See my latest article contribution to WND: “Feds recruit private sector to expand drone use; Seek traffic control experts to launch more spy planes over U.S. airspace.”
See my latest article contribution to WND: “Feds recruit private sector to expand drone use; Seek traffic control experts to launch more spy planes over U.S. airspace.”
The U.S. Department of State is banking on Internet-trawling software to help it identify references to departmental activities in social media as well as traditional online-media sources. This week it renewed three 90-day site-licenses for the technology, awarding a $35,000 contract to Riva Solutions, Inc., to use Sysomos social media analytics technology.
Sysomos describes itself as a company that is:
redefining social media analytics with a powerful product suite that provides customers with the tools to measure, monitor, understand and engage with the social media landscape. Sysomos provides instant access to all social media conversations from blogs, social networks and micro-blogging services to forums, video sites and media sources.
The four "key steps of the Sysomos methodology," according to the company website, are:
State specifically is obtaining the rights to use Sysomos's "Media Analysis Platform," or MAP, product.
Source document: Solicitation #SAQMMA12Q0147.
FOR RELATED COVERAGE, PLEASE VISIT THE MONITOR'S STATE DEPT. PAGE.
A privately contracted, five-year global counterdrug program valued upwards of $15 billion is one year away from expiring—and the U.S. Dept. of Defense (DoD) wants to assess the capabilities of potential prime contractors in advance of the August 23, 2012, expiration date.
The DoD Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office (CNTPO) on Aug. 2 issued a Special Notice (Solicitation # W9113MCNTPO) announcing its intentions to “issue a follow-on procurement” to perpetuate that endeavor.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, on behalf of the CNTPO, in 2007 issued a multiple award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, or MAIDIQ, contract (Solicitation #W9113M-06-R-0014) to five prime contractor:s: Blackwater Lodge & Training Center, Inc.; Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems; ARINC Engineering Services, LLC; Raytheon Technical Service Company; and Northrop Grumman/TASC, Inc.
Though it is not yet seeking proposals, the CNTPO made clear it will award a MAIDIQ follow-on contract to unspecified vendors in the future. In the meantime, it is accepting “capability statements” from qualified companies. The anticipated acquisition, as was the case in the prior contract vehicle, will be for: “critical services and procurements” in support of the CNTPO mission to:
disrupt, deter, and defeat the threat to national security posed by illicit trafficking in drugs, small arms and explosives, precursor chemicals, people, and illicitly-gained and laundered money. Support shall be provided in the following major functional areas: Training; Operations and Logistics; Program Support; and Command, Control, Communications, Information, Detection & Monitoring (C3IDM).
The embedded links in the above summary offer documents that detail specific projects anticipated under the MAIDIQ follow-on contract, most of which are planned for Afghanistan, Colombia, and Pakistan.These endeavors involve various DoD combatant commands, the Drug Enforcement Administration, client-nation law enforcement and military organizations, and other U.S. federal entities.
Information about previous tasks is contained in a separate Statement of Work for the current MAIDIQ contract.
Separately, back in November the CNTPO announced that it intended to award a no-bid contract to The Rendon Group to perform "Public Communications Support and Facilitation" services specific to CNTPO operations within the U.S. Southern Command and the U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility. Those services largely were targeted toward helping the governments of Pakistan and Colombia to communicate with the news media and to develop national and international support for U.S.-led counterdrug operations in those nations.
Specific to Pakistan, the objective for the The Rendon Group was to:
(a) provide training and support to the Pakistan Government to increase their capability to use public communications as a means of building national and international support for counterdrug and related initiatives; (b) to develop a public engagement strategy for implementation by the Pakistan Government and third party valuators to initiate, maintain and drive public conversation related to the overall mission objective; and (c) provide open source media analysis of English, Pashtu and Urdu print and electronic media in support of the U.S. Embassy.
Relevant to Colombia, the objective for the firm was to:
(a) continue to work with the Colombian Ministry of Defense (MoD) to inform the Colombian public and the world community on the negative impact of the drug trade and the efforts of the Government of Colombia to thwart drug trafficking; (b) train Colombian MoD personnel on the proper way to interface with the media in the field; (c) presenting the MoDs message to the public; and (d) continuing to develop tactical media products to aide in CN activities.
The solicitation (#W9113M-11-C-0030) emphasized that "None of the products developed or proposed under this contract are intended for US audiences." No further information is available, as DoD did not post an award notice, contrary to federal policy, to the FedBizOpps database.
The next phase of a global information-warfare campaign to influence public and media perceptions about U.S. operations in Afghanistan is unfolding, according to an updated U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) planning document that U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor has located.
“The information domain is a battlespace, and it is one in which USFOR-A must take aggressive actions to win the important battle of perception,” according to the project’s modified Performance Work Statement (PWS), dated June 7.
Consequently, the Dept. of Defense, via the U.S. Army Contracting Command-Rock Island unit, is enlisting the assistance of the private sector not only to monitor how the media reports on Afghanistan, but to sway the opinions of the Afghan people about their government:
USFOR-A requires the ability to develop and implement a comprehensive, self-sustaining, long term media operations capability, to include stand-alone studio and regional communication collection and distribution hubs. This initiative also addresses efforts to collect public information and interpret it to support senior leader decision making, specifically regarding the attitudes of the public and the media concerning political, social and economic issues. This initiative will allow Government representatives in USFOR-A to inform key audiences (media and civilian populations internationally and within the region) to achieve desired affects. (Emphasis added)
Although dozens of vendors have expressed interest in the Public Affairs Operations-Afghanistan endeavor—and though no contract award has been announced—the Arlington, Va. and Los Gatos, Cal.-based Strategic Social Holdings already is hiring specialists to carry out duties for a USFOR-A project in Kabul that mirrors the above-mentioned initiative.
The co-founder and CEO of Strategic Social is Matt Bigge, whom the corporate website describes as a former U.S. Army ranger and Harvard Business School graduate.
Among the various duties and positions that the PWS describes (and for which Strategic Social is hiring) are Afghan Linguists/Media Monitors, who would provide “a minimum of 300 media monitoring hours per week.” At least one Pashto- and one Dari-speaking linguist/monitor “should be available at all times.”
An English-speaking media monitor also would be hired for the project, for which that person will assess and summarize “international, regional, and Afghan” Internet, radio, audio, video, and print media outlets.” That position will provide at least 144 media monitoring hours per week to “supplement three media monitor military personnel” who also will perform those tasks.
The contractor also will provide a comprehensive suite of public affairs services to USFOR-A and to Afghan authorities, including the deployment of media analysts, media monitoring website/database developer and manager, the provision of social media and new media management, and advisement on how to engage in “strategic communications.” The management and maintenance of a Defense Video Information Distribution System (DVIDS) also will fall under the purview of the contractor.
This project is critical, according to the PWS, because insurgents have succeeded in undermining the credibility of USFOR-A, the international community, and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) “through effective use of the information environment, albeit without a commensurate increase in their own credibility.”
Consequently, U.S. Forces and the GIRoA must “wrest the information initiative from the INS” in order to “maintain and strengthen the Afghan population's positive perception” of Afghan government institutions and the support that USFOR-A and the international community provide, the document says.
As a courtesy to readers and researchers, tomorrow, July 1, the Monitor will make available for download the full text of the Army's Performance Work Statement for the Public Affairs Operations-Afghanistan initiative.
FOR ADDITIONAL REGIONAL COVERAGE, PLEASE VISIT THE MONITOR'S AFGHANISTAN PAGE.
PLEASE ALSO CHECK OUT THE MONITOR'S INTELLIGENCE/SPYING PAGE.
Posted at 04:11 PM in Afghanistan, Intelligence/Spying, Media, Military, Privacy-Surveillance, Propaganda/PR, Technology, Television, Terrorism, U.S. Army, U.S. Dept. of Defense | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The U.S. Army plans to build an "intelligence fusion center" in the remote geographic center of Colombia. The modest facility, whose estimated cost is in the $100,000-$250,000 range, will be located in La Macarena, a municipality of a region known as the Meta Department (Departamento del Meta). The Army Contracting Command said in a solicitation (#WF7LKT-1125-0600) that it soon will release a more detailed statement of work, "including drawings and specifications," around June 15. Both U.S. and non-U.S. firms will be allowed to submit bids on this competitive procurement.
Training of Pakistani intelligence and military personnel in the use of electronic surveillance and analysis equipment potentially could take place on U.S. soil, according to an Army planning document that U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor has located.
The document asserted that the Army at this point only is conducting a market survey of firms capable of providing such training; however, the “sources sought” notice equally made clear that a follow-on Foreign Military Sales procurement of services would allow the training to take place either outside of the country—Pakistan, specifically—or domestically.
The notice referred to Arizona, Florida, and Maryland as possible training locations without explicitly identifying facilities or military bases. Presumably, though, one such possibility is the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, whose contracting center is coordinating what formally is known as the Market Survey for Ground Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (GISR) System (Solicitation #MARKET-SURVEY-5101-1).
The GISR system was developed by DRS Technologies, a Parsippany, N.J.-based subsidiary of Finmeccanica SpA— a company for which the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance owns, according to the corporate website, 30.2% of the share capital.
Though the notice did not identify the name of the GISR system that DRS developed, nor did it refer to a specific, previous contract to develop that system, the document offered the following description:
The system provides rapid detection and localization of a wide-range of threat signals, monitors signals of interest, and supports real-time analysis to provide mission-critical intelligence to the warfighter. The system consists of a combination of 3 or more subsystems each consisting of; a manpackable direction finding (DF) and homing VHF/UHF receiver, a handheld computer, DF and communications antennas, handheld radio for communications and internetworking, a video transmitting air to ground microwave communications system, a vehicular mounting kit for on the move operations, and a sophisticated signals analysis node hosted on a laptop computer and connected via radio.
Separately, the U.S. government in recent years awarded DRS contracts valued in the billions for a multitude of technology and training programs, many which the company carried out or supplied in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, one of its employees—former U.S. Marine Javier de la Garza—was killed while working for DRS as a communications technician in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated Jan. 31, 2012, to include a direct link to the above-mentioned market-survey document. It should be noted that, as of this date, the U.S. Army has not make publicly available any further information about the Pakistani training endeavor).
OTHER MONITOR ARTICLES ON PAKISTAN:
There is much cause for celebration today at U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor. Despite being launched just two months ago, statistics provided via TypePad and Google Analytics clearly indicate that the Monitor is making a name for itself in the world of serious online journalism. (But before proceeding, please keep in mind that the Monitor neither collects nor sells personally identifiable information).
A steadily growing following—along with a small yet far-reaching international audience—is evidenced via the following numbers for this brief period of time. The numbers likely are somewhat higher, as Google Analytics began measuring this site several weeks after its commencement:
Page views: 7,004
Unique visitors: 3,978
Geographic source of visitors: 84 countries/territories
While these numbers, in the grand scheme of things in the blogosphere, do not compare to the magnitude of which the most popular blogs can exert bragging rights, the Monitor (composed of its sole proprietor Steve Peacock) is nonetheless delighted. Not bad for one guy sitting at his computer and phone just a bike ride from the beach somewhere in New Jersey!)
Many readers have written both to express outrage over various government programs and to express gratitude to the Monitor for bringing such endeavors into the public light.
The top articles that have garnered their attention are:
By far, this piece—which exposes a U.S. State Dept. plan to basically spend a chunk of change on new champagne glasses from high-end retailers such as Bloomingdales and Bergdorf Goodman—infuriated many of the 903 visitors who read the article. Much thanks to Cryptome.org, which by linking to the piece was responsible for sending 655 of those visitors.
Despite its second-place standing, it should be noted that this article generated 738 views in just the past couple of weeks. Once again, the Monitor credits Cryptome.org, which directly delivered 616 of those visitors.
IMPORTANT DEADLINE NOTE: Just as the Monitor was about to post this celebratory editorial, it was discovered that the highly regarded online version of WIRED magazine today published an article ("One Brain, Hundreds of Eyes: Darpa Plots Manhunt Master Controller") about the above-mentioned DARPA data-mining endeavor -- ELEVEN DAYS AFTER THE MONITOR ALREADY HAD DONE SO!
So why should you come back time and time again to the Monitor? See the above paragraph.
Thanks again to FreeRepublic.org for sending 85 readers this way. Likewise, much appreciation for the 52 readers sent via civiliancontractors.wordpress.com
Despite a total 187 views of this article (129 which came directly from Cryptome.org, with additional traffic coming from a dozen other sources), the Monitor has learned that numerous veteran’s have organizations widely distributed this article in its entirety. Indeed, in several e-mails from representatives of such groups, I’ve been told that the article, as well as an earlier, related piece, has been widely distributed.
May this be just the beginning of great things to come!
A new research project of the U.S. Navy hopes to develop an advanced, autonomous means of gathering and processing data for tactical and battlefield situations. The Autonomous Persistent Tactical Surveillance program of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) will provide about $41.5 million over five years to researchers who submit “white papers” or proposals for innovative projects leading to the potential development of “major advancements” in this area.
“United States (US) Forces are being placed in environments where they are required to function with increased autonomy,” the Navy says in Broad Agency Announcement # 11-023. “The need is stronger than ever to be able to autonomously maintain persistent surveillance of activities and entities over a region of interest on a continuing (24 hrs / 7 days a week) basis, as well as automated tasking of these assets…”
Among the various shortfalls of existing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities that the BAA identifies include:
There is a lack of sharing knowledge of unfolding events across mission threads.
There is a lack of timely exploitation of useful theater and national sensor data. There are gaps in alerting Forces to danger.
There is a lack of mobile tools for field users to gather information. There is a lack of means for reporting soft biometric data on at-risk individuals or groups engaged in suspicious activity.
Many sensors fail to deliver relevant information to users outside their stovepipes… Sensor data overwhelms the distribution, analysis, storage, and assimilation capabilities.
Proposals are due Sept. 12. ONR anticipates making a decision about awards on or around Oct. 11.
A contract specific to the creation of a next-generation global data-mining and intelligence-analysis system was awarded Friday (May 20) to Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC). Other than revealing that SAIC received a $14 million award related to Insight, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) did not disclose any contract details other than the solicitation number (#DARPA-BAA-10-94), the contract award number (#HR0011-11-C-0047), SAIC's corporate name and McLean, Va. address, and a DARPA point of contact (Dr. Benjamin Cutler, DARPA-BAAemail@example.com).
SAIC similarly is keeping quiet about the contract, insofar as it did not announce this contract award via the corporate website.
As U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor reported on Friday (May 20), DARPA last week issued a call to industry for innovative ideas leading to the creation of an advanced “‘plug and play’ modular architecture” of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, or ISR, technologies. The newly unveiled Insight Focused Incubator initiative is the latest phase of DARPA's Insight project launched last year, but is listed under a separate solicitation number (#DARPA-SN-11-36).
Details of an emerging data-mining and intelligence-analysis program reminiscent of the Pentagon’s controversial Total Information Awareness (TIA) project emerged yesterday, U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor has discovered.
Similar to TIA, which Congress in 2003 de-funded insofar as domestic applications, the Insight Focused Incubator initiative seeks to create a multimedia system that obtains, synthesizes, and analyzes mass volumes of data via the development of an advanced “‘plug and play’ modular architecture” of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) technologies.
According to a Special Notice that the Monitor obtained via routine database research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a call to industry for innovative ideas leading to the creation of such a system.
The Insight program at DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O) became known to the public last September, when it initially met with industry representatives to discuss its vision for the program (solicitation # DARPA-SN-10-70). However, yesterday’s reference to the Insight Focused Incubator moniker appears to take the program to the next level of execution.
“As part of the Insight platform, the Insight program is developing a virtual environment (VE) capability to enable system evaluation using simulated sensor data, augmented with real-world collected data, within a simulated world of various threats, terrains, and terrain features,” the special notice/request for information says.
The key to Insight’s development extends beyond the mere collection of data and the development of virtual threat scenarios; rather, DARPA is looking for innovative ideas for an evolutionary, interoperable system of various ISR components.
From a technical standpoint, the new system that DARPA envisions would possess the ability “to easily add, remove, substitute, and modify software and hardware components” as they become available to the government.
From an operational perspective, the Insight Focused Incubator would lead to the design of a system that integrates, correlates, fuses, and exploits “multi-intelligence data.” This would include, for example, a combination of worldwide sensors and platforms that combine the use of signals intelligence, video and ground moving target indicators (VMTI and GMTI) and even “Behavioral (pattern-of-life) modeling including cultural, social, and insurgency dynamics.”
Other objectives for the system include “data mining across all sources, both real-time and forensic” as well as the creation of “an active sensing process with multiple functions occurring simultaneously.”
DARPA anticipates launching a three-phase structure for Insight Focused Incubator, during which time it would award contracts ranging from $400,000-$800,000 per phase for each contractor selected for the project. The agency did not disclose the total potential funding for the program. Proposals are due June 30.