HQDA Cyber Directorate Weekly Media Report

22-30 December 2016

Table of Contents


What is ISR in non-physical domains?

C4ISR & Networks, 29 Dec 16, Mark Pomerleau

Impact of future Army Cyber Command headquarters felt throughout year

The Augusta Chronicle, 26 Dec 16, Staff Reports

Fighting in the cyber domain: US Army Central creates cyberspace strategy

Army.mil, 23 Dec 16, Leticia Hopkins

California Guard May Send More Troops to Ukraine in 2017

Military.com, 28 Dec 16, Oriana Pawlyk


Grounding of Super Hornets, Growlers Caused by Exploding Jet Canopy

The Virginian-Pilot, 29 Dec 16, Brock Vergakis

New in 2017: Marines likely to expand cyber warfare units

Marine Corps Times, 27 Dec 16, Matthew L. Schehl

New DARPA radio transmitter could revolutionize battlefield communications

Military Times, 29 Dec 16, Shawn Snow


Germans detect hand of Russia as political cyber war escalates

The Financial Times, 29 Dec 16, Stefan Wagstyl

Kingdom of Jordan Purchases Electronic Warfare System

Signal Magazine, 22 Dec 16, Unattributed

India Issues Global EW Suites Tender For Tejas Combat Aircraft

Defense World, 29 Dec 16, Bureau Writers

U.S.-supplied drones disappoint Ukraine at the front lines

Reuters, 22 Dec 16, Phil Stewart

Czech Republic sets up unit to counter fake news threat

CNN, 28 Dec 16, Laura Smith-Spark

How the Kremlin Recruited an Army of Specialists for Cyberwar

The New York Times, 30 Dec 16, Andrew E. Kramer

North Korea hackers could ‘paralyse’ US Pacific Command control centre – report

International Business Times, 29 Dec 16, India Ashok

Lithuanian president: US role remains trans-Atlantic security guarantee

The Baltic Times, 29 Dec 16, Staff

The U.S.-China Stealth Fighter Showdown Is Almost Here

The National Interest, 29 Dec 16, Dave Majumdar


How the U.S. Army Could Become Lethal Again (Thanks to Donald Trump)

The National Interest, 29 Dec 16, Daniel Goure

Buried Inside the 2017 NDAA Is a Little-Known ‘Disinformation’ Provision — and Obama Just Signed It

Independent Journal-Review, 26 Dec 16, Jason Howerton

Obama’s Late Cyber Defense

The Wall Street Journal 29 Dec 16, Editorial

McCain plans Russia cyber hearing for Thursday

Politico, 30 Dec 16, Jeremey Herb and Connor O’Brien

We’re living through the first world cyberwar – but just haven’t called it that

The Guardian, 30 Dec 16, Martin Belam

***Relevant Conferences & Events listed at bottom of report.


What is ISR in non-physical domains?

C4ISR & Networks, 29 Dec 16, Mark Pomerleau

Ask commanders what they want more of, and one of the top responses is more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. ISR has become a critical asset in planning operations and understanding trends within a commander’s battlespace. Non-physical domains and maneuver spaces are becoming more prominent in emerging and future conflicts. But how will commanders be able to “see” in cyberspace or the electromagnetic spectrum?

“I truly believe that our commanders at each echelon need to have the capability to visualize this [cyber] battle space, this domain,” Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost, who leads the Pentagon’s new cyber directorate, said in November at the annual CyberCon conference hosted by C4ISRNET and Federal Times. “We give tremendous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to commanders at every echelon. They physically can see aspects of their battlespace. This is a battlespace, a domain they need to be able to visualize as well.”

Part of this involves greater insight and electromagnetic battle management, or EMBM.

The Army is developing tools to help commanders gain a greater understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum. The electronic warfare planning and management tool (EWPMT) will provide an initial integrated electronic warfare system (IEWS) capability by coordinating and synchronizing operations across the the command post, from the joint task force level down to the battalion.

The first of four EWPMT capability drops was fielded to Fort Bliss in September. It is “loaded with formulas so [a commander] can say, ‘If I had an adversary system on this hilltop, what would the effective range be based on what we know about the adversary system?’ So he can plot things like that,” Col. Jeffery Church, chief of strategy and policy at the Army’s new cyber directorate, told reporters at the Association of Old Crows annual symposium in Washington on Nov. 29. “Or he can do routes. So if you’re going to go from A to B along that route, he can go in and say, ‘OK, I’ve got this kind of radio, I know this is the elevation and terrain I’m at, will I have comms back with my headquarters?’”

In an exclusive briefing from Raytheon, the industry partner for EWPMT, C4ISRNET was afforded a rare opportunity to see what is possible with current capabilities as well as what is to come with further capability drops.

As part of the demo, C4ISRNET was shown the web browser graphical user interface, or GUI, that electronic warfare officers (EWO) and commanders can visualize the battlespace. This picture — in capability drop 1, which Church told reporters was “a very basic tool, it is not the end-state that capability drop four will bring,” — depicts a variety of items including airborne assets, what they’re jamming (depicted by lines to particular targets or areas on the ground) or areas that might be affected or not from a potential jamming operation. All this is overlaid on real 3-D mapping data of the operating area.

EWPMT allows for frequency deconfliction to avoid instances in Afghanistan where jammers were used to interfere with improvised explosive devices, but prevented friendly forces from communicating with each other.

Capability drop 1, which allows for a shared vision from battalion to division, is where the all the tools are delivered — for jamming, what is being jammed, what is emitting, what the enemy emitter looks like, what it might look like to plan around the enemy’s emitting, and to plan jamming the enemy to allow for physical maneuver in the terrain, said Niraj Srivastava, senior manager for Raytheon’s airborne information operations electronic warfare systems.

Capability drop 2 is more spectrum management — not just terrain maneuver, but maneuver through the spectrum space. Capability drops 3 and 4 will begin to look at some of the cyber situational awareness capabilities. This will involve a follow-on to EWPMT Raytheon is working on called Cyber and Electromagnetic Battle Management, or CEMBM. If there is a sensor in the field, not just emitters but digital footprints, these later capability drops will bring them in and enable commanders to display its capability and how to exploit it. A situation could arise in which it might be necessary to take a cyber technique against a cyberthreat — not just jamming — and Raytheon is currently working this for the future.

An additional capability in capability drop 3 will be the ability to remotely turn on and manage jammers or electronic assets downrange.

Regarding current capabilities, EWPMT provides insight for commanders planning to move their physical force or a convoy through a particular area. If a commander wants to move through a particular path, the tool enables them to see if they are affecting or jamming the bad guys. A green heat map overlaid on the GUI will signify that friendly forces are jamming that particular threat, while a dotted red line means forces are degrading the adversary’s capability, not totally jamming.

This is all based on knowledge of emitters that exist in the field that come from intelligence and data that is loaded into the system. If a commander is not confident in the known or unknown emitters that exist on a planned path, the tool allows for mapping of blanket jamming to see the effective range friendly jammers have along said path.

From a planning perspective, as EWOs might be setting this up for the commander, they can plan how to move the force based on where they might expect to be jammed. Additionally, when doing the modeling and simulation for a potential operation, the EWPMT interface takes physics into account to calculate the lines of jamming, such as the electromagnetic propagation.

EWPMT also provides the commander with a list of options: If they want to jam against a particular threat, it will give them options to protect against the threat. The commander can be given a number of courses of action with options, which tells them what assets are available to for a given action and provides a score of time to mission, the effectiveness of the asset, if there are any conflicts, fratricide — and each individual score item can be ranked depending on the importance level of a given commander.

“What we don’t have today that I feel we need to grow in capability, which we’re working on with our electronic warfare planning management tool, is how do you just visualize that for a commander,” Frost told a small group of reporters at the AOC symposium. “Because it’s not something that’s tangible. So you want that visualization tool to be in the ops center that says this is a type of energy you’re projecting out — how the enemy would view you — and this is maybe how you can see the energy that’s within that battle space.”

The Defense Advanced Projects Agency is also working a similar endeavor. The RadioMap project seeks to provide real-time awareness of spectrum use across frequencies, with a goal of mapping an accurate picture of spectrum use in complex environments. Similar to EWPMT, this information can be used to help commanders plan and understand this complex space.

This program will ultimately be transitioned to the Marine Corps, with the option period taking place in May, said Mark Tracy, senior program manager at Lockheed Martin.

RadioMap uses Raptor-X, which is a software-based geographic information system framework allowing for customizable plugins. While RadioMap used heat maps of the radio frequency (RF) picture and regions where devices might be emitting, similar to EWMPT, Tracy said the feedback from Marines that tested it said it would be more useful to have a waterfall, which was then placed into the system.

The waterfall is a box at the bottom of the GUI that provides in a bar graph form the various frequencies that are broadcasting in the spectrum in a given surveyed environment. Used as a planning tool, a commander could see where there is limited spectrum and available spectrum to place resources. They could also track friendly forces or say they don’t know what or where a particular signal is coming from — it could be adversarial. The waterfall demonstrates to commanders the actual maneuver space in spectrum. By clicking on a particular signal on the waterfall, one can dig deeper into what that signal might be.

Jason Schuette, DARPA program technical assistant, said the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, wanted to have an RF footprint of the Marines to see how much they emit in battle. RadioMap can help manage that, or allow commanders to be able to tell if a unit is not transmitting.

Deputy Secretary Work described at the annual Association of the United States Army conference in October that the “old adage was … if you can be seen you can be hit, and if you can be hit, you can be killed. The new adage is if you emit, you die.”

“We can get all camouflaged up, we can hide in holes, we can put camouflage nets on, wear ghillie suits, camo up our faces, color our teeth green and you can’t see us at all until I push the button on my radio to talk, to tell my boss, ‘Hey I’m here,’” Church said. “Bam. All that physical camouflage from the eyeball just went away because now you’re broadcasting in the spectrum. So we can show that to commanders and they can start getting an appreciation of how the spectrum is a capability for them and a vulnerability.”

Commonality between the services has been a big focus recently. According to Brig. Gen. Edward Sauley, deputy director of operations for joint electromagnetic spectrum operations and the mobilization assistant to the director of operations for U.S. Strategic Command, one of three critical gaps within electromagnetic spectrum operations is the need for greater collaboration within EMBM.

“The gap, as identified by this joint war fighter, is these programs don’t talk to one another. The services do not go to war — we fight as a joint force under a single command,” Sauley said at AOC, listing the various EMS planning tools the individual services have. The joint force must have EMBM capability at the operational level able to pass real-time, joint-restrictive frequency lists, he said, adding that it’s essential for command and control across the service lines.

Pietryka, of Raytheon, said the ultimate goal for EWPMT is to be service-agnostic. Raytheon recently announced the successful testing and interoperability of EWPMT with Raptor-X. This now means that the Army can work with or have visibility on Marine Corps jammers given the capability of operating respective management tools on the same baseline.

From a cyber perspective, visualizing planning and understanding the cyber terrain, much like the electromagnetic spectrum, comes down to authorities and echelon, Frost said.

“When you say ‘cyber,’ we say surveillance and reconnaissance,” she said. “So to me — it depends on what echelon you talk about. So if you talk at the tactical edge, you could talk about having a capability that regardless of what type of vehicle or air platform you’re in — how do you map the environment? What types of zeros and ones? What does that environment look like from an IP/RF-based [platform] — who’s operating in that environment?”

Frost added that when she first entered the Army there was a library of signals that were used to identify a certain target, but the environment was significantly less complex and crowded.

“Today, if you look in a battlespace there’s civilian communications because we’re all using this electromagnetic spectrum and everything. Whether it’s a frequency base or an IP base, what is within that environment that a commander needs to be concerned with,” she said. “And that’s where I get in these authorities discussions and I say I would never want to deny a commander the ability to truly see their environment — especially now that we declared it the ‘cyber domain.’ I think they should have some type of capability to see their environment.”

“ Cyber intelligence is not cybersecurity, but cyber intelligence analysts must understand offensive and defensive cyber operations to be a successful cyber intelligence analyst,” Air National Guard Col. Arthur Wunder of the 102nd Intelligence Wing Office of Transformation, wrote in February. “Every action in cyberspace has a human behind it, whether it’s driving a specific switch action or initiating an automated denial of service attack; someone, somewhere is initiating and directing that action. Cyber intelligence involves trying to connect the dots and identify all the different touch points between the various layers in cyberspace. Determining the connections and connection points lets the analyst draw a multidimensional picture of where potential cyber vulnerabilities may exist, or identify the actors behind an action.”

There will continue to be discussions surrounding authorities in cyber and cyber intelligence, as what traditionally existed in the shadows of intelligence agencies is now becoming a war fighting discipline.

“In terms of ISR, we continue to have Title 10 and Title 50 conflicts; is this capability electronic warfare or is it [signals intelligence] under Title 50?” Col. Jeff Aldridge, director of the Joint Electronic Warfare Center at STRATCOM, said at the AOC symposium. “We had similar issues with advanced electronic attack and cyber attack. The key difference is cyber has a persistent effect on software, hardware, etc., while electronic warfare does not have a persistent effect – the effect is done once jamming is terminated.”

“If we say it’s a ‘cyber’ capability, depending, it has to go [the Defense Secretary] or higher,” Frost said. “When we go to the National Training Center, we bring congressional members out, we bring folks from [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] and we say, ‘let’s have this discussion’ … We’re not saying that we’re going to do something that will cause World War III. We’re saying we want to give capabilities that I truly believe a commander needs to have to see their environment.”

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Impact of future Army Cyber Command headquarters felt throughout year

The Augusta Chronicle, 26 Dec 16, Staff Reports

The Army is still several years away from moving its Cyber Command headquarters to Fort Gordon, but its impact has beenfelt throughout Augusta in 2016.

Local institutions such as Augusta University and Aiken Technical College have expanded their curriculum since the Pentagon announced in 2013 plans to move the U.S. Army Cyber Command from Fort Meade, Md., to Fort Gordon. In a related area, AU signed an articulation agreement with NSA’s National Cryptologic School to give a pilot class of 25 military personnel at Augusta’s NSA intelligence-gathering facility the chance to earn bachelor’s degrees in one of four career tracks, such as political science and international relations.

University officials said the agreement strengthens the bond between the institution and the city’s burgeoning cyberdefense industry. But the growing cyber presence has shown itself beyond local educational institutions.

The investment group renovating Augusta’s historic Sibley Mill into a high-tech mixed-use development signed a deal with a Maryland-based institute to train future cybersecurity professionals there as early as next year.

Cape Augusta LLC, the company redeveloping the 136-year-old textile mill into a urban tech hub called Augusta Cyberworks, formed a joint venture with UMBC Training Centers LLC to educate up to 200 cyber professionals a year. Certificate program courses could begin in early 2017 – when Sibley’s phase one renovations are complete, Cape Augusta CEO James Ainslie said.

The phase one project includes building out office space in a 32,500-square-foot structure outside the four-story main mill facility for local information technology firm EDTS, whose current offices are on Broad Street.

Several defense contractors already have established offices in the area, including MacAulay-Brown Inc., Saber Systems Inc., IntelliGenesis LLC and Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., joining longtime contractors such as Raytheon and the city’s single-largest cyber contractor – Unisys Corp., whose downtown offices are gearing up to employ at least 750 workers, about 100 of whom support army email and IT functions worldwide.

The massive expansion of Fort Gordon’s military intelligence and cyberwarfare missions during the next few years will require military contractors and subcontractors to have a steady pipeline of information security specialists from which to draw in the local labor pool.

The Cyber Command complex will be constructed in two phases. The $85.1 million, 179,000-square-foot first phase is slated for completion in May 2018 for Army Cyber Command, which is known numerically as the Second Army and is also responsible for providing information assistance to “boots on the ground” personnel in active war zones.

The second phase, scheduled for completion in early 2019, will house the Army Cyber Protection Brigade, which maintains and defends the nation’s defense networks; and the post’s joint-force operations, which include Navy, Air Force and Marines’ cyber and intelligence personnel.

The combined Army Cyber Command Complex will have space for more than 1,200 soldiers and civilian contractors by late 2020, greatly expanding the small task force of cyber personnel currently on post.

The growth of cybersecurity and the important role Fort Gordon and Augusta plays in it was highlighted by several high-profile visits to the area.

At this year’s Cyber Georgia conference at Augusta University, CIA Director John Brennan said Augusta is doing it right when it comes to supporting cybersecurity.

“I think this community represents the marriage of the private and public sector,” he said. “We have Fort Gordon … and Augusta University, which is really determined to bring together the representatives from the different sectors of society and recognize that cybersecurity affects us all. It’s something that we really need to all work on.”

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Fighting in the cyber domain: US Army Central creates cyberspace strategy

Army.mil, 23 Dec 16, Leticia Hopkins

When the Army released its cyberspace strategy for 2025 in March, it did not clearly identify cyberspace requirements for Army service component commands, creating an opportunity U.S. Army Central Command chose to embrace.

“This is unfamiliar terrain for the Army, so the Army has not identified what the ASCC cyberspace requirements look like,” said Lt. Col. Dwyke Bidjou, USARCENT deputy chief of information operations. “To assist that effort, (USARCENT) has written a (fiscal year) 17/18 cyberspace strategy, which also speaks to the development of a white paper where we capture our challenges.”

Bidjou added, USARCENT is assisting the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command with identifying what those requirements will look like. USARCENT’s strategy is directly nested with the Army’s cyberspace strategy for 2025 to ensure it agrees with Army’s objectives.

In October, Lt. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, USARCENT commanding general, approved the strategy, which conveys his vision, purpose and direction for integrating cyberspace operations at USARCENT. The strategy seeks to deter current and emerging threats by building USARCENT’s cyberspace workforce; conducting cyberspace operations; identifying anddeveloping cyberspace capabilities; investing in facilities, systems, and infrastructure; and developing partnerships.

There has been a push to develop capabilities and processes that create more resilient and secure networks, systems and platforms to conduct cyber operations. This push stems from the continual rise of cyber threats, the threats that they pose and the damage they’ve caused or could potentially cause. That’s why the Department of Defense, not just the Army, has been making it a priority to focus on the misuse of cyberspace and mitigate the risks in cyberspace.

According to the DoD’s April 2015 cyber strategy, “From 2013-2015, the director of National Intelligence named the cyber threat as the number one strategic threat to the United States, placing it ahead of terrorism for the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

It also states leaders need to take steps to mitigate risks in cyberspace with the key being a comprehensive strategy that counters and can resist disruptive and destructive attacks.

“Defense of our networks against cyber threats is always an ongoing process,” said Maj. Kelly Sunderland, USARCENT chief of plans, policy, and programs. “Just as technology has advanced to change how we defend our installations from physical threats, our defensive capabilities have also evolved in the cyber realm.”

However the complexity of the cyber realm, along with the innovation and resources of terrorists and those committing cybercrimes, complicates the challenge of combatting and deterring cyberspace threats.

“The problem in cyber is this, the Department of Defense and the Army will never keep pace with the innovation going on right now in the tech industry, not in the (Science and Technology) world, not in the (Research Development Test and Evaluation) world,” said Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, former U.S. Army Cyber Command commander, during an Association of the United States Army forum addressing private and public partnerships Oct. 5. “Now, that’s a little overstated but not too much.”

Although the challenges highlighted by General Cardon make it harder for those who defend Army networks and mitigate cyberspace risks, USARCENT uses several defensive measures to protect its networks.

“We still rely on a defense in depth strategy to protect our information systems,” said Sunderland. “Access to equipment, the permissions users are allowed to have on the network, and what devices can be plugged in are some of the more visible defensive measures often seen. Continual internal assessments, scheduled inspections from outside agencies, and cooperation with other agencies and companies in the civilian sector are added defensive measures that we often use to help remain agile in the defense of our networks.”

One of the agencies USARCENT has been cooperating with is the Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence, which is located at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Working together allows USARCENT to test its strategy and make recommendations to improve the Army’s cyberspace warfighting capability. In an attempt to help combat potential cyber threats, the CCoE trains, educates and works to develop highly skilled Soldiers in cyberspace operations, signal/communications networks and information services, and electronic warfare professions. The CCoE also houses the U.S. Army Cyber School, which trains the Army’s only career branch dedicated to cyberspace.

USARCENT’s staff visited the CCoE Dec. 9, to become more familiar with what the CCoE does and has to offer, and the impact of cyberspace operations on USARCENT’s mission.

The cooperation provides another way to educate leaders about the significance of this warfighting domain, requirements and implementation of CCoE-trained Soldiers, and importance of developing capabilities and processes to deter cyber threats.

In addition to educating and informing staff, USARCENT leaders believe this new strategy will require divergent thinking and involvement from all of its staff when it comes to integrating cyberspace operations, identifying vulnerabilities and defining ASCC cyberspace requirements.

“The strategy really says that (USARCENT) planners need to be thinking outside of the box,” said Bidjou. “There is no doctrine which is written at this time which is going to say, ‘Hey, go to page eight and tell me what your specific requirements are.’ I think here is an opportunity for (USARCENT) staff to define for the Army what their peers would need to do at an ASCC level in (order to conduct) cyberspace operations.”

Bidjou added everyone should look at it from a different perspective, point out potential mission-related vulnerabilities and communicate what needs to be done to fix those issues. It is important to ensure staff members have a better understanding of their specific warfighting requirements so that issues can be communicated and addressed.

While beneficial, exposing future potential challenges will entail USARCENT to overcome some of its own hurdles in the process. USARCENT leaders chose to accept the challenge despite the decline in manpower and limitation of funds. Mainly, due to the impact it would have on their Soldiers, facilities and resources in the long run.

“You really have to say: What makes sure our Soldiers are protected, our facilities are safe and resilient, and our war plans are protected against exfiltration or adjustment,” said Bidjou. “If we’re not doing it, who is?”

Bidjou said leadership’s decision and interest in shaping the cyberspace doctrine speak volumes about their willingness to help improve not only USARCENT but also the Army. By passing on this opportunity, USARCENT would be placed at an operational disadvantage.

All in all, USARCENT officials believed the opportunity, despite the challenges, was worth embracing. They are hoping to move from the training and conceptual phase to the sustainment phase and begin executing the strategy prior to the end of next fiscal year.

“At the end of (fiscal year) 17/18, (we) should be resourced, educated, informed, and (have) already executed several exercises where degraded cyberspace environments have played a major role,” said Bidjou. “And that financing, manpower and operational challenges have been addressed and trending from yellow to green — actually executing the USARCENT cyberspace strategy.”

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California Guard May Send More Troops to Ukraine in 2017

Military.com, 28 Dec 16, Oriana Pawlyk

The California Guard recently welcomed a contingent of Ukrainian troops as part of a bilateral advise-and-assist rotation — and may send more of its own soldiers to Europe next year, an official said.

Members of Ukraine’s armed forces recently visited California National Guard facilities to learn more about Western ways of war amid the ongoing battle in the eastern part of the country between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers.

Lt. Gen. Yuriy Allerov, commander of the National Guard of Ukraine, and his staff members in November toured Camp Roberts, a major training base in central California that simulates just the kind of urban training environment the Ukrainian forces are accustomed to fighting in.

Army Lt. Col. Jon Siepmann, director of strategic plans and policy for the California Military Department, said members of his counterpart service in Ukraine visit the state about five times a year, while California Guardsmen make eight times as many trips to Ukraine each year — a level that may increase in 2017.

“Maybe more,” Siepmann said of the level of planned rotations during a recent telephone interview with Military.com.

Similar Responsibilities

Ukraine’s force is “a lot like our Guard in which it has both military responsibilities and emergency response,” he said.

How a Trump administration may steer the dialogue on Ukraine — and thus the U.S. military partnership — remains uncertain.

U.S. and Ukrainian officials — from Sens. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, and Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, to Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, a vice prime minister of Ukraine — have raised concerns the ongoing war for Ukraine’s eastern front could be neglected under a Trump administration.

Furthermore, Trump has criticized the U.S. for acting as the backbone to the NATO alliance — in part by supporting Ukraine’s push to withstand Russian aggression — and left the door open on whether he would defend countries he deemed as not properly contributing to the bloc’s collective defense. Last summer, Trump questioned the automatic defense of NATO states and suggested the U.S. would provide aid only if they “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

So far, the U.S.-Ukraine dialogue remains ongoing, military officials said.

In addition to discussing situational awareness and command and control aspects of operations, the recent visit by the Ukrainian delegation also included casualty evacuation and airlift, according to Siepmann.

“Their goal is to be NATO-interoperable by 2020,” he said.

The crux to achieving that goal will be to establish a non-commissioned officer-like corps, similar to that of the U.S., Siepmann said. U.S. leadership is assisting Ukrainian forces in developing an NCO academy and basic leader course, he said.

“It’s, of course, the backbone of our own military,” he said, “and it’s something that they just don’t have, so we stress how important the NCO corps is.”

Future Airpower Needs

Long-term assessments still need to be made, Siepmann said, such as revitalizing Ukraine’s air forces, specifically the country’s fighter program.

The Ukrainian air force has roughly 200 aircraft, according to a 2015 Flightglobal study cited by military blog War is Boring. The fleet, mostly comprised of MiG-29 and Su-27 fighter jets, Su-25 Frogfoot twin-engine jet aircraft and Su-24 all-weather attack aircraft, has suffered losses from shootdowns, crashes or just sitting in mothballs for years to the point of corrosive immobility.

But now, “we talk about training systems, and how we train, so it’s more of a train-the-trainer type of discussion, a systems-based discussion, like, ‘How are you going about training your pilots?’ But really our focus is on their military as a whole, and looking at things from a systems approach,” Siepmann said.

The California Air National Guard has sent some of its pilots to speak with Ukraine’s fighter contingent on lesson-learned best practices, “to the extent that’s appropriate, but we do have direct engagement,” Siepmann said.

A handful of Guard pilots have been to Ukraine “multiple times,” he said, since the U.S. stepped up to advise the country’s military units after Ukraine’s annexation of Crimea and after fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces began in 2014.

In 2015, Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, California National Guard adjutant general, and some of his guardsmen traveled to Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, to donate helmets, masks and other gear to Ukraine’s forces.

Roughly a dozen airmen with the 144th Fighter Wing out of Fresno also had a scheduled visit to the capital this past spring, at the same time hundreds of airmen from the 144th, an F-15 Eagle unit, deployed to Europe under Operation Atlantic Resolve to demonstrate the U.S.’s commitment to NATO allies.

Whether fighter jets will touch down on Ukrainian soil for exercises remains to be seen. While ground troops train and advise Ukrainian soldiers in the country’s west-side training center in Yavoriv, they do so on a rotational basis.

NATO’s founding agreement with Russia prevents member states from permanently stationing troops or equipment, including aircraft, in former Warsaw Pact countries or Soviet republics. However, experts such Daniel Kochis, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, argue the 1997 agreement has been misconstrued and that NATO forces are justified in pursuing additional defense postures based on Russia’s aggressive military activity in the region.

Regardless, “we’re not currently bringing [U.S] fighter aircraft over there, but joint engagement and exercises is something that we’re looking at with Ukraine, whether it be over Ukrainian airspace or in joint exercises with other countries,” Siepmann said. “There’s significant interest in joint-aerial operations.

“We did quite a bit [in 2016] on the air side with both fighter aircraft and also some cyber and C-130 engagement,” he said.

Drones, Electronic Warfare

In addition to showing off the combined arms simulator at Camp Roberts, which trains forces by electronically simulating a humvee environment, members of the Guard “also took them to our unmanned aerial systems training facility to learn a little bit about how we deploy … drones.”

In the midst of accusations of drone hacking, Ukrainian forces are looking for ways to protect their drones and other equipment from Russian military hacks.

Siepmann said they discussed capabilities, normally based on platforms such as the RQ-11B Raven and RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial aircraft, which Ukrainian forces are using or learning from in the battlespace. “They’re buying some of these systems … and they’re also interested in purchasing some of the equipment that we use,” he said.

Since the interview with Siepmann, about 72 of the U.S.-supplied Raven mini-drones have proven to be inert against Russia’s advanced electronic jamming signals, rendering them useless in the sky, according to a report from Reuters. The shipment was part of the larger European Reassurance Initiative, a program designed to deliver aid and non-lethal weapons to Ukraine and whose budget is slated to surge from $789 million this year to $3.4 billion next year.

Data from analog drones can easily be intercepted by Russia’s electronic warfare tactics, the report said.

It is unclear if Allerov’s visit to the California Guard facilities last month addressed the concern.

Meantime, Ukrainian forces are still experimenting with devices, such as repurposed commercial drones or privately manufactured ones, in hopes some of the newer technologies may withstand jamming signals from Russian-backed separatists.

The continuous dialogue with the Eastern European counterparts has given the U.S. military a new perspective on these matters, learning “quite a bit” from the urban-warfare dynamic, Siepmann said.

“The use of drones … in the conflict as well as electronic warfare, use of mortars and other artillery systems in conjunction with drones and electronic warfare has been an area they have gained a lot of experience in,” he said.

The California Guard’s partnership with Ukraine through the State Partnership Program, or SPP, is just a sliver of operations ongoing with U.S. and Ukrainian forces. Training in Yavoriv, led by U.S. Army-Europe and rotational U.S. Guard forces, also incorporates British, Canadian and Lithuanian trainers as part of the ongoing Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.

Members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard will spearhead efforts in two six-month rotations to Ukraine in January.

This partnership really means “utilizing those relationships and those contacts that we’ve built,” Siepmann said, “to help us do additional work in support of Ukraine.”

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Grounding of Super Hornets, Growlers Caused by Exploding Jet Canopy

The Virginian-Pilot, 29 Dec 16, Brock Vergakis

A Growler’s canopy exploded off the jet earlier this month, which led the Navy to temporarily ground Super Hornet and Growler squadrons, according to a Naval Safety Center summary of the incident.

The Growler’s pilot and electronic warfare officer were injured Dec. 16 at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington state as it prepared for a training flight. The Navy said at the time it was an “on-deck emergency” that involved the aircraft’s canopy but did not elaborate.

The Navy suspended flight operations for Growlers and Super Hornets throughout the fleet for several days while they conducted an initial investigation. Super Hornets were included in the stand-down because they share common aircraft systems with the Growler, the Navy said in a statement. Several Super Hornet squadrons are based at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach.

The Naval Safety Center classified the incident as a “Class A” mishap, its most serious type. It means there was at least $2 million in damage to the Growler or a “permanent total disability” to a crew member.

The pilot and electronic warfare officer were taken to a hospital to be treated for their injuries. The Norfolk-based Naval Safety Center described the officers’ injuries as “severe.” The center did not provide any more details.

The Growler is a variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet and is capable of offensive electronic jamming, electronic emissions detection and electronic suppression of enemy air defenses.

The Navy said Naval Air Systems Command and Boeing engineers identified several factors that likely contributed to the incident. Naval Air Forces ordered changes to be implemented throughout the F-18 fleet because there are similarities in the component designs for the affected systems in the Growler incident, the Navy said in a statement.

The measures include changes to “aircraft water-wash procedures” and updates to the Navy’s procedures for ground emergencies. Flight operations resumed on Dec. 19.

The Growler mishap remains under investigation.

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New in 2017: Marines likely to expand cyber warfare units

Marine Corps Times, 27 Dec 16, Matthew L. Schehl

The size of the Marine Corps may grow in the coming years by as much as 12,000 Marines, as President-elect Donald Trump has called for, but that won’t necessarily translate to more grunts.

Instead, the Corps’ cyber warrior force and other high-tech fields may expand rapidly as the force prepares for future battlefields where information dominance will be as critical – if not more so – than spent rounds.

“We believe – not just me – but I think all the leadership believes that the capabilities that we’re trying to build into the force are the things that we’re really going to need for the future,” Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said in early December.

“If you don’t have those things, whatever formation you put on the battlefield is not going to be as survivable or combat effective without them,” Neller said while speaking at a U.S. Naval Institute event in Washington, D.C.

Neller emphasized the need to build such capabilities into an expanded future force, specifically cyber, information operations, electronic warfare, intelligence analysis, air defense and communications.

“Before we start growing more infantry or armor and things like that, the battlefield has changed,” he said.

Last March, the Corps’ new Cyberspace Warfare Group was stood up at Fort Meade, Maryland, to train and equip Marines to take the fight to cyberspace.

Yet there’s a shortage of qualified cyber warriors. Only a few mission teams are up and running, officials said. The unit is expected to be fully operational by the end of fiscal year 2017.

They’re not just protecting communications networks from hackers and disruptive attacks.

“It’s also trying to get inside the enemy’s cognitive space in a way to have him make choices that you want him to make, when you want him to make it,” Maj. Gen. Lori Reynolds, commander of Marine Forces Cyber Command, told a panel discussion last May at the Sea-Air-Space expo outside Washington, D.C.

“What we’re talking about is bringing it all together in a way that provides the commander options to dominate the information environment and to get after the enemy’s thought processes.”

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New DARPA radio transmitter could revolutionize battlefield communications

Military Times, 29 Dec 16, Shawn Snow

Military engineers are looking to revolutionize battlefield communications by introducing a new project that seeks to bridge gaps in current military communications capabilities.

The program, by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is called A Mechanically Based Antenna, or AMEBA for short. It is headed by Troy Olsson, DARPA’s program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office.

Olsson’s program seeks to leverage the benefits of ultra low frequency (ULF) and very low frequency (VLF), which operate in the electromagnetic spectrum band between hundreds of hertz and three kilohertz (KHz), and three to 30 KHz, respectively.

The benefit of the ULF and VLF bands is their ability to penetrate water, soil, rock, metal and building materials, and their potential for long distance communication — as the atmosphere acts as a waveguide to propagate ULF and VLF due to their extremely long wavelengths, according to Olsson.

“If we are successful, scuba divers would be able to use a ULF channel for low bit-rate communications, like text messages, to communicate with each other or with nearby submarines, ships, relay buoys, UAVs, and ground-based assets, through-ground communication with people in deep bunkers, mines, or caves could also become possible,” he said.

Frequency and wavelength are inversely proportional, which means that as frequency lowers the wavelength becomes much longer. This fundamental concept of radio frequency theory has been a bane for military communications for ages.

The problem arises out of antenna construction for ULF and VLF frequencies. Because an antenna must be resonant with the selected frequency, that means antenna size is directly related to frequency, Olsson explained to Military Times. To put that into perspective, a 10 Hz transmitter would require a 1,500-kilometer — or a more than 930-mile — antenna at half wavelength.

Antenna construction of that magnitude makes operating in the ULF and VLF bands impractical for the average war fighter and highly inefficient for submarine and navy vessels. On top of the gargantuan size of the antenna, the power needed to transmit a signal would be in the megawatt range. The standard military man-packable PRC-117 Harris SATCOM radio consumes less than 60 watts of power.

AMEBA is designed to develop new transmitters that will allow for handheld or man-packable devices, while exploiting the benefits of ULF and VLF frequency band.

“Rather than relying on electronic circuits and power amplifiers to create oscillating electric currents that, when driven into antennas, initiate radio signals, the new low-frequency VLF and ULF antennas sought in the AMEBA program would generate the signals by mechanically moving materials harboring strong electric or magnetic fields,” Olsson explained.

ULF and VLF communications have great potential for military applications. ULF communications would allow for direct communications between manned or unmanned submarines operating underwater and the ability to transmit data and text. That translates into longer underwater operations and less of a need for submarines to surface, where they are most vulnerable, because traditional communications bands don’t travel well in salt water.

Also, because GPS doesn’t work underwater, ULF can be utilized for triangulation and locating other submarines. This application will be especially helpful as the Navy continues to develop its unmanned submarine program, expected to be operational by 2020.

For the Army and Marine Corps, ULF and VLF communications allow for over-the-horizon long distance communications.

Currently in the U.S. arsenal, ground forces employ PRC 117 SATCOM and PRC-150 high frequency radios. These systems provide over-the-horizon communications but with substantial drawbacks, according to Olsson. High frequency radios require the transmitter to know the precise location of the receiver, and the operator must change antenna construction for night and day operations to match the lowered ionosphere.

SATCOM radios are vulnerable to attacks by sophisticated state agents such as China and Russia, who both employ satellite-killing missile systems. In a satellite or GPS constrained environment, ULF and VLF transmitters could provide war fighters with handheld devices capable of data and voice communications, Olsson explained.

ULF and VLF can also be utilized as a search and rescue tool for buried miners or victims trapped in earthquake rubble because of its ability to penetrate rocks and building materials.

The AMEBA program was announced this December and currently is in the early stages of discussion with no researchers under contract. DARPA has scheduled a Proposers Day on Jan. 6 at the Booz Allen Hamilton Conference Center in northern Virginia to further describe the project in detail.

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Germans detect hand of Russia as political cyber war escalates

Bundestag hack heightens fears Moscow is seeking to influence next year’s elections

The Financial Times, 29 Dec 16, Stefan Wagstyl

The moment German MP Hans-Christian Ströbele discovered his electronic data might have been raided in a 2015 cyber attack on the Bundestag is seared on his memory.

“I knew this could be possible,” says the longest-serving member of the parliament’s intelligence control committee. “But that it hit the Bundestag was a surprise. I looked again at my communications. I became even more careful with my mobile phone.”

If the initial attack on parliament’s lower house sent shockwaves through the German political and intelligence establishment, it has since become apparent that its implications could be far worse.

Claims from the CIA, the US intelligence agency, that it has “high confidence” Russian hackers tried to influence the US election in favour of Donald Trump have boosted fears that Moscow is targeting next year’s German polls, when Chancellor Angela Merkel is standing for re-election.

German security officials have said last year’s assault on the Bundestag’s computer network was also carried out by Russia-backed hackers seeking ammunition for electoral meddling. Earlier this month, Ms Merkel warned that there were signs of internet-based attacks and misinformation campaigns coming from Russia that could “play a role in the election campaign”.

The government has reacted to the Bundestag attack with a complete overhaul of the parliament’s computer systems. But it is also throwing its weight into increasing defences against cyber warfare more broadly, in response to a rising numbers of attacks and the threat of escalation — such as the possible sabotage of government institutions and utilities such as power plants. The defence ministry has stepped up its electronic warfare capabilities with the creation of a new 13,500-strong cyber unit, due to be fully operational by mid-2017.

Berlin’s concerns are shared with other EU states, notably France, which holds a presidential election next year. EU officials fear Europe could be more vulnerable to interference than the US because of its wider political and economic connections to Russia, significant Russian-speaking minorities in some countries including Germany and President Vladimir Putin’s support for rightwing populist parties across Europe.

Stefan Meister, a Russia expert at the German Council for Foreign Relations, says that as in the US, cyber attacks could be combined with social media manipulation and political support for the Russia-friendly populist and Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany party.

“Russian interference in German politics has already started,” says Mr Meister. “Every country has the right to promote its interests in another country. But Russia has a programme that includes grey tactics and illegal tactics.”

The federal Verfassungsschutz, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, has accused Russian secret services of backing the hackers responsible for the Bundestag attack. The agency blames the breach on a group of hackers known as APT 28, which European and US intelligence officials regard as Moscow-backed. US officials have said the same group, and a related one called APT 29, hacked the Democratic campaign offices ahead of the US presidential election and copied thousands of files. These included emails from Hillary Clinton, the defeated Democratic candidate, which were later also published on WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks also recently published sensitive German government documents on US-German intelligence co-operation, which officials fear may have come from the Bundestag hack.

The interior ministry says Germany needs resilient computer systems to withstand attacks, effective intelligence work and citizens that are aware of the potential dangers, including the risk that stolen information could be used to influence opinion. But there is wide concern that the population remains insufficiently prepared.

Mr Ströbele, an opposition Green MP, says he has increased his own security, including using encrypted links for sensitive phone calls. The precaution only works if the person on the other side of the call does the same however. “Colleagues have also taken precautions. But not enough in my view,” he says.

Thomas de Maizière, interior minister, has warned Germany must be ready for attacks from all sources, including private organisations and criminal groups as well as states such as Russia and China.

Last month, for example, an assault on Deutsche Telekom caused network problems for 900,000 customers, with officials citing criminals among potential suspects. ThyssenKrupp, the steelmaker, which disclosed this month that hackers who stole sensitive data were likely to have been based in Southeast Asia, said bluntly: “It is currently virtually impossible to provide viable protection against organised, highly professional, hacking attacks.”

Mr Ströbele, who takes a critical view of western as well as non-western intelligence activities, argues that US as well as Chinese and Russian hackers pose a risk to Germany. But government officials say the threat from Russia is of a different order because of its suspected state backing, sophisticated interaction with the media and social media and apparent clear political purpose.

Stephan Mayer, the parliamentary interior affairs spokesman for Ms Merkel’s ruling CDU/CSU bloc, sums up the fears, warning: “It is Russia’s intention to destabilise the German government and so weaken our democracy.”

Cyber attacks, including “the kind that in Russian doctrine” are called hybrid warfare, now “belong to normal daily life”, warns Ms Merkel herself, adding: “We must learn to manage this.”

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Kingdom of Jordan Purchases Electronic Warfare System

Signal Magazine, 22 Dec 16, Unattributed

DRS Advanced ISR LLC, Beavercreek, Ohio, was awarded a $41,344,242 firm fixed-price foreign military sales contract (Jordan) with options for the Military Electronic Warfare System, Electronic Warfare Phase 2. One bid was solicited with one received.

Work will be performed in Beavercreek, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of December 20, 2019. Fiscal 2016 other procurement funds in the amount of $41,344,242 were obligated at the time of the award. The Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W91CRB-17-C-5004).

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India Issues Global EW Suites Tender For Tejas Combat Aircraft

Defense World, 29 Dec 16, Bureau Writers

India has sent requests for quotations from seven global manufacturers for electronic warfare (EW) self-protection suites to accelerate the upgrading of its self-developed light combat aircraft Tejas Mark-1A.

Surprisingly, India did not send request to the Russian manufacturer Rosoboronexport though it was selected to compete in the tender to provide AESA radars for the same aircraft, Sputnik News reported Wednesday.

EW systems worth $200 million will be selected by April next year, Indian officials said. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the local assembler of Tejas, will purchase a total of 83 EW suites for series production that is expected to commence from 2019.

The tender has strict conditions for transfer of technology and local manufacturing. India has also sought exclusive worldwide sales and product support rights for the LCA MK1A aircraft or its variants fitted with the EW suite. I

The tender would also have the right to use the suite or its adapted versions on any other airborne platform designed or produced by HAL for use by Indian defense customers.

Bids have been invited from Elbit Systems and Elta Systems (both Israel), Saab (Sweden), Thales (France), Elettronica s.p.a (Italy), Raytheon (US) and Indra Systems (Spain).

HAL will make outright purchase of 24 sets of formed EW suites and locally manufacture another 48 based on a combination of kits supplied by the vendor. “The Vendor shall ensure that HAL work content shall be more than or equal to 40 per cent by value of the unit price of each EW Suite,” reads the tender issued by HAL.

LCA TEJAS is a light weight, single engine combat jet optimized for air superiority and ground attack roles. This 4.5+ generation combat aircraft has a carbon composite frame, digital flight control system; glass cockpit and digital avionics.

Last month, the Indian Defense Ministry had cleared the “acceptance of necessity” (AoN) for the procurement of 83 upgraded versions of Tejas for $7.7 billion.

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U.S.-supplied drones disappoint Ukraine at the front lines

Reuters, 22 Dec 16, Phil Stewart

Millions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-supplied drones that Kiev had hoped would help in its war against Russian-backed separatists have proven ineffective against jamming and hacking, Ukrainian officials say.

The 72 Raven RQ-11B Analog mini-drones were so disappointing following their arrival this summer that Natan Chazin, an advisor to Ukraine’s military with deep knowledge of the country’s drone program, said if it were up to him, he would return them.

“From the beginning, it was the wrong decision to use these drones in our (conflict),” Chazin, an advisor to the chief of the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces, told Reuters.

The hand-launched Ravens were one of the recent highlights of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, aiming to give Kiev’s military portable, light-weight, unarmed surveillance drones that were small enough to be used widely in the field. They are made by AeroVironment.

But they appear to have fallen short in a battle against the separatists, who benefit from far more sophisticated military technology than insurgencies the West has contended with in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.

Whether President-elect Donald Trump’s administration might seek to provide Kiev anything more robust, however, is unclear, given his stated desire to improve ties with Russia and prioritize the fight against Islamic militants. U.S. restrictions on technology exports could also limit new aid.

The Air Force command of Ukraine’s armed forces acknowledged to Reuters that the Ravens supplied by the United States had a fundamental drawback: Russia and the separatist forces it supports can intercept and jam their video feeds and data.

“The complex is analog, therefore command channels and data are not protected from interception and suppression by modern means of electronic warfare,” it said.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that Russia’s electronic warfare capabilities were far more sophisticated than thought when the conflict began and that both the U.S. and Ukrainian militaries were adapting.

Asked about Ukraine’s reaction to the Ravens, one official said it took a considerable amount of time for the drones to reach Ukraine and that by then “they were much less effective than they would have liked, than we would have liked.”

AeroVironment referred questions from Reuters about the Raven contract to the U.S. Army.

The U.S. Army told Reuters it still uses Ravens but has upgraded to digital versions.

Some 38 Ukrainian students were trained at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama on how to operate the drones between March and July this year, a U.S. Army spokesman said.

Ukraine said it distributed the Ravens across the services and gave one batch to the Zhytomry Military Institute for training purposes.

There were mixed accounts on how much the Ravens were being used in Ukraine, which saw Crimea annexed by Russia in 2014 and which has been fighting Russian-backed separatist forces in the east. Nearly 10,000 people have died in the conflict.

The Air Force command of Ukraine’s armed forces said they we

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