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Cybersecurity: Rheinmetall Solution Wins Bundeswehr Innovation Prize

Friday, November 27th, 2020

High-performance application for protecting IT data networks takes first prize

Rheinmetall’s work in the field of cybersecurity received a special accolade at the Innovation Conference 2020, an event staged by CODE, a research institute with close ties to the Bundeswehr. The Innovation Conference coincided with CODE’s annual meeting at the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich, which this year took place online.

Thanks to an innovative solution for protecting data networks, Rheinmetall vanquished a total of 37 competing contributions to take first prize. “Moving Target Defence in Micro-Segmented Zero-Trust Networks” was the title of the award-wining contribution prepared by the expert team of the Cybersecurity business unit of Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH in Bremen, Germany. Technically speaking, the winning contribution is based on the application “Rheinmetall Security Appliance”, or RhSA, which the company developed to protect highly sophisticated IT infrastructures from cyberattacks.

A central feature of the Rheinmetall Security Appliance is the “Moving Target Defence” function, which can significantly enhance the security of networks. In essence, Moving Target Defence replaces real IP addresses with virtual ones, thus preventing attackers from reconnoitring individual end points for their attacks, creating virtually insurmountable barriers to any attack.

This highly topical issue seized the attention of the jury, which comprised representatives of various Bundeswehr institutions (Centre for Geoinformation); the German Ministry of Defence (Cyber/Information Technology department); the research institute CODE; and the Koblenz-based Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support, or BAAINBw.

Following a careful review of all of the contributions submitted, Lieutenant General Michael Vetter, head of the Cyber/Information Technology department at the Federal Ministry of Defence, proclaimed the Rheinmetall team the winner of this year’s competition.

Though endowed with a jackpot of €15,000, the real prize was the chance to engage in in-depth discussions with experts from the Bundeswehr, for whom warding off cyberattacks is a top priority. In 2017 the Bundeswehr established an independent military organization to take on this mission, Cyber and Information Space. In the view of the German government, digital sovereignty, that is to say, “Security made in Germany”, is particularly important in this context.

As Matthias Lindenberg, head of the Cyber Solutions business unit at Rheinmetall, puts it, “The award obviously represents a huge success for our team, one that spurs us on to achieve bigger and better things. We’re very pleased that our innovative “Moving Target Defence” approach won the prize and caught the attention of the Bundeswehr experts. We’re convinced that we can be a powerful, reliable partner of the Bundeswehr in the realm of cyber defence, and especially the German military’s Cyber and Information Space Command. But we also offer attractive solutions to the civil sector for protecting highly complex networks.”

For Rheinmetall, a new strategic line of business: Cyber Defence Rheinmetall has been addressing questions relating to IT security for a number of years now, and has since declared Cyber Defence a strategic area of activity. To enable systematic marketing of the Rheinmetall Security Appliance and the expansion of our cybersecurity portfolio, the Group recently established a new business unit: Rheinmetall Cyber Solutions GmbH of Bremen.

Developed in-house and based on so-called micro-segmentation, Rheinmetall Security Appliance (RhSA) is a market-ready solution for protecting complex LAN and WAN infrastructures of the kind operated by large corporations. During the past year, RhSA has already been successfully tested in a pilot operation by a well-known industrial group, which uses it to protect the networks at one of its largest production plants.

Besides RhSA, the Rheinmetall Cyber Solutions portfolio includes preparation of information security concepts for projects and products as well as development of solutions for practical implementation (e.g. cryptography and hardening measures), plus conducting vulnerability analyses and forensic IT investigations of cyberattacks.

The Group is eager to see Rheinmetall Cyber Solutions GmbH establish itself as an expert technology provider in the military and civil cybersecurity markets.

The CODE research institute
The CODE research institute (Cyber Defence) at the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich was established in 2013. Its mission is to bring together interdisciplinary experts from the sciences as well specialists from the military, business, industry, public authorities, and professional associations representing the fields of information and communications technology, the aim being to promote progress in the realm of cybersecurity.

Tasked with exploring new ways of encouraging the demand-oriented identification and introduction of IT innovations in the German Ministry of Defence’s area of responsibility, the annual Cyber and Information Technology Innovation Conference first took place in 2018. Research foundations, commercial enterprises, government authorities and private individuals can submit and present their innovative ideas here in the field of IT. The best of these earn a prize at the Innovation Conference.

Rohde & Schwarz Helps to Protect Dutch Soldiers in the Field

Monday, November 9th, 2020

Rohde & Schwarz Benelux to provide signal and spectrum analyzing and recording solutions for the Netherlands’ Defence Material Organization TESLA-M project.

Munich, November 9, 2020 – Rohde & Schwarz Benelux has been awarded €1.8 million by the Netherlands’ Defence Material Organization (DMO) for the TESt Lane Analysis Mobile (TESLA-M) project. Under the contract, Rohde & Schwarz Benelux will provide signal and spectrum analyzing and recording equipment to be installed in a 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter van.

Rohde & Schwarz Benelux will team up with Contour Advanced Systems for the integration and assembly of the TESLA-M vehicle.

This gives Defense a high-quality mobile measurement setup to test various types of Jammer configurations to protect defense personnel from a wide variety of Remote Controlled (RC) IED’s. IEDs are a daily reality in conflict and are considered by the Armed Forces tactical weapons with a strategic effect. To develop the operation and coverage per threat for jammers as good as possible, TESLA-M is used.

In 2021, the Dutch Ministry of Defense (MoD) will get an improved measurement and control vehicle that validates jammers now and in the future, thereby protecting the lives of Dutch soldiers. DMO expects TESLA-M to have a minimum lifespan of nine years.

Under the contract, Rohde & Schwarz Benelux will provide:

• The R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer offering analysis bandwidth for wideband-modulated or frequency agile signals.

• The R&S SMW200A vector signal generator for digitally modulated signals required for the development of new wideband communications systems.

• The R&S IQW wideband I/Q data recorder offering wide recording bandwidth and high sampling rate and bit depth.

“Thanks to TESLA-M, we will be able to protect our soldiers from RC-IEDs,” said Mr. H.D. Mooibroek, Project manager, DMO. “With this future-proof installation, Dutch Defense is prepared for current and future RC-IED threats and set the tone internationally. This is possible with the help of TESLA-M; a high-quality mobile measuring set-up with which various types of jammer configurations can be tested.”

“We are thrilled that DMO has chosen Rohde & Schwarz technology for the TESLA-M project and to deliver the first vehicle fully equipped with our equipment next year,” Mr. B. Maarleveld, General Manager of Rohde & Schwarz Benelux, explained.

Air Force’s Spectrum Management Office Officially Transfers to ISR and Cyber Effects Operations Staff to Continue to Integrate ‘Information Warfare’

Monday, November 9th, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — The Air Force’s Spectrum Management Office, or AFSMO, officially transferred Oct. 23 from a function under Air Combat Command to full integration under the Headquarters Air Force Staff.

AFMSO joins the Cyberspace Operations and Warfighter Communications Directorate assigned to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations. This is a vital move in a larger plan to support, from a Headquarters Air Force perspective, the synchronization of Information Warfare functions; a move which is happening at the right time for on-going developmental work to enable all-domain operations.

Air and Space Force weapon systems depend on the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) to connect warfighters around the world and across all domains. The Air Force’s growing need for spectrum requires AFSMO to maintain continuous engagement across the federal government, commercial industry and the international community.

Coming just 18 months after the HAF Staff merger of ISR and Cyber Effects Operations, this move is another step in the shift toward great power competition under the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

“This is a critical step to information warfare integration and synchronization because command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) is inextricably linked to EMS management,” said Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, deputy chief of staff for ISR and Cyber Effects Operations. “To compete and win in competition as well as a high-end fight, our Air and Space Force activities and capabilities like EMS must not only be de-conflicted, but integrated with our service counterparts. The heart of JADC2 (Joint All Domain Command and Control) is that military activities in one domain must enhance the effectiveness of those in other domains and compensate for vulnerabilities, and I believe this move will help us in this area.”

AFSMO, continuing to work out of Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, remains integral to helping the Air Force integrate new technologies and adopt new approaches to spectrum management. As the Air Force increases focus on JADC2, effective and efficient management of EMS is exceedingly important because it is a finite and essential resource.

“Given the Air Force-wide scope of AFSMO’s roles and responsibilities, bringing it back to the Air Staff is a natural fit,” said Brig. Gen. Eric DeLange, director of Cyber Operations and Warfighter Communications. DeLange will oversee the AFSMO efforts as part of the HAF Staff. “As we look to advance our efforts in Information Warfare, and with our focus squarely on cyberspace and warfighter communications that so heavily depend on the electromagnetic spectrum, I have no doubt that bringing AFSMO into the Directorate fold will create new and important synergies. I’m definitely excited to have them join the team!”

The current commander, Col. Kenneth Miller best describes their work as “…ensuring Airmen have access to the spectrum they need, when and where they need it.”

The electromagnetic spectrum transcends all physical domains and the information environment and extends beyond defined borders and boundaries. “The Air Force’s insatiable appetite for spectrum requires AFSMO to maintain continuous engagement across the federal government, commercial industry and the international community to ensure our Air Force spectrum equities are protected,” Miller said.

The EMS is a finite resource, and the Air Force must integrate new technologies and adopt new approaches to spectrum management to increase sharing between federal and nonfederal users. An example of this was AFSMO’s efforts to support the federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As much of the American workforce transitioned to telework, the demand for commercial broadband reached new heights. In response, the Federal Communications Commission granted commercial broadband carriers special authorizations to increase bandwidth capacity across several basic economic areas throughout the U.S.

Another top Secretary of the Air Force’s priority is modernizing the Air Force with new technologies and innovating with urgency. In support of this priority, AFSMO has been working closely with the MAJCOMs responsible for hosting ongoing Advanced Battle Management System, or ABMS, onramps to ensure all spectrum requirements are properly identified and documented. In early September, the second ABMS onramp concluded at Andrews Air Force Base. During this event, live fire demonstrations utilized both 4G- and 5G-networks for access to over 60 data sources. In preparation for the next ABMS onramp, the AFSMO team is gearing up to ensure warfighters will have the spectrum they need to accelerate change.

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Virtual Warfighter Expo – Rohde & Schwarz Compact Direction Finder

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

I don’t get to write about electronic warfare equipment very often, but it’s always fun when I do.

The R&S DDF1555 Compact Direction Finder can be configured for spectrum search, signal monitoring and mobile as well as static direction finding. There is even an option for internal recording of signals.

It can be used with a variety of end user devices and depending on receivers installed, will receive signals from 9 kHz to 7.5 GHz and DF signals from 20 MHz to 6 GHz. Likewise, the system uses either the correlative interferometer or Watson-Watt method for DF solutions. There are a variety of antennas available for use, depending on the application.

The system weighs just shy of 9 lbs and utilizes a BB-2590 type battery which delivers up to 10 hours of DF operation.

Units and agencies can procure all products shown during Virtual Warfighter by contacting ADS Inc.

US Army, Estonia Sign Historic Agreement for Collaborative Research in Cyber Defense

Friday, September 25th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The U.S. Army and the Republic of Estonia’s Ministry of Defence signed an agreement today that will enable the two countries to conduct future collaborative science and technology efforts in cyber defense.

The Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center – a component of Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command – and the Estonian Ministry of Defence will establish a multi-domain operations, cyber domain working group to identify opportunities for interoperability experimentation and demonstrations.

The working group will provide a forum to exchange information on the research of defensive cyber capabilities for multi-domain operations and improved coalition interoperability. Specific collaborative activities identified by the working group may be carried out under future agreements involving projects, equipment and material, and information exchanges.

“This historic agreement provides the opportunity for two nations with substantial defensive cyber capabilities to leverage their respective cyber experience to drive new research and development to reduce cyber threats across the spectrum of conflict,” said Director of the C5ISR Center Patrick J. O’Neill.

The effort – which falls under a 2016 U.S. Department of Defense Research, Development, Test and Evaluation memorandum of understanding – is the first of its kind between the U.S. Army and the Estonian Ministry of Defence. It supports a “Vision for Security Cooperation” document between the countries to develop capabilities that will deter and defend against malicious cyber intrusions and attacks.

“The Estonian Ministry of Defence is very pleased to establish formal cooperation with the U.S. Army’s C5ISR Center, adding another partner with increased knowledge and capabilities. Our countries are close NATO allies who share fundamental values. Our collaboration in the cyber domain will advance our common security,” said Director of the Estonian Ministry of Defence’s Cyber Policy Department Andri Rebane.

“We hope that the knowledge generated from this bilateral relationship will not only be useful for the U.S. and Estonia but also our other allies. With that, I am pleased to sign the terms of reference to begin this important work,” said Rebane.

Prior to the event, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation Elizabeth Wilson noted her office played an integral role in bringing together key personnel from U.S. Army headquarters, the C5ISR Center and counterparts at the Estonian Embassy to reach this milestone event.

“Exchanging information and optimizing our research and development efforts to modernize our militaries will help deter great power competitors and regional state adversaries. The U.S. Army is proud to partner with our Estonian counterparts in this unique opportunity,” said Wilson.

The complementary research will explore tactical and strategic challenges to enable standardization, rationalization and interoperability while improving the mutual defenses of both countries, said Robert Kimball, the C5ISR Center’s senior research scientist for cyber security.

“Estonia is a cyber country of excellence with a robust cyber defensive system in terms of technology and people. Given their deep expertise, I believe they will have substantial lessons to share, which will be enormously helpful in finding efficiencies in our science and technology efforts while understanding how best to defend against cyber warfare,” said Kimball, who noted Estonia is home to the NATO Cyber Defense Center and Cyber Range.

The agreement is slated to last until Sept. 30, 2023, at which point it may be extended.

“I am honored to have signed this agreement with Mr. Rebane today,” said O’Neill. “This is more than just a document that governs science and technology efforts; it affirms our two countries’ mutual commitment to work side by side to proactively address global security challenges. The C5ISR Center looks forward to this collaborative effort as we continue to explore the realm of the possible for cyber security. I am extremely pleased that the efforts on both sides have come to fruition.”

By Edric Thompson, CCDC C5ISR Center Public Affairs

General Dynamics Mission Systems – Tactical Electronic Warfare System

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

General Dynamics’ Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS) is a COTS solution to solve the Army’s current shortfall of CEMA capability, going beyond Prophet’s current state of the art.

It is an all-weather, 24-hour, ground-based tactical electronic support and electronic attack system that provides the Commander with options to create multiple dilemmas to a designing enemy by decreasing the sensor to shooter timeline. TEWS will enable a Brigade Combat Team Commander to detect, locate, identify the enemy and will give the Commander the capability to act/react/counter with non-lethal effects by denying, disrupting, and degrading the enemy’s ability to communicate, coordinate, and synchronize. TEWS is platform independent; a modular system that will enable integration onto any vehicle. TEWS supports stationary, dismounted, and on-the-move, man-pack operations.

TEWS can be integrated on:
-Flyer (as TEW Light)

Non-Tactical Vehicles (NTV)

Current capabilities:
-Satcom-on-the-Move /Trojan Network
-Multi-Comms Enclaves
-Open Architecture
-Electronic Warfare Targeting (ES/EA)
-Integrated EWPMT (Raven Claw)
-EW Support to SIGINT
-Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML)
-Expanded Signals of Interest (SOI) Capability

Planned upgrades:
-Support to Offensive Cyber Operations (OCO)
-Assured-Position, Navigation, Timing (A-PNT)
-Integration with airborne sensors
–Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW-Air)
–Aerostat and/or balloon
–Joint Airborne Systems
-Training Support via IEWTPT
-Robotics/Autonomous Vehicles employment of sensors
-Unattended and/or remote ground sensors
-Extended Range – Tethered UAS

An Imprecise History of the US Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachments

Sunday, September 20th, 2020

Organic to each of the US Army’s Special Forces Groups are small teams of Signal Intelligence specialists operating in teams called Special Operations Team – Alpha or SOT-A. These in turn are supported by fewer still SOT-Bs. I served on a SOT-A from 1990-96 in 2nd Bn, 3rd SFG(A). The SOTs-A are the direct descendants of the United States Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachments (USASASODs).

While other SOF components have stood up SIGINT support elements over the past decade, SF has had the dedicated capability since before the Vietnam War.

Photograph: The 403rd SOD courier run – Plei Ku to Kontum – 1968 (Photo: INSCOM)

What follows is an “imprecise” history of thier existence from an ASA veteran website.


In the history of mankind, there are fleeting moments of time where, by fate or good judgement on the part of someone, a group of people are brought together at the most appropriate time and place or places to form extraordinary military units.

One such fleeting moment of history, was the formation and life cycle of an extraordinary military unit called the United States Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachment, more commonly referred to as the ASASOD.

One may ask why the ASASODs were called extraordinary and not elite. There are many elite military organizations such as the Roman Legions, Merrill’s Marauders, Rangers, Special Forces, SEALs, etc., however, there are few extraordiary units such as the ASASODs.

Why were the SODs extraordinary? Certainly, the timing was there and so were the places. But, the thing that really made the SOD an extraordinary unit was the people… good Special Forces soldiers…good technicians…loyal, dedicated, brave men…but, most of all, trusted and true friends.

The first SOD was originally formed at Vint Hill Farms Station, VA and relocated to FT Bragg, NC during the summer of 1960 with the 5th and 7th SFG(A)s. Later in 1960, units were organized and located in Okinawa with the 1st SFG(A) and Bad Toelz, GE with the 10th SFG(A). These original SODs were then designated as the 1st (1st SF), 2d (10th SF), 3d (7th SF), and 4th (5th SF) Operational Detachments of the 80th USASA Special Operations Unit (80th USASASOU).

In 1962 these Operational Detachments of the 80th SOU were redesignated as USASA Radio Research Units (RRUs); the 10th RRU (400th SOD) 1st SFG(A), and the 11th RRU (401st SOD) 8th SFG(A) was created, 12th RRU (402d SOD) 10th SFG(A), and the 13th RRU (403d SOD) 5th SFG(A).

During 1963 the units were again redesignated to the final designations we know them as today; the 400th ASASOD, 1st SFG(A); 401st ASASOD, 8th SFG(A); 402d ASASOD, 10th SFG(A); 403d ASASOD, 5th SFG(A) until Jan 64, 7th SFG(A) until Jan 65, and then to the 3d SFG(A) until the 403d’s deployment to RVN with the 5th SFG(A) in 1966.

The SODs remained the same from 1966 until the post-Viet Nam stand down of Special Forces during the early 1970s. With the stand down of the 5th SFG(A) in Viet Nam, the 403d was deactivated and was never again reactivated. On deactivation of the 8th SFG(A) in Panama, the 401st was deactivated for a short while and later reactivated with the 7th SFG(A) at Ft Bragg, NC. In 1974, on deactivation of the 1st SFG(A), the 400th was redeployed from Okinawa to Ft Bragg with the 5th SFG(A). The 402d redeployed from Germany with the 10th SFG(A) to Ft Devens, MA.

The official end of the USASASODs as United States Army Security Agency units came with the deactivation of HQs, USASA and conversion to Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence (CEWI) organizations in December, 1976. However, even after the designation of USASA, the SODs continued to carry the ASASOD unit designations into the early 1980s when they were redesignated as Combat Intelligence Companies.

By the late 80s, the CBTI Cos were broken apart into Battalion level Military Intelligence Detachments in addition to a Group-level MID. The SOT-As went to the Bn MIDs, three a piece, along with a single SOT-B per Bn. The Group retained the TCAE.

US Army Seeks to Minimize Command Posts’ Electronic Signature, Avoid Detection

Friday, September 4th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Aug. 25, 2020) — Army Futures Command (AFC) is assessing commercial communications technologies that will be integrated in the next generation of command posts.

The Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center — a component of AFC’s Combat Capabilities Development Command — is leading this effort during the Network Modernization Experiment 2020 (NetModX 20), which began last month and will run through Oct. 2 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Scientists and engineers, accompanied by Soldiers serving as advisers, are conducting experiments using millimeter wave technologies. Their intent is to adapt commercially available solutions that will reduce the enemy’s ability to detect the communications systems’ “noise,” or tell-tale electronic signature; withstand the adversaries jamming attempts; and make it easier to quickly relocate the command post — staying one step ahead of the enemy.

“The work to identify, test and militarize robust communications is critical for command post dispersion and mobility,” said J. Tyler Barton, C5ISR’s lead for Command Post Concepts. “Our goal is to help the Army determine which system specifications are needed to provide an effective operational capability so they can decide which to procure for upcoming command post integrated infrastructure (CPI2) experimentation and operational assessments.”

The initiative supports the C5ISR Center’s technology transition partner, the Army’s Product Manager CPI2, and contributes to the Army’s long-term objectives to design, test and field a cohesive command post structure with a reduced footprint that will replace large, tent-based command posts.

NetModX 20 CPI2 experiments will build on laboratory experiments conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, earlier this year. Researchers will learn more about the systems’ ability to communicate effectively with a low probability of intercept and detection. They will also examine whether a system can avoid disruption and jamming or identification and targeting from near-peer threats.

According to Joseph Saldiveri, interim project lead for NetModX 20, this type of field-based experimentation can change the trajectory of a project’s development and lead to a “more robust, flexible and relevant solution when the project is ready for operational testing.”

“It’s important to bring technologies out of the lab and into the field environment … because experiments in the field often yield different results than experienced in the lab,” he said.

Paul Tardy, PdM CPI2’s futures and lead systems engineer, also spoke about the significance of the experimentation environment.

“Iterative Soldier touch points, such as NetModX, are essential as the Army matures technologies and gets highly relevant new and enhanced capabilities procured and into the hands of the Soldier,” he said.

Following NetModX, the tested systems will transition to the Army’s Project Manager Tactical Network, which will supply a complete wireless network capability and integrate the systems into CPI2.

“These technologies will bridge the gap between commercial off-the-shelf technology and longer-range science and technology project areas to leverage for near-term quick wins for the Soldier,” Tardy said.

Barton and Tardy encourage industry and government representatives interested in aligning their command post efforts with Army’s to participate in the Army Network Capability Set 23 technical exchange meeting Sept. 2. Additional information about the event is available at under opportunity listing “W15P7T-20-R-TEM5.”

Story by Dan Lafontaine, C5ISR Center Public Affairs

Photos by Jasmyne Douglas, C5ISR Center Public Affairs