Signals & Space Monthly Briefing

June 2019

Prepared by the CyberWire (Monday, June 3, 2019)

Starlink constellation gets its first sixty satellites.

A Falcon 9 attempted to put sixty of SpaceX's Starlink satellites into low earth orbit on May 15th, but the launch was scrubbed twice, once for weather, once for possible software issues (Ars Technica). The company finally succeeded in getting its satellites up on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 (Ars Technica).

The Starlink satellites are "production design," but still test articles, SpaceX said, and they joined two prototypes (Tintin A and Tintin B) already in orbit. The spacecraft lack intersatellite links but are otherwise functional. At an altitude of 550 kilometers, the satellites' orbits will decay within a few years. They'll ultimately be joined by a planned 12,000 other comsats. SpaceX has competitors for the space-based Internet commercial market: OneWeb flew the first six of its planned six-hundred-fifty back in March, Amazon plans a 3236-satellite constellation (Project Kuiper), and Ubiquitilink intends to operate a comsat constellation that will be backward compatible with legacy cell phones (TechCrunch).

Not all are enthralled by the prospect of large numbers of commercial satellites in low earth orbit. There's the potential for collisions, of course (C4ISRNET), but there are other issues as well. Some astronomers complain that constellations on the scale being talked about have the potential to change "what a natural sky looks like," and to make it more difficult to observe stars from earth. The Starlink satellites, for example, were easily visible and had the apparent brightness of Polaris. SpaceX says the satellites will get darker as they move to higher orbits, but astronomers aren't so sure (New York Times).

Ground-based competition for satellite spectrum.

The FCC has begun auctioning off spectrum for 5G providers, despite concerns that the coming IoT-heavy networks are likely to interfere with meteorological satellites' communication with their ground stations (Ars Technica).

Securing satellite-based networks.

The Air Force has taken possession of the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite. The jam-resistant AEHF constellation replaces the legacy Milstar system (C4ISRNET).

Jam resistance is of course important to mission assurance, but Defense and industry leaders are concerned about the implications of growing dependence on satellites as an Internet-connected communications backbone. Viasat has received a contract to deliver the first Link-16-capable satellite, which suggests how compelling the pull of satellite networks for tactical operations can be (C4ISRNET). The challenge the community faces is determining how to move large quantities of information among satellites and ground stations without dramatically increasing their attack surface (Breaking Defense).

Securing satellites is attracting more concern as the satellites themselves become more generally reprogrammable. What can be reprogrammed can also be hacked, and that's a concern industry is warning about (ExecutiveBiz). Think of satellites as Internet-of-things devices in earth orbit. Resilience is clearly important; how to achieve it is problematic (Help Net Security).

Commercial and military satellite communications: finding the right mix.

The satellite networks that appear to be emerging seem likely to represent a mix of commercial and military assets. Air Force Space Command and the vendors who supply commercial satcom (Eutelsat, Hughes, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Iridium Communications, SES, Viasat, and Xtar) hope that hybrid network will be "seamless" (Space News).

DARPA this past month announced a funding opportunity that would support integration of military payloads into commercial satellite buses: project Blackjack (ExecutiveBiz). The Broad Agency Announcement for Blackjack was issued on May 25th. DARPA plans to award $117.5 million over the course of the program.

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Drone threats and drone proliferation.

Small drones have of course become commercial commodities. Larger ones, capable of carrying military significant payloads, or long-endurance drones capable of maintaining surveillance for significant periods of time, are also being widely proliferated. Their low cost and relative deniability, to say nothing of the difficulty of defending against them, represent a growing problem.

To illustrate, tensions between the US and Iran remain high, both over US allegations of Iranian cheating on its nuclear nonproliferation undertakings and over well-attested reports of Iranian cyber operations (Military Times). The US has also objected to Iranian regional actions. Washington says, for example, that it has conclusive evidence Iran is behind sabotage attacks against tankers in the Arabian Gulf (Foreign Policy). Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of responsibility for drone attacks against oil production infrastructure in the Kingdom, and particularly of attacks against pipelines. The Saudis have called for US retaliation against Tehran (Military Times).

Other powers continue to enhance their drone arsenals. China is fielding a truck-borne drone-launching and control system (C4ISRNET). And the surest sign that drones are now perceived as a routine capability and a routine threat is the US Army's integration of drone swarms into training rotations at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California ( The National Training Center is not a testing or research and development center, but units have operated there with capabilities procured in limited quantities and integrated into those units' particular missions and organizations.

Acquisition by US Cyber Command.

US Cyber Command has established a Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture (JCWA) to guide the formation of its capabilities development processes. The JCWA, as its name suggests, is designed to be inherently joint. It's seen less as a non-traditional acquisition framework than it is a means of advocacay and deconfliction. It's hoped these will make their own contribution to agile development in a domain where threats and needs shift rapidly (Fifth Domain).

Software acquisition: a perennial problem.

The Defense Innovation Board, in what amounts to a dog-bites-man report, says that the Department of Defense continues to procure software using systems developed to buy complex, big-ticket, long-lead-time items. That may be appropriate if you're buying, say, an aircraft carrier, but not a software tool. As Defense One puts it, "the Pentagon still buys software like it's 1987." And even in 1987 that approach was already seen as too slow.

ODNI is looking to industry for innovation.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has asked industry to provide innovative technologies that could address the urgent and rapidly developing needs of the Intelligence Community. The ODNI has put out a Request for Information concerning technologies that can meet the six objectives specified in the Intelligence Community's Strategic Initiatives:

  1. Augmenting Intelligence Using Machines.
  2. Right, Trusted, Agile Workforce.
  3. Acquisition Agility.
  4. Modern Data Management and Infrastructure.
  5. Private Sector Partnerships.
  6. Comprehensive Cyber Posture.

Replies to the RFI are due by July 26th. These topics are of particular interest: Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computing, Cyber, Data, Electronics, Horizon Scanning, Innovation Management, Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT), Sensors, and, of course, Space (SIGNAL).

OPIR sticker shock.

The Air Force has expected to fly its Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) satellites using funds moving through rapid acquisition channels. House appropriators, however, may be regretting the procurement authorities Congress granted the Air Force through those channels, and is considering a significant cut to the OPIR appropriation, perhaps as great as $200 million (Inside Defense).

The first OPIR satellite is expected to fly by FY 2025. OPIR's predecessor missile warning system, SBIRS, also experienced cost creep during its lifecycle, and concerns based on that record, coupled with the Air Force's reliance on reprogramming funds to pay for OPIR, have made appropriators skittish (C4ISRNET).

And Space Force sticker shock.

The Congressional Budget Office puts the annual cost of running Space Force at between $1 billion and $2 billion. One-time start-up costs, the CBO thinks, would range between $2 billion and $5 billion (TheHill).

Senate advances Space Force; the House isn't so sure.

Senate authorizors (not, it's worth noting, appropriators, at least not yet) are on board with Space Force, and advocate funding it at the levels the President's Budget has requrested (Defense News). Their counterpart in the House are less enthusiastic, preferring not to give the Pentagon the $72 million it's asked for to get Space Force off the ground. Instead, it would rather appropriate $15 million for the Defense Department to study the whole idea (Defense News).

Space National Guard?

Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice thinks Space Force should include a National Guard component. That would actually not represent a major departure from existing force structure. Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Arkansas and Ohio already has Air Guard units with space missions, and two more states are under consideration for space control squadrons in the Pacific region. Lt. Gen. Rice declined to name those states. There is a general consensus within Air Force leadership that Space Force would require some reserve component; that component may well come from the Guard (Federal News Network).

Space Command updates.

Alabama, California, and Colorado are finalists to host the new headquarters of Space Command (Colorado Springs Gazette). The short list of possible locations numerically favors Colorado: Buckley Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Peterson AFB, and Schriever AFB are all in Colorado. The other two sites under investigation are Alabama's Redstone Arsenal and California's Vandenberg AFB (US Air Force). Note that the headquarters search is being conducted for the existing Combatant Command, not for the projected Space Force.

Securing supply chains by vetting vendors (and investors).

As concerns about the security of the software supply chain mount, the Defense Innovation Board has recommended providing the Defense Industrial Base a blacklist of untrustworthy vendors. What such a blacklist might look like is suggested by the companies, all of them Chinese, called out in the 2019 Defense appropriations bill: Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Dahua Technology (FCW).

Such security concerns will probably affect not only what companies may sell to the Defense Industrial Base, but what companies can invest in them. Ellen Lord, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, is working toward a "Trusted Capital Marketplace" that would warn companies against taking on foreign investors who themselves pose a security risk (ExecutiveGov). The program is, like proposed blacklists of vendors, aimed initially at Chinese money, which is thought to have been used to gain access to US-developed military technology. The Trusted Capital Marketplace is as much a carrot to American firms as it is a stick to Chinese investors: it would actively seek to link US companies with trustworthy sources of capital (Defense News)

A renewed moonrace.

As the US plans a return to the moon and China intends to go there, too, a third and predictable contestant in a new moonrace has announced itself. Russia also intends to head for the moon with crewed spacecraft, with plans to deliver cosmonauts to the lunar surface by 2030 (Computing). In the US the shape of NASA's plans are growing clearer. The space agency has ordered the first major component of the Lunar Gateway space station it intends to put in a "high, elliptical orbit balanced between the Earth and Moon" to serve as, essentially, a permanent, reusable Command Module. Maxar Technologies has been given a contract to produce power and propulsion modules for the Lunar Gateway (Ars Technica).

As for getting back to the moon in 2024, NASA this past month ruled out using SpaceX boosters to fly its craft. The agency will return to its own launch vehicles (CNET), at least for the crewed missions. But some planned uncrewed missions that will attempt soft landings (for which NASA announced commercial contracts at the end of May) will ride Falcons (Ars Technica).

Technical difficulties may be smaller than budgetary ones: the Government Accountability Office reports that NASA's big ticket items, specifically human spaceflight and the James Webb Space Telescope, are proving expensive enough to put both at risk. NASA told Congress in May that, to reach the moon by 2024, it would need $1.6 billion in addition to the President's Budget request of $21 billion (Ars Technica).



Today's edition of the CyberWire reports events affecting China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Selected Reading

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (21)

Trends (2)

Marketplace (26)

Products, Services, and Solutions (16)

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards (28)

Design and Innovation (9)

Research and Development (7)

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation (31)

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement (1)

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

Space: New cybercrime battlefield? (Deccan Chronicle) Satellites and Space Stations, despite being in space, are susceptible to cyberattacks.

Satellite Images Raise Questions About Iran Threat, Experts Say (The Daily Beast) More than a thousand American troops are headed to the region, but questions about the threat persist.

U.S. Intel Indicates Iran Behind Tanker Sabotage (Foreign Policy) President Trump is warning armed conflict with Iran would be the country’s ‘official end.’

There are real reasons to be wary of Iran, Joint Chiefs chairman says (Military Times) The U.S. is beefing up its presence in the Middle East in response to perceived threats from Iran, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs said, but it is not a provocation to war.

Pentagon chief: Threat from Iran 'on hold' (TheHill) Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Tuesday said the threat from Iran is “on hold,” after the deployment of additional U.S. military forces to the Persian Gulf region.

As tensions rise, could Iran mistake airliners for warplanes? (Navy Times) Iraqi officials said ExxonMobil Corp. began evacuating staff from Basra, and Bahrain ordered its citizens out of Iraq and Iran over

Saudis blame Iran for drone attack amid calls for US strikes (Military Times) Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of being behind a drone strike that shut down a key oil pipeline in the kingdom, and a newspaper close to the palace called for Washington to launch “surgical” strikes on Iran, raising the specter of escalating tensions as the U.S. boosts its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

The crash potential of space traffic is growing. Who can help? (C4ISRNET) The Air Force currently is tasked with space management, but officials suggest that another organization is better suited to address increasing challenges.

Hackers can fake radio signals to hijack aircraft landing systems, warn researchers (Computing) Attackers could potentially change the course of a flight using $600 worth of commercially available equipment

Why North Korea Is Testing Missiles Again (Foreign Affairs) In the wake of the Hanoi summit’s failure, Pyongyang’s renewed commitment to testing missiles could portend a turn back to a confrontation between the United States and North Korea.

This Chinese truck can launch a salvo of drones (C4ISRNET) The truck's secret weapon is contained in a series of tubes.

Does your combat experience even matter against Chinese and Russian troops? (Military Times) To boost American morale in the face of a rising China and resurgent Russia, some pundits point to the U.S. military’s surplus of combat experience and large-scale logistical expertise in massing forces.

Russian military gains in Ukraine could spell trouble for the US Army, even in a conventional fight (Army Times) Cyber warfare is important, but missiles, artillery, tanks and infantry are still dominating the actual battlefield.

Leaks, Drones, Mystery Attacks: US-Iran Tensions Boil Hot, But… (Breaking Defense) As troops and hardware are on the move in the Gulf, diplomats signal that no one is eager for war.

The Knowns and Unknowns of What’s Happening With Iran (The Atlantic) Conflicting signals from both sides could be read as a march to war or business as usual.

Military plans to counter Iran include possible 120,000 troop deployment, cyber attack ‘Nitro Zeus’ (Military Times) Experts look to potential flare up from an accident or attack. Plans also call for response to Iran ramping up nuclear program.

Using Proxies, Iran Appears to Be Hitting Back in the Fight Over Oil (Foreign Policy) Experts believe Tehran is behind recent attacks on Saudi oil installations and vessels.

Iran threatens to enrich uranium closer to weapons-grade levels without a new nuke deal (Military Times) Iran threatened Wednesday to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its 2015 nuclear deal, raising regional tensions as a U.S. aircraft carrier and bombers headed to the Middle East to confront Tehran.

Iran Withdraws From Certain Aspects of the Nuclear Agreement (Atlantic Council) A year after the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and six months after it re-imposed sanctions, Iran has said it would reduce its compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement in sixty days unless the...

World watches warily as Iran scales back nuclear deal (Deutsche Welle) European powers responded with caution to Tehran's decision to abandon parts of the 2015 nuclear deal. In the US, President Trump imposed fresh sanctions on Iran's crucial metal exports, but he also hinted at a deal.

Drone Use on the Rise, Public Safety at Risk (Infosecurity Magazine) IOActive warns of the safety and security concerns surrounding the commercialization of drones


Securing satellites: The new space race (Help Net Security) Security can no longer be an afterthought. Like IoT devices, a standard or guidelines need to be established for securing satellites.

We are on the verge of a no-win AI arms race, warns NGO (C4ISRNET) A report from nongovernmental organization Pax warns that gains from AI-enabled weapons will be nasty, brutish and short-lived.


Air Force awards $20M contract for new common ground system (C4ISRNET) The Air Force is one step closer to the creation of a new common platform for satellite command and control called the Enterprise Ground Services.

SpaceX challenges Air Force awards on security satellite launches (Los Angeles Times) SpaceX has formally challenged the U.S. Air Force's decision to award millions of dollars in rocket development contracts to competitors.

House appropriators push new restrictions on DoD’s JEDI Cloud contract (Federal News Network) House appropriators want to prevent the Pentagon from spending money to information to the JEDI Cloud contract until it meets several conditions.

Is this a JEDI mind trick? (Federal Times) I don’t question industry’s ability to develop a secure, capable cloud infrastructure for the Pentagon. I do question how on earth the Pentagon screwed up the competition so badly.

Musk and Bezos vie to build US military rocket of the future (Quartz) The Air Force has been terrible at buying rockets. The current contract battle could shape American national security— and the future of private space companies

Florida officials to hold summit on luring military's U.S. Space Command (UPI) Government officials in Florida have organized a summit to launch a campaign aimed at attracting the new Space Command military branch to the state.

A better way for Cyber Command to get the tools it needs? (Fifth Domain) U.S. Cyber Command is reconsidering how it buys and develops the tools cyber warriors need.

DISA, DSS award second OTA to build governmentwide security clearance system (Federal News Network) The Defense Department awarded a $75 million other transaction agreement to Perspecta, the contractor it hired a year ago to construct a separate piece of the National Background Investigation System.

The Pentagon Still Buys Software Like It's 1987 (Defense One) The Defense Innovation Board recently discovered that a 32-year-old report "pretty much said it all."

Building a 21st Century Defense Acquisition Workforce (War on the Rocks) Every year, the Department of Defense spends roughly $300 billion to purchase everything from nuclear submarines to accounting services. The defense

To counter China, Pentagon wants to create patriotic investors (Defense News) The Pentagon wants to play matchmaker between investors and companies looking for cash.

Virgin Galactic is moving its spaceship and crew to Spaceport America (Engadget) Virgin Galactic's program has advanced enough for the company to move its spaceships and operations to Spaceport America.

Virgin Galactic is ‘coming home’ to Spaceport America in New Mexico (TechCrunch) Aspiring space tourism outfit Virgin Galactic has just announced its readiness to shift its operations to New Mexico's Spaceport America, from which the company's first commercial flights will take off. "Virgin Galactic is coming home to New Mexico where together we will open space to change the wo…

CGI joins with Thales on Galileo security software (GPS World) CGI has signed an agreement with Thales Alenia Space France to enhance and maintain security software for the Galileo satellite navigation system.

Mercury Systems Receives $2.1M Order for State-of-the-Art RF Amplifiers Integrated into Naval Electronic Support Program (West) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, announced it received a $2.1 million order from a leading defense prime contractor for custom-engineered radio frequency (RF) amplifiers delivering industry-leading performance required for an advanced naval electronic support program.

Mercury Systems Receives $3.9M Contract to Prepare Next Generation Airborne Radar Processing Subsystems for Production (AP NEWS) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, ) announced it received a $3.9 million development contract from a leading defense Prime contractor to prepare next generation airborne radar processing subsystems for production at the Company’s secure and trusted Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA)-accredited manufacturing facility.

AIS awarded $93.6M contract (Uticaod) Assured Information Security in Rome has been awarded a $93.6 million Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract.This kind of

CACI Wins $415 Million Contract to Develop and Deploy Intelligence Systems for U.S. Army (BusinessWire) CACI International Inc (NYSE: CACI) announced today it has been awarded a $415 million prime contract to design and deploy new technologies for the U.

Navy awards big-ticket cyber space support contracts (Washington Technology) The Navy makes awards for a set of major contracts north of $500 million each to support operations in cyber space.

SAIC Wins Potential $106M IDIQ for DIA Document, Media Mgmt Support (GovCon Wire) Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) has won a potential 10-year, $106M contract to

Rome cybersecurity firm awarded $93.6 million government contract (Oneida Dispatch) Assured Information Security (AIS) in Rome, N.Y., has been awarded a $93.6 million Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, which provides a funding mechanism for any federal government

Perspecta to Support Army Cyber-EW Missions Under $982M IDIQ; Mac Curtis Quoted (GovCon Wire) Perspecta (NYSE: PRSP) has secured a position on a 10-year, $982M contract to help the U.S. Army bui

Former NGA director joins a pair of advisory boards (C4ISRNET) Although former National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo left the agency in February, his decision to join two organizations in the broader intelligence community signal his intention to stay involved in the national security community.

Cubic names Northrop vet Amen to BD leadership post (Washington Technology) Cubic Corp. names 25-year defense market veteran Martin Amen to lead business development for a product line the company acquired earlier this year.

Peraton Awarded $14.9M Ground-based Midcourse Defense Contract (Peraton) Award represents third successive recompete in support of vital national security mission   HERNDON, VA — May 20, 2019 – Peraton...

Intelligent Waves wins contract for US Army’s Defensive Cyber Operations (Army Technology) Intelligent Waves will provide programme management support services for cyber-related, non-traditional procurement activities of DCO programmes and DoD.

Products, Services, and Solutions

GAO in a spat with Raytheon over critical report of GPS ground control system - ( Raytheon says GAO never discussed its findings on the OCX program with the company. The watchdog agency disagrees.

Raytheon rejects report that $6.2B GPS project will be delayed further (C4ISRNET) A new GAO report suggest that the GPS next-generation operational control system, which has already been plagued by delays, will likely be pushed back even further, although primary contractor Raytheon disputes those findings.

Elon Musk's SpaceX takes shot at broadband supremacy (Al Jazeera) SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday. The payload could be a game-changer for half the world.

SpaceX launches Starlink mission, deploys 60 satellites [Updated] (Ars Technica) Guess who's back, back again. Sooty's back, tell a friend.

SpaceX was forced to delay its Starlink mission yet again, but for a different reason (BGR) Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: SpaceX was planning on launching a suite of 60 communications satellites last night but it was forced to scrub the mission and push it to a later date…

SpaceX postpones Starlink launch to update satellite software (Spaceflight Now) For the second consecutive day, SpaceX called off a Falcon 9 launch attempt at Cape Canaveral on Thursday evening, this time to complete a software update on the first 60 satellites for the company’s Starlink network to provide high-speed Internet service from orbit.

SpaceX scrubs second attempt to launch 60 Starlink satellites [Updated] (Ars Technica) Maybe due to a software issue with the satellites?

Raytheon to begin installation of GPS OCX modernised monitoring station receivers (Jane's 360) Raytheon has announced on 13 May that its next-generation global positioning system operational control system (GPS OCX) has completed its final qualification testing of the system’s modernised monitor station receivers, and is now ready for installation worldwide, starting in August. The

BAE Systems Radiation-hardened Electronics in Orbit a Total of 10,000 Years (Space Daily) BAE Systems' radiation-hardened electronics recently reached an unprecedented milestone marking 10,000 cumulative years in orbit. The company's technology has powered satellites and spacecraft for a

Northrop Grumman Successfully Completes First Stage Test for OmegA Rocket (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully conducted a full-scale static fire test of the first stage of its new OmegATM rocket today in Promontory, Utah. This milestone keeps OmegA on track to perform its...

Northrop Grumman to Provide Eight Advanced Electronic Warfare Simulation and Training Systems to US Air Force (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has received a $46 million delivery order for eight Joint Threat Emitter (JTE) Units. This award is a part of the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity JTE Enhanced Delivery...

Northrop Grumman’s G/ATOR Passes Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), in partnership with the United States Marine Corps, recently passed a successful Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) for the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar...

On-Air demo tests using Avanti Communications HYLAS 4 satellite completed (Space Daily) ThinKom Solutions, Inc. reports the completion of successful live demo tests of its ThinAir Ka2517 antenna with Newtec next-generation satellite modems over Avanti's HYLAS 4 satellite.

Mercury Systems Announces Rugged Servers with Second Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (West) New rugged rackmount servers deliver the latest data center-level performance to enable customers to efficiently power their C4ISR edge applications

Cubic to Showcase Industry-leading Expeditionary C4ISR Solutions at Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (PR Newswire) Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) today announced that its Cubic Mission Solutions (CMS) business division will demonstrate ...

Raytheon Intros Common Ground Control Tech for Navy’s Unmanned Systems; Bob Busey Quoted - GovCon Wire (GovCon Wire) Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) has utilized open architecture and the Unmann

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards

After SpaceX Starlink Launch, a Fear of Satellites That Outnumber All Visible Stars (New York Times) Images of the Starlink constellation in orbit have rattled astronomers around the world.

Intelligence agencies think outside the box with SIGINT CubeSats (Intelligence Online) The RF detection and geolocation capabilities integrated in these mini-satellites, sought after for lower production costs, are becoming increasingly popular among the intelligence crowd as they

NASA officially orders its first segment of a lunar space station (Ars Technica) "This time when we go to the Moon, we're actually going to stay."

NASA head rules out SpaceX rockets for 2024 moon mission (CNET) The space agency's administrator says it absolutely plans to return on the back of its own launchers.

Air Force wants to expand tactical data network to space (C4ISRNET) Viasat has been awarded a contract to develop the first Link 16 capable spacecraft, which will allow the military to expand the Link 16 network to beyond-line-of-sight communications.

The Army wants C5ISR systems on demand (C4ISRNET) The Army is focusing on global hot spots where it thinks it might have to respond with soldiers by sending the proper technicians ahead first. Army staffers are also making sure they configure systems as much as possible in advance of competition, however, but forward technicians can assist if systems break or need to be tweaked.

Army network kit empowers soldiers like never before (C4ISRNET) Tactical network modernization allows soldiers to take control of their environment, a critical attribute for future operations as the Army prepares troops to operate on sophisticated and evolving battlefields.

Army to deliver network updates every 2 years (C4ISRNET) This approach to incrementally improve capability is a departure from previous efforts, where the Army was locked into one vendor and one technology set.

Will new Army network tech lead to more — or less — micromanagement? (C4ISRNET) Army brass is now granted access to data in real time. This includes troop movements down to the minute, and while that sounds useful, soldiers find it isn’t always being used effectively.

Understanding the Army’s new approach to its tactical network (C4ISRNET) The Army is mixing existing programs of record and commercial off-the-shelf capabilities to communicate in congested environments and provide situational awareness.

The Navy wants a jammer that will help when flying into enemy airspace (C4ISRNET) Two companies received more money for ongoing work related to the Next Generation Jammer.

It’s not about units, the future fight will be systems vs. systems, says Army 3-star (Army Times) Generals say forward presence needed and constant monitoring essential to preventing, ending conflict.

Big Changes Coming to NTC: Drone Swarms, Communication Headaches ( In addition to fighting an armored opposing force, BCTs will soon have to face a greater drone presence here.

Marines want their phones and tablets to handle classified data (C4ISRNET) The Marine Common Handheld program will provide secure mobile computing at the tactical edge.

For the Air Force, not every record needs to be on paper (C4ISRNET) Better data entry means better data and more time for maintenance.

Does Cyber Command need more electronic warfare tools? (Fifth Domain) Cyber forces of the future might need to exploit the electromagnetic spectrum to get at targets not connected to traditional networks.

What’s the end game for the US Air Force’s command and control overhaul? (C4ISRNET) In an exclusive interview, the Air Force chief of staff explained how he'd like to see his multidomain command and control initiative take root in the Pentagon.

Thales CEO on Drone Security, Data Protection (Yahoo) May.17 -- Patrice Caine, chief executive officer at Thales, discusses protecting against the threat of drone attacks in Saudi Arabia and securing data privacy. He speaks with Bloomberg's Caroline Connan on "Bloomberg Surveillance."

5G likely to mess with weather forecasts, but FCC auctions spectrum anyway (Ars Technica) FCC auctions 24GHz spectrum despite likely interference with weather satellites.

A classified DoD network has problems. Now what? (C4ISRNET) The Defense Information Systems Agency identified five areas for improving the Joint Regional Security Stacks.

AF plans to accelerate defendable space with Next-Gen OPIR (U.S. Air Force) The Air Force announced its intention to award two sole-source contracts for the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared program.

Securing The Space Cloud: It’s Really Hard (Breaking Defense) "Security in space is different than security on Earth," says Jeb Linton of IBM Watson. "If you lose command and control for even five minutes, your satellite could be completely shut down."

Lockheed's Lisa Callahan: Industry Must Secure Comms to Reprogrammable Satellites (ExecutiveBiz) Industry executives have warned that the growing interest of satellite operators on software-defined satellites that can be reprogrammed on orbit also increases their vulnerability to cyber threats, SpaceNews reported Monday.

How military leaders got a clearer view of the cyber environment (Fifth Domain) Cyber Command's new integrated cyber center drastically improves the information sharing of cyber threats across the government.

Air Force gains increased capacity with new anti-jamming satellite (C4ISRNET) With the addition of a fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, the Air Force has gained increased capacity in its mission to provide jam-resistant communications for high priority military assets and national leaders.

DISA Seeks Info on Quantum-Resistance Cryptography (ExecutiveBiz) The Defense Information Systems Agency is in need of industry-based information regarding the use of quantum-safe algorithms for cybersecurity. DISA said Monday in a FedBizOpps notice that it intends to evaluate the use of these algorithms and cryptographic approaches to protect the Department of De

The Army looks to build up its cyber arsenal (Fifth Domain) Could tactical Army cyber units leverage tools from Cyber Command?

As cloud computing lifts off, fog computing remains (C4ISRNET) ManTech says it has produced a system that will enable tactical war fighters to process and analyze intelligence in real time.

Design and Innovation

ODNI Seeks Industry Innovation (SIGNAL Magazine) The intelligence agency is looking for industry to present capabilities to enhance national security.

Honeywell Brings Blockchain to Used Aircraft Parts Market (Wall Street Journal) The company is using blockchain to shake up the market for used aircraft components, making it easier to check the certification and origin of a part and speeding up transactions.

BAE Makes Big Bet On Small Companies: FAST Labs (Breaking Defense) "This is not based on ownership. We leave them their freedom."

Four takeaways from the 4-star general at Army Futures Command (Army Times) Growth and Multi-Domain Operations top the list, Gen. John Murray says.

Failure IS An Option: Army Gen. Murray (Breaking Defense) The Army must take risks to modernize, the Futures Command chief said, and the modernization effort will survive the inevitable failures along the way.

Learning from the ‘mistakes of the future’ (Army Times) How do you avoid repeating the mistakes of the future?

Northrop Grumman Successfully Demonstrates Critical Space Capability for DARPA Mission in Record Time (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully demonstrated rapid spacecraft development for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), with the Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration (R3D2), which launched on March 28, 2019.

Pence: 5G Plan Will Spur Space Innovation (Breaking Defense) "President Trump has made it clear that the race to 5G is a race America will win," Pence said.

This Startup Learned the Hard Way What It's Like to Work With the Pentagon (Inc.) What happens when a wildly ambitious young startup decides to work with the military? It's complicated.

Research and Development

DARPA posts solicitation for Blackjack satellite integration (Intelligence Community News) On May 29, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency posted a solicitation for Blackjack satellite integration. Abstracts are due by 4:00 p.m. Eastern on June 11. Questions are due by 2:00 p.m.…

Pentagon hits pause on redesign of critical homeland missile defense component (Defense News) The Pentagon is taking a strategic pause on its Redesigned Kill Vehicle -- a key future component of the Ground-Based Interceptors, which make up the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System designed to defend the homeland against possible threats from North Korea and Iran.

Under Skyborg program, F-35 and F-15EX jets could control drone sidekicks (Defense News) Robotic jets could fly alongside the F-15EX and F-35 as soon as five years from now.

Northrop Grumman Demonstrates GPS Software Defined Radio Navigation Solution During Flight Test (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate, demonstrated the first Software Defined Radio (SDR)-based, M-code enabled GPS receiver on production-capable...

Air Force's Space 'Think Tank' Studies Future of Conflict Beyond Earth ( Within the Air Command and Staff College resides a task force that has one core mission: to be America's think tank for space.

The Pentagon AI center wants to solve these 4 problems (C4ISRNET) Though relatively new and secretive, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center has revealed it is working to improve predictive maintenance, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, cyberspace and robotic process automation initiatives.

Northrop Grumman Finishes Environmental Test on NASA’s Webb Telescope (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Spacecraft Element (SCE) successfully completed its last environmental test, thermal vacuum testing, at Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) in Redondo Beach. Thermal vacuum...

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation

Russia plans to land cosmonauts on the Moon by 2030 (Computing) Roscosmos plans to build a new Super Heavy booster able to carry 27 metric tons to lunar polar orbit.

How Russia (yes, Russia) plans to land cosmonauts on the Moon by 2030 (Ars Technica) "Very difficult times are ahead for our space program."

Chinese military to replace Windows OS amid fears of US hacking (ZDNet) Chinese military won't move to Linux, but develop a custom OS instead.

Why North Korea Is Testing Missiles Again (Foreign Affairs) Is a much larger escalation on the horizon?

Evidence Iran was behind Gulf attacks to be presented to UN, John Bolton says (the Guardian) Trump national security adviser says evidence can be shown as early as next week

Saudi Arabia asks nations to respond to Iran with ‘firmness’ (Military Times) Saudi Arabia hastily called for the meetings in response to the spike in tensions with its key rival, Iran. That King Salman could quickly bring regional leaders and heads of state to Mecca so rapidly reflects the kingdom’s weight in the region and its desire to project a unified position on Iran.

Iran's Supreme Leader says there will be no war with U.S. (Reuters) Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Tehran does not se...

The New Space Race (Foreign Policy) The latest front in a return to Cold War rivalry is the effort to build an all-American rocket for military launches.

FCC Debates Space Debris Rules (Breaking Defense) "It is rocket science, after all," says Trump-appointed FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who questions the commission's mandate on orbital debris mitigation oversight for commercial space companies.

Iran announces it will stop complying with parts of landmark nuclear deal (Washington Post) Iran set a 60-day deadline for new terms to the nuclear accord amid a looming confrontation with United States.

MoD boosts space defence as threat to satellites grows (Times) Britain is planning new defence and military surveillance capabilities in space as concern grows over “increasing and diversifying” threats. Whitehall’s first defence space strategy, obtained by...

How the US could push Russia’s defense spending to the brink (Stars and Stripes) The United States should pull a page from the Cold War playbook and drive Russia to spend money in a tit-for-tat power game that its smaller economy can’t support, a think tank said in a recent study.

House Appropriators Take Aim at Some of the Pentagon’s Most Ambitious Tech Ideas (Defense One) The new Congress is cold on many of the Pentagon’s most elaborate projects and plans.

Proposed cut to Next-Gen OPIR could deal major blow to USAF's rapid acquisition plan ( The Air Force could see a major cut to its plan to fast-track development of the next generation of missile warning satellites as House appropriators pitch a plan to reduce the program's fiscal year 2020 funding by more than $200 million.

Congress asks how the Air Force will pay for new missile warning satellites (C4ISRNET) In a report released May 20, the House Appropriations Committee expressed concern about the Air Force’s $1.4 billion budget request for its next generation missile warning satellite system..

Senate authorizers approve Space Force but switch up its organizational structure (Defense News) The proposal focuses on reducing the bureaucracy of creating a new space service.

House appropriators to Pentagon: Figure out an alternative to Space Force (Defense News) House appropriators would deny the Pentagon the funding it wants to stand up a Space Force headquarters.

Space Force: It’s Not Dead, But… (Breaking Defense) CSIS's Todd Harrison, who supports the proposal, says his odds on the Space Force being fully approved by Congress this year are currently "slightly less than 50 percent."

CBO confirms nearly $2 billion Space Force price tag (TheHill) The Trump administration’s proposed plan to create a new Space Force could increase annual Pentagon costs by $1 billion to nearly $2 billion and require one-time startup costs of $2 billion to nearly $5 billion, 

Independent estimate claims Space Force could cost up to $4.7B in start up costs (Defense News) An independent analysis of the costs of launching and operating Space Force disputes the Department of Defense’s estimate that the new service could be launched for $2 billion over a five-year period.

Defense spending bill includes $15M to study Space Force (TheHill) A House defense spending bill would provide $15 million to study plans for a Space Force rather than funding the establishment of the military branch as President Trump requested.

Former U.S. officials sign open letter in support of DoD's Space Force proposal ( A group of 43 former defense and intelligence officials signed an open letter that expresses “strong support for establishing the U.S. Space Force.”

The New Hunt for Moon Money (Government Executive) The Trump administration has asked Congress for more funding to meet a very ambitious deadline.

NASA reveals funding needed for Moon program, says it will be named Artemis (Ars Technica) "It requires everything that America has to offer to reach the end state."

Trump wants $1.6 billion for a moon mission and proposes to get it from college aid (Quartz) Artemis could carry the first woman to the moon...if Congress funds it.

Senators push for US Army to fully own terminal missile defense system (Defense News) Will the Army get full ownership of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System? Some senators want it to happen.

Marines expand their reach to take up global counterterror cyber mission (Fifth Domain) In their support of Special Operations Command globally, the Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command is responsible for thwarting terrorist activity online.

NGA’s new deputy director is a familiar face (C4ISRNET) A leader that's no stranger to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has been named to replace current Deputy Director Justin Poole, who announced in April that he would resign June 11.

Trump taps Barbara Barrett, former Aerospace Corporation chairwoman, as next Air Force secretary (Air Force Times) Trump revealed his choice for the 25th Air Force secretary in a tweet Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the conclusion of a farewell ceremony for departing SECAF Heather Wilson.

Could an advisory board help intel innovation? (C4ISRNET) The latest Intelligence Authorization Act, which was approved by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on May 14, would establish an advisory board for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The Air Force names a new boss for ‘cyber effects’ (Fifth Domain) The Air Force's recently created deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations is getting a new leader.

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement

New details from Oracle point to former Navy official as third executive caught up in JEDI controversy (Federal News Network) Oracle filed an amended complaint to the Court of Federal Claims that provides more details to what it alleges a deep conflict of interest in the development of the $10 billion JEDI cloud program.

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


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