Chile's APEC cancellation creates hurdle for U.S.-China trade deal

Reuters | October 31, 2019

Leaders from the United States and China encountered a new obstacle in their struggle to end a damaging trade war on Wednesday, when the summit where they were supposed to meet was canceled because of violent protests. U.S. President Donald Trump said this week he hoped to sign an interim trade deal with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during the Nov. 16-17 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile. Chilean officials said they canceled the summit to focus on restoring law and order in the country. The White House said afterwards the United States still expects to sign an initial trade agreement with China next month, but no alternate location had yet been set for Xi and Trump to meet.

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Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019 Mine Warfare Task Group commander, describes Combined Task Group 162.60 capabilities, pierside at Naval Base Kiel-Tirpitzhafen, Germany. BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, marking the 47th year of one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations.

Spotlight

Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2019 Mine Warfare Task Group commander, describes Combined Task Group 162.60 capabilities, pierside at Naval Base Kiel-Tirpitzhafen, Germany. BALTOPS is the premier annual maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, marking the 47th year of one of the largest exercises in Northern Europe enhancing flexibility and interoperability among allied and partner nations.

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CYBERSECURITY

U.S. Department of Defense Awards Accrete Multi-Million Dollar AI Production OT Software Licensing Contract

Accrete | November 18, 2022

Accrete has secured a five-year multi-million dollar Production Operational Technology (OT) software licensing contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for Argus™, Accrete's highly configurable, dual-use open-source threat detection AI software solution, worth tens of millions of dollars. The exact contract value and deal terms cannot be disclosed per government guidelines. Argus continuously analyzes the open-source web to predict anomalous and nefarious behavior hidden in plain sight. Argus performs work that would otherwise require thousands of intelligence analysts at an estimated cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year in areas critical to national security such as supply chain risk management, vulnerability research, intellectual property theft, social media intelligence, insider threat detection, and anti-money laundering. Argus reads, understands, and learns from an exploding universe of dynamic, unstructured data, including news, blogs, think tank publications, strategy papers, social media chatter, financial filings, microprocessor manuals, and binaries in multiple languages. The AI software automatically extracts, normalizes, and maps relationships between entities, models influence, and surfaces behavioral anomalies indicative of potentially illicit activity that are too complex for humans to identify. "We are at the dawn of an entirely new type of conflict, driven by rapid advances in artificial intelligence. Whereas nuclear proliferation threatened entire populations, AI proliferation individualizes warfare by manipulating targeted groups through digital means. Using AI, bad actors can propagate disinformation to exploit ignorance and weaken civil society causing billions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy, As a prime defense contractor licensing configurable dual-use AI software directly to the DoD, Accrete is in a unique position to scale its business with the Defense, Intelligence, and Special Operations communities, as well as other government and enterprise customers, and bolster national security as well as intelligence competitiveness in previously unimaginable ways." -Prashant Bhuyan, Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Accrete, Inc. In 2020, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter established in collaboration with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to strengthen U.S. national security by accelerating DoD adoption of commercial technology, awarded Accrete with an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) Prototype contract after Accrete outperformed 65 other companies in a competitive review. The DoD accepted the Argus prototype within 15 months, and Accrete worked closely with the DIU and the DoD to transition the OTA Prototype contract into a first-of-its-kind multi-year Production OT AI software licensing deal. William Wall, who leads Accrete’s federal sales subsidiary, Accrete AI Government, and formerly served as a U.S. Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel and with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), said, "We are extremely excited to announce this award, especially as this is the first production OTA that our DoD customer has ever awarded. There are very few start-up technology companies that successfully navigate the extremely challenging OTA process through prototype acceptance and transition into a multi-year production OT software licensing agreement. Our success is a testament to the efficacy, scalability, and configurability of our AI technology and, more importantly, to our employees' relentless focus on providing solutions that are tightly aligned with end-user requirements. As we continue to scale, Accrete looks forward to providing its growing customer base with powerful dual-use AI solutions that not only drive efficiency through the automation of analytical work but also produce mission-critical insights beyond human capacity.” Zachary Smith, Accrete AI Government’s Program Manager and retired special agent who spent most of his 23-year Air Force career focused on countering human, technical, and cyber-based threats, observed, "Based on Argus' blazing speed and scale, in seconds, analysts will be able to research and visualize complex relationships that would have taken at least a month of steady research and annotation. Within the framework of the DoD's acquisition risk review process, Argus will enable supply chain risk analysis to be more efficient and effective while delivering enhanced value at a lower cost per insight." Accrete's continuously learning AI technology enables the templatization of analytical workflows. Templates such as Argus for Threat Detection learn from sparse data and are configurable for use cases including supply chain influence, social media intelligence, reverse engineering, and logistics disruption for both government and commercial customers. In addition to helping the DoD predict bad actors that may be intentionally obscuring identities to influence the supply chain, Argus has also been enabling the U.S. Air Force to reverse engineer binaries from microprocessor manuals to detect vulnerabilities in firmware. Accrete’s dual-use AI solutions have also been proven in industry, including media and entertainment companies automating talent scouting to predict emerging talent from social chatter; insurance brokers automating lead generation to find the shortest path to the hottest lead; private equity and venture firms automating pitch deck review through smart table extraction; and automobile dealerships automating the writing of marketing content. About Accrete: Accrete's mission is to create AI so powerful that it amplifies human reasoning and enables government entities and commercial enterprises to grow in previously unimaginable ways. Accrete, founded in 2017, delivers configurable dual-use AI solutions that automate complex analytical work for both government and enterprise customers with a focus on defense, intelligence, and cybersecurity. Accrete has 128 employees globally and is headquartered in Lower Manhattan with offices in Alexandria, Va. and Wellesley, Mass.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY, CYBERSECURITY

Lunavi Achieves CJIS Compliance to Provide Secure IT Solutions for Criminal Justice and Government Organizations

Lunavi | September 08, 2022

Lunavi, a top provider of business technology consulting and managed IT services, has gained Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) compliance accreditation for customers in the State of Colorado across its hosted services including colocation data centers and private cloud platforms. This independently certified compliance measure assures strict data security for law enforcement and similarly regulated government organizations whose technology services are hosted by Lunavi. After attaining accreditation in Colorado, additional certifications for clients in other states will be a simple process. CJIS is a stringent and comprehensive cybersecurity standard. The Criminal Justice Information Services Division is the largest division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and provides a centralized source of criminal justice data to various government agencies and authorized third parties. Any entity engaging with sensitive information from the US Justice Department is required to adhere to CJIS policies for networking, data encryption, and remote access, among other criteria. "Achieving CJIS compliance is another example of the lengths Lunavi will go to satisfy client requirements as they change over time, In this case we had a SLED [State, Local, Education Industry] customer who was adding police and emergency response systems to a Lunavi private cloud. While we already offer strong security and compliance measures like HIPAA and SOC, we were happy to implement new audits, logging, and training to our existing access controls and incident response programs in order to meet CJIS standards." -Bob Heskett, Director of Security and Compliance at Lunavi. CJIS compliance is centered on the principal of least privilege or a "need-to-know, right-to-know" standard. These access controls, combined with logs, data management tools, encryption, and systems monitoring, allow Lunavi to help clients achieve CJIS compliance within their hosted information systems and prepare for a federal audit. "Information Security continues to grow in importance as phishing, malware, ransomware, and other attacks proliferate, Government agencies are a prime target for attackers due to large quantities of personal data stored within IT systems. Lunavi is always seeking to improve our security standards, monitoring, and response methods. This CJIS compliance further cements our cybersecurity leadership and abilities." -Cortney Thompson, CIO at Lunavi. About Lunavi: Lunavi, based in Cheyenne, WY, helps companies digitally transform their businesses and illuminate the path forward in IT modernization through the power of human ingenuity. Lunavi helps organizations in technology, energy, financial services, healthcare, education, government and others to develop business applications, solve traditional IT challenges, and extract ROI with comprehensive services in cloud migration, modern application development, and managed services. With locations throughout North America in Denver; Cheyenne, WY; Omaha, NE; Atlanta; Seattle, and Toronto, and its status as a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP, Lunavi delivers a remarkable customer experience to help navigate what's possible, what's next.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY,CYBERSECURITY

QinetiQ US Completes Acquisition of Avantus Federal

Avantus Federal | November 24, 2022

Lorton, VA and McLean, VA – QinetiQ US, a wholly owned subsidiary of QinetiQ Group plc, an integrated global defense and security company, announced today that it completed its acquisition of Avantus Federal (Avantus) from NewSpring Holdings for an enterprise value of $590 million. The combination of QinetiQ US and Avantus creates a unique platform to offer comprehensive mission-led innovation for the most sensitive and complex challenges intelligence, defense, homeland, civilian, and other government customers face today. This transaction was previously announced August 5, and the transition is expected to be seamless for customers, partners, and employees. This integration will combine QinetiQ’s leadership in robotics and autonomous systems, sensing, protection systems, and next-generation technology services with Avantus’ advantages in strategic planning, operations, and stakeholder collaboration in a host of government operations, including cyber, data, government facility, and outer space solutions. The combination will deliver mission-led innovation in hardware, software, and mission services to the growing needs of defense, intelligence, homeland security, and law enforcement organizations, along with civilian agencies in the United States and close-U.S. allied nations including the United Kingdom and Australia. “I am delighted that we have completed the acquisition of Avantus today – it is a strategic milestone in our five-year ambition to build an integrated global defence and security company, delivering innovation for our customers’ mission, This acquisition extends our customer base, strengthens our capabilities and builds scale in the largest defence and security market in the world. With a strong track record of 10%+ growth at attractive margins, Avantus is a brilliant strategic and cultural fit and positions us to meet the increasing mission-critical needs of our US defence and intelligence customers with agility and pace.” -Steve Wadey, Group Chief Executive Officer for QinetiQ Group plc. Andy Maner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Avantus, said the combination with QinetiQ US is key to providing more opportunities and growth for our people and customers. We started this journey with our great partner, NewSpring Holdings, and now we’re taking a critical step forward that allows our collective team to leverage additional scale and investments across our world class talent, technology, and processes at a pivotal time in our market and geopolitical landscape. “We are thrilled to welcome our Avantus colleagues to QinetiQ US, Avantus’ elite talent, differentiated technology solutions, and dedication to mission complement our innovative culture. I am honored to lead a combined team that shares a focus on performance and a proven ability to be agile in impactful delivery at the speed of our customers’ missions.” QinetiQ is a leading science and engineering company dedicated to protecting lives and securing the vital interests of defense and security customers with distinctive offerings in experimentation and technology; cyber and information advantage; engineering services and support; robotics and autonomous systems; training and mission rehearsal; and, test and evaluation. This is complimented by the Avantus capabilities to leverage a strong consulting force to deliver technology, cyber, data, digital engineering and integration, intelligence analysis, and operations strategy and tactics to its clients, ensuring maximum efficiency and impact. -Shawn Purvis, President and Chief Executive Officer of QinetiQ US. About QinetiQ US: QinetiQ US is a leading defense and security company in the United States providing mission-led innovation at pace. QinetiQ US is a provider of technologically advanced services and products to the US Department of Defence and national security agencies, positioned to deliver key aspects of the modernization required to address our customers’ pivot to counter near peer adversaries. QinetiQ’s engineering services span the DoD and Intel community providing subject matter expertise in the areas of communications, sensor integration and research and development, survivability and unmanned ground combat systems. QinetiQ US operates as the U.S. arm of QinetiQ Group plc (QQ.LSE), an integrated global defense and security company focused on innovation for defense, security and civil customers. QinetiQ US employees are based predominantly in Virginia and Massachusetts and operate under a Special Security Agreement (SSA) with the U.S. Defence Counterintelligence & Security Agency (DCSA). QinetiQ US is creating new ways of protecting what matters most; testing technologies, systems, and processes to make sure they work as expected; and enabling customers to deploy new and enhanced-existing capabilities with the assurance they will deliver the outcomes required. About Avantus Federal: Avantus Federal is a mission-focused data, cyber, and space services and solutions company. As a mid-market powerhouse with an intentional blend of elite talent, infrastructure, and speed to impact, Avantus and its approximately 1,150 highly cleared professionals lead with technical and domain expertise for its Defence, Intelligence, Homeland Security, and Federal Civilian customers.

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