Tag Archives: technology

Booze Allen Contractor to Plead Guilty in 23-Year-Long Largest Ever Theft of Classified Data


Booze Allen - Here we go again


“The saga of a government contractor who allegedly stole more classified data than anyone else in history might be coming to a close.

Harold Martin III, who is accused of stealing terabytes of information, has told the U.S. District Court in Baltimore that he will plead guilty to a single charge of willful retention of national defense information on Jan. 22.”

“A plea agreement has not been filed yet, so it is not clear what punishment is being proposed or what will happen to the other 19 counts that were filed against him.

Court filings state that Martin will not be sentenced until all the other counts are resolved.

That single charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and three years of probation. He also could be fined up to $250,000.

Over a 23-year period, Martin worked for a series of contractors serving customers in the intelligence field. His security clearances gave him access to a broad range of information.

During that period, Martin took copies of documents and software programs home. This includes data from the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, the National Reconnaissance Office and the CIA.

When the FBI searched his home in August 2016, the bureau said they found the biggest stash of classified documents ever uncovered. Computers and storage devices were found in his home, his car and a shed in his yard. There were boxes and boxes of paper documents as well.

Still not clear is what Martin did with the data he allegedly stole. There is no allegation that he sold the information or distributed it.

At the time of his August arrest, Martin worked for Booz Allen Hamilton. But he worked for at least seven companies over the 23 years he had taken government secrets, according to the indictment.”






College Develops Center for Technology Incubator with the Navy as “Anchor” Tenant



Velocity Center - Sketch

Velocity Center Sketch Artwork: NAWC IH


“An upcoming facility in Maryland is expected to become a hub of innovation for industry, the Navy and university students. 

The College of Southern Maryland recently announced the construction of its Velocity Center, which will include a research center, technology incubator and education facility for its patrons.”

“It is expected to be 20,000 square feet and will contain features such as a cybersecurity laboratory, space for the university’s robotics team and room for industry. The Navy will occupy about 5,500 square feet and serve as an “anchor tenant,” said Tommy Luginbill, director of the Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute at the college. Luginbill is also the program coordinator for the school’s business management program.

“They were very, very big on the idea of having their own space to do what they want to do [with] their own projects,” he said of the Navy. “They were also big on the idea of having an open field. They wanted tall ceilings and they wanted a wide area in the center of the building so that they could host events.”

The center is scheduled to open sometime in 2018 in Indian Head, Maryland, he noted. The university and Navy would have their own spaces in the center, Luginbill explained, and there would be offices for defense contractors.

This format will allow the groups to collaborate on a variety of projects, he said. However, technology developed in the facility may have “dual usage,” meaning they can be leveraged in both the military and commercial sector, he noted.

“If you get these scientists in there who are the ones creating these things, and you get these students in there who are young and maybe looking at the world a little differently … they might say, ‘Well, your [3D-printed] wrench is a great idea, but have you ever thought about using your … technology for things like fidget spinners?’” he said.

The facility could also help the town retain its young engineers, who may otherwise choose to relocate to urban areas in search of jobs, he noted.

The Velocity Center cost is approximately $1.25 million, according to a news release.”


Pentagon Full Steam Ahead With Major Cloud Acquisition


Pentagon Cloud Full Steam Ahead


“The Defense Department is not letting blowback or criticism from industry slow down its emerging cloud strategy, which could see it award an enterprise contract worth billions to a single company by the end of 2018.

The contract would be awarded to a single cloud service provider for up to 10 years “to deliver services for cloud computing and platform services” for “all DOD organizations.”

 “The accelerated approach prompted industry concern and calls for the Pentagon to slow down or change course, but led by a Cloud Executive Steering Group reporting directly to leadership, the Defense Department is doing anything but.

“There has been no change in strategy for the CESG,” Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Evans told Nextgov. “The acquisition will be done as a fair and open competition with an industry day in early 2018.”

The next steps, as outlined in the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, strategy, will be a draft solicitation for a “single-award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract using full and open competitive procedures.”

Other contracts, according to the memo, could be issued for additional services, such as migration support, application modernization, change management and training.

The Pentagon’s aggressive timeline calls for initial migrations of data to the new contract by the first quarter of 2019.

Strategically, the Pentagon’s approach shares commonalities with that of the CIA, which ultimately selected Amazon Web Services for a 10-year enterprisewide cloud contract four years ago worth $600 million.”


The Pentagon Is Not a Sacred Cow


Pentagon Sacred Cow


“The Pentagon already wastes about one in five of the taxpayer dollars it receives, according to a Pentagon-commissioned study.

And the United States, which has plenty of other urgent needs, already spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined.”

“Health care, Social Security, Medicare and other social programs are all on the chopping block as the Republican-led Congress scrambles to make up for the revenue lost to its planned tax cuts. The Pentagon, however, remains a sacred cow, destined to receive yet more money.

The military budget is now $643 billion. The actual and potential threats from Russia, China, North Korea and Islamic extremists are all serious, but giving the Pentagon another huge increase defies common sense.

The opening bid for the 2018 defense budget came from President Trump, who in May proposed $677 billion. That was $54 billion above a budget cap set by Congress in 2011, after the 2008 financial crisis led to demands for fiscal restraint. Then last month, Congress upped his ante by passing a 2018 military authorization bill that would increase spending to around $700 billion, some $85 billion above the legal cap. Mr. Trump signed that bill into law on Tuesday.

For the moment, that increase is a fiction. Before it can occur, Congress must remove the 2011 caps and appropriate the money. That is the focus of the present budget battle on Capitol Hill. Republican leaders reportedly want to increase military spending by at least Mr. Trump’s original figure of $54 billion and nonmilitary spending by $37 billion. Democratic leaders are insisting on equal increases for both categories.

What’s not clear is that the Pentagon needs any increase until it can get a handle on waste, which a 2015 study estimated at $125 billion, about one-fifth of its budget.

The Pentagon had a virtual blank check after the Sept. 11 attacks, as it went after Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and then turned its attention to overthrowing Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Military spending in 2017 is already as high as during the armed forces buildup of the 1980s. The proposed increase, coming after the United States has withdrawn thousands of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, would take it even higher. Mr. Trump, bedazzled by men in uniform and enthralled by displays of weaponry, says more money is needed to build bigger and better forces. And senior commanders have lobbied hard for a big increase to upgrade a military they say lacks readiness, meaning the training and equipment needed to fight.

It’s certainly true that the military, cut back after the Cold War, was strained during the 16 years of near constant war after Sept. 11. Yet the ground troopswho are doing the actual fighting say there is no crisis, according to the analyst Mark Thompson of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight. Other experts say claims of a deteriorating military are exaggerated.

Some increases are understandable, even inevitable. For instance, from 2001 to 2012, the average cost per active service member grew by 61 percent, when adjusted for inflation, because of new and expanded benefits, increasing health care costs and pay raises. Those costs prompted the Pentagon to reduce personnel, says Todd Harrison, an expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

But other increases arise from a dysfunctional congressional budget process complicated by lobbyists who woo lawmakers to back unneeded or extravagant weapons. That’s how lawmakers wind up investing in programs that don’t deliver, like the overbudget F-35 jet fighter, and modernizing the nuclear arsenal at an estimated cost of $1 trillion over the next 30 years, when smarter choices would cost less and still keep the country safe.

One encouraging sign is that the Pentagon’s acquisition chief, Ellen Lord, is talking to Congress about moving away from high-tech toys that may no longer be relevant or affordable. Another is that the Pentagon has decided to launch its first (believe it or not) audit.

Like other federal agencies, the Pentagon can’t have it all. The military is critical to national security. That does not give it license to be a poor steward of resources and gobble up tax dollars at the expense of other programs.”

Bad Idea: A Swiss Army Knife Approach to Defense Acquisition


Pentagon Swiss Army Knife


“Combining multiple defense acquisition programs with unproven technologies into one program is dangerous.

While the immediate appeal of a Swiss-army knife approach is tempting, the risks of this approach have the potential to far outweigh the benefits.”

“Defense programs are expensive. Each country’s military has a long list of capabilities that they want to invest in, and most militaries operate within a fiscally constrained environment.

While the capabilities that militaries seek may differ, there are broad areas where common interests emerge. For example, several countries may want to invest in a new fighter jet; a country’s air force and army may share the need for a new attack helicopter; and naval commanders may each plan to procure a new surface combatant to fulfill their assigned missions. This environment of fiscal constraints and common interests often leads to a bad idea: combine multiple defense acquisition programs into one pursuing a Swiss army knife approach to weapons development.

At first glance, this approach has several benefits: resource allocation can be more targeted, there can be fewer complex contracting arrangements, and government officials can reduce the number of programs that they oversee. Perhaps most importantly, this approach promises to increase economies of scale, which serves to drive down costs as the quantity of production increases. Fixed costs can be distributed among more units and variable costs can be reduced as a program has more time to move along the learning curve. Notable examples of programs combining multiple capabilities that had traditionally been separated into distinct programs include:

  • Joint Strike Fighter program: a fifth-generation fighter to meet the future needs for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as for other country’s air forces. This program involved the development of three distinct variants (a conventional fighter, short takeoff and vertical landing fighter, and a carrier-specific fighter) each built from the same fundamental design.
  • Future Combat Systems: a U.S. Army program involving many manned and unmanned systems. While the systems included distinct vehicles, they were combined into a single program in order to be linked together by a set of new technologies.
  • Littoral Combat Ship: a U.S. Navy program to produce a small surface combatant with modules capable of fulfilling different mission areas. As a result, the same vessel design could serve a range of functions including antisubmarine warfare, mine countermeasures, amphibious and surface warfare.

While the benefits of this approach are compelling, combining multiple defense acquisition programs with unproven technologies into one program is generally a bad idea for several reasons.

First, major new defense programs tend to rely on the development of unproven technologies. Even a few straightforward requirements, such as a higher level of engine thrust or improved stealthiness, can end up being tremendously difficult to accomplish. And, because these new technologies are untested at a program’s inception, it is also difficult to determine how long the development process will take. When one combines multiple capabilities that have traditionally been separate, the acquisition process often becomes substantially more complex.

The process of integrating distinct capabilities into one program introduces important tradeoffs in time and cost. On one hand, the contractor can deliver a product that meets most of the performance requirements, within the general time frame and cost constraints. The final product can deliver on most of the required capabilities, but can perform none of them exceptionally well. On the other hand, the contractor can deliver a product that achieves all performance requirements exceptionally, but any development delays will lead to time or cost overruns. And, by jamming multiple R&D projects into one, the likelihood of this happening is much higher. Consequently, the result is often a product that: (1) doesn’t sufficiently meet the needs of each customer; or (2) takes too long and costs too much for the customer. If either of these are the result, it risks jeopardizing the rationale behind a Swiss army knife approach in the first place.

The key rationale often used to justify a Swiss-Army-knife approach is to increase economies of scale, thereby decreasing per unit costs as the program moves down the learning curve. However, when development problems result in a product that falls short of the customer’s expectations, there’s an increased likelihood that the customer will decrease (or even cancel) planned buys and the learning curve will be truncated. The nature of these large acquisition programs is to bring together a wide range of customers and stakeholders. This creates a dynamic where each group is less influential in determining the final product. But they all influence the degree to which economies of scale are ultimately achieved. If any partner decides to cancel or reduce its planned buys, then the unit cost will increase for all of the other partners on the program. Other customers may then become more inclined to decrease their planned buys, leading to a programmatic death spiral. Consequently, the promises of economies of scale may fall short.

Second, this idea poses a threat to competition. After the Cold War, defense budgets fell, leading to industry consolidation. Today, there are a limited number of companies that can provide defense products and services to the Pentagon. This is especially true for capabilities that require advanced weapon technology, where only a handful of prime contractors compete. Below the prime contractor level, this is also true for some components, where only a few subcontractors can produce individual weapon parts. A Swiss-army knife approach further incentives consolidation and can reduce competition within the industry base.

The cancelled FCS artillery vehicle

Combining multiple programs into one not only decreases the number of acquisition programs, but also results in situations where a single contractor becomes responsible for entire sectors of the defense industry. Moreover, given the scale and duration of major acquisitions, potential competitors are left on the sidelines for years and risk losing the ability to compete in the long-term. For example, when Lockheed Martin won the Joint Strike Fighter contract, it not only became the company to build the next-generation fighter jet; it also won an effective monopoly in the U.S. fighter jet market for the first half of the 21st century. This approach creates a winner take all environment.

During the 2008 financial crisis, government officials determined that the failure of certain large banks would pose a systemic threat to the entire financial system. A similar situation exists within the U.S. defense acquisition system. For the foreseeable future in the U.S., only one company will build fighters, one company will build bombers, one company will build tankers, one company will build destroyers, one company will build aircraft carriers, and the list goes on.

Given the consolidated nature of the U.S. defense industrial base, the failure of certain large companies could pose a systemic threat to the entire U.S. acquisition system. Moreover, this problem also exists at a smaller level. The failure of some acquisition programs could also pose a systemic threat. Not only are there single companies responsible for key acquisition programs, there are sometimes one company capable of fulfilling those programs. In part, this situation is attributable to the nature of defense contracting and fiscal constraints. But, with a winner take all result, a Swiss-army approach undoubtedly worsens this situation.

The cancelled NPOESS weather satellite

Promises of economies of scale are often overoptimistic and the threat of diminished competition will always be an issue.

Traditionally distinct acquisition programs should be combined into one only when the technologies involved are mature and well-tested, and when the development risk is minimal. If this is the case, policymakers will still need to decide whether the benefits of a combined program outweigh the consequences of reduced competition, or whether there should be multiple contractors. When the technologies are not mature and well-tested, the U.S. should build systems that can be adapted to incorporate these technologies in the long term. But, these technologies should not be allowed to become a bottleneck that slows acquisition and threatens the entire program.”





Here is How the End of Net Neutrality Will Change the Internet

Net Neutrality

Image:  “Free Press.net”


“Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon may soon be free to block content, slow video-streaming services from rivals, and offer “fast lanes” to preferred partners.”

“For a glimpse of how the internet experience may change, look at what broadband providers are doing under the existing “net neutrality” rules.

When AT&T customers access its DirecTV Now video-streaming service, the data doesn’t count against their plan’s data limits. Verizon, likewise, exempts its Go90 service from its customers’ data plans. T-Mobile allows multiple video and music streaming services to bypass its data limits, essentially allowing it to pick winners and losers in those categories.

Consumers will likely see more arrangements like these, granting or blocking access to specific content, if the Federal Communications Commission next month repeals Obama-era net neutrality rules that ban broadband providers from discriminating against lawful content providers. The commission outlined its proposed changes on Tuesday, and published them Wednesday. The proposal would also ban states from passing their own versions of the old rules. Because Republicans have a majority in the agency, the proposal will likely pass and take effect early next year.

Because many internet services for mobile devices include limits on data use, the changes will be visible there first. In one dramatic scenario, internet services would begin to resemble cable-TV packages, where subscriptions could be limited to a few dozen sites and services. Or, for big spenders, a few hundred. Fortunately, that’s not a likely scenario. Instead, expect a gradual shift towards subscriptions that provide unlimited access to certain preferred providers while charging extra for everything else.

Net neutrality advocates have long worried that these sorts of preferential offerings harm competition, and by extension, consumers, by making it harder for smaller providers to compete. A company like Netflix or Amazon can likely shell out to sponsor data, but smaller companies don’t necessarily have the budget.

“Net neutrality is incredibly important for small startups like Discord because all internet traffic needs to be treated as equal for us all to have access to the same resources as the big companies,” says Jason Citron, co-founder and CEO of the videogame-centric chat and video-conferencing app Discord. Citron’s company is well funded and boasts 45 million users. But it competes with larger players like Microsoft’s Skype, Google’s Hangouts, and Facebook’s WhatsApp. Even if Discord can offer a better experience for gamers, bigger companies might be able to gain an advantage by partnering with broadband providers to prioritize or subsidize their apps.

For even smaller video providers, the end of net neutrality could be dire. “We believe this would affect more than just our voice and video equipment, but our entire ability to host folks interacting across our services,” says Nolan T. Jones, managing partner and co-creator of Roll20, a video-conferencing and community platform for tabletop role-playing gamers.

It can be hard for smaller companies to even get a meeting with large broadband providers. In 2014, when T-Mobile launched a program that exempted music streaming services from its users’ data caps, the founder of streaming service SomaFM complainedthat his company had been left out. T-Mobile added SomaFM to the program a year later, but it’s not clear how many customers SomaFM may have lost in the interim.

The FCC ruled earlier this yearthat these data exemptions, known as “zero rating,” are permissible under the current net-neutrality rules. Once those rules go away, the companies will be free to experiment with more drastic measures, like slowing connections to data-hungry apps.

Even Verizon’s “unlimited” plans impose limits. The company’s cheapest unlimited mobile plan limits video streaming quality to 480p resolution, which is DVD quality, on phones and 720p resolution, the lower tier of HD quality, on tablets. Customers can upgrade to a more expensive plan that enables 720p resolution on phones and 1080p on tablets, but the higher quality 4K video standard is effectively forbidden.

Meanwhile, Comcast customers in 28 states face 1 terabyte data caps. Going over that limit costs subscribers as much as an additional $50 a month. As 4K televisions become more common, more households may hit the limit. That could prompt some to stick with a traditional pay-TV package from Comcast.

It’s not hard to see how companies could push these ideas further. Comcast could take a page from Verizon and stop customers from accessing any 4K content unless they pay for an unlimited account. And it could charge companies to sponsor data for their customers.

For now, Comcast says that’s off the table. “Comcast does not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content,” Comcast Cable president and CEO Dave Watson wrote in a blog post Tuesday. AT&T and Verizon did not answer questions about future plans, but spokespeople pointed to blog posts saying the companies support the open internet.

But even without a dramatic departure from current practices, the future internet, then, could look a more extreme version of today’s mobile plans, with different pricing tiers for different levels of video quality for different apps. That means more customer choice, but perhaps not in the way anyone actually wants.

Republican FCC Chair Ajit Pai argues that Federal Trade Commission will be able to protect consumers and small business from abuses by internet providers once the agency’s current rules are off the books. But that’s not clear.

Democratic FTC commissioner Terrell McSweeny tells WIRED that the FTC is only an enforcement agency. It doesn’t have the authority to issue industry-wide rules, such as a ban on blocking lawful content. In many cases, she says, the agency might not be able to use antitrust law against broadband providers that give preferential treatment to their own content or to that of partners.

“The FTC stands ready to protect broadband subscribers from anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts and practices,” acting FTC Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen said in a statement Tuesday.

The good news is the internet won’t change overnight, if it all. Blake Reid, a clinical professor at Colorado Law, says the big broadband providers will wait to see how the inevitable legal challenges to the new FCC order shakeout. They’ll probably keep an eye on 2018 and even 2020 elections as well. The courts could shoot down the FCC’s order, or, given enough public pressure, Congress even could pass new net neutrality laws.”





Two Years And COTS Required For Patchwork Fix/Replace Of Army $Multi-Billion WIN – T Network


Army Network knife


The Army needs at least two years to figure out a new, war-ready communications network to replace its current, fragile systems, the acting secretarysaid this week.

There’s no a quick fix: The service is effectively starting over on what it’s long described as its No. 1 priority for modernization.”

“A recently created task force called a Cross-Functional Team (CFT) will overhaul the network architecture, Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy told reporters, but its major recommendations won’t be ready until 2019, when the budget request for 2020 is submitted. In the meantime, to ensure that troops are ready to “fight tonight” against immediate threats like Russia and North Korea, the Army is urgently seeking off-the-shelf stopgaps from the commercial world.

“It’s going to take a few years. What do you in between?” said Gen. Mark Milley, the Army Chief of Staff, speaking alongside McCarthy at a Defense Writers’ Group breakfast Wednesday. “What happens if there’s a conflict? And that’s a real challenge, Sydney, that’s hard, and there’s an element of risk there.”

The Army is still issuing some units with the current battlefield network, WIN-T Increment 2, which began fielding in 2012 and still hasn’t reached the entire force. (The Hawaii-based 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division is getting its WIN-T kit right now). But the Warfighter Integrated Network – Tactical program will end next year because it isn’t reliable and resilient enough for fast-moving operations against a sophisticated enemy who can jam or hack it. So after a decade working on WIN-T, the Army will take another two years or more to go back to the drawing board.

“Yes, it probably will take a couple of years to get it right. Changing the architecture of our network…the scale is massive,” McCarthy said. “We stood up these Cross-Functional teams a couple of weeks ago, to be honest with you. They are going to influence the ’20 budget” — not 2019.


The Army strategy is “halt-fix-pivot,” Gen. Milley and Sec. McCarthy explained:

  • immediately halt programs that simply won’t hold up on a mobile battlefield under sophisticated cyber and electronic attack;
  • quickly fix systems that can be upgraded to withstand such harsh conditions;
  • and ultimately pivot from the current clunky patchwork to a new, coherent network architecture.

“We want to stop those subsets of the programs that we know with certainty will not work…for the combat environment that we envision,” Milley said. He wouldn’t say which specific programs were on the block: “Those are still under evaluation,” he said.

While some programs must go, Milley continued, “there are other parts of the system that we know can be fixed. We’ve had many meetings with industry (and) industry is already working on those piece parts of the quote, ‘network system’ that can be fixed in order to operate in a highly dynamic and very lethal maneuver battlefield.”

“And then, what we do is pivot the entire system of systems…to develop a holistic system that does operate in the (high-intensity) environment,” Milley concluded.

This isn’t about any one program: “It’s stepping back and looking at a common architecture, as opposed to particular issues with hardware (or) software,” McCarthy said. “It will take us several years to review the architecture and make fundamental changes.”

How fundamental? “We went back to the white board , literally, and we started laying out things like first principles,” Milley said. “We used that to evaluate not just WIN-T…but the whole suite.”

“We learned that a lot of these systems don’t talk to each other, within the army or the joint force,” Milley said. “We learned that the system is very, very fragile and is probably not going to be robust and resilient enough to operate in a highly dynamic battlefield with lots of ground maneuver and movement. We know that the system is probably vulnerable to sophisticated nation-state countermeasures.”

Short-Term vs. Long

Going back to the drawing board to fix these problems — the pivot phase — will take “years,” Milley acknowledged, “but the fix part is a much faster piece. Will we be fast enough? Time will tell,” he said. ” I know that we are working extremely hard, and we know we’re against the clock.”

The Army can’t afford another program like WIN-T that takes years just to develop new technology, let alone issue it across the service while private-sector processing power is doubling every 18 months. So McCarthy’s guidance to the Cross-Functional Team overhauling the network, and to the seven other CFTs working on other Army priorities, is to “take every opportunity to look into commercial industry. Buy it off the shelf.”

But this has pitfalls too. The Army and the other services already bypassed the procurement bureaucracy and rushed off-the-shelf equipment into service in Afghanistan and Iraq, from network tech to Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected trucks (MRAPs). They had to take shortcuts to save lives, but the result was a lot of wasted money and a patchwork of incompatible equipment.

Ironically, the program that was supposed to bring order to this chaos was WIN-T. Now the Army is halting WIN-T and, once again, embarking on a multi-year quest for one network to rule them all. In the meantime, once again, the service has to keep kludging together partial solutions. The short-term fix may, once again, make the long-term solution harder. The risk of just repeating history is very real.”




Small Business Government Contractors: ‘ACT’ Right


Message to Small Business


“A simple and straightforward message for contractors : “ACT” differently in today’s market.

For a Health and Human Services Department small business specialist,  Dwight Deneal, ACT is an acronym — Accessibility, Capability and Transferability.”


“You have to understand what the procurement landscape looks like at HHS,” he said. “From the 11 operating divisions to the seven staff divisions, know what they buy, how they buy and where they buy IT.”

For example, the vehicle of choice for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is SPARC. At the National Institutes of Health however, it is the NITAAC vehicles such as CIO-SP and CIO-CS.

“You have to make yourself available and accessible through those vehicles,” Deneal said.


“A lot of companies come to us saying they are a jack of all trades. ‘We do IV&V, we do enterprise architecture, we do everything,’” Deneal said.

But that is a mistake in today’s market, according to Deneal.

“What are the real core capabilities of your company,” he said. “What is your sweet spot? Your bread and butter? You need to hone in on your capabilities.”


“You have a variety of past performance around HHS,” Deneal said. “So how does that transfer to other program offices?”

Contractors in today’s market need to know how to take success with one customer and demonstrate how it applies to another customer, he said. That is even within the same agency, according to Deneal.

“If you ACT right and do these things, you’ll find success and HHS and across other government agencies,” Deneal said.”



When Domestic Cyber Becomes a Military Problem

Cyber Security Without Borders

 (ninjaMonkeyStudio/Getty Images)

“FIFTH DOMAIN” By Jill Aitoro

“Laws intended to establish roles and responsibilities within the government did not necessarily account for the prospect of global networks. Or cyber war. And yet, here we are.

Should the DoD be called in when Russia hacks into systems in an effort to disrupt elections, as McCain [has] insinuated?  But if terrorist groups hacked into the power grid, is that not a military operation in some capacity? An act of war?”

“Progress in cyber security has long been stilted by bureaucracy. We all talk in circles about how the threat evolves faster than our ability to protect our own systems and data, thanks to a slow procurement process, for example. And we often point to this fuzzy line of cyber “ownership” — typically private sector versus government — which long complicated a productive and cohesive response.

But what we saw on the Hill last week presented another fascinating complication to the cybersecurity dilemma that focuses squarely on jurisdiction.

Defense News’ sister publication Fifth Domain reported about a rather heated exchange before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Oct. 19, with Chairman John McCain and the Department of Defense’s principle cyber adviser sparring over the Pentagon’s roles in protecting the nation in cyberspace.

Here were the perspectives: Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security and a principle cyber adviser, cautioned against “ending the current framework and against reassigning more responsibility for incident response to the Department of Defense.”

McCain argued otherwise: “It’s the Department of Defense’s job to defend this nation; that’s why it’s called the Department of Defense.”

Both are right, which is exactly the problem when one kicks off a philosophical dialogue about cyber response.

Rapuano pointed to “a long normative and legal tradition” of limiting the role of the military in domestic affairs. He likely was referring technically to Title X, which outlines the role of the armed forces — providing the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the services and the department. He pointed frequently to the Department of Homeland Security, which generally owns the cybersecurity challenge for civilian agencies.

But whether you consider the current Title X, which resulted from a 1956 overhaul of the previous version, or you harken all the way back to the Posse Comitatus Act, a law signed in 1878 to limit the use of military personnel to enforce domestic policies in the U.S., cybersecurity didn’t exist at the time.

By definition, cyber extends beyond any individual domain. So must the response. And that response has no borders.”




Inside the ‘Foundational’ Future Technologies of the World’s Largest Defense Company




“Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest defense contractor, a company with more than $47 billion in revenue in 2016. 

Keoki Jackson, Lockheed’s chief technology officer, laid out to reporters the “foundational” technologies in which his firm will be investing over the next two to three decades.”

“The technologies fall into three broad categories, with the first being what Jackson called “strategic technology thread areas,” areas that “go across pretty much anything Lockheed Martin will do, all these domains whether from undersea to outer space.”

Included in that pot are autonomy, directed energy, signal processing and communications, sensor technology and exploitation, and advanced cybersecurity.

Usable directed energy weapons, long described in defense circles as just around the corner, are truly at a “tipping point”, according to Jackson, who said he is confident the company’s 60-kilowatt system, which has been used on a Stryker vehicle, can be scaled up to 150 kilowatts or more.

Although not initially part of his discussion, Jackson later acknowledged the company is working on hypersonic technology as well. “I do believe we’re on the verge of a revolution in hypersonics, and we are certainly committed to supporting our customers in their quest for high-speed strike capabilities,” he said.

The second pot involves enabling technologies ― areas where there is a “huge amount of investment” going on in universities and the commercial tech sector, Jackson explained.

These are areas where we look not just to develop specific capabilities in-house, but really to leverage these huge investments that are going on in the commercial world that are really advancing,” Jackson said, noting investments in these areas can be found anywhere from the financial sector to the agricultural world.

That pot includes data analytics and big data, advanced electronics, and advanced materials and manufacturing. This is where Lockheed Martin’s LM venture fund, a roughly $100 million pot of money for investing in outside tech companies, most comes into play.

Finally, there is the third pot, which is made up of emerging technologies that “are kind of longer range, they are iffier bets, they are higher risk.” Among those noted by Jackson in this pot were quantum computing, communications and cryptology, as well as synthetic biology.

“We’re in an age today where you can effectively design a living molecular machine, you can compile it using a set of tools that is very much like a program compiler in a programming language, and then you can auto-generate a set of DNA sequences,” Jackson said of the synthetic biology piece. “You can create molecular machines to build almost anything at that molecular level with molecular precision.”

But while predicting biological technology is going to “revolutionize” the aerospace world, Jackson admitted he‘s most excited about the potential from quantum technologies, particularly the potential impact on information sciences.

“I believe the next leap in information technology, computing and sensing is going to come out of the quantum world. It is going to enable us to solve computational problems that we just cannot address today. It’s going to enable us to design new materials that we don’t have any way to go after,” he said.

A 2015 study from the U.S. Air Force warned there is significantly more “hype” than reality around quantum tech, and Jackson was upfront that it may never pay off for Lockheed the way he hopes. But the potential of the technology is worth plunking down the research funding, including the procurement of an expensive D-Wave system.

“Some of this seems a little science fiction-y, but i will tell you we see it in labs in the U.S., in other countries, where you’re actually seeing multi-qubit kind of computation systems come together and some really interesting advances in communications and sensing,” he said.”