Signals & Space Monthly Briefing

July 2019

Prepared by the CyberWire (Monday, July 1, 2019)

US-Iranian conflict in the Gulf.

Attacks on shipping in the Arabian Gulf during May has been blamed on Iran. Four tankers registered to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Norway were damaged. When the United Arab Emirates took the matter to the United Nations Security Council during the first week in June, the Emiratis described the weapons used as limpet mines delivered by small boats. They blamed a nation-state without naming Iran (BBC).

The US was not shy about calling out Tehran, with mixed but generally positive support from allies (Foreign PolicyTimes). Iran responded to US diplomatic pressure by shooting down a US Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone on June 19th. Tehran says the RQ-4A was flying over southern Iran, but the US insists, with evidence, that the drone was in international airspace over the Straits of Hormuz.

The Global Hawk is a big, capable, expensive platform, coming in at $131.4 million a copy, exclusive of research and development costs. Iran says it took down the RQ-4A with its Khordad missile defense system. Iranian spokesmen added that the Khordad can detect targets at ranges of one-hundred-fifty kilometers, track them at one-hundred-twenty kilometers, and engage them at eighty-five kilometers. The interceptor the system uses is a Sayyad 3 missile, developed from US SM-1 (RIM-66) Standard Missiles with which Iran was armed during the days of the Shah.

The US response was in cyberspace. US Cyber Command is said to have conducted offensive operations against Iranian targets in reprisal for both Tehran's attacks on commercial shipping and for the RQ-4A shootdown. Yahoo broke the story, saying the attacks were directed against an Iranian intelligence unit responsible for supporting operations against shipping by tracking tanker traffic. 

The Washington Post added details, reporting that US Cyber Command had disabled Iranian missile command and control systems in the region, which would be a direct riposte to the Global Hawk shootdown. US Central Command and the US Navy have referred inquiries to Cyber Command, which declines to comment for reasons of operational security. Fox News says Iran has promised a "firm" response to any American "aggression."

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned that Iran has increased the tempo of its cyberattacks against US targets, and that destructive wiper attacks could be expected. These typically gain access to target networks through familiar criminal methods, particularly phishing, password spraying, and credential stuffing, but their goal is destruction of data, not data theft. CISA's advice for defense is here; companies are advised to look to their security. 

The US imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian leaders (Wall Street Journal), but beyond that the situation remains where it was: Iranian kinetic action was met with a US cyber response. President Trump warned American patience and restraint shouldn't be overestimated, and Iran's leaders say they could knock down another American drone whenever they decided to do so, and that "the enemy knows it" (Washington Post).

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Drone commodification.

The RQ-4A is emphatically not a commodity system. But commercial uses of drones proliferate. They've moved from small hobbyist craft to platforms for commercial overhead imagery and soon, if Amazon is correct in its projections, to delivery vehicles. Amazon expects to put delivery drones into service in a matter of months (Telegraph). Some skeptics think this unrealistic (Telegraph) but Amazon seems all-in on the plan.

Military systems are following a comparable path. The US Navy's CICADA, essentially a swarm of drone gliders released from some mothership (an aircraft, a larger drone, even a balloon), is an example of the possibilities offered by non-traditional acquisition paths. CICADA ("Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft") is small, stackable, and cheap enough at $250 each to be effectively expendable. The program had its origins in the Naval Research Laboratory; it's reached the demonstration stage (C4ISRNET).

Satcom systems, entering the field and under development.

The Department of Defense is increasingly turning to commercial operators for its satellite communications needs. Inmarsat has been awarded a contract worth up to $246 million over five years to provide the Defense Information Systems Agency with commercial satellite bandwidth for Africa Command. The Ku-band services will support, DISA said, "airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and command and control missions” (C4ISRNET).

Larger numbers of satellites will require more capable ground stations. In particular, they'll require ground stations capable of connecting with multiple orbital platforms simultaneously. Harris Corporation has been awarded an Air Force Defense Innovation Unit contract to develop an antenna that will enable ground stations to do so (C4ISRNET).

Commercial-military satellite transactions aren't all one-way. The US Commerce Department is finalizing plans to arrange access to the Air Force's Unified Data Library, the Service's satellite situational awareness database. Commerce intends to share portions of that database with commercial operators in order to enable them to improve the safety and reliability of their systems in an increasingly crowded orbital space (C4ISRNET).

Will AI return mass to the battlespace? 

Revolutions in military have been so often proclaimed and fallen so far short of their threat and promise that one might be forgiven if one dismissed them the way one does a "paradigm shift" in business. But here's one thing to think about: an essay in Foreign Affairs sees the effect of artificial intelligence as restoring the importance of sheer mass to the battlefield. Small, cheap swarms of expendable autonomous sensors and weapons--they don't even need to very capable individually--are seen as threatening to disrupt post-Second World War American strategic reliance on relatively small numbers of highly capable, expensive, multi-purpose platforms. This would be disruption in the business sense of the term, disruption of the kind Blockbuster experienced at the hands of Netflix.

Such autonomous systems are increasingly becoming commodified and commercialized, particularly in the form of drones and satellite systems. The notoriously long development and procurement lead-times of the traditional military acquisition process renders any strategy with an array of ACAT-1 systems as its centerpiece particularly problematic, from this point of view. Small, cheap, plentiful, expendable and good enough may steal a march on big, expensive, scarce, non-expendable, and close-to-perfect. Thus a strategy that relies on qualitative superiority may find to its discomfiture that quantity has a quality all its own. This ought to hold some lessons about the value of rapid prototyping and alternative procurement systems.

Looking for greater agility in acquisition.

Both military Services and civilian agencies are looking to non-traditional acquisition approaches to speed systems from development to the field. The US Navy and the Department of Health and Human Services face surprisingly similar challenges as software takes a dominant position in both naval and healthcare systems (Federal News Network).

Some of the rapid innovation sought, the Government hopes, will be found in small businesses. The Senate is urging the Department of Homeland Security to reserve a large fraction of its acquisition budget for small businesses (Homeland Security Today). The Air Force is apparently pleased with the results of its Shark-Tank-like pitch days, and intends to hold more of them (C4ISRNET).

Overhead surveillance systems.

OPIR funding remains contentious as Congress shows some sticker-shock at the system's cost. The Air Force, however, remains fully committed, and the system seems likely to become reality. Lockheed Martin and its principal subcontractor showed quiet optimism about the system's prospects at the Paris Air Show, and the Air Force continues to view OPIR as a test of its ability to develop and field a complex space system more rapidly than has been possible in the past (Breaking Defense).

GPS spoofing as an anti-drone tactic?

There’s been a wave of Russian GPS spoofing since last autumn. Some of it was in the Baltic region; some of it was in the Black Sea. C4ISRNET suggests a possible motive for the Black Sea incidents at least: it may have involved executive protection against drones. The incidents seem to have been strongly correlated with President Vladimir Putin's movements, and there’s some speculation that the new age meaconning was intended to keep any hostile drones safely away from the Russian president.

Drone defense notes.

One direct antidrone technique, of course, is to shoot them down, which is what Iran did to a US RQ-4 Global Hawk. Tehran says the RQ-4 was over southern Iran; Washington says it was over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz (CBS News).

The US Marine Corps is testing a ground-based, drone-killing laser (Defense News). Mounted on a light tactical truck, the Compact Laser Weapon System (CLaWS) is a rapid-prototyping project. The Army is said to be testing its own version of the system (Breaking Defense).

The US Air Force is working up a microwave system, THOR (Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder--for the acronym to work, you've got to read "High-power-microwave" as one word). Developed at Kirtland Air Force Base by the Air Force Research Laboratory, THOR is another rapid prototyping effort, said to have gone from concept to realization in some eighteen months (Task and Purpose). THOR looks like a standard CONEX with a satellite dish on top. It's designed to be easily deployable for base defense anywhere, including expeditionary bases, and it's optimized for use against swarms of drones. High-power microwaves disable the drones' on-board electronics (

Space Force and Space Command updates.

Space Force cleared what observers took to be its biggest hurdle this month, as a bipartisan majority of the House Armed Services Committee voted to establish the new military Service. The draft approved calls it "Space Corps," but it is, in outline, the Space Force the Administration proposed. The House and Senate bills are expected to go through reconciliation without undue difficulty, and the model for Space Force and its place in the Department of the Air Force indeed seems likely to be the US Marine Corps and its place in the Department of the Navy (Breaking Defense). One of the differences between the House's Space Corps and the Senate's Space Force is budget: Space Corps is expected to cost $3.6 billion through FY 2014, including one-time start-up costs. Estimates for Space Force have come in higher, with earlier Congressional Budget Office projections falling between $7 billion and $14 billion (Breaking Defense).

Who eventually is picked to lead the new Service is thought to be a matter of some importance by those who look to the "Founder Effect" as vital to the establishment of great institutions (National Review). Space Force's roles and missions will evolve, but one that seems likely to endure is protection of commerce (POLITICO).

Space Command, the Combatant Command not to be confused with Space Force, has its prospective leader. The Senate confirmed US Air Force General John Raymond on June 27th to command the new US Space Command (TheHill). There is some sentiment in the Senate, at least, in favor of giving General Raymond a second hat as Space Force commander when that Service is finally established (Breaking Defense).

And space is no longer to be considered a "peaceful, benign" domain.

On June 4th, General Raymond told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "We no longer have the luxury of operating in a peaceful, benign domain. And we no longer have the luxury of treating space superiority as a given” (Stars and Stripes). He said that any future war with a peer competitor, and for the foreseeable future those peer competitors will be Russia and China, would be fought in space as well in the more familiar land, air, and maritime domains. In his view the US enjoys an advantage, but that advantage can't be taken for granted, and will require work to sustain and extend.

United Technologies and Raytheon will merge.

Raytheon has agreed to merge with United Technologies, the Washington Business Journal reports. The merged company, Raytheon Technologies, will be the world's second-largest aerospace (serving both commercial and military markets) and defense integrator, behind only Boeing. It's generally expected that the merger will go through, especially since Raytheon and United Technologies don't directly compete in most areas, and because United Technologies is spinning out its two major commercial, non-aviation businesses (elevator-manufacturer Otis and HVAC company Carrier). There is some United Technologies shareholder dissatisfaction with the merger, but this is thought unlikely to impede its progress (Defense News). The US Air Force at least is wary of further consolidation in the Defense Industrial Base, and will be watching the merger closely (Yahoo).


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Yesterday was Asteroid Day, and Signals & Space sends you greetings of the season.

Today's edition of the CyberWire reports events affecting China, France, India, Iran, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Selected Reading

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (22)

Trends (10)

Marketplace (50)

Products, Services, and Solutions (18)

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards (30)

Design and Innovation (9)

Research and Development (12)

Academia (1)

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation (44)

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement (5)

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

Iran threatens more attacks on US drones as Pompeo visits region (Military Times) Iran's naval commander warned that Iranian forces would not hesitate to act again and shoot down more U.S. surveillance drones that violate Iranian airspace. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting with the Saudi king and crown prince.

Pentagon issues map depicting US drone shot over international waters (Military Times) The Pentagon provided reporters a map indicating that the U.S. drone shot down by Iran was over international waters, challenging Iran’s allegations that the drone was flying over Iran.

Iran attack marks first known successful strike on high-flying Global Hawk drone (Stars and Stripes) The RQ-4A Global Hawk maritime surveillance drone was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz when it was downed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, U.S. Central Command said in a statement, though Tehran has claimed it was flying in Iranian airspace.

Iran, U.S. in war of words after U.S. drone shot down (Reuters) Iran on Thursday shot down a U.S. military drone it said was on a spy mission ov...

Iran shoots down American drone in "clear message" to U.S. (CBS News) Tension in Mideast soars as U.S. and Tehran offer differing accounts of shoot down, and a missile apparently fired by Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen hits Saudi Arabia

Iran's Attack on US Drone Escalates Tensions in the Gulf (Atlantic Council) If the United States decides to strike back at Iran for its shooting down of a US drone on June 20 , “the escalatory spiral” in the region “will only continue with potential disastrous consequences, according to Barbara Slavin, director of the...

Did Iran Just Invite a U.S. Attack? (Foreign Policy) “This country will not stand for it,” Trump says after drone shootdown.

How the Pentagon Nickel-and-Dimed Its Way Into Losing a Drone (Defense One) The lion’s share of the U.S. drone fleet is easy prey for advanced air defenses. It didn’t have to be that way.

Western allies blame Iran over tanker attacks in Gulf (Times) Western allies rounded on Iran today after the United States released video that it said showed the crew of an Iranian vessel removing an unexploded mine from one of two oil tankers attacked at the...

Saudi crown prince accuses rival Iran of tanker attacks (AP NEWS) Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in remarks published Sunday that the kingdom will not hesitate to confront Iranian threats to its security....

Some U.S. Allies Balk at Blaming Iran for Tanker Attack (Foreign Policy) Conflicting accounts of the incidents in the Gulf of Oman stir further confusion in an increasingly volatile region.

The US and Iran have engaged in deadly combat before over Gulf tanker attacks. Here’s what happened (Military Times) The so-called

Trump blames Iran for tanker attacks but calls for talks (Military Times) President Donald Trump has blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, but he also held out hope that implicit U.S. threats to use force will yield talks with the Islamic Republic as the Pentagon considers beefing up defenses in the Persian Gulf area.

Pompeo tries rallying foreign leaders in alleged oil attacks (Military Times) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reaching out to wary foreign leaders to frame alleged Iranian attacks in a Middle East oil shipping route as a problem for the world at large, especially for Asian countries vitally dependent on that oil.

'State actor' behind UAE tanker attacks (BBC News) A limpet mine raid on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman was a "sophisticated operation", the UN hears.

How the U.S. Can Keep the Strait of Hormuz Open (Bloomberg) Only a global alliance will deter Iran from attacks at sea.

Iran is just a few steps away from nuclear weapons (Times) Three components are required for a country to become a nuclear-armed power: the fissile material for a bomb, the means of delivering it and the political will to take that step in the first place.

Did Russia spoof coastal GPS to protect Putin from drones? (C4ISRNET) Multiple spoofing incidents showed ships unusually close to airports.

The Cyber Threat To NASA’s Artemis Program (OODA Loop) NASA is enabling another giant leap for humanity. With the Artemis program, humans will return to the Moon in a way that will enable establishment of gateways to further exploration of not just the Moon

Troubled JRSS Cyber System Exposes DoD Data, Says DoD IG (Breaking Defense) JRSS is not secure enough so DoD data is at risk. Operators don’t have the tools they need to properly monitor and troubleshoot the system and the training to run it properly.

The Coming Flood of Space Debris Can’t Be Stopped by Technology Alone (Defense One) Giant nets may help, but nations must solve the problem with new rules down here on Earth.

NASA Lab Hacked Using A $25 Raspberry Pi Computer (Fossbytes) A NASA lab was hacked using a Raspberry Pi. This breach occured in April 2018 where NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was hacked and 500MB of data from major mission systems was stolen. A federal report of the incident confirms that a Raspberry Pi to gain access to the system. It also highlighted the major security lapses that were present in NASA's network for about a decade and made the breach possible.


Here are the biggest weaknesses in America’s defense sector (Defense News) A new Pentagon report lays out some of the major issues the defense-industrial base poses for America's weapons.

A new report on why military space is so expensive (C4ISRNET) A new Pentagon report notes that the space industrial base remains fragile, and despite attempts to bolster it many critical components remain nonviable commercially.

Will China win the military AI race on the back of commercial technology? (C4ISRNET) Congressional hearing testimony suggests future competition with an uncertain outcome.

The New Revolution in Military Affairs (Foreign Affairs) For the U.S. military to succeed on the battlefields of the future, it will need a force built around large numbers of small, inexpensive, expendable, and highly autonomous systems.

Why the intel community is at an inflection point with data (C4ISRNET) The Intelligence Community is entering a third inflection point, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is leading the way in adapting to it, says Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon.

Where is the investment in AI oversight, asks inspector general? (C4ISRNET) While developing artificial intelligence has become a priority for the Intelligence Community, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community points out in a new report that there has been little investment in AI oversight.

Space Command nominee says space is no longer a 'peaceful, benign domain' (Stars and Stripes) The Air Force general nominated to lead the Pentagon’s newest combatant command that would direct the U.S. military’s space operations told lawmakers on Tuesday that any future conflicts with major powers such as Russia or China would be partially fought in space.

What are the benefits of commercial space? (C4ISRNET) Space is becoming an increasingly commercial domain, and the U.S. government has to figure out the right ways to engage with the commercial sector to enhance its missions.

3 space challenges for the intelligence community (C4ISRNET) The White House appointment for director of America’s intelligence satellites offers new proposals concerning artificial intelligence integration and partnerships between private industry and government.

Americans aren’t interested in the Moon and Mars—and that’s understandable (Ars Technica) After 15 years and $50 billion, we haven't really gotten that far.


Watch this space: Air Force announcing pitch days (C4ISRNET) The Air Force will host Shark Tank-style events to award funding quickly and bypass the traditional award process in sectors including space, hypersonics and ISR.

US Air Force looks to small businesses for an AI-integrated simulator (Defense News) The Air Force released a list of areas in which it’s interested, including interoperability among networked simulators; cloud-based simulators; and performance-based training, data collection and analysis.

HHS, Navy, seek to stay one step ahead of tech trends through agile acquisition (Federal News Network) A wide spectrum of agencies has stressed the need to speed up procurement and solicit ideas on how to make the process more innovative to ensure they’re not signing up to buy yesterday’s technology tomorrow.

OPIR Missile Warning Sats Plow Ahead Amid $$ Turmoil (Breaking Defense) Next-Gen OPIR program is moving right along as Lockheed and Raytheon keep their heads down amid funding discussions between the Air Force and Congress.

With JEDI court case in home stretch, Oracle lays out contracting officer’s errors (Federal News Network) The Court of Federal Claims is scheduled to hear oral arguments from government, AWS and Oracle lawyers on July 10 over JEDI, DoD’s $10 billion cloud procurement.

Massive Pentagon cloud contract could be awarded soon (Federal Times) Further delays of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure [JEDI] contract will harm the war fighter and hinder combatant command plans, according to DoD CIO Dana Deasy.

DoD’s JEDI saga continues with government, AWS returning fire in latest protest filing (Federal News Network) Justice Department and Amazon Web Services attorneys filed separate responses highlighting what they say are false or misleading claims made by Oracle in its Court of Federal Claims protest.

Yesterday, I had a story taken down on Forbes for a post about Jedi DoD (Medium) This is the commentary that was taken down in my Forbes column which then caused termination of my publishing rights.

JEDI award delayed, DoD CIO preparing agencies for its arrival (Federal News Network) DoD’s general purpose cloud is coming later than expected.

Forget JEDI — a future CIA bid offers up the next battlefield in fierce cloud wars (Washington Business Journal) The CIA's C2E contract is still in early stages, but will likely intensify the debate over multiple versus single vendors.

Teresa Carlson makes pitch for AWS cloud for DOD’s JEDI work (Washington Business Journal) Teresa Carlson, who leads Amazon Web Services’ public sector business, stressed the company's ability to deliver on the national security requirements of the $10 billion JEDI contract.

Why DoD’s decision to make cybersecurity an ‘allowable cost’ matters (Federal News Network) As part DoD’s move to shore up its supply chain, the Pentagon is developing with industry and other experts a new cybersecurity maturity model that is borrowing from standards like ISO 9000.

Senate Receives Bill to Ensure Small Businesses Get DHS Contract Share (Homeland Security Today) Sponsor Correa calls legislation "necessary" to outfit DHS "while allowing domestic small businesses to better compete for federal government contracts."

NASA asks private companies to share how they might supply the Lunar Gateway – TechCrunch (TechCrunch) NASA’s stated goal of sending the first woman ever, and the first man since the Apollo program, to the Moon involves setting up a new space station that will orbit the Moon, which is supposed to begin being built by the end of 2022, per current timelines. Today, the U.S. space agency issued a…

NAVAIR Digital Group seeks tech, cyber support (Intelligence Community News) On June 13, the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) posted a sources sought notice for technology acceleration and integration, information management, and cybersecurity support services. Respo…

How crowding space is opening a new antenna market (C4ISRNET) Satellite proliferation is driving the Air Force's need for a prototype ground system.

Pentagon to Unveil New Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for Defense Contractors (JD Supra) The Department of Defense announced that it is developing a new cybersecurity standard and certification for defense contractors. It is named the...

USAF posts space defensive cyber ops RFI (Intelligence Community News) On June 7, the U.S. Air Force posted a request for information for Defensive Cyber Operations for Space (DCO-S). Responses are due by July 10. This RFI is conducted to gather information and identi…

NASA Went to the Stock Exchange to Try to Sell the ISS (WIRED) The Trump administration is trying to turn the International Space Station into a business. It could learn from the first guy to try that: Ronald Reagan.

Jeff Bezos wants to build the infrastructure for space startups (TechCrunch) At its re:Mars conference, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage today to be “interviewed” by Jenny Freshwater, Amazon’s director of forecasting. As any AWS machine learning tool could have forecasted, having an employee interview her boss didn’t lead to any challengi…

SPAWAR posts digital modular radio RFI (Intelligence Community News) On June 6, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command issued a request for information for digital modular radios 500W HFPA. Responses are due no later than August 6. The Program Executive Office …

NRO shares plans for commercial imagery acquisition (SpaceNews) On the first day of the 2019 GEOINT Symposium here, the National Reconnaissance Office announced three contracts, whetting everyone’s appetite for more information on how the agency plans to acquire commercial satellite imagery for the U.S. defense and intelligence community.

How the NRO learned to stop worrying and love the commercial imagery (C4ISRNET) The National Reconnaissance Office is dipping its toe into the world of commercial data, awarding three study contracts that will put it on track to start purchasing commercial satellite imagery.

Peraton to acquire Solers (Intelligence Community News) Herndon, VA-based Peraton, a portfolio company of Veritas Capital, announced on June 17 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Solers, Inc., a leading provider of software devel…

Harris-L3 Merger Gets Regulatory Nod, L3Harris Set for Debut (Yahoo) Post completion, Harris (HRS) and L3 Technologies (LLL) shareholders will own approximately 54% and 46%, respectively, of the combined company - L3 Harris Technologies, Inc.

L3, Harris to divest ‘significant’ portion of business post merger (Defense News) The combined entity of L3 Harris Technologies will divest a significant piece of business, likely in the first six months after the merger closes, CEOs from both companies said during an interview with Defense News ahead of the Paris Air Show.

United Technologies CEO predicts Raytheon merger gets done despite activist investor opposition (CNBC) The deal would bring together a booming aerospace company with a giant government defense contractor.

The UTC-Raytheon deal highlights the changing nature of war (The Economist) Better to fight the next one than the last

Analysis | Raytheon Deal Upends the Aerospace Playing Field (Washington Post) United Technologies’ latest megamerger should put GE, Honeywell and Boeing on notice.

Raytheon and United Technologies Aerospace Businesses to Combine in Merger of Equals (Raytheon Technologies) Combination will create a premier systems provider with advanced technologies to address rapidly growing segments of aerospace and defense

Raytheon’s Tom Kennedy and UTC’s Greg Hayes on why they are uniting the companies (Defense News) The two heads of the future Raytheon Technologies Corporation talk with Defense News about the mega-deal that could reshape the defense industry.

Why the new Raytheon Technologies will eschew platforms for new technology development (Defense News) “Platform agnostic.”

Raytheon, United Technologies merger threatens Pentagon bargaining ability (The Washington Times) Recent developments highlight how the armed forces and their industry partners have stockpiled power and influence to an unprecedented level, experts say.

Analysis | Bill Ackman Misses the Mark With His Raytheon Deal Critique (Washington Post) The activist has concerns, but the megamerger can be defended.

Raytheon Wins Air Force F-15, C-130 Cyber Contracts (Breaking Defense) Maintainers hook into a plane to find out what's wrong with it. Smart weapons connect to the plane's network. The pilot's helmet mounted display taps into onboard and offboard data. "All these are potential threat vectors we're concerned about," Todd said.

Raytheon mentors Colorado Springs defense contractor (Colorado Springs Gazette) Defense giant Raytheon is lending a hand to local cybersecurity contractor Infinity Technology Services, which went from nearly defunct to earning over a million dollars in less than a year.

Raytheon to Conduct Cyber Assessments of USAF Aircraft Systems (Air Force Magazine) ​Raytheon and the Air Force are working on a type of “bug bounty” focused on addressing cyber deficiencies, but this time on aircraft.

Next Gen Jammer Deliveries & OPIR: New Raytheon SAS Boss (Breaking Defense) Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems division is planning to hire more than 5,000 people. "Over 2,000 last year, and over 2,000 in the next 18 months, and that's likely to continue for the next four to five years," Roy Azevedo says in our interview.

Parsons planning more merger and acquisition moves ( Fresh off its purchase of geospatial intelligence firm OGSystems in January, Parsons is searching for more companies to buy that would further expand its presence in space, among other industries.

Thales gets Syracuse 4 ground segment work (Shephard Media) Thales has received a contract from the French defence procurement agency (DGA) to design and build the ground segment for the next-generation Syracuse 4 satellite ...

Inmarsat awarded $246M contract for satellite services (C4ISRNET) Inmarsat Government Inc. has been awarded a contract to provide commercial satellite communication services for the U.S. military.

Northrop Grumman used a fictitious war with Iran to sell its Global Hawk drone to the Pentagon (Quartz) More than a decade before Iran shot down a Global Hawk drone, Northrop Grumman sold the US on buying it using a hypothetical conflict with Iran.

Boeing to move space headquarters to Florida ( Boeing announced June 19 it will move its space division headquarters from the Washington area to Florida as some major programs move into operations.

The world's largest airplane is up for sale for $400 million (CNBC) Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, which flew once, is up for sale, sources familiar told CNBC.

Rocket Lab: The small firm that launched the 3D-printed space revolution (MIT Technology Review) Peter Beck founded Rocket Lab, which 3D-prints rocket engines for NASA. We talked to him about the technology’s benefits—and the future of the fledgling small launch industry.

Serco turned down twice in merger approach to Babcock (Times) Serco is on the prowl to consolidate the government contracting and privatised public services market after it emerged that it has twice been rebuffed in attempts to merge with Babcock, the...

Startup that aims to dominate new space race raises funds from Sumitomo and Perot Jain (Fast Company) Hypergiant, a Texas-based startup that launched a year ago and aims to use big data to dominate the new space race, announced today that it raised funds from Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and Perot Jain.

Mercury Systems Garners $16 Million in DRFM Jammer Orders from U.S. Navy (Seapower) Mercury Systems Inc. has received an $16 million more orders against its $152 million five-year agreement to deliver advanced Digital RF Memory (DRFM) jammers to the U.S. Navy, the company announced in a release. The orders were...

Mercury Systems Extends Expertise in Microelectronics Miniaturization Services (West) Industry-leading 3D packaging and high volume GPS manufacturing equip the warfighter with next-generation M-code capabilities

Mercury Systems Receives $8.2M Order for SWaP-Optimized Memory for Advanced Airborne C2I Application (Yahoo) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, announced it received an $8.2 million follow-on order from a leading defense prime.

Products, Services, and Solutions

SpaceX just aced a critical Air Force test of its Falcon Heavy rocket (Ars Technica) This "allows the Air Force to begin using previously flown rocket technology."

The Falcon Heavy rocket launched early Tuesday—two cores made it back safely (Ars Technica) The center core had a fiery encounter with the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX records another first for reusable rocketry by catching Falcon Heavy fairing with a boat (TechCrunch) SpaceX has managed to do another thing that seemed audacious and highly unlikely after a few early botched attempts. It used a ship at sea to catch the falling nosecone that shielded the cargo aboard its Falcon Heavy rocket during launch. The maneuver saw a SpaceX -owned barge called Ms. Tree rigge…

SpaceX successfully launches Falcon Heavy rocket with two flight-proven booster cores (TechCrunch) SpaceX has succeeded in launching its third mission with the Falcon Heavy high-capacity rocket it first launched successfully last year. The rocket’s STP-2 mission took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida towards the end of a four-hour launch window that opened at 11:30 PM EDT on Monday,…

Watch SpaceX perform a complicated Falcon Heavy launch (Quartz) "This will be our most difficult launch ever." — Elon Musk

SpaceX is about to launch 152 dead people's remains into orbit aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket (Business Insider) A company called Celestis has tucked small pods of cremated "participants" into a spacecraft that will also carry NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock.

Europe says SpaceX “dominating” launch, vows to develop Falcon 9-like rocket (Ars Technica) "What is state-of-the-art in the USA is only in its beginnings in Europe."

Firefly opens first Alpha rocket launch to academic and educational payloads (Ars Technica) Company appears to be taking its commitment to STEM to another level.

Experts cast doubt over spaceport plan (BBC News) Concerns have been raised over the suitability of a site in Sutherland aiming to become the UK's first major spaceport.

Meet Launch Complex 48, NASA's new small rocket pad at Kennedy Space Center (Florida Today) A new launch pad, designed for small commercial rockets, is coming to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Raytheon and Black Sage to provide an integrated drone detection and mitigation system (Help Net Security) Raytheon and Black Sage to provide an integrated drone detection and mitigation system for civil authorities, critical infrastructure and military orgs.

Lockheed Martin offering new satellite image analysis service - (SpaceNews) Lockheed senior fellow Mark Pritt: “Today there’s still a lot of manual labor involved in identifying what you’re seeing in those images."

Saab and Orolia team to protect navigation systems from cyber attack (Marine Log) Saab is collaborating with Orolia on a suite of technologies that detect and mitigate cyber-attacks on navigation systems onshore or on vessels. As the 2021 deadline gets nearer for implementation of IMO’s

Virgin Orbit seeks to launch satellites from the UK by 2020 (TechCrunch) One of Richard Branson’s space companies (yes, he has more than one) is looking to bring satellite launches to British soil, with a new Virgin Spaceport based in Cornwall. The project now has buy-in from the U.K. Space Agency, which intends to put £7.8 million (around US$9.94 million) into de…

The world’s largest airplane may be grounded after a single flight (Ars Technica) Company denies report, says Stratolaunch remains "operational."

Mercury Systems Delivers Full Range of Flight Safety Assurance to Mission-Critical Aerospace and Defense Programs (Yahoo) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, announced today the availability of the full range of flight-safety certification levels in.

Mercury Systems Introduces SpectrumSeries Microwave Synthesizer with Industry-Leading Phase Noise Performance (Yahoo) Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, today announced the SpectrumSeries™ DS-3000 synthesizer, the Company’s latest.

Thales introduces Spy Ranger 550 (Shephard Media) Thales has expanded its mini UAS range with the introduction of the Spy Ranger 550. Designed to boost the intelligence gathering capabilities of units deployed ...

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards

This emo Russian owl drone is a real ... hoot (Military Times) One could even go so far as to argue that Mr. Owl of Tootsie Pop commercial fame was more menacing.

Link security key aim for cyber age - DB - Digital Battlespace (Shephard Media) Cyber security has rapidly grown as a priority for Link 16 and C2 tactical data links more broadly, according to Northrop Grumman, with the company lo

A new Air Force satellite won’t launch until July now (C4ISRNET) The launch of the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency, which was slated for June 27, has been delayed due to a battery failure.

The US Air Force has a new weapon called THOR that can take out swarms of drones (Verge) Ding, the drone is done.

One legacy of Carl Sagan may take flight next week—a working solar sail (Ars Technica) "We are carrying on a legacy that has been with us since the founders."

Crowdfunded spacecraft LightSail 2 prepares to go sailing on sunlight (TechCrunch) Among the many spacecraft and satellites ascending to space on Monday's Falcon Heavy launch, the Planetary Society's LightSail 2 may be the most interesting. If all goes well, a week from launch it will be moving through space — slowly, but surely — on nothing more than the force exerted on it by s…

One of NASA’s robotic astronaut helpers just flew on its own in space for the first time (TechCrunch) NASA’s very own free-floating Companion Cube equivalent took its own first tentative “steps” in space today, demonstrating its ability to rotate on its own in zero gravity inside the International Space Station. The robot, called “Bumble” and one of a series of Astrobe…

Top Secret No Longer: The New Mach 5 SR-72 Spy Plane Could Beat Everything (The National Interest) Here is all we know about it.

US Marines to test drone-killing laser weapon (Defense News) A directed-energy prototype weapon is now in the hands of Marines.

Corps Is Using New Satellite Communication System (SIGNAL Magazine) This new system brings SATCOM capabilities in various formats to Marines and improves their ability to communicate on the field.

How contractors can guard against cyber intrusions (Fifth Domain) Contractors, facing an increasing barrage of cyber intrusions by foreign entities, should protect themselves using traditional regulatory approaches but also new techniques such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, according to a new report from Deloitte.

Marines give the first reaction to new satellite terminals (C4ISRNET) The Marine Corps says they're getting positive feedback from field tests of MUOS, a new ultra high frequency communication system that will replace the legacy UHF Follow-on.

A New Fuel for Satellites Is So Safe It Won’t Blow Up Humans (WIRED) SpaceX’s next Falcon Heavy launch will carry a satellite that will test, for the first time, a “green” fuel that is even less toxic than caffeine.

Rebuilt Offutt Could Be New Information Warfare “Foothold” (Air Force Magazine) From the floodwaters that covered this base in March could emerge a new opportunity for the 55th Wing: the chance to be a key hub for the Air Force’s emerging information dominance organization.

Air Force gets new stopgap system for GPS 3 satellites (C4ISRNET) The Contingency Operations (COps) software upgrade will allow the current ground system controlling the GPS constellation to control the next-generation GPS III satellites, the first of which was launched in December.

Is electronic warfare already legacy technology? (C4ISRNET) Electronic warfare is often held up as a core category of modern warfare. But if you ask William Conley, director of electronic warfare in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the military will soon be moving on.

China launches rocket from ship at sea for first time (Reuters) China successfully launched a rocket from a ship at sea for the first time on We...

NASA's first SpaceX astronauts ready for 'messy camping trip' to space (Reuters) The first U.S. astronauts chosen to fly aboard a SpaceX capsule built for NASA s...

Northrop Grumman Ships Orion Spacecraft’s Launch Abort Motor to Kennedy Space Center (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) shipped the inert abort motor for NASA’s Orion spacecraft Launch Abort System (LAS) from the Northrop Grumman facility in Magna, Utah, to Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It will...

Northrop Grumman Successfully Demonstrates LTAMDS Capability to the US Army (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) demonstrated its in-production, innovative solution for the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) program during an open “Sense Off” competition at White Sands...

If the Army doesn’t get the network right, is everything else a wasted effort? (C4ISRNET) All other Army modernization efforts are dependent on the success of its network development, the three-star in charge of Army resourcing and programming said at the C4ISRNET conference June 6.

Eyeing Russia, Army fields jam-resistant GPS in Europe (C4ISRNET) The decision comes amid a pattern of Russia jamming or disrupting all sorts of communications vital to Western forces in recent years.

Army Fields Anti-Jam GPS In Germany This Fall (Breaking Defense) The first iteration of the new Assured Precision Navigation & Timing (APNT) kit will go to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany for evaluation.

Wireless command posts strike a cord for the Army (C4ISRNET) The U.S. Army Project Manager Tactical Network office will be deploying new systems to securely transmit classified and unclassified information across wireless networks.

Army project develops first cyber agility framework to train officials to out-maneuver cyber attacks (U.S. Army Research Laboratory) To help train government and industry organizations on how to prevent cyberattacks, as part of a research project for the U.S. Army, scientists at The University of Texas at San Antonio, developed the first framework to score the agility of cyber attackers and defenders.

What’s the best way for the Army to demonstrate force via electronic warfare? (C4ISRNET) The U.S. Army, however, is not interested in the same raw demonstration of force as Russia. Instead, U.S. officials are following a philosophy that relies on what they refer to as “surgical” attacks.

Army Adds Radio Network Capability to Ground Robots (SIGNAL Magazine) The service will use Persistent Systems’ mobile ad hoc networking technology to connect to its backpackable robot.

This mobile comms unit has people talking (C4ISRNET) The Army is piloting an effort called Expeditionary Signal Battalion-Enhanced, designed to create tailored communications systems support.

USAF to Demo New Airborne Mesh Network for Latin American Militaries (Defense One) The technology is being showcased at a meeting of regional air chiefs this week.

Canadian, Russian, American back on Earth from space station (AP NEWS) Three astronauts safely returned to Earth on Tuesday after spending more than six months aboard the International Space Station. The Soyuz capsule with astronauts from Canada,...

Design and Innovation

How gaming is changing interpreting the battlefield (C4ISRNET) Games created an easy to understand interface for managing war, and the Pentagon is starting to catch on.

Lockheed Martin studies how to use a cloud of satellites for space missions (GeekWire) More and more computing is being done in the cloud, but so far, the cloud-based approach hasn’t been applied in space. Lockheed Martin is thinking about changing that.

Can the Navy handle unmanned ships? (Defense News) Naval strategist Brian McGrath discusses the service's work on unmanned technology.

Enveil and Novetta Partner to Deliver Secure Data Processing at the Tactical Edge (West) Strategic partnership and technology integration unlocks field-ready capabilities for mission-critical applications in the government market

Beyond Software-Defined Networking: The AI-Driven Enterprise (Juniper Networks) At Juniper Networks, our work is to envision, design and build the network of the future. While that future is surely software-defined and charged with cloud transformation, there is a wide gap between the reality of today’s networks and the cohesive and centrally-managed model of the future. Today,...

Watch a mothership drone release its swarm (C4ISRNET) Developed first by the Navy, the CICADA disposable glider is a fascinating case study in low-cost dispersed sensor platforms.

Amazon will make deliveries by drone 'within months' (The Telegraph) Amazon has unveiled a new autonomous drone which it says will be delivering parcels to customers within months, as it doubles down on efforts to roll out the technology commercially.

Why Amazon's plans for delivery drones may never take off (The Telegraph) On an unassuming patch of farmland near Cambridge, Amazon has been fine-tuning what it hopes will be one of the company’s biggest growth stories:

How NASA wants to explore the AI sector (Federal Times) The agency is navigating through roadblocks that once blocked it from fully utilizing innovations in artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology.

Research and Development

We’re one step closer to atomic radio (Ars Technica) NIST scientists used so-called Rydberg atoms to record Queen streamed into the lab.

Navy Looking for Better Ways to Share Data (USNI News) The Navy is grappling with how to securely share the large amounts of data ship designers, operators and sustainers collect, a panel of engineers said Wednesday.

How shrinking an antenna may boost surveillance (C4ISRNET) IMSAR's radar system will combine with Optisys' array to enhance high-altitude, long-endurance airborne systems.

Solving the ‘nothing significant to report’ problem (C4ISRNET) Cindy Daniell, the director of research at National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, talks about how artificial intelligence can help analysts find the time to find solutions.

A Mythical Form of Space Propulsion Finally Gets a Real Test (WIRED) Scientists have debated for decades whether the propulsion concept known as EmDrive is real or wishful thinking. A sensitive new tool may at last provide an answer.

SpaceX beginning to tackle some of the big challenges for a Mars journey (Ars Technica) To survive on Mars, and return, SpaceX would gladly allow others to assist.

NASA Rover on Mars Detects Puff of Gas That Hints at Possibility of Life (New York Times) The Curiosity mission’s scientists picked up the signal this week, and are seeking additional readings from the red planet.

Is Mars' Methane Spike a Sign of Life? Here’s How We’ll Know (WIRED) The Curiosity rover detected a high concentration of methane on the red planet. Two Mars orbiters may soon clarify what that sighting really means.

This military UFO made a Midwest appearance (C4ISRNET) DARPA's unmanned floating object had theories in Kansas City ballooning.

Using a Software Defined Radio to Send Fake Presidential Alerts over LTE (RTL-SDR) Modern cell phones in the USA are all required to support the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) program, which allows citizens to receive urgent messages like AMBER (child abduction) alerts, severe weather warnings and Presidential Alerts.

NASA will fund a revolutionary mission to fly through Titan’s atmosphere (Ars Technica) "We want to do something bold and take measured risks."

NASA’s Dragonfly will fly across the surface of Titan, Saturn’s ocean moon (TechCrunch) NASA has just announced its next big interplanetary mission: Dragonfly, which will deliver a Mars Rover-sized flying vehicle to the surface of Titan, a moon of Saturn with tantalizing life-supporting qualities. The craft will fly from place to place, sampling the delicious organic surface materials…


Firefly opens first Alpha rocket launch to academic and educational payloads (Ars Technica) Company appears to be taking its commitment to STEM to another level.

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation

Trump Sanctions Iran’s Supreme Leader (Atlantic Council) US President Donald J. Trump on June 24 signed an executive order that he said would place “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader. “The Supreme Leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime....

US cannot ‘expect to stay safe,’ warns Iran’s foreign minister (Military Times) Iran’s foreign minister warned the U.S. on Monday that it “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching what he described as an economic war against Tehran, taking a hard-line stance amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat seeking to defuse tensions.

Iran to further scale back compliance with nuclear deal (CNBC) Iran's Atomic Energy Organization will announce moves to increase stocks of enriched uranium and production of heavy water at Arak, Tasnim reported.

Trump fudges his red line as Iran takes out a U.S. drone (POLITICO) People who have consulted with the president say he’s hesitant to get entangled in another Middle East war.

Schumer: Trump must get congressional approval before any military action against Iran (TheHill) Democrats told President Trump in a situation room meeting Thursday he needs to get congressional authorization before taking military action against Iran, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

Trump and Bolton debate how to deal with Iran as Pompeo 'triangulates,' officials say (CNN) President Donald Trump and his national security adviser, John Bolton, are engaged in an ongoing debate about how to handle Iran, a senior White House official told CNN.

Ireland has high hopes with first space strategy (Times) The government has launched Ireland’s first national space strategy. John Halligan, the innovation minister, said the plan, which runs until 2025, would ultimately benefit “our children’s...

How China Could Shut Down America’s Defenses (Foreign Policy) Advanced U.S. weapons are almost entirely reliant on rare-earth materials only made in China—and they could be a casualty of the trade war.

Tactical Cyber Weapons For Future French Battlefield Ops? (Breaking Defense) "We cannot accept that the decision to kill anybody is taken by a machine or software," says retired French Lt. Gen. Alain Bouquin, speaking about France's policy on the use of AI.

India to launch a defense-based space research agency (Defense News) The organization is charged with finding and implementing defense applications for India’s entire spectrum of space technologies.

The final frontiers: India must focus on cyber and space war capabilities in its defence modernisation (Times of India Blog) India’s first ever simulated space war exercise dubbed IndSpaceEx, slated to happen in July, underscores the newfound seriousness in thwarting threats posed to our space assets by rival nations. In March, India had launched an...

China says its Russia partnership is designed to blunt US ‘strategic edge’ (Washington Examiner) China and Russia are being pushed into a closer geopolitical partnership by President Trump's foreign policy decisions, a diplomat in Beijing argued Thursday.

Who is really in charge of US space operations? (TheHill) We've had seven government organizations involved in space matters, and may recreate the US Space Command and add a Space Force.

Defense bill hits Rand Paul speed bump (TheHill) An annual mammoth defense bill is running into a familiar speed bump: Sen.

What's In the New Draft National Defense Authorization Act (Just Security) "The baseline draft bill, which is also called the chairman’s mark, touches on key issues ranging from the militarization of the southern border to deterring Russia and reemphasizing the nation’s commitment to protecting human rights."

Draft NDAA Includes Multiple Requirements for DoD IT (Meritalk) The House Armed Services Committee draft version of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), released June 3, includes multiple provisions that would increase congressional oversight over multiple Defense Department (DoD) technology initiatives.

US Senate passes its defense policy bill 86-8, setting up fight with House (Defense News) The GOP-controlled Senate passed its FY20 NDAA, teeing up fights with Democrats over its top-line, America's nuclear arsenal and President Donald Trump’s war powers.

House's defense bill looks to protect Pentagon's tech supply chain (CyberScoop) The cybersecurity proposals in the House Armed Services Committee’s draft of the national defense bill for fiscal 2020 include provisions that would create new directives on the Department of Defense’s tech acquisitions and supply chain.

Lawmakers promotes cyber education, accountability in defense bill (FCW) House defense panels think DOD's cyber recruiting efforts -- and cyber tools -- are too spread out to be effective.

‘Space Corps’ gets OK in House committee’s NDAA markup (Defense News) The House Armed Services Committee has approved a new military branch for space.

Congress Gives Trump Rump Space Force (Breaking Defense) "Given the DoD’s poor job of presenting how we would move people and what criteria would be used, the congressional pushback is expected," says one Space Force proponent.

CBO: HASC ‘Space Corps’ To Cost $3.6 Billion Through 2024 (Breaking Defense) The HASC 'Space Corps' will be much cheaper than the Trump Administration's plan for a Space Force, says CBO.

Trump Gets His Space Force. Now Comes the Hard Part (National Review) Actually building the Space Force is now going to be up to the people the president chooses for the job.

House panel to debate counteroffer to Trump’s Space Force (Defense News) The House Armed Services Committee will debate a new military branch for space as part of the 2020 defense policy bill.

Interim Air Force secretary: I’ve always supported the Space Force (Defense News) The acting Air Force secretary plans to back elements of the administration's Space Force plan that his predecessor did not.

OPINION: The first duty of a Space Force is to protect space commerce (POLITICO) The new space service needs to launch a peacetime offensive to protect and enable a space economy, writes a former leading Air Force space strategist.

Here’s what the first few years of US Space Command might look like (Defense News) About 642 personnel from U.S. Strategic Command will be needed to establish U.S. Space Command, according to the four-star general nominated to lead it.

House Armed Services' space launch legislation revised in 11th-hour deal ( The amended language retained two key provisions that help SpaceX and Blue Origin, and removed two others that were opposed by United Launch Alliance and Northrop Grumman.

House panel worries about Navy’s at-sea network (Fifth Domain) The House Armed Services Committee wants to fence off about 15 percent of the Navy’s funding for its advanced at-sea network until the service answers questions about the program’s cybersecurity.

Price tag to return to the Moon could be $30 billion (TechCrunch) NASA's ambitious plan to return to the moon may cost as much as $30 billion over the next five years, the agency's administrator, Jim Bridenstine, indicated in an interview this week. This is only a ballpark figure, but it's the first all-inclusive one we've seen and, despite being a large amount o…

NASA looking at “hard decisions” within its budget to pay for Artemis plan (Ars Technica) "We’re starting to discuss what other things can we cut."

House members seek to bolster commercial space offices in appropriations bill (SpaceNews) The full House is unlikely to make major changes to NASA when it takes up a spending bill this week, but may adjust other agencies involved in space.

Esper lays out priorities in first message to the force as acting SECDEF (Navy Times) Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to be nominated for the Pentagon's top job.

Shanahan stepping down as top Pentagon official (Federal News Network) President Donald Trump says Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is withdrawing himself from consideration to be the permanent Defense secretary.

Pentagon Shake-Up Won't Affect Space Force, Acting SecAF Says ( President Donald Trump said via Twitter on Tuesday that Army Secretary Mark Esper will take over as acting Pentagon chief.

Mark Esper is acting defense secretary. Will Trump make it permanent? (Military Times) Federal rules limit how long he can serve in the temporary role, but Trump may nominated him for the permanent post.

What to Expect from Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (Atlantic Council) As Washington focuses on the threat emanating from Tehran, US President Donald J. Trump is nominating a new head for the Department of Defense, one who has kept his eyes on the long-term challenges facing the United States. Trump named Secretary of...

New acting Pentagon chief has closer ties to Trump (POLITICO) Mark Esper backed border deployments, but raised questions about transgender ban.

Rebel with a cause (C4ISRNET) Chris Lynch reflects on his years guiding the Defense Digital Service and how his

One of the military’s top cyber groups will get a new leader (Fifth Domain) The Cyber National Mission Force is often described as having Cyber Command’s best operators.

Tournear Tapped as Acting SDA Director (Air Force Magazine) Derek Tournear, DOD's assistant director for space within the department’s research and engineering branch, became acting director of the Space Development Agency June 24, less than a week after the agency’s founding director, Fred Kennedy, left the post.

The Space Development Agency’s first director is already out (C4ISRNET) An acting director will be announced soon.

The intelligence community’s space agency gets a new leader (C4ISRNET) The National Reconnaissance Office's new head will lead integrating new technology, staying ahead of adversaries, and increasing the speed at which the agency handles data. among other missions.

The Commerce Department is close to an agreement for space data (C4ISRNET) Kevin O'Connell, director of the Commerce Department's Office of Space Commerce, said leaders are close to obtaining an agreement to use the Air Force's space situational awareness data as a base for a public repository for commercial companies.

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement

Some hacker stole super-secret Mars mission info, and NASA is on the case (SYFY WIRE) Hackers steal video games, computer programs, movie trailers, and just about anything that can exist on a computer or in cyberspace (please don’t be that person), but someone actually had the nerve to mess with NASA.

Four to Face Murder Charges in Downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (New York Times) Investigators said on Wednesday that three Russians and one Ukrainian would be tried in the Netherlands in March, whether they were present or not.

Oracle’s latest JEDI filings cite AWS, ex-DoD official’s conflict of interest (Federal News Network) Oracle filed a new motion for its protest of DoD’s JEDI cloud procurement after new details emerged on Amazon Web Service’s job offer to two former officials.

IG audit raises more red flags for DoD’s Joint Regional Security Stacks (Federal News Network) DoD’s inspector general says the regional security stacks are still hampered by inadequate requirements planning and insufficient training for cyber defenders.

Two-star fired from running top secret program office; under multiple IG investigations (Air Force Times) Maj. Gen. Dawn Dunlop oversaw the office that managed some of the most highly classified programs in the military.

Compiled and published by the CyberWire editorial staff. Views and assertions in source articles are those of the authors, not CyberWire, Inc. or Cosmic AES


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