PETALING JAYA: WTF? The title is my code word for the Network Centric Operations (NCO) undertaken jointly by the Armed Forces and Sapura Secured Technologies Sdn Bhd.
The project is our very own, black project as the Americans like to call top secret things. Its highly classified nature even led to the cancelling to the public signing during the DSA 2008. It was to be signed there but at the last moment it was yanked off from the signing ceremony. So late that the entry was pasted over in the press release given to the media at signing ceremony. One just need to tear out the paper strip pasted on the entry to find out about the contract.
At Lima 2011, a display of the NCO was put up at Sapura booth and only invited guests were allowed to have a view of the display. I was among the many who were refused entry into that inner sanctum. So instead I spent the time drinking Coke with ADCs of generals who were also not allowed to see how the mythical NCO works!
The software of the NCO is supposedly to be developed locally from the ground up mostly due to doctrinal issues and fear of a hidden spy code if it was purchased off-the-shelf from the many eager overseas companies. Remember how the CIA put a camera inside a Xerox machine purchased for the Russian embassy back in early 60s? Its the same thing here (with Stuxnet and the recent Flame virus, it sounds logical).
That said the challenge is therefore two-fold, creating the code itself and integrating it with hardware and other systems we had purchased from overseas. Wait but isnt integrating our software with third party hardware and other software shares the same risk? Yes, but since even the US outsourced most of the electronic components overseas. we also have to take the risk of doing so.
Anyways, as a US cyber-warfare expert told me earlier this year, the biggest risk for any system is actually humans, the ministry should work harder on this part rather than worrying about software and hardware spy bug (which are available mind you)
Why I am writing about this then? Because a certain politician somehow or rather managed to obtain a highly classified internal memorandum from the Defence Ministry criticising the implementation of the project. Yes, the human element!
28 Jun 2012
UNTUK SEBARAN SEGERA
PROJEK PEMBANGUNAN NETWORK CENTRIC OPERATIONS (NCO) ANGKATAN TENTERA MALAYSIA FASA 1A – NILAI RM 140 JUTA MELALUI TENDER TERUS KEPADA SAPURA – GAGAL TEPATI SPESIFIKASI DAN MASA Here .
You know elections are close when all sorts of secret documents turned up everywhere!. I have no idea why the memo was leaked. My best guess is some parties are concerned over the project and the company that got it.
If you read the headline of the article the words Tender Terus Direct Tender came out strongly. I believed the blog author was more concerned with the Direct Tender mode of the programme instead of the concerns of the leaker or leakers.
Anyhow, I am told that there is no delay as the deadline is next year. But since this is a black project, you and I have to take their word for it. I am told Jalan Padang Tembak do not want to get into arguing with politicians every time a defence issue comes up, hence the silence. But since the matter is already out there, I think its fair for me to chase the issue and see where the chips fall or something to that effect.
– Malaysian Defence