Air Force)

Rogers: National Security Agency Becoming ‘FEMA of the Cyber World’ (UPDATED)
By Yasmin Tadjdeh



Following major cybersecurity breaches nationwide, the National Security Agency is increasingly being called upon to advise both government offices and the private sector, said the head of the United States’ spy agency.

“Over the course of the last decade or so, increasingly NSA in its information assurance mission is being called upon to provide defensive insight as to how you stop penetrations — and once a network is penetrated — how do you drive the opponent out and then how do you configure structures so they can’t get back in,” said Adm. Mike Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency. 

Rogers said he often jokes with colleagues that, “we find ourselves becoming the FEMA of the cyber world.”

During the infamous Sony hack — in which the motion picture company suffered a major data breach in 2014, allegedly at the hands of North Korea — NSA was called in to help, he said July 14 during remarks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“If you had told me as a military leader, as the director of the NSA, that I was going to be involved in supporting a motion picture company in responding to how it was going to deal with a significant penetration I’ll be honest and tell you ‘Boy, I don’t think that’s going to come up during my time as the director.’ I failed to anticipate that one miserably,” he said.

The NSA also was part of a team that provided expertise following the Office of Personnel Management breach in 2015, Rogers said. During that incident, millions of government employee’s personal data was compromised.

Within Cyber Command, officials are working to increase its capacity and capability, Rogers said. Working alongside the Defense Department, the command is generating a "cyber mission force."

“It’s a force of dedicated, focused, trained and organized cyber professionals” designed to provide the department with high-end cyber warriors, he said.

The total force will include 6,200 individuals and the command has so far met half of that number, he said. Full operational capability is slated for late September 2018. Initial operating capability is scheduled for Sept. 30.

“That’s only three months away so I’m focused right now on making sure … that we meet that timeline,” he said. “I’m comfortable that we’re going to meet those milestones.”

When full operational capability is reached, there will be 133 specialized teams, including defensive and offensive, he said.

Demand for these types of cyber warriors is high and exceeds capacity, he noted. “We’re not even waiting until a team is fully constructed,” he said. “As soon as we get a cadre we are putting teams on targets.”

“Think about what that means,” he said. “In DoD we don’t take a fighter squadron and say, ‘Well, you’ve got five of your 24 aircraft. We’re sending you to Afghanistan.’ We don’t say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a brand new carrier coming out of the yards. You’ve done your builders acceptance trials, but you haven’t done your workups. We are forward deploying you to the Persian Gulf.’ The reality is because of the dynamics of cyber, we need to apply capacity as soon as we’re generating it.”

Meanwhile, Rogers said that U.S. Cyber Command is working alongside the rest of the military to help destroy the Islamic State. “We are doing offensive actions right now against ISIL in cyber in the fight in Syria and Iraq,” he said.

He declined to go into any further details.

Photo: Navy

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of individuals currently within the cyber mission force.
Industry Groups, Florida Lawmakers Working to Keep Defense Jobs in Orlando
By Sandra I. Erwin



The simulation technology industry in Central Florida generates $6 billion a year in economic activity and employs 75,000 workers. 

The steady growth of military-focused simulation, training and gaming industries over the past five decades has been a good-news story for the state of Florida. The sector is fueled by Defense Department contracts overseen by 3,000 military officials and government employees based in the Orlando area. 

That success, though, has made the area the target of Pentagon budget cutters who want to move government workers from expensive commercial office space onto military bases elsewhere in the United States that are currently underused. Fears of losing those government jobs propelled an advocacy group called the Central Florida Partnership to work behind the scenes with state officials to secure funding to build an office park for defense workers.

The Florida legislature approved $42 million over three years for the office park, and the goal is to relocate 3,000 workers who currently occupy 200,000 square feet of leased commercial space, said Thomas Baptiste, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and president of the National Center for Simulation, based in Orlando. 

Baptiste said a shortage of government-owned office space has become a “critical vulnerability” for Orlando’s simulation industry because commercial leases are costly and the Defense Department could easily decide to relocate those workers. That would not only mean the loss of 3,000 government jobs but also the potential exodus of contractor firms that would follow their customers wherever they might go. 

The state has chosen to preemptively build an office park and protect those jobs from upcoming rounds of base closures or realignments, Baptiste told National Defense. This would “mitigate the risk that they could be realigned, with or without BRAC, as a cost saving measure.”

Congress has made it known that it would block any Pentagon proposals to close military bases in the United States. But the Defense Department does not need BRAC authority to relocate workers as part of cost-cutting efforts. 

The core of the defense simulation and training workforce resides at the Naval Support Activity Orlando, which opened in 1988 as the home of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division. NAWCTSD Orlando is the Navy’s epicenter for modeling, simulation, and training systems technologies. Over time, that operation expanded and today NSA Orlando hosts military training and simulation programs from across the armed services. One of the largest additions was the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation.

Other organizations adjacent to NSA Orlando include the U.S. Marine Corps’ Program Manager for Training Systems; the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s SFC Paul Ray Smith Simulation & Training Technology Center; the Orlando office of the U.S. Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation; the U.S. Navy Human Performance Center Orlando; the United States Joint Forces Command’s Joint Development Integration Facility and Joint Training Integration and Evaluation Center, and the Joint Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory.

When office space on the base ran out, organizations started spilling out into leased facilities. The rent costs in recent years got the attention of the Defense Department and the military services, and stirred fears in Orlando that the simulation and training government offices might be moved. Allowing these groups to relocate into state-owned buildings will reduce their rent bill in Orlando by 80 percent, said Baptiste. “They would pay only for the common areas’ maintenance cost.”

“We have to set the conditions to continue to grow this industry,” said Baptiste. Keeping the government labs and procurement offices in Orlando is essential in order to retain the large population of contractors that has boomed in Central Florida. The Army’s training systems unit alone, for instance, brings $2.3 billion worth of spending power. If the Army chose to move those workers to another state, the contractors would flee, Baptiste said. “If the industry is in the research park, it’s because that’s where the contracts are. And if the contracting workers moved, the companies would relocate.”

Central Florida’s emergence as the capital of the military simulation industry started 52 years ago when the Navy moved its training center from Long Island, New York, to Baldwin Park. That facility was shut down by BRAC in 1995. The Florida legislature then moved to build a research park in the southern perimeter of the University of Central Florida. “They realized you’re not going to attract the R&D money and the industry unless there’s a draw, an anchor tenant. The idea was to give the Department of the Navy 40 acres of land to build a center of excellence for simulation and training.” Other agencies later were drawn to the area to be part of this “collaborative environment.”

Every major defense contractor — including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and L-3 — has a significant presence in Orlando, Baptiste said. The industry is no longer just producing training “devices” like flight simulators, he said. Gaming and software are driving growth of late. Companies are stepping up international sales and branching into the health-care training sector. 

Central Florida’s defense industry has solid support in Congress, Baptiste said. A key advocate is Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., whose district includes Orlando. The industry, though, was dealt a big political blow last month when Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., lost his primary. Forbes was one of the simulation and training industry’s most ardent supporters, Baptiste said. “There was no one more knowledgeable, more active and more engaged in promoting modeling and simulation for training than Forbes.”

No doubt the industry will be losing a key “Washington voice,” Baptiste said. Forbes founded the modeling and simulation caucus, which lists 30 members. It is not clear who might be stepping up to lead the caucus next year, said Baptiste. “Forbes will be missed. I don’t know what will happen to the caucus.”

Photo: The F-35 Lightning II Full Mission Simulator (Lockheed Martin)
Secretive Pentagon Office Looking at Commercial Self-Driving Vehicles
By Jon Harper
 


As companies like Tesla and Google are developing self-driving cars, a secretive Pentagon office is hoping to utilize this type of commercial technology for the Army and Marine Corps.

“We’ve taken a very hard look with the Army on what’s the mission impact if we use commercial-style unmanned ground vehicles,” William Roper, director of the Defense Department’s strategic capabilities office, said at a July 13 conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“I have a due-back to Army leadership on what we found, and my hope is that we will find a sweet spot for saying, ‘Let’s go out and start working with the existing technology,’” he said.

Roper’s office, also known as SCO, was created four years ago but few details about it were revealed until earlier this year when Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter mentioned it during a speech about the budget and investments in high-tech equipment. Since then, Pentagon officials have disclosed tidbits about projects that are in the works.

The office’s goal is to take technologies that already exist in the commercial world or in legacy military systems and advance them or repackage them to create game-changing equipment that could enable the U.S. military to maintain its edge over advanced adversaries.

Rather than explore technologies that could take 10 years or more to come to fruition, as some Defense Department research labs do, Roper’s office does prototyping work with more mature technologies that could potentially be transitioned to the services in relatively short order.

“Our big emphasis this past year was upping our work with the Army,” Roper said. “If you’re all reading the newspaper, what’s the commercial world working on? Ground vehicles that can navigate roads” without human assistance.

The Army’s Tank Automotive Research and Development Center has already carried out extensive experiments with self-driving trucks that could conduct logistics missions, and some observers have suggested that some combat vehicles could eventually be unmanned. Such systems could reduce manpower requirements and keep troops out of harm’s way.

Roper sees opportunities to piggyback off of the work that the private sector is doing in this field. Driverless-vehicle technology is not as mature as the Defense Department would like, but the Pentagon should jump on the bandwagon sooner rather than later, he said.

“That’s a technology push that’s going to be updated many, many times by the commercial world,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be smart to get the Army and the Marines into that now so that aside from just having the system … they’ve got people who are trained to use it, that know how to analyze the impact [and] they’ve thought through what missions they can do?”

One shortcoming of the commercial systems available today is that they are not designed for off-road driving, Roper noted. But that hurdle will eventually be overcome, he predicted.

When “future technologies that will allow us to go off road mature, we’ll already have experience in the pipeline” if the Defense Department embraces the commercial technology now, he said.

During a discussion with reporters after the conference, Roper declined to provide more details about the work his office has been doing along these lines but he did offer some insights into the path ahead.

“There are so many directions we can go, so I’m going to give [Army leaders] a menu of options,” he said. “What I will say is that we are going to live within the constraints of where we see the commercial world and industry going.”

The Army science and technology community could eventually do additional work to modify the technology for military use, he said.
“But I want to do our prototyping in the commercial space,” Roper said. “And then once they’ve given guidance, if we move ahead, I’ll be happy to talk about what we’re going to do.”

Photo: Google's self-driving car (Google)
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