Leading Researcher and Top Commentator to speak at SMD Symposium

Among high-powered military leaders who will speak at the 2018 Space & Missile Defense (SMD) Symposium will be two prominent national security issues commentators and researchers.

Think tank fellows Dr. Thomas Karako and Rebeccah Heinrichs are scheduled speakers for the symposium at the Von Braun Center, Aug.7-9.

Karako will speak on Adapting Joint Air an Missile Defense Operations to the Near Peer Threat at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Heinrichs is scheduled to speak at 10:30 a.m. Thursday on Space and Missile Defense Imperatives.

Karako has been with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) since 2014 when he was named a fellow with the Project on Nuclear Issues. CSIS is an organization regularly called upon by Congress, the executive branch and the news media to explain the day’s events and offer bipartisan recommendations to improve U.S. strategy.

Karako is a senior fellow with the International Security Program, which is considered a constant source of reliable analysis on the threats and opportunities shaping U.S. security interests at home and abroad.

He is also the director of the Missile Defense Project, in which research considers the most pressing problems of the day, such as homeland missile defense, integrated air and missile defenses for U.S. forces and allies abroad, offensive strike capabilities, and investments in high technology to defeat missile threats through new and innovative means. The project also hosts a variety of events to shape the debate about policy, budgets, legislation, and both current and future programs.

Heinrichs is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a nonprofit for more than 50 years established to challenge conventional thinking and help manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary studies in defense, international relations, economics, health care, technology, culture, and law, according to its website.

As a senior fellow researcher for the Hudson Institute, Heinrichs provides research and commentary on a range of national security issues, and specializes in nuclear deterrence, missile defense, and counter-proliferation.

A former Senate advisor on military matters and foreign policy, Heinrichs worked to help launch the bipartisan Missile Defense Caucus and will be speaking Aug. 9 to Symposium attendees on imperatives for space and missile defense.

Heinrichs has regularly appeared on Fox News and her work has been published in major newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, and Investor’s Business Daily as well as political journals such as Politico and The Hill.

SMD Symposium: Technology Track to Innovation & Breakthroughs

Every year, the Space & Missile Defense Symposium chooses two topic areas pertinent to that year’s SMD focus, and they provide members of the space and missile defense community the opportunity to submit and present innovations and technical ideas.

For the program known as Technology Track, the committee sends out a call for entries several months in advance for two-page written abstracts describing the basis of their work with enough detail to allow for an evaluation of that work in the two major topic areas. This year, the committee received more than 25 submissions for which the panel chose five in the area of Cyber Resiliency, Testing, and Development; and six for Weapon System Performance Testing and Evaluation.

“These are submissions to present their work and have a discussion about that work at the conference, and not submissions for funding, so there is no ‘Big Reveal’ so-to-speak,” said Stephen Cayson, chief operating officer for CFD Research and a member of the SMD planning committee. “The topics can really run the gamut between someone wanting to present new work they have developed, and someone wanting to report on the status of something they have been working on.

“Research and development work can quickly become classified and we are working in a public forum, so we usually lean toward established work, since a lot of the new work is sensitive and often, not something that can be discussed in an open setting.”

Cayson said the committee has scoring criteria for the submissions and, sometimes, it can get very competitive.

Technology Track is a 2-day event at the 21st Annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium which runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Von Braun Center.

On Tuesday, Paul Page with the Space & Missile Defense Command presents “Cyber Hardening by Replicating and Simulating”; Yaron Shragal with Draper Labs presents “CHROME: A State of the Art System for Comprehensive, Non-intrusive Cyber Resiliency”; Rob Goldsmith of SMDC/ARSTRAT presents “Cyber Resiliency and Mission Assurance”; Denise Jefferson of Northrop Grumman presents “A Tool to Inject Credible Warfighter-focused Non-kinetic Attack Effects into the BMDS M&S Environment”; and Connor Wood and Justan Provence, also of Northrop Grumman, present “Micro-service Data Pipelines”.

“We encourage our Technology Track presenters to keep their presentation down to twenty minutes to allow for ten minutes of questions and discussion,” said Cayson. “We really have a lot of great discussions come out of these presentations.

“Technologists are an underserved class in our community and we like to give them the opportunity to get together with other professionals and give them a chance to meet others working on similar projects, to develop that network, and to learn from each other.”

Wednesday, James Buford, Gary Freeman, and David Mallett, all from the Aviation & Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center at SMDC/ARSTRAT present “New and Improved Advanced Measurements Optical Range (AMOR) Capability for Advanced Sensing Capabilities”; and Perri Nejib of Northrop Grumman does a presentation called “Resiliency by Design, Defeating All Threats Cyber and Ballistic Missile-start Secure, Stay Secure, Return Secure”.

Phil Carey of the CMDS Project Office; Craig Burrow with Intuitive Research & Technology Corporation; and Bruce Peters from Torch Technologies present “Accelerating High Energy Laser System Capability for Air and Missile Defense”. Later that afternoon, E. Blair Carter and his team from the Aviation & Missile Research, Development, & Engineering Center present “A Simulation Toolkit for Rigorous Interceptor Design and Evaluation”; Northrop Grumman’s Connor Wood does a second presentation on “Modeling and Simulation Integration with Hardware and Software Development”; and Mike Curry with Draper Labs finishes up with “A Unified Framework for Interactive Tradespace Exploration”.

 

Going Hypersonic in the Back Rooms of SMD Symposium

The X-15 Hypersonic Research Program flew more than 200 flights and set unofficial world speed and altitude records. (NASA Photo)

They may not be a lead topic on the 21st Annual Space & Missile Defense Symposium agenda this week, but out in the hallways of the Von Braun Center, among exhibitors on the show floor, and over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before every meal, people will be talking about current hypersonic missile threats from Hypersonic Glide Vehicles, sometimes referred to as Boost Glide Vehicles.

“Our near-peer adversaries and our own nation have been working on technology that will enable us, but hypersonics are not really in the mainstream of our military arsenal at this point,” said retired Air Force Brig, Gen. Kenneth Todorov, vice president of Missile Defense Solutions at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. “They are potentially a very dangerous weapon and something that we need to take very seriously.

“The challenge for the defense industry is two-fold. One is the offensive side, that is, our nation’s capability to develop a hypersonic weapon of our own, which would help deter others from attacking us; but what will be a hot topic at SMD is the defensive hypersonic aspects we’re calling counter hypersonics.”

Todorov said that what makes hypersonic weaponry difficult for this nation’s current missile defense architecture is they fly at very fast speeds, they have very long ranges, they have maneuverability, and they are capable of looking like a traditional ballistic missile.

“A ballistic missile has a predictable trajectory and our current system can discern where an incoming missile might be headed, making it possible to intercept it or shoot it down,” he said. “A hypersonic threat could maneuver so fast and so rapidly that it outpaces our systems ability to see it, to detect it, and to intercept it.

“So that’s the real concern I think for the nation and for us as an industry as we work to come up with answers to that.”

A Quick History

Hypersonics are not new. In fact, they go back 50 years.

“We haven’t had constant focus in this area because, in the past, the U.S. was leading in that technology while, today, other countries have made breakthroughs,” said Ragini Acharya, Hypersonic Lead at CFD Research Corp. Her company is just one of several Huntsville-based companies pioneering the offensive and defensive sides of hypersonic boost glide vehicles using their expertise in modeling and simulation.

In 1967, NASA, the Air Force, Navy, and North American Aviation Inc., joined forces to create a manned hypersonic mission called the X-15 Hypersonic Research Program. Over a 10-year period, they flew more than 200 flights and set the world’s unofficial speed and altitude records flying at 354,200 feet and at more than 4,520 mph – nearly Mach 7.

The purpose of that program was to investigate all aspects of piloted hypersonic flight, which was instrumental in the development of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs, as well as the Space Shuttle program.

“The space shuttle and re-entry methods all use hypersonics,” Acharya said. “It’s not that the older work is not valid, but we just have a lot more challenges today. For instance, those missiles were rocket-powered but, today, companies like Aerojet Rocketdyne work tirelessly on different propulsion systems to replace it.

“Also, it has to be an unmanned vehicle, and we need longer duration because they went into space and came back from space, they couldn’t work in Earth’s atmosphere for very long. We need something that can operate in Earth’s atmosphere, and that can travel from one point to another. That is where most of our challenges lie.”

Todorov said there is a lot of work remaining from the anti-missile features.

“On the defensive side, there’s a lot of hard work yet to do,” he said. “A boost glide vehicle that rides a rocket into space and then re-enters the atmosphere and glides to its target at Mach 5 to Mach 10 speeds needs an answer – that is, a defensive capability to defeat them.

“It’s going to take a wide swathe of expertise across multiple disciplines to find that answer because they are so fast, so hard to detect, and they maneuver so rapidly. The first piece of the equation is, ‘Are you able to detect them?’, ‘Are you able to quickly identify them as a hypersonic threat?’, and ‘Are you able to see them not only through their launch, but through its flightpath, so that you can then affect the defensive solution and be able to counter them.”

Todorov is concerned that many people think developing an interceptor is the answer but although that is true and necessary in part, it will not be sufficient.

“It’s going to take an end-to-end solution that starts before they are launched, follows them through their launch window, and is able to detect, see, track, and monitor them,” he said. “That is likely to require a space layer.

“Whenever we talk counter-hypersonics, we really have to ask, ‘what are the assets we may already have, or that we may have to supplement in the space layer, to be able to look down and see these things – to be able to detect them?’

“In talking about counter-hypersonics, it’s much, much more than an interceptor.”

Space, huh? That Space Force idea begins to come a little bit more into focus does it not?

 

AEgis wins laser weapons contract

Huntsville-based AEgis Technologies has been awarded a $29 million contract for high-energy laser weapons.
The contract, awarded by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, is to support the High Energy Laser Division of the SMDC Air & Missile Defense Directorate.
 
AEgis and its partners will conduct an array of high-energy laser technology research and development efforts to support the transition of HEL weapons to the battlefield.
“AEgis has been providing HEL R&D and weapon system development support to the Department of Defense, the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Air Force for almost two decades,” said Pat Cannon, AEgis vice president of distributed operations. “As a retired Army officer, I am thrilled AEgis and our team can now apply that knowledge and experience to help SMDC solve Army HEL problems and give our soldiers the weapons they need to fight and win our nation’s battles.
“The Army is at the forefront of transitioning HEL to the warfighter so this a strategic win for AEgis as it extends our directed energy line of business into Huntsville and SMDC.”

Dr. Michael Griffin is keynote speaker at SMD Symposium

Michael Griffin

A former NASA administrator and University of Alabama-Huntsville eminent scholar returns to the Rocket City in a key role at one of the largest symposiums of its kind.

Dr. Michael Griffin, who is responsible for ensuring U.S. military technical superiority as Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is set to provide the keynote address at the upcoming Space & Missile Defense Symposium.

The event is called “the leading educational, professional development and networking event in the space and missile defense community,” and the keynote dinner will be Aug. 8 at the Von Braun Center. According to a Department of Defense spokesperson, Griffin was not ready to reveal the topic of his address when contacted in July.

Griffin, a former NASA administrator and eminent scholar at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, took over his new role at the Pentagon earlier this year following a career that has spanned academia, industry, and the civil and national security government space sectors. He was appointed by President Trump to fill the new position created from the reorganization of the Pentagon’s acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L) organization.

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act instructed the DoD to break up AT&L and replace that undersecretary position with two new ones, including Griffin’s post as undersecretary for research and engineering post, to develop future technologies; and an undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, held by Ellen M. Lord, who has day-to-day focus on existing defense systems.

In his role, Griffin is responsible for the research, development, and prototyping activities across the Department of Defense enterprise and is mandated with ensuring technological superiority for the DoD, according to his U.S. DoD biography. Griffin oversees the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Strategic Capabilities Office, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, the DoD Laboratory enterprise, and the undersecretariat staff focused on developing advanced technology and capability for the U.S. military.

During his career, Griffin was deputy for technology in the Reagan-era Strategic Defense Initiative Office and served as NASA administrator under President George W. Bush. He was also president and chief operating officer of In-Q-Tel, the nonprofit venture capital firm created and funded by the CIA.

He served as Space Department Head at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and was the King-McDonald Eminent Scholar and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UAH from 2009-2012 before serving as a consultant to the military defense community.

 

Theme of this year’s SMD Symposium focuses on ‘peer adversaries’

The 21st annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium runs Aug. 7-9 at the Von Braun Center.

What began as a local gathering of enthusiastic space and missile defense professionals more than 20 years ago, has evolved into one of the most anticipated, informative, and influential national public conferences on the defense of our nation.

The 21st Annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium opens Aug. 7 at the Von Braun Center and runs through Aug. 9.

Embraced by the Missile Defense Agency and the Department of Defense, Brig. Gen. Bob McCaleb and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle will welcome enterprise level professionals from the missile defense community, military leaders, and allies from the United States and abroad.

According to Joe Fitzgerald, an original member of the SMD Symposium’s executive committee and two-time past chairman of the event, the 2018 theme, “Sharpening the Military’s Competitive Edge,” marks a fundamental shift in the way industry professionals have looked at the threats our country faces for many years.

“This year’s Space & Missile Defense Symposium will bring to the forefront the realization that the United States has peer adversaries,” he said. “That is, not just threats from rogue nations like Iran and North Korea, but very real threats from countries across the globe who are our equals.”

He said the symposium will address the important part missile defense plays in the survival and security of our nation.

“You will see a recognition that we face challenges meeting those threats, and that we must put more resources into missile defense technologies associated with those threats to ensure our nation’s future, and to assure the defense of our nation. Victory is not assured,” Fitzgerald said. “therefore, we must work to maintain our competitive edge, and by edge, we mean superiority.”

This year’s SMD Symposium will address all aspects of these challenges.

Conference Opening

Gen. John Hyten is a graduate of Grissom High School

Beginning Tuesday morning, Gen. John Hyten, senior commander of the United States Strategic Command, will open the symposium by outlining Space and Missile Defense Imperatives. USSTRATCOM is one of 10 unified commands in the Department of Defense representing all four unified branches of the military.

Among the topics he is expected to discuss is the importance of innovation related to space and the military’s interdependence on space, national security, and the global economy.

In a December 2017 article in SpaceNews, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Stephen Kitay said the modernization of missile-warning satellites has been a topic of recent conversations with leaders from U.S. Air Force Space Command, U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Northern Command. So, will Hyten,  a graduate of Huntsville’s Grissom High School, offer any insights into the future of a new Space Force as recently proposed by the current administration?

“I think Space Force is likely to come up given Gen. Hyten’s relationship with the Air Force Space Command,” said Fitzgerald. “Advanced forces surely add flavor to his thought process, and any future Space Force plans are bound to affect Huntsville for sure.”

Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, Commanding General of the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command follows Hyten with a Space and Missile Defense update and, later, Col. William Darne, the Training & Doctrine Command Capabilities Manager for the Army Air and Missile Defense, will give an update on the AMD’s Cross-Functional Teams.

After lunch Tuesday, Dr. Tom Karako, Senior Fellow and International Security Program Director for the Missile Defense Project, will speak on adapting Joint Air and Missile Defense Operations to the Near Peer Threat. The Missile Defense Project researches innovative means for defeating missile threats and hosts a variety of events to shape the debate about policy, budgets, legislation, and both current and future programs.

Both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, Technology Track gives a variety of selected candidates an opportunity to present innovative technical ideas, methods, and processes regarding cyber resiliency, testing and development, and weapon system performance testing and validation.

Several moderators will host a Multi-Domain Battle Panel Tuesday afternoon. Created by the Army, Multi-Domain Battle allows U.S. forces to outmaneuver adversaries physically and cognitively by applying combined arms in and across all domains of war – that is, land, sea, air, space and cyberspace – cyber being the newest domain, and with underpinnings in every aspect of strategic warfare.

Wednesday & Thursday Features

The programs Wednesday include the MDA’s Focus For the Future presented by Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, director of the MDA; an Allied Update by Air Commodore Madelein Spit, Assistant Director of NATO Joint Air Power Competence Center; and an update from Brig. Gen. Robert Rasch Jr. on the Programs Executive Office Missiles and Space, which provides centralized management for Army Air and Missile Defense and Tactical Missile Programs, as well as selected Army Space programs to meet warfighter multidomain and full spectrum operation requirements.

There will be two Industry and Technology panels Wednesday focused singularly on missile defense with a variety of guests participating including major original equipment manufacturers  and developers of our nation’s missile defense systems. They will talk about the technology challenges, and what the R&D industry is doing to meet those challenges.

On Wednesday evening, prior to an invitation-only VIP reception, Northrop Grumman will host the “Salute to the Warfighter” at its exhibition space. A presentation recognizing and honoring all U.S. warfighters involves a formal salute followed by a networking social and then dinner.

On Thursday, Holly Haverstick, Chief of Weapons for Defense Support of Civil Authorities, will speak on security cooperation efforts in support of missile defense; followed by Rebeccah Heinrichs, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, who will close out the symposium with a talk concerning Space and Missile Defense Imperatives.

Awards & Recognitions

Throughout the week, various industry groups will present a variety of awards such as the Air, Space and Missile Defense Association Scholarship and the Julian Davidson Award, awarded by the National Space Club to an individual or organization that has shown great achievement in advancing space flight programs, and has contributed to U.S. leadership in the field of rocketry and astronautics.

The John Medaris Award, given to an individual from the Tennessee Valley who has made outstanding contributions to the defense industrial base, will be awarded to Dr. J. Richard (Dick) Fisher, Executive Director of the Missile Defense and Space Technology Center.  

“The entire conference is laid out to be an exposé on meeting the challenges of a peer adversary, while focusing our efforts on ways to give our soldiers a competitive edge that is superior to anyone else in the world,” said Fitzgerald.

 

BAE expansion in Cummings Research Park to create hundreds of jobs

Rendering shows the BAE Systems planned 83,000 square-foot facility in Cummings Research Park.

“It’s rainy outside but we have sunny news today.”

And, with those words, Joe Newberry, past chair of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, began Monday’s economic announcement.

BAE Systems announced a $45.5 million project to expand its operations in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park. The expansion will bring hundreds of jobs and the new building is expected to be complete in 2019.

“This puts us close to our customers,” said Bill Staib, deputy vice president and general manager of survivability, targeting, and sensing solutions for BAE Systems. “There is an extremely rich talent pool here … and we’re going to tap into that.

“We’re going to start hiring this year.”

Plans include the immediate expansion of BAE’s offices on Discovery Drive and the development of an 83,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing and office space facility on a 20-acre site at the intersection of Old Madison Pike and Jan Davis Drive. BAE is working with developer Samples Properties, Fuqua & Partners Architects and Pearce Construction on the project.

Staib said it will be about half manufacturing and half office space for engineers doing development work.

“We plan to grow beyond that,” Staib said. “BAE Systems is growing. We’re growing in Huntsville; we’re expanding in Huntsville … we’re hiring.”

He said the expansion will allow BAE Systems – the third-largest defense contractor in the world – to establish a closer working relationship with its critical customers in the U.S. Army and the Redstone Arsenal community. Work will consist of new programs and existing business, including the design, development, and manufacturing of precision munitions and aircraft survivability technology.

“We’ve been working on the project for eight years,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “BAE has people in Huntsville for six months looking over the community.”

Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Chamber, agreed that deals like this take time.

“We met with BAE Systems’ senior leadership at the Farnborough International Air Show in 2016 to discuss the advantages of being in Huntsville/Madison County,” he said. “We are at the Air Show again this year meeting with more companies about establishing and expanding their presence in Huntsville.”

The news brought sunlight to the rainy day – a harbinger of things to come?

“We’ve got a great team to let people know Madison County is open for business,” said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. “I truly believe our best days are ahead.”

 

Planes, drones, special missions aircraft on display at Sierra Nevada Industry Day

MERIDIANVILLE — A cost-effective solution for retrofitting old Black Hawk helicopters with the most technologically advanced electronics and equipment was unveiled recently by Sierra Nevada. The event was held during Sierra Nevada’s Industry Day at the company’s facility at the Huntsville Executive Airport.

SNC acquired the older model Air Force UH-60L Black Hawk through Huntsville’s Black Hawk Exchange & Sales Team (BEST) program. They removed the outdated analog gages and Marconi strip radar system and replaced it with an all glass cockpit, a fully certified state-of-the-art digital avionics suite, and mission-specific equipment including an external mounted camera, rescue hoists, and a 200-gallon auxiliary fuel tank. Now known as the Sierra Force Rotary-Wing Aircraft, the newly retrofitted helicopter is valued at an estimated $19 million.

“At the end of the day, each Sierra Force aircraft returns a significant portion of the production cost to the U.S. government,” said Bill Morris, vice president of business development for Sierra Nevada. “We make it possible for the U.S. Air Force to acquire the most cost-effective replacement aircraft available.”

Also, on exhibit was a King Air 350ER Mission Enhancement Kit.

King Air 350ER Mission Enhancement Kit with five-blade propellers that enable the aircraft to climb to 30,000 feet in 17 minutes.

“We bought the standard King Air as a green aircraft,” he said. “… using the Independent Research and Development (IR&D) program to determine what modifications were needed, we created a Mission Enhancement Kit that involves installing a new engine, an electronic braking system, and a light weight battery that removes 20 pounds from the aircraft, while increasing the capacity to fly at airspeeds up to 340 knots.”

Morris said Sierra Nevada replaced the four-blade propeller with five blades, which enable the plane to climb to 30,000 feet in 17 minutes instead of 40 minutes. It mitigates a lot of the noise from the engine so passengers can have a reasonable conversation without headsets.

“On an ordinary 90-degree day at 7,000 feet, you would have only about 30 minutes of fuel available,” said Morris. “With our newly designed kit, you can fly for eight hours under the same conditions – a significant increase for our Army forces who fly very long distances on manned surveillance and intelligence missions.”

The King Air and the SNC Scorpion Aircraft are fully-integrated multi-role special mission aircraft whose configurations include a lightweight interior, LED lighting, an extended nose to accommodate camera and sensors that surveil targets on the ocean up to 200 nautical miles; and a Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) satellite communications system on top that transmits data in real time to a ground station.

Also on display during Industry Day was a battery-operated surveillance drone. The aircraft is housed in a case with a Unified Ground Control Station, a hand-held controller and manned and unmanned teaming functions.

Powered by software designed by Kutta Technologies, the unmanned aircraft system can be dropped from an aircraft and deployed remotely from ground or air and has autonomous landing capabilities. It has a payload bay and a powerful camera that can see around corners. The drone can be programmed with waypoints or set to loiter and wait for updates from the controller.

 

FBI’s Abbate says cyber threats ‘more complex’ than ever

The associate deputy director of the FBI had an ominous warning Wednesday at the 2018 National Cyber Summit.

“When will a cyber 9/11 occur?” he asked the audience. “… it’s already begun.”

Paul Abbate

Associate Deputy Director Paul Abbate was the keynote speaker in the morning session to open the 10th annual summit at the Von Braun Center in downtown Huntsville.

It is the pre-eminent event for cyber training, education and workforce development aimed at protecting the nation from the ever-evolving cyber threat. The summit attracts government and commercial participants.

“The (cyber) threats we face today are more complex and change more rapidly than we’ve ever seen,” Abbate said. “We have a whole variety of bad guys” who use the Internet to carry out their crimes.

Abbate said the main threat is from nation-states that employ individuals to do their bidding.

“It’s a blended or hybrid threat where nation-states use mercenaries to hack and carry out their (the nation-states’) crimes,” he said. “And we’re committed to bringing cyber criminals to justice no matter where they hide.”

To add a little discomfort to the crowd of private industry and government people, he said some patches can lead to systems being hacked.

“Eighty percent of the hacking is through known and weak patches,” Abbate said. “I’m also talking about legacy systems, if you’re afraid to patch them for fear of the system going down.

“Don’t forget the third-party vendors who touch your system everyday.”

He urged the audience to train the employees from “interns and supply clerks up to the executive suite.”

Abbate said the FBI is constantly sending its personnel through cyber training, including “boot camp-type” classes and he said the agency wants “to know your perceived risks that keep you up at night.”

“The stakes are higher than ever and require all of us to up our game.”

The summit concludes Thursday at the VBC. For information, visit www.nationalcybersummit.com.

 

 

EOS selects Huntsville for flagship manufacturing facility

Electro Optic Systems (EOS), a leading Australian technology company in the aerospace and defense markets, has selected Huntsville for its flagship U.S. manufacturing facility.

The company made the announcement Wednesday, joined by state and city leaders at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.

“EOS is very happy to have the opportunity to formally join the Huntsville community,” said Phil Coker, the company’s U.S. president. “North Alabama is an area of incredible people, outstanding institutions and immense potential and we are thrilled to have the chance to establish a business in this area.

“We look forward to working with the Defense Department, federal, state and local government leaders and local businesses to improve the community and serve our country and its citizens.”

Within the first year of operation, EOS will hire up to 100 full-time employees. A state-of-the-art production facility on Wall-Triana Highway has been scaled to grow to at least 250 employees if contract awards continue on the current trajectory.

“EOS is a natural fit for the Huntsville community, and we’re pleased our new Australian partners chose Huntsville as their preferred place to invest and do business,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “This addition continues our momentum to add more manufacturing in support of Huntsville’s excellent research and development capabilities.”

EOS is a leader in the development and production of robotic or remotely controlled weapons systems (“RCWS” or “RWS”) where it has built a strong reputation as a major provider for more than 25 years to the U.S., NATO and ANZUS markets. EOS products currently dominate the global market for next-generation lightweight weapon systems with unprecedented accuracy and firepower.

“EOS’ decision to locate its new manufacturing center in Alabama is a reflection of the state’s attractive business climate and its skilled workers, who prove their capabilities each and every day,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “Huntsville will make a great home for the company because Alabama’s ‘Rocket City’ offers every advantage a business needs to succeed.”

EOS, which is based in Hume, ACT, operates in military space, missile defense and surface warfare sectors. Its products incorporate advanced electro-optic applications based on EOS core technologies in software, lasers, electronics, optronics, gimbals, telescopes, beam directors, stabilization and precision mechanisms.

“Huntsville serves as a critical hub for high-tech defense work, and that makes the city a smart choice for EOS as it develops a flagship U.S. manufacturing facility,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “We look forward to building a strong partnership with the company and seeing it grow both its business and its workforce in coming years.”

More information visit, http://www.eos-aus.com/