Air Force, Cyberdefense and Information Assurance, Defense Department, Joint Combatant Commands, Space, tech

Three questions on cyber and space for SecDef at Air Force Association event

MODERATOR:  You commented on 24th Air Force.  And would you also comment on the standup of U.S. Cyber Command and your expectations of how the services will organize and present a full range of capabilities to this new command?

SEC. GATES:  I think all of the services have really readily embraced the reality that this is — this is important and vitally — and vital to us for the future.  Each of the services is establishing its own cyber organization, such as the 24th.

All of the — I have — I’ve asked each of the service chiefs to consider as a first priority filling the billets in the cyber schools. We were not filling all of those billets, and clearly the demand for trained people in each of the services in this area is critically important.

I think everybody understands this is a huge potential vulnerability for us because of our dependence on the electronic world for communications, for everything we do.  And I think Cyber Command really is a recognition of the need that — the U.S. Cyber Command as a subunified command under STRATCOM.

I think the reason it’s really important is the need to integrate the different elements from exploitation to defense and so on all in one place so that we have a unity of effort in this respect, and then working with the individual service components.  So I think that we’ve made a lot of institutional and structural progress over the past year to 18 months in getting ourselves better organized to deal with a threat that is only going to grow in the future.

MODERATOR:  And, sir, this is a follow-up on that.  You’ve described well what we’re doing within the department. But how will operations in cyberspace be coordinated between the Department of Defense and other civil and national agencies?

SEC. GATES:  Well, I’m sort of speaking a little out of turn here because I can’t speak for the administration as a whole, so I’ll just give a personal opinion.  I think the notion of being able to replicate NSA for the civilian side of the government is wholly unrealistic.  We lack the human capital as well as the dollars to be able to do it; and, frankly, we lack the time to be able to do it. You just couldn’t create another NSA in a year or two.  This is a 10- or 20-year project.

So I think we have to figure out a way.  I think that the concerns of people — of all of us concerned about civil liberties and so on have to be taken into account.  My own personal view is that one way to do this would be to double-hat a deputy secretary or an undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and have that person also be a civilian deputy at NSA, you know, and then figure out a way to put some firewalls in that make sure that the authorities that we have that we can use for going after foreign threats do not spill over into the civilian world.

But clearly the need to address this issue and the vulnerability of the dot-com world in this arena, I think, has to be addressed, and better sooner than later.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, sir.  And the next question has to do with our growing reliance on space.  And our services and certainly our nation and the world continue to rely heavily and even more so on our space capabilities.  Now, what we are doing to address the potential threat to our space assets that have been appearing over the past several years?

SEC. GATES:  Well, this is a — this is a worry for me, and especially once the Chinese demonstrated their anti-satellite capabilities.  They are working on them.  Clearly, the Russians have some capabilities in this area.  Others may have in the years ahead and maybe in the not-too-distant future.

So I think we have to look at it in a couple of ways.  How can we make what we do put in space more survivable?  But also, what kind of alternatives can we develop in the atmosphere to be able to provide us at least short-term substitutes for space assets should they be denied to us?  And I would tell you we’re not — we’ve made some good progress, but we’ve got a long way to go in this area.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Sensors, Space, tech

C4ISR Contract Watch-Argon to develop C4ISR architecture for Navy aircraft, and others

The Navy, through the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, has awarded Argon ST, Inc., of Fairfax, Va.,  a $49,694,736 cost-plus-fixed-fee research, development and analysis contract to produce a C4ISR system architecture to network optical/infrared, radar, sonar, signal exploitation, and other sensor systems for U.S. Navy aircraft and unmanned air vehicles. The project is expected to be complete by September 2012.Work will be performed in Fairfax, Va. (80 percent) and Ventura, Calif. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2012.  This sounds like an airborne companion to the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS, or “D-sigs”).

Raytheon is getting a $22.5 million contract modification to continue its software development and verification for the Zumwalt Class destroyer program. “The purpose of this effort is to allow Raytheon to continuously provide Mission Systems Equipment (MSE) software development for the Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program”, the DOD release said.

The Naval Air Systems Command has also ordered 30 acoustic receiver “tech refresh” retrofit kits from  Lockheed Martin Corp., Manassas, Va.,  for $17.53 million. These are part of the Navy’s ongoing P-3C Update III program, putting advanced signal processing systems into the P3 for handling data from sonobouys.

Rolls Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded an $11,105,000 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0020) to procure three C-130J AE2100D3 turboprop engines for the U.S. Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, N.C., and is expected to be completed in May 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.


The Air Force’s SMC awarded Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company a $22 million contract for “advance procurement of long-lead parts” for Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellite Vehicle 4.  Three full AEHF satellites have been ordered thus far, at an estimated cost of $583 million per satellite; the satellite constellation, when it is in place, will provide communications at of data rates from 75 bps to approximately 8 Mbps.

The Air Force has awarded a $9.9 million contract to Boeing to  transition manufacturing technology developed under the Non-Autoclave Manufacturing Technology Program, a DARPA/Boeing joint effort to create new methods for creating composite materials, to a viable manufacturing process. The original DARPA description of the program: “The technology development will focus on establishing robust materials and out-of-autoclave processes for fabrication of full-size aerospace structural components with the same performance as autoclave-process materials. The developments in this program will enable the use of the same materials and processes for both development and production, mitigating risks frequently realized in program life cycles at maturation to production. Polymer composite parts can be manufactured in low volume production at 75 percent of the cost of the autoclaved components.” Polymer composites are used for aircraft components because of their light weight and relative strength.