Science and Technology News

Friday, February 28, 2014

Alexander: Laws, Policies Lag Behind Changes in Cyber Threats



By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2014 – The threat in cyberspace is changing so rapidly that law and policy lag behind, the nation’s top cyber commander said here today.

The gap is one of the “key and fundamental” issues that the nation must address, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Alexander is commander of U.S. Cyber Command in addition to his duties as National Security Agency director.

“How do we protect our nation in this space and through this space, … and how do we do it in such a manner that they know we're protecting their civil liberties and privacy while concurrently protecting this nation?” he asked.

Exploitative and destructive cyberattacks are both on the rise, Alexander said. Exploitative attacks are designed to steal information or money, he explained, while destructive attacks are intended to disrupt or destroy devices or activities.

Defense and commercial systems are targeted in both types of attacks, Alexander said.

“The best way to solve the exploitation problem and to also defend against disruptive and destructive attacks is to form a defensible architecture,” he said. “We should protect these networks better than we have them protected today -- not just within the Defense Department, but also our critical infrastructures. Time and again, we're seeing where people have exploited into these networks only to find out that the way that they're getting in is so easy that it's difficult to defend.”

Cyberattacks are on the rise, he said. Recent attacks on Wall Street and around the world destroyed data on systems, which had to be replaced, he noted.

“This is a significant change from disruptive attacks -- those distributed denials of service which only disrupt for the time that that attack is going on, versus a destructive attack, where the information is actually lost. Far more damaging, … far more costly,” Alexander said.

More nation-states are likely to adopt cyberattacks if diplomacy fails, the general said. “We've got to be prepared for that as a nation, and we've got to work with our allies to set up … the ground rules and deterrence theory in this area.”

Cyber defense is a team sport in which the services must be aligned and trained to a joint standard, Alexander said. The general acknowledged that such training will take time.

“We'll have roughly one-third of that force fully trained by the end of this calendar year, and I think that -- given the sequestration -- is a huge step forward,” he said.

The way forward includes educating not only service members, but also the American people, the administration and Congress on what’s happening in cyberspace, Alexander said.

“Many of the issues that we've worked our way through over the [past] five years on the NSA side, working with a [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court], boils down to an understanding of what's going on in cyberspace -- our ability to articulate it, and their understanding of what we're talking about,” the general said.

“I think we need to step back [and] set a framework for discussion with the American people,” he continued. “This is going to be absolutely important in setting up what we can and cannot do in cyberspace to protect this country.”

Issues with NSA surveillance programs are overshadowing cyber defense issues, the general said. “We have to get those resolved, because, ironically, it operates in the same space,” he said.

Within the next several weeks, Alexander said, he expects to return to Congress with a proposal to address President Barack Obama’s -- and the nation’s -- concerns about surveillance programs.

Opportunities, challenges abound on mobile horizon, CIO says

by Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service


2/28/2014 - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon's chief information officer today discussed the vast opportunities mobile computing provides and its critical role in improving support for the Defense Department's 600,000 mobile device users.

During the 4th annual MobileGov Summit at the Newseum here, Teresa M. Takai said operational mobility pilot programs are a success story across the Defense Department's components.

"The goal is to ensure the warfighter has access to information, anywhere, any time, on any device, and the DOD is making progress in achieving this goal," she said. "These pilots allow DOD to gather lessons learned, identify cost reductions and improve productivity."

Takai cited an example of mobility pilot program success in the Air Force's electronic flight bag program.

"This electronic information management system is an iPad loaded with mobile applications, ... and it replaces paper-based reference materials that can weigh between 30 and 110 pounds," she explained, adding that hard-copy navigational charts and flight manuals soon could be obsolete as a result.

The electronic flight bag, she noted, can host applications to automate other functions, such as performance and takeoff calculations.

"This will allow flight crews to perform flight management tasks more easily and efficiently, with less paper -- all while increasing security and efficiencies," Takai said. Not only could the EFB program amount to about $1 million annually in fuel by reducing the weight of paper-based reference materials, she added, but new layers of security and encryption can augment protection of data.

The Air Force's Air Mobility Command is deploying about 18,000 devices as part of the program and will allow each squadron to customize applications tailored for its specific mission. "By December 2014," Takai said, "more than 10,000 Air Mobility Command EFBs will be able to access this capability."

Progress also includes improving the way in which certification occurs for mobile devices to operate on DOD networks, she reported. So far, the latest Apple, Android and Blackberry operating systems have been approved, with the green light pending for Microsoft devices. But challenges remain, such as considering how to effectively vet new applications and how to better control network access, Takai said.

"The idea is to adapt DOD software and data sources to enable mobile applications and design cloud-based services that will support disconnected scenarios," she explained.

Plans also include tapping into established national information exchange data models and using common mobile application development frameworks, the CIO said.

Partnership with industry, Takai told the conferees, also will be a critical part of DOD's overall shift to mobile computing.

"We hope to see increased industry participation in DOD's security standards, vetting tools and processes," she said.

Reserve weather satellite mission hits 15 year milestone

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


2/27/2014 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo -- This winter marked the 15th year of the Air Force Reserve's operational involvement in the Defense Metrologic Satellite Program.

In conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 6th Space Operations Squadron, the AF Reserve's sole operational space squadron, works together with both their non-Department of Defense counterpart and the 50th Operation Group's Detachment 1 to oversee the nation's weather satellite operations.

Known as a "hot backup" to the mission, the 6th SOPS has fulfilled its role as a supporting organization to NOAA since 1999. NOAA officials operate the weather satellite "constellation" that circles the planet in a low-earth orbit and travels at speeds as fast as Mach 25. While NOAA operates the mission in Suitland, Md., 6th SOPS Citizen Airmen stand by to take over the mission of monitoring telemetry data and downloading timely weather information from the satellites as they cross the earth's horizon, all the while communicating in tight windows from tracking station to tracking station globally with the satellites as they orbit overhead.

For the squadron's flight commander Maj. Jeremy Edwards, celebrating more than a decade of fulfilling the weather satellite mission "is definitely a milestone."

"Considering that 15 years ago, Reservists only played a small role in space, this is important for us," Edwards said. "Many of the early cadre of Reserve personnel came from 6th SOPS when it was an active duty unit, so the legacy and importance of the mission was inherited from day one."

The history of the squadron stretches back to its time as an active duty organization with the designation of the 4000th Support Group in February 1963 under the then-Strategic Air Command at Offutt AFB, Neb. Since then, the 6th SOPS has gone through several designations and reassignments, most notably under Air Force Space Command in 1983. It wouldn't be until 1992 when the 6th SOPS would come to life under its current designation.

"DMSP's history relates back to the Cold War, and although threats have changed, the fundamental reasons DMSP was launched have not," explained Edwards. "Equipment and personnel are all susceptible to weather and despite the vast technological advances since the first DMSP launch, the need for accurate, timely weather data continues to grow."

On the other side of the country, NOAA operators work hand-in-hand with their 6th SOPS counterparts to ensure weather satellite operations never miss a beat. In the event communication is lost with NOAA, 6th SOPS personnel must be ready to take over the mission at a moment's notice. Thus, the squadron's personnel and NOAA operators are in constant communication daily, ready to provide that support if needed.

Jim Mussmann, a NOAA senior aerospace engineering technician with the DMSP mission, said that working with the 6th SOPS, as with any relationship, communication is essential.

"We are always a quick phone call or e-mail away from each other," said Mussmann, who has been with NOAA for more than nine years. "With the nature of the beast that is the military, you never know who you might reach on the other line, but 6th SOPS has a strong tradition of maintaining a highly proficient operations standard."

Mussmann also knows the 6th SOPS mission very intimately. A former Air Force Reserve member himself, Mussmann served as a traditional reservist with the squadron from 2002 to 2008. He credits the opportunity to work for NOAA from his time with the 6th SOPS and its weather satellite mission.

"I have plenty of fond memories working with the 6th SOPS," Mussmann said. "The squadron has a long tradition of taking in good people and grooming them to become sharp operators. The world of satellite operations can sometimes seem sort of routine, but we must always be prepared for the worst. During times when we need to turn the mission over (to the military), the ability to trust your counterparts is critical. Whether that be a natural disaster, a physical security issue or a system failure, it is crucial to know that the people on the other end, 2,000 miles away, can seamlessly take over on the drop of the dime and pick-up right where you left off, without missing a beat. Once or twice a year, we get an opportunity to travel and physically work side by side with each other.

"It is those times when you can put a face with a name and a voice that really keep the relationship strong."

A relationship that undoubtedly will last at least another 15 years.

Telework provides more flexible work arrangements

by Airman 1st Class Victoria H. Taylor
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


2/28/2014 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. --  -- Telework Awareness Week begins March 3-7, at Langley Air Force Base to promote and encourage workforce efficiency, emergency preparedness and quality of life to civilian employees.

The Air Force Telework Program, implemented by the Department of Defense in 2010, applies to civilian employees, including those subject to applicable collective bargaining agreements.

"Telework allows workplace flexibility," said Trish Whitaker, 633rd Force Support Squadron Civilian Personnel chief. "It also enables the Air Force to maintain continuity of operations and reduce management costs while also improving employees' ability to balance their work and life commitments."

Telework-eligible civilians employees who choose to work from home must have their supervisor's approval, sign the telework agreement DD Form 2946 and the supervisor and employee need to complete the Office of Personnel Management Telework 101 training.

However, employees who hold positions that require direct handling of secure materials, on-site activity that cannot be handled remotely or at an alternative workplace or require face-to-face visits such as patient care, counseling or teaching roles, to name a few, are not eligible for the telework program.

Telework falls into four categories and was designed to enhance work performance for supervisors and employees.

Routine telework-common
A common form of Telework that occurs as a part of an ongoing, regular schedule.

Situational telework-common
A common form occurring on an occasional non-routine or ad hoc basis to complete short-term special assignments or to accommodate special circumstances.

Emergency situations telework
Telework performed a residence or alternative work site during a crisis situation or an emergency by employees who perform duties in support of mission requirements during crisis situations or contingencies.

Unscheduled telework
A specific form of situational telework where an employee on an approved telework agreement performs assigned official duties at home, or other approved worksite, when government offices are closed or other circumstances disrupt commuting and comprise safety.

"The command encourages telework to all eligible employees," said Whitaker. "The program has been known to boost morale and enhance the lives of those who take advantage of its flexibilities."

For more information on telework, contact your local Civilian Personnel Workforce Effectiveness Branch. All employees who are authorized to telework must complete DD Form 2946, DOD Telework Agreement, located at www.cpms.osd.mil/telework. To take the required training, visit www.telework.gov.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

DOD Enacts Faster, More Agile Technology Acquisitions Process

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2014 – Information technology programs represent a considerable portion of all acquisition programs within the Defense Department, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition said here yesterday.

In fiscal year 2010, the National Defense Authorization Act directed that DOD develop and implement new acquisitions processes for IT systems, Katrina G. McFarland said during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s readiness and management support subcommittee.

So, based on recommendations contained in the 2009 Defense Science Board Report, the department is working to speed up the route to acquiring new systems by increasing collaboration and improving processes, McFarland said.

“To do this, one must start with the defined requirement or capability,” she added.

In the past, once an IT requirement or capability was defined, organizations were able to acquire only that technology which precisely met the predefined parameters.

The introduction of the “IT box” concept is a significant change to the IT acquisition process, McFarland said. The IT box gives organizations the ability to acquire technology that improves on already-approved technology, as long as the changes don’t exceed certain parameters.

In addition to the IT box, the department has introduced interim guidance to adopt “modular, open system methodology, with heavy emphasis on design for change,” which will help DOD adapt to the changing IT environment, the assistant secretary said.

“The policy addresses the realization that IT capabilities may evolve, so desired capabilities can be traded off against cost and initial operational capability to deliver the best product to the field in a timely manner,” she said.

In accordance with the fiscal year 2011 NDAA, the department chartered the Cyber Investment Management Board, which unites IT policy and operational requirements by identifying gaps in resources and in capabilities, McFarland said. But, she said, finding personnel with the required expertise work in IT acquisitions and development is “challenging.”

“The talent pool is small,” she noted.

One way the department is working to address these challenges is through the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund, McFarland said, which is supporting training of IT acquisitions personnel through the Defense Acquisition University.

In addition, DOD is developing a cybersecurity guidebook for program managers to assist them in understanding what cybersecurity activities are necessary at each point of the acquisition life cycle, she said.

“The department will continue its efforts to operate as affordably, efficiently, and as effectively as possible,” McFarland said. “We are evolving our approach to acquisition for IT and recognize the distinct challenges that come with it.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Schriever 'Total Force' squadrons collaborate on successful launch

by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel staff writer


2/26/2014 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- While GPS Block IIF-5 sat atop a Delta IV rocket Feb. 20 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., the men and women of the 2nd and 19th Space Operations Squadron here were busy preparing for liftoff. These two squadrons epitomize the quintessential relationship between these Air Force Reserve and regular Air Force organizations that makes a successful "Total Force" team.

The casual observer may have guessed the Feb. 20 launch marked the start of operations for the Air Force's newest GPS vehicle, yet, it was hardly the beginning for 19th SOPS.

The 19th SOPS Airmen have been testing and training on the GPS constellation's newest addition for months.

"We conduct countdown, launch and early orbit operations," said Maj. Kim Adams, 19th SOPS launch lead. "But, we work in tandem with 2nd SOPS, the Space and Missile Systems Center and contractors. We work well together and communicate effectively. This launch was our smoothest yet."

The 19th SOPS is an associate organization to the 2nd SOPS, providing Air Force Reserve "Citizen Airmen" support to their active duty counterparts.

Though 2nd SOPS is most commonly associated as the command and control unit responsible for operating GPS, the 19th SOPS team of reservists plays a critical role in providing GPS service to the military and civilian sectors, especially during satellite launches.

"We conducted eight major tests and activities with Cape Canaveral starting about 120 days prior to launch," Adams said. "We also conducted a mission dress rehearsal alongside Space and Missile Systems Center personnel at Los Angeles AFB about 30 days before launch."

Once the vehicle launched, the team, composed of 95 percent 19th SOPS personnel, sprung into a whole new mode.

Just as the launch countdown began Lt. Col. Matthew Brandt, 2nd SOPS director of operations, settled into a seat inside the combined 2nd SOPS-19th SOPS operations floor here.

"I was fascinated by the show," he said. "Our team of 2nd SOPS, 19th SOPS, SMC personnel and contractors first acquired the satellite while it was still attached to its booster rocket."

After the booster separated, the vehicle began turning on its own. Later in the evening, it achieved sun-safe operations. That's when the team stabilized it, deployed its solar arrays and sent its first commands.

"It's a riveting event to watch," Brandt said. "The teams are working together, Major Adams is coordinating with 19th SOPS, SMC and contractors, and you can hear personnel from Cape Canaveral on the telecom speakers. Everyone is communicating back and forth, saying, 'we're go for this action; we're go for this stage.' And, it all went off perfectly."

Though this team has launched and orbited five satellites in the past few years, Brandt said the technical marvel never ceases to amaze.

"I can't even get my garage door opener to work, but we can launch a satellite that's traveling at thousands of miles an hour, thousands of miles from Earth and every step occurred at exactly the time it needed to occur," he said. "It's fascinating to see the team come together and place the vehicle exactly where it needs to be."

Satellite vehicle No. 64 is the fifth GPS IIF vehicle on orbit. GPS IIF satellites incorporate greater navigational accuracy than legacy vehicles through improvements in atomic clock technology, an increased design life of 12 years, a new third civilian signal [L5] that provides a more robust signal for commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications, and a second civilian signal [L2C] available for dual frequency GPS receivers.

This launch marks the beginning of an event filled year for these space professionals. Capt. Steven Miller, 2nd SOPS assistant director of operations, said this launch was in many ways a rehearsal for the next one because the Air Force plans to launch and orbit three more GPS IIF satellites in 2014.

GPS IIF-6 is slated for a May liftoff, while another is due to occur in July and another in October.

Aircraft Metals Technology: Putting square pegs in round holes while making sparks fly

by Karen Abeyasekere
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


2/26/2014 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- The refueling mission of the 100th Air Refueling Wing is absolutely vital to aircraft of other nations around the world, who rely on it to carry out their own missions.

However, there's no getting away from the fact that the KC-135 Stratotankers are a little older than many other aircraft and, because of that, are more susceptible to having parts crack or break occasionally.

Thankfully, there are several workcenters on RAF Mildenhall involved in the process of repairing the cracks and replacing vital parts which, in turn, keep the aircraft flying and ensuring the mission doesn't stop.

One of those key shops is 100th Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Metals Technology.

"We support all aircraft operations by repairing broken airframe components," said Master Sgt. Robert Madsen, 100th MXS Aircraft Metals Technology section chief from Norwalk, Calif. "We can also manufacture aircraft parts per engineering drawings; pretty much anything that's machined or is a non-procurable component, we can make."

The Airmen provide non-scheduled maintenance on an as-needed basis, around the clock.

"There's very little we do as a routine, aside from welding aircraft support equipment," said Tech. Sgt. Israel Caballero, 100th MXS Aircraft Metals Technician craftsman from Palmdale, Calif. "We deal with high-accuracy machine parts. In order to have many components of an aircraft working together, they have to fit correctly. We provide that level of accuracy."

The technicians use specialist equipment which enables them to weld with the precision of a surgeon.

"We use state-of-the-art machines to fabricate high-tolerance aircraft components," said Staff Sgt. Keith Holland, 100th MXS Aircraft Metals Technology journeyman from Altona, Ill. "Basically, if we can't do it then it probably can't be done. We're a last line in the repair process before the Air Force needs to order parts from supply."

Jobs range from a small welding task to making large items such as a bulkhead gusset the Airmen recently made for an MC-130H, which basically ties the entire tail end of the aircraft together.

"The bulkhead is a critical component in linking the tail sections together," Caballero said. "The original component was cracked and there was zero stock in supply for that unit; the contract to manufacture that part had lapsed and it was no longer procurable. We coordinated with engineering staff to manufacture the item and used a computer-numeric-controlled mill to build the item from scratch."

The AMT technicians used a computer software-drafted program and manufactured the part, cutting a 3-D shape from an approximately 12 inch by 18 inch section of metal. Once AMT has made the part, Airmen from the 100th MXS Aircraft Structural Maintenance section then install the critical component on the aircraft.

Training for AMT technicians is approximately six months long at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, and consists of learning basic machining, welding and metal cutting, in addition to taking a mathematics course.

"To be proficient in most of the equipment, it takes close to two years," Caballero said. "But we always have continuous on-the-job training."

Because of that training, the Airmen are skilled and knowledgeable in their trade, and when an aircraft part needs fixing or replacing - whether welding is required or a round "peg" needs to be created from a square block of metal - they will keep the aircraft flying, ensuring the Team Mildenhall mission doesn't stop.

SpaceX Launch Counts Towards EELV Certification

Release Number: 010214

2/26/2014 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- The Air Force Space Command's Space and
Missile Systems Center has determined that the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation's (SpaceX) Sept. 29, 2013 launch of its Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle will count toward SpaceX's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) certification.

Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), signed by SpaceX and SMC in June 2013, SpaceX must meet rigorous certification requirements and perform at least three successful flights of a common launch vehicle configuration for the company to be considered for launching critical and high cost NSS payloads.

Certification requirements for the Falcon 9 v1.1 include at least three successful flights of a common launch vehicle configuration, as well as passing a number of technical reviews, audits and independent verification, and validation of the launch vehicle's ground systems and manufacturing processes. Where possible, the Air Force will work jointly with SpaceX to accelerate completing the requirements from these phases to expedite certification.

"This flight represents one of many certification requirements jointly agreed to between the Air Force and SpaceX," said Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, SMC commander.

SMC is still assessing the SpaceX' Falcon 9 v1.1 launches on Dec. 3, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014 for their applicability towards the certification requirements. Additionally, the Air Force will remain engaged with SpaceX for resolution of any issues experienced during these flights and any planned system improvements.

SMC, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Obama Announces New DOD-led Manufacturing Institutes



By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – President Barack Obama today announced two new manufacturing innovation institutes led by the Defense Department and supported by a $140 million federal commitment combined with more than $320 million in private-sector commitments.

A consortium of businesses and universities headquartered in the Detroit area will a focus on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing, and a Chicago-headquartered consortium of businesses and universities will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design technologies.

“If we want to attract more good manufacturing jobs to America, we’ve got to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of new manufacturing techniques and technologies,” the president said. “I don't want the next big job-creating discovery to come from Germany or China or Japan. I want it to be ‘Made in America.’”

Each institute serves as a regional hub, officials explained, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, as well as federal agencies, to co-invest in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the United States.

This type of “teaching factory” provides a unique opportunity for education and training of students and workers at all levels, they added, while providing the shared assets to help companies -- most importantly small manufacturers -- access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.

The winning Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute team, led by EWI, brings together a 60-member consortium that pairs the world’s leading aluminum, titanium, and high strength steel manufacturers with universities and laboratories pioneering new technology development and research, officials said. Its long-term goal will be to expand the market for and create new consumers of products and systems that use new, lightweight, high performing metals and alloys by removing technological barriers to their manufacture.

Noting that car manufacturers now use stronger steel to make lighter cars that use less gas, Obama noted that advanced lightweight metals “can help us build lighter armor for our troops, planes and helicopters that bigger payloads without sacrificing safety, wind turbines that generate more power at less cost, prosthetic limbs that help people walk again who never thought they could.”

The winning Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute team, led by UI Labs, spearheads a consortium of more than 70 companies, universities, nonprofits, and research labs -- creating a partnership between world-leading manufacturing experts and cutting-edge software companies to enable interoperability across the supply chain, develop enhanced digital capabilities to design and test new products, and reduce costs in manufacturing processes across multiple industries, officials said.

“[This institute] will focus on using digital technology and Big Data to help manufacturers go from ideas on paper to products at loading docks faster and cheaper than ever before,” Obama explained. “And it will include training to help more Americans earn the skills to do these digital manufacturing jobs. This is critical -- the country that gets new products to market faster and at less cost will win the race for the good jobs of tomorrow.”

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the innovation institutes will strengthen the nation’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, promote the development of cutting-edge products and systems, and attract well-paying jobs to support a growing middle class.

“Both consortia announced today will play commanding roles in the advancement of key U.S. strengths,” he said. “The Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or LM3I, represents a potent new capability in the application of high-performing metals and alloys toward forward-looking commercial and military products benefitting a multitude of industries. The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, or DMDI, will push technology development into a new frontier, by harnessing the power of virtual reality to accurately test and prepare high-tech products before they even leave cyberspace.”

The Defense Department has a substantial role to play in supporting and growing these organizations, Kendall added, and has made key investments since creating the first institute in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2012.

Each institute’s federal funding contribution will be about $70 million across the five years of the cooperative agreement period of performance, White House officials said. Consistent with the president's broader proposal, they added, the institutes will be supported with federal funding through the start-up and initial operational phases, after which they are expected to become fiscally self-sustaining. Each manufacturing innovation institute solicitation required that applicants match the federal investment on no less than a 1-to-1 basis.

The Defense Department’s overarching role is to stand up individual institutes through federal acquisitions, including the provisioning of federal funding, officials said, and to provide oversight and stewardship of federal funds. The department also will contribute technical advice and assistance through participation on an advisory board.

Each institute will have substantial autonomy from its partner organizations and institutions and will have an independent fiduciary board of directors predominantly composed of industry representatives. An institute leader will be in charge of day-to-day operations, officials said.

DOD’s $140 million stake in the new institutes is a matter of funding the nation’s highest defense and national priorities, White House officials said. The department already is investing in critical additive manufacturing, lightweight and modern metals manufacturing, and digital manufacturing and design needs, they noted. Engaging in sustainable public-private partnerships that build strong innovation capacity around these manufacturing technologies is the administration’s chosen investment strategy, they added.

Kendall said DOD’s investment in the new institutes continues the department’s support toward the president’s goal of establishing a much larger network of up to 45 innovative manufacturing centers throughout the nation. The department is committed to their success, he added, “and will continue to work to maintain and embolden America’s innovation and manufacturing advantage.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shelton announces new space situational awareness satellite program

by Senior Airman Zachary Vucic
Air Force News Service


2/24/2014 - ORLANDO, Fla. -- The commander of Air Force Space Command announced a new satellite program during a speech about the importance of space and cyberspace at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium and Technology exposition, Feb. 21.

General William Shelton told the audience about the new Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program with two satellites being launched on the same launch vehicle later this year.

"GSSAP will present a significant improvement in space object surveillance, not only for better collision avoidance, but also for detecting threats," Shelton said. "GSSAP will bolster our ability to discern when adversaries attempt to avoid detection and to discover capabilities they may have, which might be harmful to our critical assets at these higher altitudes."

According to a new fact sheet on GSSAP posted on the AFSPC website, the program will be a space-based capability operating in near-geosynchronous orbit, supporting U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network sensor. GSSAP will allow more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects, uniquely contribute to timely and accurate orbital predictions, enhance knowledge of the geosynchronous orbit environment, and further enable space flight safety to include satellite collision avoidance.

Shelton announced the program during a speech that conveyed concern about the increasingly complex and contested space and cyber environments. He said space and cyberspace are very much a part of everything we do. The dependence on, and demand for, space and cyberspace is higher than it's ever been, he said, noting the changes that have occurred over the years, with 170 countries now having a tangible interest in space to include 11 countries with indigenous launch capability.

He said there are no midterm alternatives to the capability provided by space.

"If we're going to be a global power, we want global coverage, we want global access and we want it at a time and a place of our choosing," Shelton said.

Speaking specifically about space, Shelton said despite the increased dependence, the declining budget creates challenges to meet the rising demand. The demand for space includes surveillance, tracking and communication.

In addition the focus and actions the Air Force and the nation are taking on space situational awareness, he discussed need for survivability and resilience of our satellite constellations. With the additional challenge of declining budgets, Shelton said, "What we're really looking for is the nexus of required capability, affordability and resilience" for the nation's space systems.

"The study work we are doing right now will be effectual for new solutions in the mid 2020 timeframe," he said. "But we've got to get that work done now."

Shelton closed the space portion of his presentation by talking about the Space Security and Defense Program, a vital program that helps find ways to protect the Air Force's spacecraft. SSDP looks at available intelligence and adversary counter space programs, and recommends solutions. He said the program has been a "big plus" for situational awareness and has tangible results in many other areas, even in its early stages.

"(Air Force Space Command) is working very hard to get it right for the future," he said. "(Space) is a vital capability for the nation, for the joint force. We can't let them down, and we won't."

Moving on to cyberspace, the general said it is very different than any other domain as it's man-made and unlike the physical domains people have learned to use over time. Cyberspace more and more defines modern life in the 21st century.

He said cyberspace creates a big advantage in regards to how many people the military has to put in harm's way, however the country's adversaries know cyberspace is the nation's lifeline. Because of this, high-end operators are constantly threatening U.S. systems.

"We've got a lot of cyber enabled weapons these days," he said. "If an adversary can get in and make that weapon system ineffective at the worst possible time - think about that.

"As we've grown our dependence on cyberspace for all the right reasons, it has become an increasingly contested environment for all the wrong reasons. The threats have grown in both sophistication and in number.

A laptop, the right skill set and an internet connection is all one needs to become a player in cyber warfare, making the low "cost of admission" a major complication.

"We can spend a great deal of treasure on defenses, only to be overtaken by the exquisite talents of a high-end cyber operator who has very little capital invested," Shelton said, noting anonymity makes attribution of these attacks difficult.

Though the cyber domain is different from any other domain, the application of standard military process is doing well to mitigate a lot of the risk, he said. Air Force Space Command is developing several tools to conduct cyberspace operations including the potential for offensive cyber capability.

"Our Airmen and industry partners are facing up to these cyber challenges each and every day, and they are ensuring the mission gets done in the 'wild west' of cyberspace," Shelton said. "We've come a long way in space and cyber these last few years. We continue to provide game-changing capabilities to the warfighter ... I think the future of warfare really depends on us having the best, most secure and most capable space and cyber systems."

U.S. Cyber Command recently established a cyber-mission force concept to conduct full-spectrum cyber operations across the Department of Defense, he said. Over the next three years, the Air Force will provide 39 teams, roughly 2,200 Airmen, to contribute to this cyber mission force.

"We must be prepared as a nation to succeed in increasingly complex and contested space and cyber environments, especially in these domains where traditional deterrence theory probably doesn't apply," he said. "We can't afford to wait ... for that catalyzing event that will prod us to action."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Social media: Keeping it professional

by Senior Airman Cortney Paxton
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


2/20/2014 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- In today's society, logging into popular social media sites is a common way to stay connected with friends and family. Sending messages, posting photos, updating a status or "tweeting" are now familiar actions for people of all generations.

The Air Force has embraced social media sites as an outlet to disseminate information, but has also recognized that improper use of these sites is something that should trigger consequences.

"As military members, we defend the right to free speech," said Col. Marné Deranger, 341st Missile Wing vice commander. "However, as military members, we can't be as 'free' with our words. I explain it similarly to how I explain it to my daughter - with her I say, 'If you don't want me to see it, you shouldn't post it. If you wouldn't say it to someone, you shouldn't post it.' For Airmen I say, 'If you wouldn't want your commanding officer, chief or supervisor to see it, you shouldn't post it.'"

According to AFI 35-113 Internal Information, "In general, the Air Force views personal websites and weblogs positively, and it respects the right of Airmen to use them as a medium of self-expression. However, as members of the Air Force, Airmen must abide by certain restrictions to ensure good order and discipline. All Airmen are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and their actions on and off duty are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)."

The internal information guidance states that improper use of social media sites includes, but is not limited to:

· Offensive or illegal information - Defamatory, libelous, vulgar, obscene, abusive, profane, threatening, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive material
· Copyrighted material without permission
· Words or logos that infringe on property rights
· Classified or sensitive information
· Information disregarding the proprietary, privacy or personal rights of others
· Misrepresentation of others
· Identifying areas of expertise for which Airmen have no first-hand background or knowledge

Airmen can, however, identify to readers that their sites are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Air Force. They may also post links to Air Force websites on their personal/social site.

"Our world is so connected now," said Conn McKelvey, 341st MW Operations Security Program manager. "Social media is how people communicate with each other. But anything that's mission-related cannot be released without the commander's permission, which is a pretty broad category. Commanders must ensure that any information released to the public has a valid mission need prior to being released. You can't release privacy act information, classified information, sensitive but unclassified information or what's on the Wing's critical information list. The full power of the UCMJ is behind the commander for poor OPSEC."

It's important for Airmen to educate their family members on the mission-related information that cannot be released. Airmen should recognize that once something is posted on their sites, it's out there forever. Deleting something doesn't necessarily mean it's gone, so members should check their content carefully before hitting "enter." It's also important for Airmen to educate their family members on the mission-related information that cannot be released.

Airmen must use social media professionally and follow security, accuracy, policy and propriety guidelines set by the Air Force and Department of Defense but, above all else, Airmen must be respectful. Unfortunately, social media sites have become an avenue for cyber bullying and an outlet for some individuals to express negative comments. While this is not only inappropriate, it has the ability to negatively affect the people who may see it.

"I believe the biggest challenge is to try not to get into 'react mode' and hit send before considering the consequences," McKelvey said. "Know your audience before you communicate and think about who can see what you're putting out. Sound OPSEC is important for your professional as well as your personal life. In an angry moment or emotional situation, you may post something that's a reaction instead of well thought out. Ultimately, it could cost you a relationship, your job, your identity, your money or even a life - if not your life, it could potentially be your friend or wingman. It's good to be a little bit paranoid because even if you think you have set the highest security levels, they're all hackable."

For more information on the proper use of social media, visit http://www.af.mil/Portals/1/documents/SocialMediaGuide2013.pdf.