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Department of the Air Force

Air Force Mission

The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win…in air, space and cyberspace.

Combat AF Strategic Plan

  1. Develop innovative motivated CAF Airmen
  2. Enhance operations, cross-domain integration and effectiveness now and for the future
  3. Improve warfighting organizations, processes and infrastructure
  4. Balance recapitalization, modernization, sustainment and training

Cyber/Information Technology Trends

  • Gen. William Shelton takes command at Air Force Space Command
  • Recently stood up 24th Air Force is the USAF’s answer to the cyberspace problem. The 24th AF is geared right now to patch, and monitor, and attempt defense of computers and networks. As areas of operations (AOs) become more identified, the 24th will understand their mission and capabilities better.
  • 24th AF is commanded by Major General Richard Webber. It reports to a four star at Air Force Space Command (Gen Robert Kehler).
  • Another key player and major system worthy of note is USAF Materiel Command’s Combat Information Transport System (CITS). It is listed as the second out 300 AF programs in terms of importance. CITS is made up of 3 systems, transport, network defense, and network management. Transport is the physical embodiment of network operations, the routers, cabling, and switches. Network defense and network management are pretty much self-explanatory, they are the control features that drive these networks. CITS has a total portfolio value of $6.4 B and projected new annual expenditures around $500 M.
  • CITS is composed and managed in segments, including Information Transport Systems and Air Force Network. This restructure is designed to provide greater efficiency and more accurately reflect the mission. The USAF is reducing NIPRNet outside connection ports which provide access into their network. These network ports are a place where high cybersecurity measures are necessary and wanted.

Assessments

The Air Force has long placed a high value on investing for cyber defense and other cyber missions and they have a strong R&D program for cyber. Other services should watch the Air Force to seek ways to leverage solutions they are developing. Firms seeking to do business with the Air Force for cyber should first assess if the solution they are proposing fits mission needs in defense, exploitation, attack or a combination of the above. In any case, 24th Air Force is a key player in helping shape Air Force decisions in this mission space.

Items of Interest

Air Force Orders 300 SME Smartphones

General Dynamics C4 Systems is delivering 300 Sectera Edge smartphones to the U.S. Air Force for use by senior leaders. This is the first major USAF deployment of the Secure Mobile Environment–Portable Electronic Devics platform. This can provide access to SIPR and NIPR networks from any environment. The Sectera Edge is NSA certified for classified voice and data over commercial WiFi/cellular networks.

Northrop Grumman Wins Joint Mission Contract

Northrop Grumman received $19M contract to enhance and maintain Joint Mission Planning System framework. The JMPS comprises the core elements and functions of the JMPS family and helps automate planning for sensor, weapon or aircraft missions. Northrop will improve the framework by architecting a shared mapping capability for eliminating multiple, independent mapping products.

USAF is taking preventative measures against hackers

Air Force is taking a lead for Next Generation Airspace–and the DoD. The DoD envisions a joint architecture and services information-sharing requirement that is common across agencies and promotes interoperability and info-sharing. The Air Force will focus on three key areas: capabilities, employment and people. They will ask for single capabilities that use standardized power-sources with the ability to communicate across the DoD as a whole.

Air Force to kick off ACT military cyber security program

Experts at USAF Research Lab’s Information Directorate are readying solicitation for the Agile Cyber Technology program–this program is designed to develop new information security technologies to safeguard the nation’s military and national-security computer systems from cyber attack. The ACT program will look for threat avoidance and cyber defense, full spectrum CNO and more.

USAF using PlayStation 3 for high-performance computing

GPU computing has been knocking on the door for some time, but the USAF using 1700 PS3s as a computing grid shows their versatility. GPU computing is extremely cost effective, and can be orders of magnitude cheaper than comparative CPU server solutions.

Air Force Seeks Fake Online Social Media Identities

USAF has a request for bids for “Persona Management Software.” This could let someone command an online unit of non-existent identities on social media sites. They sought a software program that could manage 10 personas per user, including background; history; supporting details, and cyber presences. This is certainly indicative of asymmetric warfare USAF is waging.

Telos Awarded Defense Messaging System Contract – The Air Force has awarded Telos a task order to sustain its secure messaging system, the Defense Messaging System (DMS) organizational messaging capability used across the Department of Defense (DOD).

CSC awarded $30M for cybersecurity services to the 33rd Network Warfare Squadron.  Specific tasks include the protection and containment of any intrusion on Air Force networks, the company said. It also will plan, coordinate, analyze, and report on the results of managed network intrusion detection and prevention systems.

Northrop Grumman wins $49.9 M for fully functional messaging systems. The Defense Messaging System will provide operational messaging capabilities to AF ISR, DoD, and IC.