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Airforce Life Cycle Management Center helps design transport isolation system

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) is playing a unique role in the United States’ comprehensive Ebola response efforts in West Africa through the center’s involvement in developing a transport isolation system.

The system will enable safe aeromedical evacuation of Department of Defense patients in C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster IIIs.

The Human Systems Division — one of nine divisions within AFLCMC’s Agile Combat Support Directorate — is leading the integration of multiple System Program Offices to support the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s task to rapidly field the transport isolation system (TIS) by January.

Lt. Col. Scott Bergren, the chief of the Aircrew Performance Branch, is among those involved in the project.

“AFLCMC was notified the third week of October that its help was needed,” Bergren said. “We also were informed that the intent was to fly this system in an operational test beginning Dec. 1. So we were given a month and a half to ensure this system is safe to fly. All involved offices within AFLCMC have rallied to help get the TIS out the door.

“While DTRA is providing overall program management and contracting actions, our efforts have focused on quickly collecting the test data needed to assess the safety of the system for use in identified aircraft,” Bergren continued. “For example, we reached out to the Navy and obtained existing test data for subcomponents of the TIS used in Navy weapon systems today. This prevented us from having to redo those tests, which saved time. Fortunately, we have those connections and our division possesses the capability to analyze test data and certify components already in use within DOD.

“We’re thinking differently and more creatively to ensure we keep pace with the Pentagon’s timeline for this isolation system,” Bergren added. “We want to ensure this project is completed on time and safely.”

An example of creative thinking is that the AFLCMC team identified a proven LED lighting system used in the KC-135 Stratotanker platform today as a means to provide medical lighting in the TIS.

“This avoided a development effort by the contractor and cut roughly two weeks from a schedule in which every day counts,” Bergren said.

According to Melina Baez-Bowersox, a technical lead engineer in the Aeromedical Branch, additional challenges arise anytime there is a proposal to add a new system or equipment to an Air Force platform, such as an aircraft.

“Part of our responsibility is to assess the TIS’s capability by testing and evaluating the system on the aircraft,” she said. “We ask ourselves, ‘How does it (TIS) behave?’, ‘What does adding the system do to the structural integrity of the aircraft?’, ‘Is the TIS safe for patients, aircrews and the aircraft?’

“Ultimately, we want to be able to safely transport infected individuals back to the United States in a way that contains Ebola exposure to others while also preventing contamination of an aircraft or losing a precious Air Force asset,” she continued.

“We’re the right organization to be involved to deliver this critical capability that is quite complex and under an extremely compressed timeline,” said Col. William McGuffey, the chief of the Human Systems Division. “It’s another example of how AFLCMC acquires, fields and sustains systems and capabilities to support the urgent needs of other Air Force major commands and the DOD.

Pentagon officials say they do not expect the 3,000 U.S. troops heading to or already in the region to need the TIS because military personnel will not be treating Ebola patients directly.

“But we want to be prepared to care for the people we do have there just out of an abundance of caution,” Defense Department spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said.

Currently, transport of Ebola patients from overseas is done by Phoenix Air, a government contractor based in Georgia whose modified business jet is capable of carrying just a single patient.

The Pentagon’s TIS will be similar but larger than the units used by Phoenix Air, whose containment system is a tent-like structure held up by a metal framework within the aircraft.

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Indra Creates An Advanced Cybersecurity Operations Center

By on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Indra has created i-CSOC (CyberSecurity Operations Center), a new center specialized in cybersecurity operations, from which it provides protection for systems and networks for companies, organizations and institutions that require it.

Indra’s centre was founded with the aim of becoming an international benchmark. It has approximately 100 experts working together in a 500-m2 facility fitted out and equipped with the most advanced technology.

i-CSOC has a cybersecurity laboratory, which differentiates it from similar centers. From there it analyses new technologies, develops solutions and simulates attacks in secure environments. It also conducts forensic analyses of attacks and malware – after the fact – to design cybersecurity solutions.

Another feature that makes i-CSOC unique is its cyberdefence area. This area is physically separate from the rest of the center’s working space, shielded and protected from radiation and subject to strict access control, and it has a security certificate. This area provides services to defence ministries of NATO countries.

This cyberdefence capability gives i-CSOC privileged knowledge of both threats and the most effective countermeasures. Indra customers therefore have a guarantee that they are working with the most highly qualified experts.

Another innovative working area of i-CSOC is cyberintelligence, which analyses information on the web to detect reputation risks and electronic fraud.

All this knowledge enables Indra to provide a cybersecurity management service (24x7x365) to companies and government bodies at the highest level, and positions i-CSOC ahead of other centres of this type. The company monitors, operates and manages the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of its customers from this centre and provides a response capability for any incident.

Lastly, i-CSOC has a communications area that disseminates information about threats and the countermeasures to be taken. It also provides training to system administrators and trains them in a live environment in which attacks are recreated.

The creation of i-CSOC allows Indra to concentrate and strengthen all the cybersecurity knowledge it has. The company can also provide the best service at the most competitive cost. Among the most immediate benefits: the need to maintain cybersecurity experts at the customer’s facilities is reduced, which represents a significant saving; and the center serves multiple customers, which helps i-CSOC detect common vulnerabilities and problems early on.

Indra is the number one multinational consultancy and technology company in Spain and a leader in Europe and Latin America. Innovation is the cornerstone of its business and sustainability. The company has allocated more than €550 million to R&D&i in the last three years, making it one of the leading companies in Europe in its sector in terms of investment. With sales of approximately €3,000 million, nearly 60% of its revenue comes from international markets. The company employs 42,000 professionals and has customers in 128 countries.

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Syria says Israel hit military research center

By on Friday, February 1st, 2013

An Israeli air strike hit a military research centre near Damascus at dawn on Wednesday, the Syrian army said, denying reports that the raid targeted a weapons convoy near the Lebanese border.

Residents who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, however, said the strike targeted a non-conventional weapons research centre some 15 kilometres (10 miles) northwest of the Syrian capital.

“Israeli fighter jets violated our airspace at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research center in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defence,” Syria’s army said.

The raid came “after terrorist groups made several failed attempts in the past months to take control of the site,” its general command said, referring to rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The warplanes entered Syrian airspace via Mount Hermon, or Jabal el-Sheikh in Arabic, at low altitude and under the radar, the army said in the statement carried by state media.

“They… carried out an act of aggression, bombarding the site, causing large-scale material damage and destroying the building,” state television quoted the military as saying.

Two site workers were killed in the strike, said the army, while denying reports Israel had launched a strike overnight on a weapons convoy near Lebanon.

Residents told AFP that six rockets hit the complex, leaving it partially destroyed, causing a fire and killing two people.

The attack came after Israel expressed concerns that Damascus’s stockpile of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group, an ally of Assad’s regime, or other militant organizations.

Israel, whose officials have said such that a transfer would be a casus belli and likely spark an attack, refused to comment on the attack.

The United States, which is currently hosting Israeli military intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi, also declined to comment.

As well as concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, Israel has accused Syria of supplying long-range Scud missiles to Hezbollah.

It has also warned about the dangers of other advanced weaponry falling into the Lebanese militia’s hands, such as anti-aircraft systems and surface-to-surface missiles.

Ahead of the strike, several sources reported a high level of “unusual” Israeli activity over Lebanese airspace, since Tuesday evening.

The Lebanese army said Israeli warplanes had entered Lebanese airspace up to 16 times between 9:30 am (0730 GMT) on Tuesday and 2:00am on Wednesday.

“Every day there are Israeli overflights, but on Tuesday they were much more intense than usual,” a Lebanese security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The attack took place just days after Israel moved two batteries of its vaunted Iron Dome missile defence system to the north and at a time of rising fears that the Syria conflict could see chemical weapons leaking into Lebanon.

A former intelligence chief with Israel’s Mossad spy service said the Jewish state “should make any effort to prevent any weapons systems of that kind going out to terror organizations.”

In comments before reports of the attack emerged, Amnon Sofrin said Israel was unlikely to hit chemical weapons stocks from the air because of the environmental risks.

“When you go and attack a… chemical weapons depot, you’re going to do unwarranted damage because every part will leak out and can cause damage to many residents.

“But if you know of a convoy leading these kind of weapon systems from Syria to Lebanon, you can send a unit to the proper place and try to halt it” on the ground, he said.

On Monday, Israel’s Maariv newspaper said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “urgently dispatched” his National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror to Moscow to ask Russia to use its influence in Syria to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons.

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Data Center Improves Self-service for ID Cards

By on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

The Defense Manpower Data Center is making it easier for service members and their families to get and maintain identification cards.

The center has launched its RAPIDS — Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System — self-service portal to allow service members and reservists with the Defense Department’s common access card, or CAC, to apply for family IDs or retirement cards or update dependents’ statuses online.

“The idea is to try to make life easier for our military members, their families and for veterans,” Mary Dixon, the center’s director, said during a conference call with reporters today. About 3.7 million service members are eligible, Defense Department officials said.

Dixon said the data center “has been working for some time now to try to improve and transform our whole ID card application process so people can do things online and not spend long hours going to a site and waiting to be seen.”

The change may seem procedural, but its impact will be big for those who, without it, have had to spend countless hours waiting in line with their families to get ID cards. Before RAPIDS, service members, retirees and families had to go together to a Defense Manpower Data Center to submit an application form and wait while the ID card is being made, Dixon said.

“This is big project,” she said. “It takes away time from your work, and if you are separated — maybe the spouse is out on a ship or on deployment or your child is away at college — it makes it a huge problem.

“This is not an acceptable situation for us or for our military people,” she added.

Now, CAC holders can go to the RAPIDS website, call up the listing of their dependents, and fill out and digitally sign Form No. 1172-2 for their family members to receive an ID card. That family member then can go alone to the closest DMDC office — they are listed on the website and linked to Google Maps for driving directions — to pick up the card, Dixon said. About 300 of the service centers now accept appointments, she said.

RAPIDS is a win for both the department and families, the director said. “You can do this from your desk,” she said. “As long as your computer is CAC-enabled, it could be from your home or office. You can do it without going to a physical site, which is huge.”

The site also allows establishing a DOD self-service username and password, known as a DS Logon, to access several DOD and Veterans Affairs Department websites without using a CAC. DS Logon, which is available only to CAC holders, also has a “premium account,” which gives the highest level of access, allowing users to view personal data about themselves in the DOD and VA systems, apply for benefits online, check the status of claims and update address records. Users must apply in person for the premium account.

DMDC will continue to expand its self-service options to include changing email certificates and information about family members, Dixon said. The upgrades also include an effort to put new recruits’ fingerprints into the system so lost paperwork can easily be replaced, she said.

Dixon said she hopes the site also will one day include alerts for when an ID card is about to expire, and will be integrated with DMDC’s MilConnect website to access all DOD and Veterans Affairs benefits.

“We still have to have the face-to-face, which is important for legitimate ID proofing,” she said. “But we’re saying, ‘What are the ways to reduce the time you spend at the sites?’”

The data center will continue to make self-service improvements as the Defense Department budget allows, Dixon said.

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Iran’s new space center to be launched

By on Monday, June 4th, 2012

Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said that Iran’s new space center, named Imam Khomeini Space Center, will be launched in the future, local daily Tehran Times reported on Sunday.

This new space center which is 80 percent complete will be used for sending satellites made by Iran and other Muslim countries into space, Vahidi was quoted as saying on Saturday.

The Iranian scientists and experts from the Aerospace Industry Organization of the Defense Ministry, will send into orbit new generation of the Islamic Republic’s satellites from this center,” said the minister.

As the first step, Vahidi said, the Tolou (dawn) satellite will be launched into orbit from the Imam Khomeini space center in the future, according to the report.

Iran, a founding member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, launched its first domestically-made data-processing satellite, the Omid (Hope), into space in 2009.

Iran has frequently said that it will push ahead with its space program in the coming years.

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