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January 28, 2012

January 29, 2012

28Jan2012

Newswire

 

Panetta fires first shot in defense budget showdown

FCW.com

◦By Amber Corrin◦Jan 26, 2012

In a Jan. 26 Pentagon press conference, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered a first glimpse into the cuts coming to defense spending in fiscal 2013, outlining measures that “will impact all 50 states and many districts, congressional districts across America” and likely spur heavy debate on Capitol Hill.

Detailed budget plans won’t be unveiled until February, but Panetta said he would be requesting $525 billion for the fiscal 2013 base budget, which is the first budget to be implemented since last year’s Budget Control Act mandated nearly $500 billion be cut from defense spending over the next 10 years. It’s $6 billion less than 2012’s requested base budget, and part of $259 billion in cuts to take place in the next five years.

Technology gains while numbers decline in Panetta’s vision for the future. “We knew that coming out of the wars and dealing with budget reductions of this magnitude that the budget would be smaller – but the key is to fashion the agile and flexible military force that we need in the future,” Panetta said.

That force will be smaller now that troops have withdrawn from Iraq and are in the process of drawing down in Afghanistan. Nearly 100,000 ground troops will be eliminated – 80,000 from the Army, 20,000 from the Marine Corps – and older cargo aircraft and cruisers will be retired from the Air Force and Navy fleets. Purchases of new F-35 stealth fighter jets and Virginia class submarines will be delayed.

Panetta also said President Barack Obama will be asking Congress for another round of Base Realignment and Closure processes to reflect the shifting military levels – a plan that will likely come in for significant criticism.

Some areas received special safeguarding in the budget-cutting process, particularly in technology.

“We’re not just facing conventional threats, we’re also facing technological threats, and we have to be prepared to be able to leap ahead technologically in order to be able to confront those kinds of adversaries,” Panetta said. “We have to retain a decisive technological edge. That meant protecting and increasing investments in cyber capabilities. In order to protect vital investments for the future, we’ve protected science and technology programs as well.”

Flanked by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Panetta also outlined plans to target DOD business systems and personnel – some of which are already being enacted under ongoing efficiency measures, but may be accelerated.

“We frankly need to also look at a department that is leaner and more agile as well. For that reason this budget seeks to reduce excess overhead, eliminate waste in the department and improve business practices across the department,” Panetta said, adding that current measures have identified $60 billion in savings so far. “This will involve areas such as aggressive and competitive contracting practices, better use of information technology, streamlining the staff, reductions in contract services and better inventory management.”

Dempsey agreed that the Pentagon can expect to see more of this type of streamlining.

“This is a very big bureaucracy and it could use a lot of efficiency,” he said. “There will be civilian pay savings as well…that’s going to be built in to the President’s budget.”

For more information, see a related white paper and budget fact sheet.

 

 

CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS – DEFENSE
Updated Jan. 26, 2012 – 3:48 p.m.

Pentagon Budget Changes Include Retiring Planes, Canceling Programs

By Megan Scully and Frank Oliveri, CQ Staff

The Pentagon has proposed a set of major changes to comply with new budget caps, including aircraft retirements, at least one base-closure round and delays and cancellations to major procurement and modernization programs — all moves that defense leaders acknowledged could be a tough sell on Capitol Hill.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta formally announced many of the planned cuts Thursday afternoon, one day after giving the leaders of the four congressional defense committees a preview of his plan. During a Pentagon news conference, Panetta called on Congress to support the plan, which trims $487 billion from the planned defense budget over the next decade, but acknowledged the political hurdle ahead.

“This is going to be tough,” Panetta said when asked how he expects the budget cuts to be received on Capitol Hill. “This is a tough challenge and nobody ought to underestimate just how difficult it will be.”

In a written statement released immediately after Panetta concluded his remarks, Arizona Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., accused the Obama administration for ignoring the “lessons of history,” particularly with its planned reductions to the ground forces.

“Every American should be concerned about what these cuts mean to our ability to safeguard our national interests in a time of dynamic change around the world,” McCain said. “As I have long said, the security challenges we face around the world today are more daunting than at any time in recent memory.”

Across the Capitol, Virginia Rep. J. Randy Forbes, a senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, charged that the Pentagon’s cost-cutting proposal would be met with enthusiasm in China, North Korea and Iran. “The president’s defense strategy embraces weakness by a thousand cuts,” he said in a written statement.

Still, the Pentagon appears ready to resist wholesale changes to the proposal. Panetta, a former Democratic congressman from California, suggested there is “little room here for significant modification.”

The Defense Department is seeking a topline defense budget request of $525 billion in fiscal 2013. The figure, which includes base defense spending and military construction, is $6 billion less than fiscal 2012 levels.

The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, which supports the war in Afghanistan and terrorism-related operations, would be set at $88.4 billion, which is significantly less than the $115 billion enacted in fiscal 2012. The decline is attributable to the full withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, although some Iraq-related funding remains in OCO because of the continued U.S. effort to support the Iraqi government.

In making decisions on specific programs, Panetta said the Pentagon put a premium on “multi-mission weaponry and technology” that can support an agile fighting force. Unmanned systems, satellites, helicopters and aircraft carriers fared well, while more specific, single-mission platforms were targeted for cuts.

The Pentagon, for instance, will divest itself of 38 C-27J cargo aircraft, calling the plane in a summary document a “niche capability” whose mission can be handled by larger, more versatile C-130 aircraft.

But the Air Force will also seek to retire a host of legacy aircraft, including 27 C-5A transport aircraft and 65 C-130 transport planes, which the department says it no longer needs because of planned reductions in force levels. The reduction in C-5As will require the Air Force to reduce the total number of strategic transports below the congressional requirement of 301 strategic airlift aircraft.

“For the airlift, this is capacity that is excess to need, and in this budget environment we can’t justify retaining capacity that is excess to need,” undersecretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter told reporters.

Congress agreed in the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill (PL 112-81) to reduce the requirement for C-5 and C-17 cargo aircraft from 316 to 301. Further reductions would require congressional approval and could face staunch opposition from C-5 supporters on Capitol Hill.

Sources tracking the budget deliberations said the Pentagon also will seek to terminate the Avionics Modernization Program for more than 200 C-130s.

F-35 Slowdown

Panetta’s proposal also reduces the number of Air Force tactical air squadrons and delays production of the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, while still preserving the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force versions of the stealthy jet.

The Pentagon continues to support the development and production of the F-35, the largest program in the defense budget. But the Defense Department will seek to buy 29 aircraft in fiscal 2013, 13 fewer than originally planned. In 2014, the Pentagon will again buy 29 of the jets instead of the 44 once planned, while cutting the 2015 buy from 81 to 44 and the 2016 buy from 108 to 66, sources said.

Delaying production of the planes could allow more time for testing, a key concern for McCain, who has been highly critical of the program. Other lawmakers also worried about cost hikes on a program whose price tag is now 85 percent over initial estimates.

But pushing back production of the aircraft built by Lockheed Martin Corp. could affect thousands of jobs across the country, likely prompting some backlash from members with a vested interest in the program.

Frustrated with cost hikes, the Pentagon is canceling Block 30 of the Global Hawk program, which was supposed to provide the same capability as U-2 spy aircraft for less money. But the expected savings never materialized.

“That’s the fate of things that become too expensive in a resource-constrained environment,” Carter said.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon plans to preserve all three legs — sea, air and land — of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, although it will seek some savings in the nuclear force.

Defense officials will, for instance, delay by two years the program to build 12 new submarines to replace the aging Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. The delay will create a gap between the first Ohio-class retirements, which will begin in 2029, and the fielding of the new submarines. However, the two-year schedule slip will postpone heavy procurement investments to later in the decade.

The Navy currently spends roughly $1 billion a year on research and development for the nuclear-powered submarines, but advanced procurement spending will start around 2016 with the annual cost of the program rising steadily after that.

Asia Shift

Despite a new defense strategy that focuses heavily on the Pacific, the Navy also will retire some older ships, including seven cruisers. Six of those ships did not have a ballistic missile defense capability, and the seventh is in need of costly hull repairs, according to the Pentagon.

The budget proposal also delays some other shipbuilding programs, including cutting two Littoral Combat Ships from the five-year spending plan.

But in a nod to the new strategy, the service will base some of its new Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore and Bahrain.

As expected, there will be new Marine Corps rotations in Australia and the Philippines, but the plans for basing in Japan and on Guam could be revised, sources said.

Meanwhile, Pentagon plans for a new round of base closures have already drawn opposition from Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., who said Thursday he would prefer that the Pentagon first complete a full review and shut down a number of bases and facilities in Europe.

The Pentagon’s spending proposal will also call for expected reductions in the size of ground forces, which have grown during a decade of war. Army end strength will drop by 72,000 to 490,000 soldiers by fiscal 2017, while the Marine Corps will reduce its force from 202,000 to 182,000 over the same time period. National Guard and Reserve forces will also be trimmed, with potentially large reductions in air units.

 

Air Force Strategic Choices and Budget Priorities Brief at the Pentagon

Presenter: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz January 27, 2012

 

CAPT. JOHN KIRBY, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR MEDIA OPERATIONS: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome back. It’s my pleasure to welcome here to the Briefing Room General Norton Schwartz, chief of staff of the United States Air Force. The general has been serving in that capacity since October of 2008, which makes him the longest-serving member of the body of the Joint Chiefs, and would make this his fourth budget season — so somewhat of a masochist, I think, probably, as well.

 

Today he’s here to provide you some context on the Air Force implications of the Defense Strategic Guidance that, as you know, was released last week, and the budget priorities inside that guidance which the chairman and the secretary discussed with you yesterday.

The general will be making a brief opening statement, and then he’ll be taking your questions.

General, over to you, sir.

GENERAL NORTON SCHWARTZ: Thank you so much.

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. We appreciate your being here today and allowing me to share with you some insight into the Air Force’s contributions to the new defense strategy and how we have approached the budget challenges that we face.

Innovation and adaptability are essential strengths of the United States Air Force, and ones we have sharpened during the last two decades of combat operations. We’ve become ever more integral to the successful operations of the U.S. armed forces, and our joint teammates rely on the Air Force for the core contributions that we provide.

Against a backdrop of fiscal challenge and diminishing resources, the security environment continues to evolve and [has] become ever more complex. That’s driving the need for a new Defense Strategic Guidance.

And as the Air Force approaches further reductions consistent with that guidance, our fleets are already smaller and older than at the end of the post-Cold War downsizing.

By trading size for quantity [sic; quality], the Air Force has made the hard choices to support the new strategic guidance in the fiscal year ’13 budget submission. And we will be [a] smaller but superb force that maintains our agility, our flexibility and readiness to engage a full range of contingencies and threats.

Throughout this evolution, we remain and shall remain committed to our ongoing responsibilities to provide globally postured, regionally tailorable full-spectrum air power, from nuclear deterrence to air, space and cyber operations, counterterrorism and global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Although smaller, we will sustain global operations through our continuing presence in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and by tailoring our presence in Europe.

Air Force capabilities are clearly instrumental to the major priorities of the new Defense Strategic Guidance, such as deterring and defeating aggression, projecting power in anti-access and area denial environments, preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, space and cyber operations and, importantly, strategic deterrence.

Through virtually every area, although every area of the Air Force budget faces constrained resources, the Air Force has taken care to protect the critical capabilities on which our joint interagency and coalition partners rely.

In summary, these distinctive and enduring capabilities that Airmen provide every day are air and space control, global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, and global strike. Airmen also maintain the cross-domain command and control necessary to make these capabilities effective across the full spectrum of operations.

 

Confronted by a more complex and dynamic security environment as well as significant reduction in defense resources, the Air Force determined that the best path forward was to become smaller, emphasizing multi-role systems and common configurations in order to maintain and protect a high-quality force, mitigating risk from reduced capacity while seeking to improve our ability to deal with advancing adversaries over time. To avoid a hollow force, we have and we will protect readiness at any force level and strengthen our integration of the total force team of active, Guard and Reserve Airmen.

We are slowing modernization in some areas, but at the same time we will protect the key programs that are most critical to future Air Force capabilities, for example, the KC-46 tanker, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the long-range strike bomber.

Despite the many challenges that we have faced, today the Air Force is still, by any objective standard, the world’s best. It is our intent — indeed, it is our obligation — to the American people and to our Airmen and their families that we remain the world’ finest air force in the years and the decades to come.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d be happy to take your questions.

Yes, ma’am.

Q: Yesterday Secretary Panetta offered numbers for the size of the active-duty Army and Marine Corps. Can you talk at all about the size of the active-duty Air Force over the next 10 years, including what happens to personnel in those six eliminated squadrons?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: The total force of our Air Force will come down in the neighborhood of 10,000 personnel. Importantly, however, that those reductions are tied to force structure going away. So we are not reducing personnel in order to meet budget targets.

This — these are directly connected with the force structure adjustments that we’ve undertaken.

Q: General Schwartz, could you explain to us what is meant by using the word “terminate” when you talk about the Block 30 Global Hawk, but “divest” when you talk about the C-27J? Are you mothballing the jets you already have? Are you going to sell them to other forces, give them to other government agencies?

And if you could go into a little bit of detail about the cost assessment that went into play that tipped the scales in favor of extending U-2 service and will it (inaudible).

GEN. SCHWARTZ: The bottom line on your multiple questions — let me start first with the rationale. It was our expectation, our — certainly our hope, that the advantages that a Global Hawk-like platform provides would — which we anticipated both would be cost of operation, on the one hand, and clearly persistence on the other — would play out in practice.

The reality is that the Global Hawk system has proven not to be less expensive to operate than the U-2. And in many respects, the Global Hawk Block 30 system is not as capable from a sensor point of view, as is the U-2. And so we have made the choice, as the deputy secretary mentioned yesterday — cancel the Block 30 program.

And the disposition of the aircraft is not yet finalized, but it would be my expectation that we would place these assets into storage, usable storage, for future possibilities, whatever they might be.

Importantly, we will retain the Block 20 and the Block 40 capabilities, and so we will — we will use the Global Hawk to its best effect. But the bottom line is that the delta between the Global Hawk and the U-2 was not sufficient in order to retain both for the same mission.

Yes, sir.

Q: You mentioned that every aspect of the budget is under constrained resources. Aside from the Block 30, are any ISR platforms getting cut, getting pushed to the — getting — (inaudible)? I noticed that the Predator and Reaper CAPs are going up. Is there any sacrifice you’re seeing in ISR, aside from the Block 30?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: ISR is one of those areas, clearly, that we maintained at — and in some areas increased, but generally maintained our levels of investment. There are individual changes. For example, there is a JSTARS platform that was damaged beyond economical repair that we will not repair. But generally speaking, the existing ISR inventories will remain as they are, with the exception of the Block 30 that we answered earlier.

Q: (Inaudible) — there an increase or decrease in future budgets for R&D on these platforms?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: I would say we — particularly in the S&T [science & technology] area, this is an area where we’ll continue to invest.

Yes, ma’am, and I’ll come back up front.

Q: Thank you. General, you talked about the rationale for the Global Hawk 30 being too expensive compared to the U-2. Does the same rationale apply to other UAV programs? Do they have to be cheaper than the manned variants to become justifiable in the budget?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: It is a consideration. I mean, we, in a limited budget circumstance that we face, have to compare what is the best value to the armed forces and obviously to the taxpayer. I would say each circumstance is an individual assessment, but clearly we’re going to make calls on what gives us the best capability for the dollar invested. And in this particular instance, the U-2 was the better bet.

Tony.

Q: One follow-up on the Global Hawk. Then I had a separate question on surge. Block 40 — does your FYDP — do you buy additional Block 40s in the FYDP, no matter what the quantity is, to show some confidence in the program?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: You will have an opportunity to see the five-year defense program investment profile next week, Tony. I prefer not to go into greater detail at this time, given that we would prefer to give the Congress an opportunity, the courtesy of seeing our program before we open it up at that level of detail.

Q: Reversibility — how do you reverse surge pilots who have been taken out of these six squadrons if many are the reserves and they haven’t flown for a number of years? What’s the concept there of surge and reversibility for pilots who haven’t flown?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: For us, what we are doing is re-missioning the units. In other words, for example, a unit that was operating manned aircraft might transition to a remotely piloted aircraft mission. And so, their fundamental skills will still be employed, but in a different way.

OK. Thank you.

Q: The Block 40 of Global Hawk — is it expected to be that much cheaper or that much better than a U-2? Why is it that the Block 40 is not being eliminated and Block 30 is?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: The Block 40 is a ground moving target indicator-based platform that is not a U-2 sensor capability. On the other hand, the Block 30 is the comparable platform to the U-2 in terms of its sensor suite. And it’s for that reason that it was a trade.

Q: Just to follow up, all told, what percentage — will you see an increase in the number of UAVs flown by the Air Force after all this is said and done, or decrease? And if you can put a percentage or a number on that.

GEN. SCHWARTZ: We’re at a — you know, somewhere over 250 remotely piloted aircraft today, and that number will continue to increase through the five-year defense program.

Q: Do you have — (inaudible) — number?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: Please.

Q: General, just to shift a little bit, you’re getting smaller, you’re getting more agile; what is that going to mean for Airmen and their families moving forward? Are they going to deploy more? Are they going to be based in places longer? How does that work for you?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: What we have done is to adjust the mix of forces, active, Reserve and Guard, to recognize the tempo that is inherent in the new Defense Strategic Guidance. And our goals will be to — as a norm — to manage the active duty force at a deploy-to-dwell ratio of not less than 1:2, and not less than 1:4 for the Reserve and the Guard, or better, and that we have approached this in that mix in order to attain that predictable level of workload that we think is sustainable for the long term. You can surge, but the sustainable level of effort will be 1:2 and not less than 1:2, not less than 1:4.

Yes, ma’am.

Q: Sir, you mentioned earlier reducing the personnel by 10,000. Over what period would that happen? And also, can you talk about what effect reinstating BRAC, you believe, will have on the Air Force?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: Sure. We will execute those reductions, provided the — you know, the Congress authorizes those reductions, over the program period.

And with respect to base closure, for the United States Air Force, base closure round 2005 did not close bases. We did a multitude of realignments and so on. And as you may be aware, there are estimates in that era that our infrastructure — we had excess infrastructure in the neighborhood of 20 percent. Since 2005 our inventory of aircraft, for example, has declined in the neighborhood of 500 aircraft. And so the presumption is — I think it’s a fair presumption — that there’s yet more excess infrastructure. And so indeed, we certainly support the proposal to go through another round of base closure analysis and execution.

Q: But do you — do you have a number of bases that you think could be closed? Do you see — do you see any being closed, or just a reduction of the size of the ones that you have?

 

GEN. SCHWARTZ: I think our expectation is that we would actually close bases in a future base closure round.

Please, Tom (sp).

Q: Thank you, General. In your opening statement, you cited the Air Force’s role in strategic deterrence. Yesterday Secretary Carter acknowledged that this budget is basically status quo when it comes to nuclear forces, except delaying by two years the Ohio class.

What kind of analytics are under way in the Air Force today to help the president reach his goal of going lower with the aspiration of getting to zero? And as you look at that, since both the air-breathing and land-based leg of the triad that you own are aging and need to be replaced, do you think it’s wise to sustain both in future years or could you see getting rid of one of those?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: I think that — multiple questions once again, Tom (sp) — I think first of all, while there are no reductions adjustments in this — the strategic nuclear force structure for us, intercontinental ballistic missiles and the bombers in the FY ’13 program, the important thing you need to appreciate is that we do have new START targets to meet by February of 2018. Those central limits — just quickly — address 700 strategic delivery vehicles, deployed delivery vehicles, another 100 not deployed, 800 total, and then 1,550 warheads. And that of course is across the enterprise, including our Navy teammates. The bottom line is that there are still decisions pending on how to go about reaching those new START central targets, and I would expect that that would unfold in the ’14 program.

With respect to your question on the mix, it remains our conviction that small — that especially as you go down in terms of nuclear force structure, that the triad actually becomes more important, the diversity, the variety, the attributes associated with each leg of the triad actually reinforce each other to a greater degree.

So I would certainly expect, and will offer best military advice, recommending that we retain the triad even as we go to lower numbers.

Back here, please.

Q: You mentioned that there’s commitment to the next-generation bomber, the F-35 and the next-generation tanker. Do you have concerns about these various programs coming into production at one time? And what effect might that have on resources?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: Well, in —

Q: (Inaudible) — about the timelines a little bit.

GEN. SCHWARTZ: — in fact, you know, there is a stagger there. Clearly, the F-35 is currently in low-rate, initial production. The new tanker will begin to deliver in the ’15 and ’16 period. And of course, we’re talking about the bomber post-2020. So, clearly this is a challenge in terms of sequencing this in a way that meets budget targets, but the bottom line is these are important capabilities for the nation and ones that we will make sacrifices elsewhere to sustain.

Over here, sir.

Q: (Inaudible.) The plan unveiled yesterday talks about or points to the retirement of older C-5s and C-130s. How confident are you, given the intense global demand for airlift, that the Air Force can continue to deliver on that front, especially when we’re talking about continuing to operate in places like Afghanistan or shifting to the Pacific?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: Sure. The force sizing construct that we’re dealing with, which produces lesser number of brigade combat teams, for example, also has implications for the size of the Air Force. And so our assessment is that the strategic airlift force, pegged at the 275 aircraft level — that is, 223 C-17s and 52 C-5 — reliability — re-engine and reliability improvement program modified aircraft — are sufficient to satisfy the demand for dedicated military airlift, strategic airlift.

And with respect to the C-130s, an inventory of 318 modernized C-130s likewise is sufficient to provide the intratheater support.

So this is an analytically based approach. You asked me if I’m comfortable. I am. And importantly, the other — the combatant commanders concerned in this instance are as well.

Yes, sir. Back here.

Q: Sir, I want to get back to Tony’s (sp) question about reversibility writ large across the program going forward. How is the Air Force going to address that across the board as far as force structure? Are you talking about keeping things in the bone yard, putting capacity with contractors to surge if needed? How is this being dealt with across the whole program?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: Reversibility has a different flavor for the Navy and for the Air Force, perhaps, than it does for the ground forces. Both the Navy and the Air Force are major capital end-item intensive. And so when you think about reversibility, one needs to think about what programs do you have in train that really serve the role of modernization or recapitalization? Because there are long leads associated, obviously, with major end items.

And in each of the major disciplines, I think you will find in this program, and certainly outlined in the defense strategic guidance, commitment to those programs that will allows us to either — to expand, if necessary, on an established program that would compensate for the unexpected. And I think it’s certainly true with the tanker. It is true with the bomber, F-35, space programs similarly, OK?

Yes, sir. Right here.

Q: Sir, by what process did the Air Force determine that it could (inaudible) six fighter squadrons rather than 10 or 12 or however many? And have you identified which squadrons you’re talking about and where those are based?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: The basic approach was a — there was an analytical approach associated with what is known in — the jargon is case 3 scenario. It’s one of the baseline scenarios that the department uses to conduct force sizing analysis and so on. And that assessment, based again on the new strategy — not the QDR, but the new defense strategic guidance — and we — and this addresses your question as well, sir — came to the conclusion that we had somewhat excess capacity on the fighter side. And that was the driving — that was the driver for the choices that were made here.

The mix of this was — again, had to do with emphasizing multi-role over those kinds of aircraft with more niche or less versatility, because in a smaller force I think you can appreciate the mandate, the necessity for maximum versatility.

CAPT KIRBY: We have time for just two more, sir.

Q: Sir, is the decision to probably mothball the Global Hawks a reflection of the drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan; that we just don’t need as much ISR? Is there a broader lesson?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: I don’t think so. In fact, my combatant commander colleagues would probably indicate to you that there has been suppressed demand for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance outside the Central Command area for a number of years. And so it is not our expectation that when combat operations subside, that the demand for ISR generally will come down dramatically. We believe that some substantial proportion of that capacity will be reapplied in other theaters where — who have been underserved for a significant period of time, OK?

Q: What do you plan to do with the C-27Js that you’re getting rid of?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: Disposition is not clear. At — one option clearly is to put them in type-1,000 or type-2,000 storage at Davis- Monthan Air Force Base at the bone yard. And that will — that’s probably our best option.

Q: What does that mean in layman’s terms?

GEN. SCHWARTZ: I’m sorry, forgive me. My fault. Type-1000 storage is essentially recoverable storage. You don’t use the airplanes for spare parts. You don’t pick and choose and cherry- pick, which type-2000 storage allows you to do. So obviously, type-1000 storage is more expensive. It requires sort of ongoing surveillance and so on. So that — the disposition is not final-final, but those are the options.

(Cross talk.)

If I — if I can just conclude, sir, by saying that we have talked about lots of things here today. I would just like to remind that the real power of our Air Force, like our sister services, is our people, our Airmen, in this case, and not only the excellence that they strive to provide, but the commitment that their families offer us on a daily basis.

So again, while we tend to focus on things, I just want to remind that this is really about wonderful people doing the nation’s business.

Thanks very much.

 

Anonymous Retaliates For Megaupload Raids: 10 Key Facts

Hacktivists launch DDoS attacks on FBI, Justice Department, music and movie producers, in part using disguised links that trick people into assisting the assault.

By Mathew J. Schwartz, InformationWeek
January 20, 2012


The Department of Justice takedown Thursday of Megaupload and sister site Megavideo triggered a rapid retaliation from the hacktivist group known as Anonymous, which proceeded to knock the DOJ’s website offline.

The tussle came in response to the Justice Department’s 72-page indictment, unsealed Thursday in Virginia, which charged seven executives of Megaupload, which is based in Hong Kong, with copyright infringement and operating a criminal enterprise. According to the indictment, Megaupload generated $175 million in subscription and advertising revenue, while costing copyright holders $500 million in lost revenue.

Accompanying international raids saw 20 search warrants served in nine countries, including the United States, and $50 million in assets seized. Meanwhile, three of the accused, including 37-year old Kim Dotcom–a citizen of both Finland and Germany who also goes by the name Kim Tim Jim Vestor, and whose real name is Kim Schmitz–were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand. Four other people named in the indictment, however, remain at large.

Here’s where the Megaupload story stands now:

1. Raids inflame political debate. The timing of the FBI’s raid against one of the Internet’s most popular file-locker sites was sure to serve as a flashpoint for many people who just one day previously had joined in what was billed as the largest online protest in history. Notably, they were demonstrating against proposed anti-piracy legislation–the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA)–which is backed by copyright enforcers but derided by others as being a threat to free speech, as well as the stability of the Internet.

2. Anonymous responds with massive DDoS attack. The DOJ raids led Anonymous to launch Thursday what it said was the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in history, which took down the websites of the Department of Justice, FBI, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and Universal Music Group. Anonymous said 5,635 people had participated by using its low orbit ion cannon tool for flooding websites with fake packets, thus triggering a DDoS. It promised more “Operation MegaUpload” attacks would follow.

3. DOJ questions Anonymous assertions. A post to the AnonOps Twitter channel–a reliable source of Anonymous-related activities–late Thursday read: “One thing is certain: EXPECT US! #Megaupload.” In response to the DOJ website outage which then occurred, however, an agency spokeswoman told CNN, “We are having website problems, but we’re not sure what it’s from.” But just one hour after threatening the takedown, AnonOps announced: “justice.gov & universalmusic.com TANGO DOWN! You should have EXPECT US! #Megaupload.”

4. Anonymous links launch auto-attacks. Unlike past attacks, with “OpMegaUpload” Anonymous appears to have not just relied on willing volunteers. “This time, things are slightly different: you only have to click on a Web link to launch a DDoS attack,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in a blog post. He said many of these links–which point to pastehtml.com–had been circulating in disguised form via Twitter, and warned that clicking on said links would execute a DDoS attack (which are illegal), unless JavaScript was disabled in the browser.

5. Megaupload was mega-popular. The Justice Department, in its indictment, claimed that traffic to Megaupload and its sister sites–50 million visitors daily, on average–accounted for 4% of all Internet traffic. Statistics from Google AdSense, meanwhile, put the average number of daily visitors to Megaupload, over the past year, at about 6 million, and said the site’s traffic accounted for about 1.4% of all Internet traffic. By either measure, then, Megaupload was one of the most popular sites on the Internet.

6. Indictment hinged on Virginia servers. Given the push by the RIAA and MPAA for SOPA and PIPA to target rogue foreign websites hosting pirated content, does the DOJ’s indictment signal that such legislation isn’t necessary? In fact, the DOJ was able to claim jurisdiction only because some of Megaupload’s servers were based in Virginia.

7. Copyright enforcers signal elation. The RIAA Thursday issued a statement saying the indictment–and the alleged charges–demonstrated “a sinister scheme to generate massive profits through the distribution of the stolen intellectual property of others.” The RIAA labeled the related raids as “a historic blow against one of the most notorious illegal distribution hubs in the world,” and plugged SOPA and PIPA as a way to continue the press, saying that “if this service were hosted and operated, for example, in a foreign country, our government would be essentially powerless to do anything about it.”

8. Executives dismiss allegations. After the federal indictment was unsealed, however, a lawyer for Megaupload characterized the action as “a civil case in disguise,” and said the company would “vigorously” defend itself, reported the Guardian.

9. Feds captured conversations. But Megaupload’s defense could be complicated by the federal indictment, which cites emails in which executives reported searching their own service for copies of Sopranos episodes. Meanwhile, two joked that “we have a funny business … modern days pirates :)” in a chat transcript quoted in the indictment.

10. Filesharing remains highly politicized. Megaupload was a self-described “online storage and file delivery service,” more commonly labeled as a “media file locker” by users. Critics, on the other hand, often derided it as an “illegal distribution hub.” A decade after the death of Napster, that variation in language highlights the political debate that continues to underpin not just the Megaupload story, but broader questions of copyright protection and Internet freedom.

 

Air Force: Underperforming programs will suffer in 2013 budget

Monday – 1/23/2012, 7:22am ET

FederalRadioNews

Jared Serbu

Programs that aren’t meeting cost and schedule will be in trouble when the Pentagon releases its leaner budget for next year, the Air Force’s top acquisition official said Friday.

David Van Buren, the Air Force’s acquisition executive, didn’t name any specific programs that will be scaled back or cancelled as a result of the budget cutbacks expected to be announced in February. But he said when the fiscal year 2013 spending plan is released it will be clear to industry and observers that the Pentagon is taking a more incremental approach to acquisition, and putting a premium on performance.

“As in real estate you look at location, location, location, I can tell you that what we’re looking for now is performance, performance, performance,” Van Buren told an AFCEA Northern Virginia crowd Friday afternoon. “The budget for fiscal 2013 did not look kindly on non-performing programs. That’s the message out of this. If you get out of the gate, you perform, things are going to be pretty solid. But nonperforming programs are going to suffer here in the way we go forward.”

Also, Van Buren said, industry should expect to see a more distributed strategy to the way the Air Force allocates funding for acquisition programs. In the current year’s budget, he said, the Air Force’s top ten most expensive programs accounted for almost half of its spending. He said that won’t be the case next year.

“This whole budget activity is driving what I’ll call incrementalism,” he said. “And that incrementalism is looking at our requirements, looking at our research and development, and how we transition that research and development activity. Not just putting it on the shelf for perpetuity, but looking at productize that in the future. How we execute our acquisition strategies, from better business deals to how we look at spending the taxpayer dollar as if it was our own has really taken over the building right now.”

Van Buren said he thinks the Air Force has gotten a lot better in recent years about specifying its requirements to industry, and conducting fair and transparent competitions. He said the most recent acquisition for a new aerial refueling tanker was a prime example.

Another Air Force acquisition priority, he said, is to increase the distribution of contract funds to small businesses. Van Buren said there’s good news and bad news on that front: Most of the service’s major commands are far exceeding the Air Force’s overall 17 percent small business goal, with some of them awarding more than half of their contracts to small businesses. But he said those commands aren’t where the real money is. It’s in the big spending organizations like Air Force Space Command and Air Force Materiel Command.

“The problem there is that most of those programs are very large,” he said. “Satellites, freighters, rockets, bombers. A lot of small businesses aren’t in those markets. So we’re trying to do our best to look at debundling activities and other approaches which will get us up. We have a challenge. If we don’t do anything, we’re going to slip down into an unsatisfactory situation.”

One area where the Air Force plans to allocate a healthy chunk of small business spending is on its upcoming NETCENTS 2 contracts for information technology modernization. It’s the follow-on to the current NETCENTS contract vehicles, which the Air Force has had to extend several times because of delays in making awards on the new set of multiple award procurements, which are worth up to $24 billion dollars.

But Van Buren promised this year is finally the year.

“You can say this thing was delayed and delayed and delayed,” he said. “But the reason why is that there were so many people who bid on these programs that it was just a huge task for (Air Force Electronic Systems Command) to go through and do the careful source selection they’ve been working on. They really have spend the time on trying to give everyone a fair shake in this program.”

Van Buren said the Air Force expects up to $11 billion dollars out of the overall $24 billion to go to small businesses. Among other things, NETCENTS 2 will give the Air Force access to outside help as it tries to break down its stovepiped IT systems and build a coherent network enterprise.

“What we had was a wide distribution of little nooks and crannies and little programs that didn’t interconnect in a major architecture,” he said. “It didn’t matter whether it was IT or cyber or battlefield surveillance. We’ve redirected the MITRE Corporation into a more architectural and system engineering organization to try to get into that. I hope we can move as fast as you would want into that, and away from buying bits and pieces and hoping or wishing that they would all connect together.”

He said the Air Force still faces that disjointed IT problem with its enterprise resource planning systems. Van Buren the service’s earlier efforts with regard to ERP’s weren’t very thoughtful, attempting to take a big bang approach rather than implementing functionality in an incremental way.

But he says the ERP failures weren’t all the Air Force’s fault.

“The performance of ERP systems is not good,” he said. “But that says something about the industrial base. I think for industry, there’s a little bit of looking in the mirror here. I think some of this is looking introspectively about how to get this done, because we need a new system. We’re maintaining or sustaining something on the order of 250 different systems for logistics support. That’s tough stuff, you know?”

 

A BRAC for Everything

By Charles S. Clark Friday, January 20, 2012 11:41 AM

Govexec.com

 

When released in 2005, the recommendations of the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closing Commission made a lot of people unhappy. But that didn’t halt the emergence of the term “BRAC-like” among advocates of various recent proposals for reorganizing government.

Last winter, both the Office of Management and Budget and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., offered proposals for a new BRAC-like body to tap private-sector expertise for selling off excess federal properties. In November the Energy Department’s inspector general proposed a BRAC-like body to “to rationalize DOE’s research and development laboratories.”

On Thursday, the Center for American Progress, a think tank with the ear of the Obama administration, packaged a set of papers on how to reorganize the government’s business, trade and science functions to maximize economic growth and job creation. In familiar language, it called upon the “administration and Congress to create a bipartisan commission to consider and then implement these kinds of reforms to our federal science and economic competitiveness programs. The new commission, modeled after the so-called Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission that enabled the Department of Defense to restructure our military bases so effectively, would be able to overcome congressional and executive branch inertia to retool our innovation engine for competitiveness in the 21st century.”

 

Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb-Iran?

NYTimes

By BILL KELLER

O.K., Mr. President, here’s the plan. Sometime in the next few months you order the Department of Defense to destroy Iran’s nuclear capacity. Yes, I know it’s an election year, and some people will say this is a cynical rally-round-the-flag move on your part, but a nuclear Iran is a problem that just won’t wait.

Our pre-emptive strike, designated Operation Yes We Can, will entail bombing the yellowcake-conversion plant at Isfahan, the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo, the heavy-water reactor at Arak, and various centrifuge-manufacturing sites near Natanz and Tehran. True, the Natanz facility is buried under 30 feet of reinforced concrete and surrounded by air defenses, but our new bunker-buster, the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, will turn the place into bouncing rubble. Fordo is more problematic, built into the side of a mountain, but with enough sorties we can rattle those centrifuges. Excuse me? Does that take care of everything? Um, that we know of.

Civilian casualties? Not a big deal, sir, given the uncanny accuracy of our precision-guided missiles. Iran will probably try to score sympathy points by trotting out dead bodies and wailing widows, but the majority of the victims will be the military personnel, engineers, scientists and technicians working at the facilities. Fair game, in other words.

Critics will say that these surgical strikes could easily spark a full-blown regional war. They will tell you that the Revolutionary Guard — not the most predictable bunch — will lash out against U.S. and allied targets, either directly or through terrorist proxies. And the regime might actually close off the vital oil route through the Strait of Hormuz. Not to worry, Mr. President. We can do much to mitigate these threats. For one thing, we can reassure the Iranian regime that we just want to eliminate their nukes, not overthrow the government — and of course they will take our word for it, if we can figure out how to convey the message to a country with which we have no formal contacts. Maybe post it on Facebook?

To be sure, we could just let the Israelis do the bombing. Their trigger fingers are getting itchier by the day. But they probably can’t do the job thoroughly without us, and we’d get sucked into the aftermath anyway. We might as well do it right and get the credit. Really, sir, what could possibly go wrong?

The scenario above is extracted from an article by Matthew Kroenig in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. (The particulars are Kroenig’s; the mordant attitude is mine.) Kroenig, an academic who spent a year as a fellow at the Obama administration’s Defense Department, apparently aspires to the Strangelovian superhawk role occupied in previous decades by the likes of John Bolton and Richard Perle. His former colleagues at Defense were pretty appalled by his article, which combines the alarmist worst case of the Iranian nuclear threat with the rosiest best case of America’s ability to make things better. (Does this remind you of another pre-emptive war in a country beginning with I?)

This scenario represents one pole in a debate that is the most abused foreign policy issue in this presidential campaign year. The opposite pole, also awful to contemplate, is the prospect of living with a nuclear Iran. In that case, the fear of most American experts is not that Iran would decide to incinerate Israel. (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does a good impression of an evil madman, but Iran is not suicidal.) The more realistic dangers, plenty scary, are that a conventional conflict in that conflict-prone neighborhood would spiral into Armageddon, or that Iran would extend its protective nuclear umbrella over menacing proxies like Hezbollah, or that Arab neighbors would feel obliged to join the nuclear arms race.

For now, American policy lives between these poles of attack and acquiescence, in the realm of uncertain calculation and imperfect options. If you want to measure your next president against a hellish dilemma, here’s your chance.

In the Republican field we have one candidate (Rick Santorum) who is about as close as you can get to the bomb-sooner-rather-than-later extreme, another (Ron Paul) who is at the let-Iran-be-Iran extreme, and Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are in between. Of particular interest is Romney, who has performed the same rhetorical trick with Iran that he did with health care. That is, he condemns Obama for doing pretty much what Romney would do.

Although much about Iran’s theocracy is murky, a few assumptions are widely accepted by specialists in and out of government.

First, for all its denials, the Iranian regime is determined to acquire nuclear weapons, or at least the capacity to make them quickly in the event of an outside threat. Having a nuclear option is seen as a matter of Persian pride and national survival in the face of enemies (namely us) who the Iranians believe are bent on toppling the Islamic state. The nuclear program is popular in Iran, even with many of the opposition figures admired in the West. The actual state of the program is not entirely clear, but the best open-source estimates are that if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered full-speed-ahead — which there is no sign he has done — they could have an actual weapon in a year or so.

American policy has been consistent through the Bush and Obama administrations: (1) a declaration that a nuclear Iran is “unacceptable”; (2) a combination of sticks (sanctions) and carrots (supplies of nuclear fuel suitable for domestic industrial needs in exchange for forgoing weapons); (3) unfettered international inspections; (4) a refusal to take military options off the table; (5) a concerted effort to restrain Israel from attacking Iran unilaterally — beyond the Israelis’ presumed campaign to slow Iran’s progress by sabotage and assassination; and (6) a wish that Iran’s hard-liners could be replaced by a more benign regime, tempered by a realization that there is very little we can do to make that happen. This is also the gist of Romney’s Iran playbook, for all his bluster about Obama the appeaser.

In practice, Obama’s policy promises to be tougher than Bush’s. Because Obama started out with an offer of direct talks — which the Iranians foolishly spurned — world opinion has shifted in our direction. We may now have sufficient global support to enact the one measure that would be genuinely crippling — a boycott of Iranian oil. The administration and the Europeans, with help from Saudi Arabia, are working hard to persuade such major Iranian oil customers as Japan and South Korea to switch suppliers. The Iranians take this threat to their economic livelihood seriously enough that people who follow the subject no longer minimize the chance of a naval confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz. It’s not impossible that we will get war with Iran even without bombing its nuclear facilities.

That’s not the only problem with the current — let’s call it the Obamney — approach to Iran.

The point of tough sanctions, of course, is to force Iranians to the bargaining table, where we can do a deal that removes the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran. (You can find some thoughts on what such a deal might entail on my blog.) But the mistrust is so deep, and the election-year pressure to act with manly resolve is so intense, that it’s hard to imagine the administration would feel free to accept an overture from Tehran. Anything short of a humiliating, unilateral Iranian climb-down would be portrayed by the armchair warriors as an Obama surrender. Likewise, if Israel does decide to strike out on its own, Bibi Netanyahu knows that candidate Obama will feel immense pressure to go along.

That short-term paradox comes wrapped up in a long-term paradox: an attack on Iran is almost certain to unify the Iranian people around the mullahs and provoke the supreme leader to redouble Iran’s nuclear pursuits, only deeper underground this time, and without international inspectors around. Over at the Pentagon, you sometimes hear it put this way: Bombing Iran is the best way to guarantee exactly what we are trying to prevent.

 

Hackers-for-Hire Are Easy to Find

WSJ.com

By CASSELL BRYAN-LOW

Sitting in his Los Angeles home, Kuwaiti billionaire Bassam Alghanim received an alarming call from a business associate: Hundreds of his personal emails were posted online for anyone to see.

Mr. Alghanim checked and found it to be true, according to a person familiar with the matter. The emails included information on his personal finances, legal affairs, even his pharmacy bills, this person said.

That led to another surprise. Mr. Alghanim discovered the person who had allegedly commissioned the hackers was his own brother, with whom he is fighting over how to divide up billions of dollars of joint assets. Mr. Alghanim’s lawyers allege in court filings that the brother hired investigators to illegally access his email with the help of Chinese hackers. Cost to hire the hackers: about $400.

Although the brothers’ feud involves big money, documents filed in two civil cases in September 2009 suggests just how simple and affordable online espionage has become. Computer forensic specialists say some hackers-for-hire openly market themselves online. “It’s not hard to find hackers,” says Mikko Hyppönen of computer-security firm F-Secure Corp.

One such site, hiretohack.net, advertises online services including being able to “crack” passwords for major email services in less than 48 hours. It says it charges a minimum of $150, depending on the email provider, the password’s complexity and the urgency of the job. The site describes itself as a group of technology students based in Europe, U.S. and Asia.

Hiretohack.net’s claims couldn’t immediately be verified, and the group didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mischel Kwon, who runs a security-consulting firm and is the former director of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a government organization known as US-CERT, says the hacker-for-hire industry is well established. Some are one- or two-person outfits, but there are also larger “organized crime” groups,” she said. She and other specialists note that it is also easy to find tools online that assist in hacking into someone’s email.

The issue of hacking and online espionage has gained prominence recently. In December, The Wall Street Journal reported that hackers in China breached the computer defenses of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A month earlier, a Paris court fined French energy giant Électricité de France SA €1.5 million, or about $1.9 million, for directing an investigator to hack into the computers of environmental group Greenpeace in 2006. In the U.K., authorities are investigating allegations of hacking by News Corp.’s recently closed tabloid, News of the World. News Corp., which has said it is cooperating with police, also owns The Wall Street Journal.

China appears to be a source of a significant proportion of attacks. In an October 2011 report to Congress, the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive said that U.S. economic information and technology are targeted by industry and government from dozens of countries but that attackers based in China “are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.”

A U.K. government report took a shot at putting numbers to the problem last year: It estimated that computer-related industrial espionage cost U.K. businesses about £7.6 billion, or about $11.8 billion, annually in loss of information that could hurt a company’s chances of winning open tenders, and loss of merger-related information. Cyber intellectual-property theft cost business an additional £9.2 billion annually, it estimated.

The problem is under-measured because many victims are reluctant to report attacks to protect their reputation. The Alghanims’ dispute, however, provides a rare look at detailed hacking allegations.

The spat between the two brothers involves the divvying up of a sprawling business empire originally founded by their father. The brothers, Kutayba and Bassam, 66 years old and 60, respectively, are both U.S.-educated Kuwaiti citizens.

The allegations of email hacking are detailed in litigation filed by Bassam in the U.K. and the U.S. According to his court filings, his older brother, Kutayba Alghanim, along with the brother’s son and the company’s chief legal officer, allegedly stole thousands of pages of emails over more than a year.

Bassam’s lawyer said his client “was horrified to discover the privacy of his email accounts had been compromised.”

A lawyer representing Kutayba and his son declined to comment on the hacking allegations or make the men available for comment. A lawyer representing the son’s chief legal officer declined to comment. In the U.S. lawsuit—the one in which the three men are named as defendants—none has addressed the hacking allegations. The three men aren’t named as defendants in the U.K. action.

Bassam is based in Los Angeles, while Kutayba and his son primarily live in Kuwait but maintain residences in the U.S., including a 16,000-square-foot Manhattan mansion and a 48-acre Long Island estate, according to Bassam’s legal filings. Their fight has included a U.K. High Court civil case and a separate civil case in U.S. Federal Court in New York.

In the U.K., a judge recently concluded that the two defendants in that case, both British investigators, arranged the hacking. In that October decision, Justice Peter Smith also said the evidence showed that the hacking was carried out at the direction of Kutayba, his son and the chief legal officer, although they weren’t defendants in that case.

“It is clear, on the evidence I have,” that the trio orchestrated the computer hacking, Mr. Smith said in his ruling.

In the U.S. civil case, Kutayba, his son and the legal officer are named as defendants. Documents filed in federal court in New York allege the three directed the hacking and violated federal and state laws including computer misuse.

One of the two private investigators admitted to the U.K. court that he had hacked Bassam’s email and said he did it at the orders of the second investigator. After the first investigator began cooperating with Bassam’s lawyers, the legal action against him was stayed. The second investigator denied hacking; the judge found him in breach of civil laws on privacy and confidence.

Kutayba’s legal filings argue that his brother is trying to avoid earlier agreements requiring their asset-split dispute to be handled by a Kuwaiti arbitrator. “Bassam has done everything in his power to avoid his obligations, including his obligation to arbitrate,” Kutayba said in U.S. court filings.

In November in New York, the judge stayed the U.S. case pending a ruling by a Kuwait arbitrator on the dispute.

The two brothers were once close—they used to share homes in New York, Los Angeles and Kuwait, according to a person familiar with the matter. But they fell out a few years ago, according to Bassam’s U.S. filings. One source of tension was an effort by Kutayba to promote his eldest son, Omar Alghanim, as heir to the family business, a person familiar with the matter said. Omar is a former Morgan Stanley analyst and founding shareholder of New York merger firm Perella Weinberg Partners LP.

Omar currently is chief executive of the family company, Alghanim Industries, a conglomerate that distributes electronics, among other things. The company’s chief legal officer is Waleed Moubarak, the man who is alleged, along with Kutayba and his son, to have commissioned the hacking. Mr. Moubarak didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Unable to reconcile, the brothers decided to divide their jointly held assets. Included is Alghanim Industries and other businesses; a stake in Kuwait’s Gulf Bank; residential properties in New York, London, Los Angeles, Kuwait and elsewhere; a $450 million portfolio; and $100 million in art, according to Bassam’s U.S. and U.K. court filings.

The two continued to feud even after signing a March 2008 memorandum of understanding, according to U.S. court filings by both. That memorandum, included in Kutayba’s filings, describes a 60:40 ownership split between Kutayba and Bassam, respectively, of their Kuwait-based assets and an even split of overseas assets.

As the dispute escalated, Kutayba and his associates turned to Steven McIntyre, a private investigator near London, according to documents filed in the U.K. court by Bassam and Mr. McIntyre. Mr. McIntyre, in turn, enlisted the help of Timothy Zimmer, a forensic investigator and then-colleague, and in mid-2008 asked him to gain access to Bassam’s two personal email accounts, according to a witness statement by Mr. Zimmer in U.K. court.

A lawyer who represented Mr. McIntyre during the U.K. proceedings declined to comment. Mr. McIntyre didn’t respond to requests seeking comment.

In his witness statement, Mr. Zimmer said he contacted an organization called Invisible Hacking Group, which he had previously used for security-testing of web-based email accounts.

Little is known about IHG. Mr. Zimmer, in his witness statement, said IHG instructed him to send payment to Chengdu, a city in China. The legal filings don’t indicate how Mr. Zimmer and IHG first came in contact.

Today, IHG doesn’t appear to have an online presence, although there are a few message-board posts from 2004 under that name offering computer-monitoring services for a few hundred dollars a month. “Do you want to know what your business competitors are doing online everyday?” the message reads. An email sent to an address in the message bounced back.

According to Mr. Zimmer’s statement, the IHG service worked like this: It requested the target person’s email address, the names of friends or colleagues, and examples of topics that interest them. The hackers would then send an email to the target that sounded as if it came from an acquaintance, but which actually installed malicious software on the target’s computer. The software would let the hackers capture the target’s email password.

Mr. Zimmer forwarded Bassam’s email addresses to IHG, according to his witness statement. IHG then sent him the passwords to Bassam’s email accounts, for which he paid £256 (about $400) to the China address, he said.

Using the passwords, Mr. Zimmer printed Bassam’s emails—filling eight ring binders—and gave them to Mr. McIntyre, according to Mr. Zimmer’s statement. Mr. McIntyre initially personally delivered them to Omar, Kutayba’s son, first on his yacht moored at the Italian island of Capri and then, via a colleague, on his yacht in Sardinia, according to Bassam’s U.K. and U.S. filings.

To make the process of obtaining the emails more efficient, the investigators set up a password-protected website, jackshome.info, to which they uploaded copies of the emails, Bassam’s U.K. and U.S. court filings allege.

Bassam alleges that his brother and his associates accessed thousands of pages of emails, according to the U.K. and U.S. court filings. The private investigators received more than $200,000 for their alleged hacking services over 13 months, according to Bassam’s U.S. filings.

The operation was tripped up in August 2009 when one of Bassam’s advisers found some of the emails online, according to U.K. filings. Because of a glitch, documents uploaded to the password-protected website were actually accessible via Google search, the filings said.

In September 2009, Mr. Zimmer and Mr. McIntyre’s colleague flew to New York to explain what went wrong to Omar and Mr. Moubarak, Mr. Zimmer said in his witness statement. The men gathered in a suite at the luxury Carlyle Hotel. Omar, who “was getting very worked up,” according to Mr. Zimmer’s statement, said in the meeting that not only did he want to get back into Bassam’s email accounts but he also wanted access to the email of another family member close to Bassam.

In his U.K. witness statement, Mr. Zimmer admitted he hacked Bassam’s emails and said Mr. McIntyre instructed him to do so.

Mr. McIntyre disputed the hacking allegations in a letter to the court, but said he couldn’t afford to attend court. According to the October judgment, Mr. McIntyre said he was “too ill and too distressed, too oppressed” to attend. The judge hasn’t yet ruled on whether Mr. McIntyre will have to pay damages.

 

White House to unveil budget plan in mid-February

By Ed O’Keefe

Washington Post


(Joshua Roberts – BLOOMBERG) The White House plans to release its proposed 2013 federal budget on Feb. 13, the Office of Management and Budget said Monday.

The budget release date is later than in past administrations and is traditionally released on the first Monday in February. But it is consistent with the release of President Obama’s 2012 budget on Feb. 14 last year.

OMB, which drafts and releases the budget proposal, said it does not plan to print complementary paper copies of the budget for the news media, in keeping with the Obama administration’s push to reduce unnecessary or frivolous spending.

Earlier this month, budget director Jacob Lew was named White House chief of staff. Obama appointed Jeffrey Zients to serve another round as OMB acting director.

The budget will be posted online for free, and the Government Printing Office also plans to sell paper copies, OMB said.

The administration has identified dozens of ways to curtail spending, most of which involve cutting back on printing costs.

 

 

NSA Releases SE Android With Better Sandboxing, Access-Control Policies


Eweek

By: Fahmida Y. Rashid
2012-01-19

The National Security Agency has publicly released SE Android, a secure version of Google’s mobile operating system.

A security-enhanced version of Android, SE Android would enforce stricter access-control policies and better sandboxing than what is currently available in the most up-to-date version of Google Android. The NSA announced the project at the Linux Security Summit in September and released the first version Jan. 6.

SE Android is based on SE Linux, a hardened version of Linux that the NSA initially released in 2000. Several SE Linux components have eventually made it back into the official Linux kernel as well as various Linux distributions, Solaris and FreeBSD.

“Security Enhanced (SE) Android is a project to identify and address critical gaps in the security of Android,” the agency wrote in the project documentation.

As designed, SE Android would isolate applications from each other, mitigate problems introduced by flawed or malicious applications, prevent applications from accessing system resources, ensure proper permission levels and perform security checks. Every file and folder on the device can be individually locked and encrypted, and WiFi and mobile network security features have been enhanced.

Android’s application security model allows applications run by a particular user to have access to all the files and resources normally available to that user. This has been an issue with applications having too much control over device elements like Bluetooth and the camera. SE Android uses Mandatory Access Control, which relies on policies to restrict the system resources available to the application regardless of user permissions.

“Even if an application were to break out its security sandbox, it would have limited ability to affect core system functionality,” Cameron Camp, an ESET researcher, wrote on the ESET Threat Blog.

The team is expected to further incorporate SE Android into Application Layer Security, to thwart unauthorized access and compromised programs at the application layer instead of letting it reach the kernel.

The NSA does not appear to be offering SE Android as the answer to all kernel issues, according to a presentation from the Linux Security Summit, but it suggested that many existing exploits would have been stopped with SE Android. Published Android root exploits, such as GingerBreak, Exploid or RageAgainstTheCage, target vulnerabilities in Android services and launch processes. SE Android can block the GingerBreak exploit at six different steps during its execution, depending on how strict the enforced policies are, NSA’s Stephen Smalley said in the presentation.

NSA is clearly targeting mobile developers, security experts and device manufacturers who need to implement strict access-control policies, such as the ones mandated by the U.S. Department of Defense, in mobile devices and applications.

While it remains to be seen if SE Android will see widespread commercial adoption, it seems to indicate a growing role for Android in enterprise settings where SE platforms are currently deployed, according to Camp. “Having more security options for the mobile platform seems like a move in a positive direction,” Camp said.

Installing SE Android—still in its early stages—is a fairly complex process as there are no precompiled binaries available. Interested users and developers would need to download and build the official Android Open Source Project source code before obtaining patches and modifications from the SE Android code repositories. However, some developers are already discussing plans to release packaged versions to make it easier to work with.

 

Air Force’s cyber leader says communication, information

role shifting

Posted 1/27/2012   

by Robert Goetz
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

1/27/2012 – JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — The Air Force’s leader in cyberspace operations and support told communications and information career field members here how emerging technology and the information superhighway are changing their roles and providing them with challenges and opportunities.

Lt. Gen. William T. Lord, the Air Force chief of warfighting integration and chief information officer, presented CyberVision 2020, an initiative to transform the communications and information community, during a town hall meeting here Jan. 11 sponsored by Headquarters Air Education and Training Command A6.

Lord called the transition to cyberspace operations and support a “culture shift” from traditional information assurance to mission assurance. He compared the journey of communications and information service members and civilians to a roller coaster ride.

“I used to say that the roller coaster ride was on the incline,” he said. “I think the roller coaster ride you are on, whether you want to be on it or not, is at the top and it’s begun to free fall. What we want to do is shape where we’re going in cyber so that, one, we get there safely; two, that maybe you can enjoy the ride while we’re at it; but three, that the important things we have always done don’t get lost on the ride and at the same time we arrive in a new place.”

A video that preceded Lord’s address and slide show presentation traced the communications and information career field’s evolution from its role in the U.S. Army Signal Corps before World War I to cyberspace today. Now effects can be achieved “on the battlefield with nonkinetic tools” through five core competencies: cyberspace operation, knowledge, cyberspace operation support, warfighting integration and cyberspace governance.

Lord said the Air Force is “at that aspect of cyber between World War I and World War II.”

“We figured out that we can use it for other things,” he said, just as airplanes were later used “for other things than just moving information.”

Lord said the technology that is embraced by young people plays an important role in the Air Force’s cyber mission.

“Great new capability comes from some of those new devices,” he said. “We have to be able to figure out how to deliver that capability. You’ve got to deliver it fast, and we also have to deliver it securely, and sometimes those are in direct confrontation with one another.”

Lord said the tools used in the communications and information career field are already at play in the operational realm — on the flightline, where fiber optics can be found in maintenance bays, and in the aerial battle ground, where sophisticated devices such as the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node employed on airplanes are important to Army ground combat maneuver units.

“We’re going to be at wars that have maybe more capable platforms, but not as many of them,” he said. “You all are part of the community that ties that stuff together, that requires you to know some other skills that perhaps we haven’t paid as much attention to in the past as we go forward in the future.”

Lord said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s recent remarks on the future of the military in an age of budget cuts and manpower reductions underscored the importance of technology and the need to excel in cyberspace.

Cyberspace operations and support are such a priority, he noted, that the field now has its own four-star advocate, Gen. William L. Shelton, Air Force Space Command commander, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

“How cool is it that for the first time ever, we have a four-star operator who is the champion of this business?” he said.

Lord said the cyber mission faces challenges as the Air Force “gets a little smaller in the future.”

“You have an environment where we have to tie innovation together that we never thought about how to do in the past or modernize that which hasn’t been modernized for 30 or 40 years,” he said.

The initial steps in the transformation are being taken by the air staff and the Air Force Space Command, Lord said.

“There’s a couple of hundred action items that are being assigned, and that work is being staffed now to get after how we get from where we were to where we’re going,” he said.

Lord, who also answered questions from the audience, said communications and information professionals will need the “three C’s: courage, competence and creativity.” He urged them to innovate, a “wonderful mantra” from Air Education and Training Command.

“You are figuring out the mechanism by which we train all our replacements,” he said. “And it’s one of the strengths of our Air Force. There are no dumb ideas. The only dumb idea is the one that wasn’t expressed.”

 

 

 

China’s Cyber Thievery Is National Policy―And Must Be Challenged

 

 

Wall Street Journal

Submitted: January 27, 2012 – 8:15am
BY MIKE MCCONNELL, MICHAEL CHERTOFF AND WILLIAM LYNN

Only three months ago, we would have violated U.S. secrecy laws by sharing what we write here―even though, as a former director of national intelligence, secretary of homeland security, and deputy secretary of defense, we have long known it to be true. The Chinese government has a national policy of economic espionage in cyberspace. In fact, the Chinese are the world’s most active and persistent practitioners of cyber espionage today. The bottom line is this: China has a massive, inexpensive work force ravenous for economic growth. It is much more efficient for the Chinese to steal innovations and intellectual property―the source code of advanced economies―than to incur the cost and time of creating their own. They turn those stolen ideas directly into production, creating products faster and cheaper than the U.S. and others. So how to protect ourselves from this economic threat? First, we must acknowledge its severity and understand that its impacts are more long-term than immediate. And we need to respond with all of the diplomatic, trade, economic and technological tools at our disposal. The U.S. also must make broader investments in education to produce many more workers with science, technology, engineering and math skills. Corporate America must do its part, too. If we are to ever understand the extent of cyber espionage, companies must be more open and aggressive about identifying, acknowledging and reporting incidents of cyber theft.

 

 

 

Wireless bandwidth: Are we running out of room?

As mobile devices proliferate, wireless networks are edging near capacity — a potential threat to price, performance, and innovation.

 

Howard Baldwin

 
 

January 25, 2012 (Computerworld)

 

Wireless bandwidth is like land in Manhattan — it’s extremely valuable because they’re not making more of it.

But we sure are using more of it. The wireless-industry association CTIA reported in October 2011 that the number of wireless devices in the U.S. had, for the first time, exceeded the number of people.

And mobile future, a coalition of vendors and consumers, estimated in a march 2011 report that by 2014, voice traffic will comprise only 2% of the total wireless traffic in the united states — a worrisome statistic because, as the report noted, smartphones consume 24 times more data than old-school cell phones, and tablets consume 120 times more data than smartphones.

The result: Wireless networks are edging near capacity, not just in the United States, but all over the world. Credit Suisse conducted a survey last year that revealed mobile networks in North America were running at 80% of capacity, with 36% of base stations facing capacity constraints. The average globally for base station capacity utilization, the report said, was 65%.

The problem is going to get worse before it gets better. With advancements in connected cars, smart grids, machine-to-machine (m2m) communication, and domestic installations such as at-home health monitoring systems, wireless demands will only increase.

As with all things mobile, there are no simple answers, if only because potential solutions rely on agreement among a sizable and incompatible array of players — from spectrum owners (both telcos and broadcasters) and regulators to government agencies and, of course, consumers demanding the latest in cool devices and applications.

With all this sturm und drang, what happens to businesses that are increasingly relying on the productivity that mobile devices deliver? Their numbers aren’t inconsiderable: According to a recent IDC report, 75% of the North American workforce was mobile in 2010, and iPass reports that 91% of mobile workers use their smartphones for work.

Most carriers have already imposed data caps, and industry watchers say the laws of supply and demand indicate that wireless-plan prices can only go up. When at&t switched on its 4g access in 11 areas in december of 2011, at&t business solutions chief john stankey warned that if the spectrum situation remains unchanged, pricing will rise, a prediction borne out by at&t’s announcement last week of new pricing structures for its smartphone and tablet customers.

Some experts fear there could be dire consequences. Richard Bennett, senior research fellow for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), says, “If we can’t get spectrum bandwidth for more mobile devices in the next five years, prices will rise, performance will suffer, and innovation will be impaired.”

Adds scott bergmann, the ctia’s assistant vice president for regulatory affairs, “companies will have to make some hard choices, including limiting the amount of data employees can use based on job function.”

Playing nice — or not so nice

Other experts — including some it executives — opine that we’ve encountered spectrum and wireless issues like this before, and sanity has, eventually, prevailed (remember the days before roaming agreements, or the brouhaha over wireless garage door openers?).

But coming to agreement on a workable solution may not be so easy this time around.

The wireless spectrum is spoken for, which means carriers must either do more with what they have — which would require a costly build-out (as much as $40 billion to double capacity) of cell towers and base stations — or find bandwidth elsewhere. That “elsewhere” is primarily in the broadcast bandwidth, but broadcasters, unsurprisingly, aren’t interested in giving up spectrum that they’ve controlled for decades.

“Installing base stations is expensive,” explains Phil Solis, research director for mobile networks at ABI Research. “Carriers [instead] fight for spectrum, because that’s a cheaper way to add capacity. But by getting spectrum, you reduce the chance of new competitors.”

At a cq roll call panel called finite spectrum, infinite demand held in washington, d.c., last november, harold feld noted, “there’s a culture of confrontation, not cooperation, around spectrum. We have to come up with ways to approach the issue in a more collaborative fashion.” feld is director of public affairs for public knowledge, a nonprofit focusing on internet openness.

That isn’t happening. Charles golvin, principal analyst for forrester research, says, “it doesn’t matter if mother teresa makes the request. If you’re used to something, and someone tries to take it away, you’re going to object.”

So what is happening? Here’s a look at the players, their perspectives, and recent dealings.

Carriers. Carriers like at&t and verizon are in a tough position. On the one hand, they want to entice customers with new services and download speeds. But to do that, they need spectrum. At&t wanted to acquire t-mobile not for its customers, but for its spectrum. That’s also why it spent $1.9 billion in december 2011 to acquire spectrum from qualcomm, and why it’s rumored to be buying dish network.

Ditto for verizon. Also in december, it paid $3.6 billion for mobile spectrum licenses from spectrumco, a joint venture of three cable providers, and paid cox $315 million for spectrum in another deal. (and don’t forget rural carriers: they have a separate set of complaints about too much consolidation of spectrum in the hands of the large carriers.)

Data needs bandwidth, but how much?

Solving the crunch in wireless bandwidth is a difficult problem made even more challenging because data usage is so inherently different from voice usage, making it difficult for carriers to estimate demand.

“not only has the demand for capacity on our wireless networks been accelerating significantly, but it’s been accelerating in a non-scalable way,” says charles golvin, an analyst for forrester research.

“while we saw tremendous growth in penetration of mobile phones over the last 20 years, each new subscriber’s behavior, and the demands they made on the network, were predictable.” carriers could gauge demand based on the number of minutes on each subscriber’s plan, and predict capacity needed accordingly.

“over time, the carriers got better at predicting demand and how much capacity they’d need to handle another n callers on the network.”

The current problem: data usage doesn’t map to that model at all. Golvin says, “any consideration about network load is beyond [users’] consciousness. They want rich media and video when and where they want it. The ability for carriers to model the demand for capacity in total among [their] customer base, but also to model demand on a time-of-day basis, is rudimentary compared to the [voice] situation of 20 years ago.”

Broadcasters. Wireless carriers complain that tv and radio broadcasters got their spectrum for free back in the day. Broadcasters counter that they’ve invested billions in it since then. Itif president rob atkinson and other experts believe the solution lies in spectrum incentive auctions — in which broadcasters that wished to sell bandwidth would be compensated by telcos purchasing the spectrum. “only 10% of americans get their television over the air, yet broadcasters have more frequency than all four major carriers combined,” atkinson points out.

The broadcasting community counters by saying wireless carriers still have lots of unused methods for more wisely exploiting the spectrum they do have. And more to the point, broadcasters don’t want to give up spectrum because they want to be involved when mobile video service becomes common. “if data is the central driver,” national association of broadcasters coo Chris ornelas told the cq roll call panel, “let’s talk about how broadcasters can be part of that.”

Regulators. When it comes to authorizing auctions, the FCC complains that congress is dragging its heels, and vice versa. At this year’s consumer electronics show, fcc chairman julius genachowski said, “if we don’t authorize incentive auctions, we’ll get swamped by an ocean of demand and risk losing the competitive advantage to lead the world in innovation.”

Congressman cliff stearns (r-fla.), a member of the subcommittee on communications and technology, faults the fcc for moving too slowly in addressing issues within congressional bills. At the cq roll call panel, he said, “their response time has to be faster.”

At the same time, stearns wants to wait for the results of a spectrum inventory being conducted by the national telecommunications and information administration (ntia), the president’s principal adviser on telecommunications and information policy, in order to ensure spectrum is distributed fairly.

Public safety advocates. The department of defense controls extensive swaths of the wireless spectrum (by some estimates, as much as Verizon and AT&T combined), and insists that national security trumps commerce. Public safety officials tend to agree — they want spectrum for interoperability of all public safety radio channels to avoid a repeat of the 9/11 communications breakdown, when police, fire, and medical responders were communicating on different frequencies, making coordinated rescue efforts difficult. O

To counter that situation, the FCC is in favor of allocating a chunk of spectrum, known as the d block, to public safety use (fcc white paper.pdf).

How it copes with the crunch

For the most part, it execs seem content to let the spectrum drama play out as they cope with more immediate wireless concerns.

At Madison, Wisc.-based cuna mutual group, about 25% of the insurance company’s 4,000 employees use smartphones to access email remotely. Mark Winger, the company’s vice president of it for product and administration, recommends being “open and collaborative” with carriers; CUNA Mutual has relationships with both AT&T and Verizon. “we share our issues and they share theirs, and they provide us with test devices to gauge how their network works.”

At SBLI USA in New York, VP of IT Paul Capizzi has gone the opposite route for the insurance firm’s 100 employees, scaling down to one carrier (verizon) over the last five years. “it’s like a friends and family plan, where everyone shares minutes.” capizzi has adjusted the plans so that individual employees get a certain amount of minutes, but with the flexibility that if one person goes over and another goes under, it all averages out. “the last thing you want is have someone come in and say, ‘you went over on your data plan.’ ”

Like cuna mutual, sbli allows employees to use personal devices for work-related activities. That concerns Capizzi, citing the scenario where an employee might be using the device extensively on weekends. To offset increased costs of bandwidth requirements, he says, he would probably recommend subsidizing the cost of the devices based on work-related usage; anything above that would be the employee’s responsibility.

Relative to today’s usage patterns, Forrester’s Golvin sees few impending changes, saying, “some businesses might examine their communications budgets more carefully, but by and large, employers see increased productivity as a result of their employees being connected and performing whatever task is in front of them.” in other words, the mobile revolution will continue, spectrum crunch or no.

If and when prices do rise significantly or data caps become more onerous, Golvin believes employers will either invest in better management tools, so they can monitor how much employees are working versus playing games, or deploy dual-simm devices and require employees to swap out the simms for personal activities — or both.

ABI Research’s Solis agrees that companies won’t limit users in the short term, and cites another technological option. It can make sure that when people are around company locations, they’re on the company network, whether over wi-fi, or some kind of femtocell or picocell bandwidth extension devices that are part of the private network.

Golvin adds, “employees already alter their behavior to get the ‘best’ experience [from their gadgets], whether that’s the fastest, the cheapest, or with the lowest latency. End users will continue to develop more awareness of the impact of their behavior, just like they did with voice minutes.”

Full-blown crisis or short-term crunch?

Experts vacillate between calling the wireless spectrum situation a crisis or a crunch.

Based on networking experience stretching back more than 20 years, CUNA Mutual’s Winger is confident that the situation will correct itself, whether through more bandwidth or better technology.

“In the early 90s, we were dealing with narrowband technology, but the technology eventually evolved to spread spectrum, where data could hop. There are advances occurring in multiple solutions, so there are many possible alternatives,” Winger says. “we solved those issues, and we’ll solve these.”

 

 

 

Researchers unearth more Chinese links to defense contractor attacks

Symantec locates China-based staging server used in ‘Sykipot’ attacks, traces hacker to Zhejiang province

 

 

Computerworld

by Gregg Keizer

 

January 27, 2012 12:18 PM ET

 

Researchers with Symantec have uncovered additional clues that point to Chinese hacker involvement in attacks against a large number of Western companies, including major U.S. defense contractors.

The attacks use malicious pdf documents that exploit an adobe reader bug patched last month to infect windows PCs with “sykipot,” a general-purpose backdoor trojan horse.

 

Software Development Forum to shape future of network capabilities

by Katherine Kebisek

Air Force Network Integration Center

 

1/24/2012 – SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) — The Air Force Network Integration Center will host its first Software Development Forum on Feb. 7 in Colorado Springs, Colo., as part of an effort to standardize requirements for applications on the Air Force Network.

 

The event is the first in a series of planned forums to partner with industry in establishing a common set of standards for deploying systems and software onto the network, with the ultimate goal of providing secure, reliable network capabilities to Airmen faster and more cost effectively.

 

The forum is open to the public; however, it is designed for those developing and integrating applications to reside on the AFNet, specifically program managers, application owners and Department of Defense contractors developing software. This initial Software Development Forum will address what steps the Air Force is taking to prepare for changes to its software development systems and standards, and to provide a venue to solicit input from industry.

 

“The purpose of the (forum) is to get together in a collaborative environment so we can all agree on what the standards are going to be and how they will be executed,” said Steve Stoner, the AFNIC’s chief of AFNet architecture development and one of the event’s lead planners. “It’s a collaborative forum for us to inform them about what we need as well as for them to give us feedback about how we should build our network.”

 

The Air Force is currently in the process of migrating to a single integrated network environment. As the developer for that network’s architecture, AFNIC specialists are in the unique position of intimately knowing what the network environment looks like today and how it will look in the future.

 

“As you go to one singular network, you get a bigger, more complex network, and it becomes more of a challenge in some ways to field applications that work well on that,” said Lt. Col. Richard Janoso, the AFNIC vice commander. “We’ve had some folks who have rolled out an application on the network and realized there are some differences from when you’re developing in a more local environment. We want to make sure folks understand those differences.”

 

Representatives from the AFNIC, Office of the Air Force Chief Technology Officer, Defense Information Systems Agency, and Air Force Software Assurance Center of Excellence are among the presenters. Topics include networthiness, the services development and delivery process, software development standards and security, Air Force application hosting environments and case studies.

 

In addition, the team is also looking ahead, planning for the next gathering as well as an online community.

 

“We want to stand up a very interactive and collaborative website where we can post information and respond to questions … and continue the conversations,” Stoner said.

 

The next physical forum is planned for late summer 2012.

 

“We fully expect a two-way discussion with industry on all those topics,” Janoso said. “There’s plenty of experience (within industry), and we want to make sure we capitalize on that and proceed smartly as we modernize our network.”

 

For more information or to register, visit http://www.afnic.af.mil/library/softwareforum.asp.

 

 

 

 

 

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