Air force 17. 1 Small Business Innovation Research (sbir) Phase I proposal Submission Instructions



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To respond to the new cyber security requirements as outlined in the recent DoD Instructions 8500.01 and 8510.01,Air Force Instruction (AFI) 33-200 and Air Force Manual 33-210, as well as requirements imposed by Authorizing Officials, the Simulator Division is exploring changes in the approach to simulator and training system procurement and sustainment including underlying system architectures. The incorporation of greater modularization and open system architectures hold the promise of enabling simulators and training systems to be more effectively and efficiently procured and sustained in the face of constantly evolving cyber threats.

The Simulator Division is also exploring the concept of "Owning the Technical Baseline" in the form of mandating increased commonality across simulator and training system architectures via the articulation of requirements and standards. These requirements and standards would address system architectures, interfaces and data models. The goal is to develop simulator acquisition specifications in order to reduce technical, schedule and cost risk. The desired result would be more predictable procurement and system sustainment outcomes and costs in a dynamic cyber threat environment.

The current cyber threat environment is forcing simulator and training system updates and modifications to be performed at a higher, recurring rate than previously expected when legacy simulators and training systems were designed and fielded. Evolving cyber security requirements demand simulator and training system architectures which are capable of being modified rapidly to incorporate new security features and eliminate newly identified latent vulnerabilities. The architecture of a simulator or training system impacts the level of regression testing required to confirm system performance has not been adversely affected by a modification undertaken to close a cyber vulnerability.

It is important to understand that the design of high-fidelity real-time simulators involves trade-off decisions between performance, which in the past has often optimized through tightly coupled, natively hosted hardware-software architectures. The sustainment benefits gained via modularity, virtual machine abstraction, reuse, interoperability, and modifiability may be best supported by a different, modular open system architecture approach.

PHASE I: Develop an architecture to meet simulator performance objectives while exhibiting key characteristics of a modular open system architecture. This architecture must enable rapid modification to incorporate new security features, eliminate identified latent vulnerabilities, and minimize or automate the level of regression testing required to confirm system performance has not been adversely affected by a modification, based upon industry "best practices."

PHASE II: Finalize and validate the benchmark simulator architecture developed in Phase I and demonstrate using a notional air crew training simulator application. Demonstrate the architecture exhibits open system architecture characteristics and is modifiable with minimized regression testing.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Finalize the architecture for use by the US Government and its contractors for use when developing and upgrading USAF simulators and training systems.

REFERENCES:

1. DoD Instruction (DoDI) 8500.01

2. DoD Instruction (DoDI) 8510.01

3. Air Force Instruction (AFI) 33-200

4. Air Force Manual (AFM) 33-210

5. http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/EnhancingAdaptabilityOfUSMilitaryForcesB.pdf

6. https://acc.dau.mil/adl/en-US/631578/file/73333/0SAGuidebook%20v%2011%20final.pdf - Appendix 2,3

7. Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulators -http://123.127.67.21/fagui/ICA09625-AN938 (english).pdf

KEYWORDS: simulator, training system, open system architecture, cyber security, modularity


AF171-035

TITLE: Data Growth Within the Air Force Weather Enterprise

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Reduce impact of expected data growth on the Air Force Weather (AFW) Enterprise by exploring ways of focusing on specific areas of interest for the high-resolution data.

DESCRIPTION: The Air Force Weather (AFW) Enterprise is responsible for providing accurate, timely weather information to the warfighter. It is experiencing large data growth that is stressing its infrastructure and bandwidth capacities. This growth is due to both new sensors and satellites coming online as well as the Enterprise-wide migration to the United Kingdom Met Office (UKMO) weather model. This new model provides data in a much denser resolution than previous models. This, coupled with the fact that weather data is highly perishable, expiring in the matter of seconds for critical information, provides a strong case for weather data needs outstripping the capabilities of the AFW Enterprise infrastructure.

In the past, data growth issues were solved by purchasing more, larger hardware which was then added onto the existing infrastructure. This is not a long-term solution. The Government's analysis predicts that the hardware-only solution will hit a plateau within the next few years, while the amount of data available and needed both continue to rise sharply. Research in the areas of cloud computing and big data have addressed some aspects of this problem but the perishability of weather data has proven to be challenging.

This SBIR is looking to explore ways of ingesting, processing and disseminating high resolution weather data efficiently throughout the enterprise. Areas to consider could include:
-Filtering requests and responses for small areas of interest
-Optimizing cloud computing for highly perishable data
-Forward caching techniques to reduce the delays for data requests

PHASE I: Create a study examining the expected data requirements for the AFW Enterprises and identify the projected growth patterns across the next fifteen years. The study will need to take in both existing data sources as well as systems likely to come online. It should look at the existing infrastructure to identify areas for future optimization and analyze possible technical solutions.

PHASE II: Using the study created in Phase I, identify a technical solution(s) to handle the AFW data growth. Create a prototype of the system(s) to ingest, process and disseminate high resolution weather data efficiently across the weather enterprise. The prototype must be built to handle the scale of data identified in Phase I. The final product will be a report detailing the system design and test results of the Phase II prototype.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Harden and integrate the Phase II system fully into the AFW Enterprise. Demonstrate the solution in an operation environment at both the present day and expected data loads.

REFERENCES:

1.  The Digital Universe in 2020: Big Data, Bigger Digital Shadows, and Biggest Growth in the Farm East -- United States -https://www.emc.com/collateral/analyst-reports/idc-digital-universe-united-states.pdf.

2.  Three Ways Big Data, Supercomputing Changes Weather Forecasting -http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/3-ways-big-data-supercomputing-change-weather-forecasting/a/d-id/1269439.

KEYWORDS: cloud, data growth, information technology




AF171-036

TITLE: Energy Efficient Technologies for Tactical Communications and Networking (E2-COMS)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Information Systems

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Develop highly-efficient power and power conservation technologies for extended ground-to-ground and ground-to-air/air-to-ground battlespace communications.

DESCRIPTION: Energy efficiency is critical to mission success in communication networks involving battery-packed units, such as soldiers served by airborne relays. Subject to size, weight, power and cost (SWAP-C_ requirements, energy efficiency may manifest itself in meting different performance constraints (such as average power or maximum power constraint) or achieving different performance objectives (such as minimizing average energy consumption or maximizing the unit or network lifetime). Without feasible energy-efficient solutions, users with poor channels, high interference/jamming or traffic congestion levels will quickly fail with depleted battery and put the entire mission in danger.

Energy is spent by radios for different functionalities, such as data transmission and processing, user interfaces, all-weather operations; and by different components, such as amplifiers, antennas, processing units, displays, and embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. A good understanding of how tactical radios should spend their limited energy (batteries) in the most-effective way is still missing from general battlespace use. Reliable energy profiling of tactical radios is needed to determine the design space for energy-efficient solutions across the entire protocol-stack (including diverse capabilities ranging from power control to energy-efficient routing and transmission control protocols). Dynamic capabilities of switching between sleep/awake modes as part of battery management are also needed to extend the batter-packed unit lifetime while maintaining mission-critical applications without any performance drop. This paradigm involves joint design of energy-efficient solutions with other objectives such as throughput and delay.

Another aspect of energy-efficient operation is how to replenish the unit's battery or how to share stored power among multiple devices. Energy harvesting from nature (such as using solar cells) and wireless energy transfer may answer some of these needs by taking into account SWaP-C requirements. The latest technologies bring new dimensions to system design in the form of randomness and intermittency of available energy, as well as energy storage capacity and processing complexity, all of which call for novel information processing and protocol design.

This topic seeks innovative technologies that provide energy efficient solutions to increase lifetime of tactical communications with improved data rates. The following areas are of particular interest for this solicitation:

1. Modeling energy profile and quantifying it with range experiments;

2. Designing energy-efficient protocols at PHY, Medium Access Control (MAC)/link, network and higher layers in a coherent architecture driven by radio energy profile, SWaP-C and network constraints, and mission requirements; 3. Developing battery management technologies including sleep/awake cycles, to reduce energy consumption at idle times without risking emergent radio communication needs--often communicating on scheduled times which may be updated while in sleep or low-use mode;

4. Developing energy refill technologies to sustain continuous operation of batter-packed units, to include very-rapid recharging;

5. Implementing energy-efficient technologies in real radio environment

6. Experimental evaluation of energy efficient implementations that quantify the actual gains achievable with real radios in a high fidelity emulation environment.
Offerors are welcome to address the problem holistically from as many directions as they choose to maximize overall energy efficiency. Also, proposed solutions may be functions entirely of the ground tactical radios, may work cooperatively with other elements of the tactical communications architecture (e.g. network protocols that would need to be present in both ground and airborne nodes to maximize energy efficiency), or a combination of both.

PHASE I: Generate the system design of multiple energy-efficient technologies that can significantly improve energy usage and unit/network lifetime for ground-to-ground and ground-to-air tactical communications. Quantify the benefits using analysis and simulation, accounting for practical implementation constraints. Explore solutions using new ideas. Suggest means to bring to reality in Phase II.

PHASE II: Implement the technology in multiple hardware environments and demonstrate the gains with actual radio elements. Model software-define radios to alter energy use for most efficiency. Present a path toward optimizing SWaP-C. Include both procedural, tactical, and technical, and technical means to extend conservation of power. Account for determining critical need for deviation under battlefield conditions.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Demonstrate fieldable long-endurance radio systems in relevant environment. Provide comprehensive training and technology changes for substantial power conservation measures. The energy-efficient communication and networking technologies can benefit the commercial telecommunications world.

REFERENCES:

1.  D. Gunduz, K. Stamatio, N. Michelusi, and M. Zorzi, "Designing Intelligent Energy Harvesting Communication Systems," IEEE Communications Magazine, Vol: 52, Pages: 210-216, 2014.

2.  O. Ozel, K. Shahzad and S. Ulkus, "Optimal Energy Allocation for Energy Harvesting Transmitters with Hybrid Energy Storage and Processing Cost," IEEE Trans. on Signal Processing, June 2014.

3.  L. Liu, R. Zhang and K-C. Chua, "Wireless information transfer with opportunistic energy harvesting," IEEE Trans. on Wireless Communications, January 2013.

4.  R. Jurdak, A.G. Ruzzelli, and G. MP O'Hare. "Radio sleep mode optimization in wireless sensor networks," IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, 2010.

KEYWORDS: energy efficient, energy profiling, power, radio, battery, SWAP-C, experimentation, conservation




AF171-037

TITLE: Mission Assured Authentication (MAA)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Provide war fighter with the ability to confirm distant end communicator (person/device) is the intended person/device with whom the warfighter is communicating. If not, render the distant node inoperative and/or disconnected from the aerial network.

DESCRIPTION: Control of an encrypted or non-encrypted communications device, whether used for voice, text, or data communications, may find itself outside the control of the U.S. or its allies authorized to employ the device, possibly falling in the hands of the adversary before the assigned user has an opportunity to render the device useless. This could lead to potential compromise of the device, or worse, the network upon which the device is running.

There may be many proposed solutions which have both advantages and disadvantages in this situation. For example, a biometrically actuated (e.g., retina scan, palm print, fingerprint, etc.) device may prevent use of the communications by a legitimate or alternate ad hoc user, including a rescuer of the original owner. Within a tactical squad or flight, use of voiceprinting for all members of the squad may make the device non-interchangeable among the members, thus countering the exclusive use of the device for an assigned user. Perhaps, employment of very-proximate RFID technology to trigger authentication would be one of many considerations.

Various roles, such as a Joint Target Area Controller (JTAC), will have more or less severe effects if the assigned communications device is compromised. Also, there are matters of managing and preparing devices for field use, effect of power (battery) swaps on the device's ability to manage identity, and related issues.

Existing techniques are used by the Armed Forces to work around such issues (e.g., word of the day, verbal authentication using code phrases), which are well known and practiced today. However, as war fighters become connected and networked via wireless communications, and as more communications are digital vs. legacy voice, personally-recognized characteristics of the conversation are lost. This is especially true as digital voice often masks or loses personally-recognizable qualities (e.g., tone, timbre, inflection), as well as with text and data communications which rely on other forms of platform-to-platform authentication. These techniques may increase the chance of misuse of a device which could improperly direct fire or be used to lure friendlies into harm's way.

PHASE I: Provide list of know considerations, binned into technical, behavioral, and other means, ensuring distant user identities are confirmed. Provide demonstration of minimum of 5 technical and, at least 5 behavioral means to ensure identity of distant end communicators. Provide 5 demonstrable means to render the danger to minimal or none, citing affordability and practicality of the solutions.

PHASE II: Demonstrate technical solutions on existing tactical communications systems employing voice, text chat, full-motion video, web services, and file transfer. Demonstrate/prove to a 1% or less chance behavioral solutions will not impact war fighter's ability to perform primary mission (e.g., direct eyes away from targets, involve motions and repositioning of hands from the trigger to the communications device, etc.).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Engage with radio manufacturers for incorporation of mission assured authentication (MAA) into current and to-be-developed software defined radios. Work with HNAA and HNCE to derive approval path for certification.

REFERENCES:

1. Pathak, Manas, et al. "Privacy-Preserving Speaker Authentication." Information Security Conference (INESC). 2012, Lisbon, Portugal.

2.  Cagalj, Mario, et al. "On the Usability of Secure Association of Wireless Devices Based on Distance Bounding." Cryptology and Network Security Conference (CANS). 2009, Kanazawa, Japan.

3.  Chen, Xinyi, et al. "User Authentication Mechanism Based on Secure Positioning System in RFID Communication". Ubiquitous Information Technologies and Applications (CUTE). 2013. Danang, Vietnam.

KEYWORDS: MAA, biometrics, mission assurance, authentication, zeroize, encryption, RFID, word of the day, password, authentication code




AF171-038

TITLE: High-Throughput High-Frequency (HTHF) Battle Management Command-Control (BMC2)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

OBJECTIVE: Utilizing High-Throughput High-Frequency (HF) or "next generation" HF advanced communications, provide innovative nuclear command-control-communications and global strike C2 and situation awareness (SA); enhance oceanic flight following and tracking.

DESCRIPTION: High-throughput HF (HTHF) communications equipment can now, achieve throughput rates exceeding 100 kbps, provide reliable digital data transmissions, while still retaining traditional analog voice communications, but without the difficult to decipher audio plagued by static, nearby frequency usage, and competing distortion. Relied upon for today's transmission of emergency action messages (EAM) for nuclear command-control communications (NC3) and overwater international flight navigation and flight following by international military and civil air traffic control (ATC). HTHF greatly enhances robust and reliable communications without need for costly per-byte subscriptions for satellite communications. These dramatic improvements in HF communications now offer NC3 and international traffic, including military airlift and global strike assets, a totally-new environment for situation awareness, reporting, information exchange and dissemination, potentially allowing full awareness of destination changes of mission order changes from 100-6,000 nautical miles (nm).

While many tools or applications exist to support SA and C2, they are, for the most part, geared to higher Ethernet-quality local or wide area net (LAN/WAN) networks. HTHF, operating at still (but much improved) relatively low data rate or throughput speeds, require applications to support intermittent, wireless, and sometimes degraded communications rates, but still thousands of times faster than required for tradition EAMs and coded messages.

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