Announcement

Hawaii soldier awarded State Medal of Valor for hurricane rescue

A Hawaii National Guardsman received the State Medal of Valor last weekend for his heroic actions that saved the lives of six people during a hurricane.

Staff Sgt. Gregory A.Y. Lum Ho, of Bravo Company, 777th Aviation Support Battalion, was given the prestigious award on Feb. 9 by Hawaii Gov. David Ige at Wheeler Army Airfield.

"You epitomize the citizen-soldier and are a shining example of what valor is,” Ige said at Saturday’s ceremony honoring Lum Ho.

A State Medal of Valor is given to “individuals who distinguish themselves through a performance of an uncommon act of personal heroism involving the voluntary risk of his/her own life,” according to an Army release.

Lum Ho was assigned to Task Force Hawaii, which was created in response to the eruption of the Kilauea volcano. On Aug 23, 2018, Task Force Hawaii’s mission changed to one of flood support with the advent of Hurricane Lane, which would produce the second highest amount of rain of any hurricane in the U.S. since 1950.

While Lum Ho and Pvt. Justin Dejesus were on a security patrol, they came across a family who were cut off from assistance by flood water and whose house was on the verge of collapse. Lum Ho worked with first responders to drive them to the family in his Humvee.

Lum Ho executed “a series of very difficult decisions … that would save the lives of a family of six, and one family pet,” Ige said at the ceremony.

During Lum Ho’s acceptance speech, he credited both the leadership training he received in the National Guard for preparing him for emergencies and his fellow service members for always having his back.

It was a team effort, he said. “[From] my co-driver who helped me navigate through the debris ... to the mechanics that actually got my Humvee ready every night and kept it safe for me, without those guys, none of this would happen.”

NIST 800-171 Compliance for Small Business

Small organizations that are working on military platforms…or hope to in the future…face a difficult challenge.   Late last year, the Department of Defense (DOD) implemented a DFARS clause (204.252-7012) that requires compliance with a cyber security standard called NIST 800-171.

The standard is focused on a specific set of data referred to as Controlled Unclassified Data (CUI).  At a high level this data includes design specifications, product material data, and procedures used to engineer, test, and manufacture both land and air-based military platforms.   It has 110 requirements that include a mix of technical and process controls focused on protecting CUI.   An organization’s inability to comply with the requirements effectively serves as a barrier to entry for working in the industry.  Many proposal solicitations are requiring compliance with the standard as a qualifier for bidding on a project. 

No-Nonsense Approach

So, where do you begin?  For small companies, meeting NIST 800-171 requirements can be especially difficult…but there are a few simple steps that can simplify the process.

1)     Minimize the “footprint” of CUI data.  In other words, try to keep the physical and virtual versions in common storage areas.   Keep it off individual desktops/laptops and on a consolidated server.

2)     Do not use email to exchange CUI data with partners, vendors, or customers.   Utilize secure data exchange frameworks that are available from most tier 1 vendors.

3)     Leverage commercially available templates for process content (policies, incident response plan, awareness training, System Security Plan). 

4)     Have a 3rd party help you with areas of the NIST standard that require clarification.  Most consulting firms are open to answering some questions without charging for a full engagement.   Be honest and tell them that you don’t really need help but had a few questions you were hoping they could answer (but keep it to 1-3 total questions).  

Immediate Action Items

Near term, the most important details to complete are the system security plan (SSP) and plan of action (POA).  The SSP defines scope and approach for compliance while the POA provides a timeline for addressing identified gaps.  Both items were due for completion at the end of 2017.  Online resources like the CSET self-assessment tool can help with identifying compliance gaps and developing the remediation plan.   There are also online templates available for the SSP and POA, which can speed up the process of developing and completing the document.    

Keep in mind that the goal of NIST 800-171 is to protect information that is largely digital so many of the required controls will deal with computer and network technology.   If an organization does not have internal expertise to help sort through the technical details, this part of compliance is where money is best invested with external (consulting) assistance to identify gaps and develop a plan to address them.  

Planned Implementation

Once the SSP and POA are completed, the balance of NIST 800-171 compliance is reliant on following the defined implementation plan.  As the project evolves, any unforeseen obstacles or delays will necessitate updates to the POA.  Stay on top of the schedule and track progress accordingly.  Store all related documentation in a common network folder and when the program is fully implemented, plan on conducting an annual audit, risk assessment, and security assessment.   

By Guest Blogger: Rob Cote of Security Vitals

Mettle Ops Receives $4.26 Million in Additional Funding for Department of Defense Contract for Solider Safety and Survivability

Mettle Ops and TARDEC continue partnership on U.S. Ground Troop Efforts
 
Sterling Heights, MI – A recent adjustment to a contract between Mettle Ops and U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) features a funding ceiling hike of $4.26 million. This previous contract of $9.1 million, which was created as a Research and Development project, has the aim of putting soldiers’ survival as number one priority. Mettle Ops’ signed contract, known as the DoD (Department of Defense) Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) Contract, now totals more than $13 million.
 
The hike is due to increased budgetary funding allowing TARDEC to aggressively pursue survivability solutions for increased soldier safety. With this additional funding line, Mettle Ops will continue supporting their government customer and be able to make an even larger impact for America’s ground soldiers. 
 
"We are excited to receive this increase, as this shows that the DoD is taking this topic seriously and allowing TARDEC to pursue survivability solutions for increased soldier safety which is our passion," states Katie Bigelow, President of Mettle Ops.
 
Both Mettle Ops and TARDEC have unique specializations, and this collaboration makes for a well-rounded service provider.
 
Mettle Ops is responsible for the program management, design, modeling and simulations, analysis, and documentation aspect of the process for the agreement.
 
The deal will continue to provide both virtual and physical prototypes for tracked and wheeled ground vehicles, specifically Abrams Main Battle Tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Combat Vehicle Prototype, and Next Generation Combat Vehicle.
 
TARDEC is continuously seeking the latest technologies to affordably and effectively enhance vehicle and crew survivability for existing and future ground vehicle systems. This collaboration with Mettle Ops will assist TARDEC in achieving its goals.
 
“Our chief goal is to serve the warfighter.  Survivability effort deals like this provide soldiers with equipment that protects them better in wartime environments,” Bigelow said.
 
Both organizations are committed to providing consumers with high-quality, efficient products with safety as the number one priority.

Mettle Ops Government Deal Enforces Values and Ensures Safety

Mettle Ops and TARDEC Team Up to Increase Soldier Survivability Efforts

Sterling Heights, MI – A recent deal between Mettle Ops and U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) puts soldiers’ survival as number one priority. Mettle Ops’ first major signed contract, known as the DoD (Department of Defense) Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) Contract, totals $9.1 million. In this agreement, both parties will focus on survivability efforts to provide soldiers with equipment better protecting them in wartime environments.

“Increased survivability for soldiers means more soldiers come home with less long-term health problems,” states Katie Bigelow, President of Mettle Ops. 

Both Mettle Ops and TARDEC have unique specializations, and this collaboration makes for a well-rounded service provider. 

Mettle Ops is responsible for the program management, design, modeling and simulations, analysis, and documentation aspect of the process for the agreement. 

Some of TARDEC’s contributions to the deal include:
• Identification and evaluation of passive, reactive, active, and blast mitigation material solutions in a lab environment for use on DoD ground platforms and high value assets
• Employment of high fidelity finite element analysis tools to derive novel target material solution candidates in composite, integral, or appliqué orientations
• Development of test articles applicable to ground platform applications and high value assets
• Testing of various actual and/or surrogate weapon systems against their developed material solutions

The deal will provide both virtual and physical prototypes for tracked and wheeled ground vehicles, specifically Abrams Main Battle Tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Combat Vehicle Prototype, and Next Generation Combat Vehicle. 

TARDEC is continuously seeking the latest technologies to affordably and effectively enhance vehicle and crew survivability for existing and future ground vehicle systems. This collaboration with Mettle Ops will assist TARDEC in achieving its goals. 

“Our chief goal is to serve the warfighter.  Survivability effort deals like this provide soldiers with equipment that protects them better in wartime environments,” Bigelow said. 

Both organizations are committed to providing consumers with high-quality, efficient products with safety as the number one priority.