Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) ... a single point of failure that should scare any expeditionary force!

Thanks to Mark for the link!

via Defense Aerospace
The biggest risk is that, since the F-35 cannot operate effectively without permanent data exchanges with its software labs and logistic support computers in the United States, any disruption in the two-way flow of information would compromise its effectiveness.

All F-35 aircraft operating across the world will have to update their mission data files and their Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) profiles before and after every sortie, to ensure that on-board systems are programmed with the latest available operational data and that ALIS is kept permanently informed of each aircraft’s technical status and maintenance requirements. ALIS can, and has, prevented aircraft taking off because of an incomplete data file.

Given that the United States hopes to sell hundreds of F-35s to allies in Europe, Asia and Australia, the volume of data that must travel to and from the United States is gigantic, and any disruption in Internet traffic could cripple air forces as the F-35 cannot operate unless it is logged into, and cleared by, ALIS.

For example, “Mission data load development and testing is a critical path to combat capability,” Pentagon OT&E director Michael Gilmore said in his fiscal 2014 report. “Accuracy of threat identification and location depend on how well the mission data loads are optimized to perform in ambiguous operational environments.”

Updating and uploading mission data loads depends on a functioning Internet, and noted in an Oct. 29 story, “undersea Internet cables are surprisingly vulnerable.” It quoted Nicole Starosielski, a media scholar at New York University, as saying that “people would be surprised to know that there are a little over 200 systems that carry all of the internet traffic across the ocean, and these are by and large concentrated in very few areas. The cables end up getting funneled through these narrow pressure points all around the globe.”

Recent activity by Russian ships near crucial undersea cables has added to concerns about the vulnerability of Internet, as recently illustrated by the New York Times, which noted that “Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.”

Yeah.  You read that right.   This is a layman's example but I think it applies.  How many times have you had the internet go down right here in the US?  Now imagine conducting operations in an out of area location...with bandwidth at a minimum and everyone wanting to get a piece of it (they're even talking about handing out phones and tablets)...and suddenly that Marine Platoon Leader is told that the air support he was counting on isn't coming because the computer won't let the plane fly!

When he calls back cussing, fussing and damning the Air Operations Officer to a bloody end, he gets the answer its because the link for ALIS is down!


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