Tuesday, April 15, 2014

21st Space Wing reaches inspection milestone

by Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

4/15/2014 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 21st Space Wing was recently recognized by the Air Force Inspector General as the first active duty or Reserve wing in the Air Force to fully implement the Air Force Inspection System and become commander's inspection program capable.

Leveraging an outstanding test bed effort on the part of U.S. Air Forces in Europe units, the 21st Space Wing achieved this milestone in February of this year.

"We worked aggressively on the implementation of this new system within our wing," said Col. John Shaw, 21st Space Wing commander. "I am proud of the accomplishments of the 21st Space Wing and our IG team and look forward to improving our mission effectiveness through this inspection system."

The AFIS is focused on assessing and reporting on a unit's overall readiness to execute their assigned missions. The assessments are conducted regularly from within the organization, which is an adjustment from the previous system of bi-annual inspections conducted by an external organization.

"The old system focused on an external team assessing our units. It showed compliance at one given moment in time," said Shaw. "The AFIS is focused on gauging the wing's ability to self-assess on a regular basis - it is looking at what units have done to review, assess, and improve their programs since their last inspection."

The system is seen as a much-improved process to the previous style of inspections, especially with its emphasis on placing responsibility in the hands of commanders and directors.

"This is proving to be fantastic; I am very excited that we are moving in this direction," said L. J. Van Belkum, 21st Space Wing inspector general. "The responsibility for conducting internal inspections is acknowledged as a commander's role, which is what has always been true."

With inspection oversight being recognized as the unit commander's responsibility, there is also increased information flow and more timely corrective responses to issues on a regular basis. It ensures units are mission and inspection ready at all times.

This constant self-assessment also helps Airmen within each unit as well. Under the previous system, inspection preparation created a bi-annual strain, which could interfere with an Airman's focus on the day-to-day mission.

"The frantic preparation was unsustainable. You can't maintain at that speed and expect to stay mission ready and focused. Everyone was exhausted by the end of our most recent Consolidated Unit Inspection; the AFIS is designed to eliminate that," said Van Belkum. "Now instead of just a snapshot of where our compliance is at one given moment, it's more of a photo album spanning two years, looking at what units have done to maintain their programs since their last inspection."

In order to aid in this constant self-assessment, the wing has created a strategic plan to execute the AFIS.

"Our plan leverages multiple ways of assessment and reporting over time," Shaw added. "We have a rigorous two-year plan at squadron, group, wing and external levels to achieve this plan."

Units will also use the Management Internal Control Toolset to help streamline and create a more user-friendly process for maintaining and reviewing records as needed.

"This is a far better system; we were one of the first wings to start using MICT and we are looking forward to the way ahead," added Van Belkum.

"While we know we don't have this AFIS 100 percent right, we are on a good course to meet its intent of improving operations within the wing," said Shaw. "I know we have the right people armed with the plan and tools needed to maintain this success and look forward to continued development of the AFIS."

Conspirators in Two Android Mobile Device App Piracy Groups Plead GuiltyConspirators in Two Android Mobile Device App Piracy Groups Plead Guilty

Members of two different piracy groups engaged in the illegal distribution of copies of copyrighted Android mobile device applications have pleaded guilty for their roles in separate schemes, each designed to distribute more than one million copies of copyrighted apps.

Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia and Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office made the announcement.

Thomas Pace, 38, of Oregon City, Ore., pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and is scheduled for sentencing on July 9, 2104.  According to the information filed on Jan. 24, 2014, Pace and his fellow conspirators identified themselves as the Appbucket Group, and from August 2010 to August 2012, they conspired with other members of the Appbucket Group to reproduce and distribute more than one million copies of copyrighted Android mobile device apps, with a total retail value of over $700,000, through the Appbucket alternative online market without permission from the copyright owners of the apps.  Two other defendants charged in the information – Thomas Dye and Appbucket Group leader Nicholas Narbone – pleaded guilty to the same charge in the information on March 10 and March 24, 2014, respectively.

Kody Jon Peterson, 22, of Clermont, Fla., pleaded guilty on April 14, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.  According to the information filed on Jan. 23, 2014, Peterson and his fellow conspirators identified themselves as the SnappzMarket Group, and from May 2011 until August 2012, Peterson conspired with other members of the SnappzMarket Group to reproduce and distribute over one million copies of copyrighted Android mobile device apps, with a total retail value of over $1.7 million, through the SnappzMarket alternative online market without permission from the software developers and other copyright owners of the apps.   A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant Deputy Chief for Litigation John H. Zacharia of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Bly of the Northern District of Georgia.  Significant assistance was provided by the CCIPS Cybercrime Lab and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

45th Space Wing launches NRO Satellite on board Atlas V

45th Space Wing Public Affairs

4/10/2014 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 here at 1:45 p.m. April 10 carrying a classified national security payload.

The payload was designed and built by the National Reconnaissance Office.

It will be the second Atlas V from the Cape this year and ULA's 81st launch overall.

The 45th Space Wing commander was pleased with the performance of the team for this launch.

"I am proud of the persistence and focus of the launch team, the wing, NRO, ULA and other mission partners, to make this launch happen," said Brig. Gen. Nina Armango, 45th Space Wing commander, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority for the launch. "Our entire team worked together flawlessly once again to ensure mission success."

Beyond the microbes: 2nd LRS, 2nd CES work together

by Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

4/10/2014 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- With more than 760 government vehicles used on Barksdale, ground fuel is an important but often forgotten element to maintaining the Air Force mission.

Airmen with the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron and 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, who use teamwork to monitor and supply the fuel keeping Barksdale's vehicle fleet moving more than 1.8 million miles, recently discovered a possible contamination in a biodiesel tank.

"We work hand-in-hand with the 2nd LRS fuels management flight, also known as the Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants flight, to deliver fuel to the Barksdale vehicle fleet," said Bill Koff, 2nd CES liquid fuels maintenance superintendent. "With this partnership, we are able to provide quality fuel used by almost every aircraft, government vehicle and pieces of ground equipment. POL has laboratory technicians who routinely check the quality of the fuel within the tanks. If they notice that something isn't right with the fuel due to water, contamination or fuel separation, they call us to assist in fuel tank repairs or cleaning."

This teamwork between squadrons led to an early identification of a contaminated 11,000 gallon biodiesel fuel tank used by more than 400 government vehicles and equipment.

"The lab notified us of possible excessive water levels in one of the biodiesel ground fuel tanks," said Koff. "This one tank in particular has been a repeat problem, so we investigated the issue further by pulling the sensor from the tank and vacuuming fuel from the bottom of the tank. What we found was a black sludge that shouldn't have been there."

With the quick reaction and teamwork of Air Force agencies, only about 1,100 gallons of fuel were affected.

"After we drained the fuel tank to a point below the pump pick-up, but above the sediment at the bottom, we pumped out the affected fuel and disposed of it," said Koff. "After that, we went into the tanks and used a high pressure washer to clean the walls and floor of the tank to remove all contaminates that we could. During this process, we also took samples for the labs to run tests."

The fuel tanks and stock are constantly tested and monitored by the 2nd LRS fuels management team, who use specialized equipment to determine the quality of fuel stored in the tanks.

"The sample we recovered from the tank was something we hadn't seen before," said Senior Master Sgt. David Laun, 2nd LRS fuels management superintendent. "We forwarded the sample to the Air Force Research Laboratory team at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio for a better analysis. They have the resources to determine what the contamination is and how we can combat it; not just here but at any base. They confirmed there were micro-organisms within the biodiesel."

Since this was a new type of contamination, specialists visited Barksdale to get an up-close view of the affected fuel.

"With the samples and the help of a team from the University of Oklahoma, we can understand where the organism came from and how to combat it in the future," said Dr. Wendy J. Goodson, AFRL research biologist.

These organisms aren't the typical things you would find moving around the world. They are tiny; so tiny in fact, they are about one micron in size, smaller than a red blood cell which is about 10 microns in size.

"Fuel is filtered before it comes from the pumps," said Koff. "But, it's only filtered down to the standard 10 microns. Since this was so much smaller, there could be a possibility it could cause problems with the vehicle fleet."

These microbes occur in all fuel systems, but the "bio" content of biodiesel can be the perfect environment for microbial growth.

"Fungal and bacterial blooms can happen relatively quickly after changes in air temperatures and humidity," said Goodson. "The Air Force is just getting up to speed on how to deal with biodiesel contamination. Barksdale is being very proactive about monitoring and mitigating the problem. Their willingness to team with us on this kind of study is critical to our ability to help solve future problems."

With team work between Barksdale, AFRL, University of Oklahoma and the Air Force Petroleum Agency, fuel supply contaminants can be battled with minimal impact to vehicle fleets.

"The data generated will help both CE and LRS make decisions locally, but ultimately data generated by AFRL will be directed to the AFPA so they can influence fuel tank maintenance strategies for the Air Force," said Goodson.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Army DCIO conference brings cyber leadership together

by 2nd Lt. Meredith Hein
24th Air Force Public Affairs

4/7/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The Army Deputy Chief Information Officer Conference, a collaborative effort among the Army, Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), wrapped up March 28 at Kelly Field Annex.

The conference, aimed at improving information technology efficiencies, multi-service operability and effective support to Combatant Commanders, lasted four days and brought together more than 140 participants from across the Army, Air Force, Navy and DISA.

Fourteen senior leaders participated in the conference, including Lt. Gen. Robert S. Farrell, Army Chief Information Officer; Mr. Michael Krieger, Army Deputy Chief Information Officer; Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, commanding general, Army Cyber; and Mr. Mark Orndorff, Chief Information Assurance Executive for DISA.

"One of the purposes of this conference is to bring the Air Force, Army, and DISA partnership together in developing the Joint Regional Security Stack [JRSS] and Multi-Protocol Label Switching [MPLS] for the Joint Information Environment [JIE] under the single security architecture," said Lt. Col. Bernard Cruz, Chief of Cyber Innovation and Strategy and JIE lead planner for 24th Air Force.

The conference is held quarterly at various locations to focus and approve the details for the following three months of joint network activities, but this is the first time 24th AF has hosted the event.

Unique to this iteration was the opportunity to discuss how the Air Force conducts command and control for cyber operations. Maj. Gen. J. Kevin McLaughlin, 24th Air Force commander, briefed the conference attendees on the Air Force's role in the development and standing up of the cyber mission force and cyber protection teams.

During this discussion, Army and Air Force counterparts were able to discuss the different command and control constructs between the two branches and explain how Department of Defense Information Network operations interact with 24th AF.

"The Air Force is committed to assisting the Army to meet the desired JRSS implementation schedule. The Air Force is equally committed to maintaining its security posture throughout its own transition," said Col. Eric Oliver, Director of Cyber Systems for 24th AF.

The conference participants were divided into four working groups with objectives to be briefed at the conclusion of the conference. The working groups involved: JRSS and MPLS, command and control roles and responsibilities, enterprise service management systems and extending enterprise identity and enterprise services.

"Getting the services together and moving the cyber architecture forward is a historic event," said Cruz. "Having this collaboration is critical to the future of cyber operations for the DoD."

The conference enabled inter-service cooperation for the cyber domain. In addition, this was the first step for the Navy in participating in the conference.

"We're already collaborating in these areas," said Cruz. "These partnerships will facilitate necessary innovation to move the cyber operations mission forward for the future."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Technology Focus of Sea Air Space Day 2

Navy Process Turns Seawater to Jet Fuel

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. –  The Sea Air Space Exposition here opened to record numbers of attendance.  More than 10,000 guests visited more than 20 Navy commands and 200 defense industry organizations on April 6th.  Today the focus will be on innovation

On April 8th the following topics will be discussed:
       The Navy has developed a process to turn sea water into jet fuel to propel aircraft including a model aircraft that has flown on the converted fuel
       New software has been developed that will allow Naval Aircraft to fly without the need for a human pilot

Kevin Traver, who coordinates Sea Air Space said, “This is unprecedented participation of defense industry and military in the technology arena.  Some of the technology being discussed at Sea Air Space is revolutionary and truly futuristic.”  He added, “The innovation panel is a compelling discussion involving the Navy’s technology leaders.”

Media are invited to attend the Sea Air Space “Innovation and Supporting the Warfighter” panel at 9:00 on Tuesday, April 6th at 9:00 a.m.  Call Mark McDonald at 402.309.0721 for additional information.
 For a complete list of keynote addresses, roundtable discussions and floor speaker topics visit http://www.seaairspace.org/program.html

Each year, the Navy League presents the world’s largest maritime exposition, featuring the latest innovations and technologies in the defense industry. This year’s exposition will be held April 7-9 at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. Admission is free for all service members and government service employees.  For more information, press materials, media credentialing and online registration, please visit www.seaairspace.org, or contact Mark McDonald at mark.mcdonald@voxoptima.com.

Monday, April 7, 2014

AF Reserve space squadron temporarily assumes command of nation's weather satellites

by Tech. Sgt. Stephen J. Collier
310th Space Wing Public Affairs

4/7/2014 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- In a lead up to the recent launch of America's 19th Defense Meteorological Satellite Program spacecraft, Air Force Reservists here took full command and control of the nation's inventory of weather satellites across the globe.

The 6th Space Operations Squadron, which provides support to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's DMSP mission as a "hot backup" location, took over the weather satellite mission at 2 p.m. Mountain Standard Time April 3, 2014.

The squadron is expected to maintain operational control of the satellites until April 7.

The takeover control of the satellite "constellation" stems from the need for NOAA to divert manpower and resources to ensuring the newly-launched satellite is properly acquired. This includes ensuring the satellite is placed in a proper low-earth orbit, running systems checks to confirm communication with ground stations and uploading and downloading data to the satellite, certifying the satellite can capture a variety of weather-related imagery - all while traveling at 25 times the speed of sound.

"This is an exciting time for the 6th SOPS," AF Reserve Lt. Col. Jody Merritt, the squadron's commander, said. "DMSP is a heritage program providing significant value to our nation's warfighters and overall national security. I am thrilled to be a part of this historic moment and am proud to work with such a fine group of officer and enlisted space professionals."

To ensure a smooth transition between civilian and military operations, the 6th SOPS transition team, led by Maj. Jeremy Edwards, worked with multiple organizations on the handoff. These included the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, 50th Operations Group, Detachment 1 based here as well as NOAA, situated in Suitland, Md.

The "successful collaboration," according to Edwards, helped to "get (weather) data to key users around the globe.

"This launch will extend the life of this aging constellation, which continues to provide critical terrestrial and space weather updates to vast numbers of military and civilian users," Edwards stated. "The successful launch and early orbit operations are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of all the organizations involved."

One the squadron's youngest satellite operators, Senior Airman Lisa Scherer, was also given the unique chance to send the first command instructions to the new satellite, known as Flight 19.

"It was a great privilege given to me by my unit to be able to send the first command to this brand new satellite in a constellation that provides such important decision making data to warfighters and civilian organizations all over the world," she said.

In additional to taking full command and control of the weather satellites, the squadron also provided personnel to NOAA's Satellite Operations Facility in support of the agency's launch and early orbit team. The squadron contributed six personnel, to include three flight test coordinators and three controllers.

The 6th SOPS has taken command authority of the DMSP satellite system five times for unforeseen emergencies and seven times in support of maintenance activities since the last launch of Flight 18 in October 2009. Overall, the squadron has conducted 8,800 support and collection missions over 16,000 hours of data in concurrence with their AF Reserve function of providing 10 percent of annual DMSP operations at a fraction of the operational cost.