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Deasy Faces Senate Confirmation as IT Portfolio Progresses by Rachel Cohen of Air Force Magazine

Pentagon Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy will come under congressional scrutiny to stay in the same role, thanks to legislative language in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that turned his job into a presidentially chosen, Senate-confirmed post at the start of 2019.

President Donald Trump formally nominated Deasy on June 25. The CIO found out the announcement was posted during a Defense Writers Group breakfast that morning, but said there isn’t anything notable about the timing. The legislative change reflects Congress’s recognition of technology’s growing importance to the military, he argued.

Heading into his Senate confirmation process, Deasy wants members to think about the issues that fall under his portfolio—information management, technology, and assurance; certain space systems; satellite and telecommunications; navigation and timing programs; electromagnetic spectrum; and artificial intelligence—as interdependent parts of a bigger whole.

“When I arrived and I started conversations with different members, it was a variety of topics … it was cloud, it was [artificial intelligence], it was various parts of [command, control, and communications], it was about people, it was about organizational structures, data management,” Deasy said. “It just screamed out to me that this was connected, but someone just needed to step back, look at the individual pieces, be able to explain what each piece is trying to accomplish … and then bring it together into kind of a holistic story.”

Data—as well as the general-purpose, global cloud system envisioned to hold it, the algorithms used to crunch it, and the means of keeping it all safe—will sit at the core of military operations going forward. Deasy provided updates on three key pushes expected to change future warfare: the enterprise cloud effort known as JEDI, a rollout of 5G networks at bases across the country, and pilot programs at the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

The Pentagon anticipates issuing a $10 billion contract to Amazon or Microsoft for the Joint Enterprise Department Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud in late August, even as Oracle awaits the outcome of its challenge to the program in federal claims court. Deasy said the ruling will not affect the contract award. Oracle and IBM’s bids were rejected earlier this year. Oracle alleges the Defense Department wrote its program requirements too narrowly and that Amazon offered two DOD employees jobs while they were working on JEDI.

“JEDI Cloud will enable the warfighter to quickly convert data to actionable information, which is recognized as critical by all of the combatant commands,” according to Joint Staff CIO Lt. Gen. B.J. Shwedo’s June 7 testimony in Oracle America v. US and Amazon Web Services. “Having an enterprise-wide cloud environment allows the data to be aggregated. Once aggregated, advanced analysis capabilities like [AI] and machine learning can be used to ensure the warfighters are receiving analyzed data in a reduced amount of time.”

The cloud should also be accessible when networks are cut off and is expected to boost military training and equipment maintenance.

Deasy noted that in the last six months, his office has reached out to commanders around the world who have a “significant amount of pent-up demand” for cloud capability. DOD will pull together a list of programs that are the top candidates for early migration to JEDI.

In addition, he said the department is assembling a list of military bases that will be the first to test out 5G network infrastructure and help refine the Pentagon’s approach to future wireless capabilities. He added that a predictive maintenance pilot at the JAIC recently offered its first algorithm to US Special Operations Command and the Army to help battle the negative effects of sand in Black Hawk helicopter engines.

Original article can be found here.

Other articles:

National Defense Magazine: JUST IN: Despite Legal Challenge, JEDI Cloud Computing Contract Award Expected in August (UPDATED)

MeriTalk: JEDI Contract Announcement Seen in August, Deasy Says

Federal Computer Week: JEDI award expected in August

Washington Technology: DOD says JEDI award happens this summer

Inside Defense: Top DOD official cites need for 'dynamic spectrum sharing,' as military prepares 5G 'use cases'

Pentagon eyes end of August for JEDI cloud award

Federal News Network: JEDI award delayed, DoD CIO preparing agencies for its arrival

Fifth Domain: Pentagon’s top IT official formally nominated for his own job

Defense Daily: Pentagon To Now Award $10 Billion JEDI Cloud Contract In Late August, DoD CIO Says

Bloomberg: DOD Tech Chief Prepares for `JEDI' Cloud Amid Court Battle

Defense One: Pentagon Aims to Award JEDI Cloud Contract in August

Top U.S. general warns Iran to steer clear of U.S. interests by Wesley Morgan of Politico

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday the United States wouldn’t mount a unilateral military response against Iran for the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman unless U.S. forces or interests in the region are targeted.

Any military response to the tanker attacks would “require an international consensus before military force is used,” Air Force Gen. Paul Selva told reporters, echoing earlier remarks by acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan that the U.S. government is focused on building international consensus in the wake of the tanker attacks.

But “if the Iranians come after U.S. citizens, U.S. assets or U.S. military, we reserve the right to respond with a military action, and they need to know that,” Selva said. And that’s the case even if an attack on U.S. troops comes through “surrogates,” he warned, a reference to Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Although Iran is “lashing out against the international community,” the Iranians “haven’t touched an American asset in any overt attack that we can link directly to them,” Selva said

Still, over the weekend, the Pentagon claimed Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had shot down an unmanned U.S. Reaper drone in Yemen earlier this month with what the Pentagon alleged was an antiaircraft missile supplied by Iran.

“The Iranians believe that we won’t respond, and that’s why we’ve been very clear in our message, Selva explained.

“Our history in the region is we have threatened to respond and not responded. It would be a miscalculation on the part of the Iranians to believe that that’s going to persist,” he warned, describing the message the U.S. is trying to impress upon Iranian leaders through the deployment, public messages and the messages through Swiss and Iraqi intermediaries.

Much remains unknown about the attacks, Selva acknowledged. For instance, if Iran indeed conducted them, how did Iranian forces pick the tankers to attack? One of the vessels was Japanese, and the incident occurred as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Iran.

Iranian forces may have singled out a Japanese tanker, Selva said, to send a message to Japan — or they may simply have picked the tankers nearest their patrol craft.

“I don’t know which one it was, and I’m not sure the intelligence community will ever be able to tell us which one it was,” the general said.

Also unknown is who in Iran authorized the attacks, if indeed Iran conducted them, Selva said.

“The evidence points towards Iran,” Selva told reporters. “The only perpetrator in the area that has a motive to perpetrate it is Iran.”

“The Iranian regime has been under significant pressure both economically and politically to come to the table to negotiate a deal on nuclear weapons and malign activities,” Selva said. “They are lashing out.”

The main evidence of Iran’s role in the latest tanker incident is the speed with which Iranian sailors removed an unexploded limpet mine from 1 of the 2 tankers after the attacks, the general explained. “The fact that they were able to quickly and safely remove a mine from the side of a ship would indicate it was of their own design, of their own emplacement, and they took it into their custody so that it wouldn’t be available as evidence that they perpetrated the attack.”

“Getting alongside a vessel under cover of darkness to attach a mine underway is not an insignificant effort,” he added. “It was done by a military trained and capable … Somebody intended to affect the movement of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.”

Selva’s remarks to reporters came the morning after the Pentagon announced the deployment of another 1,000 U.S. troops to the region in addition to the 1,500 sent last month along with an aircraft carrier strike group and a unit of B-52 bombers.

The new forces are being sent to help protect U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria from possible future attacks by Iranian-backed militias, he said.

“We have to be cautious that we respond only as appropriate, so what we have done is deploy to the region forces that allow us to beef up the defenses of our own forces,” Selva explained.

Among the new troops, he noted, will be “surveillance and reconnaissance” assets that can help warn of attacks as well as units “that can respond if required to an attack against our forces.”

The earlier deployment also included Patriot antiaircraft missile units and fighter jets.

Original article can be found here.

Other articles:

Military.com: F-35 Pilot Killed in April Crash May Have Ignored Aircraft Instruments: Selva

Bloomberg: North Korea Missiles Still Lack Capabilities, U.S. General Says

USNI News: Selva Urges More Nations to Help Maintain Middle East Freedom of Navigation

DoD News: Global Integration Deserves More Attention, Selva Says

Defense News: Don’t expect the US to secure Arabian Gulf shipping alone, a top general says

Air Force Magazine: Selva: SCO Needs to Support Combatant Commanders

National Defense Magazine: JUST IN: Dominance in Data Processing Key to Future of Warfare

Inside Defense: Selva concerned moving SCO into DARPA could crimp ideas, capabilities delivered to COCOMs

Space News: Top general says large constellations of satellites in low orbit could address key needs

Defense Daily: Joint Chiefs Vice Chair Goes To Bat For Low-Yield Nukes As Debate Picks Up On The Hill

TASS:  Pentagon: activation of contacts can lead to coordination of actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the USA

The United States announced the need for low-power nuclear weapons to deter Russia

The United States called the condition of the use of force against Iran

Breaking Defense: General Unveils Key New Details of Attacks in Gulf of Oman

Al- Monitor: US lines up partners to protect oil tankers after Gulf attacks

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Wants Allies to Help Keep Oil Lanes Open

The Washington Post: Trump characterizes alleged attacks by Iran on tankers as ‘very minor’

Lawmakers push and pull over $750B defense policy bill NDAA top line at HASC markup by Joe Gould of Defense News

WASHINGTON ― Partisan sparring over the size of the defense budget marked the House Armed Services Committee’s debate of its annual policy bill Wednesday, highlighting the headwinds faced by the legislation.

Rebuking at the House bill’s $733 billion top line, which is $17 billion less than the Trump administration requested, panel Republicans threw their weight behind an amendment to add the money back. The GOP-controlled Senate is due to consider a rival $750 billion bill that passed the Senate Armed Services Committee in May.

If the committee’s hawkish Republicans vote against the bill in large numbers at the markup, the chamber’s Republicans will also vote against it, observers said.

In that scenario, Democrats would have to rally their own ranks ― a challenge when the number of progressives in the party have expanded since 49 Democrats voted against the annual defense policy bill last year.

HASC’s ranking member, Rep. Mac Thornberry, offered the measure to meet the administration’s request and the Pentagon’s unfunded acquisition priorities. In lockstep Wednesday, Republicans repeatedly argued that a $750 billion top line reflects the 3 to 5 percent minimum growth defense leaders have testified they need to counter Russia and China.

“That is what is required to continue to repair readiness and not fall behind critical areas with the Russians and Chinese,” Thornberry said “Hypersonics: We cut the administration’s request and we are behind in hypersonics.”

A few other Republicans characterized the $17 billion reduction in terms of acquisition programs, like House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee ranking member Rob Wittman, R-Va. The $17 billion delta represents “significant carnage,” including more than $500 million in submarine construction, nearly $400 million in aircraft carrier construction, $200 in carrier refueling and nearly $100 million in destroyer construction.

 

US Air Force confirms plan to buy six light attack aircraft by Patrick Host of Jane's Defense

Key Points

  • The US Air Force has settled on purchasing six light attack aircraft for further experimentation
  • It will also perform additional international market research for turbojet and turbofan aircraft, among others

The US Air Force (USAF) has settled on buying six total light attack aircraft from Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) and Textron Aviation Defense as part of its further experimentation work, according to the service's secretary.

Secretary Heather Wilson said on 16 May that the service would send three aircraft to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and Hurlburt Air Force Base in Florida to provide allies opportunities to fly with the USAF and check out the equipment. The air force said previously on 8 May that it would award a contract to SNC for two to three Embraer/SNC A-29 Super Tucanos and that a second procurement action, also for two to three aircraft, would be issued to Textron Aviation Defense for AT-6 Wolverine aircraft.

The USAF, in the next year, will also work with industry to perform a market assessment for a variety of aircraft types. These include turboprop, turbojet, and turbofan, among others. The service was previously considering this market analysis.

"One of the reasons for us to buy this is to enable our allies to do the same," Wilson said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast. "We recognise that not all allies may want the same thing, so we just need to understand that more."

SNC, Textron Aviation Defense, and the USAF did not return requests for comment.

Dan Grazier, military fellow with the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) watchdog group in Washington, DC, believes the USAF performing market research for a variety of light attack aircraft types demonstrates the service is working on the behalf of the defence industry.

Original Article can be found here.

Other articles:

AirForce Magazine: USAF Looking to Overhaul Officer Promotion System

Federal News Network: To improve retention, Air Force considering flexible movement between active duty and reserve

Washington Times: Chinese, Russian hypersonic weapons advances a growing concern, Air Force chief says

Ahval News: Washington says Turkey may change its mind on S-400 purchase

Roll Call: Air Force secretary: send disaster money ASAP

Aviation Week: Wilson Defends Delayed Light Attack Buy

Defense One: Wilson Defends Delayed Light Attack Buy

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