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March 15 2012

March 18, 2014

15March2014

Newswire

 

Drones In Action: Non-Military Uses

Government agencies, universities, and a few private companies won authorization to use drones in the US. Take a peek at the drones on the job.

http://www.informationweek.com/government/mobile-and-wireless/drones-in-action-5-non-military-uses/d/d-id/1114175

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that as many as 7,500 commercial drones — ranging in size from the large wingspan of a Boeing 737 to a small radio-controlled model airplane — will be hovering in the US airspace by 2018. Beyond the military, there are numerous potential uses for drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), such as law enforcement, storm tracking, search and rescue, and aerial surveying. But managing drones domestically comes with its own challenges, which still need to be addressed by the US government and the private companies involved.

The FAA in December set up six sites to test drone operations around the country. The congressionally mandated sites are tasked with conducting research into the certification and operational requirements for safely integrating commercial drones into the national airspace. The six sites include the University of Alaska, the state of Nevada, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas A&M University/Corpus Christi, Virginia Tech, and Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York.

The FAA’s move to set up drone test locations follows the release of a roadmap in November, addressing current and future policies, regulations, and procedures that will be required as drones continue to become more mainstream. “We have made great progress in accommodating public UAS operations, but challenges remain for the safe long-term integration of both public and civil UAS in the national airspace system,” FAA administrator Michael Huerta said in the document’s introductory letter.

Safety tops the list, especially when it comes to the logistical challenges of managing drones. “Buildings, antennas, manned airplanes, and other drones can make it a chaotic place, and safety needs to be the number-one focus of those managing drone implementation,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO at BoldIQ, in an interview with InformationWeek Government. BoldIQ, a provider of optimization software, recently completed analysis of Silent Guardian, a solar-electric drone to highlight the benefits of using hybrid technology.

Companies managing drones need to consider logistical planning involving individual drone operations, coordinated drone fleet management, and incorporating drones into a “manned airspace,” all while processing enormous amounts of real-time data, according to Ganzarski. “When assessing a fleet of drones operating autonomously or even semi-autonomously, it becomes impossible for the human brain to process and manage the data to keep the entire system operating smoothly. It requires sophisticated real-time dynamic optimization software,” he said.

Beyond logistics, another issue is the security of the drones themselves, and the cargo they may be carrying. It’s vital that systems are in place to protect these expensive technologies while in flight and on the ground. Privacy is also a major concern for the public. Organizations need to make sure that UAS equipped with cameras do not violate privacy laws, said Ganzarski.

 

At the moment, almost all commercial drones are banned by the FAA. But that should change in 2015, when the agency expects to release its guidelines for safely operating drones. In the meantime, government agencies, a number of universities, and a handful of private companies are putting robotic aircraft to good use — and in some cases challenging the FAA’s authority.

A judge agreed March 6 the FAA had overreached fining businessman Raphael Pirker, who used a model aircraft to take aerial videos for an advertisement. The judge said the FAA lacked authority to apply regulations for aircraft to model aircraft. That may open the skies to a lot more privately controlled drones.

 

 

Navy network hack has valuable lessons for companies

Marine Corps databases did not receive proper updates, leaving them vulnerable to an SQL injection

http://www.csoonline.com/article/749450/navy-network-hack-has-valuable-lessons-for-companies?page=1

 

By Antone Gonsalves

March 08, 2014 — CSO — The hacking of a U.S. military network that was made easier by a poorly written contract with Hewlett-Packard offers lessons on how negotiations between customer and service provider could lead to weakened security.

The HP contract with the military did not include securing a set of Navy Department databases that were later hacked, giving the attackers, believed to be from Iran, access to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Without proper updates, the Microsoft databases became vulnerable to an SQL injection, a common hacking technique.

Cleanup costs following the discovery of the breach cost the military $10 million and led to the Navy reviewing its security efforts, the Journal said. The unclassified network hosts websites, stores non-sensitive information and handles voice, video and data communications for 800,000 users in 2,500 locations.

HP declined comment, directing queries to the Navy spokesman in charge of talking to the media. He could not be reached for comment.

Contract negotiations between the government and tech vendors have a different set of requirements than talks between private companies and service providers. Nevertheless, there are lessons to be learned and important reminders from the military snafu.

First, screw-ups in contract negotiations happen often in the government and the private sector.

“These types of poorly written contracts are common,” Edward Ferrara, analyst for Forrester Research, said. “Many vendors will interpret contracts in the strictest sense, and if the contract did not explicitly call for the remediation of these vulnerabilities, as the article seems to imply, then yes it is more than possible that the vendor would have allowed the vulnerabilities to continue and enable the resultant breach.”

One way for companies to avoid missing systems in service contracts is to create a network schematic that both parties could reference, Al Pascual, analyst for Javelin Strategy & Research, said.

“Organizations looking to avoid a similar fate should ensure that the responsibility for securing systems is clearly specified in the contract,” he said.

In the private sector, an organization’s security pros are usually left out of contract negotiations, so security lapses are often discovered after the fact, Chris Camejo, director of assessment services at NTT Com Security, said.

 

 

“That’s sort of the disease that leads to this whole problem,” Camejo said. “Security tends to get involved in these sorts of contracts way, way too late in the process.”

In Ferrara’s opinion, the lesson learned from the Navy hacking is that specifying what is not in the contract is as important as what’s covered.

“I always recommend clients build a detailed requirements traceability matrix to track the explicit requirements for each contract, defining the service to be performed, the service levels expected and the environment – network, application, or host – the service will be performed with or on,” he said. “Liability and indemnification should be clearly defined.”

Contracts should also have clearly defined processes for resolving problems and list the key decision makers.

“This is actually standard operating procedure for federal contracts,” Ferrara said. “Commercial contracts have a tendency to be not as detailed, however.”

Spelling out the responsibilities of both sides is pivotal in avoiding future problems, Roger Entner, analyst and founder of Recon Analytics, said.

“If you write a contract, you have to make it idiot proof, because the other side will follow it exactly to the letter and not more,” Entner said. “Everybody is under a profit pressure.”

 

 

Exclusive: Chinese raw materials also found on U.S. B-1 bomber, F-16 jets

BY ANDREA SHALAL

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:28pm EDT

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/10/us-usa-china-weapons-idUSBREA291UK20140310

 

(Reuters) – After discovering China-made components in the F-35 fighter jet, a Pentagon investigation has uncovered Chinese materials in other major U.S. weaponry, including Boeing Co’s B-1B bomber and certain Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighters, the U.S. Defense Department said.

Titanium mined in China may also have been used to build part of a new Standard Missile-3 IIA being developed jointly by Raytheon Co and Japan, said a senior U.S. defense official, who said the incidents raised fresh concerns about lax controls by U.S. contractors.

U.S. law bans weapons makers from using raw materials from China and a number of other countries, amid concerns that reliance on foreign suppliers could leave the U.S. military vulnerable in some future conflict.

The Pentagon investigated the incidents in 2012 and 2013, and granted the waivers after concluding the non-compliant materials posed no risk, Defense Department spokeswoman Maureen Schumann told Reuters.

Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s chief arms buyer, issued five such waivers after a change in U.S. law in 2009 expanded the restrictions on specialty metals to include high-performance magnets, Schumann said. The change affected a radar system built by Northrop Grumman Corp for the F-35, which uses a number of such magnets.

Reuters reported in January that the Pentagon permitted Lockheed to use Chinese magnets to keep the $392 billion F-35 program on track, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China’s espionage and military buildup.

The other, previously undisclosed waivers covered the B-1 bomber, F-16 fighter jets for Egypt equipped with a specific radar system, and the SM-3 IIA missile, Schumann said in response to a query from Reuters.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is expected to brief Congress in April on its comprehensive audit of the issue of Chinese specialty metals on U.S. weapons systems.

 

TWO-DOLLAR MAGNETS

China is the largest supplier of specialty metals and materials needed to build magnets that work even at very high temperatures, although congressional aides say progress has been made on developing alternate sources in the United States.

Kendall initiated a broader Pentagon review after the initial F-35 issue was reported in late 2012, but ultimately granted the waivers because there was no risk involved with the parts, said the senior defense official.

In some cases, it would have been expensive to take apart complex equipment to swap out magnets potentially made with Chinese rare earths; in others, the parts will be swapped out during future routine maintenance.

“You don’t break a multimillion dollar radar to replace twenty dollars’ worth of magnets. There was no technical risk,” said the official, who added that the issue involved only raw materials. No weapons systems specifications were sent to China, the official said.

The F-35 waivers included a range of equipment, including $2 magnets used in radars on 115 F-35 jets. The F-16 and B-1B bomber waivers also involved magnets made from Chinese raw stock, the official said.

A separate issue involving thermal sensors built for the F-35 by a Chinese subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc did not require a formal waiver because it involved a unit of a U.S. company, the official said. Honeywell now builds that part in Michigan.

Honeywell acknowledged in January that the U.S. Justice Department was investigating import and export procedures at the company after the incident.

 

‘JUST SLOPPINESS’

Defense officials say the incidents underscore the need for greater vigilance by arms makers about their supply chain to ensure they comply with U.S. laws.

“It’s really just sloppiness, frankly, when this happens,” said the defense official. “It’s not enough to say, ‘I’m pretty sure it didn’t come from China.’ That doesn’t work for us. We’re looking for documents.”

Officials at Lockheed, Northrop, Boeing and Raytheon referred all questions to the U.S. government. Without the waivers, the companies could have faced stiff penalties for violating U.S. laws; instead the Pentagon is likely to seek compensation from the companies.

The defense official said the waivers were granted with the expectation that the companies would tighten up their buying procedures to reflect changes in procurement rules.

“It’s not a ‘get out of jail’ free card. This is something we should be good at. We shouldn’t be caught short on these,” said the official. “Hundreds of regulations change yearly and there’s a whole group of folks whose job it is to make sure that those (changes) are properly implemented in contracts.”

Kendall initiated a review of all systems on Lockheed aircraft programs after Northrop Grumman, which builds the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the F-35, found it may have used non-compliant Japanese magnets.

The Pentagon’s Contracts Management Agency later widened its review to include high-performance electronics across the industry. “We have looked very hard and systematically to flag these (issues),” said the official.

One industry official declined to estimate the costs involved, but said the department was clearly taking a more aggressive approach on supply chain problems.

The Pentagon had shared the cost of such incidents in the past, but U.S. officials were now insisting that companies paid for the cost of retrofits with their own funds.

The case of the SM-3 missile that Raytheon is developing jointly with Japan involved titanium produced in China, and the incident was self-reported. But the missiles were produced for testing and the Chinese materials would not be used in any subsequent missiles, the defense official said.

 

Ukraine may have to go nuclear, says Kiev lawmaker

Oren Dorell, USA TODAY 8:23 a.m. EDT March 11, 2014

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/03/10/ukraine-nuclear/6250815/

 

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons if the United States and other world powers refuse to enforce a security pact that obligates them to reverse the Moscow-backed takeover of Crimea, a member of the Ukraine parliament told USA TODAY.

The United States, Great Britain and Russia agreed in a pact “to assure Ukraine’s territorial integrity” in return for Ukraine giving up a nuclear arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union after declaring independence in 1991, said Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament.

“We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement,” said Rizanenko, a member of the Udar Party headed by Vitali Klitschko, a candidate for president. “Now there’s a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake.”

His statements come as Russia raised the possibility it may send its troops beyond the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea into the eastern half of Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said lawlessness “now rules in eastern regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of fighters of the so-called ‘right sector’ with the full connivance” of Ukraine’s authorities.

Rizanenko and others in Ukraine say the pact it made with the United States under President Bill Clinton was supposed to prevent such Russian invasions.

The pact was made after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and became Russia, leaving the newly independent nation of Ukraine as the world’s third largest nuclear weapons power.

The communist dictatorship that was the Soviet Union had based nuclear missiles in republics it held captive along its border with Europe, and Ukraine had thousands. World powers urged Ukraine to give up the arsenal but its leaders balked, expressing fear they needed the weapons to deter Russia from trying to reverse Ukraine’s independence.

To reassure the Ukrainians, the United States and leaders of the United Kingdom and Russia signed in 1994 the “Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances” in which the signatories promised that none of them would threaten or use force to alter the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.

Ukraine missiles

They specifically pledged not to militarily occupy Ukraine. Although the pact was made binding according to international law, it said nothing that requires a nation to act against another that invades Ukraine.

The memorandum requires only that the signatories would “consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.” Ukraine gave up thousands of nuclear warheads in return for the promise.

There is little doubt that Russia has in fact placed its military forces in Ukraine’s province of Crimea. Russia’s foreign minister has said its troops are there to protect Russian lives and interests.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the commitments in the agreement are not relevant to Crimea because a “coup” in Kiev has created “a new state with which we have signed no binding agreements.”

The U.S. and U.K. have said that the agreement remains binding and that they expect it to be treated “with utmost seriousness, and expect Russia to, as well.”

President Obama has talked to Putin over the phone and said there is no danger to Russians in Ukraine and that they should agree to let international forces enter Crimea so differences can be resolved peacefully, according to the White House.

But Putin insisted to Obama that ethnic Russians in Crimea needed protection and reiterated that the government in Kiev is illegal because the parliament ousted pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Everyone had this sentiment that for good or bad the United States would be the world police” and make sure that international order is maintained, Rizanenko said of the Budapest pact.

“Now that function is being abandoned by President Obama and because of that Russia invaded Crimea,” he said.

“In the future, no matter how the situation is resolved in Crimea, we need a much stronger Ukraine,” he said. “If you have nuclear weapons people don’t invade you.”

The White House and U.S. State Department did not respond to e-mails requesting comment.

Rizanenko spoke a day after returning from a visit to the Crimea, where armed Crimeans under orders from Russian commanders blocked him from visiting a Ukrainian border post, he said.

Russian military units have ringed Crimea’s borders to block the Ukrainian military from exerting control on the territory, and Ukraine’s army cannot defeat Russia’s, he said.

Obama had warned Putin of “costs” should he persist in Crimea but the main action against Moscow so far has been a ban on travel to the United States of unnamed persons. Europe and the United States said they are considering economic sanctions against Russia but none have been imposed.

Meanwhile, “all the time Russia is moving more and more troops into Crimea,” Rizanenko said. “Only force will influence (Putin’s) decision.”

 

China’s Disturbing Defense Budget

By THE EDITORIAL BOARDMARCH 9, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/opinion/chinas-disturbing-defense-budget.html?_r=1

 

China is causing new anxieties in Asia with a defense budget for 2014 that totals $132 billion, up 12.2 percent over the previous year. These numbers should not be used as an excuse to ratchet up America’s military spending. But they do raise legitimate concerns about China’s motives that Beijing should seek to dispel, especially at a time when regional tensions are rising.

Although China’s overall economic growth rate has declined, the new defense budget reflects the biggest increase in three years and continues a several-decades-long trend of double-digit increases. Many experts assume that the real total is higher. Even so, the budget is far below that of the United States, which was $526.8 billion for fiscal year 2014 and finances the world’s largest, most expensive and advanced military program. It is reasonable to expect that as the world’s second-largest economy, China, over time, would invest more on defense to protect its security and economic interests.

But the budget increases are not taking place in a vacuum. With its aggressive new approach to the region, China has sowed suspicion among its neighbors, who fear not only economic but military dominance. China is engaged in a dangerous dispute with Japan over the sovereignty of islands administered by Japan in the East China Sea, raising fears that frequent movements around the islands by Chinese military patrols and Japanese fishing vessels could spark a conflict. Last November, China stunned Japan, South Korea and the United States by declaring a new air defense zone over parts of that sea.

China has also been intimidating Southeast Asian nations that oppose its territorial claims in the South China Sea, with its fisheries and reputed oil and gas reserves. While some experts predict that it could be decades before the Chinese military catches up with the United States, China is investing in new systems, including submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles, that could be used to further intimidate neighbors or deny the United States access to Asian waters to defend its allies.

China says the world has nothing to fear, but it could mitigate concerns by explaining why it needs such hefty increases and where the money will be spent, as the United States does. More consultation between the Chinese and American militaries would also be useful. So would a serious effort to resolve the territorial disputes, or at least agree on a code of conduct for managing them.

Meanwhile, Congress should resist the impulse to pump up military spending. The better response is to support President Obama’s policy of expanding America’s economic, political and military engagement in Asia while remaining clear eyed about China’s capabilities.

 

Justifying New Federal Cyber Campus

By Eric Chabrow, March 13, 2014.Follow Eric @GovInfoSecurity

http://www.govinfosecurity.com/blogs/justifying-new-federal-cyber-campus-p-1635?rf=2014-03-13-eg&utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=enews-gis-20140313%20(1)&utm_content=&spMailingID=6222718&spUserID=NTQ5MzM0NjM3NTAS1&spJobID=401276067&spReportId=NDAxMjc2MDY3S0

 

When President Obama proposed spending $35 million to design a federal cyber campus to promote a “whole-of-government” approach to cybersecurity incident response, the administration provided scant details on the initiative buried deep in its $3.9 trillion fiscal year 2015 budget proposal (see Cybersecurity Priorities Unveiled in FY 2015 Budget).

On March 4, when the proposal was released, General Services Administration Administrator Dan Tangherlini said the initiative would shift about 600,000 square feet of leased space to a federally owned building in the Washington area. Cyber-response teams from the departments of Homeland Security and Department of Justice would anchor the campus, and cyber-response personnel from other civilian agencies – and eventually the private sector – could be located there, too.

We have found over and over again … you still need to have that physical co-location in order to inspire and build trust.

Tangherlini’s comments focused on real estate, and he emphasized that co-locating government cyber-incident-response personnel on the same campus would save the government millions of dollars now spent to support scores of facilities.

The $35 million to design the campus represents no more than a raindrop in a thunderstorm of proposed federal spending; it’s less than 1/10,000th of Obama’s budget. But a senior administration official I spoke with this week contends the money for the campus design signifies a major White House commitment to secure critical IT systems in the foreseeable future.

“We’re putting one of our signature efforts into the budget,” the senior administration official says. “This sends a message we continue to hammer home: The federal government has a long-standing mission in this space. It’s a critical mission and we need to put this operational response in the foundation.”

The senior administration official, speaking on background, emphasized that cost savings is only one factor for the initiative.

 

The Fort Meade Model

The official says it’s a good idea to have individuals performing similar cybersecurity functions from different agencies working close to one another. Think of the cyber campus as being a civilian version of Fort Meade, Md., where the National Security Agency and military cyber command are situated and where other intelligence agencies assign some of their IT security personnel to work. “I don’t know what the cyber campus ultimately would look like, but certainly we want to create a long-time permanent home for this mission that we certainly see as one that will be around for a while,” the official said.

 

Though virtual tools exist to allow personnel to collaborate over secure networks, the official sees value in individuals working side by side, or at least within walking distance of each other.

“Despite all the virtuality and despite the fact that we’re talking about cyberspace, you’re still talking about people,” the official said. “And ultimately, we have found over and over again in a whole array of missions, you still need to have that physical co-location in order to inspire and build trust and to do good idea sharing.

“I don’t mean information sharing. You can do a lot of that virtually. Idea sharing, the spreading of ideas, and just the ability to work together and coordinate together, all of that is really fostered by having that proximity. That’s still true, even in the cyberworld as virtual as it is. We see a lot of mission benefit behind creating a campus like this.”

How important is it to co-locate cyber-defenders on the same campus to respond to cyber-incidents? Share your thoughts below.

 

Lockheed Martin buys cybersecurity firm Industrial Defender

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/lockheed-martin-buys-cybersecurity-firm/2014/03/12/c119200e-aa0d-11e3-9e82-8064fcd31b5b_story.html

By Christian Davenport, Published: March 12

Lockheed Martin on Wednesday announced that it would acquire a Massachusetts company that helps protect electrical grids, oil and gas pipelines and other pieces of critical infrastructure against cyberattacks.

The purchase of Industrial Defender, which has more than 130 employees, is part of a move by the massive, Bethesda-based defense contractor to expand its cyber business into commercial markets as the federal government cuts defense spending. And it comes amid increased warnings that the nation’s power grid is vulnerable to attack.

“Industrial Defender’s expertise in cyber security for critical infrastructure is a natural extension of our commercial cyber security business,” Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president and chief executive, said in a news release.

Last year, President Obama issued an executive order designed to strengthen protections for critical infrastructure and a congressional report found that many utility companies were under constant attack — many from hackers in China, Russia and Iran. One utility said it came under 10,000 attacks a month.

“The rate of such cyber-attacks against American corporate and government infrastructure is on the rise and unlikely to abate,” according to the report, released last year by then-Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who is now in the Senate.

“These vulnerabilities pose substantial risks to U.S. national security,” the report said.

In 2012, more than 30,000 computers at the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., a state-owned oil company, were destroyed by a virus that also damaged computer systems at RasGas, an energy company in Qatar.

While such threats are now a focus of Congress and the White House, much of Industrial Defender’s time was dedicated to “increasing awareness of the implications of successful cyber-breaches,” president and chief executive Brian M. Ahern said in a statement posted on the company’s Web site.

The company has grown steadily and now helps 400 companies in 25 countries protect their operations.

Lockheed and Industrial Defender “share a common perspective on the importance of protecting global critical infrastructure from an increasingly hostile threat landscape,” Ahern said in the news release.

Terms of the deal, including the sale price, were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in 30 days.

Chandra McMahon, a Lockheed vice president of commercial markets, said the company already helps many defense and government agencies protect against cyberthreats. But in recent years Lockheed has been focused on “expanding our business to commercial markets,” she said.

In addition to helping utilities thwart cyberattacks, she said, the company is expanding into the pharmaceutical and financial industries. The acquisition also helps Lockheed broaden its international reach, she said.

Philip Finnegan, director of corporate analysis at Teal Group, said the acquisition fits into Lockheed’s strategy of taking services it had sold to government agencies and finding new areas in the private sector to apply them.

“What Lockheed is doing is taking its core expertise and looking at what are the potential markets that are growing,” he said.

 

Pentagon Push for More Money Looks Like a Losing War

By Sandra I. Erwin

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?List=7c996cd7-cbb4-4018-baf8-8825eada7aa2&ID=1443&Source=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nationaldefensemagazine.org%2Fblog%2FLists%2FPosts%2FAllPosts.aspx

 

The Pentagon’s budget request for next fiscal year has been slammed for being awkward, confusing and in violation of the law.

Pundits’ sneering aside, the only opinions that matter to the Defense Department are those of congressional members who might be on the fence about giving the Pentagon more money than it is allowed under current law.

At stake are $141 billion that the Pentagon insists it needs over and above the budget caps set by Congress. The administration is asking for an additional $26 billion in 2015 and $115 billion between 2016 and 2019. The extra funds, the Pentagon claims, will avert steep cuts to ground and naval forces.

The Pentagon is no slouch when it comes to selling budget proposals to Congress, but garnering support for this year’s spending plan will be a tough, if not impossible, uphill climb.

A major problem for the Pentagon is that its budget plan lacks a friendly constituency. It is offensive to fiscal hawks because it breaches spending caps that Congress imposed in 2011 to curb the federal deficit. The budget request — which reduces the size of the Army and Marine Corps considerably and eliminates politically popular programs — has infuriated pro-defense Republicans who blast the Obama administration for protecting domestic programs at the expense of the military.

Even though the Pentagon’s budget consumes the largest share of government discretionary spending, it amounts to less than 20 percent of all federal outlays. With no political appetite to cut mandatory programs such as Medicare and Social Security, the discretionary piece of the budget is the only viable target for deficit hawks.

“Even if GOP members could agree with every item on the administration’s proposed wish list, they don’t want the government to borrow more money and they don’t want to raise taxes,” defense industry consultant Loren Thompson wrote. Republicans have supported compromises that provided partial relief from the caps in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Thompson noted, but what the administration is proposing would cut spending reductions in half for 2015, and pursue similar relief in later years. “Thus if taxes don’t increase, deficits will.”

Defense officials know they are in a vulnerable position. They have sought to make a case that the funding authorized by the Budget Control Act is not enough to keep a military force large enough to meet current commitments.

Pentagon leaders insist that this year’s congressionally mandated military strategy, the Quadrennial Defense Review, proves their point. The strategy is the first since the QDR was enshrined into law in 1997 that gives up on the idea that the military can fight two major wars simultaneously in different parts of the world. It does call for the armed forces to be prepared to fight and win one major conflict, while engaging in smaller scale operations elsewhere.

To fulfill missions laid out in the QDR, defense officials contend, the Army should not fall below 440,000 active-duty soldiers, the Marine Corps should stay at 182,000, and the Navy needs 11 aircraft carrier groups.

The administration warned that if the BCA spending limits are enforced in fiscal year 2016, the Army would go down to 420,000 soldiers by 2019, the Marine Corps to 175,000 and the Navy to 10 carriers.

“The proposed budget involves lots of change to meet the drop required by the post-sequester Bipartisan Budget Act,” said Russell Rumbaugh, defense budget analyst at the Stimson Center. “This year’s president’s budget reopens the ‘more or less’ conversation by arguing — including in the QDR — that the statutory levels for defense are not enough.” The Bipartisan Budget Act capped defense spending for fiscal year 2015 at $495.6 billion. The Pentagon’s request complied with that top line, although it is asking for a $26 billion special “investment” fund.

The big decisions about the size of the force are being punted to 2016. The Defense Department said it budgeted to current law, but is looking for Congress to “fix it” next year to avert the force reductions. The Pentagon is gambling that Congress will find these cuts unacceptable.

“If we get a signal from Congress that they’ll budget at higher levels, we would go back into the 2016 budget, and reorient funding to enable us to fund the Army at 450,000 and the Navy at 11 carriers,” said Christine E. Wormuth, deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and force development.

Persuading Congress to undo the law will take some doing. “I’m not sure we have a silver bullet in that area,” Wormuth said March 10 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We will try to continue the conversations we’ve had,” she said. The hope is that Congress will take cues from the Quadrennial Defense Review, which cautions that the military will have to pare back its commitments because of reduced budgets. “The QDR amplifies the points we’ve been trying to make,” said Wormuth.

Members of Congress keep asking Defense officials to show them “what sequestration really does,” she said. “I think we’re making progress to make clear what the consequences are.”

Analysts do not see the political winds blowing in the Pentagon’s favor. In the larger fiscal picture, the Pentagon is asking for more money that would have to be offset by cuts to domestic programs or by increasing taxes. None of these scenarios stands a chance, said Gordon Adams, a former White House budget official and currently a professor at American University.

“The Pentagon request is unreal,” he said. “Congress will not amend the Budget Control Act. I don’t know anybody who thinks Congress is going to renegotiate the BCA caps this year. It’s not going to happen.”

But the Pentagon cannot be blamed for asking, Adams acknowledged, as Congress is deeply divided over spending issues.

“Members of Congress are having it both ways,” he said. Defense hawks see Russian President Vladimir Putin flexing muscle in Ukraine as evidence of U.S. weakness caused by cuts to military spending. Lawmakers, at the same time, are calling for fiscal discipline.

Adams faults the Pentagon for building parallel budgets — one that exceeds the mandatory caps and one that is BCA-compliant — in hopes that Congress will approve the larger amount. This sets up the military services for more disruption and churn, he said. “The programmers are adding things to the budget based on the $115 billion plus-up request and then, if they don’t get the resources, they have to start stripping things out of the budget.”

Douglas Berenson, industry analyst at The Avascent Group, believes the Pentagon will benefit from the political climate. Since the defense budget peaked in 2010 at about $689 billion (including war costs), it has been a more gradual downturn — to $582 billion in 2014 — than many people feared, he said.

There is a growing consensus that $500 billion a year is reasonable for defense, whereas three years ago — when deficit-reduction fever engulfed Washington — many experts predicted military spending would plunge to $450 billion.

“Despite the push for sequestration, there is not a high level of political appetite for a really sharp drawdown in defense spending,” Berenson said March 6.

The administration is banking on Congress finding a way to give the Pentagon more money without having to change the law, he suggested. “On Capitol Hill, they are trying to have their cake and eat it too,” said Berenson. “There is dismay that the administration is walking away from spending levels that are enshrined in law. But at the same time there are clear indications that the kind of trades forced by these spending levels are unacceptable.”

That said, the Defense Department budget request is certainly “awkward,” Berenson added. “Breaking caps in an election year is going to be very difficult.”

A more likely outcome is that members of Congress will find ways to fund their preferred programs by shifting money around within the base budget, or will add them to the war budget, known as “overseas contingency operations,” or OCO. “Shoving some money into OCO might be tolerable,” said Berenson. “Congress is going to be uncomfortable with a significant decline in the size of the force, and there will be pushback to rapid reductions in ground troops and ships,” especially in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, he said. “The OCO budget will be a safety valve.”

Berenson predicts the Pentagon will be more successful than it was in the past in making the case that sequestration is damaging. “I think the Defense Department has allies on the Hill and its argument is gaining strength since a couple of years ago.”

Wormuth, the deputy undersecretary of defense, said the Pentagon is well aware that sequester is the law, but is convinced that Congress should reconsider it. “We are trying to articulate that we believe we need more resources to execute the strategy. We need more than is allowed under the law,” she said. “We did not believe that accepting those sequestration levels is right for the country.”

Some analysts suggest the Pentagon did not help its cause with the Quadrennial Defense Review. The QDR calls for the military to do “everything,” and does not set priorities, said Clark A. Murdock, senior adviser at CSIS. “We have to make more hard choices about what not to do” with reduced spending, he said. The Defense Department has made a “good enough case” that sequestration weakens the military, said Murdock. “But does Congress see it? No.” His advice to the Pentagon is to “wait until the next election.”

Defense officials have not been politically savvy in their dealings with Congress since the Budget Control Act ended the era of big military spending, said Stephanie Sanok Kostro, a senior fellow at CSIS. “The Defense Department hasn’t made enduring relationships with key members on the Hill, or worked with them on understanding their perspective,” she said. “They’re now trying to build relationships. But not all members are equally on board with Defense Department logic,” Sanok Kostro noted. “A lack of credibility and lack of relationships really damage their case.”

Much of this debate ultimately is pointless until Congress settles larger questions about discretionary and entitlement spending, said David J. Berteau, senior vice president of CSIS. “This is not a binary discussion on how much we should spend on national security,” he said. “The broader question is how much government do we want and need, and how do we pay for it?” Nobody should expect these questions to be answered this year, even after the mid-term elections, said Berteau.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Bob Durbin, who participated in the 2006 and 2010 defense strategy reviews, said the 2014 QDR gives the Pentagon the ammunition it needs to secure increased funding. “Even for a resilient institution like the Defense Department, there’s a certain point where you cannot keep the same performance with less resources,” said Durbin, who is now senior vice president of Exelis. His company and other Pentagon contractors, he said, are encouraged by the administration’s decision to push for more defense money. This budget request, however, is a clear signal to military contractors that the “readiness at any cost mentality in the building is long gone,” Durbin said. “Now, it’s all about the affordable solution.”

 

The Leaderless Doctrine

MARCH 10, 2014

David Brooks

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/11/opinion/brooks-the-leaderless-doctrine.html?_r=0

 

We’re in the middle of a remarkable shift in how Americans see the world and their own country’s role in the world. For the first time in half a century, a majority of Americans say that the U.S. should be less engaged in world affairs, according to the most recent Pew Research Center survey. For the first time in recorded history, a majority of Americans believe that their country has a declining influence on what’s happening around the globe. A slight majority of Americans now say that their country is doing too much to help solve the world’s problems.

At first blush, this looks like isolationism. After the exhaustion from Iraq and Afghanistan, and amid the lingering economic stagnation, Americans are turning inward.

But if you actually look at the data, you see that this is not the case. America is not turning inward economically. More than three-quarters of Americans believe the U.S. should get more economically integrated with the world, according to Pew.

America is not turning inward culturally. Large majorities embrace the globalization of culture and the internationalization of colleges and workplaces. Americans are not even turning inward when it comes to activism. They have enormous confidence in personalized peer-to-peer efforts to promote democracy, human rights and development.

What’s happening can be more accurately described this way: Americans have lost faith in the high politics of global affairs. They have lost faith in the idea that American political and military institutions can do much to shape the world. American opinion is marked by an amazing sense of limitation — that there are severe restrictions on what political and military efforts can do.

This sense of limits is shared equally among Democrats and Republicans, polls show. There has been surprisingly little outcry against the proposed defense cuts, which would reduce the size of the U.S. Army to its lowest levels since 1940. That’s because people are no longer sure military might gets you very much.

These shifts are not just a result of post-Iraq disillusionment, or anything the Obama administration has done. The shift in foreign policy values is a byproduct of a deeper and broader cultural shift.

The veterans of World War II returned to civilian life with a basic faith in big units — big armies, corporations and unions. They tended to embrace a hierarchical leadership style.

The Cold War was a competition between clearly defined nation-states.

Commanding American leaders created a liberal international order. They preserved that order with fleets that roamed the seas, armies stationed around the world and diplomatic skill.

Over the ensuing decades, that faith in big units has eroded — in all spheres of life. Management hierarchies have been flattened. Today people are more likely to believe that history is driven by people gathering in the squares and not from the top down. The liberal order is not a single system organized and defended by American military strength; it’s a spontaneous network of direct people-to-people contacts, flowing along the arteries of the Internet.

The real power in the world is not military or political. It is the power of individuals to withdraw their consent. In an age of global markets and global media, the power of the state and the tank, it is thought, can pale before the power of the swarms of individuals.

This is global affairs with the head chopped off. Political leaders are not at the forefront of history; real power is in the swarm. The ensuing doctrine is certainly not Reaganism — the belief that America should use its power to defeat tyranny and promote democracy. It’s not Kantian, or a belief that the world should be governed by international law. It’s not even realism — the belief that diplomats should play elaborate chess games to balance power and advance national interest. It’s a radical belief that the nature of power — where it comes from and how it can be used — has fundamentally shifted, and the people in the big offices just don’t get it.

It’s frankly naïve to believe that the world’s problems can be conquered through conflict-free cooperation and that the menaces to civilization, whether in the form of Putin or Iran, can be simply not faced. It’s the utopian belief that politics and conflict are optional.

One set of numbers in the data leaps out. For decades Americans have been asked if they believe most people can be trusted. Forty percent of baby boomers believe most people can be trusted. But only 19 percent of millennials believe that. This is a thoroughly globalized and linked generation with unprecedentedly low levels of social trust.

We live in a country in which many people act as if history is leaderless. Events emerge spontaneously from the ground up. Such a society is very hard to lead and summon. It can be governed only by someone who arouses intense moral loyalty, and even that may be fleeting.

 

How Target detected hack but failed to act — Bloomberg

Despite alerts received through a $1.6 million malware detection system, Target failed to stop hackers from stealing credit card numbers and personal information of millions of customers, Bloomberg reports.

Lance Whitney by Lance Whitney March 13, 2014 8:36 AM PDT

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57620289-83/how-target-detected-hack-but-failed-to-act-bloomberg/?tag=nl.e703&s_cid=e703&ttag=e703&ftag=CAD090e536

 

The November data breach that affected as many as 110 million Target customers could have been stopped in its tracks, according to a story published Thursday by Bloomberg.

Speaking with more than ten former Target employees and eight people with knowledge of the hack, Bloomberg said that Target already had in place a sophisticated malware detection system designed by security firm FireEye. The $1.6 million system was set up specifically to identify hacks and cyberattacks before they had a chance to do real damage.

Highlighting the ingenuity of FireEye’s detection system, Bloomberg explained that it creates a parallel network on virtual machines. As such, the hackers are led to believe they’re actually breaking into the real thing, thus exposing their attack methods and other breadcrumbs without jeopardizing the true network, at least not initially.

A team of security professionals was set up in Bangalore to monitor Target’s network servers and alert security operators in Minneapolis of any detected malware. And this process worked as expected during the November hack. After detecting the hack, the people in Bangalore alerted the people in Minneapolis. But that’s where the ball got dropped, according to Bloomberg. The hack continued on its merry way.

Why was the hack successful despite all the warning signs? Bloomberg’s sources pointed to a few reasons.

The FireEye system could have been programmed to automatically remove the malware upon detection. But that option was turned off, requiring someone to manually delete it. That’s not unusual, according to one security officer interviewed by Bloomberg who explained that security professionals typically want that decision to be in their hands. But that means the security team must act quickly enough.

Two people “familiar with Target’s security operations” also told Bloomberg that the company’s security people may have viewed FireEye’s system with some skepticism at the time of the hack. Testing of the system had just completed in May, leading to its initial rollout. Even further, the manager of Target’s security operations center, Brian Bobo, had left the company in October, with no replacement to manage things.

Ultimately, though, the alerts from FireEye and from Target’s Symantec Endpoint Protection system should have driven Target’s security people to stop the hack before it spread.

“The malware utilized is absolutely unsophisticated and uninteresting,” Jim Walter, director of threat intelligence operations at McAfee, told Bloomberg. “If Target had had a firm grasp on its network security environment, they absolutely would have observed this behavior occurring on its network.”

Responding to a request for comment on the Bloomberg story, a Target spokesperson sent CNET the following statement:

Despite the fact that that we invested hundreds of millions of dollars in data security, had a robust system in place, and had recently been certified as PCI compliant, the unfortunate reality is that we experienced a data breach.

Like any large company, each week at Target there are a vast number of technical events that take place and are logged. Through our investigation, we learned that after these criminals entered our network, a small amount of their activity was logged and surfaced to our team. That activity was evaluated and acted upon. Based on their interpretation and evaluation of that activity, the team determined that it did not warrant immediate follow up. With the benefit of hindsight, we are investigating whether, if different judgments had been made the outcome may have been different.

Our investigation is ongoing and we are committed to making further investments in our people, processes and technology with the goal of reinforcing security for our guests.

 

 

Cyberspace: What is it, where is it and who cares?

March 13, 2014

http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/cyberspace-what-is-it-where-is-it-and-who-cares/

By Brett Williams

 

Assured access to cyberspace is a key enabler of national security, so the answer to the question in the title is: we should all care. Two of the defining characteristics of a strong, modern, industrial nation are economic prosperity and a credible defense. The ability to use cyberspace has become indispensable to achieving both of these objectives.

Business and finance executives, as well as senior defense leaders, rely on cyberspace for exactly the same thing—to get information, move information and use information to make better decisions faster than the competition. Despite the importance of cyberspace, there continue to be senior leaders in both the private and public sectors who find themselves ill-equipped to deal with critical cyberspace issues. It is not uncommon to find that these leaders are comfortable providing strategic guidance regarding operations, resource allocation and personnel management across all of their areas of responsibility with the exception of cyberspace. There tends to be a lack of shared understanding between senior personnel who know they need cyberspace to be successful and the technical staffs charged with securing the networks, services and applications that make the organization run. The danger with this dynamic is the potential for de facto delegation of critical decisions to technical experts who do not have the education, training or experience to serve as senior leaders.

Cyberspace is complex, hard to visualize and — to many people — an esoteric concept that they do not need to comprehend. The best way to approach cyberspace at the executive level is to understand that cyberspace adds a new dimension to both economic competition and politically driven conflict, but the existence of cyberspace does not require a fundamental change in our strategic approach to either. This is a difficult premise to accept because “experts” have done a great job of advocating that cyberspace can only be understood by the most technically advanced among us. Becoming overly focused on the technical dimension, however, creates strategic inversion where the most senior leaders become inappropriately engaged with the tactical and technical details to the detriment of effective decision-making. Our senior executives and leaders do need to get a lot smarter about cyberspace, but they do not personally need the skills to configure a router or break an encrypted password. This article provides an executive overview of five cyberspace topics that may be useful to stimulate further exploration by those charged with providing and sustaining economic prosperity and national defense.

 

What is it?

Words matter. Routine misuse of the word “cyber” is one reason we do not have a common framework for discussing cyberspace. Cyber should not be used as a verb nor should it be used as a noun that can stand on its own. Saying “cyber” should not automatically connote a cyberspace attack nor should it drive one immediately to assume that cyberspace activity is all about spying, espionage, crime or challenging our right to privacy. The term cyber is most useful as part of the compound word cyberspace and cyberspace is simply the man-made domain created when we connect all of the computers, switches, routers, fiber optic cables, wireless devices, satellites and other components that allow us to move large amounts of data at very fast speeds. As with the physical domains—land, maritime, air, space—we conduct a variety of activities in cyberspace to benefit individuals, commercial entities and governments. The key difference between cyberspace and the physical domains is that cyberspace is man-made and constantly changing. That characteristic offers both opportunities and risk.

 

Part of the global commons

Cyberspace should be classified as a dimension of the global commons. Viewing cyberspace as part of the global commons sets the stage for a number of useful analogies that facilitate the development of policy, domestic and international law, safe operating procedures, individual rights, commercial use, national interests and myriad other issues that we have worked through for the maritime and air domains. Establishing and enforcing accepted norms for operating on the high seas and in domestic and international airspace is a process that never ends. Technology changes, political interests evolve and competition for resources is continuous. Territorial rights in the South China Sea and debate on the use of remotely piloted aircraft for personal, commercial and government use are examples of how governance of the “legacy” global commons requires constant attention. Cyberspace requires an analogous governance mechanism to define and protect individual, business and nation-state’s rights. Some of the challenges to creating an accepted governance structure are the ubiquitous nature of cyberspace, the fact that access to cyberspace for good or evil can be cheap and non-attributable and, as opposed to the static nature of water and air, the cyberspace domain itself is in a perpetual state of change. We do not need to start from scratch with this work. In the maritime and air domains we have defined roles and responsibilities for all of the users and at times they intersect. Countering piracy is a good example. Individual boat owners and commercial shipping companies require the freedom to operate on the high seas. They are expected to take prudent measures to protect themselves, but at some point the threat exceeded the capability of the private sector and national naval forces stepped in to curb piracy off the African coast. There are clear analogies to the piracy problem when we define roles and responsibilities in cyberspace for individuals, private entities and states. Arguably, current concerns over government dominance of cyberspace are overblown. The fact is no single entity can control what goes on in cyberspace and we need both law enforcement agencies and military organizations to have access to cyberspace in order to protect and enable the free, legitimate use of the domain.

 

The threat

The opportunity for cheap, anonymous access to cyberspace creates an inviting environment for a broad spectrum of malicious activity. The threat commonly manifests itself in the form of cybercrime where individuals or specific companies suffer financial loss. More concerning is the opportunity to create a widespread effect that undermines faith and confidence across financial markets. An example of this occurred in April 2013 when a hacked Twitter newsfeed propagated a false report of an explosion at the White House. Within minutes, the U.S. stock market plunged, reflecting a “loss” of over $130 billion. While the index recovered rapidly, this incident provided a clear warning of our vulnerability to malicious cyberspace activity given the hyper-connected, information-driven nature of the business environment. What would happen if instead of a hacked Twitter account, a major business or financial firm found themselves the object of a destructive cyberspace attack that rendered thousands of computers inoperative?

There is a tendency to look at networks, systems, data and operators simply as revenue generators or costs that must be controlled. It is important to understand that there are actors who instead see all of these components as targets. First are the cyber criminals who are just after the money. Second are competitors who seek critical information or intellectual property that may give them an advantage. This threat is equally concerning to both the defense and non-defense sectors. Third is the insider threat; no matter how well you think you know your team, you must be vigilant. The fourth adversary is the one with the greatest potential to affect national security. This is the state-sponsored adversary who seeks to weaken a government strategically by attacking critical infrastructure or essential components of the national economic system. The state-sponsored attacker may have access to resources that can overwhelm almost any private or government sponsored defense capability. Cyberspace attack is appealing to this fourth class of adversary because it provides an asymmetric, low-visibility avenue of approach and many of the targets are likely unprepared since they do not even consider themselves targets. The threat is real, growing and in many cases underestimated or not even observed. Raising the level of threat awareness without succumbing to the hype of a “cyber holocaust” is a balance that senior leaders must strike.

 

Ensuring freedom of access for legitimate use

Effective cybersecurity is hard, expensive and we don’t do it very well. Our approach to cybersecurity should start with the assumption that legitimate use of the domain will always be challenged and there are defined responsibilities for individuals, corporations and the state. In the physical world we expect people to lock their doors at night, be wary of their surroundings and know who it is they are trusting to safeguard things that are important to them. Businesses are expected to expend resources to protect things like your money or your personal records. And the state is expected to direct law enforcement and defense activities to ensure the health and safety of its citizens. All of these concepts apply to cyberspace. We are currently challenged to execute this interdependent defense concept in cyberspace due to a variety of technical, policy and privacy issues all of which we will eventually resolve. Something we can and should do now is establish is a three-component security approach.

The first component consists of the usual safeguards like anti-virus, firewalls, data encryption and user training and compliance. We put a lot of effort into these programs and yet we are still attacked. The reason is there will always be breakdowns in network security implementation, users who click on malicious links, insider threats and determined high-end adversaries who can overcome the best defenses. The fact is the attacker has the advantage in cyberspace. The second component can be referred to as active defense. Active defense consists of “hunting” in your networks for threats that have gotten past the baseline security measures. Active defense is used solely on essential networks, data and systems and only works if cued by intelligence information that allows the hunt teams to focus on specific adversaries that have the capability and intent go after the vulnerabilities most important to you. Hunting uses heuristics and big data analytics to identify anomalous behavior that may indicate an adversary is in the network. The third component of cybersecurity is closely controlled and authorized, at least in the U.S. It consists of operations throughout cyberspace using either law enforcement or military authorities to seek out malicious actors, warn the potential victims and provide the option to take proactive actions to stop the attack. It is important to note that neutralizing an attack does not and should not be limited to cyberspace alone. The government has a wide variety of diplomatic, information, military, economic and legal tools to coerce the attacker and it needs to use all of them. Additionally, there are commercial and private sector entities that have used a variety of legal mechanisms to deter or stop attacks before they affect critical systems.

This third component of cybersecurity raises a number of challenging policy issues both domestically and internationally, but if one considers the advantage the attacker has over the defender in cyberspace it becomes quickly apparent that building higher castle walls is not going to stop all the arrows. We have to be willing to go after the archers. Doing so sets the stage for deterrence. The principles of deterrence for cyberspace are no different than those outlined by Brodie, Schelling and others 50 years ago. We have to define red lines and be willing to enforce them. We must be resilient enough to survive the first salvo. Most importantly, our adversaries must know that we can impose unacceptable costs in a variety of ways and that, if our core interests are threatened, we are willing to do so.

 

Senior leadership for cyberspace

Expanding the portfolio of our senior leaders so they can provide effective strategic direction regarding cyberspace operations is an immediate imperative. The most successful senior leaders have the ability to deal with complex problems that have no single, simple solution. These leaders are successful not because they know how to do everyone’s job. They are successful because they know their people, they understand what each part of the organization does to generate success and they have sufficient understanding of all component functions to know when something needs their detailed attention. When it is necessary to “deep dive” on a problem, good leaders have the ability to interact with the experts and make a decision. These tenets of successful executive leadership apply to cyberspace as well. One of the goals of this essay was to generate interest in developing appropriate executive-level cyberspace expertise.

Cyberspace is everywhere and even though we cannot see it or touch it, it is fundamentally important to all of us. No matter what your role in society, the ability to use cyberspace provides incredible opportunities along with risks. Hopefully, this article has provided some additional perspective and offered encouragement for informed debate and dialogue on an increasingly important aspect of national security.

Maj. Gen. Brett Williams is the Director of Operations, J3, U.S. Cyber Command. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the position or opinions of the Department of Defense.

 

Appeal of UAV ruling pressures FAA to establish rules

by Press • 14 March 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/03/28051/appeal-of-uav-ruling-pressures-faa-to-establish-rules/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=1647b12b79-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-1647b12b79-303662705

Peter Corbett, The Arizona Republic

 

Operators of small, unmanned aircraft cheered a judge’s ruling last week that came down in favor of the remote-controlled lightweight planes.

But the celebration of the closely watched case was short-lived as the Federal Aviation Administration appealed the ruling. That action, a day later on Friday, preserved the status quo and left commercial operators of unmanned aircraft still legally grounded.

“Lots of people on social media and bloggers were saying that they could fly whatever they want, wherever they want,” said Richard Jost, an attorney specializing in unmanned-aircraft regulation. “Clearly that was an overstatement.”

The legal skirmish has focused a bright spotlight on the FAA and turned up the pressure for the federal agency to establish rules for controlled use of unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs.

The FAA in late February and early March issued statements to debunk myths about its UAV regulations and update its forecast of commercial use of UAVs. The agency three years ago expected 30,000 UAVs by 2030 but has lowered that figure to 7,500 by 2020.

Congress has ordered the FAA to set new UAV rules by September 2015 but many observers expect the agency will not meet its deadline.

Currently operators of small UAVs or radio-controlled model planes flying below 400 feet can do so only for non-commercial uses, according to FAA operating standards spelled out in a 1981.

That was decades before UAV operators saw the potential for aerial photography, crop-dusting and dozens of other commercial uses already permitted around the globe.

UAV operators, including real-estate photographers in the Valley, have defied the FAA rules.

It’s unclear how long a ruling on the appeal could take. But any delay increases the risk that a UAV operator, uncertain about the regulations, causes a tragic accident, said Jost of Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas in Las Vegas.

Already, a wedding photographer in Wyoming last summer crashed his quadcopter into a groom’s face during a rehearsal two days before the ceremony, causing minor injuries.

The UAV test case involves a 2011 FAA action against Ralph Pirker, who was paid to take aerial images of the University of Virginia campus. The agency alleged that Pirker violated the commercial ban on UAVs and also flew his aircraft recklessly.

Patrick Geraghty, a National Transportation Safety Board judge, struck down the FAA’s $10,000 fine of Pirker and ruled that the agency had no effective rules in place to govern model aircraft at the time of Pirker’s flight.

In announcing its appeal, the FAA said it “is concerned that this decision could impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground.”

The full NTSB will review Geraghty’s ruling.

Pirker’s attorney, Brendan Schulman, called the ruling a victory for technology.

“It establishes that the federal government must engage in the proper rule-making process, including consultation with the public and interested constituents, before placing burdensome rules and restrictions on emerging new technologies,” he said.

Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said the judge’s decision “underscores the immediate need for a regulatory framework for small (UAVs).”

Unmanned-aircraft operator Stephen Rayleigh of Prescott said he hopes to see the FAA set its rules for small UAVs by the end of this year.

A UAV instructor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Rayleigh was hired in late December to do aerial photography of typhoon storm damage in the Philippines using his 10-pound plane. It is work he could not legally do in the United States for pay.

The Pirker case has put pressure on the FAA, but as a UAV operator Pirker is widely known as a daredevil who pushes the limits, Rayleigh said.

 

Jost, the Nevada attorney, said the FAA’s rules are not clearly spelled out.

“We have lots and lots of terms that could have been better defined,” he said. “That unfortunately is the status quo that has been locked in during this appeal.”

Jost and his law-firm partner, Joe Brown, were in Scottsdale a week ago for a discussion of UAV legal and business issues at an aerospace and defense industry conference.

Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas was hired by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, a non-profit group overseeing UAV testing at a variety of airfields in Nevada.

The FAA in December selected Nevada for one of six UAV sites that will be used to develop its regulations. Arizona’s bid for a test site failed.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/2014/03/12/appeal-of-uav-ruling-pressures-faa-to-establish-rules/6346879/

 

AF requests BRAC from House Appropriations Committee

By Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie, Air Force Public Affairs Agency Operating Location-P / Published March 14, 2014

The Air Force presented to the House Appropriations Committee panel its fiscal 2015 budget request March 12, showing it will take more risk with military construction and military housing and is requesting another round of base realignments and closures.

“In the (fiscal year) 15 President’s budget request, the Air Force attempted to strike the delicate balance of a ready force today and a modern force tomorrow, while also recovering from the impacts of sequestration and adjusting to budget reductions,” said Kathleen Ferguson, the principle deputy assistant secretary performing duties as assistant secretary of the Air Force, installations, environment and logistics.

The budget lays out the $3.3 billion request for military construction, facility sustainment, restoration and modernization, as well as another $328 million for military family housing operations and maintenance.

The breakdown:

– $1.8 billion for sustainment

– $547 million for restoration and modernization

– $956 million ($366 million less than fiscal 2014 budget) for military construction across the total force

“The current fiscal environment required the Air Force to make some very tough choices, in order to best support national defense requirements and comply with the defense department’s fiscal guidance and challenges — the Air Force chose capability over capacity,” Ferguson said. “Moving forward, the Air Force seeks to maintain a force ready to meet the full range of military operations while building an Air Force that can maintain its core operations.”

Along with the reductions in funding for fiscal 2015 the Air Force is recognizing it is maintaining infrastructure that exceeds its needs. The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission in 2005 affected 122 installations to include eight minor installations and 63 realignments.

 

In the past eight years the Air Force has reduced the force structure by more than 500 aircraft and reduced active-duty military and strength by 8 percent. This means there is still excess infrastructure costing the Air Force money it could save if more reductions occurred.

Since the last BRAC round, the Air Force has strived to identify new opportunities and initiatives that enable them to maximize the impact of every dollar they spend, Ferguson said.

“The bottom line is we need another round of BRAC, and we fully support the department of defense request for a future BRAC round,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said, with the strategic choices made during the creation of this budget request, it is an attempt to achieve a balance from the impacts of sequestration and adjusting to budget reductions in the best way possible, while accepting risks in installation support, military construction and facilities sustainment, for the short term.

“We continue to carefully scrutinize every dollar we spend,” Ferguson said.” Our commitment to continued effectiveness, a properly-sized force structure and right-sized installations will enable us to ensure maximum returns on the nation’s investment.”

 

SecAF addresses budget challenges in Congress

By Claudette Roulo, American Forces Press Service / Published March 14, 2014

 

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Newly-appointed Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James wanted to see the Air Force in action, so she spent her first 11 weeks on the job visiting 18 bases in 13 states, she told members of the House Armed Services Committee March 14.

Getting outside the Pentagon let her observe three things, James said: Air Force leaders at all levels are tackling tough issues, Airmen are demonstrating “superb” total-force teamwork, and they’re enthusiastic about their service to the nation despite serving in challenging times.

The Air Force is doing its very best to tackle head-on the challenges posed by the security environment and declining budgets, the secretary said.

“In the (fiscal 2015) budget, we do have a strategy-driven budget, but let’s face facts,” James said. “We’re severely, severely limited by the fiscal choices that are contained in the Budget Control Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act.”

The Air Force kept its 2015 budget request at the target amount contained in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2014, she said, and is still in need of the additional funds allotted to the Air Force in President Barack Obama’s Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative.

“This is a $26 billion initiative across DOD,” James said. “For us in the Air Force, it’s about $7 billion. And we will, if we are granted these additional funds, spend them principally on readiness and other key investments to get us back closer to where we want and need to be.”

More difficult decisions lie ahead in fiscal 2016, the secretary said, as the service seeks to balance current readiness with future relevance. “I’m pretty sure … we’re not going to make everybody happy. … There were no elements of low-hanging fruit in this budget,” she said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel laid out the strategy imperatives for the services in his budget request, James said.

“We need to defend the homeland against all strategic threats,” she said. “We need to build security globally by protecting U.S. influence and deterring aggression. And we need to remain prepared to win decisively against any adversary should deterrence fail.”

 

Today’s Air Force is critically important to all of those elements, the secretary said.

“But there’s also tomorrow,” she added.

New technologies and new centers of power will lead to a more volatile and unpredictable world, one in which American dominance of the sky and of space can’t be taken for granted, James told the lawmakers.

The Air Force is grateful for the greater stability and the additional funding in fiscal 2014, James said, and the additional stability in the fiscal 2015 budget request. But, she noted, the added funds don’t solve all of the Air Force’s problems.

“Even with those bump-ups, there were difficult tradeoffs that had to be made, because the 2015 top line and beyond is a whole lot less than we ever thought possible just a few short years ago,” the secretary said.

Strategy and budget rarely match up, she said, and that’s true of this year’s budget request as well.

“In general, our decisions reduce capacity in order to gain capability,” James said.

And, the growth of compensation will slow in order to free up funds for readiness, she said.

“We chose to delay or terminate some programs to protect higher-priority programs — at least what we thought were higher priorities,” she said. “And we sought cost savings in a number of ways: reducing headquarters (and) putting us on a glide path to greater reliance on the Guard and Reserve.”

The Air Force’s priorities — taking care of people, balancing today’s readiness with tomorrow’s readiness, and ensuring that the nation has the very best Air Force that it possibly can at the best value for the taxpayer — set the framework for its budget decisions, James said.

“Everything comes down to people, as far as I’m concerned,” the secretary said. This means recruiting and retaining the best people and developing them once they’re in the force, she said.

It also includes diversity of thought and background among decision-makers, dignity and respect for all, and making sure that everybody is on top of and leading and living the service’s core values, James said. And, she added, “it means fair compensation going forward.”

The Air Force is getting smaller, but it must be shaped to meet strategic priorities, she said.

“We have certain categories and specialty areas where we have too many people,” she said. “And then we have other categories and specialty areas where we have too few people. So in addition to bringing numbers down somewhat, we need to rebalance and get into sync.”

Balancing the readiness of today with the readiness of tomorrow will take some time, she said. Sequestration knocked the service off course, so funding flying hours and other readiness issues were a high priority in the Air Force budget request, the secretary said.

The three top ones, she added, are the joint strike fighter, the new aerial refueling tanker program and the long-range strike bomber.

In addition, the Air Force remains committed to the nuclear triad, James said.

“But of course, in order to do the readiness of today and these key investments for tomorrow, that’s where we came down to: What are going to reduce? Where can we take some what we think are the most prudent risks?”

The Air Force will retire the A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support aircraft, James said.

“That is, I know, an extremely controversial area. … But I want you to know we are absolutely committed to the close air support mission,” she told the panel. “We will not let it drop.”

 

The U-2 reconnaissance aircraft also will be retired, she said, but the Air Force will retain the Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned aerial system.

“Having both fleets together would be terrific, but it’s not affordable,” James said.

Combat air patrols with MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial systems will grow slightly, the secretary said. But, she noted, the MQ-1 Predator will be retired over time, to be replaced by the MQ-9 Reaper.

“By making these tough choices today, again, we think we’re going to preserve our combat capability and make each taxpayer dollar count better for the future,” she said.

To ensure taxpayers are receiving the greatest value for their money, acquisition programs must stay on budget and on schedule, James said. And, she added, a round of base closures is needed, as requested by the defense secretary, to begin in 2017.

A return to sequestration in fiscal 2016, as is required under current legislation, would compromise national security, James said.

“This would mean the retirement of up to 80 more aircraft, including the KC-10 (Extender) tanker fleet,” she said. “We would choose to defer upgrades to the Global Hawk that we would need to make otherwise, to make it more on parity with the U-2. … We would have to retire the Global Hawk Block 40.”

In addition, purchase of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter would slow, the secretary said. “And we would have to probably re-evaluate the combat rescue helicopter and a whole host of other things, she added. Sequestration is not a good deal for the Air Force, and it’s not a good deal for the country, James said.

 

The Air Force may shrink, the secretary said, but it’s committed to being capable, innovative and ready.

“We’re committed to being a good value for the taxpayer, making every dollar that we spend count, able to respond overseas as well as here at home when disaster strikes us,” James said. “We’ll be more reliant — not less, but more reliant — on our National Guard and Reserve, and we will be fueled by the very best airmen on the planet.”

 

Rasmussen Reports

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

Bottom of Form

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The recent lawsuit filed by a New Jersey teenager against her parents demanding living expenses and college tuition was a “say what?” moment for many Americans. It also prompted a fresh look at the relationship most hold above all others, the one between a parent and a child.

What do Americans think about the relationship between parents and their children under 18?

For one thing, 74% believe that it’s important for people to be married before having children, with 44% who think it’s Very Important.

Eighty-nine percent (89%) feel it’s important for children to grow up in a home with both parents, including 62% who say it’s Very Important.

An overwhelming majority believes parents should be allowed to impose reasonable standards of behavior on children living at home. But few believe parents should be required by law to provide financial support for their children after they turn 18.

Given the record level of student debt and the continuing so-so jobs picture, it’s no surprise that many are wondering if they are getting their money’s worth from college these days. 

The College Board has announced that they are revamping the SATs for the second time in a decade, but only 27% think they should be a major factor in college admission.

SATs or not, 56% say any good student who wants to go to college can find a way. But 57% believe the primary purpose of attending college is to learn the skills needed to get a better job, and just 27% think most college graduates actually have the skills needed to get a job.

On the jobs front, President Obama is proposing a budget with $55 billion in new government spending and higher taxes on some Americans for fiscal 2015 to boost the economy. However, most voters continue to believe that more spending and higher taxes hurt rather than help the economy.

Fifty percent (50%) believe the Obama administration already has increased government spending too much.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) predict that the new national health care law will cost the government more than has been projected

Voters are evenly divided when asked if it would be good or bad for the economy if the government hired more people. But just 11% think the government should hire those who can’t find work for an extended period.

It doesn’t help the president’s pitch for bigger government that most Americans still believe private sector workers work harder than government employees but have less job security. One-out-of-two think government workers make more money, too.

Many argue that the large number of illegal immigrants in the country make it tougher for Americans to find jobs. The president met this week, though, with Hispanic congressmen who want to stop the deportation of most illegal immigrants until a new immigration law is passed. Obama signaled he is likely to slow the deportation process, but 60% of voters think the government already is not aggressive enough in deporting illegal immigrants.

The president’s daily job approval numbers have been inching down over the past couple weeks.

For the first time in 2014, Republicans and Democrats are running even on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

Our first look at Colorado’s likely 2014 U.S. Senate race finds incumbent Democrat Mark Udall tied with his leading Republican challenger, Congressman Cory Gardner.

Meanwhile, as the mystery of what happened to a Malaysia Airlines jetliner deepens, 60% of Americans say air travel can never be made completely safe from terrorism.

Consumer and investor confidence are both up this week and ahead of where they were at the first of the year.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters believe the development of domestic shale oil reserves would likely end U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

In other surveys this week:

— Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction.

— Forty-one percent (41%) of Wisconsin voters say they would vote for Governor Scott Walker if he was the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

— Walker is tied with Democratic challenger Mary Burke in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the 2014 governor’s race in Wisconsin.

— Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper leads three of his top Republican challengers by several points in our first look at the 2014 gubernatorial race in Colorado.

— Voters agree that sexual assault in the military is a serious problem, and 66% approve of legislation just rejected in the Senate that would take jurisdiction over prosecuting those cases away from the military chain of command.

— Voters give the Central Intelligence Agency lukewarm praise for its job performance, and 67% think it’s likely the spy agency has been illegally interfering with a congressional investigation of its work, as a leading senator charged earlier this week.

— Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Americans regard the news reported by the media as at least somewhat trustworthy, but that includes just 20% who think it is Very Trustworthy.


 

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