Signals & Space Monthly Cyber Security Briefing

September 2018

Prepared by the CyberWire (Tuesday, September 4, 2018)

Russia's small, maneuvering satellite.

Russia has demonstrated a small maneuvering satellite with an apparently successful flight test and some disturbing maneuvers that began in October of 2017. Russia's Ministry of Defense described the satellite as a "space apparatus inspector," a system that might be used to check, repair, or recover packages from orbit. But the US State Department told the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva this month that the satellite's behavior is inconsistent with that declared purpose. A maneuvering satellite can of course maneuver to damage or destroy other satellites. This may be a case of an inherently dual-use technology.

Space-related cyber risks.

The Defense Inspector General audited four important US Air Force space systems and found all of them vulnerable to cyberattack, especially through their supply chains. The systems the IG checked in its Congressionally mandated audit were the Space Based Infrared System (which detects launches and nuclear detonations), the service's satellite control network, its advanced beyond line-of-sight communications terminals, and the Global Positioning System. The Air Force hasn't overlooked the issue of supply chain security, but the auditor found that it addressed it imperfectly and incompletely.

Space-based missile defense.

Under some pressure by Congress, the Missile Defense Agency has outlined plans for space-based missile defense. Sensors of course are unproblematic. Putting weapons in orbit is more difficult and controversial.

Not all Russian threats are hybrid ones.

US attention continues to focus on Russian influence operations in cyberspace, and as midterm elections approach, those concerns aren't unreasonable. Various social media platforms have ejected "inauthentic" accounts, that is, users that aren't who or what they represent themselves to be, over the course of the month. There are many initiatives currently running to not only counter malign propaganda, but also to prevent direct hacking of the electoral machinery itself.

Russian hybrid operations have extended beyond the well-known trolling to active recruitment of disaffected "angry young men" that resembles nothing so much as it does ISIS work to radicalize the incarcerated, the misfit, the underemployed without prospects. But a number of experts have pointed out that Russia has revived more conventional military practices that the Soviet Union practiced during the Cold War. These include large-scale, front-level conventional exercises of the kind that used to coincide with NATO's Autumn Forge exercises. They also include close approaches to US airspace by nuclear-capable bombers.

Chinese operations in the Western Pacific.

China has intensified its operational tempo in the Western Pacific, especially in and around the territory it claims in the South China Sea (with the aid of some artificially constructed islands).

Continuing tension with North Korea.

The relaxation of tensions between North Korea and the civilized world that seemed about to arrive in the wake of the Kim-Trump summit now seems to have been a false dawn. Pyongyang has resumed missile tests, is expressing all manner of dissatisfaction with nuclear arms control measures, and has resumed much of its former confrontational rhetoric. President Trump cancelled a late August visit Secretary of State Pompeo had planned to make to North Korea. It would, the Administration judged, have been pointless at this juncture.

Iran tests a missile as US reimposes sanctions.

US sanctions have, as promised, been reimposed on Iran for the Islamic Republic's continuing efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran has run the first missile test of 2018. The system was the indigenous short-ranged Fateh-110, which has been exported to various users in the region. Iran has also announced major naval exercises which it claims will show its willingness and ability to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Commodity drones as weapons.

The rapid commodification of drones carries with it the potential for new threats. One such materialized in Venezuela at the beginning of August, when a drone exploded near President Nicolás Maduro as he was speaking in Caracas. Analysts differ as to whether this was an attack by a foreign government (as Maduro claimed), an assassination attempt by internal opposition, or a provocation by the regime itself. No one was injured.

A number of reports say that attacks by commercial drones are likely to become more common. It's worth noting that this sort of threat has been anticipated for some time. See the Naval Research Advisory Committee's 2008 Summer Study on commercial disruptive technologies for one example of such anticipation.

The NDAA for 2019.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, passed by Congress at the beginning of the month and signed into law by the President on Monday, contains some direction for more American assertiveness in cyberspace. The bill states that the Secretary of Defense has authority to conduct military operations in cyberspace in defense of the US and its allies. "All instruments of national power," including particularly cyber offensive capabilities, are available for use against foreign powers operating against American interests in cyberspace.

The NDAA also addresses deterrence, saying that the US "must develop and, when appropriate, demonstrate to adversaries the existence of cyber capabilities to impose costs on any foreign power targeting the United States." Congress is specifically interested in hearing about specific plans for imposing costs on adversaries, and it wants the Administration to tell it when it needs regulatory or legislative action in support of cyber deterrence. The NDAA desires progress in "advancing technologies for attribution, inherently secure technology and artificial intelligence society-wide."

PPD 20 rescinded.

Congressional action anticipated Presidential action. Early this month Administration officials acknowledged that the President has rescinded his predecessor's Presidential Policy Directive 20, presumably in the direction of greater delegation of authority to conduct offensive cyber operations, particularly in response to foreign cyber attacks on the US. Those who welcomed the news think it's a sign of greater US agility in cyber conflict. Critics are of two minds. Hawks fear it won't go far enough to deter adversaries and would like to see an even more active posture. Skeptics who liked PPD 20 fear that scrapping it will make a muddle of coordination and target selection.

Space Force (and other possible forces).

The US Government appears ready to move forward with the creation of a Space Force. Congress will of course have its say, but for now at any rate Space Force seems on track to stand up in 2020. Creation of a new Service would require legislation, but the Defense Department has told Congress it's moving forward with those organizational changes it can make on its own authority. These involve in the near-term the creation of three organizations: US Space Command (a new combatant command staffed from existing Services), Space Development Agency (which would oversee development and acquisition of satellites), and Space Operations Force (described as a "new warfighting community" drawn from all the current Services).

There are several models a Space Force could follow. Creation of a new Service Department seems unlikely in the extreme, but creation of a new Service within an existing Department might happen. Thus Space Force could be constituted within the Department of the Air Force roughly the way the Marine Corps is organized within the Department of the Navy. Others have spoken of a Coast Guard model, in which a uniformed service would have significant peacetime operational responsibilities in addition to its wartime combat role. Or it could be organized as another combatant command, like Cyber Command or Strategic Command.

Its roles and missions also remain to be defined, but early speculation suggests that the new organization will be largely preoccupied with mission assurance.

Progress toward a Space Force inevitably prompted calls from community advocates to create a "Cyber Force" and even a "Subterranean Force," the latter to deal with tunnels and other underground problems operators meet in urban environments. The first proposal most observers seem to think adequately dealt with by US Cyber Command. The second proposal hasn't seemed to resonate with anyone at all.

Launch industry news.

SpaceX and Boeing are looking like winners in new NASA launch plans. They're also widely expected to benefit from the creation of some form of Space Force.

SpaceX's BFR (that's "Big Falcon Rocket," its new heavy lift vehicle) is attracting the interest of Air Mobility Command. There's the possibility of using it to haul cargo to off-earth destinations, to be sure, and articles about the BFR have been lavishly and slickly illustrated with artists conceptions of things like moon bases that look like something out of a How and Why Wonderbook circa 1962, but there are more proximate destinations. Air Mobility Command has noticed that the BFR can be around the world in thirty minutes, and they're seeing a potential alternative to the C-5B in Mr. Musk's big rocket. Lots faster and arguably a bit cheaper.

As US rocket engines are put through the usual developmental hurdles, Russian rocket-maker Energomash has received a contract to deliver six more RD-180 engines to the United Launch Alliance. These are used in the first stage of the current workhorse Atlas V, which flies both military and civilian payloads for the US Government. It will also, initially at least, launch Boeing's crewed Starliner when it's ready for flight. The Russian embassy has made sure everybody notices the purchase, tweeting "Russian rocket engines to continue launching America into space."

But an all-American launch system is getting ready for testing out at the Mojave Spaceport. Stratolaunch Systems Corporation expects to flight test its Scaled Composites-designed Stratolauch later this year. The very large (twin fuselages and "385 feet of crazy," as WIRED calls it) is intended to carry launch vehicles to a high altitude, then drop them for their flight into orbit. It had been billed as carrying the familiar Pegasus system, and it probably will, but Stratolaunch Systems has announced devlopment of three larger and more capable launch vehicles worthy of the carrier's capabilities: Medium Launch Vehicle (optimized for short timelines, flexibility, and affordability), Medium Launch Vehicle – Heavy (able to lift 6 tons to low-earth orbit), and Medium Launch Vehicle – Reusable (a fully reusable space plane, with follow-on versions capable of carrying a crew).

JEDI solicitation and competition.

The Department of Defense has reworked and clarified some aspects of its multi-billion-dollar JEDI cloud solicitation. Many of the clarifications were clearly aimed at addressing industry concerns that the solicitation was prepared with Amazon in mind as the prospective prime contractor.



Today's edition of the CyberWire reports events affecting Afghanistan, China, Estonia, the European Union, Georgia, Iran, Japan, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, NATO/OTAN, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela.

Selected Reading

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (20)

Trends (2)

Marketplace (19)

Products, Services, and Solutions (4)

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards (24)

Design and Innovation (7)

Research and Development (9)

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation (37)

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement (1)

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

Russia is getting ready for its biggest war games since the Cold War — a potential sign they're worried about NATO (Business Insider) Russia is gearing up for what it says will be a massive military exercise in its far east, but those drills come amid rising tension with neighbors to the west — tension that may be getting to leaders in Moscow.

Will ISIS make up for lost territory virtually? (C4ISRNET) One Army leader looks at a way ISIS could

US warns Russia, Syria against chemical weapons use (Military Times) Senior U.S. officials warned the Russian and Syrian governments Tuesday against chemical weapons use in Syria as forces allied with its President Bashar Assad prepare for an offensive on a rebel stronghold.

Russia's Syria chemical weapons attack warning dubious, experts say (Deutsche Welle) The Russian government is warning of a staged gas attack by Syrian rebels in Idlib. Experts doubt the validity of that information, however, and see the move as a telltale sign of desperation in Moscow.

US spies warn of increase in supply chain vulnerabilities (Fifth Domain) Hackers have increased attacks on the U.S. supply chain, according to a top intelligence official.

How the Defense Department views China’s cyberthreat (Fifth Domain) The Defense Department believes that China will use cyber as a way to deter future attacks, according to a new report.

Russia Is Co-opting Angry Young Men (Defense One) Fight clubs, neo-Nazi soccer hooligans, and motorcycle gangs serve as conduits for the Kremlin’s influence operations in Western countries.

History's Lesson Regarding Russian Cyber Warfare (The Cipher Brief) The world got a glimpse of Russian hybrid warfare ten years ago, and the lessons have never been more clear than they are today.

The Russian Threat You're Not Hearing About (The Cipher Brief) The United States is reawakening to the Russian threat to the Homeland, and its not all about elections and spies...

Iran readying massive military exercise in Persian Gulf, officials say (CNN) Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard is expected to soon begin a major naval exercise that could demonstrate its ability to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial conduit for global energy supplies, US officials say.

Iran test-fires ballistic missile for first time in 2018, officials say (Fox News) For the first time in more than a year, Iran test-fired a ballistic missile in a brazen display of defiance months after President Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark nuclear deal and days before his administration slapped new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, three U.S. officials with knowledge of the launch tell Fox News.

Defense inspector general finds key Air Force space programs vulnerable to cyber attacks, sabotage ( An audit by the Defense Department’s inspector general office found security cracks in the supply chain of four critical military space programs.

In-flight satellite comms vulnerable to remote attack, researcher finds (Naked Security) On a journey between Madrid and Copenhagen, researcher Ruben Santamarta decided to use Wireshark to study the aircraft’s in-flight Wi-Fi.

Think Space Force is a joke? Here are four major space threats to take seriously (Defense News) While the merits of a new military organization dedicated to space are debatable, U.S. national security space systems are vulnerable to a wide array of threats.

China, close to establishing its own ‘nuclear triad,’ has practiced targeting US (Military Times) The practice runs on Guam are just some of the worrisome changes in China's behavior, the report found.

State Department concerned over Russian satellite’s behavior (C4ISRNET) A Russian satellite made a series of maneuvers in October 2017 that was “inconsistent

The Explosive-Carrying Drones in Venezuela Won't Be the Last (WIRED) There's still no good defense against drones attacks like the one that allegedly targeted Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro Saturday.

Foreign powers, or hoax: who's behind Venezuela 'drone attack'? (the Guardian) President Nicolás Maduro has blamed an international cabal but observers are suspicious

Who will mass produce the first lethal drone? (C4ISRNET) A new study looks at the state of the current military drone market to see if any nation is close to developing a proverbial AK-47 of drones.

North Korea Gets Caught Again. Now What? (New Atlanticist) North Korea was caught again.


Op-ed | Talent gap jeopardizes space business, national security ( A growing talent gap is one of the biggest economic, cultural, and security risk this nation faces in the critical next two decades.

In contemporary warfare, cyber trumps nukes (Fifth Domain) While President Trump obsesses about politics, the U.S. is exposed to great danger.


Trump's 'space force' could propel Southern California's aerospace industry (Los Angeles Times) Southern California stands to add hundreds or more government and industry jobs, new military installations and billions of dollars in contracts for new satellites and other aerospace systems if Congress approves the Space Force.

Cost Isn’t Everything. Pentagon Should Judge Contractors on Cybersecurity, Report Says (Roll Call) The Pentagon must start considering cybersecurity because the very nature of war is changing, the Mitre report said.

Here’s what an intel chief thinks industry needs to know (C4ISRNET) The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency shared thoughts on how technologies can be developed to support future operating environments.

Army wants to cover costs for small businesses to work in research labs ( Assistant Army Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Bruce Jette says he’d like to subsidize travel expenses for some businesses so they can use the equipment in Army research labs for their work.

DOD updates JEDI cloud solicitation (FCW) The Defense Department submitted several changed documents to its mega cloud program proposal, including changes to requirements in security, points of presence, pricing and small business information.

Leidos Holdings Wins $27M Contract for Saturn Arch Program (Zacks Investment Research) Leidos Holdings' (LDOS) Saturn Arch is an aerial surveillance geospatial intelligence program used for conducting theater-wide improvised explosive device neutralizing missions.

Boeing to buy small-satellite solutions provider Millennium Space Systems (Aerospace Technology) Boeing has agreed to acquire US-based small-satellite solutions provider Millennium Space Systems for an undisclosed sum.

SAIC wins $255M space contract (Seeking Alpha) Science Applications International (NYSE:SAIC) has won a $255M contract to provide systems engineering and technical assurance work that supports various space-related activities.

Lockheed Takes Another Shot at Multi Domain War (Breaking Defense) A year after running a war game across multiple domains, the defense giant's planners are at it again -- with a new plan, and new tech.

Sprint toward new missile-warning satellites begins with first contract award to Lockheed (Defense News) The contract sets Lockheed up to launch the first satellite in 2023.

Lockheed venture arm increases investment in maker of tiny satellites (Washington Business Journal) Lockheed Martin Corp. has increased its investment in nanosatellite company Terran Orbital.

Envistacom awarded $18M for information technology and intelligence support (C4ISRNET) The company was one of 10 selected to compete for task orders under the Army Contracting Command’s Deployable Adaptive Global Responder Support (DAGRS) contract vehicle, which is worth up to $480 million over five years.

Boeing, SpaceX To Benefit As Pentagon Readies This Historic Change (Investor's Business Daily) The Pentagon has reportedly started building the foundations of a Space Force as it waits for approval to create a new military branch proposed by President Trump.

SPAWAR inks lucrative contract (Navy Times) It's a contract SAIC had held for more than two decades.

Booz Allen lands $885M Pentagon AI contract (Fedscoop) Government contracting giant Booz Allen Hamilton has landed a five-year deal worth $885 million to help the Department of Defense and the intelligence community “rapidly employ artificial intelligence, neural and deep neural networks.” The contract calls upon Booz Allen to aid the Pentagon in dealing with, and using, the “unprecedented amounts” of reconnaissance data that exists …

Russian embassy trolls US launch industry after new rocket engine sale (Ars Technica) "Russian rocket engines to continue launching America into space."

Mercury Systems Receives $11.8M Order for Custom Radiation-Tolerant Solid-State Drive Devices (Nasdaq) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, announced it received an $11.8 million order from a leading defense prime contractor for the development of a custom-engineered radiation-tolerant solid-state drive (SSD) for a defense data storage application.

Mercury Systems Receives $11.6M Order for Digital Signal Processing Subsystems for Airborne ISR Application (Nasdaq) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, announced it received an $11.6 million follow-on order from a leading defense prime contractor for high-performance digital signal processing subsystems for an unmanned airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) application.

Mercury Systems Receives $8.4M Order from U.S. Navy for Subsystem Engineering Development (Nasdaq) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, announced that it received an $8.4 million follow-on order against a previously announced $152 million 5-year sole source basic ordering agreement (BOA) to complete subsystem engineering development in support of the U.S. Navy's training environment.

Products, Services, and Solutions

Lockheed's first GPS III satellite shipped to Florida for launch (UPI) The first of the U.S. Air Force's advanced new, high power GPS III satellites has shipped to Cape Canaveral for its projected launch in December.

Finally, the biggest airplane in the world has some rockets to launch (Ars Technica) Hopefully, the aircraft will take flight for the first time this year.

385 Feet of Crazy: The Most Audacious Flying Machine Ever (WIRED) Here's how alt-aviation wizard Burt Rutan and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen set out to build a dual-fuselage beast that could haul rockets to the edge of space.

One possible job for SpaceX’s BFR rocket? Taking the Air Force’s cargo in and out of space. (Defense News) Air Mobility Command is interested in partnering up with companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin for faster ways to transport its equipment.

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards

How the Air Force data strategy is evolving (C4ISRNET) Lt. Gen. VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson, the deputy chief of staff for ISR, explains the genesis for the Air Force’s new “Next Generation ISR Dominance Flight Plan,” which lays out the service’s goals for the next 10 years.

Galileo, Galileo: London is Losing the Fight Over a Satellite Navigation System All Over Again (Atlantic Council) Campaigners in favor of Brexit made a famous claim in 2016 that leaving the European Union (EU) would allow the United Kingdom to pour its £350-million-a-week contribution to Brussels back into the nation’s National Health Service. Now the...

Why reversible cyberattacks could become standard in digital warfare (Fifth Domain) Reversible cyber operations have been praised as a warfare tactic of the future, and some have argued attacks whose affects cannot be restored may violate the laws of war in years to come.

“No encryption, no fly” rule proposed for smallsats ( Small satellites that have propulsion systems, but don’t have encrypted communcations, pose a small but real threat of being hacked and endangering others.

What commanders will need in multidomain operations (C4ISRNET) New operating environments demand new capabilities.

What will the cyber training platform look like? Good question. (C4ISRNET) Working through the agile development process, the Army is not sure what the finial vision for the persistent cyber training environment will look like.

Network managers may one day get access to the cyber training platform (C4ISRNET) The persistent cyber training environment may eventually be for more than cyber mission forces.

New technology promises more efficient spectrum use (C4ISRNET) A new technology can make radios ignore the signals of their own broadcasting, allowing for more simultaneous communication and expanding the available spectrum.

Get an Inside Look at SpaceX's Astronaut Training Sims (WIRED) SpaceX's first crew is starting training on cockpit simulators and replicas of the spacecraft that will take them to the ISS.

The Air Force’s next communications satellite arrives in Florida (C4ISRNET) The completed AEHF constellation will provide roughly 10 times more communications throughput than the Air Force’s legacy satellite systems.

Hyten: To address Russian and Chinese missile threats, it’s all about the sensors (Defense News) The head of U.S. Strategic Command says the biggest focus for missile defense has to be sensor development.

Reorganizing the missile defense enterprise (Defense News) Make no mistake: The first time someone isn’t looking, Army budgeteers will probably try to use the additional funding to buy trucks rather than THAADs, and Navy budgeteers will try to buy hulls and Tomahawks rather than SM-3s.

Sharing missile defense intel among US allies still a challenge as need for joint ops grows (Defense News) Can the U.S. overcome challenges to create a seamless air-and-missile defense framework with international partners?

How the data revolution is changing Special Operations Command (C4ISRNET) Going forward, Special Operations Command will look to leverage open source information for intelligence collection, more so than information gained through classified channels.

A critical top secret intel network needs to evolve (C4ISRNET) Military officials rely on the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, but voiced it is being stretched beyond its initial capacity.

The Department of Defense is going to MARS (Just not that one) (C4ISRNET) The Department of Defense is working to replace it's global intelligence repository database with a new system it calls MARS.

Does the US have what it takes to be No. 1 in electronic warfare? (C4ISRNET) According to one top U.S. general, the capabilities are there, they just need to be practiced on a more consistent basis. Others, however, are worried about the EW race.

A new generation of intelligence collaborative tools is coming (C4ISRNET) Building on successes of previous years, the intelligence community CIO articulated a

DISA’s new chief of staff to focus on mission partners (C4ISRNET) He will focus on building trust and ensuring the Defense Information Systems Agency meets its commitments.

NATO’s tougher approach to cyberthreats is all about operationalization (Fifth Domain) A major shift has taken place in how NATO places cyber defense in its command structure and how it imposes costs upon attackers.

The internet of battlefield things will depend on modernized networks (C4ISRNET) The Department of Defense is eager to embrace nonstop actionable data on the battlefield, but current network infrastructure may not be able to support it.

To improve military networks, the Army looks to commercial solutions (C4ISRNET) Industry is making their case for modernizing military networks. The Defense Department appears to be listening.

Astronauts picked for SpaceX, Boeing capsule test flights (Military Times) NASA on Friday assigned the astronauts who will ride the first commercial capsules into orbit next year and bring crew launches back to the U.S.

Work begins on rocket engines for SLS flights a decade from now (Ars Technica) This represents quite a long lead-up time for these engines.

Design and Innovation

The Army is testing deceptive cyber technology despite past struggles (Fifth Domain) The Army is testing methods to trick attackers into believing that they have compromised a network, but experts both inside and outside government warn that the idea has struggled to go from concept to reality.

Propelling deep space flight with a new fuel source, Momentus prepares for liftoff (TechCrunch) Mikhail Kokorich, the founder of Momentus, a new Y Combinator-backed propulsion technology developer for space flight, hadn’t always dreamed of going to the moon. A physicist who graduated from Russia’s top-ranked Novosibirsk University, Kokorich was a serial entrepreneur in who grew up…

Rapid Equipping Force to deliver new electronic warfare platforms (C4ISRNET) Forces Command will be getting a new fleet of electronic warfare tactical vehicles this fall.

MDA director provides rough sketch of possible space-based missile defense sensor layer (Defense News) What does the Missile Defense Agency director envision for a space-based missile defense layer? Here's a look.

Pentagon invites researchers to hack the Marine Corps (Fifth Domain) The Pentagon kicked off its Hack the Marine Corps bug bounty program in Las Vegas, awarding $80,000 for discovered vulnerabilities on the first day.

How can NASA return to the Moon? By making everything reusable, chief says (Ars Technica) "We want the entire architecture between here and the Moon to all be reusable."

Air Force’s future ISR architecture could feature drone swarms and hypersonics — with AI underpinning it all (C4ISRNET) Here's the the exclusive first look at the Air Force's next generation ISR infrastructure.

Research and Development

Army announces winners of electronic warfare challenge (C4ISRNET) Three teams won cash prizes for developing an AI that used machine learning to identify which new signals from a batch mattered for electronic warfare.

SOCOM seeking technologies for war in a post-cyberpunk era (C4ISRNET) In order to fight the wars of the present and the future, SOCOM is asking for a suite of technologies straight out of a cyberpunk thriller.

Is there new ‘hackproof’ cyber defense? Air Force, industry test new system (Brinkwire) The Air Force is working with industry to test an emerging cybersecurity technology which has not as of yet been “hacked,” despite massive amounts of attempted penetrations.

DARPA wants an AI system that can basically make sense of everything (C4ISRNET) The proposed AI system would able interpret and expose scientific knowledge and underlying assumptions in existing models to extract useful information

Northrop Grumman, DARPA Set New Standard for Wireless Transmission Speed (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have set a new standard for wireless transmission by operating a data link at 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) over a...

With failures in the rearview, the US Navy and Missile Defense Agency push toward critical missile test (Defense News) The SM-3 Block IIA missile is heading for a crucial test that the Pentagon hopes will dispel nagging doubts after two successive failures.

Detect Nukes In Flight With Electron Beam Technology (Breaking Defense) So, I asked, could a sufficiently high-powered neutron beam not just detect a nuclear warhead from a distance, but actually disable it? Dent, who worked on the Safeguard missile defense system as a young Army officer and later on Reagan's Star Wars initiative for SAIC, pondered a moment. Then he said: “Could it fry the electronics ? Yes, it could."

America’s new intelligence research chief wants to predict cyberattacks. Can it work? (Fifth Domain) In her first comments as IARPA chief, the new director of the intelligence community’s research arm emphasized machine learning to forecast cyberattacks.

Space-based laser weapons could ultimately take out missile threats in boost phase (Defense News) Pentagon officials are trying to anticipate where boost-phase missile defense technology development is headed.

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation

Why the Five Eyes boosted intelligence sharing despite tension (Fifth Domain) America's closest intelligence allies agreed to boost cybersecurity and intelligence sharing despite political tension.

Trump’s Secret Order on Pulling the Cyber Trigger (Lawfare) Decision Responsibility, Legal Secrecy, and Congress’s Options.

Analysis | The Cybersecurity 202: Trump just gave the military a lot more leeway to launch cyber operations (Washington Post) But this could complicate the government's other efforts to respond to threats.

The United States and North Korea: Back to Square One? (Atlantic Council) US President Donald J. Trump on August 24 abruptly cancelled Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s planned trip to North Korea. Explaining his decision in a tweet, Trump wrote : “because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to...

North Korea warns Pompeo denuclearization talks are 'at stake,' sources say (CNN) Top North Korean officials warned the United States in a letter that denuclearization talks are "again at stake and may fall apart," sources familiar with the process told CNN.

North Korea's Nuclear Program Isn't Going Anywhere (Foreign Affairs) Sixty days since the Singapore summit, North Korea continues to expand its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals and has played its diplomatic hand brilliantly.

Trump administration not 'starry-eyed' about North Korea denuclearization, John Bolton says (Washington Examiner) National security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that the Trump administration is not “starry-eyed” about the possibility of North Korea denuclearization after just one meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump.

Trump's bet on Kim Jong Un is looking increasingly shaky (CNN) President Donald Trump took a huge risk by holding a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and hailing it as a stunning history-changing success.

U.S. hits Chinese and Russian firms over North Korea sanctions breach (Reuters) The United States imposed sanctions on a Russian port service agency and Chinese firms for aiding North Korean ships and selling alcohol and tobacco to Pyongyang in breach of U.S. sanctions.

Experts assemble for UN-hosted meeting on ‘killer robots’ (C4ISRNET) Experts from scores of countries are meeting to discuss ways to define and deal with “killer robots” — futuristic weapons systems that could conduct war without human intervention.

Key Cyber Provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (SIGNAL) Congress’ NDAA Fiscal Year 2019 appropriation authorizations include important cyber measures among military and defense activities.

Trump Signs Defense Bill to Boost Military, Target China (Wall Street Journal) President Trump signed into law Monday a defense-spending bill that received widespread bipartisan backing for its efforts to counter Chinese aggression and support U.S. military servicemen and women.

China is really not happy with Trump’s $716 billion defense spending bill (VICE News) China’s commerce, defense and foreign ministries all issued statements slamming the legislation.

Mattis sees future US space opportunities with Brazil (Jane's 360) Mattis said he sees future opportunities with Brazil for advanced research, particularly in space. Brazil has a healthy appetite for enhanced space partnerships, but regulatory problems loom. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis sees future opportunities for advanced research with

U.S. Turns up Heat on Iran’s Economy, Adding Fuel to Massive Protests (Foreign Policy) Experts question whether the resumption of sanctions will help topple the regime or strengthen it.

Iran’s top leader says no war or talks with US (Military Times) Leader pushes back on President Trump's mention of talks, rejects

Pompeo Creates New Team to Pressure Iran (Foreign Policy) The new unit will be led by one of the State Department’s most powerful officials.

NATO's East Is Rearming, But It's Because of Putin, Not Trump (Blomberg) Donald Trump has taken credit for a rise in military spending by NATO states, but in the alliance’s eastern reaches, it’s his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, who’s driving the rearming effort.

Pentagon report: China’s space program ‘continues to mature rapidly’ ( New DoD report raises concerns about China’s counterspace weapons, including kinetic-kill missiles, ground-based lasers and orbiting space robots.

OPINION: 'There won't be many prizes for second place' (POLITICO) One Air Force general's call for 'radical collaboration across the whole-of-government' to win the new space race

Mattis: Reorganization of US Military Space Forces Already in Motion ( The Defense Department is moving ahead with previously announced plans to stand up a four-star U.S. Space Command as part of a broader effort to reorganize military space forces, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday.

EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon To Start Creating Space Force — Even Before Congress Approves It (Defense One) Within months, DoD will start standing up a new combatant command, a new space-procurement agency, and a new Space Operations Force.

Trump is right to prepare for a war in space (Times) A mysterious fireball hurtled towards earth a month ago and thumped into the ground close to a base that serves as the eyes and ears of America. Scientists reckon it was a meteorite that narrowly...

What will top the Space Force to-do list? (C4ISRNET) If Congress moves forward with a Space Force, protecting GPS satellites will inevitably be one of the service’s top priorities. Here's why ...

5 Unanswered Questions About Space Force (Defense One) As Pentagon leaders plan changes to the U.S. military’s orbital-operations organizations, analysts wonder whether they have done all their homework.

Space Command plans are underway, expenses still being calculated ( The Defense Department is actually getting down to business on creating a U.S. Space Command and building the blueprints for a space force.

Space Force Is Trump’s Answer to New Russian and Chinese Weapons (Foreign Policy) But creating a new service branch is seen as a slap in the face to the Air Force.

Congress—Not Trump—Will Decide Whether to Create a Space Force (The National Interest) “The constitutional framework appears to contemplate that the role of establishing, organizing, regulating, and providing resources for the Armed Forces belongs to Congress, while the President is in charge of commanding the forces Congress has established using the funds Congress has provided,” CRS concluded.

The President Wants a Space Force. He Might Get One. (WIRED) Vice President Mike Pence's speech at the Pentagon laid out what a new US Space Force would do. It’ll cost $8 billion to start.

Mattis: US needs Space Force to counter Russia, China (Military Times) The U.S. doesn't intend to militarize space, but will defend itself there, defense secretary says.

Opposition to a Space Force Simmers in the Senate (Defense One) But Republicans who oppose the president’s push appear largely content to hold their fire until next year.

Experts Weigh the Future of the Pentagon’s Space Force (USNI News) The Trump administration’s push to create a U.S. Space Force could be more like a Space Corps– similar to the Marine Corps – or a separate combatant command, a panel of national security experts predicted on Monday. Speaking in Washington, D.C., Brian Weeden, the director at the Secure World Foundation, some leaning toward a Space Corps …

The US Military Should Not Be Doubling Down on Space (Defense One) Satellites are only getting harder to defend. The Pentagon needs to find a better way to do its C4ISR and precision-navigation-timing missions.

The Force may not be with us: StratCom could lose space duties under Trump plan (Omaha World Herald) Luke Skywalker might want to join President Donald Trump’s proposed new “Space Force,” but he and his X-wing starfighter probably wouldn’t be posted at Offutt Air Force Base.

The U.S. Needs a Cyber Force More Than a Space Force (Bloomberg) Trump shouldn’t be ridiculed for looking to the heavens, but a more urgent threat looms.

And after the Space Force, a Subterranean Force? (Fifth Domain) Will U.S. defense leaders want a seventh force in the future?

NGA Releases Updated GEOINT Strategy; Robert Cardillo Comments (Executive Gov) The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has updated its commercial geospatial intelligence strat

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement

What Duncan Hunter’s indictment means for defense issues (Military Times) Hunter has had an impact on a number of pet defense programs during his time in Congress.

Compiled and published by the CyberWire editorial staff. Views and assertions in source articles are those of the authors, not CyberWire, Inc. or Cosmic AES

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