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April 12 2014

April 14, 2014

12Apr2014

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Heed the Historical Warnings of Post-War Budget Cuts

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2014/04/heed-historical-warnings-post-war-budget-cuts/81943/?oref=d-river

Gordon Sullivan

April 4, 2014

 

The biggest danger facing today’s military is not terrorism, global instability or the proliferation of weapons. It’s the danger of our ignorance if we let history repeat itself. In our zeal to quickly cut federal spending we have accepted an increased level of risk to our national security because of unwillingness by our political leaders to think twice before dropping the ax.

We’ve been in this situation before, and we didn’t like the outcome. In 1898, then-Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing wrote about the state of post-Civil War defense policies, noting that many people believed there would never be another war. “Pacifism was predominant,” he wrote. “As the national debt had grown, partly as a result of pensions, retrenchment had been the political cry of both parties, and appropriations for defense had been constantly reduced. The people throughout the country were almost exclusively occupied with their own personal affairs to the neglect of such considerations. Nobody listened to those who realized the wisdom of maintaining an adequate army and advocated it.”

More than 100 years ago, the siren song of reductions in defense manpower was luring the unsuspecting onto the shoals of unpreparedness for future conflict. Pershing’s reflection on post-Civil War defense spending highlights a trend that began just after the American Revolution, and seems to continue driving contemporary decisions. This cycle of readiness followed by unpreparedness has repeated itself all too often throughout our history. Cuts are made with little relationship to reality or logical predictions about future defense requirements. In today’s lexicon, those cuts and reductions are called “sequestration.”

Many national political leaders have been remiss in explaining to the American people why sequestration is so devastating to our national security. Mandating that federal spending cuts come equally from defense and non-defense programs sequestration sounds equitable, except for the fact that the U.S. defense budget represents only 17 percent of all annual federal spending. This disruptive legislation is indicative of a government seemingly unable to function as a responsible democracy. It is patently unresponsive to the needs of a nation that is part of a rapidly changing world in which predicting the future is virtually impossible. It locks the nation into a creaky, slow moving, lockstep budget process that is irresponsible and unaccountable, and ignores the world around it. This phenomenon is well understood in Washington, yet when I ask elected and appointed officials what they are doing to turn this situation around I just get a lot of shoulder shrugging. It is disappointing and worrisome, to say the least.

I shake my head at the drastic cuts in military manpower being contemplated. While that might save money in the short term, what will be the future cost in blood? Sadly, after almost every conflict the “peace dividend” left our armed forces unbalanced and unready — the ultimate consequence of which was an enormous loss of life in the inevitable next conflict. After World War I, where Pershing headed the American Expeditionary Force, manpower plummeted because there were to be “no more wars.” So when World War II inconveniently disrupted that thinking, it took four years to build a well-trained fighting force and another year for it to prevail. After that war, troop levels plummeted again. Then came the Korean War and, predictably, an inadequate force paid heavily. The cycle has continued to repeat: atrophied fighting forces announcing to potential enemies that America’s land forces are too small, so now is the time to challenge U.S. national interests.

Those who refuse to acknowledge that the United States will ever again become involved in a large land operation have set us on a path to a too-small active military force. Urbanization and globalization indicate that future military operations likely will be more manpower intensive, not less. Some believe our land forces can be easily reinforced by just mobilizing our reserves or by simply recruiting more soldiers when needed. Recent history has shown us, however, that it takes the U.S. Army as much as two years to recruit, organize, train and equip a newly formed brigade combat team – that’s not rapid enough in today’s security environment where crises like the Crimea can emerge literally in days (again, think Korea in June 1950) and can fester for years, as in Syria. So, we must rely entirely on the force we have – active, Guard, and reserve. But with the effects of sequestration steadily decreasing the size and readiness of our military, the depth of the force and its ability to mobilize is being severely degraded. The United States must have a military force that is large enough to deter potential enemies, and it must be manned with the best people – people who are properly compensated for the rigors of a profession that is unlike any other and brings with it enormous stressors on both themselves and their families.

Sequestration is also having a devastating effect on the defense industrial base. In both the Defense Department’s own industrial facilities and in commercial industry, sequestration cuts are putting our ability to equip a mobilized force at growing risk. I am alarmed that there is a gross lack of awareness among national leaders how dire this situation is becoming.

And sequestration has also led to growing international doubt about America’s credibility as an ally and partner. I am convinced we must be seen as a reliable ally – if not, we are on a very slippery slope to disaster. Credibility can only be found in the perception of strength and national resolve to meet our treaty commitments with balanced, trained and ready forces.

Similarly, adversaries are most certainly watching the steady decline of American military power and will be tempted to take more and more risk to challenge U.S. leadership. We are already seeing this. Moreover, with the shrinking of America’s military strength comes the increased chance of strategic miscalculation by potential enemies. A credible force – not just a reasonably sized force – provides a deterrent effect.

All of this explains the dire warnings we hear from uniformed and civilian defense officials about our military’s decreasing ability to carry out its mission. Why don’t elected and appointed officials own up to this misguided management of our national defense and fix it? This time let’s not repeat history. Let’s maintain our best weapon – our fighting men and women – in the numbers and quality that will keep us ready when inevitability brings us the next war.

Ret. Army Gen. Gordon Sullivan is president of the Association of the United States Army and was the 32nd Army Chief of Staff.

 

 

Retired General Taking Another Look At Nuke Corps

By ROBERT BURNS

— Apr. 5, 2014 3:26 AM EDT

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/retired-general-taking-another-look-nuke-corps

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Service leaders took an assessment last year of the nuclear Air Force as an encouraging thumbs-up. Yet, in the months that followed, signs emerged that the nuclear missile corps was suffering from breakdowns in discipline, morale, training and leadership.

 

The former Air Force chief of staff who signed off on the 2013 report is now being asked to dig for root causes of problems that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says threaten to undermine public trust in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

The Air Force may have taken an overly rosy view of the report — it was not uniformly positive — by a Pentagon advisory group headed by retired Gen. Larry Welch. The study described the nuclear Air Force as “thoroughly professional, disciplined” and performing effectively.

The inquiry itself may have missed signs of the kinds of trouble documented in recent months in a series of Associated Press reports. In April 2013, the month the Welch report came out, an Air Force officer wrote that the nuclear missile unit at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., was suffering from “rot,” including lax attitudes and a poor performance by launch officers on a March 2013 inspection.

An exam-cheating scandal at a nuclear missile base prompted the Air Force to remove nine midlevel commanders and accept the resignation of the base’s top commander. Dozens of officers implicated in the cheating face disciplinary action, and some might be kicked out, the Air Force said last week.

Welch began the new Hagel-directed review in early March, teaming with retired Navy Adm. John C. Harvey, who was not involved in the earlier reviews but has extensive nuclear experience. Much rides on what they find, not least because Hagel and the White House want to remove any doubt about the safety and security of the U.S. arsenal and the men and women entrusted with it.

Hagel’s written instruction to Welch and Harvey in February said they should examine the nuclear mission in both the Air Force and the Navy, focusing on “personnel, training, testing, command oversight, mission performance and investment” and recommend ways to address any deficiencies they identify.

A fighter pilot by training and a former top nuclear commander, Welch also is known for integrity and honesty. Hagel “believes there is no one better suited to examine these issues than General Welch,” Hagel’s press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Friday. “Like his partner Admiral Harvey, he’s tough and pragmatic. And he flat out knows his stuff.”

Welch led the initial outside review of arguably the most startling nuclear failure of recent years, the unauthorized movement in August 2007 of six nuclear-armed cruise missiles from an air base in North Dakota to Louisiana. Welch led that inquiry as chairman of a special task force of the Defense Science Board, which is a group of outside experts who advise the secretary of defense on a wide range of technical issues. The panel’s report was published in February 2008.

The same task force, again under Welch’s direction, published follow-up assessments in April 2011 and April 2013. Each of those examined both sides of the nuclear Air Force — strategic bombers as well as the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, forces whose problems have gained wide attention over the past year.

The April 2011 study cited morale issues among missile crews.

“They perceive a lack of knowledge of and respect for their mission from within the larger Air Force,” it said.

The April 2013 report ticked off numerous significant improvements. It found that senior leaders were paying more attention, with more clarity of responsibility for the nuclear mission than in the years leading up to the 2007 mishap. The system of inspections and the support for nuclear personnel, logistics and facilities had improved. Yet at that point the first signs of new trouble had begun to emerge, including the mass suspension of 19 launch officers at Minot in April 2013, followed by a failed inspection in August at another nuclear missile base in Montana.

 

Welch’s report also cited “enduring issues that require more responsive attention.” And he said the Air Force needed to prove that the nuclear mission is the No. 1 priority it claims it to be. He also found that ground water intrusion in nuclear missile silos and the underground launch control posts to which they are connected had done major damage, including collapsing electrical conduits.

The bottom-line conclusion, however, was this:

“The nuclear force is professional, disciplined, committed and attentive to the special demands of the mission.”

The AP made a request last week through Pentagon channels for comment by Welch about his 013 task force report, but he did not respond.

Shortly after Welch’s group completed that review, he briefed the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Mark Welsh. Welsh mentioned the briefing in an email to other generals in which he said the conclusions were reassuring.

“His view of mission performance was positive and didn’t identify any concerns that would lead me to believe there is a larger, hidden problem in this area,” Welsh wrote.

A spokeswoman for Welsh said this week that he saw the April 2013 report as addressing organizational and other aspects of the nuclear mission, not primarily the personnel and attitude issues.

Welsh, the Air Force chief, told the AP last November that he had been aware of bad behavioral trends in the ICBM force, including high rates of spouse abuse, and in fall 2012 had asked the top ICBM commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, to fix that. Last October Carey was fired from his position after an Air Force investigation found he had engaged in inappropriate behavior while on an official visit to Russia last summer.

Maj. Megan Schafer, the spokeswoman for Welsh, said he has been diligent about implementing changes in the ICBM force as recommended by a string of official inquiries, including the 2013 Welch task force report.

Compared with 2010, when Welch’s study group had last examined the nuclear Air Force, morale had improved, he wrote. There remained skepticism, however, about promises of future improvements for the workforce.

“The force is patiently waiting for … visibly increased support for their daily mission work,” the report said.

That patience seems, however, to be wearing thin.

A swelling wave of problems inside the force responsible for the nation’s 450 ICBMs broke into the open last week with the unprecedented firing of nine midlevel commanders at an ICBM base in Montana, and the news that 90 or more junior officers there face disciplinary action for their role in an exam-cheating ring.

Extending a series of sackings of top ICBM leaders in recent months, the top operational commander at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, Col. Donald W. Holloway, was relieved of duty last week for reasons not publicly explained in full. F.E. Warren is home to 150 Minuteman 3 missiles and headquarters of the whole ICBM force.

Those are just a few examples of trouble facing the ICBM force. It also is caught in an unfinished criminal investigation of illegal drug use by at least three nuclear missile launch officers. More broadly, the Pentagon is looking for ways to fix what Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James calls “systemic” flaws that were years in the making in an ICBM force that operates largely out of the public spotlight with limited resources.

 

 

 

Obama tests work policies on federal contractors

Apr 7, 7:29 AM EDT

By JIM KUHNHENN

Associated Press

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA?SITE=AZPHG&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sidestepping Congress, President Barack Obama is using the federal government’s vast array of contractors to impose rules on wages, pay disparities and hiring on a segment of the private sector that gets taxpayer money and falls under his control.

Obama this week plans to issue an order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their pay. He will also direct the Labor Department to issue new rules requiring federal contractors to provide compensation data that includes a breakdown by race and gender.

In a separate action Monday, Obama intends to announce 24 schools that will share more than $100 million in grants to redesign themselves to better prepare high school students for college or for careers. The awards are part of an order Obama signed last year. Money for the program comes from fees that companies pay for visas to hire foreign workers for specialized jobs.

The steps, which Obama will take Tuesday at a White House event, take aim at pay disparities between men and women. The Senate this week is scheduled to take up gender pay equity legislation that would affect all employers, but the White House-backed bill doesn’t have enough Republican support to overcome procedural obstacles and will likely fail.

The work policy changes demonstrate that even without legislation, the president can drive economic policy. At the same time, they show the limits of his power when he doesn’t have congressional support.

Republicans say Obama is pushing his executive powers too far and should do more to work with Congress. His new executive orders are sure to lead to criticism that he is placing an undue burden on companies and increasing their costs.

Federal contracting covers about one-quarter of the U.S. workforce and includes companies ranging from Boeing to small parts suppliers and service providers. As a result, presidential directives can have a wide and direct impact. But such actions also can be undone by future presidents or by congressional action.

Tuesday’s executive order and presidential memorandum on pay equity measures come two months after Obama ordered federal contractors to increase their minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour – the same increase Obama and Democrats are struggling to get Congress to approve nationwide.

Obama in 2012 issued an order that prohibited government contractors or subcontractors from, among other things, charging employees recruitment fees, a practice that some companies have been accused of employing in their overseas operations.

In his first month in office, he required that certain large federal contractors hire service workers who had been employed by the previous contractor on the job. He also has prohibited federal contractors from using federal funds to influence workers’ decisions on whether to join a union.

Jeffrey Hirsch, a former lawyer with the National Labor Relations Board, said presidential executive orders that affect federal contracting workforces can demonstrate that those practices are less onerous than initially imagined.

“It’s an important step in implementing things in a broader scale,” said Hirsch, now a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Obama’s go-it-alone strategy is hardly new. And his rate of signing executive orders is similar to that of President George W. Bush and lower than that of President Bill Clinton. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the most active signer of executive orders, issuing them at the rate of nearly one a day. But Obama has the lowest rate of executive orders since President Grover Cleveland, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution.

Tuesday’s executive actions are designed to let workers discuss and compare their wages openly if they wish to do so and to provide the government with better data about how federal contractors compensate their workers.

“This really is about giving people access to more information both to help them make decisions at the policy level but also for individuals,” said Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She has been working with the administration to get compensation information about the nation’s workforce.

“This is definitely an encouraging first step,” she said.

Federal contractors, however, worry that additional compensation data could be used to fuel wage-related lawsuits, said James Plunkett, director of labor policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

What’s more, he said, such orders create a two-tiered system where rules apply to federal contractors but not to other employers. Those contractors, knowing that their business relies on the government, are less likely to put up a fight, he said.

“Federal contractors ultimately know that they have to play nicely to a certain extent with the federal government,” he said.

 

NIST moves forward with cyber-focused research center

Apr. 4, 2014 – 04:24PM   |  

 By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON   

 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is one step closer to sponsoring a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), focused on making U.S. information systems more secure.

NIST plans to award a $5 billion contract to operate the FFRDC and support its National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, or NCCoE for short. The NCCoE is tasked with developing and promoting the adoption of practical cybersecurity solutions.

The contract will have a base period of five years with a maximum of 25 years. Proposals are due May 22.

Work under the contract will include scientific operations and facilities management and engineering support. The latter will involve developing cyber solutions from commercial components and conducting technology transfers that will provide secure solutions for the federal government, according to an April 2 request for proposal.

“FFRDCs are independent nonprofit organizations that operate in the public interest and provide a highly efficient way to leverage and rapidly assemble physical resources and scientific and engineering talent, both public and private,” according to NIST. “By design, they have beyond normal access to government and supplier data, and as nonprofits, they have no bias toward any particular company, technology or product—key attributes, given the NCCoE’s collaborative nature.”

 

Unfortunate event as Triathlete sustains head injuries from drone

by Press • 6 April 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/04/28431/unfortunate-event-as-triathlete-sustains-head-injuries-from-drone/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=9a6c9f6de4-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-9a6c9f6de4-303662705

BY PETA KINGDON

 

A competitor in today’s Endure Batavia Triathlon has been taken to hospital after an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) otherwise known as a drone, fell from the sky hitting her on the head.

The competitor, Raija Ogden was heading into her second lap of the run leg of the race on the Foreshore when the incident occurred.

The remote-controlled copter struck her head and she fell to the ground.

Raija is the wife of defending champ Courtney Ogden who came in second place in today’s race shortly after the incident occurred.

The UAV operated and owned by local videographers New Era Photography and Film were covering the event with live footage and owner Warren Abrams said the circumstances looked to be suspicious.

“We will be conducting a full investigation of what happened but it looks as though someone has hacked into our system,” he said.

The Geraldton Triathlon Club released a statement expressing their sincere apologies about the accident.

“In relation to the incident that occurred today at the Endure Batavia Triathlon involving an aerial camera and competitor Raija Ogden, the Geraldton Triathlon Club wish to state their sincere apologies to Mrs Ogden,” the statement said.

“Mrs Ogden has been treated by paramedics on location and the club have been advised she is in a stable condition following the incident, with minor injuries sustained to her head.

“Geraldton Triathlon Club President Simon Teakle, said the club are very disappointed that this has occurred.

“We are currently in discussions with the videographers to assess how the incident occurred and the circumstances surrounding the accident,” he said.

“This incident should never have occurred and a full investigation will be conducted in conjunction with the videographers involved.”

 

http://everythinggeraldton.com.au/2014/04/06/unfortunate-event-triathlete-sustains-head-injuries-drone/

 

 

Serious aviation accident investigation necessary given injuries sustained in Geraldton UAV accident

by Press • 7 April 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/04/28440/serious-aviation-accident-investigation-necessary-given-injuries-sustained-in-geraldton-uav-accident/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=9a6c9f6de4-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-9a6c9f6de4-303662705

 

The Australian Certified UAV Operators Association (ACUO) welcomes today’s confirmation by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) that it has launched a serious accident investigation into the circumstances surrounding the reported injuring of a female triathlete by an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) in Geraldton over the weekend.

The alleged operator of the UAV was not the holder of a CASA UAV Operator Certificate (UOC).

ACUO’s own research conducted today indicates the alleged operator has been active for some time, following several claims by the alleged operator in media interviews, including with the West Australian regional media in March 2013 to be a CASA certificate holder. See paragraphs 27 and 28 of the following article from Farm Weekly, 29 March 2013:

http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/machinery/general-news/wa-farm-takes-to-the-sky/2652354.aspx?storypage=0

We are also concerned that imagery posted on the alleged operators Facebook page suggests a standing pattern of questionable operations which we trust the CASA investigation will closely assess for compliance.

ACUO can confirm that the alleged operator of the UAV was not, nor has ever attempted to become, a member of our organisation. ACUO can also confirm that we have today acted to ensure CASA is aware of the alleged operator’s previous claims to be a certified operator as part of the matters arising from the weekend’s appalling accident.

“What happened during the Endure Batavia Triathlon must be fully investigated” says Joe Urli, President of ACUO.

“The very act of flying a UAV low over the head of members of the public is a direct breach of Part 101 of the Australian Civil Aviation Regulations which clearly mandates a minimum separation of 30 meters.”

“The circumstances by which the air vehicle came to be in close proximity with the triathlete and the subsequent events culminating in her being physically injured is not acceptable by any standards of professional airmanship.”

“To the female triathlete ACUO says this: We are appalled by what happened to you at the weekend. We believe you are entitled to a full explanation as to how and why the accident happened. We are sorry that the apparent actions of an uncertified operator have caused you injury and pain. As a peak industry body we will do all we can to ensure that no person has to again endure the events as experienced by you.”

ACUO regards CASA’s launch of an investigation into this accident as a welcome step towards resolving the ongoing problem of illegal operators in Australia.

ACUO last week called for greater resources for the aviation regulator and a significant increase in the penalties for individuals and organisations found guilty of operating a UAV without CASA certification.

The Geraldton accident follows two separate incidents involving an airliner and a UAV at Perth airport, and a Westpac rescue helicopter with a UAV at Newcastle during March this year.

ACUO’s position on illegal operations has been documented as part of our recent submission to the Federal Government’s review of Aviation Safety Regulations, with this available here:

ACUO’s specific recommendations to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review comprise:

1. CASA needs to rethink and rework its current enforcement procedures applying to the ‘unmanned’ sector of aviation, so that; acuo-pr-04-2014

· They are entirely workable and cost-effective to administer and deliver across the ‘unmanned’ sector of aviation, as well as the rest of the aviation industry.
· They provide an immediate, positive and strong deterrent value to illegal UAV operations.

2. CASA Enforcement procedures for the ‘unmanned’ sector of aviation should be considered in conjunction with a nation-wide awareness campaign to inform and educate the public and industry about the do’s and don’ts of RPAS operations in Australia, and the safety/regulatory/legal basis for having regulations.

· There needs to be a re-focus of attention by CASA on the illegal UAV operators, not the certified UAV operators as is currently the case.

· There needs to be a strong focus on ‘DETERRENCE’ and getting the message across: “If you breach the aviation regulations, you will pay the penalties”.

· There also needs to be a clear distinction between military and civil RPAS experience when qualifying and operating RPAS. Military experience needs to be assessed for; Category, Technical and Operational competence and relevance. Military RPAS operations do not directly correlate with commercial RPAS operations.

3. That the penalties for illegal UAV operations should include:

· Increased fines representative of the sort of money they are earning from their illegal activities [i.e. thousands of dollars, not hundreds] and this should increase exponentially with subsequent prosecutions.

· Automatic confiscation of UAV equipment and if necessary, CASA sell or auction the confiscated equipment to offset the costs of enforcement.

· An automatic 12 month ban on applying for a UAV certificate or licence after a successful prosecution for illegal UAV operations.

4. That the revised UAV regulations include a provision that makes it illegal for an uncertified UAV operator to publicly advertise their services

· A similar provision is written into CAR88 regulations [CAR210] making it illegal for anyone to advertise for [conventional] Aerial Work Operations without an AOC

· The same should be true for commercial UAV Operators also.

The full ACUO submission to the review can be downloaded here: http://www.acuo.org.au/ACUO%20submission%20to%20the%20ASRR%20-%20Final.pdf

The Australian Association of UAV Operations (ACUO) is Australia’s premier industry association representing CASA certified unmanned aircraft operators.

For further information, please contact:

Joe Urli
President
ACUO
Email: president@acuo.org.u

Brad Mason
Secretary
ACUO
Email: secretary@acuo.org.au

 

How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Redmond needs to discover the mathematics of trust

By Trevor Pott, 2 Apr 2014

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/02/the_mathematics_of_trust/

 

What if Microsoft announced it’s not ending support for Windows XP next Tuesday after all, and instead will offer perpetual updates (for a small fee, of course).

Something inside me, somewhere between my sense of humor and soul-crushing cynicism, drove me to turn that dream into an April Fool for this year. But all cruel joking aside, there’s a very real discussion to be had about this.

How Microsoft chose to handle the Windows XP end-of-life is a great starting point for a discussion about the ethics and obligations of high-tech companies.

Almost a decade ago, I would have counted myself as one of Microsoft’s biggest champions. Server 2003 R2 and Windows XP SP2 were fantastic upgrades to their predecessors. Microsoft was innovating again in the browser market, and the results of a massive internal refocusing on security were becoming visible to plebeians like me.

Amazing new technologies were pouring out of Microsoft, and Redmond appeared to be listening to its customers. Partners were (mostly) happy with how Microsoft was doing things and developers were jumping into the exciting world of .Net. The promise of upcoming releases gave us hope that the hits would keep on coming.

Vista and the 2007 range of server software, Office and other applications arrived, and they were pretty awful. Hope turned to ashes, but it was hard to dispel the absolute and unshakable faith I had in Microsoft. I was confident they’d turn it around… even if Vista and RibbonOffice were going nowhere near my PC. (Boycotting an app suite is hardly a protest, mind. Microsoft is rather hard to kill.)

Three years later, Microsoft managed to crank out Windows 7 and the 2010 line of server software, Office and so forth. Life was good, but it didn’t last. Windows 8, the “all stick, no carrot” push to get us subscribed to the Office 365 cloud, the SPLA licensing redux, VDI licensing and a thousand more terrible decisions mounted. A former loyal champion, I had become one of Microsoft’s loudest critics. Why?

 

XP end of life

To understand what kinds of decisions destroyed my faith, let’s examine Microsoft’s handling of XP end-of-life: the decision to discontinue support, security patches and other updates from April 8, 2014.

The first thing I want to put out there is that I do agree that – all things being equal – upgrading from Windows XP/Server 2003 to a newer operating system is a Good Thing. Newer operating systems have newer security features (assuming developers take advantage of them) such as ASLR and NLA. The more widespread these technologies are, the more secure we all are.

If it were a simple matter of upgrading Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8, I would be entirely willing to point to those clinging to XP and say “get your act together.” Herd immunity relies on having enough of the herd immunized and that does require pushing the reluctant – and the cheap – into the future.

The truth is that things are rather a lot more complicated for a lot of people. Let’s take a look at a real-world example from one of my customers.

This machine shop is family owned and operated. There are three owners with maybe 15 people working there during peak season. They turn over about $1m a year. Much of their equipment was bought in the late 1990s and is perfectly serviceable today. Equipment like CnC lathes that can only accept jobs from networked PCs running NetBEUI.

The companies that manufactured the equipment no longer exist. There is nobody to rewrite the code in that lathe. The machinists running the shop certainly don’t know how to do it, and a forklift upgrade of all their gear would cost $7m.

Windows XP could be loaded up with the drivers to talk NetBEUI, though you did have to root around on the CD to find it. The company in question cannot upgrade to Windows 7, for there is no NetBEUI support; the equipment flat out can’t talk to it*. These folks certainly cannot afford to plunk down seven times their gross annual revenue on new equipment.

Of the 57 clients I work with, 43 of them are in positions where they simply cannot upgrade all their Windows XP systems in use. The choices for them are “run an insecure operating system” or “go out of business.” There are countless businesses around the world facing similar issues; indeed, Windows XP still accounts for more than 20 per cent of all detected Windows computers connected to the internet.

Microsoft can offer affordable security to these companies. It chooses not to.

 

The mathematics of trust

I have been told by people I trust to know such things that it should take no more than 25 full-time programmers to provide ongoing patching support for Windows XP. Let’s double that number to 50 just to be on the safe side. Let’s also assume that doing Windows XP support at Microsoft is so awful that we need to strongly incentivize these developers, so we’ll offer them $500K per year. We’ll double that figure to make sure the developers get good benefits and that we factor in administrative overhead.

 

Based on the above we get 50 x $500,000 x 2 = $50m as the cost of ongoing yearly Windows XP support for Microsoft.

In 2008 Gartner said that there were 1 billion PCs “installed” on the planet, and estimated 2 billion by 2013. That lines up roughly with a number of “people connected to the internet” figures I’ve seen. Windows’ worldwide end-point share is about 50 per cent, so if we assume half those 2 billion devices on the net are running Windows, we get that same “1 billion installed PCs” figure from 2008. Given the “woe betide us, death of the PC” flailing of the past few years, a static installed base of 1 billion Windows PCs seems about right.

If there are 1 billion PCs, and 20 per cent of them are XP powered, we have 200 million WinXP boxes still floating about. If we presume that 99 per cent of them are XP merely due to “cheapness” and that only 1 per cent of installed boxes have a good reason to remain XP that leaves us with 2 million Windows XP boxes that have a good reason to keep on being XP boxes.

Microsoft likes three-year refresh cycles. The cost of Windows Professional is $200. That is $66.67 per year, but let’s round that down to $65. Sixty-five bucks per host per year is something small businesses and individuals can afford.

If all 2 million XP boxes that have a good reason to be XP boxes pay the cost of a Windows Professional license every three years, in order to obtain ongoing support, Microsoft would bring in $130m a year. That’s $80m of annual wiggle room for what are some pretty pessimistic figures to start with.

 

Keeping Windows XP alive is good for everyone

It would take Microsoft a day, OK maybe a month, to crank out a patch that would tie XP systems to a subscription service somewhere, and thusly enabled them to receive ongoing support. Offering this ongoing support wouldn’t solely benefit the companies and individuals running XP, it provides real-world benefits to Microsoft as well.

Such a move would start to rebuild trust. The total cost of support for XP is a minor marketing expense. If Microsoft could earn back customer loyalty and trust, then on that basis alone the costs of the program would be justified, even without any revenue from subscriptions.

My subscription plan would also see Microsoft get a significant chunk of businesses and individuals used to the idea of paying a subscription fee for their operating system. All of us aware that this is the ultimate goal Microsoft is fixated upon anyways, but they haven’t found a way to sell it to the mass market as a Good Thing. This is one such way.

Microsoft also gets to look like they care about the human beings that are affected by their choices. In many ways, Microsoft’s executives have more power to affect the day-to-day life of individuals and business than most of our planet’s politicians. Making the cost of perpetual support for XP affordable to the hoi polloi gives them enough street cred to claim they really do give a bent damn about the customer.

Most important of all, an affordable support subscription like this helps decondition customers who are used to the idea of software having a useful shelf-life of a decade or more. You can keep whatever software you want, however old you want to keep it, but you’ll pay Microsoft the cost of a new version every 3 years, no matter what.

Normally, I’d find that very premise offensive; if a company wants my money they have to offer me something of value. I don’t pay taxes to corporations.

Yet here would be something of value. I pay Microsoft what they feel is their due, but if I don’t find value in their latest offerings – say because I believe that Metro and the Ribbon bar were sent from hell to make us miserable – then I can cling to the past and pay for support.

 

The option to vote with my wallet, even when dealing with a monopoly, gives me the illusion of freedom and control over my own life. Both are important parts of my personal happiness, but for companies like the machinist discussed above happiness is secondary. The ability to stick to older versions is critical to the ongoing viability of running their business’ IT securely… or at all.

 

Faith and the market

Microsoft is a company, and companies exist to make profit. Still, there are ways to go about making a profit that don’t alienate the developers, partners and customers Microsoft depends on for tactical revenue and strategic ecosystem development. How Microsoft chooses to handle everything from product support to licensing influences my trust that Microsoft’s goals are complementary to my own.

Microsoft’s job isn’t to force the market to comply with its “vision.” Microsoft’s job is to investigate the needs of the market and deliver goods and services that meet those needs, at a price the market will bear. This requires listening to – and engaging with – critics as well as loyalists.

The price of trust is a culture change. I know they can do it; they changed their entire corporate culture to make security a fundamental part of their software design. Now they need to make earning and retaining customer trust a fundamental part of every licensing choice, every marketing decision, and every strategy session.

A new generation is coming to power; people who are highly cynical regarding corporations and governments alike. They are virtually immune to traditional marketing and they are far more fickle than their predecessors. They are entirely aware that profit can be made by earning the loyalty of your customers instead of forcing the market.

The future belongs to those companies that can decipher the mathematics of trust. The question to hand is whether or not Microsoft is one of them. ®

 

Bootnote

* For those who got to this article Googling for possible solutions to the Windows 7 NetBEUI issue, I have found two:

Under certain circumstances companies have been using NetBEUI when what they really need is LM announcing and 40-bit encryption. Enable these and see if what you need works.

The Windows XP NetBEUI drivers may work on 32-bit versions of Windows 7, but you’ll typically run into issues with the firewall, talking to computers on the local network that have IPv6 enabled, and it plays merry hob with network browsing; especially if you have multiple sites. Microsoft does not support this configuration at all. I do not know of a solution to make this work for Windows 7 64-bit.

 

 

Can This Man Save the Pentagon?

The Daily Beast

Bill Sweetman

04.07.14

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/07/can-this-man-save-the-pentagon.html

 

Bob Work is one of the few defense experts in Washington who thinks strategy first and weapons second. Somehow, he’s about to become the Pentagon’s No. 2.

In Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, there’s a scene where one of Mendy’s boys follows Philip Marlowe out of a bar. There might have been trouble, Marlowe says, “if this enormous man hadn’t got out of an enormous car” and thrown the kid one-handed against the wall. “What was that?” Marlowe asks the bruised gangster. “Big Willie Magoon. A policeman. He thinks he’s tough.”

Magoon isn’t that tough, as he finds out when Mendy sends a few more guys to remind him as much.

Pentagon leadership can be like that. It’s easy to talk about change. But the military services, industry and Congress are all in favor of change as long as it doesn’t threaten their interests, and are ready to hand out a beatdown to anyone who does not grasp that fact.

But if you believe that technology can help solve the problems of national security, and that we can do better at applying it than we have done for the past 30 years or so, there is cause to raise a ragged cheer for the confirmation of Robert O. Work as Deputy Secretary of Defense, an event that—barring unexpected accidents—should happen within days.

What makes Work an unusual nominee at his level is that he arrives with a record of thinking about strategy, in the sense of matching goals to resources. In his time at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), before his four years as deputy Navy secretary, and his tenure as head of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Work led and supported studies that came to specific conclusions about new opportunities and challenges for the U.S. and its allies.

One area where his views could have an early effect is on the battle over the Navy’s next-generation drone, the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), should look like. It pits the advocates of a stealthy and offensive aircraft against those who support something that poses less of a threat, whether to well-defended adversaries or their own pet programs. At CSBA, Bob Work co-authored a 2007 paper that advocated long-range, very stealthy unmanned aircraft, as a way to boost the reach and strike power of the carrier. The decision on the UCLASS requirements document has been delayed, perhaps not coincidentally, until his arrival.

Work has expressed more skepticism on the Pentagon’s biggest weapons-buying program, the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, than anyone even close to the level of his new job. He pointed out in 2010 that the likely proliferation of guided rockets and mortars could make it risky to put expensive F-35Bs into improvised forward bases. As deputy Navy secretary, he directed Navy and Marine commanders to identify lower-cost aviation options and to come up with hard comparisons between the F-35 and an upgraded F/A-18. At CNAS, Work oversaw a study published in January that warned of new threats to F-35-level stealth—particularly, VHF radars cueing high-power tracking radars —and advocated a balance of stealth and electronic attack in future plans.

Work has been influential in developing the Air Sea Battle concept —the Navy’s notion for permitting sustained operations in highly contested environments. “He has been a strong supporter of fielding new undersea systems for land attack, a new Navy laser and unmanned air and undersea capabilities,” a colleague notes.

Air Sea Battle support indicates that Work’s enthusiasm (or lack of it) for individual programs is rooted in strategy, not favoritism. An official who has worked closely with him notes that “nobody ties strategy to technology to programs better.”

Work is a Marine and a naval-studies expert by background but that some of his strongest supporters are airpower experts. “Work probably understands what each of the services is up to better than anyone in DC,” says one of the industry’s more astute observers. He’s a Marine and sees great value in the Corps, but he totally gets airpower and its primacy in Pacific geography. Most of all, he’s not sucked in or bamboozled by any of the services, and he will stand against the ‘boots on the ground’ drumbeat.”

 

But anyone in Work’s job faces “a Byzantine morass of bureaucratic and political challenges,” one Air Force official notes, in a tough budget environment to which too many people have responded with denial. His background is lighter in industrial and economic areas, which are crucial today. And—like anyone who wants to make change—he will have to balance the desire to move fast with a realistic sense of the defense complex’s colossal inertia.

Washington can indeed make you want to pick people up and throw them against a wall. But (as any materials scientist will tell you) you need some flexibility if you want to do more than look tough.

This column also appears in the April 7 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology.

 

 

Sense-And-Avoid Still Causing Triton UAS Turbulence

By Amy Butler abutler@aviationweek.com

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_04_08_2014_p0-677650.xml

April 08, 2014

 

The U.S. Navy continues to assess its options to replace a sense-and-avoid radar that was to be used on the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, but failed to meet expectations.

Exelis was selected by Northrop to provide the radar, but the Navy put a stop-work on the contract one year ago and began an assessment of alternatives. No alternative is available off the shelf, says Sean Burke, Navy deputy program manager. The problem was miniaturizing the advanced, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar technology and providing sufficient cooling and power within the available weight and space. It was a “technical solution that turned out to be very challenging for us,” Burke said.

“We are really at the edge of the technology” in developing the system, said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman’s Triton program manager. He and Burke briefed the media on the program during the annual Sea-Air-Space 2014 show hosted by the Navy League.

Navy officials are continuing to work on what they call an Airborne Sense-and-Avoid (ABSAA) capability for Triton. This includes a traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) and use of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) for sense-and-avoid with “cooperative aircraft,” meaning those also using a similar system, according to Capt. Jim Hoke, Triton program manager for the Navy.

The TCAS and ADS-B systems are slated for introduction into the Triton in time for initial operational capability (IOC), which is slated for fiscal 2018. IOC consists of four air vehicles that will be deployed to a base on Guam; the U.S. Air Force’s Global Hawks also use this base.

However, the service has convened a panel of experts and “graybeards” to assess how to replace the capability that would have been offered by the Exelis sense-and-avoid radar. The company’s work remains on hold pending the outcome of this review.

Sense-and-avoid is needed for Triton to accommodate the Navy’s operational concept. Like the manned Lockheed P-3, the unmanned Triton will be required to dip below the clouds and marine layer to look at surface targets. The P-3 did this with onboard sensors and operators. Lacking onboard operators, the Triton will use its Raytheon MTS-B electro-optical sensor to surveil targets. But to do so, it must descend to a low altitude from the Global Hawk’s traditional operating altitude of 50,000 ft. or higher.

Meanwhile, the Navy is planning to deploy an early operational capability of two air vehicles in fiscal 2017. An operational assessment is slated for the fourth quarter of this year.

The program has been delayed a year due to technical risk, but Burke says the risk reduction done during that period has strengthened the plan moving ahead.

Triton is to be built on a structurally enhanced Global Hawk Block 30 platform; it will contain improved situational awareness technology, as well as new sensors tailored for the maritime mission and specialized equipment such as anti-icing systems on the wings and leading edges, including the engine inlets.

Initial envelope expansion testing for the air vehicle is complete, Hoke says. Only one of 568 test points had to be repeated, far below the standard 15% budgeted for reflying activities, says Rear Adm. Mat Winter, program executive officer for unmanned aircraft for the Navy. Should this trend continue, “I smell reduction in test and evaluation, verification and validation, and in the government’s back end” work for developing future aircraft systems such as the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (Uclass), or perhaps for the U.S. Marine Corps Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack program, Winter told Aviation Week.

Meanwhile, the AN/ZPY-3 Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS), the 360-deg. radar to be hung on the underside of Triton’s belly, is undergoing preliminary testing on a Gulfstream III. It is conducting its 37th flight test on April 8, Burke says.

Two additional Triton air vehicles are slated for first flight in June, after which all three will ferry to NAS Patuxent River, Md. The MFAS radar will be fitted onto an air vehicle there to commence integrated testing for the aircraft and its radar.

Australia has indicated it will likely purchase Triton; a commitment will be made based on performance of the forthcoming development work.

 

Lawmakers Say Air Force Plans To Cut A-10 Flights And Training Are Illegal

Apr. 8, 2014 – 06:00AM |

By Brian Everstine

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140408/NEWS05/304080067/Lawmakers-say-Air-Force-plans-cut-10-flights-training-illegal

 

Two key senators say Air Force plans to stop A-10 flights and training in October are against the law.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., in an April 4 letter to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, say they have learned the service has not allotted any flight hours for the A-10 weapons school, has canceled A-10 modernization and has ended the normal sustainment process for fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1. However, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act blocks the Air Force from retiring or preparing to retire the A-10 in calendar year 2014. This means that the AIr Force’s plans for the beginning of fiscal 2015, while still in calendar 2014, are against the NDAA, the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers ask the Air Force to confirm that the service has not allotted flying hours for A-10 units at Osan Air Base, South Korea; Moody Air Force Base, Ga.; Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.; and the Idaho Air National Guard beginning Oct. 1.

“If so, we request that you reverse these actions to ensure the Air Force is in full compliance with the law and Congress’ intent,” the letter states.

The Air Force’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal calls for the retirement of the service’s entire 343-jet A-10 fleet, with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units currently flying the jet slated to get a replacement manned flying mission while active-duty units would close after the attack jet leaves.

Ayotte leads congressional opposition to the cuts. She earlier held up the nomination of James on account of the A-10 proposed cuts.

The Air Force has repeatedly said that it would save $3.7 billion by cutting the entire fleet, along with infrastructure and depot maintenance, and that other aircraft would cover the close air support mission.

The Air Force on Tuesday said it is working on a response to the letter, but did not have additional information to release.

 

U.S. Air Force Is Testing Google Glass & Building Apps For Battlefield Use

April 8, 2014 12:26 PM

Richard Byrne Reilly

http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/08/u-s-air-force-is-testing-google-glass-building-apps-for-battlefield-use-exclusive/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

 

The U.S. Air Force’s “BATMAN” research team at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio is beta-testing Google Glass for possible use on the battlefield.

And so far, it likes what it sees.

The positive attributes “are its low power, its low footprint, it sits totally above the eyes, and doesn’t block images or hinder vision,” said 2nd Lt. Anthony Eastin, a behavioral scientist on the BATMAN team testing the glasses.

The BATMAN evaluation group is part of the U.S. Air Force’s 711th Human Performance Wing and is one of the military’s most distinguished research and development groups. It comprises both military and civilian behavioral and technology scientists. The BATMAN acronym stands for Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided (K)nowledge.

“We borrowed the “N,” Eastin said.

Andres Calvo, a software developer and civilian contractor with the group, told VentureBeat Tuesday that one of the facets of the Google Glass platform the team liked was the capability to “access information very quickly.”

But so far, Glass is “not a silver bullet for many of the Air Force’s needs,” Calvo said.

The Air Force’s BATMAN team poses with their Google Glass-testing dummy. Left to right: Dr. Gregory Burnett, dummy, 2nd Lieutenant Anthony Eastin, and Andres Calvo.

Above: The Air Force’s BATMAN team poses with their Google Glass-testing dummy. Left to right: Dr. Gregory Burnett, the dummy, 2nd Lt. Anthony Eastin, and Andres Calvo.

Image Credit: Rick Eldridge, 711 Human Performance Wing, U.S. Air Force

Possible Air Force scenarios for the technology use include forward air controllers working on the ground helping vector fighter and bomber aircraft to their targets, search and rescue missions, and combat controllers communicating with aircraft flying overhead and ground troops in combat, supply, and rescue operations.

The Air Force obtained two pairs of glasses through Google’s Glass Explorer program, in which people interested in acquiring them first apply and then receive notification from Google on whether it accepts or denies their application. Respondents who get the green light must pay $1,500 for the privilege. Eastin said the team had no official relationship with Google at that time.

The BATMAN team is also prototyping proprietary software to enhance the Android OS platform that powers the technology.

“The goal is to build software for research purposes for future endeavors,” Eastin said.

The testing comes as the U.S. military attempts to move beyond using battlefield laptops in combat and intelligence missions and rely more on smart phones, tablets, and wearables, which are easier to use and maneuver in confined spaces and on the battlefield.

Indeed, the Marine Corps recently unveiled a helicopter drone operated by a tablet the military reckons will be of use to missions like the ones laid out by the BATMAN team.

VentureBeat reported in February that the New York City Police Department’s massive and controversial intelligence and analytics unit was also evaluating whether Google Glass was a decent fit for terror investigations and routine street patrol purposes. The department received several pairs of the modernist-looking specs to test out over a year ago.

Virgin Atlantic airways is also beta testing the glasses, according to recent press reports.

And the U.S. Navy is also testing smart glasses, but not Google’s: the Navy is working with Vuzix to test “smart goggles,” as VentureBeat reported in February.

For its part, Google reps said it had no official working relationship with the U.S. Air Force, “nor does it have any plans to,” a source said.

A Google spokesperson put it this way in a wan official statement to VentureBeat:

“The Glass Explorer program includes people from all walks of life, including doctors, firefighters, and parents. Anyone can apply to become a Glass Explorer, provided he or she is a U.S. resident and over the age of 18.”

Google Glass is an Android-powered, wearable computer built into a module perched on the side of a pair of eyeglasses. It comes from Google’s special-projects division, called Google X, which is also working on driverless cars and high-altitude balloons that blanket the Earth below with wireless Internet.

Google Glass incorporates a heads-up display reminiscent of that used in advanced fighter jets and commercial airliners to communicate with air traffic controllers and other aircraft. A camera captures photo and video on demand. If the Air Force ends up adapting Google Glass for use among its disparate units, it represents a massive potential revenue stream for Google.

The 711th Human Performance Wing and the BATMAN group are two of the Air Force’s preeminent technology proving grounds. They test existing technologies and design, build and deploy their own. Traditionally, much of the technology emanating from their labs ends up in the field and in combat situations.

From its website:

The 711th Human Performance Wing (711 HPW) is a unique combination of three units: the Human Effectiveness Directorate (RH), the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM), and the Human Systems Integration Directorate (HP). The synergies of combining the ideas, resources, and technologies of these units position the 711 HPW as a world leader in the study and advancement of human performance.

The Wing’s mission is to advance human performance in air, space, and cyberspace through research, education, and consultation. We support the most critical resource – the men and women of our operational military forces. From concept to deployment, we provide the solutions to achieve an optimum Airman life cycle: acquire, train, equip, enhance, and protect.

Dr. Gregory Burnett is BATMAN’s chief engineer and said the group was initially formed in 2001 under the BATMAN 1 aegis. The newest incarnation, BATMAN II, was launched earlier this year.

As for the two pairs of Google Glass currently being tested by BATMAN, Burnett says he likes some of what he sees so far and what it potentially portends for the men and women in the Air Force serving a multitude of roles. Glass, he says, doesn’t cause blind spots when looking through it, and possibly updated and enhanced software could indeed make the platform even better.

“Google is pushing the boundaries,” Burnett said.

“The question is, during the chaos of war, how will the technology perform?”

 

 

US Official: In Key Ways, Russian Military is ‘Very Limited’

Apr. 8, 2014 – 04:57PM | By JOHN T. BENNETT | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140408/DEFREG02/304080016

 

WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials on Tuesday described a Russian military that possesses “very limited” ability to punch outside its neighborhood due to poor logistics and “aging equipment.”

In addition, Defense Department officials vowed to a House committee that the Obama administration is prepared to “punish Russia” for invading Ukraine’s Crimea region, and for any possible future aggressive acts. But Derek Chollet, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told lawmakers any US actions will be “mostly economic.”

A handful of Republican House Armed Services Committee members called on the Obama administration to use more military means to counter Russian moves and prevent future ones.

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, co-author of a coming bill calling for a beefed-up US military presence in the European region to counter Russia, cited a recent Washington Post editorial that said the Obama administration’s Russia policies are rooted in “fantasy.”

He also said that senior US commanders in Europe say up to 80,000 Russian troops appear to be amassed on that nation’s border with Ukraine. Turner tried to get Chollet and Vice Adm. Frank Pandolfe, director of strategic plans and policy on the Joint Staff, to describe the combat punch and reach of the Russian forces.

Pandolfe did not directly address that part of Turner’s inquiry, saying a classified session slated for later Tuesday would provide a better setting for his answer. But he did say Moscow has fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, armored vehicles and other combat systems along that border.

But in his opening statement, the three-star officer was more blunt about Russia’s force.

“Today, Russia is a regional power that can project force into nearby states but has very limited global power projection capability,” Pandolfe said. “It has a military of uneven readiness.

“While some units are well trained, most are less so. It suffers from corruption and its logistical capabilities are limited,” he said. “Aging equipment and infrastructure, fiscal challenges, and demographic and social problems will continue to hamper reform efforts.”

Still, Pandolfe described a Russian military that has changed “with some success” over the last six years.

“Since 2008, those efforts have had some success. Russian military forces have been streamlined into smaller, more mobile units,” Pandolfe said. “Their overall readiness has improved and their most elite units are well-trained and equipped. They now employ a more sophisticated approach to joint warfare.”

What’s more, he said, “the Russian military adopted doctrinal change, placing greater emphasis on speed of movement, the use of special operations forces, and information and cyber warfare.”

Pandolfe also sent a warning to Moscow, saying “the United States … employs a military of global reach and engagement” and warning, “should Russia undertake an armed attack against any NATO state, it will find that our commitment to collective defense is immediate and unwavering.”

Chollet was more measured, telling the House members that measures against Russia already implemented and any that would follow future Russian aggression would be aimed at crippling Moscow’s economy.

 

‘School-Lunch Program’

Chollet pointed to US shipments of meals ready to eat, or MREs, to Ukrainian forces as an example of what the administration already has done. Republican members were not impressed, and called for Obama to better arm Ukraine’s military.

Turner called the MRE shipments a mere “extension of our school-lunch programs.”

“Don’t you think military assistance is what they really need?” he asked the witnesses.

Chollet sidestepped the question, but noted Ukrainian officials several times have told US officials they most need “non-lethal assistance.”

HASC Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., pushed back on such calls. He said there is “very little historical precedent” supporting the notion that “aggression responds best to aggression.”

And, notably, Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican whose eastern North Carolina district includes the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, said his constituents are chilly to any US military operation in Europe to combat Russia’s moves.

Jones said voters in his district believe this of Europeans: “It’s their fight.”

He was one of the first GOP members to express deep concerns about the Afghanistan war, and has talked extensively about its massive costs in terms of national treasure, and wounded and dead American troops.

Jones also said his constituents, after 13 years of America’s post-9/11 conflicts, have expressed this collective feeling: “Here we go again.”

 

Not ‘A Provocation’

Later Tuesday, Turner and HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., will unveil their bill to beef up the US military footprint in Europe to counter Russia.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment on the legislation because it has yet to be formally introduced. But the spokeswoman did make clear the White House believes it has already increased the US military’s presence in Moscow’s backyard.

“To date, those efforts have been mostly taking advantage of existing missions, such as deploying 12 additional F-16s to our aviation training detachment to Poland and augmenting our contribution to the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission with [six] additional F-15s,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Tuesday. “We are going to do our part to increase our rotations of ground and naval forces to complement our increased aviation presence and will look for others to step up, too.”

US officials have urged other NATO members to make “similar contributions … as quickly as possible,” Hayden said.

She made a point that the military moves Obama has ordered are meant not as a “provocation or as a threat to Russia.” They are merely meant “as a demonstration of NATO’s continued commitment to European security.”

 

Drone-flying man hinders CareFlight landing

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/crime-law/deputies-drone-flying-man-hinders-careflight-landi/nfYhB/


Updated: 10:53 p.m. Saturday, April 12, 2014 | Posted: 4:32 p.m. Saturday, April 12, 2014

By Breaking News Staff

MOOREFIELD TWP., Clark County, Ohio —

A Clark County man flying a drone was arrested today for allegedly hindering the landing of a medical helicopter for a serious accident.

The driver of a pickup truck crashed into a tree just after 10 a.m. in the 2900 block of Mechanicsburg Road.

Kele M. Stanley, 31, of Moorefield Twp. was flying a drone with a camera taking pictures of the accident.

According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Stanley several times refused to stop flying his drone while CareFlight was preparing to land. The helicopter was able to land and depart safely from the scene.

Stanley was arrested on suspicion of obstructing official business, misconduct at an emergency and disorderly conduct. He was booked into the Clark County Jail, where he has since been released, jail records show. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 11 a.m. Monday in Clark County Municipal Court, according to the sheriff’s office.

Prior to the accident, the pickup truck driver fled a Tavenner Street residence in Springfield as police responded to a report that a man might be armed and suicidal, said Springfield police Sgt. Scott Woodruff. Police did not give chase, but did try to follow the truck, he said. Woodruff said officers saw that the pickup had crashed in Clark County, which was within a mile of the residence.

The driver of the pickup was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. His name and condition have not been released.

Clark County is handling the accident investigation.

 

 

 

 

Rasmussen Reports

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

Bottom of Form

Saturday, April 12, 2014

 

Just a week after the Obama administration declared its health insurance sign-up program a success, Kathleen Sebelius, the Cabinet secretary in charge of the new national health care law, announced her resignation. Mixed message or part of the plan?

Despite the administration’s claim of success, 58% of voters now have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, the highest finding since mid-November during the law’s troubled rollout phase.  

Fifty-three percent (53%) believe the quality of health care will get worse under the new law. That’s the highest level of pessimism in over three years. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think the law also will force up health care costs.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans continue to think frivolous lawsuits are driving up the cost of health care, insurance and other products and services. Supporters of the health care law fought off efforts to make tort reform a key part of it.

Given the problems with the law, a plurality (44%) believes Congress and the president should repeal it and start over again.
Nearly as many (39%) think they should go through the law piece by piece to improve it. Just 15% say they should leave the law as it is. Sixty-two percent (62%) believe the law is likely to be repealed if Republicans win full control of Congress in the November elections.

Democrats continue to hold a one-point lead over Republicans on the Generic Congressional Ballot.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Republican voters believe Republicans in Congress have lost touch with the party’s base. By contrast, 63% of Democrats think their congressional representatives have done a good job representing their party’s values.

A retiring Democratic congressman said recently that Congress deserves a pay raise. Members of Congress earn $174,000 a year, and 63% of voters think they’re overpaid.

Fifty-four percent (54%) also disagree with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling and believe the government should control how much money individuals can give to political campaigns. Seventy-four percent (74%) think most politicians will break the rules to help people who give them a lot of money.

After all, 31% of Americans believe the United States has a crony capitalist economic system. Crony capitalism is generally considered a system in which the most successful businesses have a close relationship with influential government officials.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) consider politicians less ethical than those in other professions.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) say lawyers are less ethical than others.

Most Americans (56%) still think there are too many lawyers in the country today, and just 11% agree it’s a good thing that most members of Congress are lawyers.

Only 19% of voters believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Just 38% think U.S. elections are fair to voters.

Speaking of elections, longtime Democratic Senator Dick Durbin has a double-digit lead over his Republican challenger, State Senator Jim Oberweis, in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Illinois.

Leading Republican hopefuls Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse are well ahead of their Democratic opponent in Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race, but Sasse runs stronger among both GOP voters and all voters in the state.

Fifty percent (50%) of voters nationwide are less likely to vote for Jeb Bush for president in 2016 because his father and brother have already served in the White House.

As for the man who currently holds the job, President Obama’s job approval ratings showed some slight improvement at week’s end but are still in double digits. 

The recent jobs report appears to have had little or no impact on the Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes which remain at levels seen since the first of the year.

In other surveys this week:

— Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters think America’s best days are in the past, although that’s down from last October’s high of 52%.

— Just 30% think the country is heading in the right direction.

— Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters believe U.S. society is fair and decent. Twenty-nine percent (29%) think society in this country is generally unfair and discriminatory instead.

— Nearly half (47%) now think humans are to blame for global warming, although just as many (48%) still believe there is significant disagreement in the scientific community on the issue.

— Just days into the Major League Baseball season, this year’s championship team is anyone’s guess. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox are the top fan favorites to win the World Series.

— Seventy-three percent (73%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Girl Scouts of America.

— Daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report were Americans’ top choices to take David Letterman’s place on CBS-TV’s The Late Show
. Colbert got the job.

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