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The Marine Corps is getting 'a web of all-seeing eyes' to keep watch on bases around the world
The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.
Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15 announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.
This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."
An all-seeing eye (or several hundred) isn't far off from what MCICOM was looking for. In March, the command detailed a requirement for an ASCIC counter intrusion system that provides "24/7/365 autonomous situational awareness and actionable, real-time intelligence of surrounding air, land, and sea, through all-weather conditions," according to the original solicitation.
"The system shall autonomously detect, identify, classify, and track humans on foot, wheeled and tracked vehicles on land, surface swimmers, and surface vessels and boats," the solicitation reads. "It must be a scalable federated network of sensors (EO/IR/RADAR) with capacity to expand into acoustic, seismic, and other sensors that operate across the electromagnetic spectrum."
Compressing all of those capabilities into a single system may seem like a significant engineering challenge. But both the VR and AI tech Luckey and his co-founders previously developed apparently come close to a real-time heads-up display, a "digital wall" demarcating an invisible barrier, according Wired's Steven Levy.
"Slipping it over my eyes, I am instantly immersed in a digital world that simulates the exact view I had just been enjoying in real life," Levy wrote in June 2018 of his field test of the Lattice system. "In the virtual valley below is a glowing green square with text that reads PERSON 98%. Luckey directs me to tilt my head downward, toward the box, and suddenly an image pops up over the VR rendering. A human is making his way through the rugged sagebrush, a scene captured by cameras on a tower behind me. To his right I see another green box, this one labeled ANIMAL 86%. Zooming in on it brings up a photo of a calf, grazing a bit outside its usual range."
According to MCICOM, Anduril is currently the only vendor on the market capable of offering this kind of unified system, inducing the command to fast-track the Anduril award without the standard competition from other defense firms given installation force protection's explicit status as a "top priority."
"Anduril offers an end-to-end, fully unmanned, counter-intrusion solution that is 24/7 operational; fully mobile and infrastructure independent; operated through a single, intuitive user interface compatible with standard laptops, mobile devices and data formats; and rapidly deployable," according the a June 24th memo justifying the selection of the company without the standard market competition.
This isn't just hype, apparently: According to the MCICOM, the command settled on Anduril thanks, in part, to a government-funded U.S. Customs and Border Patrol assessment of the Lattice Platform and Sentry Towers. In fact, CBP officials told Wired that Lattice helped the agency intercept 55 people during unauthorized border crossings over a 10-week period in 2018.
Should the Anduril's Lattice network prove satisfactory for MCICOM's ambitious ASCIC requirements, the command plans on furnishing Marine Corps Base Butler – Camp Schwab, Japan Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Camp Smith, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona, and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan with the new system.
It's worth noting as a point of Internet irony that while 'Anduril' may take its name from the enchanted sword from Lord Of The Rings, its tech is closer to the Eye of Sauron. Then again, that's should come as no surprise for a company with a handful of Palantir execs on board.
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.