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August 22 2015

August 24, 2015



22 August 2015


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Pentagon to Sharply Expand U.S. Drone Flights Over Next Four Years

Expanded drone flights to give military commanders access to more intelligence and greater firepower amid more global hot spots

Gordon Lubold

Aug. 16, 2015 7:40 p.m. ET


The Pentagon plans to sharply expand the number of U.S. drone flights over the next four years, giving military commanders access to more intelligence and greater firepower to keep up with a sprouting number of global hot spots, a senior defense official said.

The plan to increase by 50% the number of daily drone flights would broaden surveillance and intelligence collection in such locales as Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, the South China Sea and North Africa, said the official, who provided exclusive details of the plan to The Wall Street Journal. It would be the first significant increase in the U.S. drone program since 2011, reflecting pressure on military efforts to address a cascading series of global crises.

While expanding surveillance, the Pentagon plan also grows the capacity for lethal airstrikes, the most controversial part of the U.S. drone program and its rapid growth under President Barack Obama . Strikes by unmanned aircraft have killed 3,000 people or more, based on estimates by nonpartisan groups.

The Air Force now flies most of the U.S. drone flights, including secret missions for the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan and Yemen. But the new plan would draw on the Army, as well as Special Operations Command and government contractors.

Demand for intelligence and surveillance missions by unmanned U.S. aircraft has grown over the past decade, from as few as five drone flights a day in 2004.

The Pentagon plan calls for expanding the current number of daily flights—measured in so-called combat air patrols—from 61 to as many as 90 by 2019.

Such drones as the MQ-1 Predator and its newer, longer-range cousin, the MQ-9 Reaper, provide real-time video to commanders and intelligence analysts who use the data to track and target militants and conduct surveillance.


U.S. officials say they could always use more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data. The head of U.S. European Command, Gen. Philip Breedlove, lamented this year that he needed more coverage to adequately monitor his assigned region, which includes the conflict in Ukraine.

“Earlier indications and warning and the ability to better understand Moscow’s thinking and intent are absolutely critical for avoiding future surprise and miscalculation, for deterring effectively and for preparing to respond if required,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April.

The Pentagon envisions a combined effort that by 2019 would have the Air Force continue flying 60 drone flights a day, the Army contributing as many as 16 and the military’s Special Forces Command pitching in with as many as four. Government contractors would be hired to fly older Predator drones on as many as 10 flights a day, none of them strike missions.

The plan would unfold in steps. By 2017, the Army would fly as many as eight sorties and government contractors would supply about six flights, in addition to the 60 now flown by the Air Force.

“The combatant commanders and the Department of Defense need to take a truly joint approach to delivering the kinds of capabilities that remotely piloted aircraft can provide,” said David Deptula, a retired Air Force three-star general who ran the Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission until 2010.

“I’m glad to hear they’re taking a more joint approach,” Mr. Deptula said. “That’ll be a great help right there.”

The plan also calls for a new focus on maximizing existing drone capability by rerouting flights grounded for bad weather to other locations. If a drone couldn’t fly over a region in Iraq, for example, it could be sent elsewhere in the Middle East, the defense official said.

Pentagon officials didn’t have immediate cost estimates for the plan, which is predicated on budgets subject to congressional approval.

Until now, the Air Force has almost exclusively conducted U.S. drone operations, which has taken a toll on overworked pilots and crews, officials said, prompting the Air Force leadership to ask the Pentagon for a reprieve.

Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter agreed to let the Air Force reduce its drone flights from 65 to 60 a day by October. Defense officials said Mr. Carter agreed only if military planners could wring more drone capability using other resources.

“There will always be a strong demand” for military drone work, given emerging threats and world events, said Lt. Col. Chris Karns, an Air Force spokesman.

One of the problems facing the Defense Department is that it must share intelligence feeds: The military contributes as many as 22 of its 61 daily flights to the CIA. The agency directs the flights using military personnel, then uses the intelligence feeds for its own purposes.

While intelligence snagged by the CIA contributes to the ability of the U.S. to conduct surveillance and airstrikes against militants, the arrangement leaves fewer drones at the disposal of military commanders.

Some experts believe the Pentagon should get away from drone flight tallies and think more broadly about other measures of the intelligence they provide.

A technology known as wide-area airborne surveillance pods, which employs more cameras inside a small glass pod installed on the belly of a drone—such as the Reaper—expands by as much as tenfold the quantity of surveillance feeds military commanders can use, Mr. Deptula said.

It is a cheaper way to maximize existing capability than increasing drone flights alone. Indeed, employing such pods is part of the Pentagon plan, defense officials said.


“It’s much easier to increase the capability of the number of Reapers that we have than the number of flights they take,” Mr. Deptula said.



Pentagon Fears It’s Not Ready for a War With Putin

Nancy A. Youssef

08.14.151:13 AM ET


The U.S. military has run the numbers on a sustained fight with Moscow, and they do not look good for the American side.

A series of classified exercises over the summer has raised concerns inside the Defense Department that its forces are not prepared for a sustained military campaign against Russia, two defense officials told The Daily Beast.

Many within the military believe that 15 years of counter-terrorism warfare has left the ground troops ill prepared to maintain logistics or troop levels should Russia make an advance on NATO allies, the officials said.

Among the challenges the exercises revealed were that the number of precision-guided munitions available across the force were short of the war plans and it would be difficult to sustain a large troop presence.

“Could we probably beat the Russians today [in a sustained battle]? Sure, but it would take everything we had,” one defense official said. “What we are saying is that we are not as ready as we want to be.”

One classified “tabletop exercise” or “TTX”—a kind of in-office war game—”told us that the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] have depleted our sustainment capability,” a second defense official explained, using military jargon for the ability to maintain a fight. The exercise was led by the Department of Defense and involved several other federal agencies.

In recent months, the top officers of the military have begun to call Putin’s Russia an “existential threat” to the United States. The results of those exercises—and Russian-backed forces’ latest advance in Ukraine—didn’t exactly tamp down those fears.

But these concerns about readiness and sustainability are not universally held—not even inside the Pentagon. Nor is there a consensus about the kind of risk Putin’s Russia really poses. Everyone in the U.S. security establishment acknowledges that Moscow has roughly 4,000 nuclear weapons, the world’s third-largest military budget, and an increasingly bellicose leader. There’s little agreement on how likely that threat could be.

“A war between Russian and NATO is an unlikely scenario given the severe repercussions Russia would face. In addition to the overwhelming reaction it would provoke, Russia’s aging military equipment and strained logistical capabilities make a successful offensive attack a very difficult proposition for them,” one U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast. “In short, direct conflict with Russia is a low-probability, high-risk situation. The challenge of Putin’s erratic leadership is that low-probability events are slightly more probable.”


The U.S. military still has the upper hand in so many ways, after all. But there are limits—severe limits—on those advantages. For its airpower, for example, the U.S. military would be leaning on worn out fighter pilots and limited maintenance abilities for their planes. And the surveillance drones needed would have to be drawn from other conflict zones.

“Against an adversary like Russia, we can’t take the kind of air dominance we’ve had in conflicts since 9/11 for granted,” a second defense official explained. “Any conflict of significant magnitude against an adversary like Russia means we’d need to commit airmen and resources that are now operating in other parts of the world at a rate that minimizes their ability to train for that kind of fight.”

The official added, “We may very well be able to provide the airpower that would allow us and our allies to prevail in a high-end fight, but the current state of our air forces definitely doesn’t make that a sure bet.”

Around the time of that TTX, in June, the U.S. military also conducted four major field exercises with its NATO counterparts, called Allied Shield, consisting of 15,000 troops and 19 member countries. In March, Russia conducted its own exercises, at one point deploying as many as 80,000 personnel.

“The focus of the exercises is on what each side sees as its most exposed areas, with NATO concentrating on the Baltic States and Poland whilst Russia is focusing primarily on the Arctic and High North, Kaliningrad, occupied Crimea, and its border areas with NATO members Estonia and Latvia,” is how one report summarized the dueling manuevers (PDF).

And like the tabletop exercise, Allied Shield suggested the U.S. could not maintain a sustained fight against the Russians.

Moreover, Russia’s blend of special forces, local proxies, weaponized propaganda, cyber espionage, and sneak attacks has many in the U.S. military struggling to figure out how to respond. Of course, they want to check Russian aggression—especially if Putin makes a move for America’s NATO allies in the Baltics. They’re not sure how do to that without starting down the path toward World War III. Especially now that Russia has declared itself open to the notion of using first-strike nuclear weapons in a conventional conflict.

The Daily Beast’s Anna Nemtsova, who is currently with U.S. military trainers in Ukraine, asked one of them what they would they do if their units were suddenly surrounded by Russian-backed forces.

“Let me think for a moment, that is a difficult one,” the American soldier said.

At his last briefing with reporters, Army General Raymond Odierno, the outgoing Chief of Staff of the Army, said NATO exercises conducted in Europe exposed even small challenges that could have outsized impact in a fight against Russia.

“One of the things we learned is the logistical challenges we have in Eastern Europe. For example, Eastern Europe has a different gauge railroad than Western Europe [where U.S. has traditionally trained] does so moving supplies is a more difficult. So we are learning great lessons like that,” Odierno said.

“We may very well be able to provide the airpower that would allow us to prevail in a fight, but the current state of our air forces definitely doesn’t make that a sure bet.”

More serious was Odierno’s warning that “only 33 percent” of the U.S. Army’s brigades are sufficiently trained to confront Russia. That’s far short of the 60 percent needed. Odierno said that he does not believe the Army will reach those levels for several more years.

During the height of the Cold War, there were roughly 250,000 U.S. troops deployed to Europe. After the first Gulf War, that number fell to roughly to 91,000. That number today stands at 31,000—although some additional troops have been added since the stealth invasion of Ukraine.


And yet, many throughout government are not nearly as worried as the military. In fact, these insiders suspect that the Pentagon’s warning is more a means to seek leverage amid threats of budget cuts. The military is hoping to stave off major cuts to its ground force and cash flow as the war in Afghanistan winds down.

Lawrence Korb—a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress, which is closely aligned with the Obama White House and the Hillary Clinton campaign, said he believes the military is taking advantage of Russian aggressions over the last two years to fight its budget battles.

Further, Korb is not convinced the exercises reflect reality, noting the U.S. spends roughly $600 billion on its defense compared to Russia’s $60 billion. Russian weapons are far less modern, and Putin had to abandon his $400 billion plan to upgrade them earlier this year as the Russian ruble fell.

“We’d clean their clocks. [Russian troops are] not that good. They are not as modern,” Korb said. “I think [the military] took advantage of recent Russian aggression because it has become clear we would not use large ground armies” to confront groups like the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

The U.S. military is now worried about Russia “in the same way the Navy [once] talked about the Chinese” to stop cuts to its budget, he added.

But Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, who retired in 2012 as the commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the Russian threat existed far before the latest budget squabbles. And when he raised them in 2010, they fell on deaf ears.

“We were beating the drum of Russia in 2010 and we were told [by Washington officials], ‘You are still in the Cold War.’ All the things we predicted would happen, happened, but it wasn’t at the forefront of the time,” Hertling said.

“This gets to a lack of trust between the government and the military,” Hertling added. “We were monitoring Russian movement and they were increasing not only their budget but their pace of operation and their development of new equipment. They were repeatedly aggressive and provocative even though we were trying to work with them.”

Since then, the Army has shrunk rapidly—by 80,000 troops. Should Congress enact the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, the Army could fall from 450,000 soldiers to 420,000, making it the smallest U.S. ground force since the end of World War II. Odierno has called such figures dangerous.

“The unrelenting budget impasse has compelled us to degrade readiness to historically low levels,” Odierno said last month at a conference.

Either way, the London-based European Leadership Network released a report Wednesday, and concluded the dueling large-scale military exercises are aggravating tensions, not deterring the opposing side, as intended.

“Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia. We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable, but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe,” found the report, titled “Preparing for the Worst: Are Russian and NATO Military Exercises Making War in Europe more Likely?”


Program managers targeted for ‘accountability’

By Andrew Tilghman, Staff writer 12:04 a.m. EDT August 17, 2015


For most individual service members, the renewed push on Capitol Hill to reform the military’s acquisitions system will have little impact on their day-to-day life.

But for the thousands of senior officers who rotate through “program manager” billets that help the Defense Department develop and buy new weapons systems and other military gear, the proposed law could have a direct — and potentially disturbing — impact.

Increasing “accountability,” lawmakers say, is the primary impetus for changing the rules for how the military buys its equipment from the private sector. Political support for acquisition reforms have intensified as budget pressures are forcing the Pentagon to make hard decisions about modernization programs.

Some final versions of the proposed legislation in Congress would require the program manager to “enter into a performance agreement” spelling out key “parameters” and agreeing that “the program manager will be accountable for meeting such parameters.”

Some defense experts have suggested that could include financial penalties for those officers if the programs ultimately fail to meet expectations.

Todd Harrison, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, suggested penalizing program managers by knocking them down a paygrade — a change that would also affect their retirement — if their program fails to meet promised requirements.

“If you have acquisition professionals who are in charge of these programs, who are selling these programs and promising to deliver a certain set of capabilities at a certain price, if you had them sign on the line that they are committed to that and they will take a cut in their pay and future retirement pay if this did not come true, I think we might see better incentives at work,” Harrison said at a June 24 event organized by the Lexington Institute focused on acquisition reform.

It’s unclear whether any specific new commitment for program managers will be included in this year’s annual defense authorization bill.

Harrison, however, acknowledged that a rule to essentially dock the pay of a program manager would face stiff opposition .

“I think in DoD, in the government bureaucracy, people are not prepared yet for being held personally accountable for their actions or performance,” he said in a recent interview.

The Defense Department invests a lot of responsibility in program managers, who are often O-6 officers with limited backgrounds in business and project management. The acquisitions process can put those individuals at the center of complicated and high-stakes tussles between the government and large defense contractors.

It’s common for acquisitions projects to result in massive cost overruns or performance problems that force program managers to rework initial requirements.

“But it’s difficult to apportion blame in changes and overruns. And it’s difficult to decide who should be punished,” said Richard Aboulafia, a defense expert at the Teal Group in Virginia.

He pointed to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the largest weapons program in history that has been plagued by cost increases, schedule delays and questions about its performance.

“There is no perfect formula here,” he said. “How do you isolate fault and blame in really complex problems?”



Scientists declare that octopuses are basically aliens

Science! By Meredith Placko Aug. 14, 2015 5:01 pm


Octopuses are aliens — or, at least, so vastly different in their genetic makeup that they might as well be considered out of this world. Scientists recently sequenced the first genome in the Octopus Genome Project, a huge undertaking to map out the entire DNA structure of the complex cephalopod. What they found was simply incredible.

Researchers at the University of Chicago took on this project and chose the California two-spot octopus for their subject. Then, they learned that a group at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan was working to break down the genome as well. So the two combined forces, and together, unlocked many of the mysteries surrounding the octopus. The results were recently published in the science journal, Nature.

Octopuses have 33,000 genes, roughly 10,000 more than a human. This alone sets it apart from any other invertebrate in the world. They are also uncannily clever, with the ability to open jars, solve puzzles, and even use tools. It’s no wonder that some might think this creature is from another planet. In uncovering the sequence, scientists found that octopuses have a similar set of genes to those found in humans, that make up a neural network in their brains, which accounts for their quick ability to adapt and learn. We also share a large brain, closed circulatory system, and eyes with an iris, retina, and lens. All of these independently developed in another species vastly different from our own mammal origins.

Another focus of the study was looking at the octopus’ ability to camouflage itself in the blink of an eye. Now, with the sequence coded out, researchers can study exactly how the octopus can change its skin within milliseconds. If unraveled, this could lead to major breakthroughs both in neuroscience and engineering, in terms of creating garments and structures that could have instant camouflage ability.

A huge discovery was the ability of the octopus to improve on its own genetic code. This is common in humans and other animals, but the ability at which the octopus can edit its own RNA is pretty wild — they are able to adapt their nerves in order to withstand the extreme cold of the deep ocean. The scientists also took a long look at the genes that make up the octopus’ suckers. It was discovered that part of the sucker function allowed for the animal to taste, in addition to catching its dinner.

There’s still a lot to uncover from this project. Scientists have only just begun the process of breaking down the genome. The map is laid out now, and it will be only a matter of time until researchers chart the unknown territory of the octopus.


Capt. ‘Sully’ Warns of Drone vs. Plane Collisions

Clay Dillow / Fortune

Aug. 17, 2015


The use of drones—both recreationally and commercially—is on the rise, offering a boost to a booming drone industry expected to create billions of dollars worth of economic activity in the U.S. over the next decade. But significant uptick in close encounters between drones and manned aircraft—a quadrupling, in fact—is pushing many to call for increased regulation and better enforcement of the regulations that are in place.

One of the more prominent voices bringing attention to the heightened risk of a drone-on-aircraft collision is Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Sullenberger, most readers will recall, is the now-retired US Airways pilot that in 2009 managed to safely land his Airbus A320 passenger jet in the Hudson River, saving all 155 persons aboard.

On a recent appearance on Face the Nation, Sullenberger—now an aviation safety expert—told host John Dickerson in no uncertain terms just how bad a collision between a passenger aircraft and a drone could get. “We have seen what a six-pound or an eight- pound bird can do to bring down an airplane,” Sullenberger said. “Imagine what a device containing hard parts like batteries and motors can do that might weigh 25 or possibly up to 55 pounds to bring down an airplane. It is not a matter of if it will happen. It is a matter of when it will happen.”

Data on drone sightings by pilots released this week by the FAA would seem to support that assessment. In all of 2014 the FAA logged 238 drone sightings by manned aircraft. As of last week the FAA had tallied 650 drone sightings reported in 2015. That puts 2015 on pace to quadruple the number of drones spotted by pilots last year—an alarming trend given the potentially catastrophic consequences.

In a conversation with Fortune, Sullenberger emphasizes that he’s not making an alarmist prediction, nor does he want to see regulation stifle innovation in the emerging unmanned aircraft industry. What he does want to see is better risk management, better regulation of the recreational drone industry, and more enforcement of those regulations when drone operators do what he describes as “stupid, reckless, dangerous things.”

“It’s important to address this inherent tension between getting it fast and getting it right,” Sullenberger says. “How do we balance between undue delay and forcing people who fly to accept risk that they really shouldn’t have to accept? We do need to have a way for people to address business opportunities. We do need a way for people to use emerging technologies. But it should not be and need not be at the expense of having people who fly accept a level or risk that they should not have to accept. It is much more important to get it right than to get it fast.”

The ongoing debate over how exactly how to strike a balance between public safety and freedom to innovate escalated in June when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) put forth a piece of draft legislation known as the Consumer Drone Safety Act. The proposed legislation would dictate when, where, and how recreational drones could be operated and require makers of drones to pre-install certain tamper-proof safety failsafes on recreational drones. “If we don’t act now, it’s only a matter of time before we have a tragedy on our hands,” Senator Feinstein said in a statement, echoing a growing refrain among advocates of increased drone regulation.

Some in the drone industry called the act legislative overkill, arguing that innovation in the industry comes from the kind of freedom to tinker that the Consumer Drone Safety Act would restrict. But Sullenberger says he supports the kinds of measures outlined in the proposed bill. “The version I saw when it was introduced, I support,” he says of the bill. “I think it goes a long way toward codifying certain requirements that could mitigate at least the risks that are known, the ones that we’ve identified. It goes a long way toward protecting the traveling public from the downside of this new technology as it’s being used currently.”

Currently, the technology is mostly being used recreationally in the United States. The FAA only recently handed out its 1,000th permit for commercial drone operation. Meanwhile, the Consumer Electronics Association estimates that 700,000 hobbyists will purchase drones this year, up 63% from 2014. These recreational users are largely unregulated and difficult to identify and prosecute when they do break the limited regulations that exist. That makes for an environment in which dangerous behavior can flourish, Sullenberger says.

In response to the uptick in drone sightings, two leading drone groups—the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Academy of Model Aeronautics—issued statements last week urging the FAA to step up enforcement of recreational drone rules. They also urged the agency to quickly finalize a set of small unmanned aircraft systems regulations that have been in the works for years.

The finalizing of those rules—which would largely apply to commercial drone operators—will likely bring even more drones into the sky, but Sullenberger says he worries somewhat less about commercial operators. “In many cases you have licensed pilots who have the knowledge—they understand airspace requirements and the rules of flying,” he says. “I think that’s much less of a concern than the recreational side.”

Even so, he says, if we’re truly going to integrate drones—both commercial and recreational—into the national airspace alongside manned aircraft, even small drones are going to have to meet some of the same requirements as manned aircraft. Those include a means to electronically identify themselves to air traffic controllers and other aircraft and some way to see and avoid other objects in the sky. That’s going to require some leaps forward in technology and it’s going to take some time.

“Making safety a core business function is really what we’re working toward in aviation, and it’s an approach that’s paid dividends,” he says. “That’s the approach we must take with this issue as well. We have a responsibility to do this right.”

This article originally appeared on



The Pentagon Wants To Wage War on Denial-of-Service Cyber Attacks

By Aliya Sternstein


Aug 18 2015

By next spring, researchers are expected to unveil new tools enabling organizations like the Defense Department a rapid response to distributed denial-of-service attacks.


The Pentagon has in mind a three-pronged counterattack against a decades-old form of cyber assault that continues to paralyze government and industry networks, despite its low cost of sometimes $10 a hit.

Beginning next spring, military-funded researchers are scheduled to produce new tools that would quickly enable organizations to bounce back from so-called distributed denial-of-service attacks.

A recovery rate of at most 10 seconds is the goal, according to the Defense Department.

Today, attackers have a relatively easy time aiming bogus traffic at computer servers to knock them offline. One reason is that computer systems often are consolidated, making for a wide target area. Another weakness is the predictable behavior of systems that support Web services. And finally, certain types of DDoS attacks that evince little malicious traffic go undetected.

Researchers chosen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will attempt to deny attackers such openings through a three-year program called Extreme DDoS Defense, according to Pentagon officials. The tentative start date is April 1, 2016.

The stability of agency operations, banking, online gaming and many other daily activities are at stake here.

A DDoS attack against Estonia in 2007 allegedly orchestrated by Russian-backed hackers downed government and industry Internet access nationwide for two weeks. More recently, crooks have begun offering Luddites DDoS-for-hire services at subscription rates of $10-$300 a month, according to journalist Brian Krebs.

Lizard Squad, a major provider, allegedly was behind several persistent attacks on online gaming services Xbox and PlayStation. A string of 2011 cyber assaults against Wall Street banks, including Capital One and SunTrust Banks, was attributed to Iranian hackers.


Just this month, at the annual Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Trend Micro researchers said they observed attackers trying to overpower systems in Washington that monitor the physical security ofgas pumps. Luckily, the devices were fake “honeypot” traps.

“Responses to DDoS attacks are too slow and manually driven, with diagnosis and formulation of filtering rules often taking hours to formulate and instantiate. In contrast, military communication often demands that disruptions be limited to minutes or less,” DARPA officials said in an Aug. 14 announcement about the new program.

The funding level for the project was not disclosed but multiple grants are expected to be awarded. Interested researchers must submit proposals by noon Oct. 13.

XD3 will endeavor to thwart DDoS attacks by “dispersing cyber assets” in facilities and on networks, officials said. Currently, the problem is that cloud computing arrangements and other critical infrastructure systems “rely heavily on highly shared, centralized servers and data centers,” they added.

The new tools also will try “disguising the characteristics and behaviors of those assets” to complicate the planning of DDoS launches, officials said.

The trick with so-called “low-volume” DDoS attacks is they do not look like traffic overloads. The external computer messages seem benign but are actually exhausting a system’s memory or processors. One workaround here might be sharing information among systems that then can “decide collectively whether attacks have occurred, and/or to determine what mitigations might be most effective,” officials said.

One group of XD3 researchers will be assigned to inspect the designs for unintended security holes.

Anyone wanting to be a reviewer must hold a top-secret clearance, according to the contract rules.

“The objective of design reviews is the proactive identification of weaknesses and vulnerabilities that would reduce the effectiveness of DDoS attack detection or mitigation,” officials said. The idea also is to “apprise performers of potential DDoS attack methods or features that they might not have considered.”


Teal Group Predicts Worldwide UAV Production Will Total $93 Billion in Its 2015 UAV Market Profile and Forecast

by Press • 18 August 2015


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) continue as the most dynamic growth sector of the world aerospace industry this decade, report Teal analysts in their latest market analysis. New unmanned combat aerial vehicle programs, commercial, and consumer spending all promise to drive more than a tripling of the market over the next decade.


Teal Group’s 2015 market study estimates that UAV production will soar from current worldwide UAV production of $4 billion annually to $14 billion, totaling $93 billion in the next ten years. Military UAV research spending would add another $30 billion over the decade. (For further details and study availability, contact the respective Teal sales representative in your area at

“The market for UAVs looks very strong, increasingly driven by new technologies such as the next generation of unmanned combat systems, and the development of new markets such as civil and consumer drones,” said Philip Finnegan, Teal Group’s director of corporate analysis and an author of the study.

This year’s study includes consumer UAVs for the first time because of their rapid growth and the blurring of the commercial and consumer markets. “Consumer UAVs are showing that they can do many of the easier commercial missions such as simple real estate photography,” Finnegan said.


Civil UAV Market

“Our coverage of the civil UAV market continues to grow with each annual report, mirroring the increase in the civil market itself,” said Finnegan. “Our 2015 UAV study calculates the UAV market at 72% military, 23% consumer, 5% civil cumulative for the decade.” Of the three areas, civil UAVs grow most rapidly over the forecast period as airspace around the world is opened, but it grows from a very low base.

“The Teal Group study predicts that the US will account for 64% of total military worldwide RDT&E spending on UAV technology over the next decade, and about 38% of the military procurement,” said Teal Group senior analyst Steve Zaloga, another author of the study. The larger, higher value systems procured by the United States help drive the relative strength of the US market over the decade.

The 12th edition of the sector study, World Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems, Market Profile and Forecast 2015, examines the worldwide requirements for UAVs, including UAV payloads and companies, and provides ten-year forecasts by country, region, and classes of UAVs.

Teal Group analysts already cover the UAV market in their World Missiles and UAV Briefing, which examines the UAV market on a program-by-program basis. Sensor payloads are also treated in Teal’s Military Electronics Briefing. The sector study examines the UAV market from a complementary perspective, namely national requirements, and includes both a comprehensive analysis of UAV system payloads (authored by Dr. David Rockwell) and key UAV manufacturers (authored by Phil Finnegan).

The 2015 edition includes UAV market forecast spreadsheets, permitting data manipulation and offering a powerful strategic planning mechanism.



Russia and China Have A Cyber Nonaggression Pact

August 20, 2015

By Elaine Korzak

Council on Foreign Relations


On May 8, the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China signed a bilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of international information security. The treaty, which some have dubbed a “nonaggression pact” for cyberspace, details cooperative measures both governments pledge to undertake, including exchange of information and increased scientific and academic cooperation. With this, Russia and China continue to advance their vision of “information security,” a view of security concerns in cyberspace that is markedly different from Western approaches of “cybersecurity.”

Many observers have characterized the agreement as a largely political move at a time of heightened tensions with the United States and Europe. The alignment of Russia and China is seen as a response to growing Western pressure. Accordingly, Russia’s pivot to the East follows Western sanctions over its actions in Ukraine.

However, a closer look reveals that the agreement follows a longstanding series of diplomatic initiatives launched by both countries. Already in 2009 Russia and China signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of international information security in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Later, in 2011 both countries submitted a proposal for an international code of conduct for information security to the United Nations. Although the proposal failed to garner sufficient support in the relevant Committee of the General Assembly, Russia and China redoubled their efforts. An updated version of the code of conduct is currently circulating in the UN in time for this fall’s General Assembly session. All these initiatives sought to advance Russia’s and China’s views on a variety of cybersecurity issues while shoring up their positions in international discussions. This year’s bilateral agreement is no exception in this regard.


Familiar Themes

The treaty picks up on many of the themes from past documents. For one, the Russian-Chinese agreement continues to define “threats” in cyberspace broadly. While the treaty mentions threats that would also be of concern to the United States and Europe, the pact also defines cyber threats as the transmission of information that could endanger the “societal-political and social-economic systems, and spiritual, moral and cultural environment of states.” Obviously, this could be interpreted very broadly and Western countries have been concerned that similar provisions could be used to unduly restrict the free flow of information.

Second, the agreement between Russia and China also touches upon questions of Internet governance. Continuing previous efforts, the document calls for the creation of a “multilateral, democratic and transparent management system” for the Internet, giving states and their governments a greater, if not predominant, voice in the governance process. This view of multilateral Internet governance stands in contrast to the multi-stakeholder model preferred by Western states.


Novel Aspects

The treaty is most interesting for its novel aspects. Compared with past initiatives, the agreement details a remarkable level of cooperation. Whereas previous pledges of cooperation remained vague and somewhat aspirational, the current agreement provides a list of concrete measures and policies to be realized by both sides, coordinated and evaluated through two consultation meetings a year. These range from the creation of contact points and communication channels between various government entities to the realization of joint scientific projects.

Moreover, the agreement stands out for its normative aspects. It specifically provides that both countries shall cooperate in the creation and dissemination of international legal norms in cyberspace. This includes increased cooperation and coordination of positions in various international forums, including the UN, where both countries have been pushing for the negotiation of new international legal norms to regulate the use of cyber warfare. The agreement thus formalizes their joint interest in shaping the international debate on norms in cyberspace.


Lastly, one provision has been widely reported as a “nonaggression” provision whereby Russia and China, for the first time, pledge to refrain from “computer attacks” against each other. In Article 4 the treaty provides that:

Each Party has an equal right to the protection of the information resources of their state against misuse and unsanctioned interference, including computer attacks against them. Each Party shall not exercise such actions with respect to the other Party and shall assist the other Party in the realization of said right.

The two sentences, in conjunction, could be read in a way to keep Russia and China from using “computer attacks” against each other. If so, this provision would be remarkable not only for its content but also for the kind of language it employs. Previously, particularly China has avoided the usage of language that could implicate the right to self-defense, which it interprets as legitimizing the use of offensive cyber activity in conflict.

On the other hand, the language of this provision is strikingly vague. Phrases such as “misuse” and “unsanctioned interference” could obviously be interpreted quite differently by both sides leaving significant loopholes in the scope of the provision. Given the magnitude of Russian and Chinese activities in cyberspace, including those directed against each other, this commitment and the seriousness with which it will be implemented are questionable. Thus, the characterization of this provision as a “nonaggression” pledge might be overstated.


Implementation Will Be Critical

Overall, the Russian and Chinese agreement continues many familiar themes. It echoes previous diplomatic initiatives that have united both countries in international cybersecurity discussions. Yet, it also offers a number of novel aspects.

In the end, however, the treaty itself is just the first step. The decisive aspect in evaluating the impact of this document will be its implementation. Particularly the implementation (or non-implementation) of the cooperation commitments, and even more so of the “nonaggression” provision, will decide whether the agreement really marks the beginning of a closer relationship between both countries or whether it will be relegated to a symbolic diplomatic effort overtaken by reality.

This post appears courtesy of


Ohio needs to attract more international students, officials say

By Karen Farkas, Northeast Ohio Media Group

on August 12, 2015 at 5:09 PM, updated August 12, 2015 at 5:32 PM


CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ohio has launched an initiative to attract more international college students and encourage them to stay in the state after graduating.

Ohio’s effort to attract international college students, encourage them to stay after graduating and enhance global opportunities for other students has led to the creation of Ohio G.R.E.A.T. — Global Reach to Engage Academic Talent.

The initiative also aims to enhance global opportunities for other students, according to Higher Education Chancellor John Carey and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who announced the initiative Wednesday.

Currently, the 29,488 international student-visa holders enrolled in Ohio’s colleges and universities support 11,337 Ohio jobs, and contribute $827 million to the state’s economy, making post-secondary education of international students Ohio’s 15th largest export, officials said.

“Many institutions of higher education within Ohio have exemplary international programs, which invite students from abroad to study here while sending Ohio students to expand their education across the world,” Carey said in a statement. “Our goal is to expand Ohio’s international visibility in higher education, and leverage economic and workforce development potential.”

A goal of the new initiative is to increase the share of international college students in Ohio from 4.1 percent to 6 percent, which would generate an estimated $1.2 billion and support 17,000 jobs.

A website devoted to the initiative,, was launched Wednesday.

Ohio has the eighth-largest international student enrollment in the U.S. Most students came from China (41.8 percent), India (13.4 percent) and Saudi Arabia (12.3 percent).

Legislation approved in 2014 required Carey to designate a “post-secondary globalization liaison” to work with colleges, state agencies, and representatives of the business community to enhance the state’s globalization efforts.

See the Globalization Report below or click here if on a mobile device.

The group formed by the Higher Education Department determined:

1. The state’s message should promote the state’s diverse population, campus environments, industries and communities and appeal to prospective, current and former international students.

2. Strategies should increase awareness of cultures, careers and business opportunities and mobility among all Ohio students.

3. Education-to-workforce opportunities need to be encouraged



U.S. Colleges: The American Dream For International Students

Jul 29, 2015 @ 9:52 AM 5,785 views

Karen Hua


The world still sees America as the land of opportunity – for higher ed. This is why in 2014, there were some 1 million foreign students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, another peak in a string of all-time highs going back to 2000. China and India export the most students, followed by South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Currently, about 5.4% of America’s college students hail from outside the country – a 14% increase from last year and an 85% increase from just 10 years ago. The numbers aren’t just big, they’re valuable: The 1.2 million international students studying in the U.S. contribute about $34.6 billion total in tuition and other spending.

Though college costs around the world vary widely, U.S. tuition has the distinction of being one of the costliest and, not coincidentally, one of the least affordable based on median income. In many European countries such as Germany, France and Sweden, the price of college is virtually free. The cost is largely absorbed by taxpayer dollars.






College is tuition-free in Brazil, as well, but what’s most surprising is that the country has sent over 13,000 students to the U.S. to study – the 10th most of any country and also with the second-highest growth rate of 22%.

So, how do international students pay for expensive U.S. colleges?

According to 2014 Open Doors Data, 65% of college funding for foreign students comes from personal and family funds, but 78% also say the lure to the States comes from more active university recruitment efforts. In fact, 19% report that their U.S. college covered part of the costs with either pathway programs or foreign government scholarship programs.

Currently, about half of all international students hail from China, India and South Korea collectively. Whereas the top places of origin were all Asian at the start of the century, this year sees a mix of Asian, Middle Eastern and Canadian. Though China still boasts the largest number of students at 274,439 (23% of the total), Kuwait has seen the largest growth of students sent to the States at a 43% increase over the past year. Other Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran also have some of the highest growth rates, as do South American countries Brazil and Venezuela.

Asian countries have been formidable for their STEM advancements, and the data reflects this fact: Chinese students represent the largest portion of international students in engineering, math/computer science, and physical/life sciences. In addition to STEM fields, they also have the highest numbers in business/management, education, fine/applied arts, and social sciences. India contributes the most students to health professions, South Korea has the most in humanities, and Saudi Arabia has the highest in intensive English. Overall though, STEM sees the largest number of international students compared to any other field, with 42%.

While New York State hosts the most international students with Columbia University and New York University among the top five campuses for foreign students, the University of Southern California welcomes the most at about 12,500 students, about 2,000 more than most others. Other top host states include Texas and Massachusetts, other educational powerhouses.


Rasmussen Reports

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

August 22, 2015

Trump up, Hillary down?

The weekly Trump Change feature joined the monthly Hillary Meter in our line-up beginning yesterday and for the near future at least will appear every Friday. We’ll be regularly tracking the fortunes of the two leading contenders for the major party presidential nominations.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Likely Republican Voters now think Trump is likely to be the Republican presidential nominee next year, with 25% who say it’s Very Likely. That compares to 27% who felt a Trump nomination was likely two months ago when he formally announced his presidential bid, a finding that included just nine percent (9%) who said it was Very Likely.

Trump shook up the Republican presidential race again last weekend with a policy paper that calls for getting tough on illegal immigration. Trump cited a Rasmussen Reports survey to back up his proposal to end automatic citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants in this country. Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters disagree with the current federal policy that says a child born to an illegal immigrant here is automatically a U.S. citizen. 

Voters also agree with Trump on the need to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. They believe overwhelmingly, too, that illegal immigrants convicted of a felony in this country should be deported. Trump made both proposals in the policy paper.

The majority of voters still think enforcement of current immigration laws is key, but a growing number believe new laws should go on the books in order to stop illegal immigration.

We noted in a commentary last month how the media spins the immigration issue, comparing its coverage of Trump’s positions on the issue with Hillary Clinton’s. 

Speaking of Clinton, our latest Hillary Meter shows that belief she will be the next Democratic presidential nominee has dropped noticeably over the past month. How do voters rate the growing controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her years as secretary of State – a serious scandal, an embarrassing situation or no big deal? 

Bill Clinton turned 69 last week. Forty-six percent (46%) of voters still think the former president will help his wife’s bid for the White House, but that’s down from 54% a year ago. Twenty-one percent (21%) think he will hurt her candidacy, while just has many (22%) say he’ll have no impact.

President Obama earned his worst daily job approval ratings in several months this past week, but it’s far from clear if that’s a developing trend or just a bump in the road.

It’s been a year since the the president first launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Iraq, but voters still think terrorists have the winning edge. Few voters think America’s relationship with the Muslim world is improving, but they are more confident now that Muslims around the world don’t see the United States as an enemy.

Still, Americans are increasingly worried out about their safety on the home front, and more voters than ever think the United States needs to spend more on national security. But what does America think about women on the combat front lines? 

Americans are also definitely concerned that the unfolding economic crisis in China may have repercussions on this side of the Pacific.

Black lives matter or all lives matter? This has now become a subject of political dispute, so Rasmussen Reports decided to ask voters which is closest to their own point of view.

Despite recent anti-police protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere, 
most Americans have an even more positive view of their local police, but blacks are more critical than whites and other minority adults.

In other surveys last week:

— Only 28% of voters believe the country is headed in the right direction.

— Former President Jimmy Carter has announced that he is losing his battle with cancer. We asked voters to assess Carter’s presidency from 1977 to 1981.

— Voters think heads should roll following the Environmental Protection Agency’s acknowledgement that it unleashed a massive toxic waste spill in Colorado.

— Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have rolled out new plans to combat global warming by increasing power generated by renewable energy sources. But who wants to pay for them? 


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