Signals & Space Monthly Cyber Security Briefing

April 2018

Prepared by the CyberWire (Tuesday, April 3, 2018)

WannaCry malware hits Boeing facility (but to little effect).

Early on March 28th Boeing detected the presence of WannaCry malware on some of its systems in South Carolina. The affected facility is mainly engaged in 777 production. Boeing said it swiftly isolated and remediated the infection, and that production and normal operations were unaffected.

Missile defense test successes and operational failures.

Lockheed Martin announced successful test interceptions by Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles at the White Sands Missile Range during the first week of March, but that news has been overshadowed by controversy at month's end over the weapon's effectiveness in Saudi operational use.

Yemen's Houthi rebels fired more ballistic missiles—Scud-derivatives—into Saudi Arabia on March 25th. At least one of the missiles reached Riyadh, killing at least one person on the ground. It's unclear whether the man who was killed was hit by debris from the Houthi missiles or from the Patriot missiles fired to intercept them. 

The Houthi forces use the Burkan-2H, a member of the extended family of Scuds that includes the Iranian Qiam 1 and Shahab 2 missiles. In Houthi use it's been equipped with a high-explosive warhead and has a maximum range of between 500 and 550 miles. The source for the Houthi missiles is unclear, but the likeliest supplier would appear to be Iran. The Houthi inventory of Burkan-2H surely does not represent indigenous production.

Saudi authorities said most of the missiles were shot down, claiming that seven of the Patriot Advanced Capability 2 interceptors they fired hit inbound missiles, but this has been widely disputed and is generally disbelieved. Other sources said at least five of the Patriots fired in response to the Houthi barrage malfunctioned. Observers say that two Patriots exploded prematurely during their initial boost phase (within four seconds of launch), and that another three were seen to have veered off-course and downward into the ground during the subsequent target search phase.

The Patriot has been controversial since the air defense system's adaptation to an anti-missile role during the 1991 Gulf War, when the system's apparent successes against Iraqi Scuds were swiftly called into question. Since then it has figured prominently in US and allied ballistic missile defenses, most recently in deployments (with upgrades) to South Korea in response to the North Korean missile threat. The apparent difficulties the system experienced at the end of March will raise questions about the Patriot's effectiveness.

The Patriot continues to attract buyers nonetheless. On March 28th Poland concluded a definitive agreement to acquire two Patriot Configuration 3+ batteries (a total of four fire units) for the country's Wisla air defense program. This system is the latest one deployed by the US Army, which plans to have the Patriot integrated with its other principal anti-missile system, THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defense) within the next two years.

Saudi Crown Prince meets with US President.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman began his two-and-a-half week visit to the United States with a White House meeting on March 22nd meeting. The risk of Iranian nuclear proliferation was in the forefront of discussions between President Trump and the Crown Prince. Saudi Arabia is increasingly alarmed by the threat its regional and religious rival Iran poses. The Crown Prince is emphasizing his efforts to modernize the Kingdom and hopes to secure a closer partnership with the United States.

Saudi Arabia has long been especially concerned about the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, and is ill at ease with the notion that Iran's weapons program can be restrained through treaties currently in force. In press interviews during his US trip, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman compared Irans leader the Ayatollah Khamenei to Hitler, which in the Crown Prince's usage is not a letter of recommendation. He also suggested that Saudi Arabia could, and would, rapidly acquire nuclear weapons of its own should Iran break its agreement to abandon its own weapons program. 

President Trump has long been skeptical of Iranian intentions and has made noises about withdrawing from or at least renegotiating the non-proliferation agreement his predecessor concluded. That skepticism has received its share of criticism, but the President's appointment of the famously Iran-skeptical John Bolton to succeed General McMaster as National Security Advisor suggests that such options remain very much on the table.

North Korean diplomatic moves.

Since its pre-Olympic rounds of alarming missile tests (which Germany's BND this month said demonstrated an ability to hit targets in Europe), North Korea has made irenic gestures toward a diplomatic resolution of tensions on the Korean peninsula. Last week Dear Leader Kim Jong Un visited China for talks with President Xi. These discussions precede by some weeks planned meetings with South Korean President Moon Jai-in and prospective meetings with US President Trump. Observers believe the Chinese leader expressed strong expectations that Kim would commit to working toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Countries within range of North Korean ballistic missiles, particularly South Korea, Japan, and the United States, have taken various measures to shore up missile defenses. These have included not only upgrades to Patriot batteries and deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries in South Korea, but also deployment and development of Aegis Ashore SM-3 interceptors to Japan. That country has recently agreed to purchase two Aegis Ashore systems from the United States for approximately $2 billion.

North Korea continues to labor under international sanctions that cripple its autarkic economy and inhibit unconstrained investment in weapons development. Its principal means of working around those sanctions has been online theft. Pyongyang's best-know cyber operations unit, the Lazarus Group, has remained active in cyber theft. The country has also turned to cryptocurrency mining as a way of redressing its financial shortfalls.

Russia tests new missile system during period of heightened tension.

On March 30th Russia made its second test of the new Sarmat ICBM (NATO codename "Satan 2"). President Putin had boasted of the new system's ability to hit targets anywhere in the world and to render defenses "useless" in a speech at the beginning of the month. The Sarmat test flight coincided with diplomatic tensions arising over the attempted assassination by nerve agent of a former GRU officer in Salisbury, England. Russia had earlier in March tested an air-launched hypersonic Kinzhal missile.

The UK and its allies, prominently including the United States, attributed the attack to Russia. Russia has denied involvement, claiming that the incident is either a British or an American provocation (but also suggesting inconsistently that turncoats and spies like the intended victims, Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia, deserved whatever they got. The elder Skripal, still unconscious and in critical condition, had been a GRU officer convicted of passing secrets to British intelligence. He was exchanged in a spy swap and became a naturalized British subject. His daughter, now conscious and in stable condition, remains a Russian citizen. In a remarkable display of brass, the Russian consulate has demanded the right to visit her in the hospital so they can attend to her welfare and ensure she's being treated properly. 

Missile rattling aside, the greatest concern in the West is of possible Russian cyber attacks against critical infrastructure, particularly power grids.

The normalization of tactical cyber operations.

Cyber operations have been converging with electronic warfare for some years now. They're also on their way to becoming a routine part of US Army tactical operations. Cyber capabilities are being pushed down to brigade-level at least. They're also being integrated in major training exercises, including rotations at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.

US military operations in space.

Extensive US dependence upon space-based assets in military operations have, planners say, exposed US capabilities to disruption. C4ISR is now so thoroughly wrapped up with space operations that the interruption of such operations would severely degrade operational capabilities. (GPS, for example, is so completely embedded in daily operations that the forces deprivation of GPS would render them incapable of many activities now taken for granted.) Planners are considering ways of defending space assets from attack. Such attacks could be either kinetic or, more probably, cyber.

There have also been calls at senior military levels for development of space-based weapons, notably missile defense systems that could operate from orbital platforms.

The US Government continues to mull creation of a Space Corps, probably under the Department of the Air Force but a distinct military service. It would thus be organized roughly the way the Marine Corps exists as a service within the Department of the Navy. The Air Force is said to be cool to the idea, which has supporters in both Congress and the Administration, but speculation about a Space Corps uniform might look like is already, inevitably, in progress.

Commercial launch and satellite operations.

SpaceX continues to demonstrate the reliability of its reusable Falcon 9 launch system as it establishes itself as a viable competitor to the United Launch Alliance. On the afternoon of April 2nd, a recovered and reconditioned Falcon 9 delivered a Dragon resupply capsule to the International Space Station. This marks the eleventh time SpaceX has reused a recovered launch system. The Dragon capsule carrying the supplies (expected to dock with the space station on April 4th) has also flown before. Earlier in March SpaceX reached another milestone, as its fiftieth Falcon 9 flight placed a Hispasat 30W-6 satellite into geosynchronous orbit.

The company announced plans for production of a follow-on to its Falcon Heavy, which was successfully tested on February 6th when it lofted a Tesla roadster into space as a dummy payload. This next family of heavy-lift rockets, the "BFR," bowdlerized as "Big Falcon Rocket," will be built at a Los Angeles facility.

SpaceX also continues testing the first satellites in its projected Starlink broadband Internet system.

Stratolaunch Systems and Orbital ATK continue to work on their plans for using Stratolaunch's very large aircraft as a platform for putting Orbital's Pegasus rockets into space. Another launch venture, 

The Space Alliance, a collaboration of European aerospace firms Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio, now has a minority interest in Seattle's Spaceflight Industries. Their intention is to produce and deliver small satellites.

The UK's Space Industry Bill has addressed many of the basics of a commercial space sector: among them spaceflight licensing, insurance requirements, and safety. The UK is also moving toward establishing a commercial astronaut school and, perhaps, the first spaceport to actually be located in Europe.

Chinese space station Tiangong 1 returns to earth.

The Heavenly Palace made its expected, uncontrolled reentry Sunday, its fragments falling for the most part into the Pacific not too far from Tahiti. (No one got hurt. No one got much of a view, either.) 



Today's edition of the CyberWire reports events affecting China, the European Union, Germany, Iran, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Yemen.

Selected Reading

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (8)

Trends (2)

Marketplace (24)

Products, Services, and Solutions (13)

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards (21)

Design and Innovation (6)

Research and Development (8)

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation (27)

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement (1)

Events (16)

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

Boeing says no impact to military aircraft business after WannaCry cyberattack (Fifth Domain) Boeing says the WannaCry virus hit a small number of computers on its commercial side.

US-Made Missile Defenses Spectacularly Failed in Saudi Arabia (Motherboard) "It's nothing but an unbroken trail of disasters with this weapon system."

Saudi Arabia says Yemeni rebels fired ballistic missiles, killing 1 in Riyadh (CBS News) Saudis claim most of missiles fired from "within Yemen" shot down, amid questions over Iran's role, and how well interceptors worked

German BND spy agency: North Korean rockets can hit Europe (Deutsche Welle) The disclosure came in a closed-door meeting Germany's foreign intelligence agency held with members of the Bundestag last week, media report. North Korea has pursued missile and nuclear programs despite UN sanctions.

Our reliance on space tech means we should prepare for the worst (Defense News) A concerted response is needed to boost the resilience of global society to natural or man-made disruption of space-dependent services.

US intel chief: North Korea is the ‘hardest intelligence collection target’ (Defense News) The head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has warned lawmakers of North Korea's and China's military ambitions.

No, Iran Does Not Have an ICBM Program (War on the Rocks) Let’s be realistic: Iran will not surrender its ballistic missile program. Rockets play too central a role in Iran’s defense and deterrence posture, especially given its antiquated and inferior air force. The need for missiles is also deeply embedded in the national psyche, from the days in the mid-1980s when

Are Putin’s New Nukes a Real Threat? (Daily Intelligencer) “Invincible” nuclear weapons sound scary, but don’t really change the balance of power.


Army leader: ‘We’re going to be contested in every single domain’ (C4ISRNET) Gen. James McConville, the Army’s vice chief of staff, said the service will likely face conflicts in the cyberworld and in space.

Pentagon’s top tech official: Take more risks in space (Defense News) If the US wants to maintain its edge in space, it needs to move faster, a DoD official said.


Lockheed Martin begins moving 300 workers from West Coast to Space Coast (Washington Business Journal) Lockheed Martin exec says its missile will be upgraded for decades to come.

Air Force taps Raytheon to continue operating and upgrading Cobra Dane strategic radar system (Military Aerospace) U.S. Air Force missile-defense experts are moving forward with a long-term project to keep a 1970s-vintage strategic radar systems up and running with the latest electronic technology.

As UK fires-up private space industry, Space Camp Accelerator launches (TechCrunch) The UK government recently passed the Space Industry Bill, covering the basics like spaceflight licensing, insurance requirements and safety commitments. It didn’t make much of a splash when it was announced, but it’s a huge move for the UK as it laid the regulatory groundwork that will be needed t…

General Dynamics’ Acquisition of CSRA Is An Even Bigger Deal Than You Thought ( If General Dynamics’ $9.7 billion acquisition of CSRA goes forward, the company will be the federal government’s largest technology services provider by a wide margin.

General Dynamics' CSRA acquisition cleared as CACI withdraws ( CACI International is no longer challenging General Dynamics' offer to acquire the government IT business, which had already entered an agreement.

Poland officially signs deal to buy Patriot from US (Defense News) Poland has officially signed a letter of offer and acceptance for Patriot air and missile defense systems after years of negotiations.

General Dynamics Fights $876M Intelligence System Deal (Law360) The U.S. Army’s $876 million deal to replace its troubled intelligence analysis system has hit a snag, with General Dynamics challenging the decision to hand the award to a Raytheon unit and data analytics firm Palantir after the latter company sued over the service’s alleged failure to properly consider commercial contractors.

Space communications: As the industry launches new products, military can’t decide what to buy ( Air Force Col. George Nagy, who oversees the DoD wideband communications analysis of alternatives study: “Today we operate a hybrid commercial and military architecture."

Satellite providers to Air Force: Where do we stand? (C4ISRNET) Greater certainty about industry's role in supporting DoD's SATCOM needs would provide greater justification for more unique investments for private companies.

Relativity Space reveals its ambitions with big NASA deal (Ars Technica) "We have a pretty broad long-term vision."

Boeing Defense reorganizes by adding two new divisions and eliminating another ( Boeing plans to launch two new divisions within its Defense, Space & Security business starting next week – a Commercial Derivative Aircraft division, and a Missile and Weapon Systems division – as part of an ongoing reorganization effort by the business unit’s chief executive, Leanne Caret.

SpaceX indicates it will manufacture the BFR rocket in Los Angeles (Ars Technica) “A facility to manufacture large commercial transportation vessels.”

SpaceX is making big money moves (TechCrunch) Planning a Mars mission, a global telecommunications network for inexpensive internet service and creating an interplanetary hedge against World War Three isn’t cheap, so it’s no wonder that SpaceX is closing on $500 million in new cash through a financing round led by Fidelity, accordi…

SpaceX and United Launch Alliance land $640 million in Air Force launches (TechCrunch) The U.S. Air Force wants to maintain its options: It awarded a total of $640 million in satellite launch contracts to both SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance (Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s joint space launch venture), with the goal of making sure it has access to at least two options for la…

Iridium Names 6 New Providers of Certus Broadband Service (ExecutiveBiz) Iridium has unveiled the next batch of six companies that will offer the Iridium Certus satellite broadband service for ground-based mobile operations beginning mid-2018. Certus is powered by the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation and will be integrated with Thales‘ MissionLINK terminal to support the off-the-grid missions of public safety, utility, oil and gas, military and non-government...

Thales and Spaceflight Create LeoStella to Manufacture Smallsats (Via Satellite) The Space Alliance formed by Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio announced it has officially taken a minority stake in Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries, having received all government approvals for the transaction. This investment is part of an overall fundraising effort of $150 million from several sources which

Why DoD is a difficult customer for commercial satellite providers (C4ISRNET) Commercial satellite providers say the fact that DoD's requirements are continually changing makes it difficult to provide services.

Lockheed Martin awarded laser weapon contract (Shephard Media) Lockheed Martin has received a contract from the US Navy to develop, manufacture and deliver two high power laser weapon systems, the company announced on ...

Lockheed Martin Wins $80 Million Contract to Build Missile Defense Targets (PR Newswire) The Missile Defense Agency has awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) an...

Pentagon Goes Winner-Take-All for Cloud Award Worth Billions ( The Pentagon opened a winner-take-all competition Wednesday for a multibillion-dollar cloud services contract.

Northrop Grumman to develop ballistic missile defense simulation models (UPI) Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to develop and field simulation models of a Ballistic Missile Defense System and its capabilities.

Long-delayed German missile defense deal with Lockheed, MBDA expected by year’s end (Defense News) Lockheed Martin is hopeful it will sign a contract with the German government by the end of 2018 to develop its medium-range air and missile defense system through a joint venture with MBDA.

Telos Corporation Awarded $108M NETCENTS-2 Task Order to Support Air Combat Command (Telos) Cyber operations and infrastructure support to augment defensive cyber operations.

Northrop Grumman moves ahead with new ICBM design, impact of Orbital merger still unclear ( Boeing and Northrop Grumman initially had been expected to compete the rocket motor work between Orbital and Aerojet. With Orbital under Northrop Grumman ownership, that type of competition would not be possible.

Products, Services, and Solutions

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches reused cargo ship to space station (CBS News) A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship bound for the space station will deliver nearly 3 tons of supplies and equipment

SpaceX successfully launches 50th Falcon 9 mission (TechCrunch) SpaceX has launched its 50th Falcon 9 rocket mission, and on board is its largest ever geostationary satellite payload, a Hispasat unit that’s around the..

FCC approves SpaceX plan to launch 4,425 broadband satellites (Ars Technica) SpaceX moves ahead with Starlink but must prevent collisions from space debris.

Northrop Grumman-Built ATMS and CERES Instruments Successfully Supporting NOAA Weather Satellite (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Two critical instruments built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) newest weather satellite were activated and are successfully performing post-launch...

Lockheed Martin Begins Assembly of JCSAT-17 Commercial Communications Satellite (Government Security News) The assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO) team at Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has started production of a new commercial satellite, JCSAT-17, that will deliver flexible, high-bandwidth communications to users in Japan and the surrounding region.

The world’s largest airplane may launch a new space shuttle into orbit (Ars Technica) “I would love to see us have a full reusable system," Microsoft's co-founder said.

Lockheed PAC-3 missile-defense system successful in demo (UPI) Two of Lockheed Martin's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile systems intercepted ballistic missiles in a recent test, the defense company said.

‘Cyber bullets’ were once a spy tool but may soon scan Wi-Fi networks for the Army (Fifth Domain) Leidos is working to enable local brigade commanders to use

Lockheed Martin unveils cyber war-fighting platform (Fifth Domain) Lockheed Martin unveiled its pitch for Cyber Command's unified platform.

The Army turns to a former legal opponent to fix its intel analysis system (Defense News) The U.S. Army has selected both Raytheon and Palantir to build new intelligence analysis capabilities that could be worth up to nearly a billion dollars in an attempt to save the Distributed Common Ground System-Army.

Mercury Systems Announces Defense Industry's First Space-Qualified Commercial Solid-State Drive ( Mercury Systems, Inc. announced the start of customer engagements for its new TRRUST-Stor™ VPX RT family of.

Mercury Systems' Innovation Revolutionizes Microelectronics Packaging Technology for Defense Applications (Nasdaq) New System-in-Package technology integrates security with state-of-the-art processing architectures in ultra-compact, ruggedized form factor

Northrop Grumman to Supply Space Navigation System to Space Systems Loral (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded a contract from Space Systems Loral (SSL) to supply its space navigation system for a next-generation satellite constellation.

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards

China’s “Heavenly Palace” returns to Earth and burns up (Ars Technica) Due to the station's track, it is unlikely anyone on land had much of a view.

How a new Army team plans to modernize the network (C4ISRNET) The Army's network cross functional team is looking to speed up the fielding of new equipment while evolving the development of longer term solutions.

MilCloud 2.0 Rollout Reaches for the Sky (SIGNAL) The Defense Information Systems Agency’s second venture into groundbreaking commercial service-based cloud infrastructure gets the green light.

A More Cyber-Conscious Supply Chain Management (SIGNAL) The Army is strengthening its cybersecurity posture through a system of systems look.

The Army’s newest satellite antenna is remarkably simple (C4ISRNET) Soldiers can set up the Army's new tactical satellite communications system in 20 minutes.

France tests radar to detect and track ballistic missiles, satellites (Defense News) France is exploring anti-missile defense by conducting studies with a technology demonstrator for an over-the-horizon radar to detect and track ballistic missile launches.

How DoD can integrate cyber into battle plans (Fifth Domain) The services are working to staff new cyber planning cells at the combatant commands to help integrate cyber into traditional military operations.

NASA Figures Out a New Way to Bring Satellite Data Back Down To Earth ( Communicating with satellites is trickier than you might think.

Army to get THAAD and Patriot systems to communicate within two years (Defense News) The one-star general in charge of the Army's air and missile defense modernization sees a path to tying together THAAD and Patriot on the battlefield.

Aegis Ashore system ‘just one part of Japan’s defense mesh’ (Asia Times) Two experts, one writing for Asia Times, explain the shortcomings of Aegis, the need for defense in depth and problems in Japan’s armed forces

The Pentagon has a new metric for SATCOM: lethality (C4ISRNET) With the new National Defense Strategy, the Department of Defense is looking for systems that can contribute to lethality and readiness.

Why industry wants the Pentagon to consider small satellites (C4ISRNET) While small satellites remain popular around industry circles, the question of whether the technology is resilient enough for military utility remains an open question.

Don't launch these tiny satellites, the FCC said. They're apparently in space anyway (Los Angeles Times) Menlo Park small-satellite firm Swarm Technologies apparently launched four tiny satellites despite the disapproval of the Federal Communications Commission.

US Strategic Command chief: It’s taking way too long to get space-based missile defense (Defense News) Gen. John Hyten has vowed to push harder for space-based missile defense sensors at an air and missile defense forum.

Closer to the fight: Inside the Corps’ plan to deploy tech experts alongside grunts (Marine Corps Times) Being close to the fight isn’t just for grunts anymore.

The network will underpin Army’s multi-domain battle concept (C4ISRNET) The Army's incoming Training and Doctrine Command commander said the network will underpin operations in complex environments going forward.

The Army’s other network challenge is hiding in plain sight (C4ISRNET) Following a deep dive into the tactical network, the Army has begun an analysis of its strategic network.

New electronic warfare program tops Army intel wishlist (C4ISRNET) The Army is working to develop a single platform that can do electronic attack and intelligence gathering.

Soldiers, Marines rely on PSYOP, learning a city's rhythm when training for urban warfare (Army Times) While much attention is spent on adjusting weapons systems and training soldiers and Marines to use them, what may be of more value in an urban fight is the work being done years before a conflict erupts.

Japan launches another reconnaissance satellite (Jane's 360) Japan has launched an H-2A rocket carrying an intelligence-gathering satellite from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) launch site at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, raising the number of such satellites placed into orbit by the East Asian country to

NOAA's GOES-S Satellite Is a Game Changer for Severe Weather Forecasts (WIRED) Assuming the 11,500-pound spacecraft makes it into geostationary orbit safely, it'll go by GOES-17.

Design and Innovation

Raytheon’s new Patriot missile software is more first-person shooter, less ‘Pong’ (Defense News) Raytheon's new command-and-control system has a smaller footprint, and a new interface, for the first time in decades.

Maybe Nobody Wants Your Space Internet (WIRED) A growing group of companies believes satellites, balloons, and drones can help bring internet access to everyone on Earth. But what if not everybody wants it?

Russia and China are forcing the Army to buy IT equipment differently (C4ISRNET) The Army is signaling it might be moving away from large programs to allow greater flexibility to insert new capability when needed.

Google is helping the Pentagon learn how to analyze drone footage (C4ISRNET) While this partnership will help DOD analyze the mountains of data collected by drones, Google employees are not all happy with the collaboration.

Army to base new Futures Command in major city, blend tech and academic cultures (Army Times) The Army will start with a list of 30 possible cities due this week to the Army secretary and chief of staff, Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy said.

NASA's new planetary protection officer says she doesn't want 'another red Roadster up there in orbit' (Business Insider) NASA Planetary Protection Officer Lisa Pratt is worried about Elon Musk having sent a Roadster into orbit.

Research and Development

Russia tests new intercontinental ballistic missile (Defense News) Russia says the launch of an ICBM from Plesetsk in northwestern Russia tested performance in the initial stage of flight.

Missile defense failure might prove a good thing for SM-3 IIA in the long run, says MDA head (Defense News) Despite failing to intercept its target, the test achieved a number of other important mission objectives.

Joint Warfighting Assessments will embed in existing exercises (Defense News) Army Forces Command commander said Joint Warfighting Assessments will not be stand alone events but will be part of other exercises going forward.

DARPA to use artificial intelligence to help commanders in ‘gray zone’ conflicts (Military Times) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a new program aimed at gauging what the adversary is up to during 'gray-zone' conflicts.

Protecting weapons systems against cyber attack: It’s all about resilience ( The Air Force’s Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems (CROWS) is assessing how the Air Force fields and sustains its weapons systems.

Scientists Hope to Clean Space Junk (VOA) Space scientists say the satellites and other spacecraft orbiting the Earth, including the International Space Station, are in increasing danger of collision with pieces of junk. Engineers are working hard to solve the problem of removing the trash that threatens functioning satellites worth millions of dollars. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Russia test-fires Kinzhal hypersonic missile (UPI) A Russian jet successfully test-lauched a hypersonic missile Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Scientists Successfully Test an Air-Breathing Satellite Thruster (Motherboard) How to make atmospheric drag work for satellites, instead of against them.

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation

Deciphering Kim’s Secretive Visit to Beijing (The Cipher Brief) "In short, China will ensure that they continue to be a key player on all issues dealing with the Korean Peninsula."

Kim family has made denuclearization vows in China before (Military Times) An enigmatic North Korean leader takes a secretive train trip to China to affirm fraternal ties and declare a commitment to denuclearization.

Trump Is the Peacemaker Korea Has Always Needed (Foreign Policy) Stop talking about the president's temperament, and start judging him by his results.

Breaking down China’s electronic warfare tactics (C4ISRNET) Russia has garnered attention with its advanced electronic warfare capability, and China has upped its game in this space as well.

Russian Military Chief Lays Out the Kremlin’s High-Tech War Plans (Defense One) Robotics, artificial intelligence, and a willingness to strike the enemy’s non-military targets will figure in the country’s future strategies.

US revising missile defense policy to include threats from Russia, China: Report (Asia Times) Strategy avoids building full-scale missile shield

Saudi Crown Prince Will Seek to Solidify Anti-Iran Stance With Trump White House (Wall Street Journal) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Washington, D.C., bringing the foreign policy that has shaped Saudi Arabia’s more muscular stance in the Mideast to counter Iran.

Iran says will negotiate if West dismantles nuclear arsenal (Military Times) Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that a top military commander says Iran will negotiate over its missile program if the U.S. and Europe dismantle their nuclear programs.

Blame Trump When Iran Races for the Bomb (Foreign Policy) If the United States breaks its end of the nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic's hard-liners are going to want a weapon ASAP.

White House: Trump 'prepared to potentially withdraw' from Iran deal (Washington Examiner) President Trump is “prepared to potentially withdraw” from the Iran nuclear deal if changes to the agreement aren’t made, White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Monday.

Trump Pentagon pick literally wrote the book on missile defense (Defense News) President Trump has tapped a new assistant secretary of defense for strategy, Marine Corps University’s James Anderson.

New Air Force leader to bring space war-fighting focus to the Pentagon (Defense News) Next week, Maj. Gen. David Thompson will take up the newly created position of vice commander of Air Force Space Command and pin on his third star.

The next Army program executive office will be the Rapid Capabilities Office (Defense News) What will be the next program executive office? One that is already tackling rapid acquisition, according to the Army's new acquisition chief Bruce Jette.

Industry Sounds Off On Pentagon’s Cloud Strategy ( The Defense Department received more than 1,000 comments from industry regarding its JEDI cloud acquisition.

The Scary New Contracting Model That Isn’t Scary or New ( “Other Transaction Authorities” might seem like a risky new acquisition method, but it’s been around longer than the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Pentagon looks to counter ever-stealthier warfare (Space Daily) The US military has for years enjoyed a broad technological edge over its adversaries, dominating foes with superior communications and cyber capabilities.

Congress OKs $1.3 trillion budget, averting another shutdown ( Congress has approved a giant $1.3 trillion spending bill that would end the budget battles for now

Congress has some questions about DoD’s multibillion cloud program (C4ISRNET) Congress wants answers about the structure of the DoD’s multi-billion dollar cloud acquisition program.

The satellite surprise inside the spending bill (C4ISRNET) The new spending plan Congressional leaders unveiled Wednesday unexpectedly includes $600 million for the Air Force to extend its wideband satellite communications program by two satellites.

How the Air Force Changed Tune on Cybersecurity (GovTechWorks) Combining development, security and operations into an integrated process -- DevSecOps in industry parlance -- is the new name of the game. The aim: Build security in during devlopment, rather than bolting it on at the end.

Trump touting ‘space force’ puts Air Force in awkward spot (Defense News) A day after President Donald Trump reversed course to propose the creation of a separate military ‘space force,’ top U.S. Air Force leaders who opposed the idea downplayed the idea of a disconnect.

The Pentagon Refuses To Discuss How It Plans To Screw Up The New Space Force Uniforms (Task & Purpose) If television has taught us nothing, it is that bright red shirts are not a good idea for space uniforms, especially for young ensigns.

The US Air Force Is Preparing For War in Space in The Next Few Years (ScienceAlert) The Air Force already faces extensive operational obligations on Earth, but the service is shifting focus to prepare for what many see as the growing potential for conflict in space.

US Space Corps could launch in 3 years, key lawmaker says (Defense News) Congress’ strongest supporters of a new Space Corps have not given up the fight, slamming the U.S. Air Force for wasted time as Russia and China pose a growing threat to America’s vital satellites.

DoD and interagency group looking to step up collaboration on space technology ( Pentagon official: “There are new threats that the industrial base needs to support. So what does this mean in terms of production capacity?”

Pentagon May Create a Combatant Command for Space ( The Defense Department is also looking at major changes to speed up how it buys satellites.

House Approps Chair Promises Pentagon ‘Flexibility’ On O&M Funds (Breaking Defense) Legislators will probably loosen some rules on federal spending to help the Pentagon cope with Congress's failure to pass funding bills until six months into the fiscal year. Budget dysfunction has gotten so bad it's forcing even the famously strict appropriations committees to loosen the reins after years of resistance.

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement

Keep those nuclear secrets secret. OK, I'll hoard them in my attic (CSO Online) Weldon Marshall recently pled guilty to stealing U.S government secrets associated with the U.S. nuclear weapons systems and keeping them in his Texas home.

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