Signals & Space Monthly Cyber Security Briefing

June 2018

Prepared by the CyberWire (Friday, June 1, 2018)

Fighting in Syria.

Fighting continues in Syria, although at lower levels of intensity than seen in recent months. Inspectors have not wavered from their earlier conclusion that Assad's forces used chemical weapons against insurgents and their surrounding population. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to whom the inspectors belonged, indeed found additional evidence that suggests the possibility that the Syrian government was employing chlorine gas in its attacks.

Kinetic operations involving Russian forces may be somewhat reduced, for now at least, but Israeli exchanges with Iranian forces and their proxies operating in Syria showed an increased tempo. These engagements contribute to heightened tensions between Iran and Israel. Missile and drone strikes have been conducted by both sides; conventional airstrikes by Israeli forces. The mid-month surge in Israeli strikes was a response to Iranian rocket attacks against the Golan Heights.

To look back at Russian and US operations in the theater, last month it was unclear whether Russian attentions had been directed at USAF EC-130H Compass Call airborne jammers or AC-130 gunships. Air Force public comment on the matter had been ambiguous. It's now clear that the Russians have been principally concerned with the AC-130s. The gunships had been particularly lethal when employed against deniable Russian forces, nominal mercenaries, during engagements in February.US forces are struck by the extent and effectiveness of Russian electronic warfare. The experience of being on the receiving end of jamming and other EW has contributed to a kind of revival of interest in electronic combat in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps especially. The Services are expressing concern over their EW supply chain, doctrine, and organization. The Army in particular seems interested in quick, systematic improvisation to regain strong EW capabilities. Such improvisation is likely to be enabled by quick procurement authorities.

Israeli espionage and Iranian nuclear aspirations.

At the end of April Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly revealed the results of an Israeli intelligence operation that brought out a large trove of Iranian documents related to its nuclear program. The burden of his announcement was expressed on the widely quoted PowerPoint slide the Prime Minister used to illustrate his briefing: "Iran lied." The documents presented are generally regarded of falling short of providing dispositive proof that Iran was cheating on its end of the nuclear non-proliferation undertaking it signed several years ago, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) but they didn't do Iran much credit, and suggested that Tehran had been less than candid concerning the history of its nuclear weapons program.

The Israeli intelligence operation was widely characterized as a physical "raid" and thus much more a traditional espionage operation than an electronic or cyber op. Netanyahu displayed cases of binders and CDs obtained by the raiders from warehouse storage inside Iran. 

Reaction to the Netanyahu briefing has tended to follow the observers' predispositions with respect to the wisdom of the JCPOA. Proponents of the JCPOA see them as unwelcome but not fatal to the agreement, opponents see them as strong evidence that Iran is cheating, and those in the middle tend to regard the documents as showing at least that Iran negotiated details of the JCPOA under what amount to false pretenses. While a great deal of the publicly expressed hope that the JCPOA would inhibit nuclear proliferation in the Middle East centered on restraints the agreement imposed on uranium refinement, the documents Netanyahu presented focus on design work for a usable nuclear weapon. He claimed that design work has continued unabated into the present.

A number of observers found little new in the material, saying that much of it had been uncovered by International Atomic Energy Commission inspectors as long ago as 2011. Thus the presentation is regarded by most as more an attempt to influence world opinion than a fresh intelligence revelation. The weapon design displayed in the Prime Minister's PowerPoint deck appears to be a boosted implosion device, a more challenging bit of engineering than the gun-assembled weapon history and all the worry about uranium centrifuge cascades might have led one to expect.

US exits Iran nuclear deal.

The timing of the Israeli briefing came while the US was in the final stages of considering whether it would remain in the JCPOA or leave the agreement. US departure from the JCPOA had been very widely expected for some time, and so it came as no real shock when on May 8th President Trump announced that the US would do just that. "This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made," the President said. "It didn't bring calm, it didn't bring peace, and it never will." The US had for some time expressed reservations over what the Administration has characterized as weak inspection requirements, failure to address long-range missile development, and inattention to Iranian involvement in regional mischief, especially in Syria and Yemen.

It's doubtful that the Israeli presentation had any decisive influence on the American decision, but the US exit was welcomed by Israeli authorities (and, more quietly, by Iran's regional Arab rivals, notably Saudi Arabia, which itself has suggested it might be driven to respond to Iran with a nuclear program of its own).

One of the JCPOA's benefits from Iran's point of view was a relaxation of trade and financial sanctions. These are now in the process of being reimposed by the US. European parties to the agreement have reacted coldly to the US decision, and have considered taking various steps under EU law to block or otherwise circumvent a fresh round of American sanctions, but so far such measures appear to have had little effect. A number of major European companies, Siemens among them, to take one example, are preparing to exit the Iranian market, preferring to retain access to US markets.

The aerospace sector will be particularly affected by a fresh round of sanctions. Boeing and Airbus were expecting large commercial aircraft orders from Iran, by most reports amounting to some $40 billion. That business now appears to be off the table.

For its part Iran is widely expected to look to Russia and China to redress its lost opportunities for trade with the West. Tehran is also expected to increase its offensive cyber operations against Western targets. Security firm CrowdStrike said that it observed a distinct uptick in Iranian cyber battlespace preparation within hours of the US announcement that it would exit JCPOA. The most noticeable initial surge was in phishing and harassing emails sent to diplomatic targets.

US-DPRK summit on, then off, back on.

The other current major proliferation concern is North Korea. Plans for a summit between DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and US President Trump were announced late last month to great éclat. By the middle of May the talks seemed to be on the rocks: Kim had disdainful things to say about the possibilities of renouncing his nuclear weapons, and Trump sent him a sharply worded letter cancelling the summit. By the end of May Kim had made sufficiently conciliatory noises expressing a willingness, an eagerness, to meet, and the summit was back on. The renewed agreement to meet was unaffected by conversations between President Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Abe, the public upshot of which was that North Korean denuclearization remained a matter of the first importance. Some observers say they see signs that Kim may now see the US as a potential guarantor of Kim's personal survival. Others think Kim may be in a bit of hot water at home. The summit is on for June 12th in Singapore.

DPRK hacking.

There have been reports of some drop-off in North Korean hacking, but it continues even as the summit approaches. US-CERT attributed two malware families, the Joanap backdoor Trojan and the Brambul worm, to Pyongyang's Hidden Cobra threat group. Hidden Cobra is also known, perhaps more widely, as the Lazarus Group. North Korean hacking continues to focus on financial crime.

Cyber Command developments.

General Paul Nakasone, now with his fourth star, is beginning to address challenges at NSA and US Cyber Command, clarifying his two organizations' roles and missions while leading Cyber Command into its new place as a Combatant Command. On May 4th General Nakasone succeeded Admiral Michael Rogers, who has retired. That's the same day Cyber Command formally received its new status.

The Air Force Cyber Mission Force achieved full operational capability on May 11th.

Space Command or Space Force?

Some in Congress continue to like the idea of a new uniformed space force, probably to be constituted within the Department of the Air Force the way the Marine Corps has its home in the Department of the Navy. Such a reorganization remains merely speculative at this point, but there is some Congressional (and Presidential) sentiment in favor of the idea. Some recent opinion pieces have taken a mildly surprising turn, suggesting that the Coast Guard offers a better model for a new space force.

Whether a space service would be likelier to have a Semper Fidelis or a Semper Paratus spirit remains to be seen, but in the near term at least reorganization of space operators along more conventional command lines seems likelier.

Space launch services.

SpaceX successfully flew and recovered a Falcon 9 block 5 launch vehicle, which is regarded as a significant step forward in the company's heavy lift offerings, affording cost savings and faster turnaround between flights. The Air Force was sufficiently impressed to push back a GPS satellite deployment so it can consider flying the system on a Falcon 9 block 5. SpaceX is experiencing delays in its human flight program, with test flights of the Dragon crewed vehicle pushed back into late 2018. Boeing has suggested that tests of its own crew-delivery system may also be delayed.

Orbital, which has expressed its intention to compete in the launch market, this month delivered a payload to the International Space Station aboard one of its Antares vehicles.

China is working on a reusable version of its Long March launch vehicle.

Ariane Group is expressing animadversions about the effect SpaceX is having on the launch market. 

United Launch Alliance and its unions appear to have settled a troubling labor dispute.

Industry notes.

Microsoft has won a substantial cloud computing contract with the US Intelligence Community, making considerable inroads into a market where Amazon had shown early dominance. It's a hunting license for Azure deployments to the seventeen agencies that comprise the Intelligence Community. Redmond's win is seen as positioning it to compete for an even larger award from the Department of Defense.



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

Selected Reading

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (19)

Trends (1)

Marketplace (25)

Products, Services, and Solutions (16)

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards (22)

Research and Development (14)

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation (49)

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement (7)

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

Iranian hackers ramp up cyberattacks following Trump’s withdrawal from nuclear deal: Report (The Washington Times) Iranian hackers ramped up their attacks against U.S. targets as expected in the immediate aftermath of President Trump withdrawing this week from the Iran nuclear deal, cybersecurity experts said afterwards.

Israel Says Secret Files Detail Iran’s Nuclear Subterfuge (New York Times) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited no evidence that Iran violated the nuclear deal, but the accusation may bolster the case for President Trump to pull out.

Why Netanyahu’s Revelations Are Significant (Atlantic Council) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 30 provided a twenty-minute PowerPoint presentation of secret Iranian nuclear documents, acquired by Israeli intelligence. The information revealed will be unlikely to change many minds about the...

Mossad’s stunning op in Iran overshadows the actual intelligence it stole (Times of Israel) Most of the info revealed during Netanyahu's dramatic presentation was already public knowledge, and was key in shaping the nuclear deal's inspections regime

'Israel-Iran' fight flares up in Syria (BBC News) Israel launches a massive wave of strikes on Iranian forces in Syria, after coming under rocket fire.

Air Force secretary: China, Russia could shoot down new JSTARS on day one of a war (Air Force Times) Even a new version of the Air Force’s JSTARS battlefield management and control aircraft would be vulnerable to being shot out of the sky during the opening salvo of a conflict with Russia or China.

The risks facing the Pentagon’s high-end electronics and radars (C4ISRNET) The industrial base for electronic attack and radar capabilities is potentially at risk in the future, a new report has found.

The US must secure its supply chain in the face of anti-satellite weapons (C4ISRNET) Supply chain infiltration remains an ongoing threat to national security and more needs to be done to protect these vulnerabilities from cyber espionage and exploitation.

Syria air-defense systems reportedly shoot down Israeli missiles (Defense News) An official with the Iran-led axis of resistance said the strike targeted a Syrian Army position.

Gunship Crews Practice Extra Vigilance Amid Jamming in Syria ( The electronic jamming signals affecting AC-130 gunships over Syria may have crews checking and cross-checking their data.

Russian threat is an ‘eye opener’ for Marines (C4ISRNET) Observations of advanced electronic warfare capabilities have confirmed that Marine Corps forces will have to operate in degraded environments.

OPCW: Chlorine possibly used in attack in Syria's Saraqeb (Al Jazeera) International watchdog OPCW says samples from Saraqeb showed unusual presence of the chemical in the local environment.

Syria's Bashar Assad talks 'world war,' chemical weapons and political solution in new interview (Deutsche Welle) Syria's president believes his country is caught up in a much larger conflict than its own civil war. He warned that "things are going to be out of control" if superpowers engage in direct conflict.

US Government Warns of North Korean APT Malware (Infosecurity Magazine) Joanap and Brambul are being used by Hidden Cobra group, says US-CERT

North Korea hasn't stopped cyberattacks amid peace talks (Cyberscoop) As Kim Jong-un speaks publicly about nuclear disarmament, North Korea's hacker army continues to target different businesses across Europe, Asia and even the U.S.

Indonesia is Islamic State’s new frontline (Asia Times) Recent attacks indicate ISIS-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah militant group has taken deep and dangerous root across the archipelagic nation

Russia brandishes 'invincible' hypersonic missiles (Washington Examiner) Russia on Saturday announced it has fit 10 of its fighter jets on test combat duty with new air-launched hypersonic missiles that top officials say can dominate any missile defense system.

China denies using lasers on US aircraft in Djibouti (Military Times) China on Friday denied allegations that its forces targeted U.S. military aircraft with high-powered lasers near China’s military base in Djibouti, resulting in minor injuries to two pilots.

China ‘crosses threshold’ with missiles at South China Sea outposts (Asia Times) Anti-ship missiles reportedly allow China to strike vessels within a 295 nautical mile radius of man-made islands


NGA official: Artificial intelligence is changing everything, ‘We need a different mentality’ ( NGA is modernizing its cloud architecture “to allow our analysts to live in the data."


Hamstrung By The U.S., Iran Tilts East For Trade Opportunities (RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty) With the United States having pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and Europe considering how to respond in a way that will protect its business interests, Tehran is looking east for new markets and trading partners.

For European firms, resisting American sanctions may be futile (The Economist) But the Trump administration is playing fast and loose with a dangerous weapon

Siemens CEO: We can't do new deals with Iran (CNNMoney) Siemens is winding down its business with Iran for fear of being hit by US secondary sanctions.

The Morning Risk Report: Companies Walk Away From Iran (Wall Street Journal) Companies that choose to leave Iran because the U.S. exited the nuclear deal are doing so for reasons ranging from a need to stay in the U.S. market to potential banking problems or secondary sanctions.

Trump's Iran sanctions are a bitter blow for Europe (Quartz) The US exit from the Iran nuclear deal could cost Europe's biggest companies billions.

Airbus, Boeing: Sales To Iran Now Off Limits (Aviation Week) Expectations that the sales would be lost had been growing for months as Trump openly criticized the Iran deal.

Boeing Loses $20 Billion in Contracts After President Trump Violates Iran Deal (Gizmodo) President Trump announced yesterday that he was unilaterally pulling the U.S. out of the so-called Iran Deal, an international agreement that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for the cessation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But now that the sanctions are being reinstated, some American companies stand to lose a lot of money. Boeing alone is losing about $20 billion in contracts.

Workers at rocket-maker ULA resolve bitter contract dispute (Defense News) ULA and the union have been negotiating contract renewal since mid-April. Here's how the two groups came together.

Ariane chief seems frustrated with SpaceX for driving down launch costs (Ars Technica) “I cannot tell my teams: 'Goodbye, see you next year!'”

How the Army is equipping cyber warriors in (near) real time (Fifth Domain) The Army is leveraging an acquisition vehicle as a means of getting capability in the field faster.

Mercury Systems Receives $2.4M Order for Radar Subsystems for Missile Defense Application (Nasdaq) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRCY) ( announced it received a $2.4 million order from a leading defense prime contractor to provide radar subsystems and related digital processing technologies for a missile defense application.

Microsoft Wins Lucrative Cloud Deal With Intelligence Community ( Microsoft Corp. said it’s secured a lucrative cloud deal with the intelligence community that marks a rapid expansion by the software giant into a market led by Inc.

Raytheon Sustaining the Air Force CENTAUR System (SIGNAL) Raytheon Co., Intelligence, Information & Services, Richardson, Texas, has been awarded $37,366,000 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contact for the sustainment of services to the Cross Domain Enterprise All Source User Repository (CENTAUR) system.

Raytheon to provide 'electronic warfare' tech for Australian Defence Force (Security Brief) "By combining U.S. and Australian strengths, we enhance our ability to deliver decisive electronic warfare capabilities in the Pacific and beyond."

Raytheon dedicates new facilities at Missile Systems business (PR Newswire) Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) executives, along with federal, state and...

A proxy battle of innovation vs. legacy technology (C4ISRNET) The vigorous jousting among competitors over the Department of Defense's JEDI cloud contract is revealing a broader struggle between conflicting approaches to technology and to meeting future government computing needs.

Kaspersky is Off All Federal Networks but Remains on Contractor Systems ( The Homeland Security Department wants to impose greater consequences on contractors that haven’t removed the Russian anti-virus.

Eurocontrol Chooses Thales for Cybersecurity and Digitalisation of Air Traffic Services (Newswire Today) Eurocontrol has awarded Thales two contracts to strengthen the cybersecurity of its information systems and, in partnership with Cegeka to support its continuing digital transformation

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Awards Leidos $250 Million Task Orders (PR Newswire) Leidos (NYSE: LDOS), a FORTUNE 500® science, information technology, and...

Aiming to speed procurements, DoD wants to reduce data demands on contractors ( The Pentagon wants vendors to take no more than two months to develop their final proposals when purchasing its weapons systems.

Tech Group Asks Lawmakers to Release Pentagon Cloud Award Report ( A group representing some of the tech industry’s largest companies is urging Congress to increase transparency of the Pentagon’s winner-take all competition for a broad-based cloud services contract that may be valued at billions of dollars.

South Korea changes spy satellite developer for $930M project (Defense News) The announcement comes after the consortium of local LIG Nex1 and Satrec Initiative, and German-based Airbus Defence and Space, was deprived of its status as the preferred bidder selected last December.

Northrop Grumman Receives Nunn-Perry Award for Mentor-Protégé Program Participation With QTEC (ExecutiveBiz) The Defense Department has given a team from Northrop Grumman the Nunn-Perry award for supporting QTEC Aerospace with its business operations for three years under the Missile Defense Agency’s Mentor-Protégé Program. Northrop Grumman said Monday QTEC saw its business and workforce expand during the effort. The Va.-based firm also worked on the program in collaboration...

Raytheon official: Romania to get the latest Patriot configuration, also used by the US Army (ACT Media) Raytheon US company will deliver the latest configuration of Patriot defense system to Romania, which is also used by the U.S. Army, while Romanian experts will...

NGA deputy director talks acquisition overhaul (FCW) National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Justin Poole said the key to acquisition reform is more autonomy.

Products, Services, and Solutions

Japan buys radar warning receivers that adapt to new threats (Defense News) The contract for Raytheon's all-digital radar warning receivers adds upgradable capabilities for electronic warfare.

F-35 one of most cyber tested US weapons (SBS News) The F-35 stealth fighter jet is probably one of the most cyber tested weapon systems in the US defence inventory, manufacturer Lockheed Martin says.

Mercury Systems Unveils Defense Industry’s First Digital Transceiver Optimized for System Security Engineering using BuiltSECURE Technology (Nasdaq) Ultra-low latency OpenVPX digital transceiver designed for advanced signal processing applications in high threat environments

Orbital ATK launches Antares rocket to serve International Space Station (Washington Business Journal) Dulles-based Orbital ATK Inc. successfully launched its ninth cargo mission to the International Space Station early Monday morning from Wallops Island, Virginia.

SpaceX launches for two customers, misses a fairing recovery [Updated] (Ars Technica) Next chance to catch a fairing will come no earlier than July.

SpaceX’s New Rocket Studied by Air Force, Delaying GPS Upgrades ( The U.S. Air Force has delayed the launch of its first Global Positioning System III satellite from this month to October at the earliest as it reviews the upgraded rocket that Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to use to boost it into orbit.

Northrop Grumman, US Army Install Improved Early Missile Warning in Japan (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) have deployed enhanced Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) capabilities in Japan to advance battlespace awareness and missile defense. The work is part of...

Watch SpaceX Launch NASA's Next Earth-Observing Satellites (WIRED) And five communications satellites from Iridium are piggybacking on the ride.

After “crazy hard” development, SpaceX’s Block 5 rocket has taken flight (Ars Technica) “For those that know rockets, this is a ridiculously hard thing."

Block 5 rocket launch marks the end of the beginning for SpaceX (Ars Technica) Elon Musk seems to be happy with the nine-engine booster—so, he's moving on.

SpaceX delays first commercial flight (Deutsche Welle) A technical glitch has caused SpaceX to delay the first commercial flight of a new rocket as it was about to blast off. The rocket needs to complete seven successful flights before it can transport astronauts for NASA.

Northrop Grumman's 'H03' Firebird Spy Plane Is Now Flying At Mojave Air and Space Port (The Drive) New photos give us a much more complete view of the aircraft, clearly showing its lineage to Scaled Composites' Firebird long-endurance design.

Raytheon to partner on drone-testing airspace corridor (GPS World) The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance selected Raytheon as a key partner in the development of America’s first and most advanced unmanned aircraft system-testing airspace c…

Air Force’s newest missile defense satellite delivers first images (C4ISRNET) The Air Force's newest missile warning satellite sent its first images back to Earth- an event known as

Mercury Systems Unveils Defense Industry's Smallest Secure SSD with Self-Destruct Capability in BGA package (Nasdaq) Precision-engineered for SWaP-constrained embedded systems deployed in harsh, insecure environments

Kratos gets green light to market potentially-armed Mako ‘loyal wingman’ drone to allies (Defense News) Trump's new drone export policies have been a boon to Kratos' international sales prospects, CEO Eric DeMarco said.

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards

Army leaders need more payoff from cyber (Fifth Domain) As the military seeks to better integrate capabilities across the five domains of warfare more seamlessly, operational vignettes provide concrete examples that progress has been made, but more work is required.

Are DoD’s cyber forces too focused on the network? (Fifth Domain) Some believe the Department of Defense should move away from typical information network defense and expand its coverage to include industrial control and data acquisition systems more extensively.

How the Internet of Things could improve weapons tracking (C4ISRNET) A 2017 Newsweek report revealed that the U.S. Army lost more than $1 billion worth of weapons in Iraq and Kuwait due to lax controls and record keeping.

Israel’s new $200 million satellite sparks controversy ― and questions (Defense News) Political deal-making and a state bailout at taxpayers’ expense, or a government lifeline to save a vital component of Israel’s national defense?

European MALE UAV flies under satellite control for first time (Jane's 360) Leonardo and its partner Thales have conducted the first satellite-controlled flight of a European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE)-class unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The milestone, announced on 23 May, involved an unmanned Piaggio Aero P.1HH Hammerhead aircraft demonstrate the ability to be

With electronic warfare, the Army needs to move fast, even with broken things (C4ISRNET) Given the rapidly evolving pace of electronic warfare, it's more important to field flawed equipment that the Army can learn from and iterate upon than it is to wait for a perfect tool that will be impossible to make.

The Army is grooming an elite tier of electronic warriors (C4ISRNET) The Army is undergoing a change to its cyber and electronic warfare personnel. Announced last year, the service will transition its cadre of electronic warfare soldiers into the service’s cyber branch, effectively making them cyber planners.

Air Force Cyber Mission Force teams reach ‘full operational capability’ (45th Space Wing) Air Forces Cyber announced today all Air Force Cyber Mission Force teams achieved full operational capability May 11.

Cyber training needs pain and consequences (C4ISRNET) Fully experiencing the disruptions caused by cyberattacks during training exercises can provide important lessons for commanders on how to deal with network attacks in the field, according to experts who spoke at the 2018 C4ISRNET conference.

Kenya's first satellite 'blasts off' Friday (Capital News) On Friday, Kenya will be the first sub-Saharan African country to launch a nano-satellite into space. Known as the First Kenyan University...

Russia debuts electronic warfighter drone (C4ISRNET) Unmanned aerial systems, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance: More and more these assets are powering military operations and informing decision-making.

Inside the U.S.' new state-of-the-art cyberwarfare bunker (Cyberscoop) The Integrated Cyber Center is the latest step to equip U.S. "cyberwarriors" with the infrastructure needed to combat online threats.

US-Jordan exercise tests response to chemical, biological threats (Defense News) An annual drill involving U.S. and Jordanian military forces this year has included a number of first-time training exercises, most notably a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear exercise.

Pentagon green lights Army network strategy — with caveats (C4ISRNET) Two of DoD's chief analysts are tentatively giving a go-ahead to the Army's new network strategy.

How border protection software could help analyze battlefield videos (C4ISRNET) A new software product uses advanced data analytics and machine learning to deliver improved accuracy, helping agents decide when it’s necessary to make a closer inspection of travelers or cargo shipments.

Why a NATO team defended a made-up country’s infrastructure (Fifth Domain) NATO is working on coordinating its cyber defense across the alliance. But is the organization too large to effectively respond to cyber attacks?

HF communications gain momentum with NATO forces (Jane's 360) High Frequency (HF) communication systems are witnessing a resurgence as forward deployed and small unit teams seek to overcome emerging challenges associated with operating in Command and Control Denied or Degraded Environments (C2D2Es), Jane’s has learned. According to senior service

Cry ‘Mavic’ and let slip the drones of irregular war (C4ISRNET) A recent video of a bombing drone suggested it might be a DJI Mavic model, showing how cheap, easy-to-use quadcopters can change future warfare.

USAF expects challenge in certifying modernised nuclear weapon systems for cyber age (Jane's 360) The USAF expects a challenge with certifying revamped nuclear weapon systems for cyber. Its legacy ICBMs, aircraft, and cruise missiles were certified long before the internet era.

Here’s how intelligence will take advantage of machine learning and AI (C4ISRNET) With greater interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning, industry officials offer greater clarity on how those technologies will work for the national security community.

China to test rocket reusability with planned Long March 8 launcher ( China is developing a Long March launch vehicle with a reusable first stage that could have its trial launch as early as 2020, according to a senior Chinese rocket designer

‘Army Of None’: A Clear-Eyed Look At The Rise Of Autonomous Weapons (Task & Purpose) Part historical survey, part ethics discussion, part science fiction, Paul Scharre’s 'Army of None' delivers a comprehensive look at autonomous weapons

Research and Development

China takes a critical first step toward landing on the far side of the Moon (Ars Technica) The Queqiao spacecraft is now on its way toward the Earth-Moon L2 point.

New Air Force satellite for protected comms passes key test (C4ISRNET) The Air Force's Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites provide global, survivable and protected communication between strategic commanders and tactical warfighters.

Army surveys industry for the latest artificial intelligence research for cyber and electronic warfare (Military Aerospace) U.S. Army researchers are surveying industry to determine the state of the art in artificial intelligence technologies for electronic warfare, cyber warfare, signals intelligence, and big-data analytics.

Air Force and NSF partner up to increase science workforce, bolster space tech ( The Air Force and the National Science Foundation are teaming up for a military-civilian research partnership to increase the scientific workforce and work on space technology, one of the Air Force’s top priorities.

BAE Developing GPS-Denied Seeker For Precision Munitions (Aviation Week) BAE Systems is preparing for the potential rapid transition, from demonstration to production, of a low-cost optical seeker that will equip precision-guided munitions with the ability to navigate autonomously when GPS is denied and to automatically detect, identify and home onto fixed, moving and relocatable targets.

Air Force Research Laboratory Reaches First Tech Pact with Coast Guard ( The Air Force Research Laboratory has reached a first-ever agreement with the Coast Guard to work on a range of technologies.

Lockheed Martin-built NASA InSight Lander Officially on its Way to Mars (Benzinga) NASA InSight Mars lander is the first spacecraft to study the interior structure - from crust to core - of the Red Planet.

NASA makes flying to Mars look easy, but cross your fingers for InSight anyway (Ars Technica) Newest spacecraft will burrow into Mars, but it must first get there safely.

Space photons bring a new dimension to cryptography (Geospatial World) France: ESA and its partners will investigate how satellites can distribute photon ‘keys’ to help secure encryption.

The Army wants to give soldiers a Netflix-like recommendation on the battlefield (C4ISRNET) Now, the Army wants to take a page out of Netflix’s playbook and use artificial intelligence to recommend decisions to soldiers on the battlefield.

How the Army could unlock the secret to coalition comms (C4ISRNET) The Army is test-driving new network concepts for battlefield communications.

SpaceX and Boeing spacecraft may not become operational until 2020 (Ars Technica) "The contractors have had difficulty executing aggressive schedules."

Israel postpones U.S.-based test of Arrow-3 missile interceptor (Reuters) A planned live test of Israel's Arrow-3 ballistic missile interceptor in the United States has been postponed to improve the system's readiness, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

This is how soldiers could fly drones with their minds (C4ISRNET) Speaking at the Army Training & Doctrine Command's Mad Scientist 2018: Bio Convergence & Soldier 2050 event, SRI's Peter Kant shed some light on the battlefield of the future.

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation

The Morning Risk Report: Trump’s Iran Decision Starts 6-Month Exit Countdown (Wall Street Journal) Foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies have six months to leave Iran, according to U.S. government guidance released alongside President Donald Trump's decision Tuesday to exit the nuclear agreement.

Nuclear Option (Times) There were always problems with the Iran nuclear agreement because it did not stop enough of Iran’s nefarious activities. Those it stopped, it did not stop for long enough. Far from encouraging...

Donald Trump withdraws US from Iran nuclear deal: How the world reacted (Deutsche Welle) Germany, France, the UK and the EU called on Iran to stay committed to the accord after Donald Trump said the US would withdraw, while Trump's Middle Eastern allies praised his decision. DW rounds up the key reactions.

The United States Finally Has an Aggressive Plan to Defang Iran (Foreign Policy) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has an impressive strategy to counter Tehran and break free from two decades of failed U.S. policy.

In Hard-Line Speech, Pompeo Criticizes Iran’s Behavior (NYTimes) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a remarkably hard-line speech about Iran, offering no concessions to European leaders who want to do business with Tehran.

France says Israeli information on Iran could be basis for... (Reuters) France's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that an Israeli intelligence haul on Iran's past nuclear weapons program could form the basis of a push for long-term assurances on Tehran's nuclear activities.

EU to reactivate 'blocking statute' against US sanctions on Iran for European firms (Deutsche Welle) EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the bloc plans to kickstart a 1996 law that would prohibit European companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran.

Deal or no deal, Trump should punish Iran’s aviation sector (TheHill) "Regardless of his final decision on the Iran deal, the president should unleash the full force of U.S. sanctions against Assad’s enablers."

How Iran Will Determine the Nuclear Deal's Fate (Foreign Affairs) Iran's foreign policy decision-making process is not a simple top-down exercise by the Supreme Leader but the result of a complex push and pull within a web of organizations.

Saudis bid to match Iran by enriching uranium (Times) Saudi Arabia is seeking to enrich its own uranium, prompting fears of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East after President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal. Riyadh says it wants to make...

Trump Appears to Confirm His Summit With Kim Back on Track ( President Donald Trump appeared to confirm that his summit with Kim Jong Un was back on, three days after he abruptly called off the historic meeting in an sharply worded letter to the North Korean leader.

Trump and Abe make plans to meet ahead of Kim summit, agree it's 'imperative' to dismantle North Korea's nukes | The Japan Times (The Japan Times) U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agree that it is “imperative” to completely dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.

Is a Deal With North Korea Really Possible? (Foreign Affairs) The fundamental issue at hand—should the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take place—is what a minimally successful agreement should look like.

We’re ready to talk any time, North Korea tells Trump (Times) North Korea signalled today that it remained open to talks with the United States “at any time” even as the regime criticised President Trump’s decision to call off their summit. In a restrained...

South Korean leader says Kim Jong Un commits to summit with Trump, denuclearization (Military Times) South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed in their surprise meeting to sitting down with President Donald Trump and to a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Mike Pence: It would be a 'great mistake' if Kim Jong Un believed he could 'play' Trump (Washington Examiner) Vice President Mike Pence believes it would be “a great mistake” if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un believed he could “play” President Trump as the U.S. and the rogue regime prepare to meet in Singapore next month.

Deciphering Kim Jong Un's Motives (Foreign Affairs) Trump should think strategically about the motivations of all the summit’s key players: North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. What is it that they really want?

Is Kim Jong-un in trouble? (Asia Times) With his country's future tied to its nuclear weapons program, some diplomats think hardliners in the North are uneasy about any upcoming deals

China, Japan, South Korea agree on North Korea nuclear action (Deutsche Welle) In the first trilateral talks since 2015, the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea sent a powerful message of unity in the push to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. Trade deals were also on the table.

Dems grit their teeth and cheer for Trump on North Korea (POLITICO) A successful meeting with Kim Jong Un would give Trump and the GOP a big morale boost just a few months before the November midterms.

Galileo row: Britain will defy EU by building its own satellite system, says Hammond (Times) Britain is ready to go it alone or team up with another power to set up a competing military satellite system if the European Union excludes it from Galileo, Philip Hammond said this morning. The...

Pakistan pushes for homegrown satellite development (Defense News) Pakistan’s domestic space agency will receive a budget of just more than $40 million for fiscal 2018-2019.

US anti-ISIS office gets reprieve as Syria pullout accelerates (Military Times) The State Department unit overseeing the fight against the Islamic State group will stay in business for at least six more months, reversing an administration plan for the unit’s imminent downgrade even as President Donald Trump presses ahead with a speedy U.S. exit from Syria.

Former defense officials beg Congress not to fund new nuclear warhead (Defense News) A group of 32 notables wants Congress to defund the low-yield nuclear warhead sought by the Trump administration.

House rejects limit on new nuclear warhead (Defense News) A proposed limit on the administration’s pursuit of a low-yield nuclear weapon was among four defense policy bill amendments the House has rejected.

DISA saved from congressional scalpel, for now ( The House Armed Services Committee’s final draft of the 2019 defense authorization bill is pulling back from its original plan to eliminate seven agencies, such as DISA, from DoD.

White House doesn’t like Congress’ plan to kill DISA (C4ISRNET) The White House wants to eliminate a provision in the House’s draft of the annual Pentagon policy bill that would shutter the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Drones Don’t Wear Uniforms. They Should. (Foreign Policy) Israel’s use of consumer drones against protesters heralds a dangerous, lawless age of conflict.

Why are US drones being based in Greece for the first time? (Defense News) The MQ-9 Reaper will be hunting targets from the European country's airspace, but don’t expect a permanent stay.

Cyber Command has a full cyber staff now (Fifth Domain) Meeting a rigorous set of criteria, Cyber Command's cyber mission force is now fully manned.

Broad new war authorization roils US lawmakers (Defense News) Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he wants to reach consensus on his expansive new war authorization before putting it to a vote, but that consensus seemed far away Wednesday.

Finland, Sweden and US sign trilateral agreement, with eye on increased exercises (Defense News) The threat from Russia is driving greater cooperation between Sweden, Finland and America.

Moscow Has Little Reason to Return to the INF Treaty (Defense One) The incentives that led Gorbachev to sign the pact are gone. The U.S. needs to prepare for a post-INF world.

Israel’s prime minister can now declare war (Defense News) The coalition of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has quietly pushed through a bill expanding his authority to order military operations.

Syria Strikes: The Politics of Legality and Legitimacy (War on the Rocks) When, on April 14, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “If the law is ignored, it is undermined,” he could have been talking both to those who condoned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and to those who resorted to military action to uphold the prohibition on such attacks. Many discussions have followed

Trump administration may throw out PPD-20, the approval process for cyber warfare (Cyberscoop) The White House is looking to rescind PPD-20, a memorandum that helps guide the use of government-backed hacking operations.

A new leader for Army Cyber Command (Fifth Domain) Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty was nominated to be the next commander of Army Cyber Command.

Three decisions Cyber Command’s new leader will have to make (Fifth Domain) What issues will incoming Cyber Command commander face upon taking the job?

What Is Absent From the U.S. Cyber Command 'Vision' (Lawfare) Many issues need to be addressed as Cyber Command implements “command vision” is implemented.

Space Council seeking to protect satellite spectrum ( The National Space Council is studying better coordination of radiofrequency spectrum to protect satellite communications from terrestrial interference.

Trump to sign directive to reform commercial space regulations (TheHill) President Trump is set to sign a directive on Thursday ordering federal agencies to implement reforms aimed at reducing restrictions on commercial space companies.

SPACE Administration would streamline federal oversight of commercial launches (TechCrunch) As part of an ongoing effort to improve the regulatory conditions weathered by companies doing business in space, the Commerce Department has proposed to unify several offices under a new banner: the Space Policy Advancing Commercial Enterprise Administration.

Trump again teases ‘space force’ as the sixth military branch (Military Times) Trump said America is

The US Needs A ‘Coast Guard’ For Space: Semper Paratus Exteriores Spatium (Breaking Defense) A battle has been underway for several years now over who will become the FAA of space and how they will do the job.

Space Corps still an open question. A more likely prospect: U.S. Space Command ( The FY-19 NDAA language calls for a new organization, likely to be named U.S. Space Command, within U.S. Strategic Command, following the same model as U.S. Cyber Command.

HASC Wants a U.S. Space Command Within USSTRATCOM (Space Policy) The House Armed Services Committee will mark up the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act on May 9, 2018. Among its provisions is creating a U.S. Space Command as a sub-unit of U.S. Strategic Command.

The State Department might designate a cyber ambassador (Federal Times) A Department of State reauthorization bill includes a proposal to elevate a proposed Bureau for Cyberspace and the Digital Economy.

NASA chief on Moon return: “This will not be Lucy and the football again” (Ars Technica) Bridenstine did not mention the Space Launch System rocket or the Orion spacecraft.

Army Says It Needs $2B More Per Year For Big Six: Over Half For Air & Missile Defense (Breaking Defense) Looking to spend billions more on its top modernization programs, the Army is changing things up by spending those dollars in places that might come as a bit of a surprise.

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement

Russia Under Fire At UN Over Downing Of MH17 (RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty) Russia has rejected calls at the United Nations to accept responsibility for the downing of Flight MH17 over Ukraine after an investigation found that a Russian Army missile caused the explosion that killed all 298 people on board.

Siren Call: The 'Distinctly High Voice' That Led MH17 Sleuths To Russian Suspect (RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty) When the trail of documentation ended, the suspect's "high-pitched" voice led the way.

Investigators: Buk Missile From Russian Antiaircraft Brigade Downed MH17 (Radio Free Europe | Radio Liberty) A Dutch-led international criminal investigation has concluded that the Buk missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014 came from Russia's 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade.

This Russian unit is being blamed for downing Malaysian Flight MH17 (Defense News) The Dutch-led team investigating the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine in 2014 has named the Russian military unit suspected of providing the missile system that shot down the aircraft.

Top secret scandal behind Kremlin's MH17 Massacre – media (UNIAN) Dutch wreckage analysis left no doubt that a Russian Buk shot down MH17.

NATO, EU Urge Russia to Admit Role in 2014 Boeing Downing - WISC24 (WISC24) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini called in two separate statements on Russia to accept responsibility for the crash of the Malaysian Boeing in Donbas and cooperate in the investigation of the crash. “I call on Russia to accept responsibility and fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability, in …

Idaho State University Lost Enough Weapons-Grade Plutonium to Make a Dirty Bomb (Motherboard) Tfw you misplace your weapons grade plutonium.

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

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