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Today's News

United States, Qatar celebrate veterans, reinforce strong military ties on this Veterans Day

WASHINGTON,  Saturday, November 11 is Veterans Day in the United States, a day honoring the men and women who have served in the American Armed Forces. In commemoration of this event, the State of Qatar recognizes the thousands of American servicemen and women who have been stationed (or are currently stationed) in Qatar for their contribution toward peace and stability in the region.

Qatar is continually thankful for the strong military relationship between itself and the United States. This partnership has been further strengthened with the recent opening of the new Qatar Defense Attaché Office in Washington, DC, headed by Brigadier General Yousef al-Kuwari. Reflecting on the upcoming holiday, General al-Kuwari offered the following thoughts: "On behalf of Qatar's Defense Attaché Office, we would like to join all Americans on this Veterans Day in honoring the men and women who have served their country. The spirit of a true hero is defined by the size of their heart and love for their country. The people in uniform of Qatar and the United States are exemplars of patriotism and national service."'

Admiral William Fallon USN (Ret.), former Commander of USCENTCOM and Board Member of the Qatar-America Institute, a U.S.-Qatar non-profit organization based in Washington, DC which seeks to enhance understanding and friendship between the people of Qatar and the U.S., had these remarks to share: "On this Veterans Day, 2017, people in the U.S.A. remember and honor the service that the men and women of our armed forces have offered to secure peace and liberty for their fellow Americans and in many distant parts of the world. It is particularly heartwarming to see our Qatari partners join in honoring veterans."

The United States and Qatar are longtime partners committed to preserving stability in the region through joint military operations and efforts against terrorism. Qatar is an inaugural member of the US-led counter-ISIL Coalition. Qatar is home Al Udeid Air Base, which is host to U.S. Central Command Forward, U.S. Air Force Central Command Forward, U.S. Special Operations Command Forward, the Combined Air Operations Center, and the 379th Air Wing. The growing number of American military personnel on the base – now upwards 10,000 – is a reflection of the trusted friendship and strong bilateral strategic relationship. 

alliantgroup Hosts Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge at its Technology, Economic, Legislative & Policy Summit

HOUSTON, -- Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and over 100 professionals, including current and former state officials, Congress members, executive officers, U.S. business leaders, CPA partners and business advisors from across the nation gathered for alliantgroup's inaugural Technology, Economic, Legislative & Policy Summit—an exclusive event created for the benefit of the firm's clients and CPA and industry partners.

During the two day conference, attendees were treated to a series of panels covering some of the most critical issues facing U.S. policymakers. Such topics included the impact of technology on the American workforce, the growing importance of cybersecurity, recent tax reform legislation and policy reforms that would foster a more technically skilled labor force and sustainable economic growth.

During the conference's keynote panel, former Secretary Ridge was joined by alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav and the leaders of several technology alliances. With the advancement of new technologies and the Internet of Things making our world more connected, Ridge and the panel stressed how cybersecurity must become a primary focus for both the public and private sectors. The panel emphasized that while these new technologies have improved our overall quality of life and enhanced the efficiency of countless industries, from manufacturing to healthcare services, the growing connectivity of individuals, systems and networks has made the country more susceptible to cyberattacks.

"There is a greater threat today in my judgement of a cyberattack causing economic damage and potential personal injury and death than even a physical attack," said Ridge.


During the panel, Ridge and the other technology experts highlighted the importance of maintaining good safety protocols to identify and prevent attacks, from standardized employee procedures to ensuring firewalls and other security systems were up to date. The panel also stressed the importance of employees to maintain these best practices and to exercise good judgement.

"I would like to thank Secretary Ridge and everyone who took the time to attend this event," said Dhaval Jadav, alliantgroup CEO. "Our goal in hosting these conferences is to provide thought leadership to our CPA firms and the businesses they serve. By providing them with the information they need to stay ahead of emerging economic and policy trends, it is our hope that we are offering another avenue to ensure their continued success."

Those in attendance included former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, former Alabama Governor Bob Riley, former U.S. Congressman Rick Lazio, former Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Dean Zerbe, Private Equity and M&A Advisor Neeraj Mital, former IRS Commissioners Mark W. Everson, Steven Miller and Kathy Petronchak, and alliantgroup CEO Dhaval Jadav.

alliantgroup is a leading tax consultancy and the nation's premier provider of specialty tax services. The firm assists U.S. businesses and their CPA advisors in properly identifying and claiming all federal and state tax incentives that were designed for their benefit. These incentive programs were created to help American businesses grow and remain competitive in an increasingly global economy. To date, alliantgroup has helped 12,000 U.S. businesses claim over $6 billion in tax savings. For more information on alliantgroup, please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Infoscitex (IST) Awarded US Army Research Contract for SUMIT Evaluations

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., -- DCS Corporation announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Infoscitex Corporation (IST), has been awarded a 3-year research contract to participate in the Army's Synergistic Unmanned Intelligent Teaming (SUMIT) evaluations program. The SUMIT program will evaluate the impact of new and recent autonomy, decision aiding, and human-machine interface (HMI) technologies in Army Aviation missions. This exploratory research program is managed by the US Army Aviation & Missile Research, Development & Engineering Center (AMRDEC) Aviation Development Directorate. The overall program goal is to inform the Acquisition and User communities of emerging capabilities that can meet the demands of the Army's next generation Future Vertical Lift program.

Under the SUMIT contract, IST human systems engineers and simulation developers will integrate innovative and advanced Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUMT) enabling technologies onto the AMRDEC's Future Open Rotorcraft Cockpit Environment simulator. Leveraging the Fusion Advanced Human-Machine Interface framework and the Unmanned Air/Ground/Surface Autonomy Services (UxAS) automated route planning tool, IST will provide its specialized software suite Tasking and Execution of Collaborative Unmanned and Manned Systems with Autonomy (TECUMSA) for use in the SUMIT evaluations. IST will be assisted by aviation subject matter experts from Nobletech, Inc. and researchers from the University of Dayton Research Institute.

"We look forward to leveraging IST's deep autonomy and human systems expertise to assist the Army in improving its synchronization of manned-unmanned aircraft systems operating in a tactical environment," commented Jim Benbow, DCS Chief Executive Officer. "We are also excited for the opportunity to be a part of the ever growing technology sector in Huntsville and to bring expanded DCS/IST capability to our DoD customers on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama and across the Army as part the Force Modernization effort."

About the Company

IST and its' parent company, DCS Corporation, offer advanced technology and management solutions to Government agencies in the DoD and national security sector. The transformative ideas, commitment to quality and entrepreneurial spirit that characterize our 1,100 employee-owners allow us to ensure the success of each client's mission and actively contribute to the well-being of the Nation. For more information please visit: http://www.infoscitex.com and https://www.dcscorp.com.

U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center provides increased responsiveness to the nation's Warfighters through aviation and missile capabilities and life cycle engineering solutions.

Richard "Chip" Terry Vice President and Client Relations Executive for Federal Health and Defense Programs

BELTSVILLE, Md.,-- ASRC Federal has named retired Air Force Colonel Richard "Chip" Terry vice president and client relations executive for Federal Health and Defense Programs. Terry will provide strategic leadership to advance and foster ASRC Federal's partnerships with customers across military and civilian health agencies, as well as with the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs.


"We are delighted to welcome Colonel Terry to our team," said Mark Gray, ASRC Federal president and CEO. "His expertise and leadership in health information technology and military health systems are recognized throughout the civilian and defense health industry. Chip is an enterprise leader who drives tailored, responsive support to agencies and brings the qualities to this position that will deliver great value to our government customers and industry partners."

Before joining ASRC Federal, Terry most recently served as the Acting Military Health System (MHS) Chief Information Officer and Acting Director, Health Information Technology (HIT) (J-6), at the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia, where he was responsible for global HIT operations supporting the Army, Navy and Air Force in more than one thousand locations.

Throughout his 30-year military career, he has served in a variety of senior executive healthcare leadership positions including Chief Information Officer for the Air Force Medical Service; Vice Commander for the Air Force Medical Support Agency; and Air Force Headquarters Deputy Assistant Surgeon General, Modernization.

Terry was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1987 after receiving a bachelor's degree in business administration from The Citadel Military College of South Carolina.  He earned a master's degree in healthcare administration from the Medical College of Virginia in 1997 and is a board-certified fellow in healthcare management by the American Academy of Medical Administrators.

About ASRC Federal
ASRC Federal comprises a family of companies that deliver engineering, information technology, infrastructure support, professional and technical services to U.S. civil, defense, and intelligence agencies. ASRC Federal companies have employees in over 40 locations across the U.S. focused on providing reliable, cost-efficient services that help government customers achieve mission success. Headquartered in Beltsville, Md., ASRC Federal is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. For more information, please visit: www.asrcfederal.com

Board Approves ERO Enterprise Long-Term Strategy; Accepts Special Assessment; Requests RISC Review of Resilience

NEW ORLEANS, – The North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s last Board of Trustees meeting of 2017 was held Thursday in New Orleans. Welcoming remarks were made by Leo Denault, chairman and chief executive officer of Entergy Corporation, who highlighted the importance of the work industry does assuring reliability; and Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who focused on resilience, urging the Electric Reliability Organization to continue its work based on data and facts. Other remarks were also provided by Travis Fisher, special advisor, Department of Energy; Asim Haque, chairman and CEO, Public Utilities Commission-Ohio; and Murray Doehler, past chair, CAMPUT.
Board Chair Roy Thilly discussed resilience, noting a strong consensus that it is already built into NERC’s efforts. However, he added, there is a need to look at the various components of resilience and build upon them. With that, the Board requested the Reliability Issues Steering Committee (RISC) to review how NERC’s mission currently incorporates resilience of the bulk power system, consider working definitions of resilience and develop a framework for further discussion at the February Board meeting.
Gerry Cauley, president and CEO, reminded attendees in his remarks that the day marked the 52nd anniversary of the 1965 blackout that left more than 30 million people without power for up to 13 hours.“The 1965 event set the stage for who we are today,” Cauley stated. “Our job as the ERO is to identify existing and emerging risks and work with industry and policymakers to address them. We have done this on a variety of topics, including human error, equipment misoperations and the rapid change of the bulk power system.”
In Board action, the Board approved the 2018–2020 Reliability Standards Development Plan; the ERO Enterprise Long-Term Strategy; and the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program technology project.

  • The 2018–2020 Reliability Standards Development Plan focuses on periodic reviews, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission directives, emerging risks, Standard Authorization Requests and the standards grading initiative.
  • The ERO Enterprise Long-Term Strategy in 2017 looks ahead five-to-seven years to examine how changes in the industry will affect the ERO Enterprise now and in the future. The strategy highlights emerging and potential reliability impacts and incorporates recommendations from the Reliability Issues Steering Committee’s draft report. The ERO Executive Management Group, which is comprised of the CEOs from NERC and the Regions, has undertaken strategic and operational planning as an enterprise to guide coordinated operations and resource budgeting.
  • The Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program Technology project is a suite of tools to integrate and share data. The project will better align the business processes of the ERO Enterprise by improving documentation, sharing and analysis of compliance work activities and by making CMEP activities more efficient and effective across the ERO Enterprise.

In other action, the Board adopted Reliability Standard TPL-007-2 – Geomagnetic Disturbance Mitigation, which establishes requirements for performing GMD vulnerability assessments using a modified GMD event. It also modifies established requirements pertaining to transformer thermal impact assessments, requires the collection of GMD-related data and deadlines for Corrective Action Plans and GMD mitigation actions.
The Board also accepted NERC’s Special Assessment: Potential Bulk Power System Impacts Due to Severe Disruptions on the Natural Gas System, which analyzed potential reliability impacts of natural gas disruptions. The growth of natural gas, wind and solar resources and the growing interdependence of the natural gas and electric infrastructure have resulted in new operational and planning reliability challenges. The assessment, which will be released next week, found that the impacts from natural gas facility disruptions vary depending on the location and infrastructure density and that mitigation strategies can reduce potential impacts.
Attendees were encouraged to participate in NERC’s grid security exercise – GridEx, which takes place November 15–16. Board presentations may be found by clicking here. The next Board of Trustees meeting is February 8 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Poland eyes cybersecurity in skies

Poland on Wednesday agreed to test a cybersecurity pilot programme for the aviation sector as Europe's EASA civil aviation authority tackles the potential threats posed by hackers to air traffic.
"We want to have a single point in the air transport sector that will coordinate all cybersecurity activities... for airlines, airports and air traffic," Piotr Samson, head of Poland's ULC civil aviation authority, said in Krakow, southern Poland, at a two-day conference co-hosted with the EASA.
While insisting that air travel is currently safe from cyber attacks, EASA executive director Patrick Ky told AFP it was incumbent on aviation authorities to take preventative measures to mitigate potential cyber-threats.
Polish officials attending the "Cybersecurity in Civil Aviation" conference also announced the creation of a "rapid reaction unit" for cybersecurity incidents.
Despite the assurances of experts in the field, computer systems failures triggered by hackers or accident have caused flight chaos in recent years.
Poland's flagship carrier LOT was briefly forced to suspend operations in June 2015 after a hack attack.
The airline's spokesman described the incident as the "first attack of its kind".
Thousands of British Airways passengers faced chaos in May as the airline was forced to cancel more than a hundred flights from London's Heathrow Airport following an IT system failure.
BA officials ruled out a cyber-attack, pointing instead to a power supply issue.
 Explore further: IT failure may have triggered Polish airline meltdown

Janus Global Operations to provide range support services for the U.S. Air Force

Janus Global Operations, an international integrated stability operations company, has been tasked to provide a component of range support services for the U.S. Air Force.

Janus Global's project work will be under URS Federal Services, an AECOM company, which has been awarded a 16-year, $3.6 billion Air Force contract to provide range support services.

The overall project includes "mission and target management support for testing, tactics, development, advanced training, and Air Force and Joint urgent operational needs missions" at Air Force bases in Nevada and California, AECOM announced.

These sites include the Nevada Test and Training Range, Leach Lake Training Range, and Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases.

Janus Global Operations stability operations work is conducted by thousands of employees serving clients in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Janus' services include munitions response; demining; intelligence support; logistics; life support; risk management; communications; and other services in some of the world's most challenging and hostile environments. The company's website is www.janusgo.com.

SAAB AND Raytheon Teaming for Soldier Weapons Development

Defence and security company Saab and Raytheon Company are teaming up to cooperate on the development of new weapons systems for infantry forces to meet near-term U.S. and international requirements. The companies will look into bringing new capabilities to Saab’s Carl-Gustaf reloadable and AT4 disposable and shoulder launched weapon systems.

The Carl-Gustaf weapons system, Program of Record in the US Army, is a world-leading weapon system within the support weapon category. It has been constantly modernized and enhanced to meet users’ changing needs. The latest version, the Carl-Gustaf M4/M3E1, reduces the weight from 10 kg/22 Ibs to less than 7 kg/15.5 Ibs. Carl-Gustaf is a battle-winning system for soldiers operating in demanding environments.

“Working with a global technology leader like Saab will expand both our global reach and the breadth of potential solutions for U.S. and coalition armies,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “Drawing from existing weapons, launchers, and sensors from the two companies’ land warfare portfolios will enable us to develop and offer advanced solutions on an accelerated timeline to meet emerging munitions needs”.

“Collaborating with Raytheon, utilizing their technical and product excellence, in combination with our technology will enhance the already world-leading Carl-Gustaf and AT4 weapon systems with additional capabilities that will even further increase the operational benefit for the end-user.” said Görgen Johansson, head of Saab business area Dynamics.

Coop Employs Cognito from Vectra to Protect its Retail Operations from Cyber attacks and Augment its Security Operations Team

Vectra®, the leader in automating the hunt for in-progress cyber attacks, today announced a multi-year agreement to provide its Cognito™ AI threat hunting platform to Coop Group, one of Switzerland's largest retail and wholesale companies. Coop selected the Cognito AI platform from Vectra as an innovative approach to increasing cybersecurity operational efficiency and efficacy.

With 2,476 sales outlets and over 85,000 employees, Coop is a large and highly distributed organisation. With the retail industry being a significant target for cybercriminals*, Coop decided that perimeter defences alone are insufficient to safeguard customer information, internal systems and point of sale systems. As a result, Coop set out to find technology that would enable them to detect and respond to cyber attacks in real time and prevent or significantly mitigate the impact of a data breach.

Coop identified significant economic and security gains resulting from the introduction of AI security automation. After evaluating multiple solutions, it turned to Vectra and its Cognito AI platform to help them detect cyber attacks in real time and speed response by augmenting their security operations team.

Cognito detects both known and unknown threats through the analysis of malicious attacker behaviours, rather than simple signature profiling of exiting threats. It will augment the Coop cybersecurity analysts by rapidly detecting, triaging and correlating threats to uncover in-progress cyber attacks before they become critical security incidents. Cognito detects threats created by malware, ransomware, advanced attackers abusing credentials and rogue insiders, regardless of the device or software used, and at a speed and scale humans alone cannot match.

"Enterprises like Coop are under immense pressure to reduce the time to detect and respond to attacks," said Gerard Bauer, vice president of EMEA at Vectra. "Security teams are overwhelmed with the manual task of triaging and correlating security events and struggle to fill open cybersecurity jobs. The Cognito AI platform automates threat hunting, triage and correlation for the Coop security team, and prioritises threats based on risk level so they can respond immediately. Cognito has reduced the security operations workload for enterprises by 168x**, shortening incident response from days to minutes."

To learn more about the Cognito platform, and how it combines machine learning and behavioural analytics to hunt ongoing threats, visit https://vectra.ai/cognito.

About Vectra
Vectra® is transforming cybersecurity with AI. Its Cognito platform automates cyber attack detection and response from data centre and cloud workloads to user and IoT devices. Cognito correlates threats, prioritises hosts based on risk and provides rich context to empower response with existing security systems, reducing security operations workload by 168x. Vectra was named "Most Innovative Emerging Company" in the Dark Reading Best of Black Hat Awards. InformationWeek also named Vectra one of the Top 125 companies to watch in 2016. Vectra has been issued 5 U.S. patents with 14 additional patents pending for cybersecurity applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Vectra investors include Khosla Ventures, Accel Partners, IA Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures and DAG Ventures. The company is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. and has European regional headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. For more information, visit https://vectra.ai.

Vectra, the Vectra Networks logo and 'Security that thinks' are registered trademarks, and Cognito, the Vectra Threat Labs and the Threat Certainty Index are trademarks of Vectra Networks. Other brand, product and service names are trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of their respective holders.

DARPA Selects Northrop Grumman to Support Technical Innovations in Computer Processing Development

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) to collaborate on the development of a graph processor chip that aims to vastly enhance efficiencies and capabilities of today’s top processors.

As a part of DARPA’s newly instated Hierarchical Identify Verify Exploit (HIVE) program, Northrop Grumman will work with five other entities to implement and evaluate real-time performance of various graph algorithms in a newly developed HIVE chip. HIVE seeks to create and integrate technologies that will potentially lead to the development of a generic graph processor, responsible for quickly analyzing large data sets to determine correlations and dependencies that were not able to be discovered before.

This type of development could be critical in cybersecurity, intelligence integration and network analysis, especially as it relates to the Department of Defense (DoD). Northrop Grumman contributions to HIVE will assess the potential for graph analytics to resolve DoD processing challenges while also gaining a better understanding into how the analytics are currently used in DoD systems.

“The goal of the HIVE program is to enable our customers to make better decisions with the copious amounts of data generated every day. This program endeavors to produce technology breakthroughs that will transform cognitive systems and advance analytics for many years,” said Vern Boyle, vice president, cyber and advanced processing, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

Northrop Grumman will work to solve the problem facing today’s top processors. Currently, there are few programming models and generalized processor architectures that can effectively support the irregular memory accesses and fine grained concurrency requirements of static and dynamic/streaming graph analytics, while also providing accelerated run-time support. The ability to quickly identify commonalities, patterns and dependencies in order to predict outcomes is vital due to the high volume and variety of data being generated every day.

The HIVE program will address three key technical areas including: graph analytic processors, graph analytics toolkits and system evaluation. As the single performer selected for system evaluation, Northrop Grumman will identify and develop static and streaming graph analytics to solve five types of problem areas including: anomaly detection, domain specific search, dependency mapping, N-x contingency analysis and causal modeling of events. This project will focus on identifying new uses for graph analytics that have not been included in previous research due to processing, power or size constraints.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit news.northropgrumman.com and follow us on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.



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