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Integrated Base Defense Security Systems Modernization – Where the SF Enterprise is Going

HEIDI L. SCHEPPERS

HEIDI L. SCHEPPERS

ARLINGTON, Va.

TRANSCRIPT OF MS. SCHEPPERS' REMARKS AT AFWERX FUSION 2020 ON JULY 28, 2020

Good afternoon. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to hear about Integrated Base Defense Modernization. This will tie into the panel discussion you just finished on defending installations from next generation threats.

My name is Ms. Heidi Scheppers. I’m a graduate of the Air Force Academy, a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, and am currently the Senior Civilian Executive for the Security Forces Enterprise. For the past three years, I worked as the Deputy Director of Security Forces under the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, at the Pentagon. What that means is that I spend most of my days thinking about the safety and security of our Air Force installations at home and around the globe

I support the Director of Security Forces with direction and technical knowledge for a 38,000-person global force. These Security Forces personnel conduct physical security, antiterrorism, force protection, law enforcement, and policing operations. I am also the functional manager for the 1,100-person Department of the Air Force civilian police force.

What that means is that I spend most of my day thinking through base security and defense for the Air Force.

I’m thrilled to speak with you today in particular. On this day in 1914, World War I started. Although it took an additional three years for the U.S. to formally join the Allied Powers in one of our first real forays into what is today termed Great Power Competition, it certainly proved to be the start of a persistent forward presence that requires constant vigilance and awareness of all threats.

The core mission of protecting our people, our assets, and our ability to do the mission hasn’t changed. What has changed dramatically over the past several years is the technology, tools, and methods of accomplishing the mission. I went onto active duty the same year the first web site was published. Now, our Defenders and adversaries alike have the entire internet in the palm of their hands, and the pace of change continues to increase.

At an operational level, the National Defense Strategy makes it clear that the homeland is no longer a sanctuary. In our field, we have always known that to be true, but now it is part of the strategic calculus.

This new paradigm needs novel concepts and approaches to ensure mission success in this new age and into the future. To get there, we are using CSAFs’ back to back focus on Defenders and Integrated base defense to examine our legacy systems, modernize, and imagine the technologies that will serve our needs.

New technologies and systems require innovation. Luckily, since the birth of the airplane, Airmen have been innovative; innovation is in our DNA.

In fact, innovation has been a staple of the US military since World War 1. Technological superiority is a key aspect of our defense strategy – and has never been more important.

We credit that innovation to our partnerships with commercial organizations like the ones here today. You help support information fusion, decision making, and improved operational effectiveness.

For the next few minutes, I’m going to talk about the current state of base defense, new solutions, and path forward.

The Air Force relies on our installation to deliver Air Power around the world. To help protect those installations, the Air Staff authored the 2005 Integrated Base Defense Security Systems, or IBDSS, Capability Development Document which outlined how the Air Force will “integrate personnel and technology into a seamless defense, providing a collective view of the battlespace.” 

When we drafted this document, we realized that we need systems designed to make decisions better and faster in order to respond to the many threats appropriately. We wanted, and still do, strive to separate the signal from the noise so our Defenders can take action. We have made strides in this direction, but there is much left to do.

The capability outlined in the 2005 document is the main thought to the last 15 years of governing the IBDSS. However, the IBDSS program has not kept pace with evolving threats, operations, technologies, policy guidance, or defense/security/law enforcement industry standards and best practices. Sustainment efforts to upgrade or refresh systems continue falling further and further behind, with some fielded systems in service for over 20 years.

To modernize, we are building a resilient multi-domain command, control and communications architecture to enable better command and control.  This will help us to ensure we are the first to detect evaluate, and then act, on threats.

Last year at the Air Force Security Forces Association, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force talked about our current Command and Control Systems, or B-DOCs. He said, “If I come to your base and you showcase your B-DOC that displays static camera at fence lines and a Defender with a handheld radio… you are defending your base in exactly the same way we did in 1968… what you are showing me is not layered or integrated base defense… you are showing me ancient base defense.”

When the Chief of Staff of the Air Staff says something like this, you figure out how to modernize.

There are ways to improve and modernize B-DOCs. Other applications or services can be securely incorporated to enhance or deliver a capability. Examples include anonymous reporting apps, mass alerting systems, insider threat program tools, and cyber threat hunting and detection.

These applications and services can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Air Base Air Defense - we are integrating advanced technologies to “sense” the base air picture and enable seamless physical to digital layered defense. The result is a digital layered defense system across all domains, using: AI, ML, edge computing, UAS, and kinetic effects.
  2. Cyber Defense – this includes cyber technologies security/resiliency and cyber-system “red teaming;” A4S supports an Agile ATO process relying on automated testing and risk assessment to rapidly authorize frequent capability updates.
  3. Ground Defense - this includes improved security at our perimeters & installation access control points. We are looking to industry to provide modern sensors at a commercial price point. This will greatly enhance base defense.

New solutions require new ways of thinking. We need to modernize and streamline how we do base access. An open architecture of systems will support plug and play of commercial industry capabilities.

I’m going to walk through a few of the buzz words you may hear throughout the conference.

The first is Defender Multi-Domain Command, Control and Communications (also known as DMDC3). This will rapidly develop the foundational structure of IBDSS to provide a platform that integrates the computing power (PICARD), the means of communication (DC3), and the tools for situational awareness (DMSAT).

PICARD is the Platform for Integrated Command, Control, and Communications and Responsive Defense. PICARD takes an open systems management approach by ensuring on-going development work is performed with open design principles. The barrier to entry is low, the cost to try new sensors is small, and outdated technology can be easily discarded.

DC3, which stands for Defender Command, Control and Communications is the communications backbone for integrating the systems and networks in IBDSS. It will be capable of transporting data in any form to get timely, relevant information to the right people and places in real time or near-real time.

DMSAT, the Defender Multi-domain Situational Awareness Tool, is a mobile Common Operating Picture interface and kit for all Defenders.

These four aspects together will transform command and control centers with seamless integration. As a result, Security Forces will receive much more relevant and actionable information to better protect the manpower and assets.

The Air Force is looking for a non-proprietary system. This will cost less in the future and it will more readily accommodate the latest in security technology – something on which we will work closely with the commercial companies here.

The Air Force is also interested in leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to maximize data analysis from thousands of sensors. If effective, this would minimize the number of false alarms and help zero in on the actual threat.

Finally, our technology platforms must be cyber secure. They need to have cyber security backed into development and operations through DevSecOps, and must be tested through active vulnerability assessments and red teams as well as agile accredited through the continuous ATO process. If an adversary compromises or denies us our technological superiority, we can bring it to the battle.

A perfect example of leveraging technology for operational efficiency is the idea of a Virtual Visitor Control Center. The goal is to create an online portal like most commercial companies use. Visitors can then submit their credentials and be vetted before arriving. This would make the system much more efficient.

Another example is training. The Air Force is exploring how to leverage VR/AR to innovate on virtual training programs. Ultimately, we need to provide training in ways that increase Defender readiness – and save us both time and money. Other ideas that we’re looking into include modular and or smaller shooting ranges.

I want you now to close your eyes and picture integrated base defense of the future. What do you see? I picture the Air Force leveraging all the technologies we talked about – as well as ones yet to be discovered. Bases outfitted with cutting-edge perimeter sensors, that when triggered automatically deploy a UAS overhead for imagery; Security Forces who then view this imagery on their mobile devices; and all this deployed over an integrated, synchronized, layered defense.

We must continue to innovate and adapt. This will ensure that the US military maintains our technical and tactical advantages that we have enjoyed since WW1.

I’m impressed by the innovative ideas presented here at AFWERX. I’ve heard about: 5G communications, facial recognition software, advanced cyber security tools, unmanned ground vehicles, and biometric identification. This event showcases the variety and wealth of innovation that partnerships between the Air Force and industry can bear.

As you know, the goal of events like these are to foster a culture of experimentation and discovery. Airmen have great ideas and so do our commercial partners.

Base Security and defense challenges provides new opportunities at Tyndall Air Force Base. There are opportunities for commercial state of the art security capabilities to be integrated within next few months.

Innovation does not stop with Tyndall. The Air Force wants to continue keeping this opportunity open. There will be more events and other opportunities for this community to work together and continue innovating around base security and defense.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to how the Air Force is tackling Integrated Base Defense Modernization, as they relate to the topics of: Base Security and Defense, Culture of Innovation, and Leveraging Technology for Operational Effectiveness and Installation Resilience.

As we discussed, the Air Force will not truly modernize unless we partner with commercial entities to improve our agility and break down workforce silos.

Future military conflicts have, and will continue to, drive the need for change and innovation.

Woodrow Wilson predicted that World War One would be the last war. In fact, he said, “This is the war to end all wars.” Unfortunately, this did not come true. What did come true is the necessity for American troops to continuously modernize and innovate to outpace our adversaries.

As I mentioned before, our airbases and fighting locations are no longer sanctuaries. The ever-changing national security environment presents complex multi-domain challenges. Effectively combatting these ever-evolving challenges requires each Airman and person here today, operating as part of a cohesive and integrated fighting force, to defend our primary power projection platform. Only then can we ensure we remain the world’s most lethal Air and Space Force.

I want to thank AFWERX for bringing together industry and government. I’m especially honored to be speaking at an event inspired by Tyndall Air Force Base, a base with a large Security Forces presence as we work to rebuild base defense.

Thank you all.

Enjoy your networking session after this.