Friday, July 8, 2011

DoD to Release Public Version of Cyber Strategy

The U.S. Defense Department is hoping to drive the development of cyber war-fighting tools that will give itself new advantages on virtual battlegrounds.
Next week, the Pentagon will release an unclassified version of its much-anticipated cyber war-fighting strategy. Finalized several months ago, the strategy calls for treating cyberspace as a domain in which the military needs to be able to operate and defend U.S. interests, according to Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn.
"To do that … a military organization needs some sort of command structure to organize, train and equip the forces," Lynn said during a July 8 interview at the Pentagon.
Cyber security and the damage of attacks have become more frequently discussed by senior defense officials in recent years. Attacks can originate from virtually any computer with a network connection, and it is often difficult to trace their origins.
DoD is going to spend more on cyber technology and train its personnel better, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said this week.
"The single biggest existential threat that's out there, I think, is cyber," Mullen said during a July 7 taping of This Week in Defense News. "I think we're going to have to focus a lot more on it."
DoD's strategy has also helped increase cyber-aligned resources, including nearly $500 million into the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), according to Lynn.
"In draft form, we've used that strategy to build a stronger program and budget," he said. "Then we've used what we're doing here as a platform to reach out in the interagency process to help drive the legislative initiatives, as well as to develop a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Homeland Security, to work with them to think about how we're going to extend protections to critical infrastructure."
The strategy also calls on DoD "to utilize our advantages in technology to maintain our military strength that's dependent on information technology," Lynn said.
"In particular, over time, we're looking to change the balance between offense and defense in the Internet," he said. "Right now, the attacker has all the advantages and the defender is constantly playing catch up."
But DoD thinks it can get a leg up on this trend.
"We think you can make long-term … five- to 10-year technology investments where you might be able to change that balance so then you can impose more costs on the attacker," Lynn said.
To that end, DARPA and industry are exploring encrypting stored data so even if a computer gets hacked, the data is still protected. This type of encryption would provide "more balance between attacker and defender," according to Lynn.
"The challenge with that is you can do that now, but it really slows processing time," he said.
Although Lynn does not expect DoD to be "the dominant source of funding for this kind of stuff," he believes the Pentagon can "cede important investments" similar to the way it did with high-performance computing in the past.

Mullen Flies to China as U.S. Plans Naval Exercise

WASHINGTON - The top U.S. military officer departs for China July 8 in a trip designed to bolster a fledgling security dialogue with Beijing, even as a U.S. naval exercise in the South China Sea threatens to upstage his visit.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff, was to depart July 8 for the four-day tour that will include talks with senior officers and a visit to military units, officials said.
Mullen - who in May hosted his Chinese counterpart, People's Liberation Army Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde - "looks forward to continuing the engagement and dialogue" with Chen in Beijing, the Pentagon said in a statement.
But the admiral's trip coincides with a joint naval exercise set for July 9 with the U.S., Japanese and Australian navies in the South China Sea, where China has asserted territorial claims.
U.S. and Japanese officials said the exercise will include the Japanese destroyer Shimakaze, an American destroyer - the Preble - and a Royal Australian Navy patrol boat.
The ships will carry out communications training and other drills off Brunei, officials said.
The U.S. Navy played down the exercise, with a spokeswoman calling it a small-scale, "low-level" activity on the sidelines of an international defense exhibition in Brunei.
Lt. Commander Tamara Lawrence told AFP it was a "passing exercise," which typically includes flag semaphore drills, navigation and other exercises focused on "basic seamanship."
China has objected to previous U.S. naval drills in the South China Sea, and tensions in the strategic and resource-rich area have mounted in recent weeks.
The Philippines and Vietnam have expressed concern over what they call China's increasingly assertive stance in the area.
Mullen's visit also comes after the United States and the Philippines carried out joint naval exercises, which Manila and Washington insisted were aimed at deepening military ties and not related to worries over China.
China has insisted that it wants a peaceful resolution of territorial disagreements, but has warned Washington against involvement in the intensifying disputes in the region.
The trip to China is the first by a U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs since 2007, officials said.
Mullen "has a wide range of meetings with senior military officials scheduled, including visits to PLA military units," the Pentagon said.
The admiral was also due to address students at Renmin University in Beijing, it said.
As tensions in the South China Sea have mounted, the pace of China-U.S. military exchanges have also picked up, with the former U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates meeting Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in Singapore in early June, following a January visit by Gates to Beijing.
Gates warned last month that clashes could erupt in the South China Sea unless nations with conflicting territorial claims adopt a mechanism to settle their disputes peacefully.

U.S., Japan, Australia Plan South China Sea Drill

TOKYO - The U.S., Japanese and Australian navies on July 9 will hold a joint drill in the South China Sea - most of which China claims as its maritime territory - Japan's defense ministry said.
Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force will send destroyer Shimakaze to join a U.S. Navy destroyer and a Royal Australian Navy patrol boat for communications training and other drills off Brunei, the defense ministry said July 8.
It will be their first joint military exercise in the South China Sea, most of which an increasingly assertive China claims as its maritime territory, but where several Southeast Asian nations have competing claims.
"The exercise is aimed at enhancing tactical skills of the Maritime Self-Defence Force and strengthening relations with the participating navies," the ministry said in a statement.
Tensions in the strategic and resource-rich South China Sea have escalated in recent weeks, with the Philippines and Vietnam voicing alarm at what they say are increasingly forceful Chinese actions there.
They include accusations of Chinese forces opening fire on Filipino fishermen, shadowing an oil exploration vessel employed by a Philippine firm, and putting up structures in areas claimed by the Philippines.
Vietnam voiced anger after a Chinese vessel in May cut the exploration cables of a Vietnamese survey ship.
The South China Sea includes the Spratlys, a chain of islands believed to sit on vast mineral resources.

F-22 Deliveries Halt as Grounding Continues

Deliveries of F-22 Raptors to the U.S. Air Force have been halted due to the continuing suspension of flight operations for the stealthy fifth-generation air superiority fighter.
A new F-22 Raptor sits at the Lockheed Martin production facility at Marietta, Ga., one of four that have technically been delivered to the U.S. Air Force but have yet to fly to their home base at Langley AFB, Va., because of a service-wide grounding (Lockheed Martin)
Even though manufacturer Lockheed Martin continues to build the aircraft at its Marietta, Ga., factory, the company is unable to do required flight testing for each aircraft as it leaves final assembly. Nor can government test pilots from the Pentagon's Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) fly their acceptance flights for new aircraft as they are readied for delivery.
"Our final assembly is scheduled through December 2011. That is still ongoing at Marietta. We delivered aircraft 4181, and that was on June 22, to the Air Force, so they have that as their aircraft," said Lockheed spokeswoman Stephanie Stinn. "After that aircraft, we can't do the required acceptance flights."
Technically, four aircraft have been delivered to the Air Force, but are being stored at Marietta pending the lifting of the flight restrictions. When the Air Force resumes F-22 flight operations, those aircraft will be flown to Langley Air Force Base (AFB), Va.
Two further aircraft, 4182 and 4183, have been completed, but the company and DCMA can't do required flight testing on those jets, Stinn said. The aircraft are being stored in a near-flight-ready status, she said.
Aircraft "4182 and 4183 were scheduled to deliver in July, but they're not in a position to do any sort of test flights, so we can't deliver," Stinn said. "Maybe early August, but we don't have a definitive date."
Aircraft 4182 and onwards, which have not undergone any of their acceptance flights, have yet to receive their final stealth coatings. The coatings are applied only after a number of flight tests have been completed, and as a result, a backlog is slowly building up.
Before the stealth coatings are applied, the aircraft fly coated only with a primer.
The Raptors have been "stood down" since May 3, according to Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Jennifer Ferrau, due to a suspected problem with the aircraft's oxygen generator.
According to one Air Force document, after reviewing work on a study of the F-22 On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), the chief of Air Combat Command, Gen. William Fraser, instituted a temporary flight restriction for the F-22 and directed a Class E Safety Investigation.
The investigation, which began in January, includes the OBOGS installed in the A-10, F-15E, F-16, F-22, F-35 and T-6 aircraft. Fraser appointed Maj. Gen. Steve Hoog, commander of Ninth Air Force, as the investigating officer.
The flight restriction applies to all F-22 crews, but test pilots at Edwards AFB, Calif., are operating under a flight waiver that allows them to fly certain test sorties. Air Force officials at Edwards could not immediately say what kind of test sorties those aircraft are flying.
The grounding is hurting the readiness of operational F-22 pilots, who cannot maintain their currency on the twin-engine jet. The Air Force is using simulators to ease the problem as much as it can.
"Pilots and ground crew continue to train in simulators and perform ground tasks to stay as proficient as possible. Once the aircraft are cleared to fly again, there will be a period where the pilots will need in-flight training to become fully proficient on the aspects of flying that simulators cannot replicate," Ferrau said. "Some live flight is required for high-G maneuvering flight, a true outside visual, and in-flight decision-making in a dynamic environment where simulators are lacking."

Reports of Taiwan Sub Missile Test False: Experts

TAIPEI - Recent local media reports that Taiwan test-fired an anti-ship Hsiung Feng 2 (Brave Wind) missile from a Dutch-built Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) submarine during an exercise in late June now appear to be false.
On July 7, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reported the missile test, which was picked up by an English-language media service in Taipei without confirmation. The Liberty Times is closely linked to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, which opposes unification with China.
Taiwan's Hai Lung's have "absolutely no capability" of launching anti-ship missiles from their torpedo tubes, said a former Taiwan Navy official who worked with ordnance used on the submarines. "This is common sense since they still have problems with just launching torpedoes with the old fire control system."
A former U.S. defense official agreed the fire control system was antiquated.
"This technology is believed to require significant and costly annual care and maintenance," he said.
Taiwan has only two combat operational diesel submarines acquired in the 1980s from the Netherlands and midlife upgrades on both are on hold until the Navy can secure the funds. Taiwan also has two World War II-era Guppy submarines used for training. In 2001, the U.S. offered to sell Taiwan eight diesel submarines, but political and technical problems haunted the program from the beginning.
The U.S. released a $200 million package for 32 UGM-84L sub-launched Harpoon anti-ship missiles to Taiwan in 2008, but the Navy has not gone forward with the order due to submarine upgrade delays and other budgeting issues.
"One of the optimal solutions is to replace the existing fire control system with a new one that would have Harpoon processing and also the existing torpedo launch capability embedded in it - the upgraded or new fire control system also would be able to handle future torpedoes," the former U.S. official source said.
However, the Taiwan Navy appears to favor a stand-alone processing and control system with links to the Harpoon or Hsiung Feng missile. This creates problems because all interaction between the torpedo and the missile would have to be "manual and not automated - meaning more time, weight, efficiency; not to mention the missile would be fired with less accurate data," he said.
Taiwan's Air Force and Navy have been using Harpoon anti-ship missiles since the 1990s on fighter aircraft and surface ships, not submarines, and recent sales demonstrate a continued reliance on the U.S. system. On July 7, the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales Program awarded Boeing a $27 million contract for the procurement of two Lot 86 Harpoon missile bodies, two exercise Grade B canister All Up Round (AUR) and eight anti-submarine rocket AURs for Taiwan.
Taiwan's military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) does have an indigenous anti-ship missile program. The Hsiung Feng family includes three variants and CSIST is now working on a land-attack cruise missile, the HF-2E, capable of hitting targets in China.

Merkel Defends Silence on Reported Saudi Tank Deal

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 8 defended her government's silence on a reported secret deal to sell hundreds of tanks to Saudi Arabia, and said she was committed to democracy in the region.
"Deliberation and decisions by the federal security council are secret for good reason," she told the daily Mittelbayerische Zeitung, referring to the panel including the chancellor and top ministers that rules on arms exports.
Saudi Arabia is reportedly about to buy 200 Leopard-2s, Germany's main battle tank, which is also produced under license in Spain, for a multi-billion-euro sum.
Germany, which for two decades has declined to sell such heavy weapons to Saudi Arabia because of concerns over human rights and fears for Israel's security, has refused to officially confirm the reports citing a secrecy policy on such deals.
Opposition politicians and even members of Merkel's ruling center-right coalition have slammed the reported tank sale, particularly in light of democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East.
Selling tanks to Saudi Arabia at a time when that country has sent armored vehicles to help put down a peaceful protest movement in neighboring Bahrain is "a slap in the face for freedom movements in the whole region," Social Democrat parliamentary deputy leader Gernot Erler said this week.
Merkel insisted in the interview that her administration was "of course doing its part to continue to support democratic development in North Africa and the Middle East together with our partners."
When asked about criticism of Berlin's secrecy on a delicate issue, she said her administration was following official guidelines.
"Transparency about exported weapons and other armaments is assured because every year a detailed arms export report is published which is also given to the Bundestag" lower house of parliament, she said.
However, a leading deputy from the Free Democrats (FDP), junior partners in Merkel's coalition, said the government should go on the offensive now that the country was openly debating the issue.
"It damages the government and it damages Germany too when only those who oppose (the sale) are heard," the foreign policy spokesman of the FDP's parliamentary group, Rainer Stinner, told the daily Rheinische Post.
"The chancellor and the affected ministers cannot keep hiding behind the sign reading 'secret'."
Opposition deputies were to present motions to the Bundestag on July 8 demanding Berlin call off the deal. The Green party said it would file a lawsuit against unnamed executives at the tank manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in a move to force the German government to shed light on the matter.
A parliamentary whip, Volker Beck, told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the suit was based on suspicion that selling the tanks to Riyadh would violate arms export laws.

U.S. Navy Rebuffs LCS Program Charges

Declaring that the U.S. Navy "is confident that we are on a path of success" in the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on July 7 rebuffed calls by a member of the House Armed Services Committee to review and assess the entire LCS program.
Corrosion problems discovered on the USS Independence have renewed concerns about the Littoral Combat Ship program. (MC2 Justan Williams / U.S. Navy)
"We at Navy have faced and overcome the program's past cost and schedule challenges," Mabus wrote in his letter to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.
The letter was a quick response to Hunter's missive to Mabus sent earlier this week. Copies of each of the letters were obtained by Defense News.
Hunter, reacting to reports earlier this year of problems with both LCS designs, charged that the Navy, "instead of enacting proper oversight of this program and development of the ship design … was concerned with appeasing Congress and what has been referred to in Congressional hearings as 'industrial base stabilization.' "
The result, Hunter wrote, was a "toxic environment where the Navy needed to contract to build more ships at a faster rate despite major technical design flaws."
Congress, Hunter added, "was just as complicit in this failed program" when, late last year, it approved the Navy's plan to buy both LCS designs instead of just one, despite risks identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Hunter called on the Navy "to immediately conduct a formal review of the entire LCS program, provide an assessment of the technical design flaws of the current fleet and determine the best way forward to include the possibility of rebidding this contract so that the program can be put back on a fiscally responsible path to procurement."
The LCS program has had a long, complex and often troubled development history since its inception in 2003. Sharply criticized from many quarters, it is nevertheless routinely cited by Navy leaders for its promise of providing new and more flexible warfighting capabilities while at the same time becoming a mainstay of the future 313-ship fleet. Two LCS types - one based on the Lockheed Martin-developed USS Freedom (LCS 1), the other on the General Dynamics/Austal USA USS Independence (LCS 2) - are being built and fielded.
One ship of each type is in service and more are building. By the end of the decade, the Navy plans to buy a 55-ship LCS fleet of both types.
Freedom and Independence have each suffered a series of teething problems. Superstructure cracks appeared in Freedom soon after the ship's 2008 completion, and in March a weld seam opened up while the ship was at sea, causing minor flooding.
More recently, reports have surfaced of corrosion problems on the water jets and water intakes on Independence. Hunter cited those problems on both ships in his letter to Mabus.
But Mabus, while acknowledging the problems, declared that neither of the events "can be attributed to out of sequence work or the lack of a stable design. Both LCS 1 and LCS 2 are first-of-class ships that have not completed all their test and trials."
New types of ships often have developmental problems, Mabus wrote.
"It is not uncommon for the Navy to discover and correct technical issues encountered on first-of-class ships during the post-delivery and trial period. In fact, this is one of the main reasons for the test and trial period," Mabus said in the letter.
"These issues are being repaired and corrected on both LCS 1 and LCS 2 and changes to the designs have been implemented for follow-on ships."
The hull crack in Freedom, Mabus wrote, was due to a weld defect, "a workmanship issue." The superstructure cracks were predicted and design changes have been made to later ships to lower the stresses in the superstructure, he wrote, and Freedom will undergo modifications later this year.
The corrosion issues on Independence, he said, "have been attributed to a design approach undertaken by General Dynamics and Austal USA that proved not as effective as anticipated."
An "interim repair" has been prepared for the ship, Mabus wrote, and a permanent fix will be installed next year during a scheduled maintenance period. A cathodic protection system will be installed on the next ship in the class and is included in the design for subsequent ships, he added.
Mabus noted the service recently established a new program executive office for the LCS program, combining the management and oversight of both the ship development effort and that of the complex mission modules that give the ships their primary warfighting capabilities.
"We are confident that cost and development risks have been retired with the construction experienced obtained [on] the first four ships," Mabus declared, noting the use of fixed-price contracts for current and future ships, as well as efforts to improve production quality and efficiency at both LCS shipyards.
"Rebidding the LCS contracts at this point would undoubtedly increase the cost and delivery time of future LCS platforms," Mabus concluded.

Sweden Continues Investment in Gripen for 2011

HELSINKI - The Swedish government has opted to continue state funding for further development and maintenance work on the Gripen fighter aircraft program, approving $163 million in spending this year.
The tasks covered by the funding include technical support, product maintenance, flight testing and flight simulator operation to ensure the Gripen's operational capability.
Under this latest contract-specific funding scheme run by state defense material development and procurement agency FMV, aircraft maker Saab will develop continual maintenance and updates for the Gripen C/D in compliance with the Swedish Armed Forces' long-term plan for the aircraft.
Moreover, the funding covers research work to further develop the Gripen's capability. This work includes renewed testing and verification of the Gripen system with the aim of strengthening the Gripen C/D's operational capability.
The $163 million is the latest capital investment by the Swedish government in the Gripen's development. In June, the FMV awarded Saab a $24 million contract covering advanced development of the Gripen C/D, to include delivering an enhanced function of the multirole aircraft navigation system by 2013.
Saab has obtained a number of other Gripen development projects, with a combined value of more than $50 million, from the FMV since January. These range from upgrade tasks to modification of materials used in the Gripen C/D's sub-systems.
Sweden's move to continue state investment in the Gripen comes as the government strives to increase the aircraft's international sales potential by highlighting Gripen's in-theater operational capabilities, demonstrated during Operation Unified Protector in Libya.
The Gripen has clocked more than 160,000 flight hours with the Swedish Air Force eight-fighter squadron in Libya since the end of March, with operations mainly centered on daily reconnaissance and air supremacy missions.
Upgrades to the existing Gripen C/D fleet include integration of two new weapons. In May, South African company Denel Dynamics completed the integration of the A-Darter fifth generation air-to-air missile on Gripen. Saab is integrating Small Diameter Bombs on the aircraf at the Swedish Air Force's test range in Vidsel, Sweden.