As news begins to slow during the summer – made worse by the continuous effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having across the world, the one area that remains buoyant and unaffected is the cyber threat – particularly to political elections.
US DOD PREPARES FOR WIDESPREAD CYBER THREATS TO NOVEMBER ELECTION
The US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency are looking at more cyber threats to the US election process than simply that which was already demonstrated by Russia in 2016.
“We’re looking at the spectrum of all of our adversaries, Russia, China, Iran, and ransomware actors,” said Dave Imbordino, the election security lead with the National Security Agency, during a panel discussion on Friday 7 August, part of the 2020 DEF CON convention.
“They’re learning from each other. Influence is a cheap game to get into now with social media. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. You can try to launder your narratives online through different media outlets,” he continued.
Online influencing is a major concern. Actors with malicious intent often create proxy groups to hide their identity. According to Imbordino, “the Russian-operated Internet Research Agency, for instance, has set up operations overseas to generate misleading and divisive information to influence voter opinion.”
He added that China had been focused on its own regional narrative, particularly regarding Taiwan and Hong Kong. But he said that the way in which China conducted its cyber activities was “a little bit different in terms of the scale and breadth of the targets they go after. Every US citizen is a target of China, just because of the big data, the PII [personally identifiable information] that they’re interested in collecting … I think that sets them uniquely apart.”
RIMPAC ALL AT SEA THIS YEAR
RIMPAC, the US Navy Rim of the Pacific Exercise, will be held from 17-30 August in 2020, nearly two months later than normal. Due to COVID-19, the biennial exercise will only take place at sea this year, without the usual land based activities.
Billed as the world’s largest international maritime exercise, it will take place in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. it will incorporate elements that will address multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations, and live-fire training events, among other cooperative training opportunities.
The Royal Australian Navy has already linked by with other national naval forces as a precursor to RIMPAC. HMA Ships Stuart and Sirius are exercising with RSS Supreme of the Republic of Singapore Navy, KDB Darulehsan of the Royal Brunei Navy, and USS Rafael Peralta of the US Navy.
EDA/ESA AUDROS CBRNe DEMO TRIALS COME NEXT
The European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have been cooperating over ways to detect and identify chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNe) threats.
AUDROS (Autonomous Drone Services in the CBRNe operations) is the result. The joint EDA/ESA project that combines satellite-based services with Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) technologies.
The AUDROS one-year feasibility study was awarded a €350,000 contract. Its consortium comprised four partners: the two Czech companies BizGarden (as prime) and GINA Software, the Polish company Cervi Robotics, and the Czech Ministry of Defence research institution known as VTU.
“The main purpose of the study was to look at AUDROS’s technical analysis, economic viability, the added value brought by the space-based data, new possible applications and, of course, the crucial ability to deal with CBRNe threats,” observed Shahzad Ali, EDA moderator for CapTech CBRN & Human Factors1.
Proof of concept was demonstrated in late 2018, comprising a modified off-the-shelf quadcopter RPAS with a maximum take-off weight of 25kg (including payload of up to 9kg). It was equipped with lightweight sensors for radiation and gas detection.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has fortunately not adversely impacted the rolling out of the project, namely because AUDROS’s demonstration budget had been earmarked,” said Ali. “Thus, this 18-month contract will go ahead as planned, with the idea of signing off on it by the summer.”
The next step is a fully operational trial scenario. The payload will be modular in design and industrially scalable for commercial production.
US GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
Highlighting a selection of $100 million+ government awarded contracts awarded between 3-7 August.
US AIR FORCE
United Launch Services has been awarded task orders for $337 million for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 contract. The NSSL Phase 2 IDIQ contract includes early integration studies, launch service support, fleet surveillance, launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission launch operations, mission assurance, spaceflight worthiness, and mission unique activities for each mission. Space and Missile Systems Center is the contracting activity.
Also, Space Exploration Technologies has been awarded task orders for $316 million for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 contract. Space and Missile Systems Center, is the contracting activity.
BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration received an estimated $144 million contract for common avionics and electronic components applicable to B1-B, ASQ-151, APX-113, ALQ-172, USM-464, AN/ALQ-155, ALQ-161, USM-638, B-52 platforms. This contract provides for sustainment of spares/buys, repairs and engineering services related to various systems and components that are sole source to BAE. Air Force Sustainment Center is the contracting activity.
(Largest contract award of the day). Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems received a $65 million contract for fiscal 2020 Aegis modernisation, new construction of guided missile destroyers and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) production requirements. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (96.9 percent); the Kingdom of Spain (2.3 percent); and the government of Japan (0.8 percent), under the FMS program. This procurement covers the production and delivery of multi-mission signal processor equipment sets; Aegis Combat System support equipment; and electronic equipment fluid coolers and kill assessment system 5.1 equipment. This contract action also provides MK 6 Mod 0 equipment for the government of Japan and the Kingdom of Spain FMS requirements. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
HHI; Pro-Mark Services; Native American Services; and Creative Times Dayschool have collectively been awarded contracts valued at $422 million in support of an IDIQ multiple-award construction contract that provides for a broad range of design-bid-build/design-build services up to 100 percent and maintenance, repair and minor construction work on real property along the Front Range of Colorado and Wyoming. The 21st Contracting Squadron Peterson AFB is the contracting activity.
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Chico Produce, doing business as ProPacific Fresh ($135 million), and Coast Citrus Distributors, doing business as Coast Tropical ($15 million) have each been awarded IDIQ contracts for fresh fruit and vegetable support for the Northern California and Northwestern Nevada zones. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Department of Agriculture schools and tribal reservations. The contracting agency is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.
General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding has received a $106 million contract for the execution of the USS Bataan (LHD 5) availability. This availability will include a combination of maintenance, modernisation and repair of the USS Bataan (LHD 5). This contract includes options which, if exercised, will bring the cumulative value of this contract to $130 million. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Bethel-Tech Pacific JV; ECC Environmental; and CAPE-Weston, are awarded a $240 million IDIQ multiple award contract for environmental remediation projects located primarily within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest area of responsibility (AOR). This includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and other locations nationwide. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin is awarded an $181 million modification contract for the production, delivery and integration of 24 Airborne Low Frequency Sonars (ALFS) for the government of India; eight ALFS for the Navy and seven ALFS for the government of Denmark, into MH-60R Seahawk aircraft. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Aecom Technical Services; Arcadis US; Atkins North America; Cardno GS; HDR Environmental Operations and Construction; Jacobs Engineering Group; Leido; WSP USA Solutions; Tetra Tech; and Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, will compete for each order of the $209 million contract for architect and engineering services to support the US Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division. US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
Martin Baker has been awarded a maximum $150 million IDIQ contract for T-6 and T-38 sustainment. This contract provides for T-6 and T-38 replenishment spares. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
US SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
GATR Technologies, a subsidiary of Cubic, was awarded a $172 million IDIQ contract for the procurement of 1.2 meter and 2.4 meter Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive (GATR) inflatable satellite communications terminals and ancillary equipment in support of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). USSOCOM is the contracting activity.
Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing was awarded a $160 million contract for domestic aseptic fill and finish manufacturing capacity for critical vaccines and therapeutics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
NEW EVENT CANCELLATIONS
MODERN DAY MARINE – NOW VIRTUAL
22-24 September, MCB Quantico, Lejeune Field, Virginia, USA.
After continuous assessment of the ongoing public safety risk associated with COVID-19, and through ongoing consultation with Marine Corps leadership, the Modern Day Marine Expo, scheduled for September 22 – 24, 2020 at MCB Quantico, VA, has officially been cancelled.
The Modern Day Marine Virtual Experience is a 3-day virtual event featuring presentations from Marine Corps & Department of Defense strategic leaders covering a wide range of topics in the context of the 2020 expo theme.
Keep safe and healthy everyone.
Armada International / Asian Military Review