The U.S. Army’s efforts to bring electronic warfare, information warfare and cyber capabilities into expeditionary forces is succeeding, Army leaders report.
To better support tactical commanders, the service developed a pilot program in 2015 to add such capabilities to brigade combat teams (BCTs). In addition to providing equipment, abilities and authorities to BCTs, the service deployed cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA) teams to support the initiative known as CEMA Support to Corps and Below (CSCB).
The CEMA teams, under the guidance of the U.S. Army Cyber Command, provide training to brigade combat teams (BCTs) through National Training Center (NTC) rotations at exercises and home-base training.
So far the CEMA teams have completed 10 rotations at these combat training centers.
Another lesson learned, the general said, was that the CEMA-related equipment that they brought to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) was outdated, built to fight the last war. “And what I mean by that is it was large,” Gen. Hartman said. “It wasn’t mobile. It was built to sit on a FOB [forward operating base] in a fixed location. It wasn’t built to maneuver with a BCT.”
Source: Army CEMA Teams Advance Information, Electronic and Cyber Warfare | SIGNAL Magazine
The U.S. Defense Department released its final request for proposals on the potential $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, a massive cloud computing initiative. The department leadership has chosen to maintain its single source strategy.
Awarding the massive contract to a single contractor has stirred controversy within the cloud computing industry and on Capitol Hill. Critics contend that relying on a single company reduces opportunities for innovation and cost savings.
Source: DOD Sticks to Single Source Strategy for JEDI Contract | SIGNAL Magazine
Millions of times every single day, antagonists search for entry into the U.S. Defense Department’s networks. They come from all over: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran. Some are sponsored by nation-states; others are terrorist groups.
Given the rapid-fire, all-action, all-the-time operations tempo, that movie might be called Fast & Furious: The Cyber Connection. “The speed of cyber is a buzzword, but the surprising thing is how true that is. The turnaround on a mitigation for something we’ve discovered is very fast,” he offers. “It’s a lot. The threat is ongoing and persistent.”
Source: Mission First: The Story of an NSA Hacker | SIGNAL Magazine
Researchers have developed an integrated fabrication process that for the very first time enables the design of soft robots on the millimeter scale with micrometer-scale features. To demonstrate the capabilities of their new technology, they created a robotic soft spider from a single elastic material with body-shaping, motion and color features.
The team first used a soft lithography technique to generate 12 layers of an elastic silicone that together constitute the soft spider’s material basis. Each layer is precisely cut out of a mold with a laser-micromachining technique, and then bonded to the one below to create the rough 3-D structure of the soft spider.
The approach, known as Microfluidic Origami for Reconfigurable Pneumatic/Hydraulic (MORPH), could open up the field of soft robotics to researchers who are more focused on medical applications where the smaller sizes and flexibility of these robots could enable an entirely new approach to endoscopy and microsurgery, researchers say.
Source: This Itsy Bitsy Spider is a Robot | SIGNAL Magazine
The U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) will see major progress next year, says Dana Deasy, the department’s new chief information officer. The joint center will accelerate the delivery of AI-enabled capabilities and develop tools and technologies that will offer benefits across the military.
Patrick Shanahan, the deputy secretary of defense, first ordered the creation of the JAIC (pronounced Jake) in a June 27 memorandum. The JAIC will guide the execution of so-called national mission initiatives, large-scale, high-budget efforts to apply AI “to a cluster of closely-related, urgent, joint challenges,” the memo states. Those national mission initiatives will be developed in partnership with the military departments and services, joint staff, combatant commands and others.
The center also will leverage cloud adoption to establish a department-wide common foundation for execution in AI that includes the tools, shared data, reusable technologies,
Source: Defense CIO Describes Vision for Joint AI Center | SIGNAL Magazine
The U.S. Army Cyber Command’s successful consolidation of capabilities from cyber, intelligence, electronic warfare and signal forces may be the deciding factor in whether sophisticated adversaries prevail in the future battlespace, says Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, USA, leader of the command.
The general emphasizes that cyber is a weapon system, not a service. He states that Army cyber must operate, aggressively defend and modernize these principal weapon systems—both nonsecure and secret Army networks. Where some people would consider these networks a service or an administrative capability, Gen. Fogarty says he views them as core warfighting platforms or weapon systems. “We have to operate them, defend them and modernize them to keep pace with the requirements our combat commanders place on us and that our adversaries pose a threat to,” he states.
The general points out that all these activities focus on supporting active combat operations worldwide over a network that is secure, resilient and adaptive, allowing commanders to leverage the entire power of the U.S. Defense Department.
Source: Convergence Guides Army Cyber | SIGNAL Magazine
Recently, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in response to Executive Order 13800, released recommendations to the President of the United States on the subject of cybersecurity. Included was an emphasis both on domestic policy and international cooperation to achieve several key diplomatic, military and economic goals. The specific focus on international cooperation is a big step in the right direction.
The issues of cybersecurity and cyberwarfare are further complicated by the sheer number and variety of threat actors in the space. One of Secretary Pompeo’s stated goals is to “improve the ability of the United States to deter malicious cyber actors.” The specifics are less clear, even in the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues’ more detailed memo.
What makes one a cyber terrorist?
How should the U.S. and broader international community define a state actor?
Given the similarity in available tools, how should countries mete out justice for a nation state versus a curious young hacker?
These definitions are still lacking.
Source: Implementing an Effective Cybersecurity Strategy | SIGNAL Magazine
If everyone on the planet were to step on one side of a giant balance scale, and all the bacteria on Earth were to be placed on the other side, we’d shoot violently upward.
That’s because all the bacteria on Earth combined are about 1,166 times more massive than all the humans.
Source: Scientists weighed all life on Earth. It’s mind-boggling. – Vox
How America learned to stop worrying and put Mark Zuckerberg in charge of everything.
Last week, we saw another flurry of censorship news. Facebook apparently suspended VenezuelaAnalysis.com, a site critical of U.S. policy toward Venezuela. (It was reinstated Thursday.) Twitter suspended a pair of libertarians, including @DanielLMcAdams of the Ron Paul Institute and @ScottHortonShow of Antiwar.com, for using the word “bitch” (directed toward a man) in a silly political argument. They, too, were later re-instated.
More significantly: Google’s former head of free expression issues in Asia, Lokman Tsui, blasted the tech giant’s plan to develop a search engine that would help the Chinese government censor content.
Source: Taibbi: Censorship Does Not End Well – Rolling Stone
The First Amendment protects us against governmental intrusions; it does not (yet) protect speech on privately owned platforms. Still, the Internet and social media increasingly function as a “modern public square,” as Justice Anthony Kennedy put it in a 2017 Supreme Court opinion. This has created new dilemmas concerning free expression.
The forums of Google and Facebook seem quasi-public in part because of their extraordinary reach.
Facebook’s two hundred million monthly users in the U.S. constitute about three-fifths of the American population. Its algorithms and its censors’ judgments, though they inevitably affect commerce and political competition, are based upon rules that aren’t all published. When moderators at Facebook, Google, and Twitter review the appropriateness of posted content, they generally follow First Amendment-inspired principles, according to Kate Klonick, a legal scholar who analyzed the practices of the three companies in the Harvard Law Review last year.
Some of the platforms’ standards are unsurprising, such as their bans on pornography and terrorist incitement. Other rules require moderators to block “hate speech,” an ambiguous term that, despite Facebook’s efforts at delineation, can be politicized.
Still other censorship reflects sensitivities that arise from operating in dozens of countries, including some run by dictators.
Source: Alex Jones, the First Amendment, and the Digital Public Square | The New Yorker