AGM-129A loaded on a B-52 at Minot Air Force Base, ND
In 2007, a B-52 carried 6 unsecured nuclear-tipped AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The nuclear warheads were supposed to have been removed before the aircraft took off, but they remained on the aircraft unsecured at both Minot and Barksdale for 36 hours.
As a result of the incident, 4 USAF commanders were relieved of their commands; it also contributed to the resignation of top USAF officials. A Blue Ribbon Panel chaired by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger recommended that the USAF and the US Department of Defense (DoD) overhaul its handling of nuclear weapons security. In response, the USAF set up an Air Force Global Strike Command to oversee all bomber- and missile-based nuclear weapons.
The incident also prompted the US Navy to beef up its nuclear weapons security, which is overseen by the Strategic Systems Program…
Small business qualifier Basic Contracting Services in Artesia, NM won a maximum $15.3 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for armed security guard services, including harbor patrols, for Naval Magazine Indian Island.
Naval Magazine Indian Island’s mission is to provide ordnance logistics support to the Pacific Fleet and the joint services. The facility comprises the entirety of the 2,716-acre Indian Island located on the northeast corner of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
Basic Contracting Services will provide armed entry control point security, fixed post security, roving land patrols, and harbor patrols. The contract, which expires in September 2014, was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 10 proposals received by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest in Silverdale, WA (N44255-09-D-5000).
Science Application International Corp in San Diego, CA (FA8728-09-D-0004); L-3 Services in Chantilly, VA (FA8728-09-D-0007); and Northrop Grumman in Herndon, VA (FA8728-09-D-0009) were awarded a combined $495 million force protection security system (FPS2) contract to support integrated base defense at U.S. Air Force and other U.S. Defense Department sites worldwide. At this time, $5,000 has been awarded to each contractor. The 642nd Electronic Systems Squadron at Hanscom Air Force Base manages the contract.
The FPS2 contract is an indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity re-compete to replace the integrated base defense security system (IBDSS) contract vehicle. The 5-year, $498 millon IBDSS contract was awarded in September 2003 to 4 contractors: Northrop Grumman, Abacus Technology, ECSI and L-3 GSI.
DID has more on the FPS2 contract as well as integrated base defense…
The Canadian Communication Security Establishment (CSEC) plays the same role in Canada that the ultra-secretive NSA (National Security Agency) does in the USA, and cooperates closely with its American counterpart. Unlike counterparts like the Canadian CSIS, or American CIA, both agencies stay firmly out of the public spotlight. They specialize in the tripartite domains of electronic eavesdropping, robust encoding, and cyber-security. The ECHELON interception system, which also features cooperation from the UK and Australia, is the allied agencies’ best-known cooperative venture.
The problem is that the agency’s activities are growing, and its buildings can’t hold them all. Since one can’t just rent random office space for an agency of this type, that means new buildings. One emergency contract is already underway. A second, much larger contract, is readying itself for a public-private partnership deal as the government seeks interested firms.
As video communications is integrated into robots, soldiers, and UAVs, and network-centric warfare becomes the organizing principle of American warfighting, front-line demands for bandwidth are rising faster than the US military can add it. The Transformation Communications Satellite (TSAT) System is part of a larger effort by the US military to address that need, and close the gap.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record – and TSAT is certainly significant. The final price tag on the entire program has been quoted at anywhere from $14-25 billion through 2016, including the satellites, the ground operations system, the satellite operations center and the cost of operations and maintenance. Lockheed Martin and Boeing each won over $600 million in risk reduction contracts to develop key TSAT SS satellite system technologies, and TSAT’s $2 billion TMOS ground-based network operations contract was already underway.
The TSAT constellation’s central role in next-generation US military infrastructure makes it worthy of in-depth treatment – but its survival was never assured. There was always a risk that outside events and incremental competitors could spell its end, just as they spelled the end of Motorola’s infamous Iridium project. This FOCUS article examines that possibility, even as it offers an overview of the US military’s vision for its communications infrastructure, how TSAT fits, the program’s challenges, and complete coverage of contracts and significant events.
The latest developments revolve around the end of the program. Despite a positive recent report from the GAO, TMOS/TSAT are being canceled outright as part of the program’s planned termination:
The F-35 stealth fighter family is the largest defense program in the world, with estimated total costs of about $300 billion for development and for all planned aircraft. That program size, the number of countries participating, and the level of length of their commitment to a single aircraft type also makes it one of the world’s most important future weapons. The F-35 designs’ future success or failure on the battlefield are consequential enough that failure could alter regional, and even global, balances of power.
In May 2008, POGO obtained a Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General (IG) report suggesting that “advanced aviation and weapons technology for the JSF program may have been compromised by unauthorized access at facilities and in computers at BAE Systems…”, and documenting lack of cooperation with the Defense Security Service from BAE. Now a Wall Street Journal report, filed in the wake of its revelations that crackers have infiltrated the USA’s power grid and left behind malicious software, reveals thefts from the F-35 program as well.
P2P Intelligence firm Tiversa claims that in Oct/Nov 2008, it traced a file that contains details regarding the VH-60N Presidential Helicopter’s CAAS avionics architecture, and some program financial data, on public-access peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks. On Feb 25/09, the file was found on the IP address of an Iranian computer.
Subsequent reports indicate that the employee in question was a high-level executive, but the breach took place outside the company’s offices. This means the data may have been on a home computer when it was leaked. The information was shared over a P2P network called Gnutella, which is actually an open source standard used by a number of file sharing programs. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an adviser to Tiversa, offered this quote to several media outlets:
Cyber-security is an ongoing issue for any enterprise these days, but the defense sector is more of a target than most. Britain’s Ministry of Defence has been finding this out the hard way lately, as a string of announcements have placed its security under a spotlight. The recent use of cyber-attacks as part of conventional warfare has even prodded the USA into both a National Cybersecurity Initiative related to government IT operations, and a Trust in Integrated Circuits initiative that may be even more challenging.
The first bit of bad news was confirmation that just 27% of UK MoD computer systems meet current data security standards for holding classified information and personal data, another 31% meet some standards, and the rest are still being evaluated. A January 2008 scandal, wherein a stolen laptop held unencrypted personal data related to 600,000 people who had either expressed an interest in, or joined, the armed services, drives home the risks.
HMS Ark Royal
This was followed by news that the Royal Navy would be relying on Windows XP as the basis of its new Submarine Command System Next Generation. SMCS-NG is being retrofitted to British submarines, including the nuclear missile armed Vanguard Class. BAE Systems was reported as saying that elements of Windows that were prone to security flaws “were tended to during the modification.” Microsoft’s own ability to perform this task has often been a problem.
The final punch came when the Ministry of Defense acknowledged that problems with computer viruses had affected email systems and internet access to Royal Navy ships, which are handled by Navystar/ N
systems from Fujitsu. The UK MoD stressed that it has not jeopardised war-fighting systems, said that the lack of e-mail communication was due to the computers being shut down as a security measure rather than to viral damage, and added that no classified or personal data was compromised. Subsequent reports, however, have cast doubt on the claim. A whisleblower has apparently informed a Tory MP that email traffic from some RAF stations was sent to a server in Russia, and some of the RAF stations reportedly hit by the virus are used to scramble fighter aircraft to head off Russian bombers testing British air defenses. The virus was also blamed for damaging IT systems on 75% of the Royal Navy fleet, including the carrier HMS Ark Royal; commanders have reportedly been forced to use mobile phones to relay orders with officials in the UK. CIO UK | Contractor UK | BBC | The Register | The Telegraph | Public Service News re: origin | CIO UK re: audit | Contractor UK re: audit | cNET re: SMCS-NG | BAE re: SMCS-NG
Governments like umbrella “multiple award” contracts that let them deal with specific areas on set terms. It cuts administrative overhead costs, creates known pools of familiar competitors, and shortens the gap between requests and service. Hence the US Army’s recent announcement of their $497 million Biometrics Operations and Support Services Unrestricted (BOSS-U) multiple award contract awards, run by the Information Technology, E-commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4) on behalf of the Biometrics Task Force.
The opportunity was initially announced on May 23/08, and proposals from 12 offerors were received by the closing date of Aug 18/08. The winners were announced in late December 2008, and include: