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Simulating opportunities in the next fleet
Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy represents an opportunity for the modeling, simulation and gaming industries. And Halifax is well positioned to capitalize.

Thanks to a robust film industry, a large concentration of universities and colleges, including specialized technical programs attracting international students, and a wealth of military subject matter experts across all services, Halifax boasts an ideal environment, according to members of an industry panel at DEFSEC Atlantic 2012 in September.

Carl Daniels of Bluedrop, Glen Copeland of Lockheed Martin Canada and Mike Johnston of TeamSpace suggested M&S industries could see significant new business as the training requirements for the new fleets emerge. The American Littoral Combat Ship, they noted, generated over $300 million in M&S related training tenders.

The region has no shortage of technical talent. Copeland said that when Lockheed Martin won the Halifax-class modernization program, “we cleaned out a couple years of university graduates to staff a new office.” But Lockheed also had to attract outside expertise for team leads.

Modeling and simulation has more than proved its worth, becoming a staple in operations, training, capability development and experimentation, R&D and acquisition. In a panel on military M&S, Brad O’Connell of ANSYS noted that physics-based M&S is now vital for best-in-class companies and has delivered the U.S. Department of Defense a return of 700-1300% for every dollar invested. LCol Dave Boyer of the army’s Directorate of Land Requirements said that, with a generation of soldiers now training in a simulated environment, all future vehicles and weapon systems “will be integrated into live simulation.”

Both panels suggested the next wave will likely take advantage of mobile devices, with implications for both individual and collective training, though Copeland said the ability to process data across national training networks would have to improve. “That’s the next level we need to hit with respect to the technology.”

Taking the cyber offensive
There was a time when being hacked was a reason for shame, a sign that your cyber security infrastructure was insufficient. Today, if you have not been hacked, it’s probably a sign you have nothing worth stealing.

But if infiltration is considered by some to be the new normal, how then to strike back? It was a question raised by Dmitri Alperovitch, a former executive with McAfee and the co-founder of security start-up CrowdStrike, in a presentation to the third annual Privacy, Access and Security Congress in Ottawa.

Alperovitch said the current approach of defence in depth has largely failed. Attacks have become more targeted and sophisticated, negating the old adage about simply needing a better security system than the next door neighbour. “We were focusing on the wrong problem,” he said, looking at the bullet and not the shooter, and building defences to stop specific types of bullets.

His answer is to “raise the cost” to the adversaries. That does not necessarily mean hacking back. It could involve misdirection and deception with respect to your most sensitive data, outing known hackers (even states) and opening the door to legal action and international sanctions, or working with law enforcement and telecommunications companies to restrict access. “Every day our territory is violated yet all we do is intercept and escort [them] out,” he said.

Not everyone is comfortable with that approach. Robert Dick, the director general of the National Cyber Security Directorate at Public Safety Canada, noted that cyber offense means different things to different people, and a counter attack could quickly escalate. Dean Turner of Symantec said “caution is the watch word” when it comes to cyber offense, suggesting cyber responses “can have a kinetic effect.” He argued for a better understanding of the data in your system and where it is going, as well as improved training and processes.

Both the Communications Security Establishment and Public Safety would seem to agree. Better training to ensure good, hygienic cyber practices should deal with 80 percent of potential breaches, a message that is being reinforced during national cyber security month in October.

Still, there is growing debate about cyber offense. Last month, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence released a draft of the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, which attempts for the first time to distinguish between cyber war and cyber crime, and establish some international rules of engagement in cyberspace.

And Harold Koh, the U.S. State Department’s chief legal adviser, speaking at a conference hosted by U.S. Cyber Command in September, said U.S. government policy would now consider certain cyber attacks a “use of force” under international law. Just what the response might be remains uncertain.

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