Defence Secretary announces major cyber investment

Cyber Security at the Ministry of Defence

The UK will invest up to £265m to boost the defence of military cyber systems, the Defence Secretary has announced.

Michael Fallon said the investment, which supports the new Cyber Vulnerability Investigations (CVI) programme, will help the MOD better understand cyber risks.

Speaking at the second International Cyber Symposium Mr Fallon said it will also help the MOD ensure that resilience to cyber-attack is built-in when buying equipment in future.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Cyber-attack is one of the greatest challenges to our security. It’s crucial we use our increasing defence budget to stay ahead and investing in this programme will help us protect against these threats.”

The programme will complement the work of the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), the £40 million facility announced in April to use state-of-the-art cyber capabilities to protect the MOD’s cyberspace from malicious actors.

The programme has also benefited from detailed analysis across the full range of potential cyber-attacks, meaning it is dynamic and can be applied to all aspects of MOD digital systems.

The funding follows the UK and US signing a Memorandum Of Understanding to work more closely together to overcome the growing cyber risk.

Separately the UK and France confirmed greater co-operation to defeat this threat under the Lancaster House Agreement.

Today’s announcement comes on the same day that Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin launched the next phase of a €150 million joint Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) programme alongside her French counterpart, Laurent Collet-Billon.

Working with French allies, the programme will develop cutting edge maritime mine warfare capability to keep the UK and France at the forefront of autonomous systems technology. The development and deployment of unmanned mine clearance drones will help keep our personnel safe in challenging maritime environments.

As part of our £178 billion equipment plan, the programme will be supported by a defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade, meeting the NATO commitment to spend two per cent of GDP on defence.

ASTi to deliver T4/SERA for RAF helicopter training programme

Advanced Simulation Technology Inc (ASTi) is to deliver equipment to be installed on a suite of full-fidelity CH-47 Mk6 Chinook helicopter weapons system trainers for the Royal Air Force.

ASTi Telestra 4 and Simulated Environment for Realistic ATC (SERA) systems will equip two flight-deck trainers and one cabin trainer with critical audio and communications capabilities. These trainers can operate in standalone or integrated modes.

ASTi’s SERA system generates artificially intelligent (AI) entities representing air traffic controllers, other aircraft and pilots who all communicate in the same simulation. Using SERA’s advanced speech recognition, pilot trainees can interact with AI controllers through all phases of flight training. This technology can replicate regional accents and eliminates the need for additional staff role players. The result is a truly immersive and fully automated ATC and external radio environment for enhanced aircrew training.

Telestra 4 operates seamlessly with SERA, providing a comprehensive communications environment and high-fidelity aural cue sound model for the CH-47. In addition to eight radios, the Telestra 4 system includes full military navigational aids, missile warning systems and more. The sound model for the Chinook accommodates a wide variety of audio-sound effects. These effects include harmonics for multiple drive shafts and transmissions unique to the tandem rotor helicopter.

Defence as a Platform (Future) Industry Day

Background:

A number of existing Defence ICS contracts are due to expire over the next 7 years, with some major contracts expiring in the next 3 years. A significant opportunity therefore exists for the Ministry of Defence to secure increased benefits through the establishment of new ICT contracts which exploit innovation and the changes in the ICT marketplace.

It is expected that the move to standard market services with regular competition and smaller contracts will remain the most effective tool to deliver value and innovation to the MOD.

Industry Day

The Industry Day will take place on 25th April 2016 and the Authority wish to invite potential suppliers to receive an update on the progress made to date and also participate in workshop sessions to further assist with the shaping of the future procurements. The Industry Day will provide the opportunity to fully understand the Authority’s vision and build on the previous Industry Day.  The aim of the day will be for industry to aid in the development of the themes in the agenda below, and make best use of the feedback previously provided, thus enabling the Authority to assess its vision and formulate a realistic approach to the market place for the  possible future competitive tender processes.  The event will take place at: techUK, 10 St Bride Street, London, EC4A 4AD.

Industry Day 25th April 2016 – Agenda

09.30 Registration

10.00 Introduction

10.10 Programme Update

10.30 Progress Update

11.00 Introduction to the Workshops

11.10 Workshops  – (1) Technical;  (2) Commercial

12.15 Question session

12.45 Close

Further Information

To register your interest in this process and to book a place on the first industry day, please contact Andy Johnston at techUK on 020 7331 2000 or email andy.johnston@techuk.org.

Suppliers are limited to two representatives per organisation, as the number of places is limited. Therefore suppliers need to ensure that their representatives are from the most appropriate function within their organisation and have the relevant skills to provide meaningful input into the workshop sessions.

Suppliers should note that participation in an Industry Day is entirely voluntary and the Authority will not bear any associated costs. There is no commitment on the part of the Authority to enter into any binding contractual arrangement following engagement with suppliers through the Industry Days. Neither attendance at any of the Industry Days nor submission of responses to the Authority will be taken into consideration in any future competitive tendering process, which, if initiated at all, will be subject to the Public Contract Regulations 2015 or the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011.

UK relationship with Ukraine strengthened by defence agreement

The UK’s relationship with Ukraine has been strengthened by the signing of a new defence agreement.

The agreement will last for 15 years. Areas covered include sharing information on potential threats, participation in joint exercises, training of Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) personnel and cooperation in the field of military equipment.

Separately the UK will look to expand the reach of its training support through ‘train the trainer’ activities. This will enable UAF personnel to pass on techniques taught by the UK’s Armed Forces.

In the past year, the UK has trained 2000 members of the UAF through courses on countering IEDs, operations in urban environments, medical care, logistics and operational planning. The UK has also gifted over £1 million worth of equipment to Ukraine.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon MP said: “The UK will stand firm with Ukraine as they defend their territorial integrity. This new defence agreement sets out that commitment as we enhance our training of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

MOD smoothes way for SMEs to do business with defence

The Ministry of Defence has launched a new policy for small and medium-sized enterprises, cutting red tape to make it easier for smaller businesses to work with defence. The changes will help the MOD drive towards its target of 25% of all procurement spending – both direct and indirect – going to SMEs by 2020.

The final set of published figures for the last parliament showed the MOD as achieving a total of 19.4%, or £3.8 billion, with SMEs in 2014/15. In order to achieve the spend target of 25% by 2019/20 this figure will need to increase to around £4.9 billion, and the refreshed SME policy is designed to help achieve this. The revised policy has been developed in partnership with SMEs, trade associations and other government departments.

It will see a new Supply Chain Champion, and a supply chain advocate network, to provide single points of contact for suppliers; and a fresh assault on red tape with unnecessary bureaucracy amended or scrapped by the middle of 2016. The Department is exploring ways of simplifying its procurement processes, for example by investigating the use of purchase order templates for the simplest low-value and low-volume contracts.

Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne MP said: “We spend £4 billion a year with small firms, and this new policy is a signal of our intent to do more to tap into the innovation of SMEs in our supply chain. This new approach will harness UK brainpower so that our Armed Forces get the best possible equipment, deliver better value for money, and boost exciting new companies.”