Signals & Space Monthly Cyber Security Briefing

November 2018

Prepared by the CyberWire (Thursday, November 1, 2018)

International norms of cyber conflict.

The United Nations, in its long-running deliberations over fostering the development of norms of conduct in cyberspace, was in October presented with two competing visions of what such norms should look like. One, a Russian proposal backed by China and other authoritarian governments, follows the general line laid out by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It would repose significant authority to control online content with governments. This proposal is countered by one from the US, backed by the EU, the Five Eyes, and Japan, that advocates freer flow of information and greater respect for individual rights. The Russian proposal concentrates on notions of "cyber sovereignty" and ironically (in the view of the West, cynically) deplores the spread of disinformation across the internet.

Cyber vulnerabilities in US weapons programs.

A Government Accountability Office report found widespread issues with US weapons programs' cybersecurity. The GAO found that, despite moves in recent years to embed cybersecurity throughout Defense systems' lifecycles, efforts to do so have failed to keep up with the rapidly expanding attack surface growing connectivity ("the Internet of Battlefield things") now presents. The GAO used a variety of methods in its study, including red team testing. It freely admits that its results only scratch the surface of the problem, but the GAO is confident that "nearly all" military systems now under development are vulnerable to cyberattack. The methods such attacks might use, the report suggests, are depressingly familiar and not necessarily particular high-tech. They're things like easily guessed administrative passwords and other lapses in basic hygiene. The Department of Defense is conducting its own audit that will focus on cybersecurity issues in Defense programs.

Crewed launch services.

The emergency abort of a Soyuz flight to the ISS this month raises the level of urgency surrounding alternatives to the Russian system, currently the only one carrying crews into low earth orbit. Shortly after launch from Baikonur on October 11th, faulty sensors apparently caused side-mounted boosters to separate improperly at the time of first and second stage separation. The boosters collided with the main vehicle, causing the catastrophic loss of Expedition 57. The crew module separated safely and returned the two flight engineers, NASA's Nick Hague of NASA and Roscosmos's Alexey Ovchinin safely to the ground,

Russian authorities say they've identified and fixed the problem, and that Soyuz flights to the ISS will resume on December 3rd. NASA says it believes them, and that it intends to continue to fly astronauts on the Soyuz as planned and scheduled. But the incident has drawn attention to the importance of fielding other systems that can put crews into space. NASA says the first crewed mission of a SpaceX craft to the International Space Station will be flown in June 2019, and SpaceX competitors Blue Origin and Stratolaunch continue to advance development of their own commercial vehicles. Stratolaunch has been conducting successful taxi tests with its vehicle carrier and launch platform, the world's largest aircraft. The twin-boomed ship would deploy rockets at altitude, an approach which the company sees as promising efficiencies traditional ground launches don't.

Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are racing to see which company will be the first to put paying passengers into space (suborbital flights first). Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson said, on October 9th, that uncrewed test flights of the company's spacecraft were "weeks, not months" away, and that crewed flights should follow shortly thereafter. Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos has done a good bit of talking recently about his ambitions to send people to Mars permanently, where they would live out their natural lives in artificial habitats. That project isn't weeks away, but optimistic estimates put it only a few decades out.

On a sombre note, we mark the passing of Stratolaunch founder Paul Allen died at 65 after a long struggle with cancer on October 15th.

There's also some speculative design work in progress. Upstarts SpaceX and Blue Origin have made a good bit of public noise about their intention of flying crews to the moon or Mars within the next two decades, and traditional aerospace company Lockheed Martin is working on a concept for a lunar lander. It seats four, would be equipped and provisioned for a stay of two weeks on the lunar surface, and could also be used for expeditions to Mars.

Cargo launch services.

SpaceX continues to burnish its growing reputation for affordable launches with routinely reusable vehicles. It will fly a Falcon first-stage for the third time in mid-November, and in early October succeeded in landing a Falcon back at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

The US Air Force says it's considering using suborbital rockets to deliver cargo anywhere on earth within about an hour. The Service has been in talks with Blue Origin and Virgin Orbit (corporate sister of Virgin Galactic) about the possibility of such systems. Suborbital delivery would obviously be valuable where the need for speed outweighed considerations of cost. Another consideration to be worked out would be finding ways of letting jittery adversaries know that the launch their sensors just observed was carrying only (let us say) much-needed socks for the infantry as opposed to the thermonuclear weapons its suborbital trajectory might suggest. In any case, Richard Branson likes the idea.

US Space Force developments.

The US Space Council has sent a proposal for the formation of a Space Force to the President. The Air Force estimates it would cost $13 billion to establish the new service, but some in Congress think that figure, while cautiously high, may not fully address start-up costs. The new service would initially be formed with elements of existing organizations: Air Force Space Command, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, the Naval Satellite Operations Center, and the Army’s 1st Space Brigade. It would not include the National Reconnaissance Office, and its relationship with a Space Combatant Command would need to be worked out.

An internal Defense planning document obtained by Defense One lists the new Service's mission: "space situational advantage; battle management command and control of space forces; space lift and range operations; space support to nuclear command and control; missile warning; satellite communications and position, navigation and timing." It would be responsible only for joint space operations.

Contrary to earlier speculation that Space Force would be formed within the Department of the Air Force and remain there in the way the Marine Corps remains part of the Department of the Navy, more recent thinking suggests that the new Service would have its own Department and its own seat on the Joint Staff. It might also have its own National Guard.

Russian espionage and information operations.

Concerns over Russian information operations continued during the run-up to the US midterm elections. The threat is seen more as influence aimed at disrupting and weakening American civil society than direct hacking of voting systems (although that, too, remains a worry). The principal mode of influence operations has been online trolling, and on October 19th the US Department of Justice indicted a Russian national in connection with crimes involving the 2018 elections. Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, of St. Petersburg, is accused of managing the finances of the troll farm that's distributed disinformation through bogus online personae.

The EU complained of Russian intrusions into the networks of the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare (the body that was investigating GRU nerve agent attacks in Salisbury, England) but in the end deferred sanctions the UK and the Netherlands advocated.

Chinese espionage and information operations.

On October 30th the US Department of Justice unsealed an indictment of ten individuals, two of them Chinese intelligence officers, the other eight collaborators. The ten are charged with industrial espionage carried out against thirteen US aerospace firms.

China has been more active in cyber espionage than in information operations, but US officials have raised concerns about a perceived growth in Chinese interest in influence operations.

Multi-domain capabilities become real, while remaining aspirational.

The example of Russian hybrid warfare, blending conventional, deniably unconventional, cyber, and information operations continues to shape US tactics, techniques, procedures, and technology. The Services are looking at an increasing convergence of cyber and electronic warfare, and are reaching out to industry for near-term responses to the very active and effective electronic attack US forces in Syria are encountering.

Nuclear forces and nuclear arms control.

The US has decided, in what it characterizes as a response to Russian cheating, to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. The Russian evasion of treaty provisions has been particularly egregious over the past six years. US objections to Russian activities prohibited by the treaty go back to the previous Administration, and have become particularly acute since Russia's testing in 2014 of a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile.

Bilateral efforts at nuclear arms control continue, with the US and North Korea resuming talks on denuclearization.

JEDI contract updates, and Silicon Valley-Pentagon tension.

The US Defense Department's massive JEDI cloud contract remains controversial with industry. Some prospective bidders, most recently IBM, have filed protests in advance of proposal submission. The discontent in their case stems from concerns that the RFP unreasonably favors certain companies by adopting a single-vendor approach. IBM will face tough competition from both Microsoft and Amazon, and it hasn't concealed its view that the RFP was written to be wired for Amazon. The Defense Department insists that no vendor is favored.

Other prospective providers, like Google, have dropped out of the competition entirely. Google's decision to no-bid JEDI reflects an internal company dispute over whether Google ought to be doing any business with the military at all. "Not in accord with our values," is how Mountain View explained its decision to pass on the Pentagon cloud opportunity. Since JEDI is hardly a weapon system, those values are probably to be taken as either a fairly strong form of pacifism or as a corporate rejection of US Defense policy. Other tech giants, Microsoft and Amazon among them, have publicly affirmed their support for US Defense efforts and their interest in continuing to pursue it. Amazon's Jeff Bezos has been among the more vocal advocates of cooperation between Big Tech and the Department of Defense. Critics have not been slow to point out that Google's pacifistic stance has not inhibited it from working closely with the Chinese government on a wide array of tools for censorship.

Department of Defense pulls back from proposed changes to the way it pays contractors.

Facing very strong push-back from industry, the Deputy Defense Secretary Shanahan cancelled a proposed policy that would have adversely affected contractors' cash flow. The National Defense Industrial Association, the Professional Services Council, and the Aerospace Industries Association all objected, as did individual companies and a significant number of members of Congress. 



Today's edition of the CyberWire reports events affecting China, France, Iran, Iraq, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Somalia, Syria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Selected Reading

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (9)

Trends (1)

Marketplace (35)

Products, Services, and Solutions (11)

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards (19)

Design and Innovation (9)

Research and Development (17)

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation (26)

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement (6)

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

US helps Syrian partners regroup for ISIS ‘last stand’ (Military Times) The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group says it is helping local Syrian partners regroup after a major setback over the weekend as the militants fight for their last pocket in Syria, near the Iraqi border.

AFRICOM kills 60 Shabaab fighters in largest strike in Somalia since 2017 (FDD's Long War Journal) A large concentration of Shabaab fighters a significant distance from its typical support zone in Jubba River Valley demonstrates the Al Qaeda affiliate's resilience across Somalia.

Russia is Winning the Information War in Iraq and Syria: UK General (Defense One) Moscow is “better than us” in using social media to shape the strategic landscape, says a former deputy commander of the West’s anti-ISIS coalition.

‘Prepare for war’, Xi Jinping tells military region that monitors Taiwan (South China Morning Post) China must ‘take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly’, Xi says on visit to Southern Theatre CommandMilitary region has had to bear a ‘heavy military responsibility’ in recent years, he says

US war with China is likely in 15 years, retired general says (Military Times) The U.S. lacks the capacity to deal with threats across both the Atlantic and the Pacific, he says.

China’s Moon Missions Could Threaten US Satellites: Pentagon (Defense One) A satellite on the far side of the moon might not be quite what the Chinese say, Air Force official warns.

How Russian spies allegedly hacked organizations across the world (Fifth Domain) How seven Russian intelligence officials allegedly nestled into the servers of targeted organizations is an insight into the advanced hacking efforts that foreign governments are undertaking.

After North Korean summit, cyberattacks continued (Fifth Domain) Analysts say that after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un met President Donald Trump, the hermit kingdom's cyberattacks continued.

Weapon Systems Cybersecurity: DOD Just Beginning to Grapple with Scale of Vulnerabilities (US Government Accountability Office) In recent cybersecurity tests of major weapon systems DOD is developing, testers playing the role of adversary were able to take control of systems relatively easily and operate largely undetected. DOD's weapons are more computerized and networked than ever before, so it's no surprise that there are more opportunities for attacks.


The Coming Storm: Ethics in the Next War (Real Clear Defense) As the U.S. military transitions from a strategy-level focus on violent extremist organizations (VEO) to great power competition, Americans would do well to establish reasonable expectations for the future.


Cyber Command awards $54M contract for ‘cyber carrier’ (Fifth Domain) Northrop was awarded a contract for the Unified Platform.

US Army Awards Northrop Grumman $289 Million for Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) The U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) a $289 million contract to continue system design and development toward fielding of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System...

US Navy Awards Northrop Grumman $35.1 Million Contract for Next Generation Jammer–Low Band Demonstration of Existing Technologies (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) a $35.1 million, 20-month contract to demonstrate existing technologies for the low-band frequency jammer, the second increment of the Next Generation Jammer...

Northrop Grumman awarded $17.5 Million Contract for Fifth Generation Upgrade of E-8C Joint STARS Central Computers (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded a $17.5 million contract for a fifth generation upgrade to the central computers on 16 aircraft in the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint...

Northrop Grumman Announces $1 Billion Accelerated Share Repurchase Agreement (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) today announced that it has entered into an accelerated share repurchase (ASR) agreement with Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC to repurchase $1 billion of Northrop Grumman’s common...

UK MoD gets budget boost of more than $1B with three programs in mind (Defense News) The increase caught many by surprise. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been battling with Hammond for months for extra cash.

Thales Group reports boost in space revenue ( Government demand for space systems drove a “recovery of space orders” for Thales Group this year, offsetting a slump in commercial telecom satellites, Chief Financial Officer Pascal Bouchiat said Oct. 18.

Defense Firms Battle Long Wait for Security Clearances (Wall Street Journal) An exacerbated workforce crunch for makers of warships, jet fighters and cybersecurity systems is forcing them to resort to workarounds to finish Pentagon orders.

NSA Finalizes $6.7 Billion in Classified Tech Contracts ( After two years, the NSA finished rebidding its “Groundbreaker” program and is beginning work on a secretive new set of communications contracts.

Top US intelligence official takes veiled shot at Google (Fifth Domain) Dan Coats seemed to criticize Google, questioning the logic of American companies who refuse to work with the U.S. government but partner with China.

Tech companies need to work with US military, says Amazon boss Jeff Bezos (The Telegraph) Tech companies need to work with the US military, Jeff Bezos has said, as he defended deals made by Amazon and his aerospace firm Blue Origin.

No Easy Fix for Silicon Valley Angst About Government Contracts ( CBP’s acquisitions chief urges patience, understanding over protests against border contracts.

Here’s when industry can expect to hear more on the Army’s tactical cloud (C4ISRNET) The Army is working on evaluating white papers submitted during an August tactical cloud industry day.

Harris and L3 CEOs talk merger, divestitures and why we all should have seen this coming (Defense News) Harris CEO Bill Brown and L3 CEO Chris Kubasik spoke with Defense News to discuss the future of their merged company.

Pentagon awards more than $2 billion in contracts for national security rocket launches (The Seattle Times) The contracts went to the United Launch Alliance (ULA), the joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin.

Airbus would like to become part of Azerbaijan’s space industry, says VP ( European aerospace corporation Airbus, headquartered in France, would like to become part of the space industry of Azerbaijan, Vice-President for Eurasia Silvere Delaunay told Trend.

Lockheed Martin awarded $164M for missile interceptor support (Dallas Business Journal) The Missiles and Fire Control division of Lockheed Martin was awarded $164 million for support of its missile interceptors, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Microsoft says it nears security win ahead of deadline for Pentagon cloud bid (The Seattle Times) The security clearance, the highest cloud security rating, would narrow the gap with front-runner Amazon in competition for the Defense Department's JEDI project.

US Army awards PM Mission Command task order to CACI (Army Technology) CACI International has secured a new task order, with a ceiling value of $162m, to provide support to the US Army’s Project Manager Mission Command (PM MC).

BAE % Wins Spot on Massive Pentagon Research IDIQ (WashingtonExec) BAE Systems is one of 15 companies to win a spot on a massive $28 billion Defense Department R&D contract, the company announced. Under the 9-year Under the 9-year IDIQ contract, BAE Systems is cleared to compete for task orders expected to exceed $15 million.

Air Force Awards Launch Vehicle Development Contracts to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, ULA ( The U.S. Air Force announced on Wednesday it is awarding three contracts collectively worth about $2 billion to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems and United Launch Alliance to develop launch system prototypes.

Pentagon's JEDI mind tricks at odds with our 'values' says Google: Ad giant evaporates from $10bn cloud contract bid (Register) 'Compliance' is a corporate value isn't it?

IBM files formal JEDI protest a day before bidding process closes (TechCrunch) IBM announced yesterday that it has filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office over the structure of the Pentagon’s winner-take-all $10 billion, 10-year JEDI cloud contract. The protest came just a day before the bidding process is scheduled to close. As IBM put it …

Accion Systems takes on $3M in Boeing-led round to advance its tiny satellite thrusters (TechCrunch) Accion Systems, the startup aiming to reinvent satellite propulsion with an innovative and tiny new thruster, has attracted significant investment from Boeing's HorizonX Ventures. The $3 million round should give the company a bit of breathing room while it continues to prove and improve its techno…

Army’s ‘night court’ finds $25 billion to reinvest in modernization priorities (Defense News) Through rigorous review, the Army has found $25 billion within its own programs to reinvest in its top six modernization priorities, but details will be scant until the fiscal 2020 budget is released.

A shadowy op-ed campaign is now smearing SpaceX in space cities (Ars Technica) "Commercial space companies like SpaceX play by different rules," the op-ed states.

Why Boeing's CEO of Defense Takes Trump's Idea of a Space Force Seriously (Fortune) It's a "reality of the world we live in."

White House warns of ‘domestic extinction’ of suppliers in industrial base report - and DoD is ready to help with cash (Defense News) The Trump administration's long-awaited defense industrial base report is finally out.

US defense-industry report finds 300 security risks needing 'immediate action' (Washington Examiner) A sweeping Defense Department review ordered by President Trump has identified roughly 300 gaps in weapon-makers' supply chains that could threaten U.S. military campaigns if they're not corrected, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Air Force wants to make 'Kessel Run' standard in tech acquisition (FCW) The Air Force's CTO Frank Konieczny said the service is considering a directive that every acquisition have a Kessel Run-like agile development component.

Pentagon breakdown led to industry payments rule being published, Shanahan says (Defense News) The Pentagon killed a proposed change in how industry gets its cash. So what comes next?

Here’s what happens when you present industry with lipstick on a pig (Defense News) The problem with the proposed contract payment changes is that rewards for good behavior mean very little when programs take an unplanned and unfortunate turn. And since they often do, these changes could leave companies holding the bag.

Aerospace giants Lockheed and Boeing pick Jeff Bezos' upstart Blue Origin (Dallas News) The United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, has selected Blue Origin to supply the first-stage engine for its new...

Intelligent Waves wins spot on US Army’s ITES-3S Services contract (Army Technology) Intelligent Waves has secured a contract position on the US Army’s Information Technology Enterprise Solutions—3 Services (ITES-3S) award.

Paul Allen dies aged 65: Tributes to Microsoft co-founder who 'changed the world' (The Telegraph) Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft alongside Bill Gates in 1975, has died at the age of 65.

Products, Services, and Solutions

SpaceX official says company about to launch a Falcon 9 for the third time (Ars Technica) "We're turning this into routine access to space."

SpaceX Completes First Ever Falcon 9 Launch and Landing on the West Coast (Popular Mechanics) Photos of the rocket launch are mesmerizing.

First SpaceX mission with astronauts set for June 2019: NASA (France 24) NASA has announced the first crewed flight by a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) is expected to take place in June 2019.

Stratolaunch's Rocket Carrier, the Biggest Airplane Ever Built, Aces Fastest Runway Test Yet ( Stratolaunch Systems, which was established in 2011 by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, got its giant plane up to 90 mph (145 km/h) during "medium-speed taxi testing" at California's Mojave Air and Space Port earlier this month.

Lockheed Martin Solicits Ideas for Commercial Payloads on Orion Spacecraft (SpaceRef) Lockheed Martin Solicits Ideas for Commercial Payloads on Orion Spacecraft

Rockwell Collins’ AN/PRC-162 radio Type-1 NSA certified (Shephard Media) Rockwell Collins has received National Security Agency (NSA) Type-1 certification for its AN/PRC-162 (V)1 RT-2048(C)U military ground radio, the company announced on 26 September. The ...

Landspace ready for first Chinese private orbital launch but looks to grander plans ( At a news conference on the opening day of the International Astronautical Conference in Bremen, Germany, Landspace said it will launch the Zhuque-1 three-stage solid-propellant rocket near the end of October, with the exact date to be decided.

Defense Industry’s First 16GB DDR4 High Density Secure Memory Device Introduced by Mercury Systems (GlobeNewswire News Room) Breakthrough microelectronics technology enables miniaturization of 18 memory devices in a single, ruggedized package with 83% space savings

Mercury Systems Unveils Defense Industry’s First Wideband, OpenVPX Clock Module Optimized for System Flexibility (Nasdaq) Agile, 3U module featuring three clock banks and 18 customizable, low-jitter outputs designed to maximize system performance in harsh environments

Mercury Systems Adds Over 50 Models To Its Rugged Server Product Line (Nasdaq) Extends leadership in rackmount server market for defense applications

Viasat (VSAT) Introduces New Cybersecurity Software Solution (Zacks Investment Research) Viasat's (VSAT) latest cybersecurity software is currently available to the naval and maritime customers in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards

Oops! Civilian Satellite Data Inadvertently Pinpoints Military Radars (Popular Mechanics) X literally marks the spot for U.S.-made Patriot missile batteries.

New Lockheed Martin-Built Protected Communications Satellite Confirmed Online in Orbit Following Successful Launch (PR Newswire) The fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected communication satellite,...

45th Space Wing gears up for surge in launch activity ( 45th Space Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Schiess: Gen. Raymond “is pushing us to look at ways to be more responsive.”

What is the Army’s integrated jamming and cyber pod capable of? (C4ISRNET) Leidos believes its solution exceeds the Army's expectations.

NASA's Mars Rocket is Over Budget and Behind Schedule, Audit Finds (Motherboard) “At its current rate, we project Boeing will expend at least $8.9 billion through 2021—double the amount initially planned—while delivery of the first Core Stage has slipped 2½ years.”

Russian official says Soyuz rocket failure caused by an errant sensor (Ars Technica) The Russians plan to put people back on the Soyuz rocket in about a month.

Bridenstine confident Soyuz launches will resume “on schedule” ( NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he believes launches of crewed Soyuz spacecraft will resume “on schedule” after last week’s launch failure.

How astronauts survived the Soyuz’s near-disaster (Quartz) Baikonur, we've lost a booster

Artificial intelligence extends into space ( Like SES, government agencies and space companies are applying artificial intelligence to various problems they face.

How to protect jets, missiles and ships from cyberattacks (Fifth Domain) Experts told Fifth Domain that protecting American weapons systems from cyberattacks will require a culture of cyber hygiene, resilient systems and a workforce overhaul.

The Army finally knows what it needs to help GPS-denied troops (C4ISRNET) The Army has finalized requirements for a mounted position, navigation and timing solution.

What’s the rush? US Army races to get missile defense radar early (Defense News) The Army is planning to rapidly prototype new radar to replace old Patriot air-and-missile defense sensor.

ICESat-2 successfully starts lasering Earth, telling us about it (Ars Technica) Satellite tracks glaciers and sea ice by measuring surface height.

‘Your wife is cheating on you,’ and other military strategies for controlling the information space (Fifth Domain) Russia and China have shown they understand the importance of controlling information as well as denying adversaries advantages afforded by GPS.

The Army is working toward a cyber domain doctrine (Fifth Domain) Cyber demands rules of engagement and concepts of operations just like those that exist for the other domains, and the Army is leading the way to establish the needed doctrine.

Russia’s MiG-31 Spotted With Possible Anti-Satellite Missile (Popular Mechanics) The Kremlin knows it needs to be able to shoot down enemy satellites and replace its own destroyed sats in any future war.

Speed of Cyber Is Not Always in Milliseconds (SIGNAL) U.S. Army officials offer lessons learned from the third annual Cyber Blitz.

Enabling Spectrum-Based Operations in a Cyber World (SIGNAL) A road map could achieve true understanding of the realm.

First digital air connection established between F-35, U.S. Navy vessel (UPI) Raytheon's Ship Self Defense System created the first-ever digital air connection between a ship at sea and a F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in the sky.

Design and Innovation

Lockheed Martin's Lunar Lander Seats 4 Astronauts (PCMAG) It's a reusable craft capable of carrying 2,000lbs of cargo as well as four astronauts and is designed to stay on the surface of the Moon for up to 14 days at a time. If it gets beyond the concept stage the lander could also one day visit Mars.

We Are About to Enter a New Era of Space Stations (Motherboard) Motherboard talks to Robert Pearlman about his new book Space Stations, and how NASA, China, and space companies are building the next phase of human life off Earth.

Air Force launches $100K challenge for ‘space awareness innovators’ ( Air Force: “The need for timely and accurate object tracking is paramount to the defense of space."

The Air Force Is Actually Considering Rocket Launches to Move Cargo Around the Globe (Popular Mechanics) Delivering cargo anywhere in the world in 30 minutes? Take that, Domino's.

'Screw it, just do it’: Richard Branson addresses airmen, pushes space cargo operations (Defense News) The founder of Virgin Orbit made a surprise appearance at the Airlift Tanker Association’s annual symposium.

‘Internet of Battlefield Things’ Transforms Combat (Wall Street Journal) A variety of intelligent and semi-intelligent things are starting to talk to each other and work together on the battlefield, says Dr. Alexander Kott, chief scientist of the United States Army Research Lab.

Reducing Cyber Vulnerabilities in Weapons Systems: A New Priority (Lawfare) A scathing report by the Government Accountability Office on the cyber vulnerabilities of Defense Department weapons systems should be a wake-up call for Congress.

Can this AI find a terrorist in a surveillance video? (C4ISRNET) A video analytics and cloud computing firm wants to use artificial intelligence to make intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance easier for the Army.

The Future of the Command Post (SIGNAL) Artificial intelligence could turn data paralysis into information analysis.

Research and Development

Hayabusa2 Braces for a Rocky Landing on Asteroid Ryugu ( Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft is getting ready to touch down on asteroid Ryugu, where it will scoop a sample of the asteroid's rocky surface that will eventually be sent back to Earth.

NASA brings a Hubble gyro back to life after a seven-year hibernation (Ars Technica) "Gyro rates now look normal in both high and low mode."

Lockheed’s ballistic missile defense system clears another hurdle (Washington Business Journal) Lockheed Martin Corp. said Tuesday it had reached a key technical milestone with a new missile defense system.

Pentagon looks to thwart Russian tech attacks in Syria (Al-Monitor) The Pentagon’s in-house tech incubator is developing protected radio communications to thwart potential Russian interception of US airstrike and artillery data.

How Paul Allen Saved the American Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Motherboard) The Microsoft co-founder single-handedly revolutionized the American search for extraterrestrial intelligence at a time when no public institutions wanted to touch it.

The Pentagon’s $2 billion gamble on artificial intelligence (Washington Examiner) It’s the chilling plot line to every science fiction movie about robots in the future: Once they start thinking for themselves, humanity is doomed.

Imagining Space Colonization, From Mars, Pennsylvania to the Red Planet (WIRED) People around the world are itching to colonize Mars—should they be?

Jeff Bezos Wants Us All to Leave Earth—for Good (WIRED) At Blue Origin, Amazon's space-obsessed founder is building rockets, and he hopes to someday blast humanity into an extraterrestrial future.

US scientists have laid out a plan to search for life in the universe (Quartz) The biosignatures are out there.

NASA's asteroid chaser gets first glimpse of potentially hazardous target (CNET) A brightening Bennu is brought to you by the barnstorming OSIRIS-REx as NASA readies for a sample retrieval mission.

Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic will be in space for test flights 'in weeks not months' (CNBC) British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson believes Virgin Galactic is "more than tantalizingly close" to its first trip to space.

Air Force looks for help on new, hard-to-jam, satellite waveform (C4ISRNET) The Air Force expects to receive responses from industry soon on a recent request for information around protected satellite communications.

Jeff Bezos Is Planning to Ship ‘Several Metric Tons of Cargo’ to the Moon (Motherboard) Blue Origin signed a letter of intent with two German space companies to deliver supplies to the Moon by 2023.

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Is Designing a 'Large Lunar Lander' (Popular Mechanics) The Amazon CEO says he wants to reach the moon by 2023.

Northrop Grumman Completes Two Orion Spacecraft Launch Abort Motors for Upcoming Tests (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Human spaceflight is inherently risky, which is why we have tremendous safeguards in place to protect our astronauts. When NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft fly in 2020, a Launch Abort System (LAS) will be incorporated into the...

Lockheed Martin proposes a mega-lunar lander: 62 tons and an elevator (Ars Technica) "What we chose to do is jump to the end game."

A colossal elevator to space could be going up sooner than you ever imagined (NBC News) Researchers are racing to make this science-fiction idea a reality.

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation

NASA Turns 60 (Motherboard) NASA's former chief technologist Mason Peck discusses the past, present, and future of the agency that took humans to the moon.

Russia, US Offer Competing Vision of Cyber Norms to the UN (Defense One) Two proposed versions of an “international code of conduct for international information security” set up a clash between autocracies and democracies.

RIP INF: The End of a Landmark Treaty (The National Interest) Donald Trump did not have to withdraw from the INF Treaty. But now that he has set the wheels in motion, what does that mean for America's national security?

Trump Is Right About the INF (Foreign Policy) To be worth keeping, a treaty that bans nuclear missiles needs to include all nuclear powers.

The Rest Of The Story: Trump, DoD & Hill Readied INF Pullout For Years (Breaking Defense) Unreleased Pentagon documents and Congressional demands for information reveal that Washington has long planned for the day when the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia would be ripped up.

INF Treaty: The problem with the arms control community (Defense News) When one party continually violates the agreements it has signed without penalty, it establishes a pattern that undercuts the value of treaties and discredits the entire practice of such diplomacy.

Reports of the Death of Arms Control Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (War on the Rocks) Some argue that the spread of weapons cannot be stopped, cannot be checked … Such fatalism is a deadly adversary. -President Barack Obama, Prague Speech,

Pence's little-noticed speech marked a new US realism toward China (Washington Examiner) A seismic shot across the bow, Vice President Mike Pence’s Oct. 4 speech on U.S.-China policy garnered surprisingly little coverage. But historians may well mark it as a significant turning point in great power relations. Pence’s address to the Hudson Institute heralded a dramatic shift in…

EU paves way for Russia sanctions over chemical weapons (Deutsche Welle) A new framework to allow sanctions over chemical weapon use could see restrictions placed on Russia over the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal. Potential sanctions could involve travel bans and asset freezes.

Pentagon Chief: Russia's Violation of Arms Control Pact 'Untenable' (VOA) Russia denies allegation and accuses US of deploying missile system in violation of treaty

How Russian hybrid warfare changed the Pentagon’s perspective (Fifth Domain) As the Russians blitzed the Crimean region of Ukraine with cyberattacks, electromagnetic jamming and unmanned aerial systems, the U.S. military closely observed the battle tactics and recognized its need to transform.

NATO Ops Center Goes 24/7 To Counter Russians: Gen. Scaparrotti (Breaking Defense) NATO is dusting off Cold War concepts such as deterrence, rapid reinforcement and battle readiness as it faces a Russian destabilization campaign.

Network defense is an always-on kind of warfare (Fifth Domain) Adversaries are constantly probing networks trying to exploit vulnerabilities.

How the US cyber force is maturing (Fifth Domain) U.S. Cyber Command is moving past building to operational readiness.

How the Army Cyber Center of Excellence fits into the high-tech battlefield (C4ISRNET) Maj. Gen. John Morrison, the commanding general of Fort Gordon, talks about the Army's role in the cyber mission force, training electronic warfare officers and more.

Happy new (fiscal) year! Feds want more electronic warfare and cybersecurity tools (Fifth Domain) As the new federal fiscal year begins, cybersecurity firms and analysts predict that electronic warfare and managed services will be top priorities for the U.S. government.

Dana Deasy Drives Toward Digital Modernization (SIGNAL) Cyber comes first and foremost for the U.S. Defense Department.

Trump: 'Progress made' on North Korea denuclearization, meeting with Kim Jong Un 'in the near future' (Washington Examiner) President Trump claimed on Sunday his administration made "progress" this weekend on diplomatic efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

National Space Council votes unanimously to send Space Force proposal to Trump - ( Trump is determined to make the new military branch a reality, Pence said. “He asks me about the Space Force every week.”

Here’s The Pentagon’s Initial Plan For Creating a Space Force (Defense One) Parts of the Air Force, Navy and Army would move into a sixth branch, but the NRO will likely remain independent.

China Has a ‘Space Force.’ What Are Its Lessons for the Pentagon? (Defense One) The U.S. military must find new ways to leverage commercial innovation in order to contend with China in space.

Nielsen outlines how US reassessing cyber risk (Fifth Domain) U.S. leaders are changing how they view threats in cyberspace and now expect that a nation state or criminal actor with cyber capabilities will use those tools against the United States, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said Oct. 3 at the Atlantic Council.

Army extends higher pay, colonel rank to new cyber entrants (FCW) The Army is opening higher ranks and pay grades to cybersecurity specialists who join the Army in hopes of bolstering the cyber mission force.

Intelligence 'black budget' hits mysterious new high under Trump (Washington Examiner) Congress secretly boosted U.S. spy agency funding last year, pushing the government's intelligence "black budget" to its highest publicly known level, and raising questions about the reason for the surge.

Military Intelligence Spending Just Posted Biggest Spike in a Decade (Defense One) With an 18 percent increase this year, the Pentagon’s $22 billion intelligence tab is rising faster than civilian spy agencies.

Common suitability, security clearance standards are coming within a year, ODNI says (Federal News Network) Common standards across the suitability and security clearance processes may ease long-held frustrations from industry and the intelligence community.

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement

Russian woman charged in first 2018 election meddling case (Washington Post) U.S. charges Russian woman in the first case involving meddling in the 2018 elections.

Feds: Chinese spies orchestrated massive hack that stole aviation secrets (Ars Technica) Feds say campaign hacked 13 firms in bid to help Chinese state-owned aerospace company.

Pentagon’s big audit will inspect for cybersecurity flaws, comptroller says (Fifth Domain) Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist warned government contractors Monday that the first agencywide financial audit might reveal “a laundry list” of cybersecurity problems.

Navy vet confessed to sending ricin envelopes, officials say (Military Times) William Clyde Allen III confessed to investigators after his arrest.

Feds allege contracting fraud within secret Colorado spy warehouse (Colorado Springs Gazette) Two employees of the nation's most secretive intelligence agencies have been indicted for allegedly trying to fix a spying services contract at Buckley Air Force Base's Aerospace Data Facility, federal

The One Place in the US Google Earth Stopped Mapping (Motherboard) For eight years, Google Earth didn't update its satellite image of a military installation in Nevada. So we bought one ourselves.

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

Prior Issues


Sign up to get the Signals & Space monthly cybersecurity briefing - powered by the CyberWire.

Cosmic AES - Experts in Space and Communications