Cybergovernance Reading List (2015-01-26)

Space Law Reading List (2015-01-26)

Cybergovernance Reading List (2015-01-23)

Space Law Reading List (2015-01-23)

GAO Bid Protest Decision:

The GAO has released it’s bid protest decision in Sierra Nevada Corporation, B-410485; B-410485.2; B-410485.3:

Sierra Nevada Corporation, of Louisville, Colorado, protests the award of contracts to The Boeing Company, Space Exploration, of Houston, Texas, and to Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), of Hawthorne, California, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), under request for proposals (RFP) No. NNK14467515R, for NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract (CCtCap). Sierra Nevada alleges that NASA’s evaluation of proposals departed from the RFP’s stated criteria, and was unequal and unreasonable.
We deny the protest.

State Department: Joint Press Statement of the U.S.-India Information and Communications Technology Working Group Meeting

via U.S. State Departement:

Joint Press Statement of the U.S.-India Information and Communications Technology Working Group Meeting

Media Note

Washington, DC
January 16, 2015

The meeting of the United States-India Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group, which promotes development in the ICT sector for mutual benefit was held in Washington, DC, January 14-15, 2015. The Participants noted that the ICT Working Group aims to strengthen collaboration between the governments and private sector of the two countries in the field of Information and Communications Technology.

The Participants agreed to continue to explore the opportunities for collaboration on implementing India’s ambitious Digital India initiative, with the goal of enhancing digital infrastructure, deploying e-governance and e-services, and expanding the diffusion and use of ICT as a tool to expand economic opportunity, boost productivity, create jobs, and empower citizens.

During the two-day working group meeting, U.S. and Indian government representatives held extensive discussions on ICT and telecommunication policy issues, focusing on accelerating broadband deployment, aligning spectrum policy for the mobile era and exchanging views on internet governance and best practices in ICT and telecommunications regulatory policy. They also discussed issues relating to the international mobility of Indian skilled professionals. The joint government-and-industry discussions included panels on promoting manufacturing and investment; IT and telecom policy developments; Internet governance; mobility of skilled professionals and other issues related to trade, investment, and the ease of doing business. A panel of non-government experts also shared insights on strategies that may help India achieve the goals outlined in the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives.

Broad agreement was reached on the importance of policies that promote innovation in the ICT sector, facilitate the flow of data across borders, and foster the global and open nature of the Internet as a platform for economic growth.

Participants agreed to continue discussion of policies that stimulate rapid diffusion and use of ICT products and services and facilitate cross border trade that reduces costs to consumers and businesses. In this context, the U.S. side noted the Indian concerns with regard to mobility of skilled Indian professionals, and agreed that the U.S. government will continue to engage on visa issues for skilled professionals. In addition, the Indian side noted the U.S. concerns relating to equipment testing and certification, and agreed to engage on issues relating to equipment testing.

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda, Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State and Mr. R.S. Sharma, Secretary of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, led the U.S. and Indian delegations, respectively.

The United States-India ICT Working Group was hosted by the U.S. Department of State and included representatives from the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Indian delegation included officials from the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), the Department of Telecom, and the Embassy of India to the United States.

The United States and India plan to hold the next U.S.-India ICT Working Group in India later this year.

FACT SHEET: U.S.-United Kingdom Cybersecurity Cooperation

via the White House:

The White HouseOffice of the Press Secretary

FACT SHEET: U.S.-United Kingdom Cybersecurity Cooperation

The United States and the United Kingdom agree that the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges that our nations face.  Every day foreign governments, criminals, and hackers are attempting to probe, intrude into, and attack government and private sector systems in both of our countries.  President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have both made clear that domestic cybersecurity requires cooperation between governments and the private sector.  Both leaders additionally recognized that the inherently international nature of cyber threats requires that governments around the world work together to confront those threats. During their bilateral meetings in Washington, D.C. this week, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron agreed to further strengthen and deepen the already extensive cybersecurity cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom.  Both leaders agreed to bolster efforts to enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in both countries, strengthen threat information sharing and intelligence cooperation on cyber issues, and support new educational exchanges between U.S. and British cybersecurity scholars and researchers.Improving Critical Infrastructure CybersecurityThe United States and United Kingdom are committed to our ongoing efforts to improve the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure and respond to cyber incidents.  Both governments have agreed to bolster our efforts to increase threat information sharing and conduct joint cybersecurity and network defense exercises to enhance our combined ability to respond to malicious cyber activity.  Our initial joint exercise will focus on the financial sector, with a program running over the coming year.  Further, we will work with industry to promote and align our cybersecurity best practices and standards, to include the U.S. Cybersecurity Framework and the United Kingdom’s Cyber Essentials scheme.Strengthening Cooperation on Cyber DefenseThe United States and the United Kingdom work closely on a range of cybersecurity and cyber defense matters.  For example, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) and CERT-UK collaborate on computer network defense and sharing information to address cyber threats and manage cyber incidents.  To deepen this collaboration in other areas, the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Security Service (MI5) are working with their U.S. partners – the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – to further strengthen U.S.-UK collaboration on cybersecurity by establishing a joint cyber cell, with an operating presence in each country.  The cell, which will allow staff from each agency to be co-located, will focus on specific cyber defense topics and enable cyber threat information and data to be shared at pace and at greater scale. Supporting Academic Research on Cybersecurity IssuesThe governments of both the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to provide funding to support a new Fulbright Cyber Security Award.  This program will provide an opportunity for some of the brightest scholars in both countries to conduct cybersecurity research for up to six months.  The first cohort is expected to start in the 2016-17 academic year, and the U.S.-UK Fulbright Commission will seek applications for this cohort later this year. In addition, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (located in Cambridge, MA) has invited the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom to take part in a “Cambridge vs. Cambridge” cybersecurity contest.  This competition is intended to be the first of many international university cybersecurity competitions.  The aim is to enhance cybersecurity research at the highest academic level within both countries to bolster our cyber defenses.

Cybergovernance Reading List (2015-01-22)

GAO – POLAR WEATHER SATELLITES: NOAA Needs To Prepare for Near-term Data Gaps

The GAO has released POLAR WEATHER SATELLITES: NOAA Needs To Prepare for Near-term Data Gaps [Reissued on January 16, 2015], GAO-15-47 (Published: Dec 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Jan 15, 2015):

What GAO Found

The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) program has recently completed significant development activities and remains within its cost and schedule baselines; however, recent cost growth on key components is likely unsustainable and risks remain that could increase the potential for near-term satellite data gaps. For example, technical issues experienced while developing a key instrument have led to a very tight schedule. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working to mitigate such risks, but is not tracking actual completion dates for its risk mitigation activities. In addition, while the program has reduced its estimate for a near-term satellite data gap in the afternoon orbit to only 3 months, its gap assessment was based on incomplete data (such as the increasing threat from space debris) and the agency has not updated its assessment to address these limitations. As shown below, a gap in satellite data may occur earlier and last longer than NOAA anticipates.

Timeline for a Potential Gap in Polar Satellite Data in the Afternoon Orbit

Timeline for a Potential Gap in Polar Satellite Data in the Afternoon Orbit

Experts within and outside of NOAA identified almost 40 alternatives for mitigating potential gaps in polar satellite data, which offer a variety of benefits and challenges. These alternatives include actions to prevent or limit a potential gap by providing JPSS-like capabilities, and actions that could reduce the impact of a potential gap by (a) extending and expanding the use of current data sources, (b) enhancing modeling and data assimilation,(c) developing new data sources, or (d) exploring opportunities with foreign and domestic partners. However, obstacles to the alternatives, such as the time required to develop new instruments, may restrict them from being available to address a near-term gap.

While multiple alternatives for mitigating a gap exist, NOAA’s contingency plan focuses on a subset of these alternatives. NOAA has improved its contingency plan by identifying mitigation strategies and specific activities. However, the agency’s plan has shortfalls such as not providing an assessment of available alternatives based on their cost and potential impacts. In addition, key projects affecting improvements to forecast models and assimilation of additional data sources have been delayed, but NOAA has not yet prioritized mitigation projects most likely to address a gap. Moreover, NOAA is not providing consistent or comprehensive reporting of its progress on all mitigation projects. Until NOAA addresses shortfalls in contingency planning, implements its most critical contingency activities before data gaps can occur in the near-term, and improves its progress monitoring, the agency will have less assurance that it is adequately prepared to deal with a gap in polar satellite coverage.