Science and Technology News

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

‘Any Time, Anywhere’ Data Access Coming Soon, Official Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2013 – In the not-too-distant future, Defense Department personnel will be able to securely access data any time and anywhere, the department’s deputy chief information officer for command, control, communications and computers and information infrastructure said here today.

The current mobility strategy calls for Wi-Fi to be the primary means for DOD personnel to access routine data by 2017, Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wheeler said at the Mobile Work Exchange Spring 2013 Town Hall Meeting.

The department is conducting more than 70 pilot programs in its effort to make this vision a reality, he said.
One of these programs, the electronic flight bag, paid for itself within about a month of implementation, he said. In the past, airplane pilots had to carry with them numerous paper manuals and maps every time they flew, and each had to be regularly updated. The publications could weigh up to 80 pounds, depending on the aircraft, Wheeler said.

“You carry all that on a tablet, … you think of the fuel savings. You think of the ability to update on a commercial site. … It was a big money savings for us,” he said.

The modernization of Defense Department mobile communications hasn’t been mistake-free, the general acknowledged, citing as an example the secure mobile environment portable electronic device, or SME PED. The devices, intended to enable users to send and receive both classified and unclassified data, cost more than $8,000 per unit and are too slow for today’s data-driven communications, Wheeler said. The mobility strategy calls for the device to be phased out from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal 2017.

The department will continue to look for faster, more secure and cheaper ways to use technology and transmit information, he said, adding that the ultimate goal is to speed up productivity to maintain information dominance.

“Our challenge is to bring it to the warfighter every place they need it -- whether it's in Washington, D.C., to the edge of the battlefield, [or] onto the battlefield,” Wheeler said.

Location isn’t the only challenge, he said. The department divides data into one of three domains, Wheeler said: commercial, unclassified and classified. Classified data requires special consideration, and mobile device access to this domain is being implemented more slowly than it is to the unclassified domain.
The Defense Information Systems Agency is rolling out mobile device access to DOD users in multiple phases, Wheeler said. By fiscal 2014, more than 100,000 mobile devices will be approved for access to unclassified Defense Department networks, he added.

“Right now, our process is 9 to 12 months to approve a phone,” he said. That’s too long if the department wants to keep pace with technology, Wheeler said.

The department is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to refine requirements for these devices, he said. DOD’s goal is for new hardware, new applications and new mobile operating systems to be approved or denied for use on defense networks within 30 days of submission, Wheeler said, ensuring that the right devices are in the hands of warfighters as quickly as possible.

In the future, mobile devices could, in some cases, entirely replace desktop computers or desk phones, Wheeler said. But even before that happens, he said, by cutting down on costs and ending the “fragmented methodologies” of the old mobility strategy, the mobility program pays for itself in about 15 months.

That includes all the front-end investment, all the networking and all the mobile device management, Wheeler added.

"So, from a taxpayer perspective, it's a very good approach,” he said, adding that it will also allow the department to increase productivity. “We really don't even know how far we could go yet,” Wheeler said, “and I think that's the exciting part of it.”

Monday, April 29, 2013

Au Optronics Corporation Executive Sentenced for Role in LCD Price-Fixing Conspiracy

An executive of AU Optronics Corp., a Taiwan-based liquid crystal display (LCD) producer, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco for his participation in a worldwide thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) price-fixing conspiracy. Shiu Lung Leung, AU Optronics Corp.’s former senior manager in its Desktop Display Business Group, was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison and to pay a $50,000 criminal fine, the Department of Justice announced.

AU Optronics Corp., based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and its American subsidiary, AU Optronics Corp. America, headquartered in Milpitas, Calif., were found guilty in March 2012, for their participation in the price-fixing conspiracy, following an eight-week trial. Former AU Optronics Corp. president Hsuan Bin Chen and former AU Optronics Corp. executive vice president Hui Hsiung were also found guilty at that time. A mistrial was declared against Leung after that trial. Today’s sentencing took place before Judge Susan Illston and follows a three-week retrial that started in November 2012 and resulted in Leung’s conviction.

“These international price-fixers caused consumers to pay inflated prices for their computer monitors, notebook computers and televisions,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “Prison sentences for culpable executives, combined with substantial fines against corporate wrongdoers, are the most effective deterrents for protecting consumers from this kind of illegal cartel behavior.”

The indictment charged that AU Optronics Corp. participated in the worldwide price-fixing conspiracy from Sept. 14, 2001, to Dec. 1, 2006, and that its subsidiary joined the conspiracy as early as spring 2003. The indictment further charged that Leung participated in that conspiracy from May 15, 2002 to Dec. 1, 2006. LCD panels affected by the conspiracy were a major component in flat-panel computer monitors, notebook computers, and flat-screen televisions sold in the United States. The conspirators fixed the prices of LCD panels during monthly meetings with their competitors, which were secretly held in hotel conference rooms, karaoke bars and tea rooms around Taiwan. 

Eight companies have been convicted of charges arising out of the department’s ongoing investigation and have been sentenced to pay criminal fines totaling $1.39 billion. All together, 22 executives have been charged.  Including today’s sentence, 13 executives have been convicted and have been sentenced to serve prison terms ranging from six to 36 months.

Friday, April 26, 2013

DOD Officials Detail $1 Billion in Space Program Savings

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2013 – Senior Defense Department officials testified yesterday before Congress highlighting the activities the department has undertaken to save an estimated $1 billion and provide a balanced national security space program.

Gil I. Klinger, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space and intelligence, and Douglas L. Loverro, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, appeared before the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on strategic forces to review the department’s fiscal year 2014 budget request for national security space activities.

Klinger said the Defense Department is introducing competition as early as possible with a more efficient contracting strategy for acquiring space launch services and associated launch capabilities, resulting in significant savings.

“These actions resulted in an estimated savings of over $1 billion in the Future Year Defense Program, below the fiscal year 2013 President's budget, without excessive and unacceptable risk,” he said.

Klinger said the department continues to consider potential alternative acquisition and procurement strategies across the national security space portfolio and remains committed to a disciplined cost approach.
“The undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, and the service acquisition executives have established affordability targets for the majority of our large, critical space programs,” Klinger said.

The department also is assessing how to take better advantage of commercial opportunities, he said, and will continue to pursue more production-oriented processes and quantities as part of each overall mission architecture.

Klinger noted this approach may result in greater affordability and reduced time to fielding in the future.
“Your authorization in fiscal year 2012 to incrementally fund up to six years to procure two advanced extremely high frequency satellites and your fiscal year 2013 authorization to fund two space-based infrared system satellites are reflected in the fiscal year 2014 president's budget,” he said.

DOD is committed to balancing the modernization of mission capability with the associated risks, Klinger told Congress, both in acquisition and operations.

“It is paramount that we deliver the capabilities the warfighter will need in the future, given the evolving threats,” he said. “The 2014 budget proposal increased investments over last year in the Space Modernization Initiative for missile warning to inform future acquisition decisions and anticipate evolving threats.”

And the Defense Department is implementing various Better Buying Power initiatives, Klinger said, to make GPS more affordable and to ensure it can sustain this “critical” global utility.

“In fiscal year 2014, the department's budget proposal requests funding for an assessment to determine if we can accelerate the military GPS user equipment program,” he added.

Klinger said it would fund the development of the next-generation operational control system. “Both are required to enable a new military signal to further improve our GPS anti-jamming capability,” he said.
Klinger also noted he was “pleased” to report the completion of studies to help the department frame potential decision points for follow-on capabilities.

“In fiscal year 2012, we completed the architecture studies for resilient-based satellite communications, space control, and overhead persistent infrared capabilities,” he said.

Loverro emphasized the “basic reality” that space defense remains vital to national security during his testimony before the HASC subcommittee.

“[This] evolving strategic environment increasingly challenges U.S. space advantages, advantages that both our warfighters and our adversaries have come to appreciate,” he said. “As space becomes more congested, competitive, and contested, the department must formulate programs and policies that will secure those advantages in the years to come.”

This reality, Loverro said, is juxtaposed with the fact that as a nation, the U.S. provides these capabilities in an environment that is increasingly cost-constrained. And, growing budgeting challenges coupled to increasing external threats compel the department to think and act differently, he said.

“While these two realities present a clear challenge, I do not by any means view them with a sense of ‘doom and gloom,’” Loverro noted. “New entrepreneurial suppliers alongside our legacy suppliers are creating an ever-burgeoning commercial space market that can provide a significant advantage to the DOD if we formulate the policies and strategies to encourage their growth and use.”

Similarly, he said, there's been growth worldwide in allied space investments in capability, which provide the Defense Department with “significant” opportunities to help build resilience into itsspace capabilities.

These policies and strategies will begin to address challenges and opportunities, but they are just the initial steps in an area that will continue to demand attention and action, Loverro said.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lasers Bring New Urgency to Electric Power Research

By David Smalley, Office of Naval Research
ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- In the wake of the recent announcement that laser weapons will be put on U.S. Navy ships, the need for reliable, high-voltage shipboard power has become a matter of national security, officials said at this week's Electric Ship Technologies Symposium outside Washington, D.C.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored event featured some of the world's top scientists and engineers in power systems, who agree that a new era in electric power is within sight.

"The work being done in this area is vital," said Dr. Thomas Killion, who heads ONR's Office of Transition. "As the upcoming deployment of a shipboard laser weapon reminds us, we need power generation and power management systems with greater-than-ever capabilities, but from devices that are smaller than ever."

Earlier this month, Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert announced that for the first time a laser weapon system (LaWS) will be placed onboard a deployed ship, USS Ponce, for testing in the Persian Gulf in 2014. The announcement underscored the need for accessible high-power electric generation, capable of meeting the substantial demands that will be needed to power laser systems and other high-power weapon systems.

As the technology advances, and faced with rising and unpredictable fossil fuel costs, the Navy's next-generation surface combatant ship will leverage electric ship technologies in its design.
While electric ships already exist, design characteristics of a combatant ship are more complex with regard to weight, speed, maneuverability-and now, directed energy weapons.

ONR-supported scientists are focused on cutting-edge technologies that include silicon carbide (SiC)-based transistors, transformers and power converters.
"SiC is important because it improves power quality and reduces size and weight of components by as much as 90 percent," said Sharon Beerman-Curtin, ONR's power and energy science and technology lead. "This is a critical technology enabler for future Navy combatant ships that require massive amounts of highly controlled electricity to power advanced sensors, propulsion and weapons such as lasers and the electromagnetic railgun."

Killion said that a lighter, smaller footprint on ships will contribute to the substantial increase in energy efficiency that is predicted from breakthroughs in electric power research.

"The enhanced capabilities and potential cost savings of increased power at reduced size cannot be overemphasized," he said. "This is the future."

Improved power systems could have enormous impact in both military and civilian sectors. Concerns by engineers over an aging power grid in the United States and elsewhere, for instance, have grown in recent years.

The Navy's power and engineering efforts that will further naval power hold similar promise for civilian benefit. ONR sponsors the Electric Ship Research and Development Consortium (ESRDC), composed of eight leading universities. The ESRDC is focused on afloat power systems, and leads efforts to address a national shortage of electric power engineers, and ensure U.S. superiority in electric systems.

Some of the critical technologies ONR is working on include power-dense electronics; new power conversion capabilities; energy storage; and sensors, weapons and protection. Killion said all of these areas deserve support because they are of naval and national importance.

"A key challenge in designing an all-electric future naval combatant ship is enabling technologies that can provide power agility with minimal energy storage needs," said Beermann-Curtin. "We are making truly noteworthy progress toward those goals."

At the symposium, Killion also announced the pending Fiscal Year 2013 Small Business Innovation Research solicitation opportunities in the power and energy area, including continued development of automated methods for design of cooling systems; alternative power supplies; ship energy use monitoring and analysis methods; compact connectors; and compact power for radio frequency sources.

DARPA Reaches Beyond Technological Frontiers for Warfighters

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2013 – In 1957, the entire world was surprised by the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite.

In response, President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the Advanced Research Projects Agency -- now called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- the following year, and he directed it to prevent further technological surprises by reaching beyond the frontiers of technology and science and immediate military requirements.

In the 55 years since DARPA was founded, it has succeeded in preventing technological surprise -- and has created surprise of its own, DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday.

“Today, if you look at how we fight, you will find in our military capabilities really critical systems and capabilities like precision guidance and navigation, like stealth technologies, like [unmanned aerial vehicles], communications and networking, night-vision systems,” she said, all developed, in part, due to pivotal early investments by DARPA.

“And our warfighters have taken this suite of capabilities and turned it into a way to change the face of war,” Prabhakar said.

In making those investments, DARPA paved the way for leaps forward in capability, she said. “That's really our role,” she added. “That's what our function is. That's what we've done for many generations and that's what we're going to be doing again for the next generation.”

DARPA is a small agency, Prabhakar said. About half of its roughly 200 employees are experts from throughout the technical and military communities who serve as program managers for short terms of about three to five years. The rotational nature of the program manager positions allows the agency to tap into a broad technical community, she said, a tactic that gives DARPA influence that far outweighs its size.

“The job for the rest of us [at DARPA] is to recruit these stellar individuals, to construct a balanced portfolio of programs from the ideas that they generate, and ultimately … enable these program managers to take the kind of risk that is inherent in reaching for high payoff,” she said. “And all of that is really what keeps the DARPA engine humming,” Prabhakar added.

Incoming program managers listen to what is happening in the technical community to learn where the breakthrough opportunities are, Prabhakar said, and learn from the military community what they see as their future needs.

“From all of those inputs, our program managers create DARPA programs that they think really have the potential to change the world,” she said. “When they start building these programs, of course, they build these new technology capabilities [and] … technical communities that really can move our abilities forward in a really powerful way.”

While DARPA’s mission hasn’t changed in 55 years, the same can’t be said of the world in which it operates, Prabhakar said. Now is a good time for DARPA to step back and assess its view of future missions, she added, particularly in the context of today’s realities.

The agency identified three major trends that it views as critical in shaping DARPA’s effort to build “radical new solutions,” Prabhakar said.

“The first major factor that we see is we believe we're going to be in an extended period during which our national security will face a wide range of different types of threats from a wide range of different actors,” she told reporters. Not just nation-states, but also terrorist and criminal organizations and even individuals, she said.

These actors now have access to a wide range of tools that can create effects once limited only to nations, she said -- weapons of mass destruction or mass terror and cyberattacks, for example. “So the No. 1 major factor that we really pay attention to is this complex, fluid, shifting national security environment that we think we will be facing for an extended period of time.”

The second factor, she said, is the rapid advances in military technology made by other nations. This, combined with other factors, has led to a prevalence of obsolete and publicly available technology in U.S. military systems. “That's a trend that we expect will continue,” Prabhakar said. “I think that's going to be a fact of life in the world that we're living in.”

Fiscal constraints are the third trend shaping DARPA’s future, she said. “We believe we may be at the beginning of a fundamental shift in how our society allocates resources to the business of national security,” she added.
Prabhakar said she’s not referring only to the immediate issues around sequestration spending cuts. “What I'm really talking about here are the fiscal pressures that could shape a different future over the coming years and decades,” she explained, “and, if it turns out to be the case that we don't allocate this continuing level of support for national security as a society, it actually won't change the fact that our job will still be to keep the country as safe and secure as is humanly possible.
“So these three factors create a very challenging environment that we're going to be facing for an extended period of time,” she continued. “I think these are factors that create an environment that calls for a DARPA and for the DARPA approaches to thinking outside the box more than ever before.”
DARPA will continue to invest in “game-changers,” Prabhakar said. “[Investing] in radical new systems concepts, in radical new technologies that can enable new capabilities, that's something that DARPA has done for 55 years, and we're going to do it today, and we'll hope we'll do it for the next 55 years at least.”
The agency is also taking new approaches, she said. “We're thinking about how we can make the systems of the future more readily adaptable,” she added, “so that they can be configured for whatever actual threat emerges in time, or can be reconfigured in real time in an engagement so that we can adapt more quickly than adversaries might in a battle environment.”
The organization also seeks ideas that can “invert the cost equation,” Prabhakar said. These types of approaches not only would reduce program costs, but also would force adversaries to spend more money to counter the technology than the technology cost to develop and implement, she explained.
“And then, finally, we're also thinking about the fact that DARPA's in the ‘silver bullet’ business, but in fact, even our most powerful capability will not single-handedly change the face of war for the next generation,” she said.
One way to realize such a far-reaching change is by combining technologies, she said. “That's how I think we've created the last big shift in military capability,” she added, “and we see how that could be possible looking forward.”
DARPA's objective is a new generation of technology for national security, Prabhakar said.
“If we're successful, as I think we really must be in this DARPA endeavor, what that will mean for the future is that our future leaders and commanders will have real options, powerful options for all the range of threats that we face in the years and decades ahead,” she said. “That's really how we will enable our nation to achieve its strategic objectives in a decisive fashion.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U.S.-Australia Agreement Promotes Space Situational Awareness

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., April 24, 2013 – A new agreement made between the United States and Australia represents the first in what U.S. Strategic Command’s commander hopes will be many that promote transparency in the space domain.

Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler signed the agreement on behalf of the United States, short-cutting the process for the Australian government to request data through Stratcom’s Space Situational Awareness Sharing Agreement Program.

The agreement represents another step in the November 2010 pact between the two countries to cooperate on space situational awareness activities.

It streamlines the process for the Australians to make specific requests about space data gathered by Stratcom’s Joint Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. This information, which includes locations of some 23,000 man-made objects in space, is critical in planning launches into the increasingly crowded space domain.

“Many nations share the space domain, and it is in our best interest to create an environment where the sharing of [space situational awareness] data facilitates transparency and improves flight safety,” Kehler said.
The new U.S.-Australian agreement paves the way for similar ones between the United States and its closest allies and partners, and is modeled on commercial agreements Stratcom has forged with commercial companies over the past three years.

Space situational awareness exchanges will assist partners with activities such as launch support, maneuver planning, support for on-orbit anomaly resolution, electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation, support for launch anomalies and de-commissioning activities, and on-orbit conjunction assessments, officials noted.

President Barack Obama’s National Space Policy and the National Security Space Strategy promoted this concept in 2010 and 2011, respectively, noted Air Force Col. Lina Cashin, Stratcom’s division chief for space, cyber and deterrence policy and security cooperation.

Science, Technology Investments to Focus on Innovation, Industry

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., April 24, 2013 – To meet the Defense Department’s 21st century security objectives, its science and technology funding will focus on innovation and industry, the acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering said here today.

In remarks at the National Defense Industrial Association’s 14th annual science and engineering technology conference, Alan Shaffer said mitigation, affordability and surprise technology lay the foundation for the DOD’s science and technology commitments.

Shaffer noted a rise in the commons known as technology enablers that include space, cyberspace and the oceans. “These are the places that no one owns and yet enable all our operational systems,” he said.
In electronic warfare, Shaffer explained, the United States has enjoyed pre-eminent electronic detection systems with its allies, but now must maintain balance in the electromagnetic spectrum for its systems to operate.

“Increasingly, a space communications layer is vulnerable to being jammed,” he said. “Space is contested. Space is no longer assured -- nobody owns cyber, but it certainly will [affect] how we’re thinking about the world.”

In cyberspace, research and resilience of data are key, Shaffer said. “We need robustness and … the ability to operate through any type of cyberattack,” he added.

And considering cyberspace as a science is critical, he said.

“I can go out and measure warheads,” Shaffer said. “How do you measure cyber as to whether or not you’re improving?” DOD also must continue countering weapons of mass destruction through sensors, network analytics, data integration and predictive tools, he told the audience.

Developing new tools and more prototyping within DOD and throughout industry are important to affordability, Shaffer said.

“Right now, it [takes] roughly 20 years to field a new weapon system,” he noted. “The requirement cycle cannot envision where you’re going to be in that period of time.” The services are using a program called Engineered Resilient Systems, which develops predictive tools to execute an open system design and perform thousands of system trades with larger, more complex systems within a computer, Shaffer said.

Typically, he explained, technology investment involves money and a lot of time in early basic research before encountering a concept, then learning about a capability that grows rapidly before flattening out.

“I don’t want to continue to have to invest in older, mature technologies where we flattened out some,” Shaffer said. “I want to create surprise for other folks. That means the DOD must continue to invest in a lot of concepts in basic research, look for the maturation, and then put some big bets behind things to hit the high part of the growth curve.”

DOD science and technology also will encompass human systems, he said, from realistic and immersive training to better man-machine interface.

Analysts will further research how humans can better interface with platforms, and how DOD can reduce time for a human to better operate a system, he added.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Social Media Policies Protect DOD Employees, Official Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013 – The Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office ensures that DOD civilians and service members are able to exercise their First Amendment rights when using social media platforms, Michael E. Reheuser, the office's director, said here April 19.

"DOD's social media policy requires that personnel follow certain rules," Reheuser said in an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel. Those rules aren't intended to limit free speech, he added, but only to make sure that the information being posted doesn't compromise operational security.
Personnel are allowed to express their opinions, he said, as long as doing so is consistent with the operational requirements of the department. Some rules are different for service members than for civilians, Reheuser noted. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, service members are prohibited from disparaging the president or other senior leaders, revealing operational details or divulging classified information, he said.

"If you have an opinion that is inconsistent with the Department of Defense's, you're certainly allowed to say that," Reheuser said. But, he added, "if the person looking at it thinks that you might be working on behalf of the government, and not in your individual capacity, you really need to be careful."

In some cases, it may be enough to post a disclaimer on your account, he said, but if you have any doubts, the best thing to do is check with your component's ethics professional.

As the use of social media becomes more prevalent, it's especially important for DOD personnel to be alert for potential misuse of their personal information, Reheuser said. The department doesn't monitor personal social media accounts, he said, so DOD personnel should monitor their online presences closely to make sure that information that comes out under their name is actually coming from them.

DOD members who suspect that an impersonator is behind a social media account for a department employee or senior leader should talk to their component's security manager, Reheuser said.

Innovation, Resilience and Affordability: Keys to AFSPC Success

by Maj. Christina Hoggatt
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs


4/22/2013 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.  -- Air Force Space Command's Director of Strategic Plans, Programs and Analyses, Brigadier General Roger W. Teague, presented the Acquisition Luncheon keynote address April 11 during the 29th National Space Symposium held here at the Broadmoor hotel.

Speaking to a room of both government and commercial acquisition experts, Brig. Gen. Teague discussed the challenges of the emerging national security space environment during an extremely tight fiscal point.

He said innovation, resiliency and affordability will be the keys to moving ahead in today's fiscal environment, while still preparing for and investing in the future.
In fact, he pointed out how the acquisition professionals at the Space and Missile Systems Center have already made great strides in support of this objective by streamlining the acquisition plans and strategies for follow-on buys of Advanced Extremely High Frequency -5/6, Space-Based Infrared System-5/6 and Global Positioning System III.

"Through innovative strategies, smart application of risk reduction and lessons learned, SMC realized $985 million in cost reductions and savings in these programs," Brig. Gen. Teague said. "These savings were really generated by an intense focus in four areas: improving governance and leaning out processes; reducing staffing and streamlining organizations; tackling production contract costs; and examining on an event by event basis, all elements of test risk in production process."

He said SMC will focus on the initiatives in those four areas to continue to target an additional $600 million in cost reductions throughout 2013.

"We will strive to make space systems more affordable by targeting cost reductions across 20 major contracts and drive down production and sustainment costs," the general said. "While we are faced with significant challenges, this also represents an opportunity."

Speaking to opportunities, the general mentioned the success of the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload program.

"This program paved the way to demonstrate improved mission resiliency through disaggregation," he said. "While CHIRP was a tech demo effort, its success reinforces the critical need to preserve our Space Modernization funding lines in both SBIRS and AEHF programs."

Identifying the dramatic changes in the space environment and the budget over the past 20 years, the general pointed out the importance of change and flexibility.
"Today's approach relies largely on a small number of large, extremely capable multifunction satellites," Brig. Gen. Teague said. "Given the evolving space environment, we believe we need to aggressively pursue resilient solutions that could potentially operate through contested environments and give us cheaper alternatives to replenish architectures should our capabilities be lost."

Friday, April 19, 2013

Research, Engineering Team Adjusts to Fiscal Uncertainty

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2013 – Defense Department scientists and researchers will adjust to fiscal uncertainty by scrapping duplicative research and increasing prototyping, a senior Pentagon official told Congress yesterday.

Alan R. Shaffer, acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that DOD plans to consolidate programs and develop new capabilities by keeping design teams on tap during equipment purchase lulls.

“[Scientists and researchers] will be doing prototyping in things like very advanced electronic warfare systems and … cyber capabilities,” Shaffer said. “It’s where we have to address new and emerging capabilities.”

About $45 million allocated for the applied technology program in the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2014 budget request is not a new set of money, Shaffer said. Rather, he told the senators, it derives from a consolidation of programs such as cyber, communications, electronic warfare and materiel.

“I took five or six of my old programs and collapsed them into a single program element to be able to fund good ideas competitively across the department in the cross-cutting areas that everybody has [science and technology] programs in,” he explained.

Shaffer said Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall has asked him and his team to reassess late-development prototyping and demonstration.
When considering advanced technology, the real “secret sauce” is design team engineers who will create the new trades and possibilities, he added.

“So we will do some prototyping to make sure that we keep the national intellectual capital viable for when we need the next set of systems,” Shaffer said. “It’s a new way of thinking about how we’re going to get more ‘bang for the buck’ by funding … internally, competitively proposed projects in those certain cross-cutting areas.”

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Science, Technology Remain Critical, Official Says

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2013 – Despite fiscal uncertainty, science and technology remain critical elements in mitigating emerging threats against the United States, a Defense Department official told Congress yesterday.

Alan Shaffer, acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering, pledged to continue a focus on programs such as electronic warfare, counter-space, cyber, and counter-weapons of mass destruction to meet U.S. national security goals.

“The challenge is clear. … The president and the secretary of defense depend on defense research and engineering to make key contributions to the defense of our nation,” Shaffer told the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on intelligence, emerging threats and capabilities.

Science and technology should mitigate new and emerging capabilities that could degrade U.S. security, he said, while enabling new or extended capabilities in existing military platforms and systems.

Defense Department science and technology researchers, systems engineers and developmental test and evaluation personnel also strive to develop “technology surprise” through science and engineering applications to military problems, Shaffer said.

“Together, the professional scientists and engineers conceive, develop and mature systems early in the acquisition process,” he added.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and allied personnel work with industry and international partners, academia and other government agencies to provide unmatched, operational advantage to the warfighter, Shaffer said, and that work has paid off.

“When we look at the capabilities developed and delivered by these people during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I contend the nation has received good return on investment,” he said. Notable successes, he added, include mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, persistent threat-detection systems and use of multispectral imagery to remotely detect explosives.

“These three alone greatly increased the safety of our deployed force,” Shaffer said. “We met the demands of an armed force at war.”

But as the drawdown in Afghanistan continues, uncertainty looms in national security and budget environments, creating reductions that will rattle some programs, Shaffer said.

“It is not possible to discuss the [fiscal year 2013 and 2014] budgets without addressing the impact of the sequester,” he said, noting cuts of about 9 percent from each of DOD’s programs and program lines.
The president’s fiscal 2014 budget request for Defense Department science and technology is $12 billion, a nominal increase from the $11.9 billion requested in 2013, he added.

“This reduction will result in delay or termination of efforts,” Shaffer said. “We will reduce awards.”
For instance, he said, DOD will reduce university grants this year by roughly $200 million, and potentially could reduce the number of new science, mathematics and research for transformation, or SMART, scholarships in fiscal 2013 to zero.

“Because of the way the sequester was implemented, we will be very limited in hiring new scientists this year,” he said. “Each of these actions will have a negative, long-term impact on the department and national security.”

Budgetary pressures exist, as do new challenges, Shaffer said, adding that DOD leadership has made a strategic choice to protect science and technology where possible.

“We did this to provide options for the future as well as meet new challenges that have technological dimensions,” he said.

The challenges, he added, include instability in nations such as Syria, which has weapons of mass destruction that could fall out of state control. He also cited persistent concerns over North Korean nuclear weapons with the means to deliver them, and the emergence of sophisticated anti-access, area-denial capabilities in a number of nations.

Emerging threats, he said, also include cyber exploitation and attack and the increased sophistication of advanced electronic attack capabilities of potential adversaries.

“The department’s research and engineering program is faced with the same challenges as the rest of the DOD,” Shaffer said.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

White in the winter; Green all year round

Senior Airman Mary O'Dell
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


4/15/2013 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Team Fairchild has been a leader in energy conservation and environmental restoration; garnering both the Air Force Reduced Energy Appreciation Program (REAP) award and the Air Mobility Command Energy Incentive Award within the past year.

Fairchild also recently received the 2012 Air Force General Thomas D. White Outstanding Environmental Restoration Award recognizing innovation and community outreach efforts.

"There are many ways this base contributes to a more "green" environment," said Kristin Nester, 92nd Civil Engineer squadron installation management flight chief. "While we have outstanding program managers working together to lead the charge, it takes the support of leadership and every member of Team Fairchild for these programs to be successful."

Through the Environmental Restoration Program, Fairchild continues to investigate and cleanup historical releases of hazardous materials to the environment in protection of human health and the environment dating back to when the base was first established.

"Restoration Program contracts and projects are designed to promote optimization, sustainable design, and accelerated cleanup," said Danielle Adams, 92nd CE remedial project manager. "Our ultimate goal is to return any contaminated land back to use for potential new development as quickly as possible."

Along with base restoration, the 92nd CES and Contracting Squadrons teamed up to develop a Green Procurement Plan, supporting the purchase of environmentally preferable products and services.

This year, the Arbor Day tree planting celebration will take place April 26 at 12:30 p.m. and in celebration of Earth Day, 92nd CE Environmental Element and Balfour Beatty Communities are sponsoring lunch and Earth Day activities, open to spouses and dependents of all ages on April 22, from 11:00 a.m. until 1 p.m.

"Every year on Arbor Day, we plant new trees on base in a different location," said Mr. Steve Selser, 92nd CES natural and cultural resources manager. "This year we will be planting five blue spruce trees near the new Wing headquarters building site."

During this celebration, the community Forrester presents a plaque to the base while students from Michael Anderson Elementary School, along with the Wing commander, come out to help with the tree planting.

"This will be the 19th year Fairchild has been a Tree City USA, being one of the oldest in the area," said Selser. "Over the course of about 20 years, a variety of over 2,500 trees have been planted on Fairchild."

Communities achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management, these include:

· Maintaining a tree board or department

· Having a community tree ordinance

· Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry

· Celebrating Arbor Day

"Being involved in both Arbor Day and Earth Day is an important reminder of the bigger picture we are a part of," said Nester.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stratcom Shares Space Data to Promote Safety, Transparency


By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., April 15, 2013 – Committed to promoting safety and transparency in the space domain, U.S. Strategic Command maintains a registry of tens of thousands of man-made objects in space and shares the information freely with anyone who seeks it through a command-run website.

Air Force Space Command, recognizing that collisions could damage orbiting satellites and cause more space junk, started the database as a pilot program before turning the project over to Stratcom in 2010, Air Force Col. Lina Cashin, Stratcom’s division chief for space, cyber and deterrence policy and security cooperation, said during an interview here with American Forces Press Service.

The project, which involves regular tracking of old rocket bodies, debris and about 1,000 active satellites, has become one of Stratcom’s most universally popular products, Cashin said. Space-Track.org has 85,000 account holders in 185 countries, she noted.

In addition to providing basic satellite catalog data to all account holders, Stratcom provides more advanced data services on request. The command also has agreements in place with 35 commercial companies to expedite information-sharing, and hopes to enter similar agreements with space-faring nations to better support their space operations, Cashin said.

Space situational awareness is crucial to Stratcom’s efforts to understand what is going on in space and to cope with the increasing amount of space debris, she explained.

Both the National Space Policy and the National Security Space Strategy call on the United States to be a leader in sharing satellite positional information to the greatest extent possible, Cashin said.
“We think that providing more transparency on the data that we have to satellite owners and operators -- whether they are commercial, intergovernmental or foreign entities -- promotes a more stable environment in space,” Cashin said. “We want to share information with the rest of the world that we think can help them, and in turn help us be more responsible space operators.”

The registry serves a two-fold mission for those with satellites in orbit or planning to launch them, she explained. Nations and commercial companies can tap basic satellite data to plan space launches that won’t collide with objects already in space. And in the event that one of their satellites comes dangerously close to another object, Stratcom provides emergency notification so they can adjust course, if necessary.

During 2012, the command provided orbital data to 90 commercial and foreign organizations and 180 U.S. entities, Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Stratcom’s commander, reported to Congress last month.

“We received nearly 500,000 satellite observations and screened over 1,000 active satellites on a daily basis,” he told the Senate and House armed services committees. Based on those screenings, he said, the command issued more than 10,000 warnings of potential collisions, supported 75 “avoidance maneuvers” to prevent them and filled more than 300 requests for orbital data from 85 entities.

“Those numbers will go [up] every year,” Kehler told Congress. He emphasized the need for improvements to Stratcom’s space situational awareness capabilities and established “rules of the road” that govern behavior in space and allow the command to detect problems as they occur.
Space has changed dramatically since the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957, Cashin said. Sixty nations are now considered “space-faring,” with others anxious to join them to take advantage of the communication, navigation and other capabilities satellites and other space-based assets provide.

That makes space situational awareness more important than ever before in what Cashin characterized as an increasingly congested, competitive and contested domain.

In addition to the tens of thousands of fist-size manmade objects Stratcom regularly monitors, those too small to be tracked with current sensors could reach into the hundreds of thousands, she said.
The collision of an Iridium Communication Inc. satellite and a Russian Kosmos satellite in 2009 generated some 2,200 pieces of trackable debris. China’s anti-satellite test in 2007 generated more than 4,500 pieces -- more than 3,000 of them still in orbit, and many to remain so for hundreds of years, Cashin said.

Meanwhile, space is increasingly competitive as more countries, civilian agencies and commercial companies jockey for an advantage within increasingly limited real estate.

Particularly coveted is the area of geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of about 22,000 miles directly over the equator, explained Air Force Brig. Gen. David Thompson, Stratcom’s deputy director for global operations. This orbit provides the best location for communications satellites, all requiring separation from other satellites to prevent interference.

“Those specific spots and those orbits are increasingly scarce, increasingly expensive and increasingly sought-after,” Thompson said.

That’s made space more contested as users want to take advantage of what it offers -- and sometimes deny others’ access in the process.

Kehler told Congress he’s made a priority of ensuring that space capabilities that have become integral to the American way of warfare are available “whenever and wherever they are needed.”
The general also emphasized the importance of promoting trust and collaboration in space, a global common shared by nations and nongovernmental space operators around the globe.

Cashin reiterated the importance of promoting trust and collaboration in space.

“We are shifting to be completely transparent and share with our allies and partners so we can promote a ... safe and stable space environment that benefits us all,” Cashin said. “As space becomes increasingly congested, competitive and contested, collaboration with our allies is more important now than ever before.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Keeping the flow of information going

by Senior Airman Michael Washburn
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


4/12/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- For the Air Force to run as a well-oiled machine, communication between bases around the world needs to be flawless. Helping Pacific Air Forces maintain this global contact is a close-knit group of Airmen from the 374th Communication Squadron.

A group of 34 Airmen, from four different career fields work around the clock at Camp Zama's Operating Location C to provide this communication capability.

"A lot of daily computer traffic from the Kanto Plain, which includes classified and unclassified e-mail and other information, comes through us," said Master Sgt. Christopher Ballard, 374 CS. "We provide that connectivity back to bases in the states or wherever else it needs to go."

The site is comprised of a satellite and the equipment needed to run it. Three separate sections make up the satellite site, and each play an important role in keeping the site operational.

The satellite communications equipment floor deals with the satellite dish itself and all the equipment necessary to run it.

"In this section, we can take a weak signal from the satellite dish and use a device called a low noise amplifier to beef up the signal before a downconverter converts it to 70 megahertz," said Airman 1st Class Willie McNair, 374 CS radio frequency technician. "We do this because 70 megahertz can easily travel through our cables."

The site also has an area called the tech control floor. This section brings together computer circuits from bases around the Kanto Plain. From here, Airmen can perform tests on the circuits to ensure they're working properly or to diagnose problems.

Lastly, the site needs backup power in the case of emergency. Generators and batteries are in place to ensure the site will continue to run. If power outage occurs, the batteries would take over until the generators started.

"In the events that the power is lost or terrestrial lines fail, we are still able to provide strategic communications and long-haul defense," Ballard said. "During the earthquake, when the base lost power, we were still able to transmit communications to where they needed to go."

The 34 Airmen assigned to the site make communication happen, and it is because of that they won the Defense Information Systems Agency Pacific Outstanding Facility of the Year Award for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Operating Location C plays an important role in keeping communications flowing between Japan and bases worldwide.

"That is our mission, and that is what we do every day," Ballard said.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cyberspace: Fundamental to joint fight

by Maj. Christina Hoggatt
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs


4/10/2013 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.  -- Air Force Space Command Vice Commander, Lieutenant General John E. Hyten, spoke on how cyber operations are a clear catalyst for change in the art and science of modern warfare during the Space Foundation's Cyber 1.3 luncheon at The Broadmoor hotel here, Monday.

Lt. Gen. Hyten emphasized the importance of getting back to the basics in cyber, the efficacy and potential sticking points in creating a joint information environment, and the distinctions between cyber operations, information technology, and weapon systems.

"The Chief of Staff of the Air Force just approved weapons system designation for six of our cyber weapons systems," he said. "We're gaining ground in normalizing cyber operations in the Air Force."

According to Lt. Gen. Hyten, the Air Force is also integrating those cyber capabilities with other joint capabilities to meet combatant commanders' requirements. He noted that all services are endorsing a force presentation model that will build mission ready teams to support both U.S. Cyber Command and combatant command missions.

He went on to speak in support of the Joint Information Environment.

"As the Cyber Core Function Lead Integrator for the Air Force, we're committed to the goals of the JIE, but we need to make sure we don't reset any of the progress we've made in network defense, network security, and cyber normalization," Lt. Gen. Hyten said.

Though the general believes in the JIE concept, he is concerned that the Single Security Architecture remains undefined, rigorous operational processes have not been put in place or tested, and there are still significant questions about resourcing this endeavor.

"Commercialization can also reduce our need for larger server infrastructures--they shift the significant operations and maintenance burden onto the commercial sector," he said.

He also pointed out that since cyberspace is such a sophisticated environment, both the Department of Defense and the private sector need to agree on some basic definitions.

"While our Airmen have mastered the ability to communicate through cyberspace, our inability to communicate about cyberspace, the domain, and cyberspace operations in particular, frequently causes confusion and the inability to effectively and efficiently bring cyber capabilities to the fight," Lt. Gen. Hyten said. "We won't operationalize cyberspace until we operationalize our lexicon."

Using the three recently approved lines of operation for cyber to illustrate his point, Lt. Gen. Hyten said the key to understanding this new warfighting domain will be to understand the difference between cyberspace operations and information technology. "Each of these lines of operation is pivotal to maintaining the freedom to operate in and through cyberspace and enable the exchange of information for space and cyberspace operations," he said.

The different areas of cyber all have unique definitions and, according to Lt. Gen. Hyten, many times cyberspace and Information Technology are often confused.

"If we allow these definitions to become more than that, if they become too unwieldy, they lose their meaning and they become weapons in a religious debate between different elements of our force," he said.

The general went on to suggest that by using the foundational definitions found in the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 and Joint Publication 3-12, Cyberspace Operations, the joint force will develop a more clear understanding of cyberspace, cyberspace operations and Information Technology.

"Despite the changes ahead, one thing remains certain, the cyberspace domain is a priority for this Nation, for the Department of Defense and for the United States Air Force," Lt. Gen. Hyten said. "Our success on the battlefield is one that depends on the timely movement of information. We must be ready to meet any adversary in cyberspace that presents themselves."

Air Force Scientific Advisory Board holds spring session at Barksdale

by Carla Pampe
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs


4/10/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force Dr. Mark Maybury and members of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board met at Barksdale Air Force Base April 7-10 for the Board's spring session.

"As we in the Air Force begin to take a strategic look under the guise of the National Security Strategy and the Defense Security Strategy, we are examining what it means to be a global Air Force, and certainly Barksdale and Air Force Global Strike Command have got a central role, both from a deterrence perspective as well as an assurance perspective," Maybury said.

During the visit, members of the board reviewed the mid-term results of their current studies, which will be published in December of this year. The current studies are:
  • Airborne Networking and Communications for Contest Environments
  • Electro-Optical /Infrared and Laser Threat Warning and Countermeasures
  • Microsatellite Mission Applications
"All of the studies have aspects that tie in directly to the kinds of global strike challenges this command faces," Maybury said.

On Tuesday, the group had the opportunity to see static displays including the B-52 and A-10 to get an up-close look at the Global Strike Command mission. In addition, members of the board toured B-52 weapons systems trainers. Maybury said the board was very pleased that the Command was able to host their visit.

He added that he enjoyed the opportunity to visit Barksdale again.

"I always learn something new when I visit," he said. "The last time I visited Global Strike, I actually got to go up and fly with a B-52 team. It was a two-ship training mission for a troops-in-contact type of environment, as well as air refueling."

Maybury said he was impressed with the professionalism and focus of the Airmen at Barksdale.

"I really do appreciate what the total force here does," he said. "The officers, the enlisted, the Active-Reserve, the Guard components and the civilians are providing critical capability to secure our nation and assure our international partners."

The SAB is a Federal Advisory Committee, currently chaired by Dr. Eliahu Neiwood, that provides independent advice on matters of science and technology relating to the Air Force mission, reporting directly to the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. More information on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and their current studies can be found at http://www.sab.af.mil/.

AFSPC ops leader highlights command's new warfighter role

by Jennifer Green-Lanchoney
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs


4/10/2013 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.  -- The Director of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations for Air Force Space Command spoke at the Space Warfighters Luncheon April 9 during the 29th National Space Symposium held at the Broadmoor Resort, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein addressed a packed room of both military and civilian attendees on the impact of Gen. Shelton's designation as Commander, Air Force Forces for space and cyber forces to United States Strategic Command and its importance to the warfighter.

"This new design for the AFSPC commander as COMAFFOR is a truly revolutionary and positive change for our Air Force," said Maj Gen Weinstein. "The COMAFFOR operates and supports the Air Force Forces assigned or attached to the Joint Force commander... a COMAFFOR is a warfighter."

Maj Gen Weinstein stated that two tasks best explain the AFSPC commander's new role.

"Commander, Air Force Space Command presents integrated Air Force space and cyberspace capabilities to deliver global effects to achieve Commander, USSTRATCOM missions per the Unified Command Plan throughout the full spectrum of war," the general said.

The second task is operational planning to develop strategies that explain how the COMAFFOR can use Air Force cyber and space capabilities to support combatant commander's objectives.

"This new responsibility is focused at the strategic level and is linked to Combatant Commander strategic planning efforts," said Maj Gen Weinstein. "Air Force Space Command helps provide a focus at the strategic level of war to USSTRATCOM for Air Force space and cyberspace forces."

As strategic capabilities, space and cyberspace are being focused to enhance the capabilities of combatant commanders.

"Air Force Space Command must help United States Strategic Command identify why and with what we fight in the space and cyber domains," Maj Gen Weinstein said. "Space and cyber are incredibly complex domains, and they have fundamentally changed the way we fight and win wars."

Equipping and grooming space and cyber personnel with training on the operational and tactical levels as well as strategic-level capabilities is one way that AFSPC fits into the broader national security architecture.

"We are able to provide our expertise and knowledge gained ... and then apply strategic-level thinking to assist our Combatant Command, ensuring Air Force space and cyber capabilities fit appropriately into the larger picture." said Maj Gen Weinstein.

The general stated that the warfighter is already benefitting from the change in the strategic-level focus of AFSPC.

"Air Force space and cyber capabilities can help shape perceptions, and with the right level of integration between COMAFFOR and joint force planning, we can synchronize to achieve maximum Joint Force Commander effects and unity of effort," said Maj Gen Weinstein. "Ideally, AFSPC will become a fully integrated warfighter supporting the Combatant Commander's campaign and operational planning processes, as well as real-world and exercise management of operational crises and contingencies."

Future development of the role of the AFSPC COMAFFOR is expected to help shape the battlefield across the full spectrum of warfare.

"The Air Force is postured to ensure all of its world-class capabilities are deployed, sustained, and employed to achieve strategic objectives and defend our nation and its allies," Maj Gen Weinstein said. "In the end, the warfighting benefit of having a 4-star COMAFFOR that can interface with and support Combatant Commanders is to hopefully save lives and achieve national objectives."

Member of Internet Piracy Group “IMAGiNE” Sentenced in Virginia to 23 Months in Prison for Criminal Copyright Conspiracy

A member of the Internet piracy group “IMAGiNE” was sentenced today to serve 23 months in prison, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride and Special Agent in Charge John P. Torres of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C.
 
Javier E. Ferrer, 41, of New Port Richey, Fla., was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry C. Morgan in the Eastern District of Virginia. In addition to his prison term, Ferrer was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution.
 
On Nov. 29, 2012, Ferrer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.  Ferrer is the fifth member of the IMAGiNE Group who has been sentenced to prison for the copyright conspiracy. 
 
On Sept. 13, 2012, Ferrer was charged in a criminal information for his role in the IMAGiNE Group, an organized online piracy ring that sought to become the premier group to first release Internet copies of movies only showing in theaters.   Four other IMAGiNE Group members, including the group’s leader, were indicted on April 18, 2012, for their roles in the IMAGiNE Group. 
 
According to court documents, Ferrer and his co-conspirators sought to illegally obtain and disseminate digital copies of copyrighted motion pictures showing in theaters.  Ferrer actively participated in the IMAGiNE Group’s illegal efforts to film copyrighted motion pictures currently showing in theaters as his co-conspirators used receivers and recording devices to secretly capture audio sound tracks of copyrighted movies playing in movie theaters.  After the IMAGiNE Group obtained illegal copies of the audio and video portions of copyrighted motion pictures, Ferrer and his co-conspirators also engaged in processing or "encoding" the video files to enhance the picture quality and in synchronizing the audio files with the video files to make completed movies suitable for reproduction and distribution over the Internet, without the permission of the copyright owners. 
 
According to testimony by a representative of the Motion Picture Association of America, the IMAGiNE Group constituted the most prolific motion picture piracy release group operating on the Internet from September 2009 through September 2011.
 
Co-defendants Sean M. Lovelady, Willie O. Lambert, Gregory A. Cherwonik and Jeramiah B. Perkins pleaded guilty on May 9, June 22, July 11 and Aug. 29, 2012, respectively, to one count each of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, before U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen in the Eastern District of Virginia .  Lambert and Lovelady were sentenced on Nov. 2, 2012, to serve 30 months and 23 months in prison, respectively. Cherwonik was sentenced on Nov. 29, 2012, to serve 40 months in prison.  Perkins, the leader of the group, was sentenced on Jan. 3, 2013, to 60 months in prison.
 
The investigation of the case and the arrests were conducted by agents with the HIS Washington, D.C., Field Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Krask of the Eastern District of Virginia and Senior Counsel John H. Zacharia of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) are prosecuting the case. Significant assistance was provided by the CCIPS Cyber Crime Lab and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.
 
This case is part of efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force) to stop the theft of intellectual property. Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders. To learn more about the IP Task Force, go to www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce .
 
This investigation was supported by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Washington. The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice’s IP Task Force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21-member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and our war fighters.

Pentagon Official Examines Law in Cyberspace Operations

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2013 – “Bad actors” engaging in malware and espionage may lurk in cyberspace, but the law remains paramount to the Defense Department, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy said during a panel discussion at Georgetown University here today.

The Georgetown University Institute for Law, Science and Global Security and the Atlantic Council hosted the International Engagement on Cyber, where Eric Rosenbach discussed how the centuries-old Law of Armed Conflict applies to potential conduct of operations in cyberspace.

“Law, norms and respect for the principles we have for the international community are very important, not just to the Department of Defense, but to the government,” Rosenbach said.

He noted DOD’s year-long development of a recent policy directive focusing on the Law of Armed Conflict and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. government as it relates to domestic cybersecurity.
“The roles and responsibilities are now much more set in the United States, and it makes us better,” Rosenbach said.

But he warned against overstating the militarization of the Internet, specifically that DOD or the National Security Agency has had a leading role in domestic cybersecurity.

“We have a role in national security, … a very limited role when it comes to cybersecurity, which is a ‘defend-the-nation’ mission,” he said. “We’re very supportive of the Department of Homeland Security as the lead for domestic cybersecurity working closely with the FBI, who is the lead on national security operations for the cyber environment.” The understanding of these roles is critical in light of recent bank and broadcast cyberattacks in South Korea and separate cyberattacks against gas pipeline companies, he added.

Rosenbach also cited the perils of bad actors in the business of pornography, denial-of-service attacks, organized crime, domestic surveillance and infringement on freedom of information.

“I’m kept awake at night by the idea that these bad actors, if they want, could go on the black market, get destructive malware and … ramp up their capability very quickly in a way that could catch us or our allies and friends off guard,” Rosenbach said.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cyber Airman-development strategically critical to the nation

by Senior Master Sgt. Dean J. Miller
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs


4/9/2013 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Cyber Airman development became the focus of discussion at Cyber 1.3 in Colorado Springs Monday as Chief Master Sgt. Linus Jordan, Command Chief, Air Force Space Command, addressed space and cyber industry leaders at the conference prior to official opening of the 29th National Space Symposium.

Chief Jordan and a civilian aerospace leader were participants in a moderated panel discussion that encouraged audience participation via e-mail. The interactive forum quickly moved through topics including youth interest in an evolving cyber culture, common talent pool recruitment considerations, challenges of long-term development of a professional cyber force, and the critical roles of cyber-trained Airmen.

Chief Jordan, invested in developing cyber Airmen both as command chief for the Air Force major command responsible for the cyber mission and as a father of an Airman in the cyber operations career field, challenged common assumptions that people fall into only the popular categories of digital native or digital immigrant. Chief Jordan offered a third category: the digitally disadvantaged.

"There are demographics in our country where young people, or people of any age, may not have had the opportunity - educationally or economically - to be exposed to technology...to have the opportunity to use and leverage technology," said Chief Jordan. "Just because someone was born into an era, doesn't mean they experienced what that era was all about."

Before cyber professionals, Airmen or civilians, can be recruited and developed, young people must be aware of, interested in and somewhat familiar with the cyber culture. Chief Jordan emphasized the need for a national focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, citing Air Force support of the annual CyberPatriot competition as an example of a positive experience in STEM areas. CyberPatriot is a national high school cyber defense competition designed to inspire high school students to aspire to STEM degrees and cybersecurity careers.

"There is goodness in that type of program (CyberPatriot) for those young Americans, whether they join our team or not, because it exposes them to what the opportunities of the future may be," Chief Jordan said. "More importantly, it reinforces just how critically important STEM is to them as individuals and to us as a nation."

The panelists took questions during the session and one participant asked, "If the demands of the cyber domain are so different compared to traditional military domains, does application of traditional military standards still make sense?". Chief Jordan was quick to respond.

"Airmen are Airmen first. Just like Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, they are military professionals first, regardless of their technical discipline and expertise -- especially in an environment as complex as cyber is for us today. We have to have professionals who are trained to a common level of discipline, standards, understanding and behavior before we can entrust them with the responsibilities and authorities that we do, in an environment as dynamic and complex as cyber," said Chief Jordan.

"The last thing you want is someone who does not have that standard grounding to operate autonomously in that mission area. It can very quickly have national security-level implications. Given our current workforce, we entrust our most junior enlisted Airmen and our most junior company grade officers with some pretty significant responsibilities in this mission area," said Chief Jordan. "Without that fundamental thread of training, discipline, and standards that runs through every Airman, we set ourselves up for failure. Cyber is one of those areas that changes too quickly, is too important and too pervasive to take chances with."

Another question from the panel was about developing the culture and making the mission area 'fun'. Chief Jordan was less interested in making Cyber appear fun than he was about inspiring a sense of service in current and future cyber Airmen, based on the satisfaction they get from positively impacting operations from the tactical to strategic and national levels every day. This led to an opportunity for Chief Jordan to expand on the role of Cyber Airmen deployed to the Combatant Commands.

"These Americans are warriors. Though they may typically serve in an operations center, or some other obscure location, at the end of the day, they are as prone to deploy into harm's way to support national security as anyone else," said Chief Jordan. "As the Combatant Commands around the world continue to learn what cyber warriors bring to the fight, we see more and more requests for forces placing cyber Airmen 'boots on ground' to support combatant commanders. When we talk about cyber and space warriors, we cannot allow ourselves to think that these are Airmen 'removed from the fight'. Regardless of where they sit, more important than anything, are the capabilities that these professionals bring to bear in execution of national security."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wing adopts new (again) space surveillance mission

by Steve Brady
21st Space Wing Public Affairs


4/5/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 21st Operations Group assumed the Cobra Dane radar mission at Eareckson Air Station, Shemya Island, Alaska, April 1, and takes responsibility for contract and program management Oct. 1.

Eareckson Air Station is located on the western tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands near the larger island of Attu, and is approximately 1,500 miles southwest of Anchorage. The airport lies on the south side of the two-mile by four-mile island.

The radar is about 120 feet tall, the face is about 95 feet in diameter, and with its ability to detect objects about 2,000 miles away, it provides data for the Space Surveillance Network and the Ballistic Missile Defense System.

"The Cobra Dane radar will support the 21st Space Wing missile defense and space situational awareness missions," said Lt. Col. Paul Tombarge, 21st Operations Group commander. The radar will fall under the oversight of the 13th Space Warning Squadron at Clear AFS, Alaska, and will be designated as 13th SWS, Operating Location-Cobra Dane, he said.

The Cobra Dane radar began operations in 1977. Its space surveillance mission was suspended by the Air Force in 1994 due to budget constraints, but was reinstated as a limited duty contractor operation in 1999 with renewed emphasis on the radar's unique space tracking capabilities for protection of the International Space Station and shuttle orbiter flights, Tombarge said. The radar resumed full-duty operation in 2002 to support increased spacetrack demands. The radar began its missile defense mission as a result of the Cobra Dane Upgrade program in 2004.

In 2012, the deputy secretary of defense directed the Air Force to assume responsibility for Cobra Dane. Given the similarities between Cobra Dane and the wing's upgraded early warning radars, Air Force Space Command directed the 21st SW to assume the Cobra Dane mission, Tombarge said.

Cobra Dane will continue to be operated by a contract workforce, and no military personnel will be assigned to the unit at Eareckson AS.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Robins partners with AMC in new iPad initiative

78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/5/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Some Air Force aircraft are now a touch bit lighter when airborne, thanks in part to the work of software engineers here.

Since February, a number of C-5, C-17 and C-130 aircrews have been using iPads instead of bulky manuals, charts and other reference materials to help pilot and maintain their aircraft. The 578th Software Maintenance Squadron is sustaining and maintaining those iPads, as well as developing associated apps, as part of Air Mobility Command's 'Electronic Flight Bag' initiative.

For instance, the squadron is currently converting PC-based Windows programs already in use in the cockpit to apps for the iPad.

"Aircrews regularly take laptops onto aircraft to run applications such as Weight and Balance and Take Off and Land Data," said Rob Frisch, the 578th's program manager for app development. "We are now converting these for use on the iPad."

The 578 SMXS is also looking to automate many of the forms crews have to fill out to gauge the health of aircraft before taking off.

"The 402nd Software Maintenance Group wants to take a lead role as tablet-based technology rolls out to our Airman and as new technologies become available for the warfighter," said Wayne Osborn, director of the SMXG -- the 578th's parent organization.

Fort Bliss to Launch Military’s Largest Renewable Energy Project

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2013 – The largest renewable energy project in U.S. military history is slated to begin soon at Fort Bliss, Texas, a big step toward the installation’s goal of generating all the energy it uses, Army Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, the installation and 1st Armored Division commander, announced today.
The Army Corps of Engineers gave the official nod this week for El Paso Electric to start work on a 20-megawatt solar farm that will power all of the division headquarters and most of the eastern sector of the sprawling installation, Pittard told reporters at a news conference.

The partnership is the first between the military and a major local utility on a renewable energy project of this scale, he reported.

“This is the largest solar project at any installation to date in [the Defense Department]. We are very, very proud of that,” he said. “It is exciting to be leading the American military in renewable energy, [and] reducing our carbon footprint,” both goals of Fort Bliss’ environmental campaign plan.

The solar farm, to be completed in 2015, is just one part of the post’s sweeping plans to reduce its energy consumption and dependence on nonrenewable energy. Fort Bliss already hosts a 1.4-megawatt solar array, the Army’s second-largest, and has installed a 13.4-megawatt rooftop solar array on post housing. In addition, another 20-megawatt contract with El Paso Electric is in the works, as well as a plan with the city of El Paso to convert waste to energy, Pittard said.

Meanwhile, installation officials are pursuing wind and geothermal initiatives and promoting recycling and more efficient water use, he said. They also planted 14,700 trees -- well on their way to the goal of 20,000 -- and have built bike and walking paths and encouraged people to use fuel-efficient vehicles.

The goal, Pittard told reporters, is to achieve “Net Zero,” meaning the post creates all the energy it uses.
While reducing Fort Bliss’ carbon footprint and energy costs, the initiatives will contribute to the Army’s energy conservation and security goal of using 25 percent renewable energy by 2015.

Soldiers have been supportive of the efforts, collectively raising $1 million last year through recycling. The proceeds were channeled to Morale, Welfare and Recreation projects such as skating parks and spinning cycles, prompting even more recycling, which Pittard said he hopes will reach $1.5 million this year.

“Everybody is getting involved in that, because they see the positive results of recycling,” he said.
Pittard also reported a dramatic drop in electricity use in post housing.

Changing behavior and promoting a culture that encourages energy conservation are keys to achieving Net Zero, Pittard said.

“And that is what we hope our soldiers will then take with them when they go on to other installations and move into society throughout the county,” he said.

As encouraged as he is by Fort Bliss’ progress, Pittard said, he sees a direct link between these efforts and his primary mission of ensuring combat-ready forces.

“The solar farm, along with our environment campaign plan, are both part of a larger effort to make Fort Bliss the most fit, most healthy, most resilient community in America that is environmentally sound and is best at preparing soldiers and units for combat,” he said.

As soldiers take advantage of more outdoor spaces, they’re getting out of their barracks and establishing a closer sense of community, Pittard said.

“All that has helped us with this relationship-building throughout our installation,” he said, calling it “no accident” that Fort Bliss has the Army’s lowest suicide rate in the continental United States.

“We feel that the fitness, the resiliency and the Net Zero is interrelated,” Pittard said. “For us here, it has been a no-brainer. Now what we hope is that the rest of the Army sees that and will replicate it.”

Thursday, April 4, 2013

AFMAO’s new control center fully operational

by Christin Michaud
AFMAO Public Affairs


4/4/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- A new control center at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs, Dover Air Force Base, Del., opened last month, centralizing major components of the sacred mission.

Command, control and communications, the hub of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, but once situated in a far off corner, is now collocated with mortuary technical operations, port mortuary administration and branch of service liaisons from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

The AFMAO Operations and Mass Fatality Command Center was designed to accommodate AFMAO's daily operations. It has the ability to ramp up for large mass fatality incidents, explained Kevin McGarrigle, mortuary technical operations chief.

The new center provides offices and workstations for up to 48 personnel and includes contingency seating for public affairs and other Dover AFB agencies, such as wing and group leadership, command post and security forces.

The concept of the operation was the result of an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century event for information management, which revealed a need to improve the flow of communications internal and external to AFMAO, said McGarrigle.

"The new center has already improved the flow of communications in all directions," said McGarrigle.

The design of the center allows those working in it to gain a sense of teamwork as well as understanding and appreciation for each other's role, said Robin Vitale, C3 manager.

During a recent Army incident, C3 was in constant communication with Army liaisons about family members and flights. Personnel from the 436th Airlift Wing protocol office and the 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron came over to work in the new control center.

"It saved time when working out the fine details of the dignified transfer that they were right by our side," said Vitale. "We didn't have to try and contact them by phone, try to explain any changes or complications over e-mail or telephone.

The result, she said, was clear and quick communication between all who work behind the scenes of the DTs to make it seamless for the family.

Having the new center and all the key functional areas in the same location produces an environment that permits direct and immediate communication between agencies, resulting in more accurate and efficient transfer of information, said McGarrigle.

Another new feature is a video wall heads-up display of information from all functional areas working within the center.

"The wall can be manipulated to display video feeds from multiple sources within the center which provides great, incident-based flexibility," said McGarrigle.

The design, functional areas and streamlined communication help AFMAO ensure it fulfills a solemn commitment to the fallen and their families.

"I am thankful for the teamwork between the men and women of AFMAO and the 436th Airlift Wing that made this project a success, said Cory Larsen, Operations Support branch chief.

"In the long run, we hope to never utilize the center in its full capacity and the main purpose it was designed, a mass fatality incident, but if or when called upon, the nation can rest assured that the center will be ready."

Inspirational Vandenberg Women: Armagno reaches the stars

by Staff Sgt.Erica Picariello
30th Space Wing Public Affairs


4/3/2013 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An eight-year-old girl walked up to her father in their suburban Chicago home, eager to share with him her newest revelation. "I'm going to be an astronaut," she said. "You can do and be anything you want to be, as long as you work hard," the girl's father replied.

Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander, started reaching for the stars at a young age.

"I was brought up to always think big," Armagno said. "I was inspired by NASA's shuttle program; I paid attention to every launch and that's what I wanted to do. So, it really just kind of fit."

As the daughter of two language teachers, her father an Italian immigrant who taught Italian and Spanish, and her mother an American who taught French, hard work and discipline were household ethos.

"I grew up in a very loving home where excellence was expected," Armagno said. "I was taught to do my best and be my best at all times."

That devotion to excellence shone through her academic prowess. With a poster of Sally Ride, the first woman in space, on her bedroom wall as her inspiration, Armagno became the valedictorian of her high school class and was voted, "Most likely to succeed."

According to her biography on biography.com, Ride beat out 1,000 other applicants for a spot in NASA's astronaut program. Like Ride, Armagno also earned a selective position.

After high school, Armagno became a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy. Some would say that the desire to serve is in her blood.

"Both of my grandfathers were in the military," Armagno said. "My Italian grandfather rose to be the highest enlisted rank in the Italian Carabinieri and my American grandfather stowed away aboard a Navy ship during World War I when he was just 14 or 15 years old. This desire to serve is in my genes."

Armagno's drive to succeed wasn't limited to the classroom.

"At the Academy, I remember working with a captain who then promoted to major," Armagno said. "I saw how he operated and worked and I thought, 'could do that.' The more experience I got, the more work I did -- the different positions that I held. I always said that I could do that next step, next position, next job... and I would always think, ' I hope that I get the opportunity to do it.' I made it my goal to become a squadron commander."

It was this confidence and perseverance that eventually led this young space officer to far surpass her goal of becoming a squadron commander and, like her childhood dream, she reached the stars.

On Jan. 23, 2012, Armagno became the first female installation commander at Vandenberg, home to the 30th Space Wing and the Department of Defense's premier West coast spaceport. Almost one year later, Armagno received a nomination to the rank of brigadier general. When promoted, Armagno will be one of 28 female generals in the Air Force.

Like Ride, this brigadier general select is in a position to inspire young women.

"I've made it to such a rank that I can be an example for them," Armagno said. "It's important to look up your chain of command and identify with someone and say, 'I want to be in that position someday and I want to do it even better.'"

From the Women Air Force Service pilots of World War II to the Air Force recently opening combat jobs to women; female Airmen have a track record for setting new standards. Armagno believes that the future for women in the Air Force is limitless.

"What I see for women in the future of the Air Force is that the sky is the limit," she said. "Like my parents said, you can do and be anything you want to in our Air Force as long as you work hard. I believe that."