Defense Roundup: Pentagon Approves Apple, Budget Scenarios in the Works and SOFIC Success

Posted by Fred Wellman

Pentagon Approves Use of Advanced Devices from Apple and Others – but Don’t Expect Quick Change

Chris Carroll (@ChrisCarroll_), Stars and Stripes. On Friday the Defense Information Systems Agency announced the long rumored approval of the Security Technical Implementation Guide, or STIG, for Apple iOS6 devices to be used on the Defense Department’s networks. This move effectively clears the department’s various entities to purchase products like iPhones and iPads officially for the first time joining previously approved Samsung Android devices. While there is some excitement among Apple diehards, Carroll points out that it won’t be an overnight change by any means. BlackBerry clearly owns the government market right now and its new BlackBerry 10 operating system has also been approved previously and features the security many love about the maker’s products. There are over half a million BlackBerry devices in use and they won’t be replaced very rapidly in the current budget environment, but there is competition for the DoD’s business. (Editor’s Note: BlackBerry is a ScoutComms client with our partners at Edelman)

DoD Examines 3 Budget-Cut Scenarios

Marcus Weisgerber (@MarcusReports) and Vago Muradian, Defense News. Defense Secretary Hagel ordered a review of the DoD’s strategy two months ago in light of the sequestration and other budget cuts to ensure that the department’s plans met the budget realities. Defense News has the inside scoop that the Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR), or Scammer inside the building, will present three options to the secretary to prepare for cuts of $100, $300 or $500 billion. The report is expected on May 31st and will offer a range of options while not necessarily the final strategy recommended. With ‘just’ $100 billion, the Army will eat most of the cuts but the entire department gets to share the pain as the numbers go up. Interestingly, four of Washington’s prominent think tanks from different political leanings are building “shadow reviews” as well that will be presented offering their own perspectives on how the cuts could be made under varying scenarios to provide a range of options. It will be a fascinating week after Memorial Day as each of the organizations and DoD present their ideas. What’s the one major problem with all of the different scenarios? No one has any clue what the actual budget might be and Congress is in no hurry to figure it out.

SOFIC Shatters Trend of Declining Trade Show Attendance

Paul McLeary (@PaulMcLeary), Defense News. Last week was the annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa Bay, Florida hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association and by all measures it defies what has been a trend of shrinking defense tradeshows this year. McLeary reports that spots on the convention floor sold out in one day last summer and a waiting list was put in effect for hundreds of exhibitors who wanted to show their wares and services to the Special Operations community and 7,000 attendees. The show is not a typical one in that it is presented just minutes from the MacDill Air Force Base, headquarters of U.S. Special Operations Command, and is the primary show in the world focused on the unique needs of that community. Many of the vendors are tiny, niche businesses whose sole business is providing one-of-a-kind solutions for Special Forces troops and are still continuing relatively unscathed from the budget cuts regular military services are wrestling with. We’ll see what the fall brings for AUSA and the other big shows.

Top General Says U.S. Under Constant Cyber Attack Threat

Andrea Shalal-Esa (@AShalalNews) and Deborah Charles, Reuters. Reuters hosted their Cybersecurity Summit in Washington last week and the picture painted is one of growing concerns. Speaking to the meeting, Army General Keith Alexander who commands both the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, says that U.S. computer networks are already under near constant attack and billions of dollars of intellectual property and intelligence is flowing into the hands of criminals and foreign nations. It’s just a matter of time until the kinds of attacks that crippled Saudi Arabia’s national oil company Aramco last year occur in the U.S., and right now we are woefully unprepared. His biggest goal is legislation that would make it easier for government agencies like his to work with private companies and networks to look for signs of intrusion but civil liberty and privacy groups continue to resist. He envisions legislation that would not allow government agencies to view data that identifies specific individuals without special waivers. It all makes sense but until there is a dramatic “9/11 Cyber Event” it’s unlikely the average American will believe there is a real threat. It will take someone interrupting the Super Bowl before everyday people seem to understand how bad things really are.

Atlantic Media to Launch New Digital-First Publication

Continuing a trend of new defense verticals, Atlantic Media, which publishes The Atlantic, Nextgov, and Government Executive among other brands, is launching Defense One, a digital-first publication focused on the industry. The new pub will cover “budget uncertainty, emerging national security frontiers, new management paradigms and emerging technologies”. Will be an interesting one to keep an eye on especially as it staffs up with reporters and editors.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows and Conferences: No big conferences or tradeshows this week of which we are aware. Don’t forget, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ Annual Conference takes place in Washington, DC next week. If you are media interested in covering this event, please contact [email protected].

Congress: Both chambers are in session this week.


Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health: Legislative Hearing on Draft Legislation, ‘The Veterans Integrated Mental Health Care Act of 2013;’ Draft Legislation, ‘The Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2013;’ H.R. 241; H.R. 288; H.R. 984; and H.R. 1284 When: 10:00 AM, Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Where: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Appropriations: Mark Up – FY 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill and Report on the Suballocation of Budget Allocations for FY 2014 When: 11:00 AM, Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Where: 2359 Rayburn House Office Building

Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade: The Growing Crisis in Africa’s Sahel Region Witnesses: The Honorable Donald Y. Yamamoto, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State, The Honorable Nancy E. Lindborg, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development, Mr. Rudolph Atallah, Senior Fellow, Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, Atlantic Council, Mima S. Nedelcovych, Ph.D., Partner, Schaffer Global Group When: 2:00 PM, Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence: Assessing the Threat to the Homeland from al Qaeda Operations in Iran and Syria Witnesses: TBD When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

Veterans Affairs: Expediting Claims or Exploiting Statistics?: An Examination of VA’s Special Initiative to Process Rating Claims Pending Over Two YearsWitnesses: TBD When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Where: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Senate: There are no relevant Senate hearings this week.

Think tanks and other news events: 

Bipartisan Policy Center: Does the Public Need to Know? Journalistic Perspectives on Sharing Intelligence What: “The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Homeland Security Project will convene both members of the media and leaders in the intelligence community for a conversation about how information sharing can both be transparent and secure. Panelists will evaluate tackling the balance of sharing the proper amount of information with the public regarding national issues and events (such as last year’s attacks in Benghazi) without compromising sources, methods and other secure information.” Who: Devlin Barrett, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal, David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent, The New York Times, Dana Priest, Investigative Reporter, The Washington Post, Fran Townsend, Senior Vice President, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., Former Homeland and Counterterrorism Security advisor to President George W. Bush, National Security Contributor, CNN When: 11:00 AM, Monday, May 20, 2013 Where: 1225 Eye St. NW, Washington, DC, 20005

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Threat and Response: Combating Advanced Attacks and Cyber-Espionage What: A half-day symposium bringing together industry and government officials to discuss the threats posed by cyber attacks. Who: Mr. John C. (Chris) Inglis, Deputy Director, National Security Agency, David DeWalt, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, FireEye, Ashar Aziz, Founder, Vice Chairman of the Board, CTO, and Chief Strategy Officer, FireEye, Shane McGee, General Counsel, Mandiant, James Mulvenon, Vice-President of Defense Group, Inc.’s Intelligence Division and Director of DGI’s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, Shawn Henry, President, CrowdStrike, James Lewis, Director and Senior Fellow, Technology and Public Policy Program, CSIS, Bruce McConnell, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, DHS, John Nagengast, Director of Government Solutions, AT&T, John Gilligan, President, The Gilligan Group, Former CIO, Air Force, Robert Lentz, President, Cyber Security Strategies When: 9:00 AM, Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Where: B1 Conference Center, 1800 K Street, NW, Washington DC, 20006

Center for a New American Security: Asia-Pacific Rebalance: Strengthening Regional Maritime Security What: “Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, will address the U.S. Navy posture in the Asia-Pacific region in a speech entitled “Asia-Pacific Rebalance: Strengthening Regional Maritime Security and Partnerships” at the Willard InterContinental Hotel.” Who: Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations When: 6:00 PM, Tuesday, May 21, 2013 Where: Willard InterContinental Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

Atlantic Council: 15th Anniversary of PDD-63: History of Cyber Critical Infrastructure Protection What: “Issued by the Clinton administration in 1998, PDD-63 outlines the increased reliance on cyber infrastructure by public and private enterprises, and the strong need for collaboration to improve the security of this infrastructure. The directive marked the first White House effort to address vulnerabilities from the United States dependence on cyberspace, and established a framework to encourage information sharing and collaboration among various sectors. The discussion will review the decisions that were made regarding critical infrastructure protection fifteen years ago in PDD-63, and how successfully the directive has been implemented in the years since.” Who: Suzanne E. Spaulding, Acting Undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), US Department of Homeland Security When: 3:00 PM, Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Where: 1101 15th St. NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20005

Fred Wellman, President ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of defense industry news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. You can follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms.


This entry was posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 3:52 pm

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