Skip to content

March 29 2014

29March2014

Newswire

 

White House Growth and Security Bill Includes $8B for New Weapons

Mar. 21, 2014 – 03:45AM | By MARCUS WEISGERBER | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140321/DEFREG02/303210030/White-House-Growth-Security-Bill-Includes-8B-New-Weapons

 

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s share of the White House’s $56 billion Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative requests more than double the procurement money previously disclosed in budget documents earlier this month.

The bill, which is separate from the US Defense Department’s $496 billion 2015 base budget request, includes $26 billion for Pentagon projects. More than one-third, $8.7 billion, is eyed for procurement of new cargo aircraft, fighter jets, spy planes, helicopters and missiles.

The procurement request also covers upgrades to existing aircraft, tanks, other ground vehicles and unmanned aircraft.

The White House has proposed this money in addition to DoD’s base budget to make up for spending cuts caused by sequestration in 2013. The money, defense officials say, would help improve military readiness.

Budget overview documents released earlier this month, when DoD sent its 2015 budget request to Congress, showed about $4 billion aligned for procurement projects. The request included Boeing AH-64 Apaches, Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks, Boeing Chinooks, Boeing P-8 Poseidon spy planes, Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighters, General Atomics Reapers and Lockheed C-130J transport aircraft.

More detailed documents released this week show the Air Force’s request for 10 C-130Js is split evenly between rescue and special operations versions of the aircraft.

The Navy request also includes money for the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, Northrop Grumman’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and Boeing C-40 transport.

The procurement request includes nearly $1 billion for communications and electronics equipment, with about half of that money eyed for Army projects.

Also included in the $26 billion request is nearly $2 billion for research-and-development projects. More than $10 billion is eyed for operations and maintenance.

In addition, the White House request includes nearly $3 billion for more than 100 military construction projects at dozens of bases across the US.

 

3/21/2014

In Defense Industry, a Souring Mood on Acquisition Reform

By Sandra I. Erwin

http://fastdailyfind.com/ads-clicktrack/click/newjump1.do?affiliate=63801&subid=1049999&terms=in%20defense%20industry%20a%20souring%20mood%20on%20acquisition%20reform%20nationaldefensemagazine&ai=_VMPYg4tt-3REOECTWMy0X3_2FxkK12Lyy8lvb4ObEgLs_YJSrmPmo559wlFTOxAzV9da0QRdssBWvRzNmVaws2dhg7ewVHfpKuw8Jv2jc5tMVhEV9O0YIahQsC0M6WS5kLEhp4HOWpDbtNHvyd-H56qCog6lyPsv8tWPEnio5t6J_64wfNhLkAkugn8ch4vJS1p_ssQYTqf0LY7ZkboHLJT8LlHrBajEK7TAnFTFFn5zkx801ni0islAju6eI-AgvhrWIo2j5bVQZBUmDsRtI_c5zGNJzT1VecXmthBsqeJ5K_aXZoiQnmELSWgUrKecwty2laf-4MRvQg4uJxnMXl5Guhxzyrqio3oHqD-RORqdaJUPq6ZUm_7m0wzfdnWC-bKk4iux_hHcfX6HLYMT49O14sX2nll4Kh1ABfemVqH9CoOOge_GCDP3BrgagyhAMDBdOytvAvsHO_lzHczqZfc1v-UL1Urcjz8H0hf31w&version=1.1

 

When Trey Obering was deputy director of the Defense Department’s missile defense agency in 2002, he was asked to fix one of the most troubled acquisition programs in recent history. The airborne laser — a modified Boeing 747 jet that carried a megawatt laser to shoot down ballistic missiles — was handed over by the Air Force to MDA after eight years of nonachievement.

What Obering discovered was an epitome of procurement dysfunction. The Air Force had assembled a “standing army” of managers and engineers who were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on studies and design reviews before anyone ever fired the laser for the first time, says Obering, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and now a senior vice president at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

“We said, ‘Stop that.’ We are not going to pay for any more engineers. We want you to focus on firing the laser and taking the aircraft off to fly it,” Obering recalls during a recent interview. It took another two years to finally fire the laser, but technical accomplishments were not enough to save the program, which was terminated in 2010 after 14 years in development and projected cost estimates of about $1.5 billion per aircraft.

Although reams of new regulations have been laid on the military acquisition system to prevent these debacles, the underlying problems have not changed, Obering says. “Why is this so hard? It’s because the process has evolved over time to be so complicated, and there are so many stakeholders, and so many process owners that it is very difficult to affect real change.”

Many executives in the defense industry are deeply discouraged by the inertia, according to a recent survey by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Government Business Council. They polled 340 business leaders on defense acquisition issues, with particular focus on C4ISR programs (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance).

The survey revealed a general sense of pessimism about the future of high-tech government procurements. More than half of the executives called attention to a growing disconnect between what buyers expect and what contractors promise to deliver.

A sticky wicket in military programs is understanding the “technical risks,” says Obering. And there is rampant inefficiency. Defense programs get bloated and run up huge overhead costs before they produce anything, which often leads to budget overruns and, later, terminations, he says. “It’s not just design reviews and guys sitting around the table but doing something,” says Obering. “You demonstrate you have the technical risk in hand before you ramp up a standing army of engineers. That’s the risk reduction on the front end that the government should be demanding. That is what the contractor team should focus on before they start broad scale development.”

It might seem obvious to outsiders that government officials who manage procurement programs should deliver products, but the Pentagon’s arcane acquisition process does not necessarily encourage that, Obering says. “The fact is that program managers today spend more time managing up than they do managing down.” The Pentagon should streamline the oversight process, “empower those folks who are responsible for programs to be able to react and respond to technology and opportunities and threats.”

 

While industry executives frequently complain about Defense Department oversight and regulations, in this survey they actually suggest the government should take a more active role in programs. They would like to see procurement officials more engaged in the early phase of a program, to help prevent costly failures later. More than 60 percent of respondents said that greater government involvement in designing requirements could improve the overall acquisition process.

In complex programs, especially, government managers should be “lead integrators” who understand how to connect different systems and make them work together, says Obering. “This is demanded by the war fighter, and it’s going to be demanded by the budget. We have to get more out of programs,” he says. “There is so much more you can do with information by integrating capabilities. … We can’t afford things that don’t integrate, things that take too long.”

The Defense Department once had that integration expertise, but it rapidly degraded since the late 1990s when military budgets collapsed. “One of the unintended consequences was that the government lost the ability to manage and to own a technical baseline of a program, much less an integrated set of programs,” says Obering. “The survey says we have to get that back.”

At the start of a program, he says, the government must understand the technical risk and should make sure the contractor understands the technical risk. “That’s a huge area that is a big problem,” says Obering. “Contractors have a ‘can-do’ spirit and often will not realize the severity of the technical challenge they have in front of them.”

Industry executives, regrettably, have turned more cynical about the acquisition system, he says. “There is a lack of trust in the system, and a loss of accountability.”

Successful acquisitions can be done, but that usually happens when the government works outside the system, he says. “When we have an urgent operational need or a classified program, we streamline and strip away a lot of the processes and we really focus on how to get the job done,” says Obering. “We can do that. It’s going to take will and it’s going to take support from all the stakeholders, including the Congress, to get real reform done.”

The survey’s message is that “we need new thinking,” says Greg Wenzel, senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton’s strategic innovation group. “Operators, acquisition managers, engineers all agree we need to a better way to buy in a more agile fashion,” he says. “It’s not about buying more, it’s about thinking like an enterprise.” Government buyers need to “understand the portfolio of the things that they are acquiring and where they fit in the larger enterprise,” says Wenzel. For new technology acquisitions, the Defense Department should “build-in” interoperability from the start.

 

Satellite Industry Frets About Future Military Business

By Sandra I. Erwin

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1452#.Uyw__V2oPJU.twitter

 

The Pentagon spends about a billion dollars a year on satellite communications services from commercial vendors, which supply about 80 percent of the military’s demand.

The industry is worried, however, about the future of its Defense Department business, for several reasons.

Much of the demand for satellite communications, or satcom, was generated by wars that are coming to an end. The Pentagon sees its future in Asia-Pacific, but has yet to share with vendors how it plans to acquire satcom in the region. Commercial satellite providers generally detest the Defense Department’s satcom buying methods because they favor one-year leases instead of the long-term agreements that private-sector investors prefer. Suppliers also fear that the Pentagon, as budgets shrink, will pare back spending on commercial services and will rely more on military-owned satellites.

Pentagon officials insist that these concerns are unfounded. They cite projections of soaring demand for commercial satcom in the coming years to satisfy the military’s appetite for data, for global connectivity and for bandwidth-hogging drones.

Industry CEOs say they are ready to provide additional capacity, but they need more specifics on the military’s future needs and also a financial commitment by the Pentagon in order to justify the cost of building, launching and maintaining satellites.

“We need to find a way for government and industry to plan together,” says Robert Tipton “Tip” Osterthaler, president and CEO of satcom supplier SES Government Solutions.

If the Pentagon is going to need more satcom, it should inform the private sector so companies can allocate enough bandwidth for the military even as the demand from commercial users continues to grow, says Osterhaler, a retired Air Force brigadier general.

The one-year leases, which are purchased by the Defense Department on the spot market, are inefficient for both buyers and sellers, he argues. They leave the Pentagon exposed to the vagaries of the satcom trade and that can result in higher prices. Short-term deals deter satellite providers from investing in additional infrastructure in the absence of assured business, Osterhaler says during an online forum hosted by Federal News Radio. “Short-term buying practices perhaps made sense before, when demand was lower, but they make less sense if you believe commercial satcom will be part of your essential infrastructure.”

The satcom industry and its congressional supporters are ratcheting up the pressure on the Pentagon to put forth a plan for future procurement of satellite services. Following a controversial satellite lease the Pentagon signed with a Chinese supplier last year, lawmakers pounced. The fiscal year 2014 Defense Authorization Act directs the Pentagon to develop a strategy for how to use commercial satcom. The deadline is coming up next month.

Among the staunchest critics of Pentagon satcom buying methods is Rep. Mike D. Rogers, R-Ala., chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee. He questioned why the military a year ago signed a $10 million, one-year lease with a Chinese company to use a Thales Alenia Space satellite to provide communications for U.S. Africa Command.

Osterhaler says U.S. firms could provide those services but they need time to build capacity for the military and satisfy specific requirements that commercial buyers do not have. If more capacity is needed in Africa or in Asia, executives say, the Defense Department could work with the private sector to ensure that demand is met. “Long-term needs don’t match up with short-term buying practices,” Osterhaler says. “The incentives for commercial industry to make the necessary investments are pretty weak, at best.”

Military officials often assume the industry has plenty of capacity to sell at the right price, but the reality is more complex, Osterhaler adds. As global demand for broadband swells, commercial operators rapidly are sucking up the bandwidth, leaving the Pentagon in a precarious position, says Osterhaler. “Our big strategic commercial customers understand that we’re an essential infrastructure provider to them, and they behave accordingly. They’re open with us about their needs, and we make investments on their behalf.” Those investments for military users, he adds, are not taking place as they are for commercial customers. In an emergency, “There may not be enough capacity available at any price.”

Disagreements within the Defense Department over how to acquire satcom services have existed for years. The Government Accountability Office called out the Pentagon in 2008 for its inefficient lease approach. The Defense Business Board, made up of private sector executives, criticized the satcom buying system in a 2012 report. It suggested the Defense Department create a “single satcom organization” to oversee procurements, versus the current fragmented system. While the secretary of defense has policy oversight, purchases are handled by the individual military services. The Air Force Space Command is responsible for government-owned satellites. Satcom leases are managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

To boost competition, DISA teamed with the General Services Administration for the solicitation of satcom bids. The results have been mixed, Osterhaler says. GSA mandates that a percentage of contracts be awarded to small businesses, some of which are unqualified, he says. “In some cases asking small businesses to execute complex networks is probably not in the best interest of the users.”

The Defense Business Board predicts that as the demand for service increases in the future, the cost of satellite communications purchased by DISA will skyrocket. One solution is to change the procurement methods, the panel said. “Existing contracting procedures and DoD’s culture make partnerships with the private sector difficult.”

The Aerospace Industries Association, too, has recommended that the Pentagon consider greater use of hosted payloads on commercial spacecraft to reduce costs and improve service.

Like other satcom executives, Osterhaler would like to see the Pentagon adopt the “civil reserve air fleet” approach to satellite services. Under the CRAF program, the Air Force pays commercial airlines to keep a certain number of aircraft available for military contingencies. “In the space industry, we think it has potential. It would give the Defense Department access to a large amount of capacity for unanticipated needs.”

The Pentagon’s top buyer, Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, directed his staff in March 2013 to begin a 90-day study of military satcom needs and how the Pentagon could tap the commercial market. A year later, the status of the report is unknown. Defense Chief Information Officer Teri Takai told executives at a recent satellite industry trade show that the study is almost completed but offered no details.

Douglas Loverro, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, says the Air Force has launched several pilot programs to gauge the market. One option is to buy on-orbit transponders from unused commercial satellites. “It’s an experiment,” Loverro says. He admits the Pentagon is having a tough time deciding which direction to go. While it is normal for the military to plan major purchases years or decades in advance, “we’re not used to doing it for satcom,” he says. Another idea under consideration is a straight long-term lease, although Loverro warns that might be too expensive.

Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, spent the past two years surveying the private sector for money-saving ideas. She found that there are many opportunities to save money in the commercial space sector, but to take advantage of those deals, the Defense Department needs to revamp its buying methods.

A transition to a commercial-based model would have to be made within the next decade, before the Pentagon’s communications satellites — the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF), the Mobile User Objective System Satellite (MUOS) and the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) — run out of service life. Officials have said the Pentagon most likely will be paring back future purchases of military-unique satellites, which cost a billion dollars apiece.

The U.S. Space Command has floated the idea of a new “space architecture” that includes a mix of low-cost military satellites and commercial payloads. That approach, which the military calls “disaggregation,” is a departure from the traditional practice of building large, complex satellites.

Loverro says the question is not if but how the Pentagon will tap commercial systems. A single commercial satellite can offer up to 150 gigabits per second of data throughput, he points out. “Our most capable military satellite can only carry 3 gigabits per second.”

A concern for vendors is the Pentagon’s satcom requirement for unmanned aerial vehicles, which demand dedicated pipes.

Loverro defends the Chinese satellite lease as necessary to fill commanders’ requests. The Pentagon will not renew the lease when it expires in May, he says. “It shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” and it was the result of a “lack of planning,” says Loverro. “We need to work better with the commercial world.”

Industry executives agree. “The Defense Department thinks of us as money grabbers. We need them to see us as trusted partners,” says Philip Harlow, president and chief operating officer of XTAR, which supplies satcom services to the U.S. government.

Companies are becoming impatient with the Pentagon dithering on a satcom procurement strategy, Harlow says in an interview. The Pentagon wants to pivot to Asia, but hasn’t yet recognized that the satcom industry is “less prepared for an Asia-Pacific engagement than it was for an engagement in Iraq or Afghanistan,” says Harlow. “That’s simply a function of where companies invest dollars: Where they have paying customers, mostly in populations centers. And that is not always where conflicts are fought.”

The industry needs the Defense Department to “tell us what is going to be needed,” he says.

The government’s stalling tactics are understandable, though. “The Defense Department doesn’t want to be put into a corner,” he says. “Going into an environment where they don’t control everything is uncomfortable.”

In the private sector, he says, “We need to see commitment from the Defense Department to change. … Some quarters of the commercial industry see the Defense Department as trying to kick the can down the road until they get more money and go back to business as usual.”

 

Growler Advocates Outline Stealth Vulnerabilities

By Amy Butler

Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_03_24_2014_p24-674336.xml&guid=2014-03-24#

March 24, 2014

 

Despite a squeeze on investment accounts, the Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget strategy prioritizes funding for the stealthy F-35—but at what cost, some in industry ask.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has made clear the spending plan is a result of making hard choices and trades.

However, this virtually singular focus is jeopardizing U.S. dominance in electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, according to some industry officials, who note that even a stealthy aircraft like the F-35 requires some protective jamming support to penetrate the “bubble” of protected enemy air space. A pinch on research, development and procurement funding coupled with a necessary focus on addressing counterinsurgency threats for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq for more than a decade have contributed to a loss of focus at the Pentagon on EW planning, they say. “We stopped doing some campaign analysis,” acknowledges Al Shaffer, acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering.

Critics of the Pentagon’s EW strategy point to the fiscal 2015 budget’s termination of the U.S. Navy’s ties to Boeing’s Super Hornet production line. The service likely will buy only its planned 138 EA-18G Growlers, the Pentagon’s newest airborne EW system, and deploy five to each carrier air wing. Navy officials have put funding for 22 more Growlers on their fiscal 2015 wishlist, but without relief from the spending constraints of the Budget Control Act, Boeing will be on its own to continue building the aircraft, unless the Navy can buy more Growlers. Congress approved funding for 21 ship sets of EA-18Gs in the fiscal 2014 budget.

Meanwhile, the Air Force is also planning to mothball seven, or half, of its EC-130 electronic attack aircraft in fiscal 2013, saving $315.8 million. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jim Jones, director of operations, plans and requirements, says that the service “can’t afford to program to a no-risk force, [and further investment in stealth] is a piece of that. . . . All of these capabilities add up to a more survivable capability.” When questioned about whether the Air Force would backfill the lost EC-130s with some other capability, Jones declines to provide information, acknowledging that this is likely an “unsatisfying” answer. This could point to a capability being developed in the classified world.

Much of the concern of skeptics is centered on the emergence of very-high-frequency (VHF) radars, which uniquely can be used to detect stealthy aircraft. “All ‘stealth’ means is delayed detection in [a specific] frequency,” says one industry official. With a VHF system, “you are essentially the size of your aircraft from long range,” the official notes. The concern is that these long-range radars can pass data to fire-control systems—including active, electronically scanned array radars—that are capable of launching air defense weapons. The integration of the two could compromise the advantage stealth brings, which is to make the aircraft hard to target rather than making it invisible.

“We are starting to see the emergence of some stressing capabilities to our conventional forces,” Shaffer says. That “other countries are going out of band is a threat and is a challenge to our systems. Make no mistake about it,” he says.

“VHF radar can’t do fire-control, but they can see you,” says Mike Gibbons, Boeing vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs. “With low-frequency radars, they can tell which way to look, and they can scramble their super-cruising aircraft out to you. At that point, stealth isn’t going to help you.”

As it shifts focus away from counterinsurgency operations, the Pentagon is planning to dust off and update its campaign plans for more stressing engagements, such as addressing the anti-access, area-denial problem posed by new air defenses being developed and fielded by Russian and Chinese manufacturers. In doing so, the Pentagon likely will adjust its force structure plans for EW, including a possible increase in the number of Growlers needed, as well as ongoing work for the F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (Epaws), Raytheon Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer (Mald-J) version and podded or towed decoy options. The Navy, for example, is investing in podded Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) jammer systems through the Filthy Badger and Filthy Buzzard projects.

Fleet structure studies are done annually, and any changes would be briefed to Pentagon leadership for possible adjustment in the fiscal 2016 budget this summer, Shaffer says.

“All aircraft can be seen by certain radars. The trick is to disrupt the [kill] chain when someone can lock weapons on you. We are talking about the ‘perishability’ of stealth,” Gibbons says.

Growler advocates argue that the EA-18G, with its wide-spectrum EW and electronic-attack capabilities should be the “quarterback” for future strike packages, with the electronic-warfare officer in the backseat essentially managing the electronic battle.

During a flight demonstration last summer, Boeing showed that two EA-18Gs were capable of passively detecting a threat emitter and passing “very accurate” targeting data for a strike within “minutes.” Company analysis suggests adding another Growler to the engagement would allow for generating target coordinates in seconds. This operational concept could condense the time element of the kill chain and get at the “counter-shutdown” problem for air defenses, when threat emitters intermittently radiate and then shut down to avoid being targeted by radar-seeking weapons such as the AGM-88E Advance Anti-Radiation Guided Missile.

In its campaign to restore funding for the Growler, Boeing will have to walk a careful line. The company has to make the case that without more Growlers, even the stealthiest aircraft in the Pentagon’s fleet are vulnerable to emerging air defenses. This is a thorny and challenging argument to make as it quickly veers into classified territory. And its Pentagon customer is loath to acknowledge that its multibillion-dollar investment in stealth aircraft could be made vulnerable by comparatively small investment in networked air defenses. Boeing is already aggressively engaging Congress to lobby for more Growler money and has launched a grass-roots advocacy campaign website.

Although F-22s and F-35s are the most capable platforms at penetrating air defenses, they are not silver bullets and still require capable escorts to standoff at the edge of a hostile range to control the electronic battlefield, Growler advocates say. They suggest doubling the number of Growlers in each carrier air wing to 10. There is “plenty of room” on the future carrier deck to accommodate the additional aircraft, the industry official says.

While carrying the most advanced and fused avionics available, the F-35 is able to influence only the electronic battle within the frequency of its own Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 radar. But if an F-35 encounters a threat not in its database or outside its own radar band, it likely would not address it—whereas an electronic-warfare officer on an EA-18G could discern its capabilities and suppress it, if needed, the industry official says.

A final fleet determination has not yet come out of the Navy for Growlers, but Shaffer says the plans in place are sufficient for now. “We maintained our EW focus and in some cases have been looking to accelerate,” he says, noting investments in Mald-J and Epaws and hinting that classified work may be underway.

During a March 12 hearing, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said he sees a “growing need” for more Growlers. The questions are: When it will be announced? And when will it be funded?

With Guy Norris in El Segundo, Calif.

 

 

Defense trims could limit US military’s vision for Pacific pivot


http://www.stripes.com/news/defense-trims-could-limit-us-military-s-vision-for-pacific-pivot-1.274002#.UzGv6PldWaU

spending limit our vision?

ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPHER SIX/STARS AND STRIPES

By Jon Harper

Stars and Stripes

Published: March 24, 2014

 

WASHINGTON — Budget constraints and force requirements in other regions will likely stall the Pentagon’s plans to beef up the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific and send more high-tech weaponry to deter a rising China, officials and analysts say.

DOD released its $496 billion fiscal 2015 budget request earlier this month. Due to caps imposed by Congress’ bipartisan budget deal in December, the Pentagon is requesting $45 billion less than what it anticipated it would need to carry out the national defense strategy when it submitted last year’s budget request. DOD also released its Future Years Defense Program, which calls for $115 billion more in military spending than current law allows over the course of the next five years.

“Right now, the pivot [to the Pacific] is being looked at again, because candidly it can’t happen [due to budget pressures],” Katrina McFarland, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, said at an Aviation Week conference in Arlington, Va. on March 4, according to multiple news reports.

Later that day, McFarland issued the following statement through a spokeswoman in what appeared to be an attempt to walk back her remarks.

“When I spoke at a conference, I was asked a question about the budget … and how it relates to our pivot to Asia. I was reiterating what Secretary Hagel said last week: that the shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific requires us to ‘adapt, innovate, and make difficult budgetary and acquisition decisions to ensure that our military remains ready and capable.’ That’s exactly what we’ve done in this budget [proposal]. The rebalance to Asia can and will continue.”

“[McFarland] obviously was disciplined and retracted those remarks,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said at a budget hearing the next day.

Adm. Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said the resources currently at his disposal are insufficient to meet operational requirements.

“The ability for the services to provide the type of maritime coverage, the air coverage of some of the key elements that we’ve historically needed in this part of the world for crisis response, have not been available to the level that I would consider acceptable risk [due to recent budget cutbacks],” he told lawmakers March 5.

During a March 4 budget briefing at the Pentagon, defense officials disputed the notion that the strategic shift will stall.

“We are going forward with a variety of issues that aren’t primarily financial [including realigning forces in the region]. We have a fairly robust shipbuilding program, averaging about nine a year, which over the long term will contribute [to the pivot]. So I think the budget [request] definitely supports the rebalance, and we’re not reconsidering it,” Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale told reporters.

But Todd Harrison, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent think tank in Washington, said there’s reason to doubt that DOD will be able to fully resource the pivot, given ongoing fiscal constraints and other strategic commitments.

“It’s coming close to the limits on what you can do in terms of scaling back the size of the department while still trying to increase our presence in the Asia-Pacific region. You know, fundamentally one of the conflicts that’s going to arise within this [defense] strategy is that we’re trying to increase our presence in the Asia-Pacific region while maintaining our presence in the Middle East and in Europe and other areas, and I don’t think we can actually do all of those things in the long run with less funding,” he said.

Republican hawks share those concerns.

“The administration has committed to a rebalance to the Asia-Pacific while also sustaining a heightened alert posture in the Middle East and North Africa … A declining defense budget, reduction in troop strength and force structure, and diminished readiness suggests that we can’t do both, or if we do, we do so at an increased risk to our forces and their missions,” Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said at a hearing March 5.

Doubts about the pivot are not confined to political and military circles in Washington. America’s Asian allies also question whether the shift to their neighborhood will continue. In the face of continuing Chinese belligerence and North Korean unpredictability, many countries in the region are increasing their defense spending and buying new weapons platforms even as they encourage the U.S. to play a more active role in the area and hope the Pentagon moves more of its forces there.

Christine Wormuth, the deputy undersecretary of defense for Strategy, Plans and Force Development, acknowledged the problem at a March 10 conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“I’m well aware that there is concern in the region about whether we will be able to sustain the rebalance. We hear those messages as well. And part of why we’re as engaged talking to countries in that region is to assure them that even in the face of some greater fiscal austerity than we’ve seen in the past decade, we are very committed to that region,” she told attendees.

The fate of the rebalance may ultimately depend on events elsewhere in the world, according to Harrison.

“[DOD] would favor continuing the pivot to the Pacific, but reality and the facts and the situation on the ground may draw you back to the Middle East, or to Europe for that matter, regardless of what your intentions are,” he said. “There’s a significant possibility [that the rebalance will be scaled back], and that will be driven by external events like what we’ve seen in Syria and what’s happening right now in Ukraine. World events can cause you to shift your focus in a way that you didn’t intend.”

The Ukraine crisis appears to have done just that. In the wake of Russia annexing Crimea, America’s NATO allies fear further aggression.

“The old idea of NATO … predicated on a Europe that no longer has any threats — that, unfortunately, has turned out, with the actions we’ve seen against Ukraine, no longer [applies],” Estonian President Toomas Ilves said on March 18 during a joint news conference with Vice President Joe Biden in Warsaw.

The U.S. has tried to reassure its regional allies by deploying 12 F-16s to Poland and augmenting American involvement in NATO’s Baltic air policing program. The Navy also sent another destroyer to the region and kept the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea longer than planned.

“We’re exploring a number of additional steps to increase the pace and scope of our military cooperation, including rotating U.S. forces to the Baltic region to conduct ground and naval exercises, as well as training missions,” Biden said.

Some say the future of the pivot is in Congress’ hands.

Locklear told lawmakers that the pivot is under way, but he questions whether it will maintain its momentum.

“If you come to my headquarters, we’re moving forward with the aspects of rebalance. I mean, we’re working hard on the alliances, on the exercises that underpin them. We’re moving our force structure into places we need to. The real question is whether or not the force that Congress will eventually buy to give us, is it adequate for the security environment that’s changing?” he said. “Whether or not we can resource to meet the challenges and remain the preeminent guarantor of security in the Pacific area, I think that’s the question.”

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, told members of the House Armed Services Committee last week that eliminating an aircraft carrier and a naval air wing from the fleet, which would be necessitated by sequestration, would put the pivot in jeopardy.

“The Asia-Pacific is important, and we are rebalancing toward it. [But] if you go from 11 to 10 carriers, you exacerbate that what is already a very difficult [force requirement] problem to the point where … the deterrence factor goes down dramatically when you have gaps [like that],” he said.

 

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other senior defense officials have repeatedly warned that a failure to eliminate sequestration would result in “unacceptable risks” to America’s ability to execute its defense strategy.

But many analysts are doubtful that Congress will give the Pentagon the money it says it needs.

“I don’t think there is the will in the Congress to increase the defense budget for a bit, number one. And I don’t think you have a president pressing them hard to do so … I’m not necessarily sure [the sequestration cap] is even a floor [for how low the defense budget will go],” Barry Pavel, director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, said at a conference hosted by the Atlantic Council March 5.

“I think DOD has made the best case they can [but] I think you’re going to continue to have a disconnect in Congress that’s been shockingly, in my mind, united on both sides of the aisle, saying even if they don’t like it, they don’t see a way out of [the Budget Control Act],” according to Maren Leed, a senior analyst at CSIS. “So I personally would be surprised if any of that [desired budget increase] is achieved. So what else can [Pentagon leaders] do? They can keep talking [but] I don’t think it will matter.”

 

Nukes, Crimea, And Possible Putins

Adam Elkus

March 24, 2014 · in Analysis

http://warontherocks.com/2014/03/nukes-crimea-and-possible-putins/

As the Crimea crisis steadily worsens, many have floated the counterfactual: what if Ukraine hadn’t given up its nuclear weapons? Walter Russell Mead and other commentators have pointed to an old article by John Mearsheimer arguing that Ukraine ought to have resisted giving up the old Soviet nuclear weapons that the USSR’s collapse left in Kiev’s hands. That way, the Russians would have thought twice before making like Brezhnev in the heart of Eurasia. This is an exercise in counterfactual inference—and an awfully faulty one. In explicating why Mead and others error, we can learn a valuable lesson about the complexities of counterfactual analysis.

So why are Mead (and by extension Mearsheimer) wrong? After all, nukes seem to have been a boon for North Korea. Iran seems to want them precisely because of the perception that a nuke means you force the world to treat you according to Big Boy Rules. As Harvard political science PhD student Anton Strezhnev notes, the counterfactual instinct isn’t the problem here. But just as Mobb Deep famously noted the streets have no room for halfway crooks, geopolitics has no room for halfway counterfactualists:

In order to ask what would have happened had Ukraine opted to retain its arsenal, it is important to think through the entire counterfactual. The problem with the “if only Ukraine had nukes” line of argument it assumes that Russia would have tolerated a nuclear weapons state on its border in the first place. If we were to hold the world in 2014 constant and by magic turn Ukraine into a stable nuclear power, then perhaps Russia would have been deterred from occupying Crimea. But this is not the counterfactual we’re interested in.

The assumption that the Russians would have tolerated a nuclear Ukraine is a big one to swallow. A good deal of Israeli security policy is premised on encouraging the perception in Washington that Jerusalem would rather send Israeli Air Force pilots on the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Doolittle Raid than tolerate a nuclear Iran. The security of weapons of mass destruction in Syria, Pakistan, and North Korea are also a topic of hot debate today, and the preventive war in Iraq was premised on the specter of Saddam Hussein handing his arsenal to terrorists. We have been told that we must engage in preventive war with Iran because it may have weapons itself, may give them to extremists, or use them to underwrite aggressive behavior.

When we think through the entire counterfactual, we see that there are plausible outcomes in which Russia would have taken preventive action to secure its arsenal by force. And even if it didn’t, Strezhnev argues that a conflict resembling the India-Pakistan crisis could have been possible in a world in which Ukraine kept its nukes. Strezhnev cites a model that casts the problem as a two-player game, but introduces more players besides Ukraine and Russia (like Poland, the Baltic states, the United States, etc.) making the model more complex. Though if we work through it, it remains to be seen whether or not it gives Mearsheimer’s newfound fans any more reason for optimism compared to a two-player dynamic. For all we know, it might be far worse!

Regardless of how the problem is represented, we have to ask the right counterfactual question. As Strezhnev points out, the counterfactual implied by pundits that cite Mearsheimer asks “What if Ukraine suddenly got nukes in 2014?” That’s a different counterfactual than the possibilities of Ukraine’s nuclear choices in the early 1990s—one perhaps considered interesting when contemplated in an abstract sense, but also likely irrelevant. We could also explore the outcome of Watchmen’s godlike Mr. Manhattan suddenly becoming real and pledging fealty to America. Then it would be a legitimate question of if a Mr. Manhattan-equipped America could deter Russia from invading Ukraine. However, neither outcome occurred in early 2014 nor is it likely to occur in the future. Hence, there’s little point of contemplating it.

So how could the Ukranian nuke enthusiasts have done better? Pay better attention to the problem of counterfactual inference. Counterfactual inference is extremely important in social science and science more broadly, particularly when it come to small probabilities. Wars in particular are rare events in world politics. And as complex a problem is the Ukraine nuclear counterfactual, there exist far worse risk questions. Take Stephen Pinker’s argument that the risk of war is declining, and we live in an era distinguished by the “better angels of our nature.” Many experts in national security have argued about this, but what do the academics writing on on risk, probability, and causal inference say?Risk iconoclast Nassim Nicholas Taleb had a bone to pick with this. Wars, again, are rare events and a theory like Pinker’s must deal with many problems that come from rare and dangerous events, such as the survivorship effect of erroneously believing that what kills you makes you stronger and the effect that nested counterfactuals (e.g., layered counterfactual states) in a potential history have on our ability to assess risk. Taleb did not feel that Pinker sufficiently tackled such difficulties. Political scientist and forecaster Jay Ulfelder, in contrast, is more sympathetic to Pinker’s reasoning. And others say we need to wait 150 years to know for sure.

What we don’t have to wait 150 years to do, however, is to take better stock of these kind of problems. Yes, a world of possibilities exists. But whenever we make a counterfactual about a past situation, we are revving up what scientist Peter Turchin dubs an “imperfect time machine.” Turchin was discussing the problem of reaching back into the far past to test theories about the development of human civilization, but his metaphor could be expanded to think about the problem of assessing a complex historical event (or non-event), the choices available to the actors involved, and the probabilities and desirabilities of alternative outcomes.

The time machine we want is one that would transport us back in time to the event, give us a menu of possible actions, and show us each outcome in fine resolution. We don’t have such a contraption, and if it could be made it would be hidden away in the same government warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant got stashed at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Until then, we’re left to watch Ukraine burn and ponder possible Putins with the crude historical and social scientific tools we have available.

 

Back to Land Lines? Cell Phones May Be Dead by 2015

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2011/03/01/Cell-Phones-May-Be-Dead-by-2015

 

 

TOM ZOELLNER

The Fiscal Times

March 1, 2011

 

What do a cell phone, a laptop and an electric car have in common?

All three use batteries made with lithium — the lightest metal in nature. About five grams is in an average laptop, about half a gram in a cell phone. Surprisingly, what keeps your devices charged and wireless can also affect your brain: It’s an active ingredient in drugs used to treat manic depression. Batteries using lithium have twice the capacity of traditional nickel cadmium batteries, creating a “lithium boom” in several places around the world as these technologies become more ubiquitous. In China, cell phone sales were up 57 percent last year; in India, cell phone use is expected to double by 2014.

 

The More We Use It the More We Lose It

Lithium is difficult to find and excavate. Tiny amounts are found in compounds everywhere, including in the bodies of mammals, but in extremely small quantities. The best way to mine it is to dig under the beds of dried lakes with high saline contents, where volcanoes in wet climates leached groundwater into a landlocked basin tens of thousands of years ago — not exactly in your backyard. Very few places on the globe match these exacting conditions, and some of them are politically problematic.

 

The Afghan Connection

The world’s best reserves are in the Bolivian Andes, with smaller quantities in Chile, China and the U.S. The Pentagon created a stir last year when a leaked memo called Afghanistan a potential “Saudi Arabia of lithium” because of deposits located in dried salt beds in the west — though much of it remains unexploited because of the war. Bolivian President Evo Morales has said he wants the nation to mine its own lithium and he has discouraged foreign investors; but it’s uncertain if Bolivia can build the necessary extraction plants to handle the expected high demand. The Western Lithium USA Corp. announced plans last year to develop a deposit in the Kings Valley region of Nevada, which could yield up to 11 million tons.

 

Crisis by 2015?

A shortage could affect the price of laptop computers, as well as cause a slowdown in the production of hybrid electric cars that could cripple new initiatives in Detroit, and undermine President Obama’s plans to reduce our dependence on oil. The car manufacturer Mitsubishi has predicted a worldwide supply crisis by 2015 if new reserves are not discovered. Obama has called for at least 1 million of these plug-in vehicles on the roads by then. Conventional nickel-cadmium batteries do not allow them to store as much energy or drive as far as lithium, which has been a major impediment to the future success of electric cars. New advances in nanotechnology may allow more lithium than ever before to be stored inside hybrid car batteries, as much as 10 times the previous levels, putting even more pressure on global supplies.

– See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2011/03/01/Cell-Phones-May-Be-Dead-by-2015#sthash.SrDGE9nz.dpuf

 

 

March 25, 2014, 11:40 am

Boehner: No boost to defense spending

By Erik Wasson

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/201639-ryan-budget-will-keep-defense-cap-for-2015-boehner#ixzz2x13nClvG

 

House Republicans will not seek to increase defense spending in their 2015 budget in the wake of the crisis with Russia, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will keep both the top-line spending level of $1.014 trillion for 2015 and the specific caps for defense and non-defense spending.

The two-year budget deal reached in December put a $521 billion cap on non-defense spending and a $492 billion cap on defense spending, not including funds for the war on terrorism.

Boehner was asked about the 2015 level and whether defense spending would be left subject to automatic spending cuts known as sequestration over the following six years.

“I don’t know that we’re far enough along in that project to make that determination. In terms of the spending for defense in this year, I believe that we’ll abide by the budget agreement that we’ve already made,” Boehner said.

Ryan is expected to release his budget resolution next week. It would likely receive a House vote before the mid-April Easter recess.

Ryan’s budget is expected to balance within 10 years without raising revenue, a feat that will require trillions in spending cuts.

Adding new defense spending into the mix would require deeper cuts from non-defense spending or from mandatory entitlement programs.

House and Senate appropriators have already begun crafting the 2015 bills and a House budget resolution that alters the caps from the December deal would complicate an effort to complete all 12 appropriations bills by the start of the fiscal year for the first time since the mid-1990s.

Russell Berman contributed.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/201639-ryan-budget-will-keep-defense-cap-for-2015-boehner#ixzz2x4pk3QC3

 

Lawsuit Raises Red Flags For Government Cloud Users

http://www.informationweek.com/government/cloud-computing/lawsuit-raises-red-flags-for-government-cloud-users/d/d-id/1127897

 

A California lawsuit suggests the federal government must take stronger steps to protect government data from data mining and user profiling by cloud service providers.

In the technology-rich world we live in, it’s critical for everyone to understand how their data is processed and used. For the government, it is arguably even more important, given the massive amounts of sensitive citizen data it possesses and stores.

As we move to more sophisticated, data-driven technological environments such as the cloud, it is imperative that all government entities become hypervigilant about making sure that vendors are handling this information appropriately. I am not the first person to say this, and I will certainly not be the last.

Recent disclosures in a California lawsuit have raised several red flags about how government data could be used by cloud vendors — particularly vendors with business models that rely heavily on advertising revenue and monetizing user data. The lawsuit alleges that Google violated federal and state wiretap and privacy laws by data mining the email content of students who used Google’s Apps for Education and Google’s Gmail messaging service. US district judge Lucy Koh handed Google a victory last week by refusing to let the case proceed as a class action.

Though the lawsuit created a stir in the education community over privacy concerns, it also raises important questions for government administrators. Information revealed in the lawsuit suggests that public-sector users of certain cloud services, including the federal government, may not be protected from systematic data mining and user profiling for advertising purposes if they do not have clear protections in place.

The potential streamlining and cost-saving benefits of cloud computing have prompted the federal government to make adoption of cloud computing a high priority. With this in mind, we need to take appropriate measures to ensure the government makes the transition to the cloud in the correct way, with data privacy and lawful data use as top concerns. If the government does not implement these changes carefully, it faces the risk that sensitive data will be exposed, and those risks are simply too high.

I speak from experience. Given my former position at the Office of Management and Budget, where I was responsible for the federal government’s IT, data security, and privacy policies, I believe these issues are more important than ever. There are several foundational issues that government CIOs must address when they are looking at securing, procuring, and drafting their cloud contracts.

 

These issues include:

Clauses prohibiting unauthorized data use: All cloud service providers must ensure that their services use data only in ways that are explicitly, contractually sanctioned, and those assurances must be guaranteed and written into the contract.

A system to measure efficacy: Cloud service providers also must have a system for reporting on the efficacy of agency information security programs. That system needs to augment audit programs and validate the written assurances from cloud providers.

Specific bring-your-own-device (BYOD) language: Agency CIOs and policy makers must rethink their security policies by restricting the type and/or amount of work that employees can perform on their smartphones unless adequate protections are in place, such as digital rights management and robust enterprise device management technologies. In addition, it is critical that agencies and industry develop efficient, technical solutions that enable federal workers to take advantage of the convenience that these devices offer, while ensuring the security of sensitive federal information.

This year, I co-authored a white paper discussing some of these recommendations in greater detail. One conclusion I’ve reached in my research is that cloud vendors need to be more transparent with regard to how they store, use, and monetize public-sector data — especially vendors with roots in advertising and the monetization of user data. And agencies must be more explicit in their contracts about data-mining practices.

Despite all these voiced concerns, government entities do not typically require any of the above recommendations or guidelines from cloud contractors.

 

From my experience working at federal agencies, I understand that altering the way government entities procure services takes time and input from many stakeholders. However, I strongly believe our procurement process needs to include the specific terms and conditions related to data use and ownership in an effort to address these issues in greater detail. If we want to get cloud right, these guidelines should serve as the foundation.

 

Putin’s Challenge to the West

Russia has thrown down a gauntlet that is not limited to Crimea or even Ukraine.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303725404579460183854574284?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303725404579460183854574284.html%3Fmod%3DWSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

By ROBERT M. GATES

March 25, 2014 6:52 p.m. ET

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a long-festering grudge: He deeply resents the West for winning the Cold War. He blames the United States in particular for the collapse of his beloved Soviet Union, an event he has called the “worst geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”

His list of grievances is long and was on full display in his March 18 speech announcing the annexation of Crimea by Russia. He is bitter about what he sees as Russia’s humiliations in the 1990s—economic collapse; the expansion of NATO to include members of the U.S.S.R.’s own “alliance,” the Warsaw Pact; Russia’s agreement to the treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe, or as he calls it, “the colonial treaty”; the West’s perceived dismissal of Russian interests in Serbia and elsewhere; attempts to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO and the European Union; and Western governments, businessmen and scholars all telling Russia how to conduct its affairs at home and abroad.

Mr. Putin aspires to restore Russia’s global power and influence and to bring the now-independent states that were once part of the Soviet Union back into Moscow’s orbit. While he has no apparent desire to recreate the Soviet Union (which would include responsibility for a number of economic basket cases), he is determined to create a Russian sphere of influence—political, economic and security—and dominance. There is no grand plan or strategy to do this, just opportunistic and ruthless aspiration. And patience.

Mr. Putin, who began his third, nonconsecutive presidential term in 2012, is playing a long game. He can afford to: Under the Russian Constitution, he could legally remain president until 2024. After the internal chaos of the 1990s, he has ruthlessly restored “order” to Russia, oblivious to protests at home and abroad over his repression of nascent Russian democracy and political freedoms.

In recent years, he has turned his authoritarian eyes on the “near-abroad.” In 2008, the West did little as he invaded Georgia, and Russian troops still occupy the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. He has forced Armenia to break off its agreements with the European Union, and Moldova is under similar pressure.

Last November, through economic leverage and political muscle, he forced then-President Viktor Yanukovych to abort a Ukrainian agreement with the EU that would have drawn it toward the West. When Mr. Yanukovych, his minion, was ousted as a result, Mr. Putin seized Crimea and is now making ominous claims and military movements regarding all of eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine is central to Mr. Putin’s vision of a pro-Russian bloc, partly because of its size and importantly because of Kiev’s role as the birthplace of the Russian Empire more than a thousand years ago. He will not be satisfied or rest until a pro-Russian government is restored in Kiev.

He also has a dramatically different worldview than the leaders of Europe and the U.S. He does not share Western leaders’ reverence for international law, the sanctity of borders, which Westerners’ believe should only be changed through negotiation, due process and rule of law. He has no concern for human and political rights. Above all, Mr. Putin clings to a zero-sum worldview. Contrary to the West’s belief in the importance of win-win relationships among nations, for Mr. Putin every transaction is win-lose; when one party benefits, the other must lose. For him, attaining, keeping and amassing power is the name of the game.

The only way to counter Mr. Putin’s aspirations on Russia’s periphery is for the West also to play a strategic long game. That means to take actions that unambiguously demonstrate to Russians that his worldview and goals—and his means of achieving them—over time will dramatically weaken and isolate Russia.

 

Europe’s reliance on Russian oil and gas must be reduced, and truly meaningful economic sanctions must be imposed, knowing there may be costs to the West as well. NATO allies bordering Russia must be militarily strengthened and reinforced with alliance forces; and the economic and cyber vulnerabilities of the Baltic states to Russian actions must be reduced (especially given the number of Russians and Russian-speakers in Estonia and Latvia).

Western investment in Russia should be curtailed; Russia should be expelled from the G-8 and other forums that offer respect and legitimacy; the U.S. defense budget should be restored to the level proposed in the Obama administration’s 2014 budget a year ago, and the Pentagon directed to cut overhead drastically, with saved dollars going to enhanced capabilities, such as additional Navy ships; U.S. military withdrawals from Europe should be halted; and the EU should be urged to grant associate agreements with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

So far, however, the Western response has been anemic. Mr. Putin is little influenced by seizure of personal assets of his cronies or the oligarchs, or restrictions on their travel. Unilateral U.S. sanctions, save on Russian banks, will not be effective absent European cooperation. The gap between Western rhetoric and Western actions in response to out-and-out aggression is a yawning chasm. The message seems to be that if Mr. Putin doesn’t move troops into eastern Ukraine, the West will impose no further sanctions or costs. De facto, Russia’s seizure of Crimea will stand and, except for a handful of Russian officials, business will go on as usual.

No one wants a new Cold War, much less a military confrontation. We want Russia to be a partner, but that is now self-evidently not possible under Mr. Putin’s leadership. He has thrown down a gauntlet that is not limited to Crimea or even Ukraine. His actions challenge the entire post-Cold War order including, above all, the right of independent states to align themselves and do business with whomever they choose.

Tacit acceptance of settling old revanchist scores by force is a formula for ongoing crises and potential armed conflict, whether in Europe, Asia or elsewhere. A China behaving with increasing aggressiveness in the East and South China seas, an Iran with nuclear aspirations and interventionist policies in the Middle East, and a volatile and unpredictable North Korea are all watching events in Europe. They have witnessed the fecklessness of the West in Syria. Similar division and weakness in responding to Russia’s most recent aggression will, I fear, have dangerous consequences down the road.

Mr. Putin’s challenge comes at a most unpropitious time for the West. Europe faces a weak economic recovery and significant economic ties with Russia. The U.S. is emerging from more than a dozen years at war and leaders in both parties face growing isolationism among voters, with the prospect of another major challenge abroad cutting across the current political grain. Crimea and Ukraine are far away, and their importance to Europe and America little understood by the public.

Therefore, the burden of explaining the need to act forcefully falls, as always, on our leaders. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Government includes the act of formulating a policy” and “persuading, leading, sacrificing, teaching always, because the greatest duty of a statesman is to educate.” The aggressive, arrogant actions of Vladimir Putin require from Western leaders strategic thinking, bold leadership and steely resolve—now.

Mr. Gates served as secretary of defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama from 2006-11, and as director of central intelligence under President George H.W. Bush from 1991-93.

 

 

What Defense Could Learn About Cyber From Financial Firms

Mar. 26, 2014 – 12:35PM | By ZACHARY FRYER-BIGGS | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140326/DEFREG02/303260030

 

WASHINGTON — As the defense industry sorts out the complications of information sharing and improved cyber protection, it might turn to another sector thought by many experts to have the best security in the US: financial firms.

It may not be surprising that financial groups effectively protect their networks; a successful attack could cost a company millions, if not billions, of dollars. That drove financial firms to launch an industry information-sharing initiative in 1999, creating one of the better repositories of information on attacks and attackers in the world.

Defense companies normally don’t face that kind of risk. If an attacker breaks in and steals fighter jet designs, the company probably won’t lose any money because it is unlikely the company would have been allowed to sell the fighter to the attacking nation.

But what financial industry insiders point to is that the collective need for protection has overwhelmed the natural distrust and competitiveness of the individual companies.

“Within financial services, security and cyber issues have really become a noncompetitive issue,” said John Carlson, executive vice president of technology risk at BITS.

Carlson, speaking with Lilly Thomas and Brian Peretti at a recent Atlantic Council event, said the cooperative spirit does serve as a bit of an outlier.

“That’s not necessarily the case in the IT community more broadly, with security firms that are competing very aggressively for marketing products and services. But within financial services, there is a sense that we need to share information, we need to collaborate,” he said.

What has made it difficult at times for defense companies is that beyond the need for protection, many are also trying to sell protection services. Nearly every major defense contractor has a stated goal of growing its cyber business, often marketing their products as having superior intelligence on the threat environment.

“If they can say that they’re the ones who understand threats to the defense industrial base, they can sell a product,” said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute.

Despite that desire, the US Defense Department has leaned heavily on contractors to share information with the Defense Cyber Crime Center. But sources and experts have said that the quality of the data provided was modest, with companies withholding what they could.

“They didn’t want to make the central sharing database good, because they wanted to offer it as a service as well,” Paller said.

There’s also the issue of trust. The most prominent initiative to increase information sharing was the Defense Industrial Base cyber pilot program. That program, while slow to get going, eventually started to yield better intelligence, according to sources. But as soon as the program’s control was transferred from the Defense Department to the Department of Homeland Security in 2012, companies became increasingly fearful of leaks.

That lack of trust has been one of the reasons industry has pushed for new legislation to protect companies that share information. Such legislation has passed in the US House, but has yet to be voted upon in the Senate, which has focused on more comprehensive legislation.

But in the financial world, a level of trust has developed, Carlson said.

“They have to have trust.That is a critical element of this,” he said. “They may not even have agreements amongst themselves to protect the information, but they trust one another and are willing to take the risk.”

The ability to get and share that data from companies is crucial because government, despite concerns stoked by the Edward Snowden disclosures, doesn’t have effective visibility on all of the company networks.

“If you just look to us, for government to tell you how the next attack is going to come, that’s probably not going to be the most effective, because we don’t see all the attacks,” said Peretti, acting director of the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy at the Treasury Department.

The Defense Department is trying to set up a public/private mechanism for information sharing, but it has hit some bumps along the way. In January, the Government Accountability Office sustained a protest to a $26 million contract to provide support for the new DIBNet, citing a failure by the Defense Information Systems Agency to “reasonably evaluate” the virtues of alternative bids. That deal will be recompeted in the coming months.

Other contracts for DIBNet have been less contentious, with several going to the cyber behemoth Booz Allen Hamilton.

Paller said that it takes time to convince participants to give up meaningful information, citing one English group’s experience.

“For the first five meetings, people just sat there and just absorbed information, but by the sixth meeting, people opened up completely,” he said. “If there is a reason to trust, a really strong reason to trust, sharing can happen.”

For defense, there’s the complication of working with a complex industrial base that includes many smaller companies, some of which might not have the best security practices. One suggestion has been to create minimum standards for security.

Such standards exist in the financial sector but can be a burden, according to Lilly Thomas, vice president of Independent Community Bankers of America, an association of smaller financial institutions.

One big problem is that these institutions have to rely on third party vendors because having a private security team is expensive, Thomas said.

Defense and the financial sector share some common problems, but cooperation has proved to be the greatest tool the latter has used, according to Carlson, something that might be needed in defense.

“In response to the increasing cyber threat, the financial services sector has really worked much more closely together,” he said.

 

 

 

The unblinking eye – Commercial spy satellites gain power as resolutions sharpen

Mar. 26, 2014 | 1 Comment

http://www.c4isrnet.com/article/20140326/C4ISRNET13/303260003/

 

Space-based sensors devoted to intelligence gathering are poised to receive a major upgrade driven by the perceived need to identify and monitor a growing range of potential threats. The unstated goal is to create a massive satellite network forming the equivalent of a single, unblinking eye in space.

This new emphasis is likely to extend the reach of commercial satellite imagery providers—already the government’s primary source of unclassified mapping data and location-based imagery products. Much of this imagery is sharable with state and local governments, allies, coalition partners and even some nongovernment organizations.

“Outsourcing a large percentage of imagery requirements to the civil side not only makes sense, it’s essential,” says Mark Brender, executive director of the DigitalGlobe Foundation, which supports educational uses of geospatial technology. “Intelligence-gathering satellites can’t be everywhere at once, and, according to one member of Congress, each one of them costs as much as a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier.

“Commercial imagery provides resiliency and products that are good enough to meet a vast majority of intelligence imagery needs but at a much lower cost. As this technology migrates from the black world of intelligence to the white world of commerce, whole new services and jobs are created, like Google Earth.”

 

Resolution revolution

Relative sharpness of pixel resolution has long formed the dividing line between military and civil reconnaissance satellites, but that line is blurring. If the commercial providers have their way, the next generation of civil satellites may offer capabilities comparable to secret military spacecraft thought to offer resolutions measured in inches.

In May of last year, commercial provider DigitalGlobe asked for release from a government policy limiting them to resolutions of a half-meter. The company wants permission to sell 0.25-meter (9.8-inch) resolution imagery on the open market, the same degree of resolution it provides to some of its U.S. government customers.

For comparison, the first civil imagery satellite, the LandSat launched in 1972, offered 90-meter ground resolution and even this, Brender says, “concerned some people in the U.S. government at that time.”

Resolution is largely a function of aperture (mirror) size and altitude, and the larger the mirror the sharper the resolution. Commercial imaging satellites now have about 1-meter diameter mirrors and the next logical step for them, according to Brender, is a 1.5-meter mirror.

The aperture size of military satellites wasn’t public knowledge until the GEOINT 2009 Symposium. James Clapper, then under secretary of defense for intelligence and now director of national intelligence, revealed during a keynote address that a new generation of electro-optical imaging satellites proposed for the Air Force would have an aperture size of 2.4 meters — the same as the Hubble Space Telescope.

In addition, the civil side may be moving ahead faster than the government in the critical arenas of data management and storage, as well as the complex ground station infrastructure needed to manage satellites through their life cycles.

“Things are changing rapidly,” says Jeff Harris, a former director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), operator of spy satellites for the U.S. intelligence community. “The breadth and depth of applications and ease of processing have given mere mortals a power that used to reside only at the highest levels of government.”

“It’s a function of the demand curve, the same way it happened with aerial photography from [manned] aircraft and drones. First it was the optical products and ultimately it will happen with radar. Next you’ll see LIDAR on the commercial side. It’s simply a matter of cost point.

“When we were [developing] these capabilities, we often asked ourselves is it best to be No. 1? Does it make sense to put so much effort into developing the marketplace when the technology becomes ubiquitous so quickly?”

 

NRO’s modernization plan

NRO is continually updating its satellite fleet and its most recent mission — NROL-39 — blasted into space from Vandenberg Air Force Base late last year. Although details surrounding the classified payload were not released, experts surmise it was a Topaz radar imaging satellite built as a replacement for the earlier Lacrosse/Onyx series ordered as part of the over-budget and partially scrapped future imaging architecture program.

NROL-39’s mission logo — an all-seeing cartoon octopus with suction-cupped tentacles extending over the globe — brought NRO an uncharacteristic degree of public attention amid recent allegations regarding National Security Agency spying, as did the mission’s ambitious tagline: Nothing is beyond our reach.

While the NRO’s plans are opaque to outsiders, a recent declassified, heavily redacted report could provide a degree of insight. According to the agency’s FY 2012 congressional budget justification obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, NRO is looking for “evolutionary and revolutionary” improvements to geospatial intelligence, signals intelligence and multi-intelligence gathering, as well as improved satellite communications and ground systems.

A key focus area is “temporal responsiveness,” or the ability to re-task satellite sensors on the fly and thus make their output more relevant to high-level decision-makers and also to troops in the field. This effort could encompass machine-to-machine tasking; tip and cue; and new, “dynamic” user interfaces, the report states.

The report also reveals a desire to target specific individuals with multiple and varied sensor types. To fulfill this need to “identify, characterize and understand” single targets, the NRO is encouraging “unusual or unexpected” uses of its existing sensors and systems.

 

Improved pattern analysis is another priority. This effort will likely combine massive computerized data sets, varied data sources and high-speed processing as a means of tracking people by studying their normal routines — and deviations — from Earth orbit.

Nuts and bolts-wise, NRO appears sold on the utility of cutting-edge carbon-nanotube technology. It seeks to use it in a range of applications, among them memory logic, power cables, structures, lithium-ion batteries, radiation-hardened microelectronics and high-efficiency solar cells. Phased-array technology is being “matured” toward the goal of horizon-to-horizon coverage.

 

DARPA thinks big

DARPA is peering even further into the future. Its membrane optical imager for real-time exploitation (MOIRE) program aims to provide real-time images and video from geosynchronous orbit — roughly 22,000 miles above the planet’s surface. Current spy satellites are generally restricted to low Earth orbits due to size and weight constraints.

Instead of mirrors, MOIRE will employ lightweight polymer membrane optics. Though less efficient than glass, membrane optics are significantly lighter and could allow comparable performance with roughly one-seventh the weight of traditional systems, according to DARPA.

The membranes would be housed in thin metal “petals” that would bloom, flower-like, from a housed 20-foot package to a deployed diameter of some 68 feet. DARPA says these would be the largest telescope optics ever made, “dwarfing the glass mirrors in the world’s most famous telescopes.”

 

US Air Force Faces Shortage of Engineers

Mar. 26, 2014 – 02:18PM | By AARON MEHTA | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140326/DEFREG02/303260029

 

WASHINGTON — More than any other military service, the US Air Force depends on a constant stream of technological improvements and scientific breakthroughs. But according to the service’s chief scientist, a “perfect storm” of personnel issues is endangering the retention and recruitment of top scientific talent.

“When we asked recently across our AFRL [Air Force Research Laboratory] directorates how many of you are afraid of losing people, and know people have résumés on the street, every single hand went up,” Mica Endsley said. “So those are the kind of worries we have. We need to retain the people we’ve got, as well as be able to recruit in new people coming into the field, and it’s a challenge under those circumstances.”

There are about 26,000 personnel in the science and engineering career fields in the Air Force, roughly split at 16,000 civilian, 10,000 on active duty. Of that total, around 2,800 civilians and 500 military personnel work at Air Force research labs; the rest are involved in programs such as new system acquisition or maintenance offices.

Endsley said the service has seen an almost 30 percent loss in the last two years of senior scientists — the chief technicians and other leaders who help guide labs and develop new programs — leaving a potential void at the top levels.

“The curve is bimodal,” Endsley said. “We have a large number of people over 50. We have a larger number of people under 35. Then we have a gap in the middle, where we didn’t recruit very much in the 1990s.

 

“As we move early retirements in and have senior people leaving, there’s going to be a gap in leadership where we don’t have many people in the middle ranks to take over,” she said.

At the same time, recruitment of young people with technical expertise has become challenging.

The issue isn’t a lack of budget, although like everyone else, the research labs would be happy to accept more funding. The service’s top two officials made it clear at a February event that they recognize the need to protect those investments.

“S&T [science and technology] funding is absolutely essential to a service that prides itself on being fueled by innovations, was born of technology and must stay ahead of the technological curve to be successful,” said Gen. Mark Welsh, chief of staff. “So we have to pay a lot of attention to S&T funding. Every funding line we have is coming down, but we can’t slash S&T.”

Those comments were echoed by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, who said, “There was an effort to protect these accounts vis-à-vis others, primarily because it is so important.”

Numbers compiled for Defense News by analytics firm VisualDoD show research and development (R&D) funding for the Air Force in the proposed fiscal 2015 budget at $23.7 billion. Roughly $2.1 billion is requested for AFRL, a figure slated to grow slightly each year of the five-year future years defense program.

For fiscal 2015, the largest chunk of that funding — $689.1 million — is earmarked for the service’s Aerospace Systems Directorate.

But according to service estimates, the research labs touch little of that money — about 75 percent of R&D funding earmarked for the research labs is actually contracted out to academia and industry.

Endsley said she appreciates that the Air Force has tried to protect its investments in science, even as whole fleets of aircraft are being sacrificed on the altar of budget austerity. But she says the issue is more about morale than available funding.

The largest reason for the morale issue? Uncertainty, she said. The sequestered budget forced civilian furloughs in 2013. AFRL civilians outnumber active-duty personnel by more than five to one, and those individuals lost six days of paychecks, in addition to long-running civilian pay freezes. Although they were eventually paid for their time off during the government shutdown, that instability didn’t help.

Given all that, Endsley said, young aerospace engineers coming out of college with tuition debts to pay would be hard-pressed to choose the Air Force over an industry job. That the service rarely offers to pay for graduate school any more is another challenge to recruiting the next generation of engineers.

Another major challenge, and one she hopes to see changed, is the inability to travel to technical conferences, a Pentagon-wide problem stemming from a series of government travel abuses several years ago.

An engineer looking to travel to a scientific conference to present a paper needs special dispensation from Welsh. Given the daily demands on the chief of staff, getting that permission has proved a problem — and that’s turning people away.

“It’s very important they are interacting with other engineers in their profession, in academia and the commercial world,” Endsley said. “They need to be able to meet with them to figure out where to put our research dollars. They need to be publishing their work because that’s how science is done.”

Endsley wants to see scientific conferences handled differently than other conferences, and noted that “there have been some discussions at [the defense secretary level], but I haven’t seen any movement in that direction.”

 

While the civilian side raises concerns, the number of active-duty individuals in the S&T realm also concerns the chief scientist. Endsley said she believes the service should develop a separate promotion system for scientists and engineers, similar to how medical doctors or lawyers have different criteria.

 

 

Madman in the White House

Why looking crazy can be an asset when you’re staring down the Russians.

BY JAMES ROSEN     , LUKE A. NICHTER MARCH 25, 2014


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/03/25/madman_in_white_house_nixon_russia_obama

 

On the afternoon of April 19, 1972, seated in the Oval Office, President Richard Nixon instructed Henry Kissinger on what message he wanted the national security advisor to convey to his counterparts in the Soviet Union. In a few hours’ time, Kissinger would be aboard a red-eye flight to Moscow for a tense set of secret negotiations on the interrelated issues of the Vietnam War and nuclear disarmament. Unbeknownst even to the flight crew at Andrews Air Force Base, Kissinger was to be joined by a most important — and unusual — passenger: Soviet Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Dobrynin. Nixon wanted to make sure the flight time wasn’t wasted on small talk.

“Henry, we must not miss this chance,” the president said, his taping system silently recording the session. “I’m going to destroy the goddamn country [North Vietnam], believe me, I mean destroy it, if necessary. And let me say, even [use] the nuclear weapon if necessary. It isn’t necessary,” Nixon hastened to add, “but, you know, what I mean is, that shows you the extent to which I’m willing to go.”

Nixon wanted to impress upon the Soviets that the president of the United States was, in a word, mad: unstable, erratic in his decision-making, and capable of anything. The American commander-in-chief wanted the Kremlin to know that he was willing to escalate even localized conventional military conflicts to the nuclear level. Kissinger understood: “I’ll tell [the Soviets] tomorrow night,” he vowed. The national security advisor even rehearsed for the president specific lines from the good cop/bad cop routine he intended to put on. “The more we do now,” he would tell his Soviet interlocutor, “the better.” He was akin to saying: On the shoulders of reasonable men, like you and me, rests the responsibility of preventing a madman, like Nixon, from taking things too far.

It wasn’t the first time the national security advisor had been exposed to the strategic potential of madness. The concept had originated, amid the nuclear anxieties of the 1950s, in the academic circles Kissinger had formerly inhabited. It was a product of game theory, a mathematic discipline — often applied to national security policymaking — that can be used to assess competitive situations and predict actors’ choices, based on prior actions by their competitors. Kissinger himself had endorsed the concept in his writings, as a professor of international relations at Harvard, a full decade before he came to the White House. “The more reckless we appear [the better],” he told Nixon that afternoon, “because after all, Mr. President, what we’re trying to convince them of is that we are ready to go all the way.”

In his post-Watergate memoir The Ends of Power, former White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman wrote that his boss’s use of the strategy was hardly unconscious. “I call it the Madman Theory,” Haldeman recalled the president telling him. “I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that, ‘for God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry — and he has his hand on the nuclear button,’ and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.”

It didn’t play out quite that effortlessly: A number of very costly and destructive military operations would need to be executed, from the mining of Haiphong Harbor in May 1972 to the devastating “Christmas bombing” that December, before the North Vietnamese, badly weakened and with the assent of their Soviet masters, would return to the bargaining table in earnest. But return they did.

Fast-forward four decades and much has changed since the Nixon-Kissinger era: most notably, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of non-state actors in international affairs, and warp-speed advances in the fields of computing technology, satellite imagery, and data flow. But as always, much remains the same. In President Vladimir Putin, the former KGB colonel who once characterized the demise of the Soviet Union as “a major geopolitical disaster of the century,” the West is confronted with a Russian leader whose unrelenting quest to project strength makes him not altogether dissimilar from his Cold War predecessors.

Indeed, the idea has gained wide currency that the president of the Russian Federation — with his determination to restore his country to superpower status, his frequent dismissals of American exceptionalism, and his track record of checking American influence wherever he can — is determinedly immersed in an East-West struggle that bears striking similarities to the one that defined post-World War II history. “I hate to say it,” lamented a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who recently returned from a congressional delegation’s visit to Ukraine, “but Vladimir Putin is engaged in his own Cold War with us.”

Speaking at a summit of North American leaders in Mexico last month, Obama derided those who see the Ukraine crisis, Syria, or other contexts in which Washington and Moscow are presently clashing, as “some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia.” Yet the president’s own national security advisor, Susan Rice, would later tell reporters following Crimea’s formal annexation: “Our interest is not in seeing the situation escalate and devolve into hot conflict.” Obama’s sarcasm notwithstanding, Rice’s comments betrayed that the United States has little choice but to see itself as engaged in a “cold” conflict.

This time, however, it is the Russians, not the Americans, who find value in the strategic use of “madness.”

This time, however, it is the Russians, not the Americans, who find value in the strategic use of “madness.” Following a telephone call with Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to have confided that she was not sure the Russian leader was in touch with reality; “in another world” is how she reportedly described her interlocutor. And in the diplomatic volleys that followed Russia’s military seizure of Crimea, it was Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov who, in a radio interview with the Voice of Russia, warned that the Kremlin might respond to additional sanctions by the United States and its European allies with “asymmetric measures.”

What did he mean, exactly? In post-9/11 parlance, of course, “asymmetric” is usually used in conjunction with “warfare,” and typically refers to the tactics that rogue regimes and non-state actors, like North Korea and al Qaeda, respectively, have deployed against conventional powers: cyberwarfare and terrorism, chiefly. However, it is more likely that Ryabkov, channeling Nixon and Kissinger, was seeking to exploit existing fears about such terminology, and meant to signal that Russia intends, should the crisis deepen, to bypass the traditional practice of tit-for-tat responses.

That, so far, is what Moscow has been confronted with — a tit-for-tat approach — and it shows that the Obama administration has ignored two critical lessons from the Cold War. The first is the value of projecting unpredictability — or in Nixon and Kissinger’s case, even madness. Whereas Nixon once instructed his national security advisor to tell Dobrynin, “I am sorry, Mr. Ambassador, but he [Nixon] is out of control,” Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have sought continually to impress upon the Kremlin their supreme reasonableness. “We would like to see this de-escalated,” Kerry said during his dramatic visit to Kiev earlier this month. “We are not looking for some major confrontation.” The president’s advisors have maintained, pro forma, that all options remain on the table, but Obama explicitly removed the most potent of them: “We are not,” he told San Diego’s KNSD-TV, “going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine.”

What’s more, the Obama administration has purposefully embarked on a course that the United States trod, with little success, during its Vietnam-era confrontations with the Soviets: the gradual escalation of punishments intended to produce changes in enemy behavior. After six fruitless hours of talks in London with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, aimed at staving off the Crimean referendum that ultimately proceeded apace, Kerry told reporters that if Putin makes a decision “that’s negative,” then the Western allied response “would be calibrated accordingly.” This “calibrated” response from Washington continued after the referendum, and after the formal annexation of Crimea, as manifested in Obama’s serial announcements of new sanctions on a list of senior Russian officials that expanded marginally each time.

The danger in this approach is twofold. First, it cedes all initiative to Putin — or, as Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said on Fox News immediately following Mr. Obama’s latest announcement of sanctions: “Mr. Putin, again, is controlling the battlefield, so to speak, and we’re reacting.”

Second, it fails to administer the lesson that President Lyndon B. Johnson learned, at such great cost, in Vietnam: namely, the perils of gradualism. If the idea is to apply pain — or “costs,” to use the Obama administration’s preferred language in this case — to an adversary, in order to compel it to do something or to cease doing something, the application of the pain in gradual, incremental doses will only enable the adversary to acclimate to these marginal increases in pain, which in each instance will not feel markedly different from the last set of imposed “costs.” It’s no surprise that Vladimir Putin will more readily accept incremental increases in pain than risk a form of retaliation that is massive and debilitating.

If the Obama administration assesses that the fate of Ukraine is not a vital enough national security interest to make it worthwhile to inflict massive and debilitating costs on Russia, then the administration’s next best option would be to sow doubt in the minds of Putin and his advisors about American intentions. Even though Washington may privately know itself to be unwilling to escalate the crisis, projecting the opposite could carry tangible benefits, both diplomatically and on the ground in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, the president and his secretary of state have discarded that option, as well.

With six years in the Oval Office under his belt, Obama can be expected to have grasped these basic precepts of game theory as they apply to negotiations, or confrontations, with adversaries on the world stage. Richard Nixon learned them during what amounted to an extended apprenticeship for the presidency: his eight-year tenure as vice president. He took particular note of the leadership style of one of the era’s dominant geopolitical figures, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, with whom Nixon had come face-to-face during their heralded “kitchen debate,” in Moscow in 1959. And the future president, having narrowly lost the 1960 election, watched keenly as the burly Russian battered the youthful, inexperienced President John F. Kennedy, when the two met in Vienna, in 1961.

Looking back on his career in 1985, settled into an armchair in his Manhattan office, Nixon judged Khrushchev “the most brilliant world leader I have ever met.” Asked why, America’s only ex-president said simply: “He scared the hell out of people.”

 

SecAF discusses service’s top priorities

By Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service / Published March 26, 2014

http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/475096/secaf-discusses-services-top-priorities.aspx

 

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James today provided a congressional panel with an overview of her top priorities for the Air Force.

Joined by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, James laid out the framework for her three top priorities for the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee.

“Those three priorities are taking care of people, balancing today’s readiness with tomorrow’s readiness,” she said, “and ensuring that our Air Force is the most capable at the least cost to the taxpayer.”

Every job she’s ever had always has come down to people, 100 percent of the time, James said. “So taking care of people, to me, means we need to recruit the right people, retain the right people,” she added.

The secretary said developing people inside the force, and having a diversity of thought and backgrounds at the leadership table are needed to make innovative decisions and solutions going forward.

“We need to protect the most important family programs,” she said. “We need dignity and respect for all — and that includes combating sexual harassment and assault.” It’s also important to ensure everyone in the Air Force is living the service’s core values of integrity, service and excellence all the time, James added.

The secretary noted two areas of that have generated controversy lately: force reductions and compensation.

“We are coming down in all of our components — active, (Air National) Guard, Reserve and civilians,” James said. “And we will rely more, not less, in the future on our Guard and Reserve.”

That makes sense from both the mission standpoint and the budgetary standpoint, she said. “But as we draw down it’s not good enough just to get lower numbers,” she added. “We have to reshape the force.” At the moment, James told the panel, the Air Force needs balance — it has too many people in certain types of career fields and too few in others.

On compensation, James said the fiscal year 2015 budget request includes “reasonable ways” to slow the growth in military compensation across the Defense Department.

“This was one of those hard decisions that nobody is really happy with,” James said. “But it’s necessary to ensure that we free up some money to plow back into both the readiness of today as well as the modernization of tomorrow.” Fair compensation going forward, she added, also is part of taking care of the force.

James said her second priority is balancing today and tomorrow’s readiness. Air Force readiness has suffered over the years, she said, particularly last year, when flying squadrons were grounded, civilians were furloughed and maintenance was delayed because of sequestration spending cuts.

“In (fiscal year 2015), we have fully funded our flying hours and other high-priority readiness issues,” James said. “And if approved, we will see gradual improvements of readiness over time.”

While it won’t be overnight or in a year, the secretary said, “we’ll be on a good path of getting toward where we need to be.”

At the same time, the Air Force is looking to tomorrow, James said, and remains committed to programs such as the F-35 joint strike fighter, the KC-46 refueling tanker, the long-range strike bomber, and two-thirds of the nation’s nuclear triad: bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“We’re committed to all of this,” the secretary said. “We’re funding these going forward as well as beginning to replace aging platforms.”

The secretary noted her final priority is making every dollar count for the taxpayer. “To me, this means keeping acquisition programs on budget, on schedule,” she explained. “It means auditability as a fundamental principle of our good stewardship.”

It also means trimming overhead in the Air Force, including the 20 percent headquarters reduction Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed, she said, noting that she believes the Air Force will do even better than that.

James also emphasized the “very serious” impacts of reverting to sequestration-level budgets in fiscal 2016 and beyond, as current law requires.

“We do not recommend this,” she said. “We feel it would compromise our national security too much.” The bottom line is it’s a bad deal for the Air Force, the Defense Department and the country, James said, as she urged Congress to support the higher levels of defense spending under President Barack Obama’s budget.

James shared her vision of the Air Force in 10 years, projecting that it will be a highly capable, innovative and ready force.

“We will be a good value in everything that we do for our taxpayers,” she said. “We will be able to respond overseas decisively through unparalleled air power, and we’ll also stand ready to defend here at home when disaster strikes.

“We’ll be more reliant, not less, on our Guard and Reserve,” James continued, “and we will be powered by the very best airmen on this planet who live the culture of dignity and respect for all, integrity, service and excellence.”

 

 

Retirement Ceremony for General Keith Alexander

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Fort Meade, MD, Friday, March 28, 2014

 

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

To my distinguished colleagues, whom I have the honor of sitting with here on this platform this afternoon, to members of Congress who are here, today, we thank and we honor the extraordinary service of General Keith Alexander. We also thank his family: Debbie, Jennifer, Julie, Diana, and Heather, and their hundreds and hundreds of grandchildren.

We thank you all for your tremendous support of Keith over many years, and your tremendous sacrifice to our country. Thank you.

Keith, our country thanks you for your extraordinary 40 years of service and your West Point classmate, Marty Dempsey, will have something to say about you a little later.

He may not be as kind.

As we end an era at the “Fort,” I want to say a few words to the men and women of the National Security Agency, because today, we also honor you, America’s silent sentries.

Given your skills and your training, many of you have left or turned down far more lucrative positions to work here. A 75 percent pay cut is hardly unheard of.

Thousands of you have undertaken multiple, voluntary deployments to combat zones, and your contributions have been decisive. They have made a difference. You enabled the military to dramatically reduce casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan by helping disable improvised explosive devices, and provided critical intelligence that helped hunt down the world’s most notorious terrorists.

 

Closer to home, your support to U.S. and Mexican authorities has helped combat the violence associated with the ongoing struggle against drug cartels operating near the U.S.-Mexican border.

There is much more that we just simply can’t discuss in public. But we can say this: from the Battle of Midway to the age of terror, our nation’s history would read far differently were it not for the NSA and its predecessors.

As the longest-serving Director of NSA, General Alexander has led this agency through countless intelligence breakthrough and successes. He’s also led NSA through one of the most challenging periods in its history, in our history. And he did so with a fierce, but necessary determination to develop and protect tools vital to our national security.

President Obama’s reforms, including his announcement yesterday on government retention of telephone metadata, reflect both the importance, the importance of signals intelligence—and the importance of honoring our nation’s tradition of privacy rights.

We will continue to engage in a more open dialogue with the American public, as Admiral Rogers emphasized a few weeks ago during his Senate hearing to succeed General Alexander. That is the spirit of today’s first-ever live broadcast from the headquarters of NSA in CYBERCOM.

But we will sustain our investments in intelligence be because it’s one of our most important national assets, because it keeps our troops a step ahead on the battlefield, and because America depends on it.

We also are protecting critical investments in our military’s cyber capabilities, which have been anchored by General Alexander’s vision for CYBERCOM.

The first email was sent on the DOD supported ARPANET when Keith was at West Point, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Today more than 40 trillion emails are sent each year. There are 60 trillion web pages. The internet accounts for one-fifth of GDP growth among developed countries, and it continues to connect, improve, and transform the lives of billions of people all over the world.

But our nation’s reliance on cyberspace outpaces our cybersecurity. During the course of my remarks today, DOD’s systems will have been scanned by adversaries around 50,000 times. Our nation confronts the proliferation of destructive malware and a new reality of steady, ongoing and aggressive efforts to probe, access or disrupt public and private networks, and the industrial control systems that manage our water and our energy and our food supplies.

The United States Government and the private sector grasp cyber threats far better than we did just a few years ago. And thanks to General Alexander’s visionary leadership as the first commander of U.S. Cyber Command, the Department of Defense is on its way to building a modern cyber force of really true and tremendous professionals.

And this force is enhancing our ability to deter aggression in cyber space, deny adversaries their objectives, and defend the nation from cyber attacks that threaten our national security.

Even though we can respond to cyber attacks in any domain, this force is expanding the president’s options with full-spectrum cyber capabilities that can complement other military assets.

Our military’s first responsibility is to prevent and de-escalate conflict and that is DOD’s overriding purpose in cyberspace as well. General Alexander has helped leaders across DOD recognize that cyberspace will be a part of all future conflicts. And if we don’t adapt to that reality, our national security will be at great risk.

The United States does not seek to militarize cyberspace. Instead, our government is promoting the very qualities of the internet in integrity, reliability, and openness that have made it a catalyst for freedom and prosperity in the United States and around the world.

 

Consistent with these efforts, DOD will maintain an approach of restraint to any cyber operations outside the U.S. Government networks. We are urging other nations to do the same.

We will continue to take steps to be open and transparent about our cyber capabilities, our doctrine, and our forces with the American people, our allies and our partners, and even our competitors.

DOD’s initiatives in cyberspace are managed by the professionals that General Alexander has been recruiting and training here at Cyber Command. In 2016, that force should number over 6,000 professionals who, with the close support of NSA, will be integrated with our combatant commands around the world, and defend the United States against major cyber attacks. Continuing General Alexander’s work to build this cyber force will remain one of DOD’s top priorities.

To accomplish this goal, we are recruiting talent from everywhere. But we’re also encouraging people already here in the military, in DOD, to develop…cyber skills.

When I was here last year, I had the privilege of meeting dozens of people, many in this room, including Petty Officer First Class Chase Hardison. Chase Hardison is an Interactive Operator at CYBERCOM. Four years ago when Petty Officer Hardison was a Machinist’s Mate tending turbines, generators, and valves on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, he had a conversation with his wife about his future in the Navy, and he decided to sign up for a cyber course in Pensacola.

Petty Officer Hardison grew up in a town without high-speed Internet access, but he went on to graduate second in his class at Pensacola, missing first by only 4/100ths of a point. For now, he’s focused on his seven-month-old son Noah, and his making his way up to journeyman and then master operator. But he also knows he’ll have great options and opportunities when he’s ready to leave the Navy.

To continue recruiting and retaining talent like Petty Officer Hardison, we must build rewarding, long-term cyber career paths. Our military must enable our people to reinvent themselves for life and beyond their service. That’s a proud tradition of our armed forces. It is also how we shape a modern, cutting edge military that outmatches the most advanced adversaries. It’s how we stay ahead. It’s how we protect our country, our economy, our interests.

One of America’s most venerable historians, C. Vann Woodward once wrote that America’s enjoyment of nature’s gifts of three vast bodies of water — the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic — buffered us unlike any other nation from powers that might threaten our safety, freed us of anxieties, inspired our unique optimism, and put…a stamp on our special national character.

America has always adapted to new threats. But today, a networked world — a world in which oceans are crossed at the speed of light—presents challenges to American security that our nation has never before confronted.

Our responsibility, all of us, whatever the revolutions in technology, is to guard not only our nation, but also the fundamental character of our open society.

General Alexander, your vision, your dedication, your leadership have allowed us to begin that task. Now, it is ours to carry.

From a grateful nation, thank you, Keith.

 

Rasmussen Reports

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

Bottom of Form

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Many Americans may not be able to pinpoint Ukraine on a map, but that Eastern European nation is driving U.S. foreign policy these days and keeping President Obama on the go.

Most voters oppose Russia’s annexation of the Crimea section of Ukraine, but just 11% think U.S. and European Union economic sanctions on Russian officials will cause Russia to give up Crimea. Only 22% think the United States should take more aggressive action against Russia if the sanctions fail.

The president visited Europe this week to drum up support for tougher action against Russia. Voters strongly believe that the United States’ relationship with Europe is an important one, but a plurality (48%) thinks the Europeans benefit from it more than we do. Just over half (53%) have a favorable opinion of our NATO military alliance with the Europeans.

But 83% have an unfavorable opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the man behind the annexation of Crimea.  

Forty-four percent (44%) of voters now rate Obama as a good or excellent leader. Forty percent (40%) think he’s doing a poor job.

The president’s daily job approval rating remains in the negative mid-teens where it has been for much of his presidency. 

Also on the diplomatic front, views of Secretary of State John Kerry have changed little since the president nominated him to the Cabinet post 15 months ago. Forty-four percent (44%) of voters view Kerry favorably, while 46% share an unfavorable view of the former senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate.

On the home front, the president’s policies faced legal challenges in two areas in recent days.

Despite opposition from the U.S. Justice Department, a federal judge two weeks ago upheld the right of states to require proof of citizenship before allowing someone to register to vote. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of voters believe everyone should be required to prove his or her citizenship before being allowed to vote.

The U.S. Supreme Court this past week heard a challenge of the new national health care law in which two businesses argued that for religious reasons they should not be required to provide health insurance with free contraceptives for their women employees. Voters by a 49% to 40% margin agree that a business should be allowed to opt out of providing coverage for contraceptives if it violates the religious beliefs of the business owner.

Voters still don’t like the health care law but are more supportive of government-mandated health insurance standards as long as consumers still can choose the kind of plan they want based on costs and coverage.

Democrats have led Republicans most weeks this year on the Generic Congressional Ballot and are now ahead by four.

Thirty-six U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs this November. Twenty-one are held by Democrats and 15 by Republicans. The GOP needs to pick up six new seats to take control of the chamber. Rasmussen Reports began polling key Senate races in mid-January and will be returning to these races in the months ahead because a lot can change. But this is what America thinks in the Senate races so far

In this past week’s surveys, Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley holds a slight lead over his three top Republican challengers in the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Iowa.

Incumbent Democrat Mark Begich is in a neck-and-neck battle with his two top Republican challengers. Mead Treadwell and Dan Sullivan, in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the U.S. Senate race in Alaska.

Short-term optimism about the nation’s economic recovery has reached an all-time low. Just 24% of Americans think the U.S. economy will be stronger a year from now, the lowest finding in over six years of regular surveying. Nearly twice as many (46%) expect a weaker economy in a year’s time.

Thirty-two percent (32%) think now is a good time for someone in their area to sell a house, down from September’s high of 39%. Still, only 18% say their home is worth less today than when they bought it, the lowest level of pessimism in three years of regular tracking.

The Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes which measure daily confidence in both groups are down slightly from the beginning of the year but remain ahead of where they have been for much of the time since the fall 2008 Wall Street meltdown. 

Nineteen percent (19%) of Americans think they will be traveling more this year compared to 2013, while just as many (20%) expect to be traveling less.

But Americans overwhelmingly agree that whatever happened to the missing Malaysian Airlines jetliner, it won’t affect their travel plans. Frequent flyers are even more emphatic about that.

Only 38%, however, believe it’s even somewhat likely that we will ever find out exactly what happened to the missing plane.

In other surveys this week:

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

— Forty-three percent (43%) now believe the U.S. justice system is not fair to most Americans.

— Just 18% think U.S. public schools provide a world-class education.

— Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Americans say they are at least somewhat likely to buy or lease a new car in the next year, including 13% who are Very Likely to do so.

— Ford, the one Big Three automaker who didn’t take a federal bailout, is still better liked than General Motors and Chrysler, and a sizable number of Americans will buy Ford and not GM because of those bailouts.

March 22 2014

22March2014

Newswire

 

The Pentagon Needs A New Way Of War

Robert Haddick

March 18, 2014 ·

http://warontherocks.com/2014/03/the-pentagon-needs-a-new-way-of-war/

 

Can the Pentagon do the same with less? That seems to be what the White House expects. The U.S. Department of Defense recently released the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the Pentagon’s latest attempt to explain its global military strategy for the medium term. But far more revealing than the QDR itself was the “Chairman’s Assessment” of the QDR, written by General Martin Dempsey and appended to the end of the report. Dempsey’s tepid and qualified endorsement of the QDR (also discussed by WOTR’s Bryan McGrath) and his candid accounting of geostrategic risks that will compound over the next decade, provide a bracing contrast to the main text. In his second paragraph, he warns, “With our ‘ends’ fixed and our ‘means’ declining, it is therefore imperative that we innovate within the ‘ways’ we defend the Nation.”

Dempsey is more honest than the QDR at noting the yawning gap between what policymakers want the military to do around the world and what capacities the military possesses and will possess to achieve these goals. Bridging the chasm will require new thinking about how to use military force, which may result in some disruptive and unpleasant conclusions for established doctrine, organizations, and military cultures.

The new QDR maintains the same expansive ends that the U.S. has sought since World War II. In addition to protecting the U.S. homeland, the QDR calls for the U.S. military to “build security globally” and to “project power and win decisively.” The document projects a smaller military force by 2019, but a force that leaders in the Pentagon still believe will be capable of accomplishing its assignments, albeit with some additional risk in a few areas.

Missing from the QDR is an analysis of why the reduced military force structure for 2019 will be adequate for the expansive goals assigned to it. This missing analysis is frustrating for both dovish and hawkish military analysts. Doves see a huge defense budget (nearly as big as the next fifteen largest military budgets combined), the world’s most advanced military technology, and the most experienced soldiers, all operating in a world they believe lacks plausible military threats to the U.S. The QDR does not explain to the doves why the envisioned force for 2019, with the same ambitious goals, is necessary.

Hawks are frustrated that the authors of the QDR were largely unwilling to identify major geostrategic competitors like China and Russia by name, and that the authors were similarly afraid to describe in detail innovative adversary military approaches, such as missile-based theater anti-access strategies, because to do so would reveal a Pentagon that has been largely unresponsive to such growing threats for over a decade. Pentagon leaders will plea that they don’t want the QDR to raise unnecessary tensions or to reveal military secrets. But the result for both dovish and hawkish observers is a loss of confidence in whether the Pentagon is capable of effective strategy, a perception reinforced by the results from the last decade.

The QDR’s authors admit that the Pentagon is taking increased risk with its defense drawdown. But the document doesn’t say clearly what these risks are, only that they’ll get worse if the return of sequestration in 2016 cuts the budget even more. Dempsey’s assessment letter by contrast is refreshingly honest. He forecasts,

the risk of interstate conflict in East Asia to rise, the vulnerability of our platforms and basing to increase, our technology edge to erode, instability to persist in the Middle East, and threats posed by violent extremist organizations to endure. Nearly any future conflict will occur on a much faster pace and on a more technically challenging battlefield. And, in the case of U.S. involvement in conflicts overseas, the homeland will no longer be a sanctuary either for our forces or for our citizens.

Strategy is about setting priorities. The QDR doesn’t want to do this too explicitly because it is too embarrassing to cut allies adrift. And as Secretary of State Dean Acheson could explain after the Korean War broke out in 1950, being too explicit about your defense priorities can have regrettable consequences. But as a result, the QDR doesn’t give much guidance on what adversaries and contingencies U.S. military forces should prepare for.

Here again, Dempsey’s assessment letter does much better. He gives a rank-order list of missions, starting with “Maintain a secure and effective nuclear deterrent,” and ending with “Conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster response.” It is with point three on Dempsey’s list, “defeat an adversary,” that the gap between what the U.S. military needs to be able to do, and what it will be able to do, may first appear.

How specifically will policymakers define “defeat an adversary”? Does this mean destroy the adversary’s armed forces in the field? With the exception of Panama in 1989, the United States arguably hasn’t accomplished that task since 1945. In Dempsey’s view, conventional military fights will be even more challenging in the future. For example, destroying mobile, land-based, long-range missile launchers in Iran or China—a necessary condition for reopening critical sea lanes during a conflict—will be an immensely frustrating task. And after more than a decade of intense effort, the United States and its partners still aren’t sure whether they have decisively defeated the amorphous non-state terror networks they have targeted.

Bridging the gap between what the U.S. military needs to do and what it will be able to do will almost certainly require more funding than current plans call for. But more money alone will not be a competitive strategy. Many adversaries—be they China or an al Qaeda affiliate—will be able to add incremental military capacity at lower costs than will the Pentagon. It won’t be competitive for the Pentagon to engage in an arms race with adversaries with lower marginal costs.

This means first starting from principles that explore new ways—new tactics, doctrines, organizations, and technologies—to directly target an adversary’s organizational capacity, its incentives, and will to fight. These have been critical “centers of gravity” since the beginning of time. But recent changes in technology and culture provide new opportunities to attack these factors directly, in some cases bypassing traditional forms of military power.

The Pentagon needs a new way of war. The traditional American ways of employing military power against an adversary’s military forces have fallen short of strategic success for many years, a deficiency that will not get better in the decade ahead. Military strategists need a fresh appraisal of the logic linking military force to the achievement of strategic goals. When done honestly, the result will likely be some revolutionary and disruptive changes in military doctrine, organizations, procurement policies, and culture. Dempsey’s frank assessment of the QDR is a start down this path.

Robert Haddick is an independent contractor at U.S. Special Operations Command. He writes here in a personal capacity. In September 2014, U.S. Naval Institute Press will publish Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific, Haddick’s book on the rise of China’s military power and U.S. strategy in East Asia.

 

Pentagon Asks Air Force About Russia Rocket Engine

By Tony Capaccio

Mar 20, 2014 12:10 PM ET


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-20/pentagon-asks-air-force-about-russia-rocket-engine.html

 

Pentagon officials have asked the Air Force to review whether the use of Russian engines on rockets from a Lockheed Martin Corp.-Boeing Co. (BA) team creates a national security risk.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last week at a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing that a review was needed after Russia’s incursion into the Crimea and threats to the Ukraine prompted a reassessment of U.S.-Russia relations.

United Launch Alliance LLC, the Lockheed-Boeing joint venture, uses Russian engines on Atlas V rockets the Pentagon depends on to launch military satellites. Tensions over Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region has sparked questions about that supply connection.

The Pentagon purchases launch services from United Launch Alliance, including the Atlas and Boeing Delta models that use different engines. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed used the Russian-made RD-180 engine for years on its Atlas V rocket before joining Chicago-based Boeing in the alliance.

“The department had recently completed an assessment of the use of foreign components” including the RD-180 engine, Maureen Schumann, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an e-mail statement.

“In light of the current situation, we have directed the Air Force perform an additional review to ensure we completely understand the implications, including supply interruptions, of using foreign components” in the program, she said.

Pentagon officials estimate it would cost U.S. companies as much as $1 billion to produce the engine domestically and take as long as five years, Schumann said.

 

Security Interest

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., a company that’s trying to break into the military launch market, said at a March 5 congressional hearing that launches may be at risk because of Boeing’s and Lockheed’s dependence on the Russian engine.

Musk, who also is chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), said the Atlas V rockets should be phased out for the “long-term security interest of the country.”

In her statement, Schumann said since the beginning of the program in 1995 “there has been concern about the use of foreign components in the launch vehicle, particularly the Russian RD-180 engine.”

“The Air Force regularly reviews and analyzes various components” of the program to include “any potential risks associated with the use of RD-180 engines,” she said.

The joint venture “has stockpiled about a two-year supply of the engines” based on the current planned satellite launch schedule.

If the RD-180 supply is restricted, the Defense Department “would prioritize” the engines’ use for the highest value satellites, she said.

 

 

Pentagon’s Gamble on Getting More Money Questioned

By Roxana Tiron and Tony Capaccio

Mar 20, 2014 10:30 AM ET

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-20/pentagon-s-gamble-on-getting-more-money-questioned.html

 

The Pentagon is betting that Congress will roll back $35 billion in automatic defense cuts scheduled to begin in fiscal 2016.

That may prove wishful thinking, with little consensus among lawmakers over eliminating the looming defense cuts that were part of the across-the-board reductions, known as sequestration, embedded in the 2011 agreement to lift the federal debt limit.

“I hope there is nobody naive enough to believe that we can just end it for defense,” Dick Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat and chairman of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said of sequestration in an interview. “It’s going to be ended for both defense and non-defense if it’s going to work.”

A congressional budget agreement reached in December, P.L. 113-067, partially eased the cuts for the current year, fiscal 2014, as well as the coming fiscal year, which begins this October and for which appropriators are now developing spending plans.

With the deeper spending reductions set to resume in succeeding years, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Pentagon planners are lobbying Congress to head off such cuts to military forces and equipment.

The 2016 fiscal year “will be a critical inflection point,” Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox wrote March 5 in a memo to all military service chiefs. “We will look for a signal from Congress that sequestration will not be imposed in FY 2016.”

 

Ukraine Crisis

The crisis in relations between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine may produce public support for more defense spending, said Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole, a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

“People begin to see the consequences to lowering our military profile,” Cole said in an interview.

If sequestration isn’t replaced in 2016, the Pentagon will be forced to reduce its proposed $535.1 billion request for fiscal 2016 to about $500 billion. That’s on top of the $37 billion in defense cuts for fiscal 2013 and $25 billion for the current fiscal year. About $45 billion is to be trimmed in the fiscal 2015 request from the $541 billion projected last year.

The bipartisan support for the current two-year budget plan may not hold in future negotiations, when previous differences in how spending should be allocated could resurface.

 

Non-Defense Cuts

Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said she opposed continuation of sequestration for both defense and domestic programs. The New York lawmaker said cuts to defense are “very damaging to preparedness, and cuts to the National Institutes of Health, among other areas, in the non-defense part of the budget would be a disaster,” she said in an interview. “I would hope that thoughtful Republicans would prevent that from happening.”

Rodney Frelinghuysen, who leads the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, said he would like to see the sequester, “undone, absolutely.”

 

“We’ll show the critical mass of people on our side of the aisle that regular order is better than continuing resolutions and the sequester,” the New Jersey Republican said in an interview.

Some Republicans want to increase defense spending at the expense of domestic programs, while others aligned with small-government groups such as the Tea Party back keeping sequestration in place to ensure federal spending is reduced.

 

Sacred Cows

“Sequestration should be used as a tool for us to get actual spending cuts,” Representative Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican backed by the Tea Party, said in an interview. “Everybody has to put their sacred cows on the table.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, also a Tea Party favorite, said that “unsustainable debt” is one of the greatest “national security threats.”

“We should address our national defense needs but do so in combination with responsible fiscal restraint on the non-defense side,” Cruz said in an interview.

Popular defense programs and personnel would be hit if sequestration isn’t rolled back by Congress. The Pentagon says it would have to cut the number of aircraft carriers to 10 from 11 and adjust the number of helicopters and fighter jets such as F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets made by Chicago-based Boeing Co. (BA) and possibly F-35 Joint Strike Fighters made by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)

 

Paring Forces

Instead of the currently planned reduction to about 450,000 troops by 2019, the active Army would have to pare its force to 420,000. The Marine Corps would have to be prepared to reduce personnel to 175,000 from an initial reduction to 182,000, the Pentagon says.

Pentagon officials say they would like an answer sooner rather than later about Congress’s intentions on sequestration.

“The sooner that we can get a firm indication that sequestration will no longer remain the law of the land, the better, but I can’t sit here” and “put a date on the calendar and say we have to have it by April 1st or May 15th,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Defense Department spokesman, said.

 

Early 2015

For the Pentagon to devise a budget request for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, 2015, that avoids the automatic cuts, Congress and President Barack Obama would have to reach an agreement by early next year.

With the midterm elections in November, Congress is unlikely to handle controversial budget issues this year.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, plans to submit a budget blueprint for fiscal 2015 that would increase defense spending while keeping the $1.04 trillion cap agreed to in last year’s deal. That would mean cuts in domestic spending, which would almost certainly be rejected in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Republicans hope to win a Senate majority in November, which they say could lead to more support for boosting defense funding.

 

“We might have some more willing partners across the way,” Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview.

If Republicans win both chambers of Congress in 2014, “defense really is going to be a Republican priority,” Republican Cole said. “It’s achievable.”

 

DOD delays rulemaking on rapid reporting of cyber penetrations

http://insidecybersecurity.com/Cyber-General/Cyber-Public-Content/dod-delays-rulemaking-on-rapid-reporting-of-cyber-penetrations/menu-id-1089.html

Posted: March 20, 2014

 

The Pentagon needs more time to develop highly anticipated draft regulations that would require defense contractors with security clearances to rapidly report penetrations of their networks and information systems.

An ad hoc committee, tasked in January 2013 by the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council director with developing the statutorily required procedures, was due to report back to the director on Wednesday.

But the interim Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation System rule, known as DFARS case 2013-D018, remains under development and was not submitted to the director on Wednesday, meaning the deadline will be extended, a defense official told Inside Cybersecurity.

This marks the latest in a series of delays in the rulemaking process. The fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, enacted in January 2013, originally called for the Defense Department to develop the procedures within 90 days.

The official said the department had not yet set a new deadline in light of this week’s delay. Once DOD issues the interim rule, a formal process of soliciting public comments would begin.

Section 941 of the FY-13 National Defense Authorization Act requires the department to develop the new regulation. The law calls for cleared defense contractors to rapidly report penetrations of networks and information systems, and allows DOD personnel access to equipment and information to assess the impact of reported penetrations.

That has attorneys asking what a penetration is, whether investigations will be disclosed, whether such incidents are “material events,” whether this will extend to unclassified networks (the law’s language leaves open this possibility) and what impact this might have on trade secrets and sensitive data, according to a presentation by the law firm Dickstein Shapiro.

Also unclear is how rapidly contractors will have to report penetrations. The law does not specify, but DOD’s implementation procedures are expected to include such detail. – Christopher J. Castelli (ccastelli@iwpnews.com)

 

 

How Western Bureaucrats Stirred Putin’s Petulance into a Cold War Crisis

Defense One

James Kitfield

March 20, 2014

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2014/03/how-western-bureaucrats-stirred-putins-petulance-cold-war-crisis/80962/?oref=d-topstory

 

In recent days Russia has revealed the gambit that opened with a $15 billion bailout for a client in Kiev and morphed into the seizure and annexation of Crimea, all part of Vladimir Putin’s risky defense of what he sees as Moscow’s privileged “sphere of influence.” Putin’s bellicose rhetoric proclaiming a right to intervene militarily wherever ethnic Russians are threatened suggests that the territorial integrity of Ukraine and other neighbors remains at serious risk. As the Western alliance inevitably responds with tougher sanctions and further efforts to draw Kiev westward, leaders must now decide if 21st century soft-power and economic sanctions trumps 19th century hard power and Putin’s decidedly zero-sum worldview.

It’s instructive to remember how the tug-of-war over Ukraine’s orientation escalated into the worst East-versus-West crisis in more than three decades. From the beginning all sides have been guilty of faulty assumptions and strategic miscalculation. Putin has made clear that his proposed creation of a Russian-led trading bloc called the “Eurasian Union” is a legacy issue, a milestone in his long project to restore Russian prestige and regional power. He has publicly admitted that such a union is largely meaningless without Ukraine’s participation, given that country’s size and close business and cultural ties to Russia. And yet Putin seems oblivious to the fragility of an economic edifice built more on naked coercion and bribes than on shared business interests.

With Putin distracted in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics, and the United States focused on crises in the Middle East and a “pivot” to Asia, European Union bureaucrats saw an opportunity to steal a march on Moscow by concluding ambitious “Association Agreements” with Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia. These agreements seem benign to Western sensibilities, but buried in the minutia of their “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area” language is the essence of democratic capitalism, with its emphasis on transparency, the rule of law and protection of minority rights. They are the chief instruments of European soft-power, and Putin unsurprisingly views them as a threat to the Russian model of authoritarian capitalism, with its focus on centralized state power, cheap energy bribes and crony kleptocracy.

In the run-up to an “Eastern Partnership” summit in Vilinius, last November, European Union officials reportedly made clear to the expected signatories that the “Association Agreements” were incompatible with Putin’s proposed Eurasian Union. They thus played into Putin’s zero-sum mindset and the fear of encirclement of someone who lost an older brother in the German siege of Leningrad during World War II. When Putin, the former KGB case officer, cut a $15 billion deal with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to scuttle the EU agreement, he was predictably outraged that violent street protests in Kiev forced his very expensive client to flee for his life.

In danger of being outmaneuvered, Putin looked West and saw an initially disengaged and war-weary America, and a pacifist Europe weakened by the monetary crisis yet meddling in Russia’s near-abroad. Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar and coauthor of the recent book Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin,” notes that at that point Putin fashioned a hard-power response that plays to type and resonates deeply in an aggrieved Russian psyche. The essence of his message to the West, she writes: “We thought we made it very clear in Georgia in 2008 that we are prepared to stand up for our interests, take the risks of military intervention. We can suffer sanctions…[and] have a higher threshold for pain than you do. Have you forgotten our national narrative and the siege of Leningrad? Do you want to go to war over Ukraine? We don’t, but we’re ready to if you don’t back down and back off!”

 

With Russia’s annexation of Crimea, President Barack Obama had no choice but to ratchet up the sanctions pressure to exact a higher price, and hopefully force Putin to eventually seek an off-ramp in the escalating crisis. In fashioning an economic bailout of a cash-strapped government in Kiev, Brussels expects Ukraine to finally sign its “Association Agreement” as early as Friday, continuing to draw Ukraine closer to the economic bosom of Europe. In determining whether to remain a somewhat neutral country or fling itself into the arms of the West, however, Ukrainians should understand there are tens of thousands of Russian troops on their border, a Russian red line that runs roughly down the center of their country, and a revisionist strongman in the Kremlin echoing his forebear Joseph Stalin, who was once warned that the Pope objected to Russia’s repression of Catholics.

“The Pope?” Stalin asked. “How many divisions has he got.

 

Drone Warfare Is Why We Can’t Find Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/03/drone-warfare-why-we-cant-find-malaysian-airlines-flight-370/80983/?oref=d-skybox

Patrick Tucker

March 20, 2014

 

The long and frustrating hunt for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 might be a sign of what’s to come, thanks to our growing obsession with drone imagery at the expense of the quaint technology of satellite radar data.

While today’s high-resolution image satellites can take very detailed pictures of relatively small areas, old-fashioned radar satellites are the best solution for finding lost objects at sea, says Kurt Schwoppe, manager for imagery solutions for the company Esri. Radar satellites don’t see the world. Rather they get a sense of objects in somewhat the same way that a bat does. As bats use sonar to bounce signals off of prey to determine the location of targets and other objects, radar satellites take detailed scans of the planet by bouncing electromagnetic signals off the earth’s surface. Military officials won’t publicly disclose what assets they are using in the search for the missing aircraft. But militarily speaking, these sorts of satellites were great for seeing over large areas where there was cloud cover or finding ghost ships that had turned off their transponders. They’re also useful for spotting anomalies at sea.

“If there’s any oil slick that stands out well because there’s these flat dark spots where there are no wave ripples at all. If there’s an angular thing, like maybe a wing floating on the surface or some type of debris, that stuff stands out brightly” says Schwoppe.

It’s a technology that NASA led in the development of in the 1970s. Today, space-based radar is an area where other countries are out-innovating the United States, at least commercially. The main private players are AirBus and a Canadian public-private program called RADARSAT (which includes Lockheed Martin but is run out of Canada by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates or MDA). “From a commercial company standpoint, we have not flown a radar satellite ourselves,” says Schwoppe.

That’s a problem because the U.S. continues to rely more on commercial satellites for our imaging data. “Right now to buy this data from the Canadians or the Europeans is just very, very expensive. So then it never gets acquired,” says Schwoppe. “The U.S. has invested a lot in this technology and the question is, can we get some of these commercial vendors up and start making a commercial business out of this and get it more and more readily available for different use cases. It seems we’re great at developing technology. Then others adopt it and put it to good use and for us it sits on the shelf a little bit.”

Lagging space-based radar imaging has bitten us before. During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, in which 4.9 million barrels of oil were leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, high-resolution satellites took volumes of pictures but could not get a comprehensive sense of the entire spill area. The RADARSAT II satellite, conversely, was able to provide daily coverage of the entire area. You think the U.S. would have learned.

To understand how the U.S. got to this point, consider the last decade’s evolution of reconnaissance tools. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we brought high-resolution satellite imagery to bear on the task of getting snap shots, at a resolution as fine as 50 cm, of insurgents hiding among the dusty hills of the Pakistan border.

Today, high-resolution satellite imagery is playing a role in the search for Flight 370. U.S. company DigitalGlobe has opened up its image satellites to aid in the search and launched a crowdsource campaign to enlist volunteers to analyze the images. “Users can go to Tomnod, and zoom in on each satellite image from DigitalGlobe’s satellite constellation and drop a pin if they see signs of wreckage. Its algorithm, CrowdRank, will find where there is overlap in the tags from people who tagged the same location. Then, DigitalGlobe’s expert analysts will examine the tags to identify the top 10 or so most notable areas and share the information with customers and authorities,” a company official explained, in an email.

But the crowdsourced solution may not be ideal and can produce false positives, as evinced by the singer Courtney Love’s fleeting but ebullient conviction that she had found the phantom Malaysian flight based on satellite imagery.

Schwoppe is skeptical of the tactic. The necessity of crowdsourcing speaks to the fact that high-resolution imagery doesn’t offer wide enough coverage. DigitalGlobe’s satellites can only see an area that’s 18 kilometers wide. RADARSAT’s synthetic aperture radar can cover 500 kilometers.

U.S. reliance on high-resolution imaging is surpassed only by the military obsession with unmanned areal vehicles or UAVs, which have proven relatively useless in the current search for Flight 370. UAVs were an ideal solution for an environment like Afghanistan or Iraq where the military wanted the ability to follow a target from house to house to roadside, or perhaps loiter over a key area where insurgents might be gathering. “From a tactical perspective in actually fighting ground operations, UAVs were extremely powerful and they met that niche,” Schwoppe observed. “We had the luxury to do that because we totally controlled the airspace over Iraq and Afghanistan and you know we won’t have that same luxury in other areas.”

As previously mentioned, the most-recent budget request cuts spending for Navy satellite communications to $41,829,000 from $66,196,000 and the Navy Satellite Control Network $20,806,000 from $35,657,000.

Schwoppe believes that military spending on radar satellites is probably safe, but can’t be sure. “I can tell you, the reconnaissance community understands and knows the value of radar, especially as targets change.” But he acknowledges that broader cuts in military satellite programs are disturbing.

Also, European and Canadian groups have found civilian uses for radar technology in environmental monitoring, another area where the U.S. lags.

If the U.S. and allies don’t give this old technology some better attention, the next Flight 370 might be even harder to find.

 

How the U.S. Outsmarted Everyone by Giving Up the Internet

Patrick Tucker

March 17, 2014

 

The U.S. may have kept China and Russia from gaining influence over the Internet by announcing a plan to keep less control for itself.

On Friday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, quietly announced that it is giving up remaining U.S. control of the Internet’s domain naming system to the broader international community.

Critics quickly expressed concern that the handover could make the Internet less secure. Former House Speaker New Gingrich took to Twitter to ask: “What is the global internet community that Obama wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships defining the Internet.”

But Matthew Prince, co-founder of the company Cloudflare, said that giving up control of DNS — in the way that NTIA did it — was actually a savvy move that will keep the Internet more open to citizens and less controllable by dictatorships.

“I think the general story is completely wrong,” he said.

The shrewdness of the move rests in a little-noticed section of the Friday press release, which states: “NTIA will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”

That one caveat is key, Prince says, to making sure that the Internet continues to operate in the way that it does, bottom-up and user-driven — and not according to the whim of Beijing or Moscow.

“The real story is that the U.S. has pre-empted the argument that any government should have control of the Internet. Instead, it says that the Internet is a network defined by a collection of different stakeholders that must be governed by the bottom up rather than a traditional top down approach. I think it was a brilliant move to make sure that the Internet stays what it is,” Prince said.

The form that the transition, planned since 1997, will take has yet to be determined, but the California-based Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN will be running the process

Here’s what’s specifically up for grabs: the ability to make changes to the domain name system or DNS and the database containing the world’s top-level domains. The domain name system is essentially how you find every web site and email on the Internet. It’s what links an IP address to a specific URL, so when you type in a web site, you are taken immediately to the numerical address of the computer where that web site is hosted.

Russia and China have led a strong effort to put more control of the Internet under the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, which would effectively give those governments greater say in how the Internet is run. The ITU is the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies. Internet watchers expected Russia, China or the UN to make a big push for more ITU control during an upcoming ITU meeting in Busan, South Korea. By making this move now, Prince said, the U.S. renders that strategy unworkable.

“Now, when China stands up and says we want a seat at the table of Internet governance the U.S. can say ‘no. The Internet should be stateless.’ They’re in a much stronger position to make that argument today than they were before,” Prince said.

 

Kremlin says Crimea is now officially part of Russia after treaty signing, Putin speech

 

By Will Englund,

Published: March 18

MOSCOW — Invoking the suffering of the Russian people and a narrative of constant betrayals by the West, President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that Russia was within its rights to reclaim Crimea, then signed a treaty that did just that.

Putin, defiant in the face of U.S. and European pressure, dispensed with legal deliberation and announced a swift annexation of Crimea, as if to put Europe’s most serious crisis in decades beyond the point where the results could be turned back.

Crimeans vote to join Russia: Residents of the Ukrainian peninsula turned out in large numbers for the referendum.

In a speech to a joint session of the Russian parliament, he compared the move to the independence declaration of Kosovo in 2008 and the reunification of Germany in 1990 — but, in reality, this is the first time that one European nation has seized territory from another since the end of World War II.

“Crimea is our common legacy,” Putin said. “It can only be Russian today.”

In Kiev, Ukrainian officials said they would never recognize or accept the loss of Crimea. Western leaders, including Vice President Biden during a visit to Poland and Lithuania, talked about further sanctions against Russia on top of those announced in the past two days. Russia is also facing expulsion from the Group of Eight leading industrial nations as relations between Moscow and the West reach their lowest level since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

In Crimea, where celebrations were held to mark the Russian annexation, a Ukrainian lieutenant was fatally shot in an incident that immediately set nerves on edge.

Putin declared that Russia has no interest in expanding its hold within Ukraine. “Don’t believe those who say Russia will take other regions after Crimea. We don’t need that,” he said.

But Putin also said that Russia would always be ready to stand up for the rights of fellow Russians living in other countries. He mentioned, seemingly in passing, that Russians in eastern Ukraine, in the cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk, had been subject to the same sort of abuse at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists that he said had led him to act on Crimea.

Putin’s speech, nearly 50 minutes long, catalogued 20 years of Russian complaints about the West. He touched on the Soviet Union’s downfall, Kosovo, NATO expansion, missile defense, Libya, Iraq and Syria. He said the West has been backing Ukrainians responsible for “terror, murder and riots,” including neo-

Nazis, anti-Semites and Russophobes.

“Our Western partners have crossed a line,” Putin said. “We have every reason to think that the notorious policy of confining Russia, pursued in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today.”

He said the challenge presented to Russia by the Ukrainian crisis couldn’t be ducked.

“We have to admit one thing — Russia is an active participant in international affairs,” he said. “At these critical times, we see the maturity of nations, the strength of nations.”

One factor that forced Russia to act, he said, was the threat that Ukraine, under its new leaders, might join NATO — which would have left Russia’s Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol, Crimea, in an untenable position.

 

Derision toward sanctions

Putin insisted that Russia is acting within international law. He complained that leaders in the West, led by the Americans, “believe they’ve been entrusted by God to decide the fate of other people.”

The sanctions already announced by the United States, the European Union and Canada were treated with derision by the members of the Russian parliament Tuesday. They passed a unanimous resolution calling on the West to include every member of the Russian legislature on the sanctions list.

The speaker of the upper house of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, who is on the U.S. sanctions list, was defiant.

“These days we are feeling a huge amount of pressure — pressure from the so-called authorities in Kiev and pressure from the West,” she said as she met with Crimean leaders. “Threats, announcement of sanctions, banned entry — all this comes from the helplessness when there is no legal argument.”

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian armaments industry, said Moscow needs to take up the cause of ethnic Russians in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria, which has been outside Moldova’s control since the early 1990s. Now that Moldova is moving to sign an agreement with the E.U., Rogozin said, it is time for Russia to act. Rogozin is one of 11 Russians and Ukrainians named on the U.S. sanctions list announced Monday.

Putin traced Russian roots in Crimea to the baptism there of Vladimir, who converted the Russian people to Christianity just over 1,000 years ago. Putin mentioned that the bones of Russian soldiers who fought the British and French in the 19th century, and of Soviet soldiers who fought the Germans in World War II, are buried all across the Crimean Peninsula.

“All these places are sacred to us,” he said. After noting that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev assigned Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, Putin argued that Russia by rights should have gotten back the peninsula in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved.

Russia was not “simply robbed, it was plundered,” he said.

He also touched on Russians’ roots in the Ukrainian heartland, in a way that many Ukrainians may not have found reassuring. “We sympathize with the people of Ukraine,” he said. “We’re one nation. Kiev is the mother of all Russian cities.”

He described today’s Kiev as a city where a legitimate protest was overtaken by those plotting a coup, backed by “foreign sponsors,” and where government ministers cannot act without getting permission “from the gunmen on the Maidan” — a reference to Independence Square, the heart of the protest movement that ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. “We have no one to negotiate with,” Putin said.

Ecstatic Russian lawmakers watched as Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty of accession as soon as the Russian leader was done speaking, and the Kremlin said afterward that it considers the treaty to be in force though it awaits ratification by parliament.

The city of Sevastopol also entered the Russian Federation, as a separate entity — a status it traditionally enjoyed as an important military center.

 

Putin’s talk of betrayal

In the early evening, Putin addressed a large celebratory rally on Moscow’s Red Square. “After a difficult, long and exhausting journey, Crimea and Sevastopol have returned to Russia — to their home harbor, their home shores, their home port,” he said.

 

In Kiev, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk gave a nationally televised address Tuesday — pointedly using the Russian language — in which he seemed to recognize the limits of the situation. He pledged that Ukraine would not join NATO and sought to reassure ethnic Russians and the government in Moscow.

Putin’s words were freighted with a sense of betrayal, said Samuel Charap, a senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington. Putin portrayed the United States and the West as using Ukraine and other countries as a battlefield on which they could prevail over Russia — and he got two standing ovations for doing so.

 

“I think it’s a trap we’ve gotten ourselves into about whether the sense of betrayal is rational or not,” Charap said. “The question is: Do they believe it or not? I think we underestimate the power of the grievance narrative by narrowly attributing it to a propaganda campaign or paranoid fantasies of a ruthless dictator. If this is what influences the decision-making climate, we have to deal with it.”

 

Rasmussen Reports

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

Bottom of Form

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is anyone in Washington, D.C., listening to voters?

Just 18% of voters believe most members of Congress care what their constituents think. That helps explain why only 29% believe their local representative deserves reelection this November, a new low in surveying going back to November 2009.

One political analyst suggests adding 100 to 200 new members to the U.S. House of Representatives to lower the voter-to-member ratio. But just 17% favor that idea. Instead of being more responsive to voters, 77% think a bigger House would just be more inefficient and bureaucratic.

Meanwhile, President Obama is proposing $55 billion in new government spending and higher taxes in 2015 despite the fact that only 25% of voters think government spending increases help the economy and just 21% say the same of tax increases.

It doesn’t help that 69% believe middle-class Americans currently pay a larger share of their income in taxes than wealthy people do.

The president also has ordered the Labor Department to revise federal rules to allow more workers to qualify for overtime pay. Just 37% of voters believe increasing the number of people eligible for overtime pay will help the economy. Only 25% think it will help businesses.

At the same time, 53% expect the nation’s health care system to get worse under the new national health care law passed by Congress and signed by the president, a finding that has ranged from 48% to 61% in regular surveys since late 2012.

Republicans have taken a one-point lead on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot, but both parties earn less than 40% support, which indicates a high level of voter unhappiness with both camps.

Many voters express concern about the partisan battling in Washington, but a closer look at what America thinks about taxes and government spending makes it clearer why the political parties disagree so strongly.

Obama has been pushing for bigger government and more spending throughout his presidency, which may be one reason why his daily job approval rating has been in the negative teens for most of his time in office.

But 52% of voters now favor U.S. diplomatic action, including economic sanctions against Russia over the latter’s annexation of Crimea. That’s up from the high 30s earlier this month.

As tensions with Russia escalate, voters give the president his best marks in the national security area in several months. Forty-five percent (45%) now rate his handling of national security issues as good or excellent, while 36% still think he’s performing poorly in this area.

The GOP needs to pick up six seats in November to take control of the Senate. We took our first look at two more races this past week.

Republican Congressman Steve Daines is well ahead of interim Senator John Walsh and fellow Democrat John Bohlinger in the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Montana.

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown announced recently that he is exploring a possible challenge against incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, but Shaheen leads Brown 50% to 41% in the possible Senate race in the Granite State.

At week’s end, consumers continued to have a negative view of the economy, with just 21% who rated the economy as good or excellent and 38% who described it as poor. Investors were only slightly more confident.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of all Americans do not think the economy is fair to those who are willing to work hard.

Still, 36% of homeowners expect their home’s value to go up over the next year, the highest level of optimism since October. A year ago, only 30% expected their home to be worth more in the short term.

Twenty-four percent (24%), however, say the interest rates they are paying now are higher than last year at this time, the highest finding in nearly two years.

Most Americans remain concerned about inflation, with 84% who say they are paying more for groceries than they were a year ago. That’s the highest finding in over a year.

Just 51% of Americans are at least somewhat confident in the stability of the U.S. banking industry, with only 10% who are Very Confident.

In other surveys this week:

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

— With less than a month left until Tax Day, 51% of Americans have filed their income taxes, and nearly that many expect a refund.

The U.S. government announced recently that it is giving up its last bit of control over the Internet and turning it over to an international organization. But most voters think that’s a bad idea and expect countries like Russia and China to try to censor Internet content.

— Just six percent (6%) of Americans consider St. Patrick’s Day one of the nation’s most important holidays, and adults under 40 are much more likely to celebrate it than their elders.

— Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Americans say the arrival of spring puts them in a better mood.

 


 

March 22 1998

22March2014

Newswire

 

The Pentagon Needs A New Way Of War

Robert Haddick

March 18, 2014 ·

http://warontherocks.com/2014/03/the-pentagon-needs-a-new-way-of-war/

 

Can the Pentagon do the same with less? That seems to be what the White House expects. The U.S. Department of Defense recently released the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the Pentagon’s latest attempt to explain its global military strategy for the medium term. But far more revealing than the QDR itself was the “Chairman’s Assessment” of the QDR, written by General Martin Dempsey and appended to the end of the report. Dempsey’s tepid and qualified endorsement of the QDR (also discussed by WOTR’s Bryan McGrath) and his candid accounting of geostrategic risks that will compound over the next decade, provide a bracing contrast to the main text. In his second paragraph, he warns, “With our ‘ends’ fixed and our ‘means’ declining, it is therefore imperative that we innovate within the ‘ways’ we defend the Nation.”

Dempsey is more honest than the QDR at noting the yawning gap between what policymakers want the military to do around the world and what capacities the military possesses and will possess to achieve these goals. Bridging the chasm will require new thinking about how to use military force, which may result in some disruptive and unpleasant conclusions for established doctrine, organizations, and military cultures.

The new QDR maintains the same expansive ends that the U.S. has sought since World War II. In addition to protecting the U.S. homeland, the QDR calls for the U.S. military to “build security globally” and to “project power and win decisively.” The document projects a smaller military force by 2019, but a force that leaders in the Pentagon still believe will be capable of accomplishing its assignments, albeit with some additional risk in a few areas.

Missing from the QDR is an analysis of why the reduced military force structure for 2019 will be adequate for the expansive goals assigned to it. This missing analysis is frustrating for both dovish and hawkish military analysts. Doves see a huge defense budget (nearly as big as the next fifteen largest military budgets combined), the world’s most advanced military technology, and the most experienced soldiers, all operating in a world they believe lacks plausible military threats to the U.S. The QDR does not explain to the doves why the envisioned force for 2019, with the same ambitious goals, is necessary.

Hawks are frustrated that the authors of the QDR were largely unwilling to identify major geostrategic competitors like China and Russia by name, and that the authors were similarly afraid to describe in detail innovative adversary military approaches, such as missile-based theater anti-access strategies, because to do so would reveal a Pentagon that has been largely unresponsive to such growing threats for over a decade. Pentagon leaders will plea that they don’t want the QDR to raise unnecessary tensions or to reveal military secrets. But the result for both dovish and hawkish observers is a loss of confidence in whether the Pentagon is capable of effective strategy, a perception reinforced by the results from the last decade.

The QDR’s authors admit that the Pentagon is taking increased risk with its defense drawdown. But the document doesn’t say clearly what these risks are, only that they’ll get worse if the return of sequestration in 2016 cuts the budget even more. Dempsey’s assessment letter by contrast is refreshingly honest. He forecasts,

the risk of interstate conflict in East Asia to rise, the vulnerability of our platforms and basing to increase, our technology edge to erode, instability to persist in the Middle East, and threats posed by violent extremist organizations to endure. Nearly any future conflict will occur on a much faster pace and on a more technically challenging battlefield. And, in the case of U.S. involvement in conflicts overseas, the homeland will no longer be a sanctuary either for our forces or for our citizens.

Strategy is about setting priorities. The QDR doesn’t want to do this too explicitly because it is too embarrassing to cut allies adrift. And as Secretary of State Dean Acheson could explain after the Korean War broke out in 1950, being too explicit about your defense priorities can have regrettable consequences. But as a result, the QDR doesn’t give much guidance on what adversaries and contingencies U.S. military forces should prepare for.

Here again, Dempsey’s assessment letter does much better. He gives a rank-order list of missions, starting with “Maintain a secure and effective nuclear deterrent,” and ending with “Conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster response.” It is with point three on Dempsey’s list, “defeat an adversary,” that the gap between what the U.S. military needs to be able to do, and what it will be able to do, may first appear.

How specifically will policymakers define “defeat an adversary”? Does this mean destroy the adversary’s armed forces in the field? With the exception of Panama in 1989, the United States arguably hasn’t accomplished that task since 1945. In Dempsey’s view, conventional military fights will be even more challenging in the future. For example, destroying mobile, land-based, long-range missile launchers in Iran or China—a necessary condition for reopening critical sea lanes during a conflict—will be an immensely frustrating task. And after more than a decade of intense effort, the United States and its partners still aren’t sure whether they have decisively defeated the amorphous non-state terror networks they have targeted.

Bridging the gap between what the U.S. military needs to do and what it will be able to do will almost certainly require more funding than current plans call for. But more money alone will not be a competitive strategy. Many adversaries—be they China or an al Qaeda affiliate—will be able to add incremental military capacity at lower costs than will the Pentagon. It won’t be competitive for the Pentagon to engage in an arms race with adversaries with lower marginal costs.

This means first starting from principles that explore new ways—new tactics, doctrines, organizations, and technologies—to directly target an adversary’s organizational capacity, its incentives, and will to fight. These have been critical “centers of gravity” since the beginning of time. But recent changes in technology and culture provide new opportunities to attack these factors directly, in some cases bypassing traditional forms of military power.

The Pentagon needs a new way of war. The traditional American ways of employing military power against an adversary’s military forces have fallen short of strategic success for many years, a deficiency that will not get better in the decade ahead. Military strategists need a fresh appraisal of the logic linking military force to the achievement of strategic goals. When done honestly, the result will likely be some revolutionary and disruptive changes in military doctrine, organizations, procurement policies, and culture. Dempsey’s frank assessment of the QDR is a start down this path.

Robert Haddick is an independent contractor at U.S. Special Operations Command. He writes here in a personal capacity. In September 2014, U.S. Naval Institute Press will publish Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific, Haddick’s book on the rise of China’s military power and U.S. strategy in East Asia.

 

Pentagon Asks Air Force About Russia Rocket Engine

By Tony Capaccio

Mar 20, 2014 12:10 PM ET


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-20/pentagon-asks-air-force-about-russia-rocket-engine.html

 

Pentagon officials have asked the Air Force to review whether the use of Russian engines on rockets from a Lockheed Martin Corp.-Boeing Co. (BA) team creates a national security risk.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last week at a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing that a review was needed after Russia’s incursion into the Crimea and threats to the Ukraine prompted a reassessment of U.S.-Russia relations.

United Launch Alliance LLC, the Lockheed-Boeing joint venture, uses Russian engines on Atlas V rockets the Pentagon depends on to launch military satellites. Tensions over Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region has sparked questions about that supply connection.

The Pentagon purchases launch services from United Launch Alliance, including the Atlas and Boeing Delta models that use different engines. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed used the Russian-made RD-180 engine for years on its Atlas V rocket before joining Chicago-based Boeing in the alliance.

“The department had recently completed an assessment of the use of foreign components” including the RD-180 engine, Maureen Schumann, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an e-mail statement.

“In light of the current situation, we have directed the Air Force perform an additional review to ensure we completely understand the implications, including supply interruptions, of using foreign components” in the program, she said.

Pentagon officials estimate it would cost U.S. companies as much as $1 billion to produce the engine domestically and take as long as five years, Schumann said.

 

Security Interest

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., a company that’s trying to break into the military launch market, said at a March 5 congressional hearing that launches may be at risk because of Boeing’s and Lockheed’s dependence on the Russian engine.

Musk, who also is chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), said the Atlas V rockets should be phased out for the “long-term security interest of the country.”

In her statement, Schumann said since the beginning of the program in 1995 “there has been concern about the use of foreign components in the launch vehicle, particularly the Russian RD-180 engine.”

“The Air Force regularly reviews and analyzes various components” of the program to include “any potential risks associated with the use of RD-180 engines,” she said.

The joint venture “has stockpiled about a two-year supply of the engines” based on the current planned satellite launch schedule.

If the RD-180 supply is restricted, the Defense Department “would prioritize” the engines’ use for the highest value satellites, she said.

 

 

Pentagon’s Gamble on Getting More Money Questioned

By Roxana Tiron and Tony Capaccio

Mar 20, 2014 10:30 AM ET

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-20/pentagon-s-gamble-on-getting-more-money-questioned.html

 

The Pentagon is betting that Congress will roll back $35 billion in automatic defense cuts scheduled to begin in fiscal 2016.

That may prove wishful thinking, with little consensus among lawmakers over eliminating the looming defense cuts that were part of the across-the-board reductions, known as sequestration, embedded in the 2011 agreement to lift the federal debt limit.

“I hope there is nobody naive enough to believe that we can just end it for defense,” Dick Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat and chairman of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said of sequestration in an interview. “It’s going to be ended for both defense and non-defense if it’s going to work.”

A congressional budget agreement reached in December, P.L. 113-067, partially eased the cuts for the current year, fiscal 2014, as well as the coming fiscal year, which begins this October and for which appropriators are now developing spending plans.

With the deeper spending reductions set to resume in succeeding years, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Pentagon planners are lobbying Congress to head off such cuts to military forces and equipment.

The 2016 fiscal year “will be a critical inflection point,” Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox wrote March 5 in a memo to all military service chiefs. “We will look for a signal from Congress that sequestration will not be imposed in FY 2016.”

 

Ukraine Crisis

The crisis in relations between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine may produce public support for more defense spending, said Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole, a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

“People begin to see the consequences to lowering our military profile,” Cole said in an interview.

If sequestration isn’t replaced in 2016, the Pentagon will be forced to reduce its proposed $535.1 billion request for fiscal 2016 to about $500 billion. That’s on top of the $37 billion in defense cuts for fiscal 2013 and $25 billion for the current fiscal year. About $45 billion is to be trimmed in the fiscal 2015 request from the $541 billion projected last year.

The bipartisan support for the current two-year budget plan may not hold in future negotiations, when previous differences in how spending should be allocated could resurface.

 

Non-Defense Cuts

Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said she opposed continuation of sequestration for both defense and domestic programs. The New York lawmaker said cuts to defense are “very damaging to preparedness, and cuts to the National Institutes of Health, among other areas, in the non-defense part of the budget would be a disaster,” she said in an interview. “I would hope that thoughtful Republicans would prevent that from happening.”

Rodney Frelinghuysen, who leads the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, said he would like to see the sequester, “undone, absolutely.”

 

“We’ll show the critical mass of people on our side of the aisle that regular order is better than continuing resolutions and the sequester,” the New Jersey Republican said in an interview.

Some Republicans want to increase defense spending at the expense of domestic programs, while others aligned with small-government groups such as the Tea Party back keeping sequestration in place to ensure federal spending is reduced.

 

Sacred Cows

“Sequestration should be used as a tool for us to get actual spending cuts,” Representative Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican backed by the Tea Party, said in an interview. “Everybody has to put their sacred cows on the table.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, also a Tea Party favorite, said that “unsustainable debt” is one of the greatest “national security threats.”

“We should address our national defense needs but do so in combination with responsible fiscal restraint on the non-defense side,” Cruz said in an interview.

Popular defense programs and personnel would be hit if sequestration isn’t rolled back by Congress. The Pentagon says it would have to cut the number of aircraft carriers to 10 from 11 and adjust the number of helicopters and fighter jets such as F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets made by Chicago-based Boeing Co. (BA) and possibly F-35 Joint Strike Fighters made by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)

 

Paring Forces

Instead of the currently planned reduction to about 450,000 troops by 2019, the active Army would have to pare its force to 420,000. The Marine Corps would have to be prepared to reduce personnel to 175,000 from an initial reduction to 182,000, the Pentagon says.

Pentagon officials say they would like an answer sooner rather than later about Congress’s intentions on sequestration.

“The sooner that we can get a firm indication that sequestration will no longer remain the law of the land, the better, but I can’t sit here” and “put a date on the calendar and say we have to have it by April 1st or May 15th,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Defense Department spokesman, said.

 

Early 2015

For the Pentagon to devise a budget request for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, 2015, that avoids the automatic cuts, Congress and President Barack Obama would have to reach an agreement by early next year.

With the midterm elections in November, Congress is unlikely to handle controversial budget issues this year.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, plans to submit a budget blueprint for fiscal 2015 that would increase defense spending while keeping the $1.04 trillion cap agreed to in last year’s deal. That would mean cuts in domestic spending, which would almost certainly be rejected in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Republicans hope to win a Senate majority in November, which they say could lead to more support for boosting defense funding.

 

“We might have some more willing partners across the way,” Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview.

If Republicans win both chambers of Congress in 2014, “defense really is going to be a Republican priority,” Republican Cole said. “It’s achievable.”

 

DOD delays rulemaking on rapid reporting of cyber penetrations

http://insidecybersecurity.com/Cyber-General/Cyber-Public-Content/dod-delays-rulemaking-on-rapid-reporting-of-cyber-penetrations/menu-id-1089.html

Posted: March 20, 2014

 

The Pentagon needs more time to develop highly anticipated draft regulations that would require defense contractors with security clearances to rapidly report penetrations of their networks and information systems.

An ad hoc committee, tasked in January 2013 by the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council director with developing the statutorily required procedures, was due to report back to the director on Wednesday.

But the interim Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation System rule, known as DFARS case 2013-D018, remains under development and was not submitted to the director on Wednesday, meaning the deadline will be extended, a defense official told Inside Cybersecurity.

This marks the latest in a series of delays in the rulemaking process. The fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, enacted in January 2013, originally called for the Defense Department to develop the procedures within 90 days.

The official said the department had not yet set a new deadline in light of this week’s delay. Once DOD issues the interim rule, a formal process of soliciting public comments would begin.

Section 941 of the FY-13 National Defense Authorization Act requires the department to develop the new regulation. The law calls for cleared defense contractors to rapidly report penetrations of networks and information systems, and allows DOD personnel access to equipment and information to assess the impact of reported penetrations.

That has attorneys asking what a penetration is, whether investigations will be disclosed, whether such incidents are “material events,” whether this will extend to unclassified networks (the law’s language leaves open this possibility) and what impact this might have on trade secrets and sensitive data, according to a presentation by the law firm Dickstein Shapiro.

Also unclear is how rapidly contractors will have to report penetrations. The law does not specify, but DOD’s implementation procedures are expected to include such detail. – Christopher J. Castelli (ccastelli@iwpnews.com)

 

 

How Western Bureaucrats Stirred Putin’s Petulance into a Cold War Crisis

Defense One

James Kitfield

March 20, 2014

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2014/03/how-western-bureaucrats-stirred-putins-petulance-cold-war-crisis/80962/?oref=d-topstory

 

In recent days Russia has revealed the gambit that opened with a $15 billion bailout for a client in Kiev and morphed into the seizure and annexation of Crimea, all part of Vladimir Putin’s risky defense of what he sees as Moscow’s privileged “sphere of influence.” Putin’s bellicose rhetoric proclaiming a right to intervene militarily wherever ethnic Russians are threatened suggests that the territorial integrity of Ukraine and other neighbors remains at serious risk. As the Western alliance inevitably responds with tougher sanctions and further efforts to draw Kiev westward, leaders must now decide if 21st century soft-power and economic sanctions trumps 19th century hard power and Putin’s decidedly zero-sum worldview.

It’s instructive to remember how the tug-of-war over Ukraine’s orientation escalated into the worst East-versus-West crisis in more than three decades. From the beginning all sides have been guilty of faulty assumptions and strategic miscalculation. Putin has made clear that his proposed creation of a Russian-led trading bloc called the “Eurasian Union” is a legacy issue, a milestone in his long project to restore Russian prestige and regional power. He has publicly admitted that such a union is largely meaningless without Ukraine’s participation, given that country’s size and close business and cultural ties to Russia. And yet Putin seems oblivious to the fragility of an economic edifice built more on naked coercion and bribes than on shared business interests.

With Putin distracted in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics, and the United States focused on crises in the Middle East and a “pivot” to Asia, European Union bureaucrats saw an opportunity to steal a march on Moscow by concluding ambitious “Association Agreements” with Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia. These agreements seem benign to Western sensibilities, but buried in the minutia of their “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area” language is the essence of democratic capitalism, with its emphasis on transparency, the rule of law and protection of minority rights. They are the chief instruments of European soft-power, and Putin unsurprisingly views them as a threat to the Russian model of authoritarian capitalism, with its focus on centralized state power, cheap energy bribes and crony kleptocracy.

In the run-up to an “Eastern Partnership” summit in Vilinius, last November, European Union officials reportedly made clear to the expected signatories that the “Association Agreements” were incompatible with Putin’s proposed Eurasian Union. They thus played into Putin’s zero-sum mindset and the fear of encirclement of someone who lost an older brother in the German siege of Leningrad during World War II. When Putin, the former KGB case officer, cut a $15 billion deal with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to scuttle the EU agreement, he was predictably outraged that violent street protests in Kiev forced his very expensive client to flee for his life.

In danger of being outmaneuvered, Putin looked West and saw an initially disengaged and war-weary America, and a pacifist Europe weakened by the monetary crisis yet meddling in Russia’s near-abroad. Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar and coauthor of the recent book Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin,” notes that at that point Putin fashioned a hard-power response that plays to type and resonates deeply in an aggrieved Russian psyche. The essence of his message to the West, she writes: “We thought we made it very clear in Georgia in 2008 that we are prepared to stand up for our interests, take the risks of military intervention. We can suffer sanctions…[and] have a higher threshold for pain than you do. Have you forgotten our national narrative and the siege of Leningrad? Do you want to go to war over Ukraine? We don’t, but we’re ready to if you don’t back down and back off!”

 

With Russia’s annexation of Crimea, President Barack Obama had no choice but to ratchet up the sanctions pressure to exact a higher price, and hopefully force Putin to eventually seek an off-ramp in the escalating crisis. In fashioning an economic bailout of a cash-strapped government in Kiev, Brussels expects Ukraine to finally sign its “Association Agreement” as early as Friday, continuing to draw Ukraine closer to the economic bosom of Europe. In determining whether to remain a somewhat neutral country or fling itself into the arms of the West, however, Ukrainians should understand there are tens of thousands of Russian troops on their border, a Russian red line that runs roughly down the center of their country, and a revisionist strongman in the Kremlin echoing his forebear Joseph Stalin, who was once warned that the Pope objected to Russia’s repression of Catholics.

“The Pope?” Stalin asked. “How many divisions has he got.

 

Drone Warfare Is Why We Can’t Find Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/03/drone-warfare-why-we-cant-find-malaysian-airlines-flight-370/80983/?oref=d-skybox

Patrick Tucker

March 20, 2014

 

The long and frustrating hunt for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 might be a sign of what’s to come, thanks to our growing obsession with drone imagery at the expense of the quaint technology of satellite radar data.

While today’s high-resolution image satellites can take very detailed pictures of relatively small areas, old-fashioned radar satellites are the best solution for finding lost objects at sea, says Kurt Schwoppe, manager for imagery solutions for the company Esri. Radar satellites don’t see the world. Rather they get a sense of objects in somewhat the same way that a bat does. As bats use sonar to bounce signals off of prey to determine the location of targets and other objects, radar satellites take detailed scans of the planet by bouncing electromagnetic signals off the earth’s surface. Military officials won’t publicly disclose what assets they are using in the search for the missing aircraft. But militarily speaking, these sorts of satellites were great for seeing over large areas where there was cloud cover or finding ghost ships that had turned off their transponders. They’re also useful for spotting anomalies at sea.

“If there’s any oil slick that stands out well because there’s these flat dark spots where there are no wave ripples at all. If there’s an angular thing, like maybe a wing floating on the surface or some type of debris, that stuff stands out brightly” says Schwoppe.

It’s a technology that NASA led in the development of in the 1970s. Today, space-based radar is an area where other countries are out-innovating the United States, at least commercially. The main private players are AirBus and a Canadian public-private program called RADARSAT (which includes Lockheed Martin but is run out of Canada by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates or MDA). “From a commercial company standpoint, we have not flown a radar satellite ourselves,” says Schwoppe.

That’s a problem because the U.S. continues to rely more on commercial satellites for our imaging data. “Right now to buy this data from the Canadians or the Europeans is just very, very expensive. So then it never gets acquired,” says Schwoppe. “The U.S. has invested a lot in this technology and the question is, can we get some of these commercial vendors up and start making a commercial business out of this and get it more and more readily available for different use cases. It seems we’re great at developing technology. Then others adopt it and put it to good use and for us it sits on the shelf a little bit.”

Lagging space-based radar imaging has bitten us before. During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, in which 4.9 million barrels of oil were leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, high-resolution satellites took volumes of pictures but could not get a comprehensive sense of the entire spill area. The RADARSAT II satellite, conversely, was able to provide daily coverage of the entire area. You think the U.S. would have learned.

To understand how the U.S. got to this point, consider the last decade’s evolution of reconnaissance tools. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we brought high-resolution satellite imagery to bear on the task of getting snap shots, at a resolution as fine as 50 cm, of insurgents hiding among the dusty hills of the Pakistan border.

Today, high-resolution satellite imagery is playing a role in the search for Flight 370. U.S. company DigitalGlobe has opened up its image satellites to aid in the search and launched a crowdsource campaign to enlist volunteers to analyze the images. “Users can go to Tomnod, and zoom in on each satellite image from DigitalGlobe’s satellite constellation and drop a pin if they see signs of wreckage. Its algorithm, CrowdRank, will find where there is overlap in the tags from people who tagged the same location. Then, DigitalGlobe’s expert analysts will examine the tags to identify the top 10 or so most notable areas and share the information with customers and authorities,” a company official explained, in an email.

But the crowdsourced solution may not be ideal and can produce false positives, as evinced by the singer Courtney Love’s fleeting but ebullient conviction that she had found the phantom Malaysian flight based on satellite imagery.

Schwoppe is skeptical of the tactic. The necessity of crowdsourcing speaks to the fact that high-resolution imagery doesn’t offer wide enough coverage. DigitalGlobe’s satellites can only see an area that’s 18 kilometers wide. RADARSAT’s synthetic aperture radar can cover 500 kilometers.

U.S. reliance on high-resolution imaging is surpassed only by the military obsession with unmanned areal vehicles or UAVs, which have proven relatively useless in the current search for Flight 370. UAVs were an ideal solution for an environment like Afghanistan or Iraq where the military wanted the ability to follow a target from house to house to roadside, or perhaps loiter over a key area where insurgents might be gathering. “From a tactical perspective in actually fighting ground operations, UAVs were extremely powerful and they met that niche,” Schwoppe observed. “We had the luxury to do that because we totally controlled the airspace over Iraq and Afghanistan and you know we won’t have that same luxury in other areas.”

As previously mentioned, the most-recent budget request cuts spending for Navy satellite communications to $41,829,000 from $66,196,000 and the Navy Satellite Control Network $20,806,000 from $35,657,000.

Schwoppe believes that military spending on radar satellites is probably safe, but can’t be sure. “I can tell you, the reconnaissance community understands and knows the value of radar, especially as targets change.” But he acknowledges that broader cuts in military satellite programs are disturbing.

Also, European and Canadian groups have found civilian uses for radar technology in environmental monitoring, another area where the U.S. lags.

If the U.S. and allies don’t give this old technology some better attention, the next Flight 370 might be even harder to find.

 

How the U.S. Outsmarted Everyone by Giving Up the Internet

Patrick Tucker

March 17, 2014

 

The U.S. may have kept China and Russia from gaining influence over the Internet by announcing a plan to keep less control for itself.

On Friday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, quietly announced that it is giving up remaining U.S. control of the Internet’s domain naming system to the broader international community.

Critics quickly expressed concern that the handover could make the Internet less secure. Former House Speaker New Gingrich took to Twitter to ask: “What is the global internet community that Obama wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships defining the Internet.”

But Matthew Prince, co-founder of the company Cloudflare, said that giving up control of DNS — in the way that NTIA did it — was actually a savvy move that will keep the Internet more open to citizens and less controllable by dictatorships.

“I think the general story is completely wrong,” he said.

The shrewdness of the move rests in a little-noticed section of the Friday press release, which states: “NTIA will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”

That one caveat is key, Prince says, to making sure that the Internet continues to operate in the way that it does, bottom-up and user-driven — and not according to the whim of Beijing or Moscow.

“The real story is that the U.S. has pre-empted the argument that any government should have control of the Internet. Instead, it says that the Internet is a network defined by a collection of different stakeholders that must be governed by the bottom up rather than a traditional top down approach. I think it was a brilliant move to make sure that the Internet stays what it is,” Prince said.

The form that the transition, planned since 1997, will take has yet to be determined, but the California-based Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN will be running the process

Here’s what’s specifically up for grabs: the ability to make changes to the domain name system or DNS and the database containing the world’s top-level domains. The domain name system is essentially how you find every web site and email on the Internet. It’s what links an IP address to a specific URL, so when you type in a web site, you are taken immediately to the numerical address of the computer where that web site is hosted.

Russia and China have led a strong effort to put more control of the Internet under the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, which would effectively give those governments greater say in how the Internet is run. The ITU is the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies. Internet watchers expected Russia, China or the UN to make a big push for more ITU control during an upcoming ITU meeting in Busan, South Korea. By making this move now, Prince said, the U.S. renders that strategy unworkable.

“Now, when China stands up and says we want a seat at the table of Internet governance the U.S. can say ‘no. The Internet should be stateless.’ They’re in a much stronger position to make that argument today than they were before,” Prince said.

 

Kremlin says Crimea is now officially part of Russia after treaty signing, Putin speech

 

By Will Englund,

Published: March 18

MOSCOW — Invoking the suffering of the Russian people and a narrative of constant betrayals by the West, President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that Russia was within its rights to reclaim Crimea, then signed a treaty that did just that.

Putin, defiant in the face of U.S. and European pressure, dispensed with legal deliberation and announced a swift annexation of Crimea, as if to put Europe’s most serious crisis in decades beyond the point where the results could be turned back.

Crimeans vote to join Russia: Residents of the Ukrainian peninsula turned out in large numbers for the referendum.

In a speech to a joint session of the Russian parliament, he compared the move to the independence declaration of Kosovo in 2008 and the reunification of Germany in 1990 — but, in reality, this is the first time that one European nation has seized territory from another since the end of World War II.

“Crimea is our common legacy,” Putin said. “It can only be Russian today.”

In Kiev, Ukrainian officials said they would never recognize or accept the loss of Crimea. Western leaders, including Vice President Biden during a visit to Poland and Lithuania, talked about further sanctions against Russia on top of those announced in the past two days. Russia is also facing expulsion from the Group of Eight leading industrial nations as relations between Moscow and the West reach their lowest level since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

In Crimea, where celebrations were held to mark the Russian annexation, a Ukrainian lieutenant was fatally shot in an incident that immediately set nerves on edge.

Putin declared that Russia has no interest in expanding its hold within Ukraine. “Don’t believe those who say Russia will take other regions after Crimea. We don’t need that,” he said.

But Putin also said that Russia would always be ready to stand up for the rights of fellow Russians living in other countries. He mentioned, seemingly in passing, that Russians in eastern Ukraine, in the cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk, had been subject to the same sort of abuse at the hands of Ukrainian nationalists that he said had led him to act on Crimea.

Putin’s speech, nearly 50 minutes long, catalogued 20 years of Russian complaints about the West. He touched on the Soviet Union’s downfall, Kosovo, NATO expansion, missile defense, Libya, Iraq and Syria. He said the West has been backing Ukrainians responsible for “terror, murder and riots,” including neo-

Nazis, anti-Semites and Russophobes.

“Our Western partners have crossed a line,” Putin said. “We have every reason to think that the notorious policy of confining Russia, pursued in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today.”

He said the challenge presented to Russia by the Ukrainian crisis couldn’t be ducked.

“We have to admit one thing — Russia is an active participant in international affairs,” he said. “At these critical times, we see the maturity of nations, the strength of nations.”

One factor that forced Russia to act, he said, was the threat that Ukraine, under its new leaders, might join NATO — which would have left Russia’s Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol, Crimea, in an untenable position.

 

Derision toward sanctions

Putin insisted that Russia is acting within international law. He complained that leaders in the West, led by the Americans, “believe they’ve been entrusted by God to decide the fate of other people.”

The sanctions already announced by the United States, the European Union and Canada were treated with derision by the members of the Russian parliament Tuesday. They passed a unanimous resolution calling on the West to include every member of the Russian legislature on the sanctions list.

The speaker of the upper house of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, who is on the U.S. sanctions list, was defiant.

“These days we are feeling a huge amount of pressure — pressure from the so-called authorities in Kiev and pressure from the West,” she said as she met with Crimean leaders. “Threats, announcement of sanctions, banned entry — all this comes from the helplessness when there is no legal argument.”

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian armaments industry, said Moscow needs to take up the cause of ethnic Russians in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria, which has been outside Moldova’s control since the early 1990s. Now that Moldova is moving to sign an agreement with the E.U., Rogozin said, it is time for Russia to act. Rogozin is one of 11 Russians and Ukrainians named on the U.S. sanctions list announced Monday.

Putin traced Russian roots in Crimea to the baptism there of Vladimir, who converted the Russian people to Christianity just over 1,000 years ago. Putin mentioned that the bones of Russian soldiers who fought the British and French in the 19th century, and of Soviet soldiers who fought the Germans in World War II, are buried all across the Crimean Peninsula.

“All these places are sacred to us,” he said. After noting that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev assigned Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, Putin argued that Russia by rights should have gotten back the peninsula in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved.

Russia was not “simply robbed, it was plundered,” he said.

He also touched on Russians’ roots in the Ukrainian heartland, in a way that many Ukrainians may not have found reassuring. “We sympathize with the people of Ukraine,” he said. “We’re one nation. Kiev is the mother of all Russian cities.”

He described today’s Kiev as a city where a legitimate protest was overtaken by those plotting a coup, backed by “foreign sponsors,” and where government ministers cannot act without getting permission “from the gunmen on the Maidan” — a reference to Independence Square, the heart of the protest movement that ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. “We have no one to negotiate with,” Putin said.

Ecstatic Russian lawmakers watched as Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty of accession as soon as the Russian leader was done speaking, and the Kremlin said afterward that it considers the treaty to be in force though it awaits ratification by parliament.

The city of Sevastopol also entered the Russian Federation, as a separate entity — a status it traditionally enjoyed as an important military center.

 

Putin’s talk of betrayal

In the early evening, Putin addressed a large celebratory rally on Moscow’s Red Square. “After a difficult, long and exhausting journey, Crimea and Sevastopol have returned to Russia — to their home harbor, their home shores, their home port,” he said.

 

In Kiev, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk gave a nationally televised address Tuesday — pointedly using the Russian language — in which he seemed to recognize the limits of the situation. He pledged that Ukraine would not join NATO and sought to reassure ethnic Russians and the government in Moscow.

Putin’s words were freighted with a sense of betrayal, said Samuel Charap, a senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington. Putin portrayed the United States and the West as using Ukraine and other countries as a battlefield on which they could prevail over Russia — and he got two standing ovations for doing so.

 

“I think it’s a trap we’ve gotten ourselves into about whether the sense of betrayal is rational or not,” Charap said. “The question is: Do they believe it or not? I think we underestimate the power of the grievance narrative by narrowly attributing it to a propaganda campaign or paranoid fantasies of a ruthless dictator. If this is what influences the decision-making climate, we have to deal with it.”

 

Rasmussen Reports

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

Bottom of Form

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is anyone in Washington, D.C., listening to voters?

Just 18% of voters believe most members of Congress care what their constituents think. That helps explain why only 29% believe their local representative deserves reelection this November, a new low in surveying going back to November 2009.

One political analyst suggests adding 100 to 200 new members to the U.S. House of Representatives to lower the voter-to-member ratio. But just 17% favor that idea. Instead of being more responsive to voters, 77% think a bigger House would just be more inefficient and bureaucratic.

Meanwhile, President Obama is proposing $55 billion in new government spending and higher taxes in 2015 despite the fact that only 25% of voters think government spending increases help the economy and just 21% say the same of tax increases.

It doesn’t help that 69% believe middle-class Americans currently pay a larger share of their income in taxes than wealthy people do.

The president also has ordered the Labor Department to revise federal rules to allow more workers to qualify for overtime pay. Just 37% of voters believe increasing the number of people eligible for overtime pay will help the economy. Only 25% think it will help businesses.

At the same time, 53% expect the nation’s health care system to get worse under the new national health care law passed by Congress and signed by the president, a finding that has ranged from 48% to 61% in regular surveys since late 2012.

Republicans have taken a one-point lead on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot, but both parties earn less than 40% support, which indicates a high level of voter unhappiness with both camps.

Many voters express concern about the partisan battling in Washington, but a closer look at what America thinks about taxes and government spending makes it clearer why the political parties disagree so strongly.

Obama has been pushing for bigger government and more spending throughout his presidency, which may be one reason why his daily job approval rating has been in the negative teens for most of his time in office.

But 52% of voters now favor U.S. diplomatic action, including economic sanctions against Russia over the latter’s annexation of Crimea. That’s up from the high 30s earlier this month.

As tensions with Russia escalate, voters give the president his best marks in the national security area in several months. Forty-five percent (45%) now rate his handling of national security issues as good or excellent, while 36% still think he’s performing poorly in this area.

The GOP needs to pick up six seats in November to take control of the Senate. We took our first look at two more races this past week.

Republican Congressman Steve Daines is well ahead of interim Senator John Walsh and fellow Democrat John Bohlinger in the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Montana.

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown announced recently that he is exploring a possible challenge against incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, but Shaheen leads Brown 50% to 41% in the possible Senate race in the Granite State.

At week’s end, consumers continued to have a negative view of the economy, with just 21% who rated the economy as good or excellent and 38% who described it as poor. Investors were only slightly more confident.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of all Americans do not think the economy is fair to those who are willing to work hard.

Still, 36% of homeowners expect their home’s value to go up over the next year, the highest level of optimism since October. A year ago, only 30% expected their home to be worth more in the short term.

Twenty-four percent (24%), however, say the interest rates they are paying now are higher than last year at this time, the highest finding in nearly two years.

Most Americans remain concerned about inflation, with 84% who say they are paying more for groceries than they were a year ago. That’s the highest finding in over a year.

Just 51% of Americans are at least somewhat confident in the stability of the U.S. banking industry, with only 10% who are Very Confident.

In other surveys this week:

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

— With less than a month left until Tax Day, 51% of Americans have filed their income taxes, and nearly that many expect a refund.

The U.S. government announced recently that it is giving up its last bit of control over the Internet and turning it over to an international organization. But most voters think that’s a bad idea and expect countries like Russia and China to try to censor Internet content.

— Just six percent (6%) of Americans consider St. Patrick’s Day one of the nation’s most important holidays, and adults under 40 are much more likely to celebrate it than their elders.

— Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Americans say the arrival of spring puts them in a better mood.

 


 

March 15 2012

15March2014

Newswire

 

Drones In Action: Non-Military Uses

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Navy network hack has valuable lessons for companies

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

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

 

By Antone Gonsalves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

BY ANDREA SHALAL

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:28pm EDT

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

TWO-DOLLAR MAGNETS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

‘JUST SLOPPINESS’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ukraine may have to go nuclear, says Kiev lawmaker

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ukraine missiles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

China’s Disturbing Defense Budget

By THE EDITORIAL BOARDMARCH 9, 2014

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Justifying New Federal Cyber Campus

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Fort Meade Model

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Lockheed Martin buys cybersecurity firm Industrial Defender

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

By Christian Davenport, Published: March 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pentagon Push for More Money Looks Like a Losing War

By Sandra I. Erwin

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Leaderless Doctrine

MARCH 10, 2014

David Brooks

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How Target detected hack but failed to act — Bloomberg

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

March 13, 2014

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

By Brett Williams

 

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

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

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

 

What is it?

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

 

Part of the global commons

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

 

The threat

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

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

 

Ensuring freedom of access for legitimate use

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

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

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

 

Senior leadership for cyberspace

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

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

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

 

Appeal of UAV ruling pressures FAA to establish rules

by Press • 14 March 2014

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

Peter Corbett, The Arizona Republic

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full NTSB will review Geraghty’s ruling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

AF requests BRAC from House Appropriations Committee

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

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

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

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

The breakdown:

– $1.8 billion for sustainment

– $547 million for restoration and modernization

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

SecAF addresses budget challenges in Congress

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Rasmussen Reports

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

Bottom of Form

Saturday, March 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other surveys this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

March 1 2014

1March2014

Newswire

 

Will Plug-in Cars Crash the Electric Grid?

by Joshua E. Brown

Burlington GT (SPX) Feb 24, 2014

http://onlinewebfind.com/ads-clicktrack/click/newjump1.do?affiliate=63801&subid=1049999&terms=will%20plug-in%20cars%20crash%20the%20electric%20grid%20space%20news&ai=_zE4vWiuiFluKECHx1MdSaWb-g7OUwmH4oqyKv4U5Sj-qayw5d7RJ0vHpxslBNo6phAAxA5Kt82pSUAqOGiVWTVZgk-DEpQ6RJ8UmRVPM0kI8Vj-nVsGPkWkXjvFSQnCi7ZubMv3KW7uhjJFCgtxcZ7_WejL5WHZYbgCs3lr73UpdTgngZEYkCB106Fxr6ojLntDLuIiancWx4QvFPc_ZX5Kv16QQAnlvbLoJYALbrfIrqnt6LGdoTPm8PCp7h9BEAZqYt_wCkmWxNL9KxgJCLpQQvsNLRpwqpDDm6kywthSmkk_2tm_I0v5Ql_U5ZL6trX4VcuCz7jWYR5w6UfZPCknvHRALNEg05RibXdWxsj1ifpYZVtbHrM_72rY5EBZTkculpzm3hXUYQCidXERkxCEr1M8v0tHTQbaB-JyqjlPO2degxD3ktDMC2KpT_kg4usADovTnoBNu3ZS0hNjwyCEftAqPkx8cPL0jP96hrs&version=1.1

 

Selecting a Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf – or one of many other new models – shoppers in the United States bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars in 2013. That’s a tiny slice of the auto market, but it’s up eighty-four percent from the year before. In Vermont, as of January 2014, there were 679 plug-in vehicles, according to the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. That’s two hundred percent growth over 2013.

This is good news in terms of oil consumption and air pollution. But, of course, every plug-in has to be, well, plugged in. And this growing fleet will put a lot of new strain on the nation’s aging electrical distribution systems, like transformers and underground cables, especially at times of peak demand – say, six in the evening when people come home from work.

How to manage all these cars seeking a socket at the same time – without crashing the grid or pushing rates to the roof – has some utilities wondering, if not downright worried.

Now a team of UVM scientists have created a novel solution, which they report on in the forthcoming March issue of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, a journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

 

Put it in a packet

“The key to our approach is to break up the request for power from each car into multiple small chunks – into packets,” says Jeff Frolik, a professor in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and co-author on the new study.

By using the nation’s growing network of “smart meters” – a new generation of household electric meters that communicate information back-and-forth between a house and the utility – the new approach would let a car charge for, say, five or ten minutes at a time. And then the car would “get back into the line,” Frolik says, and make another request for power. If demand was low, it would continue charging, but if it was high, the car would have to wait.

“The vehicle doesn’t care. And, most of the time, as long as people get charged by morning, they won’t care either,” says UVM’s Paul Hines, an expert on power systems and co-author on the study. “By charging cars in this way, it’s really easy to let everybody share the capacity that is available on the grid.”

Taking a page out of how radio and internet communications are distributed, the team’s strategy will allow electric utilities to spread out the demand from plug-in cars over the whole day and night. The information from the smart meter prevents the grid from being overloaded. “And the problem of peaks and valleys is becoming more pronounced as we get more intermittent power – wind and solar – in the system,” says Hines. “There is a growing need to smooth out supply and demand.”

At the same time, the UVM teams’ invention – patent pending – would protect a car owner’s privacy. A charge management device could be located at the level of, for example, a neighborhood substation. It would assess local strain on the grid. If demand wasn’t too high, it would randomly distribute “charge-packets” of power to those households that were putting in requests.

“Our solution is decentralized,” says Pooya Rezaei, a doctoral student working with Hines and the lead author on the new paper. “The utility doesn’t know who is charging.”

Instead, the power would be distributed by a computer algorithm called an “automaton” that is the technical heart of the new approach. The automaton is driven by rising and falling probabilities, which means everyone would eventually get a turn – but the utility wouldn’t know, or need to know, a person’s driving patterns or what house was receiving power when.

 

Urgent needs

But what if you come home from work and need to charge your plug-in right away to get to your kid’s big basketball game? “We assumed that drivers can decide to choose between urgent and non-urgent charging modes,” the scientists write. In the urgent mode the vehicle requests charge regardless of the price of electricity. In this case, the system gives this car the best odds of getting to the front of the line, almost guaranteeing that it will be charged as soon as possible – but at full market rates instead of the discount rate that would be used as an incentive for those opting-in to the new approach.

Why put plug-in cars on “packetized” demand instead of all the other electric demands in a house? Because the new generation of car chargers, so-called “Level 2 PEV chargers” are likely to be the biggest power load in a home. “The load provided by an electric vehicle and the load provided by a house are basically equivalent,” says Frolik. “If someone gets an electric vehicle it’s like adding another house to that neighborhood.”

Imagine a neighborhood where everyone buys a plug-in car. Demand doubles, but it’s over the same wires and transformers. Concern about overload in this kind of scenario has led some researchers and utilities to explore systems where the company has centralized control over who can charge when. This so-called “omniscient centralized optimization” can create a perfectly efficient use of the available power – in theory.

 

But it also means drivers have to either be willing to provide information about their driving habits or set schedules about when they’ll charge their car. This rubs against the grain of a century’s worth of understanding of the car as a tool of autonomy.

Others have proposed elaborate online auction schemes to manage demand. “Some of the other systems are way too complicated,” says Hines, who has extensive experience working with actual power companies. “In a big city, a utility doesn’t want to be managing millions of tiny auctions. Ours is a much simpler system that gets the job done without overloading the grid and gets people what they want the vast majority of the time.”

 

DoD 5-Year Spending Plan $115 Billion Over Budget Caps, Ignores Sequestration

Feb. 23, 2014 – 03:45AM | By MARCUS WEISGERBER and CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS |

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140223/DEFREG02/302230020/Sources-DoD-5-Year-Spending-Plan-115-Billion-Over-Budget-Caps-Ignores-Sequestration

 

WASHINGTON — The US Defense Department on March 4 will propose a five-year plan that boosts Pentagon spending by a total of $115 billion over sequestration spending caps, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the plan.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday will preview the plan, along with other key items included in DoD’s $496 billion 2015 budget proposal. The budget proposal ignores federally mandated spending caps between 2016 and 2019. Defense News has reported that the fiscal 2016 budget projection would be $36 billion over the sequester cap.

While DoD’s fiscal 2015 budget falls in line with defense spending caps for that year, the budget will include a separate $26 billion “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative.” The additional $26 billion would go toward readiness, the sources said.

The proposal recommends keeping an aircraft carrier but sidelining half of the Navy’s cruiser fleet. It would also retire the Air Force’s A-10 and U-2 fleets and sets the stage for retiring the KC-10 fleet and for delaying the Navy’s version of the F-35.

Reached Sunday night, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said he would not comment on budget specifics ahead of Hagel’s rollout.

 

“The Secretary believes strongly that we are facing unique challenges today, both from a security perspective and from a fiscal one. He further believes it is important that a budget not just state what you will pay for, but also what you will stand for,” Kirby said. “He has worked hard with the services to ensure that we continue to stand for the defense of our national interests — that whatever budget priorities we establish, we do so in keeping with our defense strategy and with a strong commitment to the men and women in uniform and to their families.

“But he has also said that we have to face the realities of our time. We must be pragmatic. We can’t escape tough choices. He and the chiefs are willing to make those choices — choices that become impossible to make intelligently should sequestration remain the law of the land.”

As for the additional $26 billion, an Obama administration official said the initiative “will be fully paid for with a balanced package of spending and tax reforms.”

The funding should not be considered an unfunded priorities, or wish list, the official said.

“It will demonstrate how, by simply closing a few unfair tax loopholes and reforming spending programs, Congress could achieve significant economic goals in research, education, manufacturing and skills training,” the official said. “It will be evenly split between defense and non-defense.

“This is consistent with the model established in Murray-Ryan, providing equal dollar-for-dollar increases above the current law discretionary spending caps for both defense and non-defense,” the official continued, referring to the spending compromise hashed out by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “This level would fully eliminate the remaining non-defense discretionary sequestration cuts in FY2015.”

The five-year projections included in the budget are not in line with federal spending caps and would be subject to sequestration if the law is not changed.

DoD intends to slash personnel across all of the military services, but plans to add nearly 4,000 to the special operations ranks. The spending forecast calls for reducing the Army to between 440,000 to 450,000 soldiers and going as low as 420,000 if sequester remains. It also proposes shrinking the Marine Corps by 8,000 Marines to 182,000. Total Corps end-strength drops to 175,000 if sequestration continues.

The budget plan proposes cutting 20,000 from the Army National Guard — dropping to 335,000 by 2019 — and 10,000 from the Army Reserve, bring it to 195,000.

DoD will ask Congress to approve a base realignment and closure (BRAC) round in 2017. This spring, DoD will begin a review of its infrastructure in Europe to recommend funding cuts on the continent, which are not subject to BRAC.

Defense officials say DoD still plans to fulfill its commitments in Europe and the Middle East.

In terms of service specifics, the Pentagon is planning to invest $1 billion in next-generation jet engine technology.

As has been widely reported, the Air Force would retire its entire A-10 attack jet fleet. If sequestration remains in place, it would also retire its entire KC-10 fleet and reduce unmanned aircraft combat air patrols.

The Air Force also will propose retiring its entire Lockheed Martin U-2 spy plane fleet, which sources said was tirelessly debated throughout the budget-building process. It will instead opt to replace the U-2 with the unmanned Northrop Grumman Global Hawk surveillance aircraft, a reversal of what the Air Force had wanted to do.

The Navy will not ask to retire an aircraft carrier, as had been reported. Yet it will not fund the midlife refueling of the carrier George Washington. Instead, DoD will make a decision on whether to cut an aircraft carrier from its 11-ship fleet in 2016, sources said.

The Navy also will propose taking 11 cruisers — half the fleet — out of service until funds are available to modernize them.

The Navy plans to purchase two submarines and two destroyers per year, as well as an additional afloat staging base.

If sequestration continues, the Navy would have to lay up six additional ships in 2016. It would also suspend purchases of the F-35C carrier-based version of the Joint Strike Fighter for two years, sources said.

DoD’s 2015 proposal also will recommend canceling the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle program.

 

U.S. Military to Unveil Plan to Cut Personnel Costs

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Propose Limits on Pay Raises, Housing Allowances; Congress Unlikely to Back Changes in Election Year, Experts Say

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303636404579397333410583004?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303636404579397333410583004.html

By DION NISSENBAUM And JULIAN E. BARNES CONNECT

Updated Feb. 21, 2014 7:54 p.m. ET

 

WASHINGTON—Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set Monday to recommend a limit on military pay raises, higher fees for health-care benefits and less generous housing allowances to prune billions of dollars in benefits from the defense budget, setting up an election-year confrontation with veterans groups and lawmakers.

Faced with steadily increasing military personnel costs that threaten to overwhelm an ever-tighter budget, Mr. Hagel is also expected to include a one-year freeze on raises for top military brass—a gesture meant to show that the best-compensated leaders also will make sacrifices.

Pentagon officials describe the package of cuts, which will be part of the military’s coming budget, as a modest and realistic attempt to save billions of dollars needed to protect other critical portions of U.S. defense spending.

But the approach—which would also place limits on things like support for grocery stores offering discounts to military families—is certain to face fierce resistance from veterans groups that recently defeated a far more modest congressional effort to curb military pay.

“This is a real uphill battle with Congress,” said Mieke Eoyang, a former Democratic congressional aide and director of the National Security Program at Third Way, a centrist think tank in Washington.

“God bless [Mr. Hagel] for trying to get a handle on these costs,” she said. “But in this political environment, in an election year, it’s going to be hard for members of Congress to accept anything that’s viewed as taking benefits away from troops.”

Pentagon officials say that they recognize the political realities, but emphasize that declining military spending makes trimming costs even more important this year.

“Personnel costs reflect some 50% of the Pentagon budget and cannot be exempted in the context of the significant cuts the department is facing,” said Adm. John Kirby, the Defense Department’s top spokesman. “Secretary Hagel has been clear that, while we do not want to, we ultimately must slow the growth of military pay and compensation.”

Senior officials say they have White House backing to make a serious push for the changes this year.

“The past several years of proposals, and the intransigence that they have been met with on the Hill [in Congress] only further demonstrates the urgency that we need to make progress on this now,” said one senior defense official.

Veterans organizations are expected to oppose many of the proposals.

Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said veterans groups understand there is a “finite amount of money,” but would like to see the Pentagon focus more on other cost cuts it is seeking, such as closing unnecessary bases and scaling back weapons programs, rather than targeting personnel costs.

“We are here to make sure America honors its commitment to its military members, veterans and their families,” he said.

Mr. Hagel is expected to steer clear of changes to military retirement benefits and wait until a special commission presents proposals next year, defense officials said.

His plan, officials said, will call for holding down pay raises for troops and a one-year pay freeze for the Defense Department’s senior military leaders.

His proposal will include cutting subsidies for commissaries that provide discounted goods for military families, a move expected to reduce the annual support from about $1.4 billion to $500 million. None of them will be asked to close. He also will call for raising health-care fees spent on some nonurgent care and placing new limits on increases to troops’ housing allowances.

The push to overhaul military pay and benefits has intensified as the Defense Department seeks ways to restructure its operations amid tightening budgets and the end of costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Washington injected billions more into the military budget. Average pay and benefits for U.S. active-duty and reserve personnel rose to $81,600 in 2013 from $44,200 in 2001, a rise of 85%, according to the Pentagon.

In effort to slow the increase, Mr. Hagel will seek to prevail where his predecessors have failed. Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in his recent memoir described his inability to enact any benefits changes as one of his “biggest failures” in the job.

Veterans groups demonstrated their clout this month by persuading lawmakers to repeal modest trims to military pensions that had been part of a broader congressional compromise package on the budget.

Pentagon officials characterized that effort as an attempt at piecemeal change, while coming trims will be “balanced, pragmatic, measured approaches.”

Some experts note that Congress could be more receptive to curbing military-personnel costs after November’s elections.

“The political reality is that this is DOA for now, but it’s not DOA forever,” said Todd Harrison, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank with close ties to the Pentagon. “You’ve got to be honest: Congress is not going to do this months before an election.”

The Military Officers Association of America, which led the recent charge to roll back the cost-of-living cut, is taking a wait-and-see approach on future proposals.

But retired Vice Adm. Norbert Ryan, its president, praised Mr. Hagel for meeting with his group three times as part of his outreach to veterans associations, more often than other recent secretaries, and said he is willing to listen to the proposals.

“We will be open to looking at these proposals but we are really worried about the piecemeal approach,” he said. “You are going to take purchasing power out of military members’ and their family’s pocketbooks.”

A senior defense official predicted the cut to the commissary subsidies would likely be the most difficult political push on Capitol Hill.

Commissaries offer at-cost groceries to current and former members of the military. While big-box stories willing to take a loss on items like eggs and milk can undercut some prices, commissaries in general offer a discount on overall grocery bills.

Next to retirement benefits, commissary access is the second most important benefit to many veteran service organizations, particularly those representing older retired veterans.

“These are near and dear to the retired population’s heart,” the official said. “The commissaries will be a battle.”

The Department of Defense spends $1.4 billion a year on subsidies to commissaries, funding that defense officials note would pay for roughly 15,000 soldiers.

Under the plan, commissaries overseas and some in rural areas of the U.S. would still get a subsidy. But over time, others would be forced to operate like base exchanges, which sell other consumer products but don’t receive a taxpayer subsidy.

Defense officials have higher hopes that other proposals, like slowing the growth of housing subsidies and pay raises, will gain more traction on Capitol Hill.

Officials note that they are not trying to cut service members’ pay.

“It is about slowing the growth of pay and benefits,” said a senior military official. “It is about ensuring fair compensation.”

 

 

Quadrennial Review To Emphasize Middle East

Feb. 23, 2014 – 07:15PM | By JOHN T. BENNETT and MARCUS WEISGERBER | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140223/DEFREG02/302230016/Quadrennial-Review-Emphasize-Middle-Eas

 

WASHINGTON — The US Defense Department’s latest military strategy review will stress the Pentagon’s commitment to the Middle East, a region that has felt jilted by numerous US actions in recent years.

The quadrennial defense review (QDR) — an outline of military strategy updated every four years — is also expected to examine changes unfolding in the Pacific, the global security environment and fiscal outlook for DoD, according to sources.

In January 2012, the Pentagon’s Strategic Guidance, a major overhaul of military strategy, placed a greater emphasis on the Pacific, which was widely perceived by other regions of the world as abandonment. Even though the US has not changed its force posture in the Middle East, emphasizing the region in the updated strategy would send a message of commitment to the region, experts said.

The QDR is also expected to emphasize research-and-development investment, according to sources, an area of major emphasis by Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall and other top leaders.

DoD officials will preview the Pentagon’s updated military strategy and 2015 budget proposal this week in what should be a busy few days for the Pentagon. Also on the schedule this week is Robert Work’s nomination hearing to be deputy defense secretary.

The 2015 budget proposal is expected to total $496 billion, which is in line with spending caps established last last year. The services are expected to make some major funding shifts, including the Air Force retiring all of its A-10 attack jets, a reduction in planned Navy littoral combat ship purchases and steep personnel reductions in the Army.

The services are also expected to put forth a $26 billion unfunded priorities list, a wish list of items not included in the budget itself.

The Obama administration likely will scale back funding for the US military’s most elite forces, which spearheaded the fight against al-Qaida and embodied the Pentagon’s rapid post-9/11 budget growth, multiple defense sources say. “SOF will be flat” across the 2015 budget plan’s five years, said one defense source with ties to the Pentagon and White House.

Another source, citing conversations with senior special operations officials, said spec ops funding will be “reined in.”

 

Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said setting spec ops funding on a flat trajectory from 2015 through 2019 “sounds reasonable given the tremendous growth that area has seen in recent years.”

The expected flattening of special operations funding shows, analysts say, that budget realities have finally caught up to the military’s most elite units.

The White House is slated to deliver its full federal budget request to Capitol Hill on March 4. The QDR is also expected to head to lawmakers in the coming weeks.

Sources say Work’s confirmation to be the Pentagon’s No. 2 shouldn’t be derailed by a budget preview the day before his hearing.

Numerous sources say it’s unlikely senators would block Work’s nomination if their pet weapons program is targeted for cuts when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel previews the Pentagon’s 2015 spending proposal on Feb. 24.

But they expect Hagel’s “budget pre-brief” to create some tense exchanges between annoyed Senate Armed Services Committee members and Work, President Barack Obama’s pick to be deputy defense secretary.

“I think he’s going to be confirmed,” said Lawrence Korb, a former Pentagon official now with the Center for American Progress, a think tank with ties to the Obama administration.

Many defense observers considered Work’s confirmation hearing a mere formality. After all, the former Navy undersecretary and think tank executive is well-respected among Republicans and Democrats. And no one has questioned his qualifications to manage the Defense Department.

One defense source noted that Work and the other nominees are known quantities within the military-industrial-congressional complex and have been intimately involved at one point or another throughout the current budget and quadrennial defense review processes.

Still, senators surely will use the confirmation hearing to grandstand if Hagel announces cuts to a weapon system made in their state, sources say.

“I think he’ll be fine, but the Hagel briefing will make the hearing not such a pro-forma thing,” Korb said. “Overall, though, I think he’ll have no major problem at all.”

“He’ll certainly have to answer for some things he wouldn’t have had to answer for two weeks ago,” one defense source said.

One potential point of awkwardness: The Pentagon’s acting deputy, Christine Fox, wrote a classified memo in January directing the Navy to halt production of littoral combat ships at 32, well under the planned purchase of 52. During his time as Navy undersecretary, Work was the department’s loudest cheerleader for the ship program. Becoming the deputy puts him in the position of defending program cuts after years of full-throated endorsement.

One prominent defense industry lobbyist said he doubts “people would put a hold on his nomination without having all details of the budget, which is not coming for another week or so.”

 

FY15 Budget Preview

02/24/2014 02:35 PM CST

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Press Briefing Room, Monday, February 24, 2014

 

First, let me acknowledge and thank Chairman Dempsey, Vice Chairman Winnefeld, our chiefs, our secretaries, who are here, as well as our Comptroller and our Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox for the work that they have put in over the few months in particular to get us to this point, where we have a budget that we are going to present to Congress next week.

I want to talk a little bit about that today. Chairman Dempsey will also add his remarks, but I am very grateful, and I know that President Obama is very grateful, to these men and women who have spent an awful lot of time – and the people they represent and their services – in putting this together.

I particularly want to note that the Comptroller, Bob Hale, this will be his last budget unless we call him back into duty after he goes to find an island somewhere and doesn’t return calls. But I am particularly appreciative of his willingness to stay through this budget which was not an easy task for Bob Hale. You all know the kind of service that he has given this country and this department for many, many years. And to Bob Hale, thank you, and to all your team down there, we are grateful.

Today I am announcing the key decisions I have recommended to the President for the Defense Department’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget and beyond.

These recommendations will adapt and reshape our defense enterprise so that we can continue protecting this nation’s security in an era of unprecedented uncertainty and change. As we end our combat mission in Afghanistan, this will be the first budget to fully reflect the transition DoD is making for after 13 years of war – the longest conflict in our nation’s history.

We are repositioning to focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future: new technologies, new centers of power, and a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.

The choices ahead will define our defense institutions for the years to come. Chairman Dempsey and I worked in a pragmatic and collaborative way to build the balanced force our nation must have for the future. I worked closely with the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Service Secretaries, and Service Chiefs in developing these recommendations, in a process that began with last summer’s Strategic Choices and Management Review. I also want to recognize today the senior enlisted leaders in each of the services for their contributions and their involvement and their leadership and what they continue to do every day for our country, but in particular their help and input in crafting this budget.Our recommendations were guided by an updated defense strategy that builds on the President’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance. As described in the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review report, this defense strategy is focused on:

Defending the homeland against all strategic threats;

Building security globally by projecting U.S. influence and deterring aggression; and;

Remaining prepared to win decisively against any adversary should deterrence fail.

To fulfill this strategy DoD will continue to shift its operational focus and forces to the Asia-Pacific, sustain commitments to key allies and partners in the Middle East and Europe, maintain engagement in other regions, and continue to aggressively pursue global terrorist networks.

 

Our reviews made two new realities very clear:

First, the development and proliferation of more advanced military technologies by other nations that means that we are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies, and in space can no longer be taken for granted.

Second, defense spending is not expected to reach the levels projected in the five-year budget plan submitted by the President last year.

 

Given these realities, we must now adapt, innovate, and make difficult decisions to ensure that our military remains ready and capable – maintaining its technological edge over all potential adversaries. However, as a consequence of large budget cuts, our future force will assume additional risks in certain areas.

In crafting this package, we prioritized DoD’s strategic interests and matched them to budget resources. This required a series of difficult choices:

We chose further reductions in troop strength and force structure in every military service – active and reserve – in order to sustain our readiness and technological superiority, and to protect critical capabilities like Special Operations Forces and cyber resources.

We chose to terminate or delay some modernization programs to protect higher priorities in procurement, research, and development.

And we chose to slow the growth of military compensation costs in ways that will preserve the quality of the all-volunteer force, but also free up critical funds needed for sustaining training, readiness, and modernization.

 

Fiscal Context and Future Spending Assumptions

Before describing our specific recommendations, let me address the fiscal realities and assumptions behind our decision-making.

On March 1, 2013 – one year ago this week – steep and abrupt automatic spending cuts were imposed on DoD and other agencies across the government under the mechanism of sequestration. For DoD, these irresponsible cuts amounted to $37 billion last fiscal year. These cuts came on top of the $487 billion, ten-year defense spending reductions required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

As sequestration was being imposed, the President submitted a Fiscal Year 2014 budget plan that would have fully repealed those cuts in favor of balanced deficit reduction. That would have given DoD the resources needed to fully implement the President’s January 2012 defense strategy and maintain a ready and modern force.

Two months ago, rather than fully repealing sequestration, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act, which provided DoD with some relief in this Fiscal Year and for Fiscal Year 2015. The Bipartisan Budget Act gives DoD much-needed budget certainty for the next fiscal year. But, defense spending remains significantly below what the President requested in his Fiscal Year 2014 budget request and five year budget plan.

Under the spending limits of the Bipartisan Budget Act, DoD’s budget is roughly $496 billion this Fiscal Year – or $31 billion below what the President requested. The law also limits DoD spending in Fiscal Year 2015 to $496 billion, which is $45 billion less than was projected in the President’s budget request last year. So while DoD welcomes the measure of relief and stability that the [Bipartisan] Budget Act provided, it still forces us to cut more than $75 billion over this two-year period, in addition to the $37 billion cut we took last year and the Budget Control Act’s 10-year reductions of $487 billion. And sequestration-level cuts remain the law for Fiscal Year 2016 and beyond.

The President will soon submit a budget request that adheres to Bipartisan Budget Act spending limits for Fiscal Year 2015. But it is clear that under these limits the military will still face significant readiness and modernization challenges next year. To close these gaps, the President’s budget will include an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative. This initiative is a detailed proposal that is part of the President’s budget submission. It would provide an additional $26 billion for the Defense Department in Fiscal Year 2015.

These additional funds would be paid for with a balanced package of spending and tax reforms, and would allow us to increase training, upgrade aircraft and weapons systems, and make needed repairs to our facilities. The money is specifically for bringing unit readiness and equipment closer to standard after the disruptions and large shortfalls of the last few years. I strongly support the President’s proposal.

The President’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 will also contain a new five-year defense budget plan, mapping out defense programs through 2019. Over five years, this plan projects $115 billion more in spending than sequestration levels.

The reason we are requesting this increase over sequestration levels is because the President and I would never recommend a budget that compromises our national security. Continued sequestration cuts would compromise our national security both for the short- and long-term.

Sequestration requires cuts so deep, so abrupt, so quickly, that we cannot shrink the size of our military fast enough. In the short-term, the only way to implement sequestration is to sharply reduce spending on readiness and modernization, which would almost certainly result in a hollow force – one that is not ready, that is notcapable of fulfilling assigned missions. In the longer term, after trimming the military enough to restore readiness and modernization, the resulting force would be too small to fully execute the President’s defense strategy.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget offers a more deliberate and far more responsible approach that protects readiness and modernization, while maintaining a force large enough to fulfill our defense strategy – though with some added risk for some missions.

This plan balances the need to protect our national security with the need to be realistic about future budget levels. DoD has also completed a detailed plan should sequestration-level cuts return in Fiscal Year 2016 and beyond, as is the current law.

The reality of reduced resources and a changing strategic environment requires us to prioritize and make difficult choices. Some of those choices we must make now. For other choices – particularly those involving the ultimate size of our armed forces – we have built decision points into our budget plan. We will make these decisions when we have more clarity regarding future spending levels. Our budget will give us the flexibility to make different decisions based on different fiscal outcomes.

 

DoD’s Approach

Before we recommended any changes to the military’s size or capabilities, we first focused on implementing management reforms and reducing DoD’s overhead and operating costs.

Last summer I announced a 20 percent cut in DoD’s major headquarters operating budgets, which is expected to save about $5 billion in operating costs over the next five years. These efforts began in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the Joint Staff, but they will also include Service and Combatant Command headquarters. We are paring back contract spending, making targeted cuts in civilian personnel, improving the quality of financial information and taking other steps to become more efficient – in addition to continuing to implement the more than $200 billion in overhead cuts DoD has submitted in the last three budget proposals.

We cannot fully achieve our goals for overhead reductions without cutting unnecessary and costly infrastructure. For that reason, DoD will ask Congress for another round of Base Realignment[and] Closure (BRAC) in 2017. I am mindful that Congress has not agreed to [our] BRAC requests of the last two years. But if Congress continues to block these requests even as they slash the overall budget, we will have to consider every tool at our disposal to reduce infrastructure. DoD has already been reducing infrastructure where we can. In Europe, where BRAC authority is not needed, we have reduced our infrastructure by 30 percent since 2000, and a European Infrastructure Consolidation Review this spring will recommend further cuts which DoD will pursue.

Reducing overhead will continue to be important, but the potential savings will not by themselves enough to meet targets under either the President’s budget or sequestration levels. To meet reductions of the scale required, we had to carefully examine the military’s force structure.

 

Force Structure and Modernization Decisions

Our force structure and modernization recommendations are rooted in three realities:

First, after Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations;

Second, we must maintain our technological edge over potential adversaries;

Third, the military must be ready and capable to respond quickly to all contingencies and decisively defeat any opponent should deterrence fail.

 

Accordingly, our recommendations favor a smaller and more capable force – putting a premium on rapidly deployable, self-sustaining platforms that can defeat more technologically advanced adversaries. We also preserved all three legs of the nuclear triad and will make important investments to preserve a safe, secure, reliable, and effective nuclear force.

The forces we prioritized can project power over great distances and carry out a variety of missions more relevant to the President’s defense strategy, such as homeland defense, strategic deterrence, building partnership capacity, and defeating asymmetric threats. They are also well-suited to the strategy’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, to sustaining security commitments in the Middle East and Europe, and our engagement in other regions.

Our recommendations seek to protect capabilities uniquely suited to the most likely missions of the future, most notably special operations forces used for counterterrorism and crisis response. Accordingly, our special operations forces will grow to 69,700 personnel from roughly 66,000 today.

 

Let me now describe key recommendations for each of the military services.

 

Air Force

For the Air Force, an emphasis on capability over capacity meant that we protected its key modernization programs, including the new bomber, the Joint Strike Fighter, and the new refueling tanker. We also recommended investing $1 billion in a promising next-generation jet engine technology, which we expect to produce sizeable cost-savings through reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance needs. This new funding will also help ensure a robust industrial base, a very strong and important industrial base – itself a national strategic asset.

To fund these investments, the Air Force will reduce the number of tactical air squadrons including the entire A-10 fleet. Retiring the A-10 fleet saves $3.5 billion over five years and accelerates the Air Force’s long-standing modernization plan – which called for replacing the A-10s with the more capable F-35 in the early 2020s.

The “Warthog” is a venerable platform, and this was a tough decision. But the A-10 is a 40-year-old single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield. It cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses. And as we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, the advent of precision munitions means that many more types of aircraft can now provide effective close air support, from B-1 bombers to remotely piloted aircraft. And these aircraft can execute more than one mission.

The A-10’s age is also making it much more difficult and costly to maintain. Significant savings are only possible through eliminating the entire fleet, because of the fixed cost of maintaining the support apparatus associated with that aircraft. Keeping a smaller number of A-10s would only delay the inevitable while forcing worse trade-offs elsewhere.

In addition to the A-10, the Air Force will also retire the 50-year-old U-2 in favor of the unmanned Global Hawk system. This decision was a close call, as DoD had previously recommended retaining the U-2 over the Global Hawk because of cost issues. But over the last several years, DoD has been able to reduce the Global Hawk’s operating costs. With its greater range and endurance, the Global Hawk makes a better high-altitude reconnaissance platform for the future.

The Air Force will slow the growth in its arsenal of armed unmanned systems that, while effective against insurgents and terrorists, cannot operate in the face of enemy aircraft and modern air defenses. Instead of increasing to a force of 65 around-the-clock combat air patrols of Predator and Reaper aircraft, the Air Force will grow to 55, still a significant increase. Given the continued drawdown in Afghanistan, this level of coverage will be sufficient to meet our requirements, and we would still be able to surge to an unprecedented 71 combat air patrols under the plan. DoD will continue buying the more capable Reapers until we have an all-Reaper fleet.

If sequestration-level cuts are re-imposed in 2016 and beyond, however, the Air Force would need to make far more significant cuts to force structure and modernization. The Air Force would have to retire 80 more aircraft, including the entire KC-10 tanker fleet and the Global Hawk Block 40 fleet, as well as slow down purchases of the Joint Strike Fighter – resulting in 24 fewer F-35s purchased through Fiscal Year 2019 – and sustain ten fewer Predator and Reaper 24-hour combat air patrols. The Air Force would also have to take deep cuts to flying hours, which would prevent a return to adequate readiness levels.

 

Navy and Marine Corps

Next, the Navy Under the President’s budget plan, the Navy will launch an aggressive and ambitious effort to reduce acquisitions costs and maximize resources available to buy and build new ships. This will enable our ship inventory to continue to grow over the next five years to support the global demands for naval presence.

 

The spending levels proposed under the President’s budget plan would also enable the Navy to maintain 11 carrier strike groups. However, we will have to make a final decision on the future of the George Washington aircraft carrier in the 2016 budget submission. If sequestration spending levels remain in place in Fiscal Year 2016, she would need to be retired before her scheduled nuclear refueling and overhaul. That would leave the Navy with 10 carrier strike groups. But keeping the George Washington in the fleet would cost $6 billion – so we would have no other choice than to retire her should sequestration-level cuts be re-imposed. At the President’s budget level, we would pay for the overhaul and maintain 11 carriers.

In order to help keep its ship inventory ready and modern under the President’s plan, half of the Navy’s cruiser fleet – or eleven ships – will be “laid up” and placed in reduced operating status while they are modernized, and eventually returned to service with greater capability and a longer lifespan. This approach enables us over the long-term to sustain and modernize our fleet of cruisers, which are the most capable ships for controlling the air defense of a carrier strike group.

Overall, the Navy’s fleet will be significantly modernized under our plan, which continues buying two destroyers and two attack submarines per year, as well as one additional Afloat Staging Base. We have preserved the fleet’s modernization programs and provided for increases in ship inventory over the next five years.

Regarding the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, I am concerned that the Navy is relying too heavily on the LCS to achieve its long-term goals for ship numbers. Therefore, no new contract negotiations beyond 32 ships will go forward. With this decision, the LCS line will continue beyond our five-year budget plan with no interruptions.

The LCS was designed to perform certain missions – such as mine sweeping and anti-submarine warfare – in a relatively permissive environment. But we need to closely examine whether the LCS has the independent protection and firepower to operate and survive against a more advanced military adversary and emerging new technologies, especially in the Asia Pacific. If we were to build out the LCS program to 52 ships, as previously planned, it would represent one-sixth of our future 300-ship Navy. Given continued fiscal restraints, we must direct future shipbuilding resources toward platforms that can operate in every region and along the full spectrum of conflict.

Additionally, at my direction, the Navy will submit alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate. I’ve directed the Navy to consider a completely new design, existing ship designs, and a modified LCS. These proposals are due to me later this year in time to inform next year’s budget submission.

If sequestration spending levels return in 2016 and beyond, we will be forced into much tougher decisions on the Navy surface fleet. Six additional ships would have to be laid up, and we would have to slow the rate at which we buy destroyers. The net result of sequestration-level cuts would be ten fewer large surface combatant ships in the Navy’s operational inventory by 2023. Under sequestration spending levels, the Navy would also halt procurement of the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter for two years.

The Marine Corps’ inherent agility, crisis response capabilities, and maritime focus make it well-suited to carry out many priority missions under the President’s defense strategy. Accordingly, if the President’s budget levels are sustained for the next five years, we could avoid additional reductions in end strength beyond those already planned. Today the Marines number about 190,000, and they will draw down to 182,000. If sequestration-level cuts are re-imposed in 2016 and beyond, the Marines would have to shrink further to 175,000. Under any scenario, we will devote about 900 more Marines to provide enhanced embassy security around the world.

 

Army

Finally, the Army: We seek a highly ready and capable Army, able to dominate any opponent across the full spectrum of operations. To achieve this, the Army must accelerate the pace and increase the scale of its post-war drawdown. Today, there are about 520,000 active-duty soldiers, which the Army had planned to reduce to 490,000. However, the Strategic Choices and Management Review and the QDR both determined that since we are no longer sizing the force for prolonged stability operations, an Army of this size is larger than required to meet the demands of our defense strategy. Given reduced budgets, it is also larger than we can afford to modernize and keep ready. We have decided to further reduce active-duty Army end-strength to a range of 440-450,[000] soldiers.

I have also accepted the Army’s recommendations to terminate the current Ground Combat Vehicle program and re-direct the funds toward developing a next-generation platform. I have asked the leadership of the Army and the Marine Corps to deliver new, realistic visions for avehicle modernization by the end of this fiscalyear.

The changes to end strength would result in a smaller Army, but would help ensure the Army remains well-trained and clearly superior in arms and equipment. While this smaller capacity entails some added risk, even if we execute extended or simultaneous ground operations, our analysis showed that this force would be capable of decisively defeating aggression in one major combat theater – as it must be – while also defending the homeland and supporting air and naval forces engaged in another theater against an adversary. If sequestration-level cuts are re-imposed in 2016, the active dutyArmy would have to draw down to an end strength of 420,000 soldiers.

The Army National Guard and Reserves will also draw down in order to maintain a balanced force. Today, the Army National Guard numbers about 355,000 soldiers and the Reserves about 205,000 soldiers. By 2017, under our recommendations, there would be 335,000 soldiers in the Army National Guard force structure and 195,000 in the Reserves. If sequestration returns in 2016, the Army National Guard would continue drawing down further, to 315,000. Army Reserves would draw down to 185,000.

We have protected the National Guard and Reserves from cuts to the extent possible, but to maintain a ready and capable force at a time of fiscal constraints, no component of DoD can be entirely exempted from reductions.

This five percent recommended reduction in Guard and Reserve soldiers is smaller than the 13 percent reduction in active-duty soldiers. I’m mindful that many in the Guard and Reserve community and in Congress have argued that the reserve component should be protected from cuts because they provide more troops at lower cost. If our priority was having the largest possible force in the event of a large-scale, prolonged war, that would be reasonable. However, our defense strategy calls for more than that. Surge capacity is just one factor, as we must prioritize readiness, capability, and agility. And while it is true that reserve units are less expensive when they are not mobilized, our analysis shows that a reserve unit is roughly the same cost as an active duty unit when mobilized and deployed.

 

Guardsmen and Reservists performed well in Iraq and Afghanistan. We could not have achieved what we did in either place without them. But experience shows that specialties requiring greater collective training to achieve combat proficiency and service integrationshould reside in the full-time force, where these capabilities will be more ready and available to commanders. What best serves our national security is when Guard and Reserve units complement the active force.

That’s why we’ve recommended Army Guard Apache attack helicopters be transferred to active-duty units. The Active Army will transfer Blackhawk helicopters to the National Guard, where they will bolster the Guard’s needed capabilities in areas like disaster relief and emergency response.

These changes to the Guard’s helicopter fleet are part of a broader realignment of Army aviation designed to modernize its fleet and make it highly capable and more affordable. The force will retire its Kiowas, and the “JetRanger” training helicopters used at Fort Rucker. The Active Army’s overall fleet would decrease by about 25 percent, but it would be significantly modernized under the President’s budget plan.

The Guard’s fleet of helicopters would decline by eight percent, but it would gain new Blackhawks and the Army will sustain the Guard’s fleet of Light Utility Helicopters. If sequestration-level cuts are re-imposed in 2016, the Army would have to cut 50 of these helicopters from the Guard force.

While any force reduction has some risk, the future Guard helicopter force will still serve as an important operational and strategic complement to our active duty force, while also being equipped for state and federal requirements for homeland defense, disaster relief, and support to civil authorities.

In making these difficult decisions on the Guard and Reserves, we affirmed the value of a highly capable reserve component, while keeping the focus on how our military can best meet future demands given fiscal constraints. We made choices based on strategic priorities, clear facts, unbiased analysis, and fiscal realities… and with the bottom line focus on how best we can defend the United States.

 

Military Compensation Decisions

Beyond force structure and modernization, there is the challenge of DoD’s personnel costs – civilian and military – which make up about half of all defense spending.

DoD has complied with Congressional direction to reduce our civilian personnel numbers, and worked to reshape our civilian workforce so that it has the skills needed for the future. Given the steps already taken to reduce civilian personnel costs – including a three-year pay freeze – no realistic effort to find further significant savings can avoid dealing with military compensation. That includes pay and benefits for active and retired troops, both direct and in-kind.

The primary way to reduce overall payroll spending has already been discussed – reducing the total number of people in uniform by bringing down the military’s force structure and end-strength. But since too small a force adds too much risk to our national security interests, we must also address spending on pay and benefits for service members, which since 2001 has risen about 40 percent more than growth in the private sector.

 

One of the reasons is that Congress boosted pay increases above the levels requested by the Department of Defense in budget submissions. New benefits, and increases in current pay and benefits, were also beyond what most active-duty personnel sought, expected, or had been promised when joining the military. As a U.S. Senator I supported these proposals. It was the right thing to do at the time, given the burdens being placed on our service members, the military’s recruiting and retention challenges, and the fact that we had few constraints on defense spending.

But today DoD faces a vastly different fiscal situation – and all the services continue to meet recruiting and retention goals. This year we are concluding combat operations in America’s longest war. A war that has lasted 13 years. We must now consider fair and responsible adjustments to our overall military compensation package.

For Fiscal Year 2015 we will recommend a one percent raise in basic pay for military personnel – with the exception of general and flag officers, whose pay will be frozen for one year. Basic pay raises beyond Fiscal Year 2015 will be restrained, though raises will continue.

 

We are also recommending a number of changes:

We will slow the growth of tax-free housing allowances – which currently cover 100% of housing expenses – until they cover an average of 95% of housing expenses with a 5% out-of-pocket contribution. In comparison, the average out-of-pocket expenditure was 18% in the late 1990s. We will also no longer reimburse for renter’s insurance.

Over three years, we will reduce by $1 billion the annual direct subsidy provided to military commissaries, which now totals $1.4 billion. We are not shutting down commissaries. All commissaries will still get free rent and pay no taxes. They will be able to continue to provide a good deal to service members and retirees – much like our post exchanges, which do not receive direct subsidies. Overseas commissaries and those in remote locations will continue receiving direct subsidies.

And we will simplify and modernize our TRICARE health insurance program by consolidating plans and adjusting deductibles and co-pays in ways that encourage members to use the most affordable means of care – such as military treatment facilities, preferred providers, and generic prescriptions. We will ask retirees and some active-duty family members to pay a little more in their deductibles and co-pays, but their benefits will remain affordable and generous … as they should be.

To protect the most vulnerable, under this plan medically retired service members, their families, and the survivors of service members who die on active duty would not pay the annual participation fees charged to other retirees, and would pay a smaller share of the costs for health care other than retirees.

Our proposals do not include any recommended changes to military retirement benefits for those now serving in the Armed Forces. We are awaiting the results of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which is expected to present its report in February 2015 we will await the commission’s reportbefore pursuing reforms in that area. But DoD continues to support the principle of “grandfathering” for any future changes to military retirement plans.

 

The adjustments to military compensation presented in this year’s budget plan will enable each of the military services to invest more in critically important modernization and readiness while still allowing them to recruit and retain a high-quality force and offer deserved, generous, competitive, and sustainable benefits. The savings will enable us to sustain a well-trained, ready, agile, motivated and technologically superior force.

Although these recommendations do not cut anyone’s pay, I realize they will be controversial. Congress has taken some important steps in recent years to control the growth in compensation spending, but we must do more.

A holistic and comprehensive approach must be taken to compensation changes. Continuous piecemeal changes will only magnify uncertainty and magnify doubts about our service members, with our service members, among our service members about whether promised benefits will be there in the future.

Instead, we must keep faith with our men and women in uniform, and fulfill the promises made. America has an obligation to make sure service members and their families are fairly and appropriately compensated and cared for during and after their time in uniform. We also have a responsibility to provide our troops with the finest training and equipment possible – so that whenever America calls upon them they are prepared with every advantage we can give them so that they will return home safely to their families. The President’s budget fulfills both of these promises to our service members and their families.

Our proposals were carefully crafted to reform military compensation in a fair, responsible, and sustainable way. We recognize that no one serving our nation in uniform today is overpaid for what they do for our country. But if we continue on the current course without making these modest adjustments now, the choices will only grow more difficult and painful down the road. We will inevitably have to either cut into compensation even more deeply and abruptly, or we will have to deprive our men and women of the training and equipment they need to succeed in battle. But, either way, we would be breaking faith with our people. And the President and I will not allow that to happen.

 

Risks

The recommendations I have described will help bring our military into balance over the next decade and responsibly position us for an era of both strategic and fiscal uncertainty. They will allow the military to protect our country and fulfill the President’s defense strategy – but with some increased levels of risk.

We should be clear about these risks.

Over the near-term, because of budget limitations even under the Bipartisan Budget Act, the military will continue to experience gaps in training and maintenance – putting stress on the force and diminishing our global readiness even as we sustain a heightened alert posture in regions like the Middle East and North Africa. The additional $26 billion provided to DoD by the President’s Opportunity, Growth and Security Fund would allow us to continue to restore and sustain readiness – helping to mitigate this risk.

We also face the risk of uncertainty in a dynamic and increasingly dangerous security environment. Budget reductions inevitably reduce the military’s margin of error in dealing with these risks, as other powers are continuing to modernize their weapons portfolios, to include anti-air and anti-ship systems. And a smaller force strains our ability to simultaneously respond to multiple major contingencies. But with the President’s budget our military will still be able to defeat any aggressor.

We can manage these anticipated risks under the President’s budget plan, but they would grow significantly if sequester-level cuts return in Fiscal Year 2016, if our reforms are not accepted, or if uncertainty on budget levels continue. As I’ve made clear, the scale and timeline of continued sequestration-level cuts would require greater reductions in the military’s size, reach and margin of technological superiority. Under sequestration spending levels, we would be gambling that our military will not be required to respond to multiple major contingencies at the same time.

That’s why our recommendations beyond Fiscal Year 2015 provide a realistic alternative to sequestration-level cuts, sustaining adequate readiness and modernization most relevant to strategic priorities over the long-term. But this can only be achieved by the strategic balance of reforms and reductions the President and I will present to the Congress next week. This will require the Congress to partner with the Department of Defense in making politically difficult choices – which I will address more specifically when I testify before Congress.

As I weighed these recommendations, I have, as I often do, looked to the pages of American history for guidance. In doing so, an admonition by Henry Stimson stood out. Writing after World War II, Roosevelt’s Secretary of War during that time, said that Americans must “act in the world as it is, and not in the world as we wish it were.”

Stimson knew that America’s security at home depended on sustaining our commitments abroad and investing in a strong national defense. He was a realist. This is a time for reality. This is a budget that recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges, the dangerous world we live in, and the American military’s unique and indispensable role in the security of this country and in today’s volatile world. There are difficult decisions ahead. That is the reality we’re living with.

But with this reality comes opportunity. The opportunity to reshape our defense enterprise to be better prepared, positioned and equipped to secure America’s interests in the years ahead. All of DoD’s leaders, these men and women sitting here today, and I have every confidence that this will be accomplished.

 

Thank you.

 

Syria War Stirs New U.S. Debate on Cyberattacks

By DAVID E. SANGERFEB. 24, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/world/middleeast/obama-worried-about-effects-of-waging-cyberwar-in-syria.html?_r=0

 

WASHINGTON — Not long after the uprising in Syria turned bloody, late in the spring of 2011, the Pentagon and the National Security Agency developed a battle plan that featured a sophisticated cyberattack on the Syrian military and President Bashar al-Assad’s command structure.

The Syrian military’s ability to launch airstrikes was a particular target, along with missile production facilities. “It would essentially turn the lights out for Assad,” said one former official familiar with the planning.

For President Obama, who has been adamantly opposed to direct American intervention in a worsening crisis in Syria, such methods would seem to be an obvious, low-cost, low-casualty alternative. But after briefings on variants of the plans, most of which are part of traditional strikes as well, he has so far turned them down, according to officials familiar with the administration’s long-running internal debate.

Syria was not a place where he saw strategic value in American intervention, and even covert attacks — of the kind he ordered against Iran during the first two years of his presidency — involved a variety of risks.

News, analysis and photos of the conflict that has left more than 100,000 dead and millions displaced.

The considerations that led Mr. Obama to hesitate about using the offensive cyberweapons his administration has spent billions helping develop, in large part with hopes that they can reduce the need for more-traditional military attacks, reflect larger concerns about a new and untested tactic with the potential to transform the nature of warfare. It is a transformation analogous to what happened when the airplane was first used in combat in World War I, a century ago.

The Obama administration has been engaged in a largely secret debate about whether cyberarms should be used like ordinary weapons, whether they should be rarely used covert tools or whether they ought to be reserved for extraordinarily rare use against the most sophisticated, hard-to-reach targets. And looming over the issue is the question of retaliation: whether such an attack on Syria’s air power, its electric grid or its leadership would prompt Syrian, Iranian or Russian retaliation in the United States.

It is a question Mr. Obama has never spoken about publicly. Because he has put the use of such weapons largely into the hands of the N.S.A., which operates under the laws guiding covert action, there is little of the public discussion that accompanied the arguments over nuclear weapons in the 1950s and ’60s or the kind of roiling argument over the use of drones, another classified program that Mr. Obama has begun to discuss publicly only in the past 18 months.

But to many inside the administration, who insisted on anonymity when speaking about discussions over one of America’s most highly classified abilities, Syria puts the issue back on the table. Mr. Obama’s National Security Council met Thursday to explore what one official called “old and new options.”

Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, declined to discuss “the details of our interagency deliberations” about Syria. “But we have been clear that there are a range of tools we have at our disposal to protect our national security, including cyber,” she said, noting that in 2012 “the president signed a classified presidential directive relating to cyberoperations that establishes principles and processes so that cybertools are integrated with the full array of national security tools.”

The directive, she said, “enables us to be flexible, while also exercising restraint in dealing with the threats we face. It continues to be our policy that we shall undertake the least action necessary to mitigate threats.”

 

One of the central issues is whether such a strike on Syria would be seen as a justified humanitarian intervention, less likely to cause civilian casualties than airstrikes, or whether it would only embolden American adversaries who have themselves been debating how to use the new weapons.

Jason Healey, the director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, argues that it is “worth doing to show that cyberoperations are not evil witchcraft but can be humanitarian.”

But others caution whether that would really be the perception.

“Here in the U.S. we tend to view a cyberattack as a de-escalation — it’s less damaging than airstrikes,” said Peter W. Singer, a Brookings Institution scholar and co-author of the recently published book “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know.”

“But elsewhere in the world it may well be viewed as opening up a new realm of warfare,” he said.

There’s little doubt that developing weapons for computer warfare is one of the hottest arenas in defense spending. While the size of the Army and traditional weapons systems are being cut in the Pentagon budget that was released on Monday, cyberweapons and Special Forces are growth areas, though it is difficult to tell precisely how much the government spends.

But Mr. Obama has made no secret of his concerns about using cyberweapons. He narrowed Olympic Games, the program against the Iranian nuclear enrichment program, to make sure that it did not cripple civilian facilities like hospitals.

What he liked about the program was that it was covert and that, if successful, it could help buy time to force the Iranians into negotiations. And that is exactly what happened. But when a technological error in the summer of 2010 resulted in the broadcast of the Stuxnet computer worm around the world, ultimately leading to the revelation of the program’s origins with the N.S.A. and Unit 8200 of Israel, Mr. Obama’s hopes of keeping such programs at arm’s length were dashed.

Since then, there has been no clear evidence that the United States has used the weapons in another major attack. It was considered during the NATO attacks on Libya in the spring of 2011, but dismissed after Mr. Obama’s advisers warned him that there was no assurance they would work against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s antiquated, pre-Internet air defenses.

The head of the N.S.A., Gen. Keith B. Alexander, said in an interview last year that such weapons had been used only a handful of times in his eight-year tenure.

But Syria is a complicated case, raising different issues than Iran did. In Syria, the humanitarian impulse to do something, without putting Americans at risk or directly entering the civil war, is growing inside the administration. Most of that discussion focuses on providing more training and arms for what are seen as moderate rebel groups. But cyberweapons are in the conversation about stepping up covert action.

Part of the argument is that Syria is a place where America could change its image, using its most advanced technology for a humanitarian purpose.

 

Navy to build its ‘information dominance’ forces through new command


http://www.federalnewsradio.com/241/3569153/Navy-to-build-its-information-dominance-forces-through-new-command-

Monday – 2/24/2014, 3:53am EST

By     Jared Serbu

    

The Navy says it’s about to create a new home for its growing cadre of what it calls “information dominance” forces.

A new organization will begin to take shape this fall, taking on the responsibility for manning, training and equipping the entire service for information warfare.

The move is a significant follow-up to the Navy’s 2009 decision to merge several disciplines, including cyber, intelligence, meteorology, oceanography and electronic warfare into a single large workforce cadre called “information dominance forces.”

Within the next few weeks, officials expect Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert to sign off on an implementation plan to stand up a new command to continue to build and organize that force.

Vice Adm. Ted Branch, a deputy chief of naval operations and the Navy’s chief of information dominance, said the service expects the new organization to reach its initial operating capability by October. It will fall within the auspices of the existing Navy Cyber Forces, headquartered in Suffolk, Va.

“That means that resources will move from my staff at the Pentagon, from the Office of Naval Intelligence, from the commander of naval oceanography and from Fleet Cyber Command into that new type command,” Branch said Friday during an AFCEA gathering in Tysons Corner, Va. “That type commander will be responsible for the manning, training and equipping of the entire information dominance corps and for moving forward information dominance in the Navy.”

 

The ninth command

The Information Dominance Forces Command would be the ninth type command (TYCOM) in the Navy, and would have similar responsibilities to the others, but a broader reach. The others are all responsible for holding administrative control over specific categories of platforms, like naval aircraft, submarines or surface ships.

“For the platform TYCOMs, it’s pretty easy to figure out what they’re dealing with if it looks like a ship or a submarine or an airplane. This one will have the information dominance corps and the cyber activities, all that kind of man train and equip, but it will also have responsibility for the rest of the Navy,” Branch said. “The systems commands, naval reactors, medical, anybody that has a network will have a line to the information dominance TYCOM. So it’s a big job, but it’s the right thing to do as we move information dominance down the path and make it a warfighting pillar.”

Navy officials say the standup of the command will mean some other changes to the way the service organizes its current cyber workforce.

 

Some of Navy Cyber Forces’ existing responsibilities for operating and defending Navy networks will transition to the service’s 10th Fleet/Fleet Cyber Command, the Navy component of U.S. Cyber Command. Navy Cyber Forces, meanwhile, will focus more exclusively on training and equipping the workforce.

Branch said the new organization’s relatively difficult task will be to integrate the skills and expertise of what used to be five distinct career fields in the Navy: Intelligence specialists, information warfare officers, information professionals, oceanographers and the space cadre.

“We brought that all together and said, ‘OK, we used to be five different tribes, now we’re going to be one corps and be able to practice information dominance warfare,'” Branch said. “That’s moving along, but it’s not cooked yet, because people who grew up in those different specialties are pretty zealous about what those specialties bring to the game, and they don’t want to lose their identities. I tell people all the time, though, that we’re not trying to homogenize the community or diminish the depth of expertise. What we’re doing is providing a broader experience. We’re doing cross-detailing so we can move from a multidisciplinary group of folks to an interdisciplinary corps, so we can innovate and find answers to some of the far-reaching decisions we’re going to make as we apply these new systems and techniques for information warfare in the future.”

 

Information dominance as warfighters

The Navy says its information dominance strategy, initiated when it first combined its top officer billets for intelligence and for communications into the job Branch currently holds, is based on the idea that it ought to be able to synthesize skill sets its sailors already hold in various communities across the service into a single warfighting capability.

The eventual goal, Branch said, is to have information dominance leaders sitting at the same table, at the same level as other decision makers in, for example, a carrier strike group.

“We will have arrived when we have our internal audience, the information dominance corps, thinking of themselves as warfighters,” he said. “And probably more importantly, when the rest of the guys, the kinetic guys, the trigger-pullers start thinking of the information dominance corps as warfighters, we’ll get there.”

 

Extra $26B for DoD Would go Toward ‘Base Budget’ Readiness

Feb. 25, 2014 – 01:13PM | By MARCUS WEISGERBER and JOHN T. BENNETT | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140225/DEFREG02/302250015

 

WASHINGTON — The extra $26 billion eyed for the US Defense Department in 2015 would fund readiness initiatives and other “base budget type of stuff,” the Pentagon’s top buyer said.

The comment came Tuesday following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s Monday announcement that the Pentagon would send a $496 billion 2015 budget proposal to Congress next week. That budget is in line with federal defense spending caps.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has put together a separate $58 billion “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative,” which includes $26 billion in defense spending, Hagel said Monday. The Obama administration plans to find this additional money by closing tax loopholes and reforming spending programs, defense and administration officials said.

The defense money is in addition to DoD’s base budget proposal and separate from Afghanistan war budget proposal, according to DoD officials.

“[T]his is $26 billion that we collectively believe needs to be put back in to get us back up to a standard of readiness and buy back much of the operational shrinkage that we’ve had over the last two years, get us back on a track that we have fallen back from over the last two years of these cuts,” Hagel said referring to spending cuts experienced by DoD in 2013 and 2014.

The Defense Department’s 2015 war budget proposal, called overseas contingency operations (OCO), is not yet completed, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon acquisition chief, told a small group of reporters on Tuesday at a conference sponsored by McAleese and Associates and Credit Suisse.

“I don’t know exactly what’s going to be in OCO. We haven’t finished that yet,” Kendall said. “There’s usually not much in the procurement world in the OCO.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told Defense News he and other lawmakers are eager to see the details of the $26 billion wish list.

Levin said the $26 billion would have to be offset within the federal budget before the funds could be appropriated by Congress due to 2015 spending caps.

The Obama administration has told senior lawmakers it soon will propose what’s known on Capitol Hill as a “pay-for” that would clear space in the federal budget under the caps for the $26 billion in unfunded items.

That offset could include new federal revenues, Levin said. He acknowledged the proposal could meet stiff resistance on the Hill because congressional Republicans’ “default” reaction to Obama administration budget maneuvers that propose new revenues “has been to oppose them.”

 

Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft

by Press • 27 February 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/02/27738/busting-myths-about-the-faa-and-unmanned-aircraft/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=9e266580f5-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-9e266580f5-303662705

 

February 26–There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about unmanned aircraft system (UAS) regulations. Here are some common myths and the corresponding facts.

 

Myth #1: The FAA doesn’t control airspace below 400 feet

Fact—The FAA is responsible for the safety of U.S. airspace from the ground up. This misperception may originate with the idea that manned aircraft generally must stay at least 500 feet above the ground

 

Myth #2: Commercial UAS flights are OK if I’m over private property and stay below 400 feet.

Fact—The FAA published a Federal Register notice in 2007 that clarified the agency’s policy: You may not fly a UAS for commercial purposes by claiming that you’re operating according to the Model Aircraft guidelines (below 400 feet, 3 miles from an airport, away from populated areas.) Commercial operations are only authorized on a case-by-case basis. A commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval. To date, only one operation has met these criteria, using Insitu’s ScanEagle, and authorization was limited to the Arctic.( http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=73981)

 

Myth #3: Commercial UAS operations are a “gray area” in FAA regulations.

 

Fact—There are no shades of gray in FAA regulations. Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval. Private sector (civil) users can obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate to conduct research and development, training and flight demonstrations. Commercial UAS operations are limited and require the operator to have certified aircraft and pilots, as well as operating approval. To date, only two UAS models (the Scan Eagle and Aerovironment’s Puma) have been certified, and they can only fly in the Arctic. Public entities (federal, state and local governments, and public universities) may apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA). The FAA reviews and approves UAS operations over densely-populated areas on a case-by-case basis.

Flying model aircraft solely for hobby or recreational reasons doesn’t require FAA approval, but hobbyists must operate according to the agency’s model aircraft guidance, which prohibits operations in populated areas.

 

Myth #4: There are too many commercial UAS operations for the FAA to stop.

Fact—The FAA has to prioritize its safety responsibilities, but the agency is monitoring UAS operations closely. Many times, the FAA learns about suspected commercial UAS operations via a complaint from the public or other businesses. The agency occasionally discovers such operations through the news media or postings on internet sites. When the FAA discovers apparent unauthorized UAS operations, the agency has a number of enforcement tools available to address these operations, including a verbal warning, a warning letter, and an order to stop the operation.

 

Myth #5: Commercial UAS operations will be OK after September 30, 2015.

Fact—In the 2012 FAA reauthorization legislation, Congress told the FAA to come up with a plan for “safe integration” of UAS by September 30, 2015. Safe integration will be incremental. The agency is still developing regulations, policies and standards that will cover a wide variety of UAS users, and expects to publish a proposed rule for small UAS – under about 55 pounds – later this year. That proposed rule will likely include provisions for commercial operations.

 

Myth #6: The FAA is lagging behind other countries in approving commercial drones.

Fact – This comparison is flawed. The United States has the busiest, most complex airspace in the world, including many general aviation aircraft that we must consider when planning UAS integration, because those same airplanes and small UAS may occupy the same airspace.

Developing all the rules and standards we need is a very complex task, and we want to make sure we get it right the first time. We want to strike the right balance of requirements for UAS to help foster growth in an emerging industry with a wide range of potential uses, but also keep all airspace users and people on the ground safe.

 

Myth #7: The FAA predicts as many as 30,000 drones by 2030.

 

Fact—That figure is outdated. It was an estimate in the FAA’s 2011 Aerospace Forecast. Since then, the agency has refined its prediction to focus on the area of greatest expected growth. The FAA currently estimates as many as 7,500 small commercial UAS may be in use by 2018, assuming the necessary regulations are in place. The number may be updated when the agency publishes the proposed rule on small UAS later this year.

 

DoD Has a Detailed Sequester Back-Up Plan    

Feb. 26, 2014 – 05:57PM | By MARCUS WEISGERBER | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140226/DEFREG02/302260042/DoD-Has-Detailed-Sequester-Back-Up-Plan

 

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has a detailed five-year spending plan that adheres to federal defense spending caps should sequestration return in 2016. Just don’t expect to see it anytime soon.

US Defense Department officials will instead send Congress on March 4 a five-year budget plan that busts existing defense spending caps by $115 billion. That plan will include a “description” of what DoD’s five-year sequester plan looks like, but not the plan itself, Christine Fox, the acting deputy defense secretary, said Wednesday at the American Enterprise Institute think tank.

The DoD budget sent to Capitol Hill next week will adhere to 2015 spending caps set in the two-year Bipartisan Budget Act passed late last year.

 

“I think that if we tried harder, we couldn’t have made this budget more complicated,” Fox said. “It is very hard to explain. There are actually multiple budgets embedded in this submission.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday outlined some of the choices DoD would make in 2016 if sequestration returns. This includes retiring an aircraft carrier and six other Navy ships, the Air Force KC-10 tanker fleet, suspending Navy F-35 purchases by two years, and shrinking the size of the Army by tens of thousands of soldiers beyond already planned steep force structure cuts.

“In ’15 we’ll kind of hold,” Fox said.

Also in 2015, the Obama administration will submit a separate $26 billion DoD spending request to account for readiness shortfalls caused by sequestration and budget caps.

“This is not a wish list of ‘unfunded priorities’ — instead, this money is intended specifically to close those gaps by allowing us to increase training, upgrade aircraft and weapons systems, and make needed facilities repairs,” James Swartout, Fox’s spokesman, said. “While the Bipartisan Budget Act provided needed stability and some sequestration relief, its funding level for FY15 is too low to support necessary training and the maintenance for the force at its current size.”

At the same time, DoD will not submit an Afghanistan war budget, known as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), next week since it is unclear how many troops, if any, will remain in the country after this year.

“We have a placeholder in the 2015 budget for OCO where we will insert numbers when we have more clarity on possible US troop numbers in Afghanistan going into 2015,” a senior defense official said. “But, no matter the decision on troop levels, we will require FY15 OCO funding — for US operations for items such as reset of equipment and for equipment retrograde. We just don’t know the exact number yet.”

 

Will Streetlamps Become Information Hubs for Cities?

February 26, 2014

By Tod Newcombe

http://www.digitalcommunities.com/articles/Will-Streetlamps-Become-Information-Hubs-for-Cities.html

 

North America has more than 1 billion street lights. Known as high-intensity discharge lights, they consume lots of energy, contain mercury vapor and most of them are owned by municipalities. Because of energy and maintenance costs, cities have begun turning to LED technology, which lasts longer than ordinary street lights, consumes less energy and doesn’t contain as many hazardous byproducts. San Diego, Detroit, Las Cruces, N.M., and Sequim, Wash., are some of the latest cities to install LED lights.

But LEDs can do more than just save costs. They also can be a platform for a host of technologies that can monitor what is going on in the vicinity of the light pole. Link these so-called intelligent street lights into a network, and you have the makings of a smart city, say experts.

“We’re marrying the Internet with advanced Web services and low-cost miniature electronics, and delivering it as a new service to cities,” said Hugh Martin, CEO of Sensity Systems. Intelligent street lamps can monitor weather, pollution, seismic activity, act as security systems and monitor traffic and parking, according to Martin.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently announced a pilot project, which started in October 2013, that is testing 171 smart LEDs that will act as sophisticated lighting controls and security cameras in one of the airport’s terminals. The cameras are intended to monitor foot traffic in certain areas, as well as keep an eye on unattended baggage. They are also expected to be used for security purposes. Las Vegas is also installing intelligent LED lights that can not only broadcast music, but also record sounds in the vicinity.

Manufacturers of intelligent street lights have emphasized that cities have an opportunity to jumpstart themselves as smart urban centers. Packed with sensors and cameras, this cutting edge technology is capable of controlling the energy costs of street lights, which can consume as much as one-third of a municipality’s energy costs. They can also help tell drivers where parking spaces are available, monitor pollution and could act as information hubs for consumers looking for the latest sales at local retail outlets in the vicinity of the light poles. “There’s a lot of interest among cities in these intelligent lights,” said Martin.

Intelligent LEDS are part of a broader trend in smart city technologies that has taken hold globally. Cities in Spain, Brazil and Southeast Asia have begun to adapt networks of sensor-based technology to monitor and manage everything from water usage to transportation. By 2020, cities around the world are expected to spend $20 billion on sensor technology, according to Navigant Research, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

Retrofitting street lights with LEDs can cost from $200 to $2,000, according to Martin. But they save up to 70 percent of the energy used for traditional lighting. They also last for more than 10 years, compared to just a few years for today’s current lighting technology. Network costs are another $150, but Martin says that overall, the payback on smart streetlights is 2-3 years. And then there’s the benefits that come with all the sensors that can be added on.

But not everyone is thrilled with the capabilities of smart LEDs. Streetlights that can capture nearby conversations, read license plates and record video of people, conjure up visions of Big Brother for privacy advocates. Fred H. Cate, director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University, told The New York Times that the potential for misuse with this kind of technology was “terrifying.”

At Newark’s Liberty International Airport, video footage taken from the LED cameras will be used by the Port Authority for monitoring and security purposes, and would only be shared with other law enforcement agencies that are conducting authorized investigations. Security is one of the key attributes of smart street lights, according to Martin.

How the technology is implemented can make the difference between public acceptance or rejection of it, said Alan Shark, executive director of the Public Technology Institute, an organization that advises local governments on the use of technology. “Transparency is really important,” said Shark. “The public wants a safe environment, but local officials need to make the public aware they are in a surveillance area.”

Just as important is how long cities plan to store any security or surveillance data captured by the smart LEDs. “Six months? Maybe. Anything longer than that raises a red flag,” says Shark.

 

Inside the Army’s First Field Manual for Cyber Electromagnetic War

Patrick Tucker

February 26, 2014

DefendeOne.com

The Pentagon long has made a big effort to showcase its budding cyberwarfare capabilities. But the military has been less forthcoming about a key, more tangible component of cyber — electronic warfare – until now.

The Army just publically released its first-ever Field Manual for Cyber Electromagnetic Activities. The manual covers operations related to cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, highlighting that for the Army electronic warfare is every bit as important as the cyber threat we hear so much about in abstract.

Electromagnetic spectrum, or ES, is the entire field of electromagnetic radiation that surrounds all of us, including infrared, radar, TV and radio waves. It’s what allows for cellphone and radio communication. The Army’s field manual describes a variety of its electronic warfare, or EW, operations — from sending confusing signals and messages that degrade the enemy’s communication capability on the battlefield to finding enemy equipment and destroying it with big bursts of electromagnetic radiation. (Remember Goldeneye?) The manual does not explain how to conduct specificEW attacks, but it does provide guidance to soldiers on what these sorts of operations look like in terms of protocol, terminology, and command and control. And it comes right as the number of potential electronic warfare operations is growing with every new radio or internet-dependent device that the military buys.

Want to fly a drone? Get directions from the Global Positioning System? Drop a smart bomb? Use radar to land your plane, communicate with a forward operating base on a mountaintop in Afghanistan, find an improvised explosive device or, better yet, detonate one?  Then you’ll need access to the electromagnetic spectrum. Even door locks that use radio-frequency ID, requiring the chipped common access (CAC) IDcard that Army employees carry, use electromagnetic radiation.  

The military has been fighting to maintain spectrum dominance since the days of World War II radio jamming. But reliance on the spectrum is going to grow considerably in the future and take a variety of forms. The lower ends of the spectrum are useful for radio and cell communication, including Bluetooth exchanges. The frequencies at the higher end of the spectrum have applications for things like cruise missile targeting and lasers. Extremely sophisticated (and expensive) military equipment like the Army’s proposed laser truck, which would shoot down enemy drones, might use spectrum frequencies in a wide number of different ways.

But the spectrum doesn’t just represent a weapon. It’s also a gaping vulnerability. The U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on the atom-sized units of energy that make up electromagnetic radiation. In the last few years, off-the-shelf pieces of wireless communications equipment have allowed everyone from hobbyists to terrorists to access the spectrum cheaply and easily. In the past decade, as more wireless consumer electronics flooded the marketplace, that vulnerability has taken the form of IEDs on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan (as well as the streets of Boston during the 2013 marathon bombing).

To patch the hole, the Army established a new career field dedicated to electronic warfare in 2009. Unfortunately, the military’s reliance on the spectrum might be growing faster than our ability to keep hold of it.

“The American military is scrambling to develop new tools and techniques that will help it preserve its electromagnetic edge,” according to Wired’s Brendan Koerner. “But that edge continues to shrink by the day, and very soon our inability to completely control the spectrum might result in a different kind of war.”

It’s an issue that the Defense Department publicaly addressed again last week with the release of its Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy.There’s a push to use the spectrum much more efficiently as the military seeks to access much more of it. That’s either an irreconcilable conflict of wants and available resources or a very delicate balancing act. DOD contends it’s the later. “We are not certainly making the assumption that DODwill have to make do with less spectrum,” said the Pentagon’s chief information officer, Teri Taki.

On the cyber side, the manual offers detailed descriptions of who responds to whom in an cyber-operation and how the various roles differ; priority lists for unit activities (hint: defend first, then attack); functions of cyberspace operations; how to prepare the intelligence battlefield; what to attack in order to achieve what goals; and the multinational and legal considerations for various actions.

Both cyber operations and spectrum warfare fall under the category of electronic communication. But experts who saw the manual disagreed, somewhat, on the decision to group the two together in one field guide. Do IEDs and denial-of-service attacks really have that much in common?

“There has been some debate about how traditional EW capacity will play with newer cyber operations. While there are strong similarities, cyber operations have a broader range of capacities than the traditional EW strategic role, and can support a wider range of operations. Similarly, the counter-EW capacity has a more limited scope than the huge needs to defend our military infrastructure from cyber exploitation and disruption,” Allan Friedman, co-author of the book Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know told Defense One.

Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, a George Mason University research professor and former Air Force cyber officer, argues that electronic warfare and cyber warfare indeed are closely related and should be treated as such. “The new [field manual] makes it clear that conducting these activities independently may detract from their efficient employment,” he said. “This provides a useful mechanism for the traditional and [cyber electromagnetic activities] communities to effectively communicate with one another.”

The overlap between EW operations, related to drones, communications, and improvised explosive devices on the battlefield, and cyberwarfare, which we commonly think of as being about ones, zeros and spam, shows that the Army is evolving its view of both fields.

For U.S. soldiers, according to this new manual, cyber and electronic are the same. Eventually the term cyberwar may soon become obsolete. It might be time to just call it war. 

 

 

Unmanned aircraft taking to Texas skies for FAA testing

by Press • 27 February 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/02/27746/unmanned-aircraft-taking-to-texas-skies-for-faa-testing/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=bf5b8ded65-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-bf5b8ded65-303662705

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX (KLTV) –

Increasing numbers of aircraft are taking to the Texas skies unmanned.

Texas was selected as one of six states to participate in testing and research for the Federal Aviation Administration’s plan to integrate rules and regulations for drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), by 2015.

The state has one of the largest test sites ranging from West Texas to the Gulf Coast to the Brazos Valley.

Some corporations, like Amazon, have already shown an interest in using drones as delivery drivers.

With the increasing numbers of unregulated UAS taking to the skies, it has many concerned with not only safety, but privacy, as well.

The UAS crafts generally only weigh a few pounds, and while most stay near their owner or operator, others can go miles away from home.

“People see [drones] and they think it’s an alien; it’s just too different,” said drone owner Robert Dodd. “But it really is nothing more than a remote controlled airplane. That’s all it is.”

Drone usage has existed for years, starting with mainly military use. The Department of Homeland Security uses drones along the Texas border with Mexico.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expecting thousands of drone aircraft to be introduced to the skies over the next several years, and they want universities to help them develop the roadmap.

Texas A&M Corpus Christi, along with several other campuses across the state, is testing and helping with that roadmap for future use.

“The reason Texas is one of the six selected is because of geographic diversity,” Dr. John Valasek, Texas A&M Center for Autonomous Vehicles And Sensor Systems (CANVASS), said.

“Texas has mountains, prairies, deserts, forests and seashore, and that’s a unique combination.”

Texas A&M is using a former U.S. Army Airfield near Bryan to test crafts’ control and certification. Researchers will also be looking into easing the public’s fears regarding the unmanned craft.

“What we’re really trying to do is to establish trust in autonomous systems with the public and with people,” Valasek said. “Because autonomous systems, no matter what kind they are, are going to be interacting with us on a daily basis.”

Students at Texas A&M University designed and built the fleet that will be used for FAA testing at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus.

They said their testing has been close to home, so far, but expect future flights to go out for several miles.

“A lot of our operations have been manual flying so we’ll have a pilot on the ground manually controlling them with radio, and that makes it so we have to fly within visual range of them,” graduate student researcher Jim Henrickson said.

The Texas Legislature took steps in the 2013 session to make sure they are staying with the advancing technology.

“The main concerns are about privacy and private property and that sort of thing,” said State Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola.

Hughes was one of several co-sponsors of a bill authored by Terrell Representative Lance Gooden that defines proper drone usage.

The law includes several exemptions for education and research and defines how law enforcement can use drones properly.

“We tried to put in all the exceptions to allow law enforcement to do what they do,” Hughes said. “We want to give them the tools they need. At the same time,we recognize that when our founders passed the Fourth Amendment, they were limiting what government and law enforcement can do.”

Violations of the law carry with them a misdemeanor penalty. Taking an image in violation of the law would be a class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500. Distributing or using that image for commercial use would be a class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or confinement in jail of up to 180 days.

Texas is one of just nine states with laws on the books for drone aircraft, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Lawmakers say with the technology still changing, the legislature will have to keep checking to see if changes need to be made.

“Technology is moving fast, which is great,” Rep. Hughes said. “We just have to make sure that the law is keeping up.”

The FAA UAS testing ongoing in Texas is expected to have an $8 billion impact on the state’s economy. The UAS industry is expected to create around 1,200 jobs.

http://www.kptv.com/story/24834984/texas-home-to-faa-drone-test-sites-and-drone-legislation

 

Putin’s Post-Olympic Power Play in Ukraine

NATO sits helpless as Putin continues to assert Russia’s influence in Ukraine.

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/02/28/Putin-s-Post-Olympic-Power-Play-Ukraine

DAVID FRANCIS

The Fiscal Times

February 28, 2014

 

Russia’s troops are conducting emergency military exercises as its jets patrol its borders. An Eastern European country is in chaos over an internal split about whether the country should be aligned with Europe or Moscow. A deposed and friendless leader is swept away by helicopter under Russian protection. Western military chiefs meet in Brussels to try to come up with a response to keep a fragile peace while limiting Russia’s influence.

This could be the plot of a Tom Clancy Cold War thriller. They are the latest events in the international standoff over Ukraine.

After President Viktor Yanukovych was escorted to a safe house outside of Moscow Thursday – “I have to ask Russia to ensure my personal safety from extremists,” he said, according to Russian news agencies – Ukraine’s parliament then approved Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the interim leader of the country. But few eyes are turning to Kiev to predict what happens next.

Nearly all eyes are on Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Perhaps emboldened by Russia’s success at Sochi, Putin has made power play after power play to exert his influence over Ukraine.

Since the end of the games, Putin has stayed silent, but his actions speak louder than any words could. He ordered military drills that have raised concerns of invasion. He has flown jets near Russia’s Ukrainian border as a show of force. He’s given Yanukovych cover to get out of the country.

What he’s done that is not known is perhaps more troubling. As a former KGB agent, Putin is well schooled in political provocation and diversion, or seemingly unrelated incidents that are part of a larger, secret strategy. For instance, in Georgia in 2008, Russian spies offered passports to residents of South Ossettia, part of Georgia – then invaded it. They did the same thing in Moldova, with an area of the country called Transnistria.

Could Putin be doing the same thing in Ukraine? There have been a number of bizarre incidents. For example, why did Yanukovych pull guards from all government buildings when he left Kiev, opening them to looters and the opposition? This could create the appearance of a coup. There have also been a number of incidents where Molotov cocktails have been thrown at synagogues, despite Ukraine not having a history of anti-Semitism.

“In the current political environment, it’s important to ask: Did they come from real anti-Semites? From paid agents? From both?” asked Anne Applebaum, a journalist who specializes in Eastern Europe.

These kinds of provocations could tear Ukraine, which is already bursting at its seams, apart. The southern island of Crimea, which has its own constitution but is technically a part of Ukraine, has been taken over by masked pro-Russian gunmen, who stormed the government building and raised Russian flags.

Oleksandr Turchynov, who stepped in as acting president after Yanukovych left Kiev, called these actions a “crime against the government of Ukraine.”

“Unidentified people with automatic weapons, explosives and grenades have taken over the governmental buildings and the Parliament building in the autonomous region of Crimea,” he said. “I have given orders to the military to use all methods necessary to protect the citizens, punish the criminals and to free the buildings.

Meanwhile, mainland Ukraine remains polarized, with pro-Europeans in the west and pro-Russians in the east. This, combined with Crimea, raises the prospect of Civil War.

 

NATO Seemingly Powerless

Despite the dire situation, NATO and the United States appear powerless to stop it. After a meeting with other defense ministers in Brussels, U.S. defense chief Chuck Hagel could only urge Russia not to get involved.

“These are times for cool, wise leadership on Russia’s side and everyone’s side,” Hagel said yesterday. “Until we know more details, what really happened, who’s in charge, the focus should be on let’s keep the tensions down, let’s see no provocative actions by anyone, any military.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted that the Ukraine crisis was not a Cold War game, despite it having all the trappings of one. “This is not ‘Rocky IV.’ It is not a zero-sum game,” Kerry said during a roundtable with reporters.

“We do not view it through the lens of East-West or Russia-the U.S. or anything else. We view it as an example of people within a sovereign nation who are expressing their desire to choose their future.”

 

SecAF discusses Air Force future, budget during defense summit

By Rich Lamance, Air Force News Service / Published February 28, 2014

http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/473436/secaf-discusses-air-force-future-budget-during-defense-summit.aspx

 

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Defense industry leaders and analysts received an insight into the proposed Air Force transformation and a preview of the Fiscal Year 2015 Air Force budget during the Bloomberg Government Defense Transformation Spending and Strategy Summit Feb. 26.

 

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said the Air Force, like the rest of the Department of Defense, is going through a transition period following 13 years of war, and will be making tough choices as personnel and budgets dwindle and the possibility of sequestration looms during the years ahead.

“We are repositioning to focus on the challenges and opportunities that will define our future,” said James. “We have to get ready for the new centers of power, such as the Pacific, and what will be a more volatile and unpredictable world. A world we can no longer take for granted.

“We can no longer assume, as we have over the past 50 years, to dominate the skies, and more recently dominate space. Many other countries are advancing their technologies, so we need to prepare now, not only for that world 10 years from now, but also today. It comes down to balance. That is the strategy.”

James said during times when strategy and budgets don’t match, the Air Force has to make judgment calls, looking at which risks are prudent and which are less so.

Specifically, she referenced tough decisions in the areas of personnel downsizing, force shaping measures, and investments in the future, highlighting the impact with and without sequestration. While the services have received some relief in Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, she said that for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2019, the president has asked Congress for a defense budget $115 billion above the sequestration level, with the Air Force getting a share of roughly $34 billion.

“We’re doing this because we believe that sequestration-level spending will compromise our security. It will compromise in the short term on readiness and in the longer run on important modernization programs.”

On the manpower side, James said the force will get smaller with a cut of up to 25,000 Airmen, mostly from the active duty over the next five years, and each service has also been tasked to trim headquarters spending by 20 percent over a five-year period.

“We looked at some of the overlapping organizations and how they can be combined more efficiently. We need to centralize policy and oversight of installation support in such areas as engineering, security forces and contracting, among others. We want to reduce some of the tasks that are not required by law, and in doing so, we won’t foist extra work on fewer people.”

James told the audience that in the area of force structure, the Air Force looks at vertical cuts, eliminating entire fleets of aircraft instead of taking horizontal cuts that “take a few from here and a few from there.” She said one example is the A-10, retiring about 283 close air support aircraft, beginning in FY 2015. She said the retirement of the fleet will save more than 3 and a half billion dollars over five years, with no degradation to the close air support mission.

“We chose the A-10 because it’s a single purpose aircraft, with a very important mission, but we have other aircraft like the AC-130, the F-15 Eagle, the F-16 Falcon, the B-1 Lancer and the B-52 Stratofortress that can also do that mission. All are dual or multi-purpose aircraft. In fact, 80 percent of all close air support in Afghanistan has been accomplished by aircraft other than the A-10.”

James told the audience that the U-2 has also been marked for retirement, beginning in the FY 2016 and FY 2017 timeframe. The Secretary said that keeping both the U-2 and the Global Hawk were too expensive and that they both give more high altitude reconnaissance than the Air Force needs. She added that initially the Global Hawk was earmarked for retirement because of its expense to maintain, but advances in technology over the past couple of years have made the U-2 more costly and the Global Hawk less.

Even some of the expansions, such as combat air patrols like the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper will increase more gradually than originally planned. She said initially the Air Force wanted to increase the number from 50 to 65, but with Afghanistan winding down, there won’t be a need for as great a capability. She said the plan is to slowly phase out the Predators and have an all MQ-9 Reaper inventory.

James also talked about investments the Air Force wants to make, committing to the F-35 Lightning II, the new tanker, the KC-46 Pegasus, and the long-range strike bomber. She said the Air Force also wants to invest in readiness, stay committed to the triad of ICBM and bombers and invest a billion dollars in jet engine technology that promises reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance.

But the Secretary emphasized that sequestration is still the law of the land, and if the Air Force is forced to revert to sequestration limits, as much as $34 billion will be reduced from the budget.

In addition, the Air Force would be forced to retire 80 more aircraft, completely retiring the KC-10 tanker inventory; defer sensor upgrades to the Global Hawk; purchase 19 fewer F-35s over the five year defense plan, and have 10 fewer combat air patrols. Also, funds for the next generation jet engine program will not be available.

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer participated on the panel with James and addressed issues from Airmen morale to force structure and acquisition costs, to include working to keep requirement costs under control during development.

“What has happened in the past when we’ve developed new platforms … is the price just starts to skyrocket as people want to put more and more stuff on it,” Spencer said. “As technology changes, people want more and more capability. We have had to turn back the temptation to put more on the [long-range strike] bomber. But I can tell you, the people working on this program are really working hard to get us the capability we need for that price, which is what we want.”

James told the audience that “tomorrow’s Air Force has to be the most agile, credible and affordable one we can provide. Our job, today and in the future is to fly, fight and win our nation’s wars. We feel that by making the tough choices today, we will set ourselves on a path to be the most modern and ready Air Force in the world, albeit a smaller one.”

 

Rasmussen Reports

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

Bottom of Form

Saturday, March 01, 2014

It’s tax time, and Americans aren’t in much of a spending mood.

Support for raising the federal minimum wage has fallen following a new Congressional Budget Office report that says the tax hike could cost 500,000 people their jobs. Fifty percent (50%) of Americans favor raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, but that’s down from 55% in late January and 61% in July. When presented with the CBO findings, support for raising the minimum wage drops 11 points to 39%.

What else does America think about raising the minimum wage? 

Nearly half (48%) of voters favor the new $302 billion roads and bridges plan President Obama proposed this week, but 56% think cutting government spending would do more to help the economy than increased spending on infrastructure.

Knowing the government ultimately lost money on the auto bailouts, 34% still consider them a success, but 50% say the bailouts were a failure.

Sixty-one percent (61%) still prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a more active one with more services and higher taxes. Fifty-nine percent (59%) continue to view the federal government unfavorably.

In the face of a public outcry, the Federal Communications Commission has backed off a plan to determine if the news media is meeting the public’s “critical information needs.” Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters say it is not the government’s role to monitor the content of news organizations in this country. Seventy-six percent (76%) are worried that the FCC’s analysis of news content will lead to government efforts to control the news media or promote a political agenda.

Voters remain almost evenly divided over the new government requirement that every American must have health insurance.

The president’s daily job approval ratings are little changed, holding at levels seen for much of his presidency.

Democrats hold a four-point lead over Republicans for the second week in a row on the Generic Congressional Ballot.

Republicans need to pick up six seats to take control of the U.S. Senate, and they hold solid leads in two states where Democrats are retiring. Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito posts a 14-point lead over Democrat Natalie Tennant in West Virginia, while former Governor Mike Rounds has a commanding lead over Democrat Rick Weiland in South Dakota 

A third of Americans have already filed their income taxes this year, but slightly fewer (45%) expect to get a refund.

Seventy-one percent (71%) believe most Americans try to be honest when filing their taxes.

But many also still think they pay more than their fair share. Fifty percent (50%) believe someone who makes twice as much money as they do pays less than twice as much in taxes. Similarly, a plurality (45%) thinks someone who makes half as much money as they do pays less than half as much in taxes.

Just six percent (6%) believe the United States has the best tax system in the world. 

At week’s end, consumers and investors remained slightly more pessimistic than optimistic about the U.S. economy. 

Most Americans (66%) don’t want a religious freedom law in their state like the one vetoed this week by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, but 73% support a private photographer’s right to not photograph a same-sex wedding for religious reasons.

Supporters of the law in Arizona cite the case of a New Mexico photographer who was sued for turning down a same-sex wedding for religious reasons as an example of why there is a need for a religious freedom law. Opponents argue that the law opens the door to widespread anti-gay discrimination.

In other surveys this week:

— Thirty-two percent (32%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction. That’s the highest level of optimism since the first week of June 2013.

— Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Americans believe it is harder for a teacher to maintain discipline in the classroom today than it was when they were in school.

— Despite the Mexican government’s capture last weekend of perhaps the world’s most powerful drug lord, 65% of U.S. voters don’t believe the Mexican government has been aggressive enough in its efforts to stop illegal drug traffickers in Mexico.

Just 17% think the United States should get more directly involved in Ukraine if the political violence continues there.

— Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard holds a 63% to 23% lead over Democratic challenger Joe Lowe in South Dakota’s 2014 gubernatorial race.

— Twenty percent (20%) of Americans say they are at least somewhat likely to use a digital currency like Bitcoin in the next five years, but that includes only four percent (4%) who say they are Very Likely to do so.

There’s a nationwide clown shortage, but that’s okay with the 43% who don’t like clowns.

February 22 2014

22February2014

Newswire

 

Commentary: AFLCMC commander outlines new focus areas

Posted 2/18/2014   

 

by Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore II
Air Force Life Cycle Management Center commander


2/18/2014 – WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Last fall the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center leadership team from across the country assembled at a strategic offsite with the purpose of assessing progress in delivering on what we call “the revolution in acquisition and product support.”

Building on our tremendous progress since the organization’s inception in 2012, we have set six new focus areas for the coming year. These areas are central to our organization’s purpose and our support for the Air Force mission: To fly, fight, and win … in air, space and cyberspace”. In short, it is our center’s responsibility to deliver the most cost-effective capabilities to meet our national security needs, and the 2014 focus areas will ensure AFLCMC continues building momentum in delivering to our motto: “providing the warfighter’s edge!” 

As the trend in defense spending continues downward for the foreseeable future, it is essential to plan and execute an aggressive cost reduction strategy across the AFLCMC enterprise. In the near term, this means application of rigorous “should cost” methodologies affecting nearly every weapon system, many with life cycles spanning decades. By doing this, we have already extracted $2 billion in savings and expect that number to grow appreciably over the year. In direct correlation to ongoing efforts to reduce life cycle costs, we have also established a Product Support Enterprise governance process to help shape new product support strategies and subsequently to drive down weapon system support costs. Here, too, we are having tremendous success. 

The next focus area deals with cyber security and mission assurance. Improving the way we support and manage these critical life cycle management responsibilities has far-reaching implications as we work to ensure weapon system connectivity and effectiveness in any environment. Our focus on cyber system security and mission assurance in our design, production, fielding and product support processes is leading to a more resilient and effective system of system capability. The criticality of this mission area cannot be overstated.

The next focus area deals with the AFLCMC workforce! Our professional team of civil servants, active duty, guard and reserve personnel, and contractors make it all happen. Recognizing that our center is not growing in numbers, we are focusing on strategic resource management and agile human capital processes. We are establishing a new way of operating that is more responsive to growing program demands as we prioritize and align our skilled workforce to deliver capabilities on literally thousands of efforts under our stewardship. In that light, we are developing a more flexible way to apply resources for supporting new acquisition efforts and product support responsibilities. We are taking our objective — right person at the right time — to a new level of flexibility, risk management, and resource optimization.

The next focus area deals with process standardization and continuous process improvement across the enterprise. In the near term, we are focusing on cycle time reductions as we drive “speed with discipline” in our program execution responsibilities. In a rapidly changing and dynamic threat environment, achieving reduced cycle times — from requirement generation to fielded capability — becomes all the more important in our delivery of leading edge combat capabilities.

The final focus area involves “building stronger partnerships“. This is particularly important in a resource constrained environment. Deliberate cooperation with industry, academia, and other government agencies help us find valuable “win-win” arrangements benefiting those organizations as well as the center’s mission execution. We have had valuable successes to date and plan to find other opportunities over the next year. These partnerships allow us to capitalize on the strengths of external organizations as we deliver to our commitments.

It’s no secret that the nation is facing growing budgetary pressures, and we must subsequently adjust how we manage our resources and processes. In addition to the center’s new focus areas, two previous tenets — unity of purpose and speed with discipline — will continue serving as guiding principles in our mission execution. However, in the end our most important element of success remains our talented workforce! These are the innovative, dedicated Airmen who work tirelessly each day to ensure our Air Force remains second to none … providing the warfighter’s edge!

 

Final version of NIST cybersecurity framework draws mixed reviews

Brandan Blevins, News Writer

Published: 17 Feb 2014

http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/news/2240214505/Final-version-of-NIST-cybersecurity-framework-draws-mixed-reviews?asrc=EM_ERU_26644385&utm_medium=EM&utm_source=ERU&utm_campaign=20140218_ERU%20Transmission%20for%2002/18/2014%20(UserUniverse:%20672236)_myka-reports@techtarget.com&src=5213080

 

The final version of the NIST cybersecurity framework, released last week, is intended to provide a baseline of IT security best practices for U.S.-based critical infrastructure organizations. Experts, however, questioned whether the document provides the sort of easily understandable and actionable advice those organizations require.

The challenge was that they had to simplify it, but the question is have they oversimplified it?

The development of the framework was originally set in motion a year ago by President Barack H. Obama when he signed Executive Order 13636, which tasked the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with delivering security guidance to the critical infrastructure community.

Obama deemed the touchstone document necessary based on the increasing number of cybersecurity threats targeting critical infrastructure assets, potentially affecting nation and economic security.

“While I believe today’s framework marks a turning point, it’s clear that much more work needs to be done to enhance our cybersecurity,” said Obama in a statement. “Our critical infrastructure continues to be at risk from threats in cyberspace, and our economy is harmed by the theft of our intellectual property.”

A preliminary version of the framework was released in October 2013 and subsequently went through a 45-day review period, during which key stakeholders were able to provide feedback for the final version. Seemingly little changed between the two documents though, apart from cutting much of the detail originally provided on protecting privacy and personally identifiable information.

 

 

Breaking down the NIST cybersecurity framework

As for what the document actually contains, the NIST cybersecurity framework is essentially broken down into three sections.

The first, referred to as the framework core, is meant to guide organizations to other accepted standards, such as NIST 800-53, when determining how to manage certain cybersecurity risks. If, for example, an organization decides it needs to protect user credentials, the framework points to specific sections of COBIT 5, ISO 27001, and other standards.

For organizations to assess the maturity of their IT security programs, the framework provides four self-ranking “tiers.” At the bottom of the scale are tier-1 organizations, which are characterized as not having “formalized” risk management practices and processes, as well as having little awareness of cybersecurity threats. Tier-4 firms, on the other hand, are known to adapt “cybersecurity practices based on lessons learned and predictive indicators derived from previous and current cybersecurity activities,” are generally aware of cyberthreats, and have put the process in place to mitigate them.

The framework also encourages critical infrastructure organizations to create what it refers to as “profiles” — essentially a summary of its information security program — meant to help establish a “roadmap for reducing cybersecurity risk” based on an organization’s specific business requirements, risk tolerance and security resources. A company’s profile would provide a general idea of the current state of its cybersecurity program as well as a target goal that the organization will work toward. The framework encourages businesses to compare profiles in order to identify potential gaps in mitigation strategies. The framework, though, doesn’t provide a template for creating these profiles in the vein of the core section.

How to implement, measure the framework

Michael Assante, ICS and SCADA project lead for the SANS Institute, said the time was right to release an all-encompassing cybersecurity framework as critical infrastructure assets across the country are increasingly facing highly targeted attacks. Unfortunately, he added, the framework fails to consider the focused nature of such attacks.

Assante described the guidance in the NIST document as too “loose,” noting that he wouldn’t even know how to begin implementing it. In particular, the core section of the framework provides organizations with a “big blanket of controls” based on general situations, he said, but never takes into account threats that may be specific to an organization or industry.

For example, Assante said many of the attackers targeting industrial control systems (ICS) rely on establishing connections with command-and-control infrastructures to retrieve sensitive information. To mitigate that risk, organizations should rely on outbound filtering and monitoring to stop that data exfiltration, but he noted that ICS security professionals will not see such prescriptive advice in the NIST framework.

Though he said the wide-ranging approach taken by NIST may be good for promoting discussion, Assante worried that the organizations adopting the framework will simply pursue too many security controls.

“In any kind of standard, language matters, and there’s uncertainty in the language,” Assante said. “This is where the implementation of things gets hard. You leave a lot of stuff up to interpretation, which means you said for people to do these things, and you don’t really know how it’s being done or if it’s being done in a way that makes a difference.”

Chris Coleman, CEO of Baltimore-based Lookingglass Cyber Solutions Inc., agreed that the cybersecurity framework as it stands has perhaps been “watered down.” In an effort to achieve consensus, he said NIST may have broadened the framework due to its experience issuing the 800-53 document, which outlines cybersecurity guidance and policies for the federal government.

In his past role as director of cybersecurity for Cisco Systems Inc., Coleman said he was part of a team that attempted to map the NIST 800-53 guidance to the company’s technology portfolio for government customers. While he uncovered some good aspects about the document, Coleman found the number of controls in 800-53 — spanning more than 130 pages — to be overwhelming, greatly limiting its applicability outside the government.

NIST’s efforts at simplifying the cybersecurity framework may have resulted in the opposite effect though, Coleman noted, as the document’s guidance will be considered “fairly basic” by any organization with a mature IT security program. Organizations choosing to adopt the framework will either find they have no way to measure themselves against it, he said, or, if they choose to dig into the many existing standards referenced in the document, will instead be buried in the same deluge of controls and information they were perhaps already avoiding.

“The challenge was that they had to simplify it, but the question is, have they oversimplified it? There’s still a lot of work for anybody wanting to embrace this framework; they have to do homework on their own to figure out what all these references mean,” Coleman said. “Maybe I’m not familiar with all these references, maybe I’m a less-mature organization and I’m not familiar with the ISO, the COBIT or the 800-53, so now I have to go dig through this information and figure out how it applies to me and figure out how to monitor myself against it.”

Dave Burg, global and U.S. advisory cybersecurity leader for New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers, and who participated in the development process of the NIST framework, said such criticisms possibly miss NIST’s intentions with the framework.

Burg said the ultimate goal of the document is to provide a security baseline against which all critical infrastructure organizations can measure themselves, not to “start from scratch” and throw out existing standards. Organizations aren’t intended to use the framework as the only assessment mechanism, according to Burg, but more as a reference point for objective evaluations of security programs and identifying potential gaps in security programs.

In PwC’s 2014 Global State of Information Security survey, for example, Burg noted that 26% of respondents hadn’t performed an initial security assessment to determine which cyber-assets need to be secured, skipping one of the basic building blocks of effective enterprise cybersecurity.

“Any time an organization is willing to criticize itself, to assess itself, and to use a baseline to measure itself, I think it’s quite important,” Burg said. “And will mature, highly capable security programs find gaps that were heretofore unknown? Maybe not, but I think the objective here is to simplify the assessment landscape.”

 

Sticks and carrots

Perhaps surprisingly, none of the experts SearchSecurity spoke with were concerned about the entirely voluntary nature of the current framework, which was one of the most cited criticisms levied during the run-up to its publication. As it stands, adoption of the framework provides no real incentives, while critical infrastructure organizations that choose not to adopt receive no form of punishment.

Burg commented that the NIST process in creating the framework would have been “slowed down” if it had been mandatory and that organizations are better off guiding their own activity in this area.

Assante said the very nature of a Presidential Executive Order took away the “stick” to potentially punish organizations that don’t adopt the framework, leaving NIST and other government officials to provide a “carrot” to incentivize implementation. He has heard discussions around insurance rates being lowered based on which tier an organization may be deemed under the framework, but said that “eye-catching guidance” that involves real measurement metrics is required before such proposals would have a chance of succeeding.

Coleman, meanwhile, worried that making such standards mandatory tends to create a “culture of checkbox security,” and that the framework as it currently exists isn’t ready for the spotlight.

“I don’t think it’s near mature enough to be able to incentivize anybody to adopt it,” Coleman said. “If Lookingglass tried to adopt this today, I’m not sure really what I’m adopting.”

 

Future of the NIST cybersecurity framework

Alongside the release of version 1.0 of the framework, NIST also issued a roadmap that provides some indication as to areas it would like to expand what the agency has described as a “living document” in the coming months and years. Among the areas for which NIST hopes to develop guidance are diversified forms of authentication, automated indicator sharing and supply chain risk management.

Burg found the mention of increased threat information sharing, originally called for in EO 13636, promising based on his discussions with PwC’s clients, many of which are intrigued by the idea.

Coleman concurred that more organizations are beginning to find the need for more information sharing, but cautioned that such initiatives face natural barriers to implementation and adoption.

“The challenge with sharing as a whole is that people only share if they believe there is value in the information they can get in return,” Coleman said. “And maybe that’s just human nature, but that fact is a very difficult cultural challenge.”

Assante called for NIST to supplement the standard with more security metrics and to offer the technical advice organizations need to mitigate targeted attacks. Due to his experience going through a “very NIST-organized approach” when working on smart grid standards though, Assante fully understands just how difficult it can be to involve the sort of “busy” experts that could provide that needed input in a “process-driven” endeavor.

“Does NIST have a process that will allow it to deal with the dynamic nature of cyber and to move toward a better state other than just a starting point?” Assante asked. “I’m worried that NIST has to do a consensus process, and that’s probably going to shape the future of this framework more than anything.”

 

Pentagon, Congress Begin Rewriting DoD Acquisition Laws

Feb. 16, 2014 – 03:45AM | By MARCUS WEISGERBER | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140216/DEFREG02/302160012/Pentagon-Congress-Begin-Rewriting-DoD-Acquisition-Laws

 

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon and the US Congress have begun the tedious effort of reviewing decades of antiquated, cumbersome defense acquisition policies to speed up the defense procurement process and get more bang for the buck.

Unlike previous acquisition improvement projects, which in some cases made the process more complicated, those leading this effort are optimistic because lawmakers and Defense Department officials are tackling this review together. These officials also believe that the decline in US defense spending provides incentives to make the project successful.

 

“The idea is not to really change any of the intent behind the existing laws, but just to simplify that body of law, make it more comprehensible, make it easier to implement and make it something that is much more focused on results and not as confusing and complex for everybody,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said during an interview in December.

The House Armed Services Committee’s vice chairman, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, is leading the project on the congressional side. Thornberry is a strong candidate to succeed committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., who is not seeking re-election this year.

“What I would like to see is more efficient use of taxpayer dollars to get more defense out of the money we spend, but also a simpler system that gives actually more authority, but also more accountability to the people who are making the decision,” Thornberry said during a Feb. 12 taping of Defense News’ TV show.

The group plans to comb over federal statutes and regulations to “thin out and simplify what we have,” Thornberry said.

Over the years, many acquisition regulations have been put in place, sometimes in response to a specific issue. Some of these regulations have constrained and taken agility away from the acquisition system, Thornberry said.

One approach might be to incorporate sunset provisions, “so that it force[s] us to look at the laws that we pass and the regulations that stem from them,” the congressman said.

“I think more often, what happens is if there is a problem, then some new regulation, some new law, some new oversight office comes into play, which often is an overreaction and then over time, those build up and … constrain the system,” Thornberry said.

Some of these regulations constrain program managers and could even drive up program costs, he said.

“One of the key parts of our effort is to make sure we understand the incentives for the program managers — what are they rewarded for, what are they punished for — because that’s really more important than any new law or regulation that is imposed on them from the top,” he said.

Andrew Hunter, head of the Pentagon’s Joint Rapid Acquisition Office, is leading the Pentagon effort for Kendall.

“Hopefully, this will be a collaborative effort and we’ll come up with something that will be very acceptable to everybody,” Kendall said.

“I think one element that gives us a chance is the fact that Mr. Kendall and other folks at the Pentagon — as well as people on both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle — agree that we must make this effort,” Thornberry said. “It really is a joint effort, or more than joint by the time you add the House and the Senate and the Pentagon together.”

Even though the project does not have a name yet, the goal is to produce a set of legislative proposals over the next year or so

 

Pentagon Budget Stuck in Last Century as Warfare Changes

By Gopal Ratnam Feb 19, 2013 12:01 AM ET 82 Comments Email

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-19/pentagon-budget-stuck-in-last-century-as-warfare-changes.html

 

 

 

The Obama administration foresees 21st century wars fought with fewer boots on the ground and more drones in the air, while the Pentagon continues buying weapons from the last century.

In his Feb. 12 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said America no longer needs to deploy tens of thousands of troops to occupy nations or meet the evolving threat from new extremist groups. Cyber-attacks are the “rapidly growing threat,” he said.

Nevertheless, the defense budget contains hundreds of billions of dollars for new generations of aircraft carriers and stealth fighters, tanks that even the Army says it doesn’t need and combat vehicles too heavy to maneuver in desert sands or cross most bridges in Asia, Africa or the Middle East.

“There’s a fundamental need to have a conversation about what kind of military we need to have and what we should expect it to do,” Andrew Bacevich, a West Point graduate and former Army colonel who now teaches at Boston University, said in an interview.

In the absence of such a conversation, the Pentagon faces the prospect of $500 billion in automatic cuts over the next decade, beginning March 1, with no consensus on what to trim. Instead, the budget is driven largely by champions of existing programs in Congress, the defense industry and the uniformed services. As a result, predicts Bacevich: “The behemoth of an entity called the Pentagon is not going to shrink.”

 

Contracts Plunge

Uncertainty has proven painful for defense contractors, especially smaller companies that don’t have deals locked in for months or years to come. Pentagon contracts plunged to $12.1 billion in January, a 67 percent decrease from December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, as the military reined in spending in anticipation of the cuts that may be coming.

The Standard & Poor’s Aerospace and Defense Index gained 7.5 percent in the past 12 months, trailing the 13 percent gain for the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Pentagon spending cuts, should they remain in force over a decade, would mean “changes in the portfolios of Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Boeing,” the biggest U.S. defense contractors, Byron Callan, a defense analyst in Washington at Capital Alpha Partners LLC, said in an interview. “Five years from now they’ll look different.”

Information technology units may be spun off and then consolidated, while slow-growing operations such as shipbuilding and armored-vehicle manufacturing may end up in the hands of private equity investors, Callan said.

 

Major Weapons

The U.S. spent $689 billion on defense in 2011, more than 40 percent of all such spending globally in 2011, according to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon had $1.58 trillion of major weapons projects on its books. Those include the F-35 jet fighter, which is seven years behind schedule and costing 70 percent more than planned; the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, plagued by cracks, flaws and a price that’s doubled to $440 million each; and M1 tanks the Army doesn’t want.

Even if the budget cuts happen, U.S. defense spending is projected to grow about 2.4 percent annually through 2021, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The military, the defense industry and their allies in Congress have gone to war over the automatic cuts, called sequestration, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and other leaders saying they would devastate the military.

 

Deployments Canceled

If their budgets are cut, they argue, ship deployments will be canceled, training will be curtailed, maintenance will be delayed, weapons contracts will be withheld and the military will be unable to respond to contingencies.

“We’ve gone past cutting the meat — we’re into the bone,” Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon, the California Republican who heads the House Armed Services Committee, told a Feb. 6 news conference. He’s proposed reducing the number of federal employees and freezing congressional pay to preserve military spending.

Lost in the political melee over defense spending, said Bacevich, is the need for a 21st Century military strategy to keep pace with the changing nature of warfare and guide the drawdown of military forces and spending after more than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A year ago, Obama and the Defense Department issued a blueprint for a “smaller and leaner” military that would be “agile, flexible, and ready for the full range of contingencies.”

 

Every Possibility

Instead, the military’s effort to prepare for every possibility has encouraged the Pentagon and defense contractors such as the three largest — Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), Chicago- based Boeing Co. (BA), and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) based in Falls Church, Virginia — to keep developing ever more complex and costly weapons.

While the increased military spending of the last decade helped the Pentagon advance several battlefield capabilities, the Defense Department still has “too many programs that are not appropriate and do not provide the next-generation capabilities” needed, said Barry Blechman, co-founder of the Stimson Center, a Washington policy research institute.

Blechman cited the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as an example of a weapons program that “provides some marginal improvement over existing F-16s, but nothing compared with the amount the Pentagon is planning to invest in it.” The program, which includes variants for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, could be cut or scaled back, Blechman said.

 

Increased 70%

The Pentagon estimates the cost for development and production of 2,443 F-35s at $395.7 billion, a 70 percent increase since the initial contract with Bethesda, Maryland- based Lockheed Martin (LMT) was signed in 2001. The jet is designed to replace the F-16 fighter, the A-10 “Warthog” ground attack plane, F-18C/D Hornet fighter and the Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harrier jump-jet.

Although the Army’s strength is set to decline by 72,000 by 2017, General Raymond Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, has said the service must be able to send units large or small to any part of the globe. While the service should reorient itself toward engaging with allies and partners to prevent conflicts, it should be ready to “win wars on land,” Odierno wrote Feb. 4 in Foreign Policy magazine.

Nevertheless, the Army’s plan to spend as much as $32 billion to buy 1,904 new Ground Combat Vehicles, tank-like replacements for its Bradley Fighting Vehicle, “would be a mistake,” Blechman said. Instead, the Army needs improved capabilities for small forces that can move quickly to trouble spots, Blechman said. “I don’t know that the slightly improved version of the current ground vehicles is necessary.”

 

Vehicle’s 70 Tons

The new 70-ton vehicle may not be easily transportable by air or sea, and is likely to raise questions about “how quickly it could be deployed in the event of a conflict,” according to a January report by the Congressional Research Service.

While even the Army brass have said they don’t need an an updated version of the M1, the combat vehicle that was developed to go track-to-track with the Soviet Union’s tanks on the North German Plain, Congress wants to keep paying Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics Corp. (GD) to gut and rebuild older tanks.

The Navy is building two versions of the Littoral Combat Ship instead of one as it had planned. Once billed as a low- cost, versatile ship for coastal patrols, the LCS’s price has doubled to $440 million a ship, and Pentagon testers have found that the ship’s guns are ineffective and the vessels may not survive combat.

 

Pacific Focus

One attraction of the LCS is that buying it will help the Navy reach its target of 300 ships, making it easier to fulfill the Pentagon’s plan to position 60 percent of its ships in the Pacific by 2020, an increase from the current equal division between the Pacific and Atlantic fleets.

That increased focus on Asia needs to be better spelled out, according to former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, a retired Navy admiral who also once headed the U.S. Pacific Command, based in Honolulu.

“There’s no there there beyond a general appreciation of East Asia’s importance,” Blair said of the Obama administration’s emphasis on Asia. “It’s not a basis for how we solve a very difficult problem of ensuring we have a hedge against Chinese military aggression without launching ourselves into a spiraling arms race based on mutual suspicion and worst- case analysis.”

 

Not ‘Sacrosanct’

While they warn that further budget cuts would cripple the military, Panetta and Dempsey, as well as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have said the Pentagon can cut costs by eliminating jobs and waste.

“Not every defense dollar is sacrosanct,” Gates said in September at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “One need only spend 10 minutes walking around the Pentagon or any major military headquarters to see excess and redundancy.”

As defense chief in 2009, Gates managed to cull 20 weapons systems he considered unnecessary or that had become too expensive. He stopped production of the F-22 fighter, canceled the VH-1 presidential helicopter and reduced the scope of Boeing’s Future Combat Systems.

 

Health-Care System

Weapons aren’t the only part of the Pentagon budget that has proven difficult to rein in. Rising operations and maintenance costs as well as “significant increases” in the military’s health-care system, which has been politically sacrosanct in the past, will be the primary causes of defense budget growth through 2030, the Congressional Budget Office said in a July report.

Promised savings mostly have eluded presidents and defense secretaries going back to the 1980s, said retired Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro, who’s been advising former Nebraska Republican senator Chuck Hagel, Obama’s nominee to succeed the retiring Panetta.

While military officials protest cuts to their forces, operations, maintenance and training, they’ve allowed their own staffs to grow, said Punaro, who’s now a consultant and last year headed a Defense Business Board panel to identify such excess.

 

Chiefs’ Staff

The size of the Joint Chiefs of Staff office has more than tripled to 4,244 in 2012 from 1,313 in 2010, according to the Pentagon’s annual manpower report.

“The Pentagon’s leadership should set an example” by reducing their staffs, Punaro said in an interview. “If senior people in the Pentagon can’t cut the size of the staff and the size of office of the secretary of defense, then how can they expect the rest of the department to tighten its belt?”

The increase stemmed mostly from the joint staff absorbing many employees of the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, which was shuttered by Gates in 2011, Dempsey said in an e-mail. The additions were necessary because the joint staff “assumed responsibility for core missions” previously done by the Joint Forces Command, which was created in 1999 to lead the post-Cold War transformation of the U.S. military, Dempsey said.

Still, while the Pentagon is cutting combat forces, “We are not cutting the overhead proportionately,” Punaro said. “People have been trying to get at this issue in the Pentagon for 50 years. And frankly we haven’t really put a dent in the overhead costs. It’s not for the lack of trying.”

 

Following SAIC split, John Jumper to depart

 

THE WASHINGTON POST

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/following-saic-split-john-jumper-to-depart/2014/02/18/f57afb92-98ab-11e3-b931-0204122c514b_story.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2ASituation%20Report&utm_campaign=SITREP%20JAN%2020%202014

By Marjorie Censer, Published: February 18 | Updated: Wednesday, February 19, 7:50 AM

 

The chief executive who shepherded McLean-based Science Applications International Corp. through the most significant restructuring in its nearly 45-year history plans to announce his retirement today.

John P. Jumper became chief executive of SAIC in early 2012, taking over a storied contractor that was facing a host of problems, from declining sales to a scandal surrounding a New York City contract that resulted in the removal of three company executives.

Almost immediately, Jumper took dramatic steps to reposition SAIC. Within months of his arrival, the contractor announced it would split into two pieces: a government services business that would retain the SAIC name and a technology company renamed Leidos that is focused on national security, engineering and health.

Following the split, which took more than a year and was completed in the fall, Jumper became chief executive of Reston-based Leidos. A retired four-star general, he previously served as Air Force chief of staff.

Jumper said in an interview Tuesday that he found overseeing SAIC’s split the most rewarding accomplishment of his tenure.

“I brought to the company the skills that I have at the right time [and] at the right place,” he said. “Now it’s time to really transition to someone who can drive the financial results and brings that career full of business experience.”

The Leidos board has begun searching for a new chief executive, looking at both internal and external candidates. Jumper has committed to stay on until a successor is named.

He said he would advise the new CEO to have “the mindset that there’s nothing broken that needs to be fixed,” he said. “We just need to execute the strategy that’s in place.”

Still, he recognized that contractors have had tougher times in recent years, given automatic spending cuts and uncertain budgets.

“The impacts of sequestration and some of the headwinds that we had that were unanticipated, I think, have stood in the way of being all that we can be,” he said.

 

Battle Over Wireless Spectrum Pits Military Needs Against Economic Interests

By Sandra I. Erwin

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=1422#.UwZc84NgWd8.twitter

2/20/2014

 

The U.S. military has spent decades and billions of dollars modernizing its information systems in preparation for a “network centric” age of warfare. But the Pentagon now faces an acute shortage of wireless spectrum, and will either have to curtail its appetite for data or will have to increasingly share portions of the electromagnetic spectrum with civilian users.

The Pentagon for years has been under pressure to relinquish prime spectrum “real estate,” and it has in the past agreed to do so. But officials caution that the military can no longer afford to give up spectrum and, instead, would be open to greater sharing of the airwaves with other users. The Obama administration has asked for an additional 500 megahertz so it can boost the capacity of commercial wireless carriers and extend Internet access to rural areas of the United States.

The allocation of wireless, or radio-frequency, spectrum is overseen by the Federal Communications Commission for commercial use and by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for federal government use.

The Pentagon unveiled a new electromagnetic spectrum strategy Feb. 20 that suggests it will resist giving up more spectrum. The strategy calls for more efficient use of the airwaves and for greater collaboration with civilian agencies and the private sector. The Pentagon began to draft the strategy in 2010 after President Obama asked for 500 MHz of spectrum to be made available for commercial use by 2020. He mandated that federal agencies free up a significant portion of wireless spectrum so that it can be used by individuals and businesses to spur domestic economic growth.

For the military, the implications are significant. “Electromagnetic spectrum access is a prerequisite for modern military operations,” the DoD strategy says. The Defense Department sees rising demand for spectrum just as the global wireless broadband industry faces soaring consumer demand for global mobility and data access. “These competing requirements for finite spectrum resources have changed the spectrum landscape, nationally and internationally, for the foreseeable future,” says the strategy.” In the future, “our national leaders will be challenged to make decisions that balance national security with economic interests.”

Teri Takai, the Defense Department’s chief information officer and the architect of the strategy, says regulatory agencies, the Pentagon and the telecom industry should work together on this issue. “We must identify ways to make more spectrum available for commercial use, and find technologies that enhance spectrum sharing, all while improving how DoD accesses spectrum,” she tells reporters Feb. 20 at a Pentagon news conference.

Takai pushes back on the idea that the Pentagon will have to get by with less spectrum. “We are not making the assumption that DoD will have to make do with less spectrum,” she says. The question is how the military’s needs can be met along with commercial needs, she says. “There are ways to do that. It’s not all or nothing,” says Takai. “We all need to be more efficient in how we use spectrum. … We all have the same challenges.”

An immediate course of action, she says, will be to regulate the procurement of data-hungry equipment so it does not exacerbate the spectrum shortage. The Pentagon will provide guidelines to program managers, she says, to “make spectrum management a more critical part of our future acquisition programs.” A system that targets a specific spectrum band is not desirable, she says. Systems should be “flexible and agile” in how they use spectrum.

A stark illustration of how spectrum affects military procurements is the Army’s limitations in what wireless systems it can buy, such as 4G networks. When the military is at war, it can grab spectrum for emergency use. To deploy 4G networks for routine peacetime operations, the Army needs licensed spectrum. Increased deployments of unmanned air vehicles across all branches of the military also aggravate the spectrum crunch.

The military agreed to share the frequencies from 1755 to 1780 megahertz with commercial companies and to vacate the 1710 to 1755 bands. Takai’s deputy, Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wheeler, says he fears that the encroachment on military spectrum will only increase, and insists that the Pentagon should take preemptive measures.

“Spectrum is the thread that ties all of DoD together,” Wheeler says Feb. 18 in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Data traffic across the military grows consistently by 20 percent each year, he says. “It is clear that more spectrum is going to be required — or more efficient use of spectrum.”

Shifting spectrum allocations can be a risky and costly business, he warns. “You have to be extremely careful of where it touches.” Interference can be a life or death proposition in military operations such as missile defense, he says.

Modern technologies such as dynamic spectrum might be one way to cope with the shortage, he says. Taking military satellites off certain bands can cost billions of dollars. There are Defense Department satellites today in bands that the telecom industry needs. These are satellites that were put in orbit in the industrial age when the Pentagon had ample access to spectrum.

Wheeler says he worries that the military’s airwaves will continue to be targeted in the information age. “It is a never-ending move.” Possible solutions might be compression technologies and spectrum sharing, he adds. “We are going to have to think through how we do business in the future if we’re going to use every single piece of that spectrum correctly,” Wheeler says. “We’re going to have to do more sharing in the future. We understand that. That’s going to require a technology and regulatory piece, and policy, and we’re working hard to make that happen.”

 

Wage hike’s impact on DoD far from clear

Feb. 20, 2014 – 07:53PM |

http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140220/NEWS05/302200037/Wage-hike-s-impact-DoD-far-from-clear

By Karen Jowers

Staff writer

 

A 39 percent increase in the minimum wage for federal contract workers will be good news for the many military spouses and veterans who work for these contractors when it takes effect next January.

But defense and service officials are still far from sorting out other possible effects on military installations — to include prices of products in on-base retail activities and funding for morale, welfare and recreation programs.

Military officials and industry representatives will know more in the coming months about how the Feb. 12 executive order signed by President Obama will affect installations, troops and families.

The minimum wage will increase from the current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 for employees of companies with new federal contracts beginning Jan. 1, and will also apply to replacements for expiring contracts. And it calls for a wage hike each year after, based on inflation.

People serving food to troops and individuals with disabilities maintaining the grounds on military bases were two examples the White House offered of workers who will see their wages increase.

For the Defense Department, the biggest impact may be seen at the installation level, said DoD spokeswoman Maureen Schumann.

DoD contracts touch a large swath of programs for goods and services on military installations, but because those contracts are largely decentralized, many decisions will be made at the base leadership level, Schumann said.

For example, if a contract for janitorial services calls for office cleanings at a specific frequency and bids for a new contract come in higher than expected because of the wage hike, leadership will have to determine how to restructure the contract — possibly by reducing the frequency of the cleaning.

The two largest groups likely to be affected are employees working for companies with janitorial services and food concessions contracts, such as fast food outlets operating as concessions through the military exchanges, said Paco Fabian, a spokesman for Good Jobs Nation, which has advocated for higher wages for federal contract workers.

A February report from the Congressional Budget Office noted that according to conventional economic analysis, increasing the minimum wage improves the lives of low-wage workers by increasing family income.

But it also reduces employment. When employers have to pay their workers more to produce goods and services, they pass some of those increased costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices, which in turn, leads to consumers purchasing fewer goods and services. Then those companies produce fewer goods and services, so they hire fewer workers.

A higher minimum wage also may lead employers to shift to other less expensive options, such as machines and technology.

About 58,000 people work for companies that supply goods and services to DoD retail activities, according to a report from the Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits. It is not known how many are military spouses and veterans.

However, 25,375 veterans and military spouses have been hired by member companies and associations as a result of the American Logistics Association’s participation int he White House’s Joining Forces hiring initiative, said ALA spokesman Candace Wheeler.

ALA members supply goods and services for sale in commissaries, exchanges and MWR activities.

 

One industry representative said the wage hike may lead to price increases on hamburgers, subs and other food sold through concessions on military bases, and for other products and services at concessions operated by the exchanges and MWR activities.

It also could lead some concessionaires to decide they just don’t want to do business on bases. One service official said there is concern about a number of concession contracts coming up for negotiations this year.

The industry representative said commissaries also will be affected. For example, delicatessens operate as concessions, and industry employees stock shelves. It’s unclear if the wage hike will affect companies that supply products to commissaries and exchanges.

He said current estimates indicate the higher minimum wage will lower annual earnings of the military exchanges by about $80 million, and of morale, welfare and recreation programs by another $30 to $40 million.

That could mean less money going to military community programs and to build and renovate exchanges. “This compounds a series of events negatively impacting exchanges, including increasing pressure on dividends, decreasing appropriations to military community programs, and decreasing sales because of the troop drawdown,” he said.

“There are emerging severe unintended consequences that will affect these services for troops and families,” he said. “This is uncharted territory.”

“Without the Secretary of Labor’s implementation guidance, we cannot yet fully assess” the impact of the wage hike, said Kristine Sturkie, spokeswoman for the Navy Exchange Service Command.

Officials from the other military exchanges referred questions to defense officials, who did not provide a comment by press time.

A commissary official said it is premature to discuss the potential impact until the executive order is “fully implemented and any new wage determinations are incorporated into DeCA contracts.”

 

USAF Defends Need for New Long-Range Bomber

Feb. 20, 2014 – 03:45AM | By AARON MEHTA | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140220/DEFREG02/302200043/USAF-Defends-Need-New-Long-Range-Bomber

 

ORLANDO, FLA. — The Air Force needs its new long-range strike bomber, even if it can’t give details.

That was the message of a panel held Thursday at the annual Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla.

The panel featured a full-throated defense of the long-range strike bomber as a key asset for the future of the Air Force. It was a slightly puzzling attitude, given that the bomber has been identified as one of the big three key modernization programs for the service and has secured what Lt. Gen. Burton Field, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, called “great support” from Pentagon and congressional leadership.

“Bombers can send messages. They can influence or initiate action, and they are credible because of what they have done in the past,” Field said, specifically citing events last year when a B-2 bomber flew near North Korea and a B-52 was flown through China’s new air defense zone. “Bombers can send messages fast, and they send messages with credibility.”

Just how those messages would be sent is still unclear. Information on the bomber remains sparse, although Field offered some general hints.

 

The new platform will be fielded in the mid-2020s, with penetrating capability in mind. The service will procure between 80 and 100 of the bombers, which will mostly be made with existing technologies. Those platforms will also have both stand-off and direct-attack munitions and room for a “significant” payload.

Field clarified after the panel that the 80- to 100 range is more about uncertainty over the price — the service wants to keep the cost for the program under $550 million per plane — rather than a figure representing the minimum number of bombers needed to mitigate risk (Note: An earlier version of this story did not specify that the $550 million price tag was per plane).

Asked whether there would be a ramp in funding in the FY 2015 budget, Field replied: “No, I don’t think so.”

He also indicated that the bomber would be manned in early production, but the service will look at whether to add unmanned capabilities down the road.

While the new bomber will be based on existing technology, both Field and his co-panelist, analyst Rebecca Grant, talked about the need for the platform to move technologies forward.

“It will be through this bomber program that we have our best chance right now of bringing in the exotic new technologies of the future into new development,” Grant said, citing developments such as directed energy weaponry, hypersonics and alternative fuels as options that could be looked at.

 

Welsh Lays Out Air Staff Reorganization

Feb. 20, 2014 – 07:16PM | By AARON MEHTA | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140220/DEFREG02/302200044/Welsh-Lays-Out-Air-Staff-Reorganization

 

ORLANDO, FLA. — The Air Force is reorganizing how the Air Staff handles operations, the service’s top officer announced Thursday.

The reorganization splits both Operations, Plans and Requirements (A3/5) and Strategic Plans and Programs (A8). The new Operations (A3) directorate will stand alone, while the planning staffs will form a new A5/8 directorate.

Additionally, the current budget responsibilities from A8 will be merged with the service’s financial management arm.

The move was unveiled by Gen. Mark Welsh, USAF Chief of Staff, at the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. Welsh said the change was part of an overall look at how the service plans strategy and operations.

“As part of that reorganization, we’re looking at taking our A3/5 that exists today, and our A8, and we’re taking the operations and plans function of A3/5 and we’re going to make the A3 an operator again,” Welsh said. “We’re going to move the strategic planning strategy, and then long-range resource planning into the A5/8. And we’re going to take the sausage-making part of the A8 out and put it into the FM.”

“So all the people who do the grinding on entering stuff into the databases and keeping the numbers right and doing the accounting are now all going to be working for the same boss,” he continued. “This allows the A5/8 to think about the strategy side of the house. Maybe we can actually get to a place where we build a strategy and a plan that can inform the resource work that we’re doing. That’s the goal.”

The reorganization brings the service more in line with the directorates on the Joint Chiefs. It may also be a first step towards reducing headquarters staff, something that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has made a priority across the Pentagon.

 

 

The End of the New ICBM

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/02/end-new-icbm/78986/?oref=defenseone_today_nl?oref=d-interstitial-continue?oref=d-interstitial-continue?oref=d-interstitial-continue

Stephen Young February 18, 2014

 

Last week, at a conference full of advocates for modernizing the United States’ nuclear triad, something big happened: the idea of developing a new, nuclear-armed, ground-based long-range missile fell off the table.

The nuclear triad — missiles, bombers and submarines that can deliver nuclear weapons — is under fire from all sides, as that force needs upgrading right when there is little budget or public appetite to do so. The Air Force is considering options for replacing or extending the life of the Minuteman III missile, or what it calls the ground-based strategic deterrent. Currently 450 of these weapons, most armed with a single nuclear warhead, are located in underground silos at three bases spread across North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska. Programs are in place to ensure that the Minuteman can stay in service at least until 2030. Last January, the Air Force announced it was considering several options to replace Minuteman, including new, silo-based and mobile missiles on trucks or in an underground rail-based approach similar to a subway system.

But a major blow to developing a new missile came on February 4, with the publication of an Air Force-funded RAND study. That detailed analysis found that an “all-new ICBM system will likely cost almost twice (and perhaps even three times) as much as incremental modernization and sustainment of the MM III system.” Specifically, RAND estimated that the lifecycle costs for incrementally modernizing the Minuteman III would be $60 to $90 billion, while a new silo-based ICBM would cost between $84 billion and $125 billion. Rail- and road-mobile versions would cost significantly more, from $124 billion to $219 billion.

The impact of that study was felt at last week’s three-day Nuclear Deterrence Summit, organized by Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor. The conference is a veritable who’s who of triad aficionados and the message was clear: maintain the triad, but at an affordable cost. Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, who is responsible for the Air Force’s nuclear deterrence operations, argued that it was long past time for the U.S. to make the significant investments that will be required to recapitalize the strategic triad of delivery vehicles and the nuclear devices they carry. He appealed to the audience for a “glide path” — military speak for a sensible and gradual plan — that would maintain U.S. nuclear forces without breaking the bank. Harencak acknowledged that alternative ICBM proposals like the rail-mobile approach had come under ridicule, arguing that the analysis was simply a study of possible options, nothing more. He also recognized that in the current budget environment it would not be possible for the U.S. to replace every system developed during the Cold War.

Later, Amb. Linton Brooks, who negotiated the first START arms control agreement for President George H.W. Bush and later headed the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that there was no reason to consider a new ICBM at this time. Further extending the life of the Minuteman beyond 2030 was not only feasible but eminently sensible. And Peter Huessy, who for decades has organized an Air Force Association lecture series for Congressional members and staff, argued that simply extending the life of the Minuteman III would save some $30 billion over a new ICBM.

With that, the case was closed. In the current budget environment, the outcome is inevitable. The Air Force will not build a new ICBM. The new question: When it becomes necessary to extend the life of the Minuteman, will the missile still be required?

 

 

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to lease 6 sites to cut costs

Posted: 5:49 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/news/local-military/wright-patterson-air-force-base-to-lease-6-sites-t/ndWxr/?icmp=daytondaily_internallink_textlink_apr2013_daytondailystubtomydaytondaily_launch

By Barrie Barber – Staff Writer

FAIRBORN —

 

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will lease up to six spots on and off the sprawling 8,145 acre military installation in a push to build public and private partnerships and cut costs with defense budgets shrinking.

Potential stakeholders toured the locations Thursday and brainstormed ways to make use of the land and create or extend partnerships between the base and outside organizations in academia, industry and government.

At least 130 people filled the Holiday Inn in Fairborn with ideas on how to partner in the medical, education, research, test and development fields, infrastructure services and life cycle and supply chain management — areas where Wright-Patterson has a significant presence with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Institute of Technology, Air Force Research Laboratory and Wright-Patterson Medical Center.

“This effort represents a dramatic change from the traditional approach of military bases to be entirely self-contained and to provide all of its own services,” said Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs, said in a telephone interview.

Organizers say the partnerships could cover everything from sharing the cost of some municipal services like buying road salt or patching potholes to constructing new buildings in areas along the fence line with a dual military and civilian use.

“We live in unprecedented times and it’s time to do things in an unprecedented way,” said Col. Cassie B. Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson.”… This whole process is about getting through the walls that used to be there.”

Riverside Mayor Bill Flaute hoped his neighboring city and the base could find common ground to partner on shared issues such as finding a place for senior citizens to meet and patching potholes.

“We know it’s being done around the country, so why not here?” he asked.

The Air Force will sign enhanced-use lease for up to 50-years, said Alex Colby, chief of the enhanced use lease business development branch at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center in San Antonio, Texas. The military could be reimbursed through cash or an in-kind contribution, such as new construction, depending on terms of the specific deal, he said. The process, now in its initial stages, could take 12 months, until the first leases are signed. Wright-Patterson leaders would consider land outside of the designated sites to suit a specific user, officials said.

 

The on and off base locations next to the fence line would open more land near the high demand “beltway” along Colonel Glenn Highway and Pentagon Boulevard, said Peter J. Williams, an official with the Greene County Department of Development.

“The real estate there is still very, very high demand and I think it’s because people want to be close to the base,” Williams said. “The idea that we can have parcels that offer proximity that may not have been on the market before (is) really creating something where we know there is a demand.”

Jeff Weissman, a real estate and energy consultant based in Huntsville, Ala., said the potential is high for leased parcels, noting a similar initiative at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved successful. But it’s too early to speculate on results at Wright-Patterson, he said.

“It’s hard to say at this early stage how big it could be or how small it could be,” he said.

The Defense Department started similar initiatives on 16 military bases last year and will expand to 30 bases this year.

The Air Force has brokered deals reaching $1 billion on enhanced use leases at other bases with a goal of $5 billion, Air Force figures show.

The Wright-Patterson parcels include: 5.8 acres bordered on the east by National Road and Kauffman Avenue on the north, and eight acres on the opposite side of National Road. The base counts both pieces of land as one parcel.

An 18.9-acre parcel outside the base fence line at Mission Point and bounded to the north by Colonel Glenn Highway and Interstate 675 exit ramps.

A 17.7-acre plot in the area of Twin Base Golf Course and Gate 16A, a truck inspection entryway. The area is bounded by Ohio 444 to the south, Communications Boulevard to the north and northwest, Hebble Creek to the east and the golf course to the west. If developed, the base would need to relocate the truck inspection gate, officials said.

A 20.9-acre plot that includes an excess parking lot outside Air Force Material Command headquarters. The area is bounded by Kuglics Boulevard to the northwest, Warner Robbins and Ogden Avenue to the north and northeast, Ohio 844 and Gate 15A to the west, and an Ohio 844 exit ramp to Ohio 444 to the south.

A 40.9-acre parcel near the main runway and bounded by Loop Road to the west and Ohio 235 to the north and east. The parcel can only be used to offset development if the existing truck inspection point at Gate 16A needs to be relocated, officials said.

A 31.7-acre parcel, formerly military housing, bounded by Ohio 444/Spruce Way to the east, and Redbud Lane to the west and in the area of the Hope Hotel and Conference Center and the Wright-Patterson Medical Center.

 

Why Facebook Just Spent $19 Billion on a Messaging App

By Robinson Meyer

February 20, 2014

 

Late Wednesday, Facebook announced its purchase of WhatsApp for $16 billion. $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in Facebook stock were granted to the company, with an additional $3 billion worth of Facebook stock to come.

WhatsApp makes a glorified texting app. It lets you send text and pictures to another WhatsApp user’s phone. Free to use for the first year, it costs $1 annually after that.

Why, you may be wondering, would Facebook spend $19 billion on it?

To answer, it helps to tell a story about two of my friends. They’re dating. Last year, one of them—we’ll call him Nick—lived in the small African nation of Lesotho. The other—we’ll call her Julie—lived in Chicago. This year, they switched. Nick lives in New York City. Julie lives in Mumbai.

On the home screen of Nick’s iPhone (at right), there aren’t many apps. There’s Google Maps, Gmail, a camera. There are three social networks—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—of which Facebook owns two.

And there’s WhatsApp. WhatsApp lets Nick and Julie text and send pictures across international borders, skirting international SMS fees and only paying for the cost of data. They both use it daily.

They aren’t the only ones. In December, WhatsApp announced it had reached 400 million active monthly users, with 100 million of them having joined since just September. It’s now up to 450 million monthly active users. According to Facebook’s Wednesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 70 percent of those people are active on a single day, and 1 million people download WhatsApp every day.

That’s 315 million people using WhatsApp every day. In the same filing, Facebook claims that the amount of data that passes through WhatsApp rivals “the entire global telecom SMS volume.”

(For reference, by the way, Facebook said it had 945 million monthly active users for its own, non-WhatsApp services in January.)

But is it worth $19 billion? No one’s really sure. But as John Herrman writes at Buzzfeed, WhatsApp was “one of the only services that could plausibly claim to be cannibalizing Facebook on a large scale, and one of a small few that pose it an existential threat.”

What’s more, buying WhatsApp fits into a pattern that’s emerged from Facebook. For me, there are three clear reasons why Facebook spent crazy money on the new messaging giant.

1. Facebook wants to dominate among mobile apps. Facebook has a history of simply up and buying mobile apps when they start to dominate. It bought Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion. It tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion. And—as Herrman has reported—it spent $100 million last fall to buy the best mobile app analytics usage firm. If an app has tons of mobile users, Facebook knows, perhaps before almost anyone else.

It’s this same, mobile app-focused strategy that led it to release Paper early this month. Paper is a newsreading app, but it’s also simply a better mobile version of Facebook. It’s Facebook content through a new, designified lens—and it heralds a new “multi-app strategy,” wherein Facebook lets many different kinds of apps spring from its walled garden.

Facebook has a history of buying successful mobile apps, especially those with a social component. WhatsApp is a bananas successful mobile app. Ergo…

2. Facebook wants to dominate in messaging apps. It’s not yet a sure thing that Facebook users will keep wanting to, er, Facebook: to engage in the daily exchange of pictures, status updates, and wall posts that keep the social network feeling fertile. (That might be part of the reason why the service hasstarted to display more links to news stories on its News Feed: Web publishers are already making a product, on a daily basis, that’s meant to engage users.)

But messaging: People always have to chat with each other. And while messaging apps rise and fall quickly (when was the last time you AIM’d someone?), they also offer an enduring source of engagement. And if you can lock in users—lock in enough of people’s real-life social networks that there’s little reason to stray from the app—it doesn’t matter if other, better apps come along.

 

Messaging apps are also one of the few parts of the social web that grew over the past two years. It’s in response to WhatsApp, Snapchat, and the Chinese-centric WeChat that Twitter improved its direct messaging feature in December, after years of neglect. It’s in response to the same that Instagramcreated a direct photo messaging feature. Both Twitter and Facebook responded to WhatsApp and Snapchat by making it easier to send privately photos to other users.

Is anyone using their services? We don’t know. But we do know that, as of October, people sent 400 million photos every day over WhatsApp.

3. Facebook wants to dominate in the developing world.

Facebook, like many of the major social networks, may have maxed out its membership among U.S. users. There simply aren’t many people who have yet to join who will ever join. The only place Facebook has left to grow is the developing world.

It’s already trying to grab users there. As Christopher Mims at our sister publication Quartz has detailed, Facebook makes many of its basic features free on non-smartphones using an old web protocol. This version of the service, called Facebook Zero, won it fast growth in 2012 in places like Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. The social network tried other strategies, like partnering with mobile phone companies and creating Facebook-specific apps, to gain users in Mexico.

Since then, WhatsApp has won users in those places. In May 2013, Forrester research analyst Charles Golvin told Buzzfeed’s Charlie Warzel the following: “In places like Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and a number of other markets you see extraordinary numbers. Twenty-five percent of the time people spend on smartphones, they’re spending in WhatsApp.”

WhatsApp, in those countries, has often replaced SMS. (SMS charges everywhere can be exorbitant.) WhatsApp—with text and photo-sharing—is the rising social network Facebook wanted to be.

What’s more, WhatsApp often connects Western users with their friends in the developing world. Think of Nick and Julie above: WhatsApp is the link between two American Facebook users, each with a social network in India and Lesotho, respectively. If you’re trying to find users to whom you can show expensive ads, following the connections—from the U.S., out—isn’t a bad strategy.

That said, $16 billion—and maybe $19 billion, eventually—is a huge, insane amount of money.

So: Will WhatsApp keep growing? Will it give Zuckerberg better footing in in the developing world? And will it let Facebook make money from phones the same way it used to make money from desktops, and lock in the 10 year-old giant as not only the winner of the great social era (2004–2012), but the great mobile era (2012–?), too?

What’s more: Is a texting app, with security problems, that routes cheaply around a service which Internet providers charge for, really worth more than a company that transports people across the country, in gigantic, metal, flying ships?

Now we find out.

http://www.nextgov.com/mobile/2014/02/why-facebook-just-spent-19-billion-messaging-app/79115/

 

Coming Soon: Free Internet From Space

By Alex Brown

February 20, 2014

 

If all goes according to plan, North Koreans will soon have free, uncensored Internet provided by satellites the size of toaster ovens.

That’s part of a project called Outernet, which hopes to launch hundreds of tiny satellites—known as CubeSats—to provide Internet to every person on Earth. Forty percent of the world’s people currently don’t have access to the Web. In a little more than a year, Outernet plans to have a fleet of 24 satellites operational and testing to pave the way for a globe-spanning network.

The satellites won’t be providing conventional Internet right away. They’ll initially be used for one-way communication to provide services like emergency updates, news, crop prices, and educational programs. Users will help determine what content is offered.

Outernet, according to its website, “is able to bypass censorship, ensure privacy and offer a universally accessible information service at no cost to global citizens.” The project’s backers say knowledge is a human right—one they intend to provide even in countries where dictators have thus far limited access. For now, they want to make “a basic level of news, information, education, and entertainment … available to all of humanity.”

It will be at least five years before Outernet can offer the more interactive Web as we know it, which allows users to both access information and upload it, said Syed Karim, director of innovation for the Media Development Investment Fund, Outernet’s backer.

Worldwide Internet could be available sooner, Karim said, if telecom giants invested in a few mega-capacity satellites like North America’s ViaSat-1. Three years and $12 billion is all it would take to get the job done, he estimated. “We don’t have $12 billion, so we’ll do as much as we can with CubeSats and broadcast data,” Karim said.

How much will it cost? Putting a 10x10x10-centimeter payload into orbit runs more than $100,000. A 34x10x10 satellite—the biggest unit Outernet is considering—costs more than $300,000 to launch. Now, multiply that by hundreds of satellites. “We want to stay as small as possible, because size and weight are directly related to dollars,” Karim said. “Much of the size is dictated by power requirements and the solar panels needed satisfy those requirements.”

To determine the range and size of its global fleet, Outernet will have to determine the gain on its signal. A higher gain would lower the satellite’s reach but provide faster speeds. The first fleet’s testing will help determine the right balance.

While Outernet’s engineers test and prepare for launch, they’re seeking support from those who believe in their cause. In addition to traditional donation sources like Paypal, they’re also accepting online currencies like bitcoin and Dogecoin (bitcoin blockchains are among the initial services the one-way signals will offer). They’re also asking NASA to let them test their technology on the International Space Station.

http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2014/02/coming-soon-free-internet-space/79106/

 

 

 

Rasmussen Reports

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

Bottom of Form

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Let’s party – or maybe not. That’s the big decision facing Republicans this election cycle.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Likely Republican Voters think it’s important for Republicans in Congress to work with the Tea Party, but just 38% of these voters believe the Tea Party will help the GOP in elections this November.

After all, only 31% of all voters nationwide now view the Tea Party movement favorably. Forty-seven percent (47%) do not.

At the same time, voters share many of the sentiments that prompted the creation of the Tea Party. Voters by a two-to-one margin, for example, favor a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a larger one with more services and higher taxes.

Voters continue to give Congress rock-bottom ratings, and only eight percent (8%) think most members of Congress get reelected because they do a good job representing their constituents.

But right now Democrats lead Republicans by four points on the Generic Congressional Ballot.

President Obama is faring slightly better when it comes to his daily job approval ratings. Yet while  his ratings in some key issue areas are also improving, they still have a ways to go.

Consider that the president made income inequality the central issue of last month’s State of the Union address, but only 39% of voters think he is doing a good or excellent job handling issues related to economic fairness. That compares to 42% a year ago.

Forty-one percent (41%) give the president good or excellent marks for his handling of issues related to health care, up from a recent low of 30% in November. But slightly more (46%) still give Obama poor marks in this area.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) think employers and individuals should be allowed to buy insurance plans across state lines, something that is now prohibited by the president’s new national health care law. That’s the highest level of support measured for this type of choice in regular Rasmussen Reports tracking.

Just 31% of voters agree with Secretary of State John Kerry that global warming is now “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”  Despite Kerry’s dismissal of those who question global warming as belonging to the Flat Earth Society, voters are almost evenly divided when asked if global warming is proven scientific fact.

However, global warming advocates seem to be winning the public relations battle with fewer voters than ever (35%) who now think the problem is due to long-term planetary trends. Voters still aren’t overly enthusiastic about paying more to deal with the climate issue, though.

Despite U.S. protests, Afghan authorities last week released 65 prisoners, some involved in attacks on Americans, so it’s not surprising that voters remain pessimistic about a war now in its thirteenth year.

Fifty-two percent (52%) favor an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Consumer and investor confidence were up at week’s end. 

Still, just 51% of Americans are now at least somewhat confident in the stability of the U.S. banking industry, with only 15% who are Very Confident.

Twenty-two percent (22%) say the interest rates they are paying now are higher than last year at this time, while 13% say they are lower. 
Fifty percent (50%) lack confidence in the Federal Reserve Board’s ability to keep interest rates and inflation down, including 17% who are Not At All Confident.

Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law made headlines again this month after a jury there found Michael Dunn not guilty of first-degree murder for shooting a teenager after an argument over loud music. Forty-one percent (41%) of Americans now believe “stand your ground” laws improve public safety, up seven points from 34% in July.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) trust a jury more than a judge to determine the guilt or innocence of someone accused of criminal behavior. Just 22% trust a judge more, while nearly as many (20%) are not sure.

When it comes to gun-related issues, not surprisingly, our surveys have found that there’s often a world of difference between those with a gun in their household and those who don’t have a gun around.  So what do these two Americas think about these hot-button issues? 

In other surveys this week:

— Thirty percent (30%) of voters believe the United States is heading in the right direction.

— Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans with school-age children think parents should have a choice between sending their children to a school where disciplinary spanking is allowed and a school where spanking is not allowed.

— Forty-nine percent (49%) think buying a home is the best investment most families can make, consistent with findings for the last couple years. An all-time high of 67% felt that way in May 2009.

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln remain Americans’ favorite presidents, although few consider the holiday last Monday that honored them to be one of the nation’s most important.

February 15 2014

15February014

Newswire

 

IBM Lands DARPA Contract for Self-Destructing Chips

BY CHLOE ALBANESIUS

FEBRUARY 7, 2014 11:15AM

DARPA has awarded IBM a $3.45 million contract to develop self-destructing microchips.


http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2430476,00.asp?mailingID=3243A6C702E461A79B039E45D3BD1EA5

 

Anyone who has watched a spy movie – from James Bond to Mission Impossible – is familiar with self-destructing messages and gadgets. But the technology might become a reality thanks to a project from DARPA and IBM.

Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) within the Defense Department put out the call for technology that “when triggered, [can] degrade partially or completely into their surroundings.”

Late last month, DARPA awarded IBM a $3.45 million contract to pursue the futuristic project, dubbed Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program, which will develop a “new class of electronics.”

“The commercial off-the-shelf, or COTS, electronics made for everyday purchases are durable and last nearly forever,” Alicia Jackson, DARPA program manager, said in announcing VAPR last year. “DARPA is looking for a way to make electronics that last precisely as long as they are needed. The breakdown of such devices could be triggered by a signal sent from command or any number of possible environmental conditions, such as temperature.”

Specifically, IBM will experiment with glass shattering techniques that can turn the silicon chips that power today’s gadgets into an unusable powder.

“A trigger, such as a fuse or a reactive metal layer will be used to initiate shattering, in at least one location, on the glass substrate,” DARPA said.

But don’t expect Apple or Samsung to reveal a self-destructing smartphone anytime soon. The idea is to protect secrets on the battlefield. Radios, remote sensors, and phones are all used by military personnel, but “it is almost impossible to track and recover every device,” DARPA said. “At the end of operations, these electronics are often found scattered across the battlefield and might be captured by the enemy and repurposed or studied to compromise DoD’s strategic technological advantage.”

For more, check out PCMag Live in the video below, which discusses IBM’s “Vanishing Programmable Resources.”

 

White House Pushes Budget Hike

Boost Would Start in FY16

Feb. 9, 2014 – 03:00PM | By DEFENSE NEWS STAFF | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140209/DEFREG02/302090012/White-House-Pushes-Budget-Hike

 

WASHINGTON — The White House and Pentagon, after weeks of back-and-forth debate, appear ready to expand the Defense Department’s budget starting in 2016.

Administration officials are contemplating a $535 billion DoD budget in 2016, one source said, which is about $36 billion over the sequester cap. The administration would offset the defense increase in other areas of the federal budget, sources said.

Senior White House officials are resisting some of the largest reductions proposed by the Pentagon, including the Navy’s plan to cut an aircraft carrier and slow manpower cuts, according to several sources close to the internal negotiations. It is not clear, however — especially inside the Pentagon — where the money would come from to pay for the items that would have been cut in 2015.

Sources said the new plan would include expanding options outside the formal budget request, including soliciting “wish lists” of unfunded priorities from each of the services, and an expanded war budget request.

White House officials were surprised by the level of the cuts proposed by the Pentagon in the fiscal 2015 submission, sources said. Asking to eliminate one of the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers would be politically challenging in an election year.

While details continue to be nailed down, the White House will send a roughly $496 billion Defense Department base budget request for 2015 to Congress on March 4.

To make up shortfalls, the services are being directed to significantly enhance their “unfunded priorities list,” a heretofore congressionally-mandated annual requirement that Pentagon leadership severely reduced in recent years, to the point of not being produced at all in 2013. The new plan, however, sees a total of $26 billion in unfunded requirements for 2015 across the services.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, told Defense News on Feb. 7 that DoD’s fiscal 2015 budget submission will remain under the caps mandated by the budget deal constructed by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. That deal restored about $30 billion to Pentagon coffers in 2014 and 2015.

Kirby noted that DoD’s 2015 budget will still be about $42 billion less than previous plans and tough decisions lie ahead for the department.

However, the White House might allow the Pentagon to submit projections for 2016 to 2019 that are higher than the Budget Control Act caps that were put in place in 2011, according to sources.

“You have to come at all these things … from a holistic point of view,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a Feb. 7 briefing at the Pentagon.

“Readiness, modernization, capability: Those are priorities that we focus on,” he said. “As you assess your resources, and you match your resources to mission, those are three priorities that always must be in front of everything else.”

Still, Hagel noted there will be “across-the-board” cuts.

“You can’t do it any other way,” he said. “I think it’s a very good plan, [and] it’s an effective plan.”

 

Carrier Restored – or Not?

The Navy’s plan to eliminate the Japan-based carrier George Washington and one of the Navy’s 10 carrier air wings received major attention, with numerous lawmakers expressing their opposition to the plan after it was reported in Defense News on Jan. 27.

The GW — a relatively young ship after 22 years of service — is scheduled to begin a $3.9 billion, three-year refueling overhaul in 2016, work which will keep the ship running an additional 23 years or so.

While some money has already been appropriated for advanced procurement, the bulk of the funding is still to come.

The Navy zeroed in on the carrier and aircraft as a way to reduce spending while saving money for other ships, including submarines and amphibious ships.

The move would also eliminate more than 5,000 seagoing billets to allow for personnel reductions.

But no ships are more symbolic of American power, and in a political year, the White House has directed the Navy to rescind its request to decommission a carrier.

There’s just one problem: There is no funding for the ship, either to proceed with the reactor refueling overhaul, or to operate it when it’s returned to service.

“The narrative doesn’t match the dollars,” one Pentagon source said of the situation.

The plan now seems to be to proceed with the refueling overhaul, kicking the issue into the following year.

The Navy received $245 million in advanced procurement for the overhaul in the 2014 budget and is programmed to ask for $491 million in advanced procurement in 2015.

In 2016, $1.6 billion would be requested and again in 2017, to complete GW’s overhaul.

Several sources said those funds are not now in the budget. Among the Navy’s options, sources said, would be asking for less advanced procurement funding in 2015, sliding the whole project a year or more and putting off the need for a decision until next year.

The manpower issue is one that the services have struggled with coming after more than a decade at war — none more so than the Army.

Having reached a wartime high of 570,000 troops at the height of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the service has since slimmed to about 530,000 troops, on the way down to a goal of 490,000 by the end of 2015.

The rub for the Army is that reducing its end-strength to 490,000 won’t actually save any money. Force levels above that number are funded through supplemental wartime accounts — which will end in fiscal 2016 — so in order to reap any savings that could then be used to pad modernization accounts, it will have to go below that 490,000 threshold.

“The monies are laid out to give us a 420,000 Army by 2019,” Lt. Gen. James Barclay, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-8, said on Jan. 15. But he cautioned that this “doesn’t mean we’re set on going to 420. We’ve got some decision points built in, coming into the ’16-’17 timeframe, so we’re taking a hard look at what is the right set.”

One thing was clear Feb. 7 — hundreds of Pentagon budget specialists are trying to figure how to enact all these changes in line-item fashion in budget documents that are due to be submitted in less than a month.

 

Windows XP isn’t the only software getting the knife in 8 weeks

Microsoft will also end support for Office 2003 and Exchange 2003

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9246232/Windows_XP_isn_t_the_only_software_getting_the_knife_in_8_weeks?source=CTWNLE_nlt_pm_2014-02-11

 

By Gregg Keizer

February 11, 2014 04:13 PM ET

 

Computerworld – Microsoft will call it quits not only on Windows XP in less than two months, but will also pull the plug on Office 2003 the same day.

After April 8, Office 2003, which debuted on Oct. 21, 2003, will no longer receive security updates, no matter which flavor of Windows it’s running on.

Although Microsoft has made noise about ditching Windows XP, it has spoken infrequently about Office 2003’s deadline. One of the few places on its website where it has talked about the latter’s end-of-life, or EOL, is here.

“We’re seeing the same kind of pockets as with XP,” said Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, of Office 2003 users in business. “A lot of people were on holding patterns with XP and didn’t upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2007.”

Michael Silver of Gartner agreed. “There’s a correlation between the success of Windows and the success of the Office that came out around it,” he said. “Because of Vista, because of the timing, because of the costs, a lot of organizations skipped Office 2007.”

When companies began migrating from XP to Windows 7 — a process that continues even as the former’s retirement deadline looms — they also migrated from Office 2003 to Office 2010, even though a newer version of the latter has been available for more than a year.

“You might say the same [about a correlation] about Windows 8 and Office 2013,” Silver said, adding that uptake for Office 2013 has been slow in enterprises. “It’s because so many organizations are still in the midst of their Windows 7 migration [that they’ve ignored Office 2103]. They didn’t want to change that Windows 7-Office 2010 plan, and decided to continue that.”

But Silver pegged the prevalence of Office 2003 as more than the pockets Miller portrayed. “It’s probably in the 30% to 40% range,” Silver said.

Office 2003’s successor, Office 2007, was bypassed for another reason: Some customers detested its new “Ribbon”-style interface, which was championed by Julie Larson-Green, then with the Office engineering group but subsequently an important executive in the Windows 7 and Windows 8 teams. She is now head of the company’s Devices and Studios, responsible for the Surface line of hardware.

The Ribbon-ized Office 2007, and its follow-ups, Office 2010 and Office 2013, have continued to earn scorn from some long-time users. But the initial criticism about the user interface (UI) change died down much more quickly than that aimed at Windows Vista, which launched around the same time as Office 2007, or the UI complaints aimed now at Windows 8.

With the end of public support, Microsoft will no longer provide security patches for Office 2003. And Microsoft has been aggressively patching Office 2003: In 2013, it released 10 security bulletins for the edition. It has shipped one so far this year.

“But folks don’t worry as much about support for Office as they do for an operating system,” said Silver. “There’s definitely a risk in running Office 2003 [after patches stop] but you can do a lot of things to reduce the risk significantly, such as turning macros off by default.”

The lack of security updates will present special problems to consumers and small business customers running Windows XP and Vista, as the newest editions of the suite, Office 2013 and Office 365, run only on Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1.

 

(Large organizations with enterprise and Software Assurance agreements can upgrade from Office 2003 — if they are still running the 11-year-old suite — to any newer Office edition.)

Microsoft no longer sells Office 2007 or 2010, the latest versions that run on XP and Vista, either direct or to distributors, but online retailers still have the latter in stock. Newegg, for example, sells Office 2010 for between $100 and $480, depending on the SKU (stock keeping unit) and whether installation media is included.

Other alternatives include the free Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice, both of which run on XP and Vista.

Miller pointed out that Office 2003 and Windows XP were not the only pieces of Microsoft’s portfolio to roll into retirement on April 8.

“It’s not just Office 2003, it’s not just the front end but it’s also the back end. Exchange [Server] 2003 also leaves support that day,” Miller said.

As happened to Windows XP and Office 2003, users hung on to Exchange Server 2003, skipping the next edition, Exchange Server 2007. Most enterprises migrated to Windows 7, Office 2010 and Exchange Server 2010 around the same time.

“We’re seeing more Exchange holdouts because [the software] was often installed on Windows Server 2003,” said Miller, referring to the server-side software that leaves support mid-July 2015. “This could end up being a big thing this year and next, because it’s a bigger transition. Some customers are still running Windows Server 2003 on 32-bit hardware, but since that version, it’s been all 64-bit. So they may not have the hardware.”

For Miller, the migration-from-Server 2003 story will be one to watch carefully.

Coincidentally, Microsoft will also stop serving patches to Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 2 (SP2) on April 8, and require all users of the OS X edition to run Service Pack 3 to receive and install security updates.

 

The Pickup Truck Era Of Warfare

Jack Mulcaire

February 11, 2014 · http://warontherocks.com/2014/02/the-pickup-truck-era-of-warfare/

 

Readers, let’s take a moment to salute a true workhorse. In the world of war machines, the expensive and high-tech items get all the attention and budget—drones, anti-ship ballistic missiles, cyber warfare, and the like. But, on the battlefields of the twenty-first century, a humble and under-rated weapon has quietly showed up these expensive attention-hogs: the pickup truck.

Today, primarily irregular, infantry-centric forces fight almost every conflict in the world. Pickup trucks are their mainstays. In Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Mexico, Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic, irregulars reach the battlefield more often than not in the cabs and beds of Toyota Hi-Luxes and Land Cruisers, Ford Rangers, and Mitsubishi L200s. When they arrive, the same pickups are often carrying the crew-served weapons that offer that allow a light force to pack a punch on the cheap. Pickup trucks are ideal for the wars of the twenty-first century: they’re readily available, cheap, fuel efficient, easy to operate and repair. And, they are more modular than the Littoral Combat Ship. They can operate off-road in the bush or in the downtown of a major metropolis. All of these characteristics make the pickup truck a war-winner for non-state or weak-state forces that can’t get their hands on purpose-built military vehicles, can’t afford extensive logistic chains, and need to quickly move through and between rough terrain and urban environments.

 

The “technical” (light truck mounted with weapons) was born in the Sahara and won its greatest glory there. The history of the technical goes back to the exploits of the Long Range Desert Group in the Second World War. But, the pickup-truck era of warfare really began on March 22, 1987, when 2,000 Chadian soldiers riding in technicals armed with heavy machine guns, AA guns, MILAN anti-tank missiles and recoilless rifles emerged from desert wadis in the depths of the Sahara and overran the massive Libyan air base at Wadi Doum, Chad in a surprise attack that killed thousands of Libyans, destroyed dozens of tanks and aircraft, and shattered Libyan air power. The Chadians would go on to repeat their success several months later with an attack against the Libyan airbase at Maaten al-Sara, in Libya itself. Again, thousands of fighters in armed pickups crossed the desert to hit with speed and surprise. Libya agreed to a cease-fire six days after Maaten al-Sara fell, bringing the “Toyota War” (so named because Chadian forces were mainly composed of Toyota trucks) to an end. The Chadians had defeated a larger and far better armed Libyan force, holding a well-fortified position, and they couldn’t have done it without their trucks.

 

The speedy all-terrain mobility of the Chadian technicals allowed them to cross the Sahara into Libya undetected, masking their approach by following wadis and dunes. The trucks could carry the heavy weapons necessary to destroy Libyan armor and suppress Libyan positions at long range, unlike infantry or camels. Chadian drivers even discovered that their trucks could drive over anti-tank mines without detonating them, as long as they drove faster than 100 km/h. The Chadians are still masters of technical warfare; convoys of Toyota Land Cruisers carrying Chadian mercenaries led the Seleka alliance’s charge into Bangui, pushed back a South African infantry company and overthrew President Francois Boizize last March in the Central African Republic.

 

No history of the pickup-truck era of warfare would be complete without mentioning the Somalis. The term “technical” originated in Somalia: international NGOs would use “technical assistance grants” to hire and equip local guards, and “technical” quickly became the shorthand term for their armed trucks. Somali politics are clan-dominated, and the strength of a Somali clan is measured in how much livestock they own and how many technicals they can field. Muhammad Farah Adid, perhaps the most powerful single warlord to rise and fall since the collapse of Somalia, and victor of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu against American Rangers, was carried to his grave in the back of one of his Toyota Land Cruiser pickups.

 

The wars of the Arab Spring have brought us into the golden age of the battle truck. Colonel Moammar Qaddafi probably thought that his truck problems had ended after his forces withdrew from Chad, but he would live to be tormented by Toyotas one final time. The Mad Max ingenuity of Libya’s rebel mechanics, born of desperation during the country’s 2011 civil war, surpassed anything that other pickup-warriors in Chad, Somalia, Lebanon and other hotspots had ever come up with. They quickly became the stuff of legend: the Chinese auto company that produced most of the rebellion’s trucks used Libyan technicals to advertise that their trucks were “stronger then war.” The Libyans weren’t the best soldiers, or the best tacticians, but they were the most innovative engineers. They attached armor plate-mated office chairs with ZPU AA guns, sawed off the roof to increase the arc of fire for the recoilless rifle in the bed. They produced hundreds of trucks armed with huge S-5 Soviet rocket pods, intended for aircraft. They even cut the turret off of a BMP-1 Soviet Armored Personnel Carrier and mounted it on the back of a Toyota.

 

Technical

Throughout the conflict, the revolutionary militias captured hundreds of tanks and APCs, but even in the war’s last battles, technical trucks provided the majority of rebel firepower and transport. The superior speed, mobility and fuel economy of the trucks more than compensated for their lack of armor and firepower compared to captured T-72 tanks and BMPs. The description of the rebellion’s final push from Zawiya into Tripoli in Irish-Libyan rebel Hussam Najjair’s memoir of the campaign highlights the unique assets of the pickups. The speed and fuel efficiency of the pickups let the rebel Tripoli Brigade cover ground so fast that disparate pro-Qaddafi units weren’t able to link up and support each other, and when the superior firepower of the government troops became too heavy, the pickups could quickly scatter off-road, duck down alleys, or make a speedy u-turn. At the moment, Libya’s militias are engaged in mopping up the last remnants of a simultaneous uprising and incursion over the border from Chad by former pro-Qaddafi fighters. Militiamen assembled in central Tripoli to make a show of strength before going south to put down the threat. What sort of vehicles were they parading in? You guessed it, Toyota Land Cruiser pickups.

 

The battle pickup continues to evolve. In Syria, rebel mechanics built this homemade tank with a remote-controlled machine gun operated by a PlayStation controller onto the frame of a truck. As long as great-power rivalries stay suppressed and large-scale conventional warfare is rare, the pickup-truck era of warfare will continue. The pickup-truck era is an era of small wars, often fought in marginal places by weak states or forces with no state to back them. Winning strategies and forces in the pickup-truck era of warfare should share the characteristics that have made the light truck a successful weapon. A winning strategy should involve a light resource footprint and it should be easy to implement with irregular, semi-professional light troops. It should be applicable to urban and rural areas because the forces of the pickup truck era freely cross the border between both. It’s easy to forget the strategic lessons that the pickup truck can teach us because they’re not very glamorous. But, for me, a convoy of swaggering militiamen speeding down the road in the bed of their modded Toyota Hi-Luxes is the modern version of a line of medieval knights charging at full gallop.

 

Jack Mulcaire is a contributor to War on the Rocks. During the 2011 Libyan Civil War, he helped lead a group of international volunteers that aided and consulted with local rebel councils and units. He has written for Small Wars Journal on the Syrian conflict and has aided New York Times writer Damien Spleeters in tracking arms shipments to Syria.

 

IAI Unveils Larger, More Powerful UAV at Singapore Airshow

Feb. 11, 2014 – 03:45AM | By ANDREW CHUTER | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140211/DEFREG03/302110018/IAI-Unveils-Larger-More-Powerful-Super-Heron-UAV

 

SINGAPORE — A heavy fuel version of Israel Aerospace Industry’s big-selling Heron UAV literally had the wraps taken off on the opening day of the Singapore Airshow Feb. 11.

Joseph Weiss, the president and CEO of the state-owned Israeli company, ordered a huge blue shroud to be removed from the Super Heron Heavy Fuel machine parked on the apron outside the company’s chalet in a ceremony here today to formally reveal the UAV.

With the shroud gone, the latest member of the Heron family was revealed as having slightly bigger dimensions than before and some minor redesign around the rear fuselage.

 

Visually, the main difference was the incorporation of upturned wingtips. But it’s under the engine covers where the main innovation can be found over earlier Heron versions.

IAI engineers have installed a 200-horsepower heavy fuel (diesel) engine instead of the 115 horsepower aviation fuel engine used by other Heron 1 variants.

Diesel fuel offers several benefits, including greater safety in transport and commonality with other engines used on today’s battlefield.

Weiss said the new generation medium-altitude high-endurance UAV will be faster and offer significant capability enhancements and improved rates of climb compared with previous Herons.

Air speed will exceed 150 knots compared with the present Heron figure of 115 knots; maximum takeoff weight has increased 200 kilograms to 1,450 kilograms. Payload weight is 450 kilograms, said the company in a statement.

The UAV made its first flight last October.

The machine is already being offered in export markets and Shepard Media reported that the Super Heron HF is competing with Elbit to supply the Swiss military with a heavy fuel-powered machine. A selection is expected later this year.

 

Levin: DoD Unlikely To Breach Spending Caps in 2015 Request

Feb. 11, 2014 – 05:22PM | By JOHN T. BENNETT | Comments

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140211/DEFREG02/302110023/Levin-DoD-Unlikely-Breach-Spending-Caps-2015-Request?odyssey=mod_sectionstories

 

WASHINGTON — US Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin said Tuesday he doubts the Pentagon’s 2015 budget request will breach spending caps set by Congress.

Large numbers of Republicans and Democrats in both chambers voted for the 2011 Budget Control Act, which capped discretionary defense and domestic spending for 2014 and 2015. The bipartisan budget plan negotiated late last year by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., then extended them through 2021.

Lawmakers are so fond of the caps, in fact, that including them in the bipartisan budget plan enhanced the final vote tallies in both chambers.

In recent weeks, defense analysts and insiders had suggested the Pentagon would simply ignore those caps in its 2015 request. But that notion is being systematically extinguished.

Levin told reporters on Tuesday that he believes the coming DoD request, due on Capitol Hill in early March (a few weeks later than usual), will fit under the caps — even if just barely.

He expects Pentagon officials will use the “future years defense plan [FYDP],” which forecasts expected defense requests for four additional years, to “tell us that, unless we deal with the ’16 sequestration … what the impacts will be down the road.”

That meshes with comments made by Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby during an interview with Defense News last Friday.

Sources have told Defense News that the White House is considering allowing the Pentagon to show spending levels for 2016 through 2019 — which encompass the FYDP — that are higher than the spending caps.

 

If that scenario plays out, expect GOP fiscal hawks and anti-Pentagon liberals to cry foul. The former wants deep cuts across the federal budget and the latter will question why the White House is making exceptions only for a Defense Department that makes up such a massive percentage of total discretionary spending.

 

Banks push for tokenization standard to secure credit card payments

Tokenization addresses gaps in EMV smartcard standard, says indsutry group

By Jaikumar Vijayan

February 12, 2014 02:31 PM ET

Computerworld – A group representing 22 of the world’s largest banks is pushing for broad adoption in the U.S. of payment card technology called tokenization, citing shortcomings in the planned migration to the Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) smartcard standard over the next two years.

The Clearing House Payments Company (TCH), whose owners include Bank of America, Citibank, Capital One and JP Morgan Chase, is working with member banks to see how tokenization can be applied to online and mobile payment environments to protect against fraud.

The effort stems from what the group says is the need to address gaps in the EMV standard involving mobile and online transactions.

“EMV has been out there for close to 20 years” and has served its purpose well, said Dave Fortney, senior vice president, product development and management for The Clearing House.

 

Data breaches

Banks push for tokenization standard to secure credit card payments

Debit and credit cards based on the EMV technology use an embedded microchip, instead of a magnetic stripe, to store data and are considered almost impossible to clone for fraudulent purposes. Though the rest of the world moved to the technology years ago, the U.S. has lagged behind for a variety of reasons.

However, after the recent Target breach that exposed data on 40 million debit and credit cards, calls to adopt the standard in the U.S. have become more strident. MasterCard and Visa have said they want merchants and banks to be ready to start accepting EMV cards by October 2015.

While the planned migration has its benefits, EMV is not quite the panacea that many assume it is, Fortney said. “The downside with EMV is that it was created when there was no Internet, no online commerce, no smartphones and no tablets.”

While EMV is great for securing card transactions at point-of-sale terminals, it is less useful for online payments and other card-not-present transactions. That is one of the major reasons why payment card fraud has migrated from point-of-sale systems to online channels in Europe and other places that have already adopted EMV.

Payment card tokenization is one way to address this gap, Fortney noted.

Tokenization is a method for protecting card data by substituting a card’s Primary Account Number (PAN) with a unique, randomly generated sequence of numbers, alphanumeric characters, or a combination of a truncated PAN and a random alphanumeric sequence.

 

The token is usually the same length and format as the original PAN, so it appears no different than a standard payment card number to back-end transaction processing systems, applications and storage.

The random sequence, or “token,” acts as a substitute value for the actual PAN while the data is at rest inside a retailer’s systems. The token can be reversed to its true associated PAN value at any time with the right decryption keys. Tokens can be either single use tokens or multi-use tokens.

Tokenization eliminates the need for merchants, e-commerce sites and operators of mobile wallets to store sensitive payment card data on their networks, said Fortney.

With tokenization, credit and debit card data is encrypted at the point where it is captured and sent to the merchant’s payment processor where the data is decrypted and the transaction is authorized. The processor then issues a token representing the entire transaction back to the retailer while the actual card number itself is securely stored in a virtual vault.

The retailer can use the token to keep track of the transaction and handle refunds, returns, exchanges and other transactions. The token itself would be of little value to data thieves because there would be no way to link the token back to the PAN without the decryption key.

Customers would do nothing different when paying for purchases using a credit or debit card. The card data is encrypted when the card is swiped through the payment terminal, sent to the processor where it is decrypted for transaction approval processes, and a token issued to the merchant all without the customer experiencing anything different.

Tokenization can also be implemented on-premise with the merchant itself hosting the server that does the decryption and token issuance.

Tokenization also offers a great way to secure emerging mobile payment applications, Fortney said. A mobile wallet operator like PayPal or Google could use the approach to store one-time use tokens in a consumer’s virtual wallet rather than actual credit and debit card numbers. Consumers could use the tokens to make purchases like they would with an actual payment card while merchants would be able to complete a transaction without touching or storing actual PAN data, he said.

One major advantage with tokenization is that it does not require merchants to make major changes to their current payment acceptance systems, like EMV does, Fortney said. Tokens are formatted in the same manner as card information so merchants have to make relatively minimal changes to their payment systems, he said.

The real heavy lifting would happen at the banks, or other entities that store PAN data, generate tokens and keep track of them through the entire transaction chain.

Tokenization is not new. The Payment Card Industry Security Council, which administers a set of security standards for payment systems, recommends it as an approach for reducing the work that companies have to do to become PCI compliant.

A growing number of retailers already use tokenization as a way to reduce PCI scope, and several vendors sell tokenization products and services.

The Clearing House effort is aimed at fostering standards that everyone in the payment industry can use to implement tokenization in a consistent manner, Fortney said. “Our desire is to have an open standard across the whole industry,” he said.

The Clearing House is not the only organization looking at tokenization.

Following the Target breach, EMVCo, an entity owned by American Express, MasterCard, Visa and three other credit card brands, also announced plans to develop a tokenization standard for securing credit and debit card payments made via mobile handsets, tablet computers and online channels.

EMVCo did not respond to multiple Computerworld requests for comment on their effort. But a press release from January said the new specification would complement the existing EMV smartcard specifications that all merchants and banks are required to migrate to by the end of next year.

EMVCo’s specification will describe a “consistent approach to identify and verify the valid use of a token during payment processing including authorization, capture, clearing and settlement,” the statement noted.

The biggest benefit with tokenization is that it helps merchants remove payment card numbers from systems that don’t need it, said Terrence Spies, chief technology officer at Voltage Security, a provider of encryption and other data masking technologies.

Since tokenization is done in a central way, only a small portion of the network knows how to generate and reverse a token. As a result, it is easier for banks and other third parties to protect that process, Spies said. He is also chairman of the cryptographic tools group at the X9 standards body responsible for developing cryptographic standards for the financial services industry.

Like EMVCo and The Clearing House, the X9 standards body is working on developing tokenization standards for the U.S. payment industry, Spies said. The X9 effort is focused on developing standard definitions for tokenization and for the processes for generating and validating tokens, he said. “There’s a lot of energy being putting into getting tokenization right,” Spies said.

 

Illegal Drones Dare FAA to Stop Filming ‘Wolf’ to Bulls

by Press • 14 February 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/02/27516/illegal-drones-dare-faa-to-stop-filming-wolf-to-bulls/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=aad335b8b6-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-aad335b8b6-303662705

By Alan Levin

 

It came from the sky.

One moment, Eileen Peskoff was enjoying a hot dog after running with the bulls at a Petersburg, Virginia, racetrack. Then she was on her back, knocked down when a 4-foot drone filming the event in August lost control and dove into the grandstands where she was sitting.

“You sign up for something called running the bulls, you think the only thing you’ll get hurt by is a 1,200-pound bull, not a drone,” Peskoff said in an interview.

Drones flown for a business purpose, like the one that left Peskoff and two friends with bruises, are prohibited in the U.S. That hasn’t stopped an invasion of flights far beyond the policing ability of theFederal Aviation Administration, which since 2007 hasn’t permitted commercial drones in the U.S. while it labors to write rules to allow them.

Drones have nonetheless been used to film scenes in the Martin Scorsese-directed movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” and sporting events for Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ESPN. They’ve inspected oilfield equipment, mapped agricultural land and photographed homes and neighborhoods for real estate marketing, according to industry officials, company websites and videos on the Internet.

All such flights in the U.S. are outside the rules. While the FAA hasn’t ruled out granting commercial-use permits under limited circumstances, it has so far only allowed operations in the Arctic.

 

Ignorance, Avoidance

Some operators plead ignorance of the rules. Some say their flying is legal under exemptions for hobbyists. Using drones is so lucrative for Hollywood that they’re flown knowing they’re illegal, said one operator who declined to be identified.

The FAA is aware the number of flights is increasing and tells users to stop when it learns about them, it said in an e-mailed response to questions. The agency said it’s considering new guidance on what’s permitted.

For every time the FAA orders an operator to stand down — as it did after a Michigan florist did a test delivery by drone Feb. 8, and in January with Lakemaid Beer, which posted a video online proposing 12-pack deliveries to Minnesota ice fishermen – – untold others fly below the radar, said Patrick Egan, a Sacramento, California-based author and producer of an annual unmanned aircraft expo in San Francisco.

Small drones available on the Internet or at hobby stores for less than $1,000 — some equipped with high-definition cameras like those made by San Mateo, California-based GoPro Inc. — are flooding the U.S. and being used by tens of thousands of people, whether legal or not, Egan said.

 

Airliners, Drones

The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation on March 4 after pilots on an Alitalia SpA Boeing Co. (BA) 777 nearing New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport spotted a multirotor copter that came within about 200 feet (61 meters).

At least six other pilots, including a crew on another airliner, have reported close calls since September 2011 with what they believed were small unmanned aircraft like those favored by hobbyists, cinematographers and other businesses, according to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, which logs safety issues.

While the government needs to do more to control the growth in drones, it has been “swamped” by political cross-currents and budget cuts that have made it difficult to craft rules, Doug Davis, who ran the FAA’s unmanned aircraft office in the mid-2000s, said in an interview.

 

‘No Way’

As airline pilot unions call for strict standards on the qualifications of drone operators, industry advocates including Egan say the standards should be eased. Lawmakers such as SenatorDianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who said protesters flew toy drones outside her house last year, have pressed the FAA to add privacy requirements as it crafts safety rules.

“The FAA is going to have to step up the enforcement of people who use these things,” Sean Cassidy, national safety coordinator for the Air Line Pilots Association, said in an interview. ALPA is the largest pilots union in North America.

The FAA conducted 17 enforcement actions for illegal drone use in the 13 months that ended in July 2013, according to agency data that doesn’t include informal steps like phone calls. It has issued one fine, which is being contested.

The FAA, set up to enforce manned aviation, doesn’t have the resources to enforce existing rules on a new form of flying that isn’t tied to airports and requires so little training almost anyone can do it, Davis said.

“The reality is there is no way to patrol it,” Davis said. “There’s just no way.”

 

Scorsese’s ‘Wolf’

Some businesses flying drones make little attempt to hide what they’re doing.

 

Freefly Cinema, an aerial photography company in Los Angeles and Seattle, has photos on itswebsite of helicopter drones it says it flew to film scenes for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and a commercial for Honda Motor Co. (7267)

Tabb Firchau of Freefly declined to comment in an e-mail. Rebecca Cook at the public relations company 42West LLC, which represents Scorsese, didn’t respond to e-mails requesting a comment.

A Freefly drone shot footage for a documentary about the U.S. Civil War battle at Gettysburg,Pennsylvania, that aired on most Public Broadcasting Service stations in the U.S. in November, the filmmaker, Jake Boritt, said in an interview.

Boritt said he got permission to film from the U.S. National Park Service. “It’s not something that we did a whole lot of research into,” Boritt said.

The park service, which controls access to the Gettysburg site and not the airspace, didn’t check with FAA about aviation regulations, Katie Lawhon, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

 

Worth It

While ESPN hasn’t used drones to film events, some independent production companies supplying video to the network have, Josh Krulewitz, a spokesman, said in an e-mail. ESPN is telling production companies it works with to comply with regulations, Krulewitz said. He didn’t specify events at which drones were used.

For Hollywood, the benefits of using drones are worth the miniscule risk of being caught, said an operator who films scenes for TV shows and commercials. He asked to be unidentified because the practice isn’t permitted.

An unmanned aircraft system costing a few thousand dollars or less can replace dollies, booms and stabilization equipment costing tens of thousands, this operator said.

 

Surf’s Up

Eric Sterman, of Haleiwa, Hawaii, on Oahu’s North Shore, created a stir this year in the surfing world with a series of drone-shot videos of some of the world’s best surfers.

Sterman’s videos show wave riding at Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline and Maui’s Pe’ahi Jaws, filmed by a remote-controlled copter that floats above the waves. In one, filmed this year, his drone hovered next to a piloted helicopter also filming.

Sterman said in an e-mail he didn’t go near the helicopter. “I’m just having fun filming as a hobby and sharing it with friends and followers,” he said. Sterman, who lists a professional photo agency on his Vimeo.com page, said he wasn’t paid for any of his drone video work.

Flying model aircraft is permitted provided it’s for recreation only, the FAA said in a written response to questions. In a 1981 advisory, the FAA said these unmanned aircraft should be flown no higher than 400 feet and away from populated areas. It also said they shouldn’t be flown near planes and helicopters, and that operators can’t use the hobbyist exemption to fly commercially.

 

‘High Concern’

Flying a drone next to a helicopter violates safety protocols, Matthew Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International, an Alexandria, Virginia-based trade group, said in an interview.

 

“We have a very high concern that there are people operating unmanned vehicles without our knowledge and without communications,” Zuccaro said.

Asked by the Australian surfing publication Swellnet.com about the regulations, Sterman said, “I know you can fly them as a hobby. But no, I really don’t know the rules at all,” according to a Jan. 15 story.

The drone that hit Eileen Peskoff and two friends, Brad Fillius and Patrick Lewis, on Aug. 24 is owned by Scott Hansen, a Virginia Beach filmmaker.

Hansen was hired to produce aerial views of the event for a promotional video, Rob Dickens, chief operating officer of The Great Bull Run LLC, said in an interview.

The drone was operated by an employee of a local hobby shop, according to the FAA. Hansen wasn’t at the event, Dickens said.

 

Quad-Copter, GoPro

Peskoff said Hansen told her some of the batteries died. He wrote her a check for her medical bills afterward, Peskoff said. Hansen didn’t return three phone messages left at his production company, Digital Thunderdome.

The FAA said it spoke with the operator and the hobby shop’s owner to explain the rules, and the owner agreed to provide training for customers who purchase model drones. Additional enforcement action is still being considered, the agency said in a statement.

“It was kind of lucky,” Peskoff said. “The place was filled with young people. It hit three adults instead of a child.”

Also filming that day was a drone being flown for ESPN’s Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports show, Matt Doyle, executive producer and director of Big Brick Productions in Manchester, New Hampshire, said in an interview.

The production company has used drones to film commercials and feature shows for ESPN, and hasn’t looked into the legal restrictions, Doyle said.

“It seems like everyone and their mother has a quad-copter and a GoPro attached to it,” he said. “It’s not just a production company.”

 

Vague Rules

GoPro, which filed for a U.S. initial public offering last week, makes cameras that surfers, skiers and sky divers use to record their exploits. Katie Kilbride, a spokeswoman, said the company declined to comment on drone operations and safety.

Drone advocates like Egan and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an Arlington, Virginia-based trade group, said the FAA’s drone standards are vague and helped lead to the explosion of users pushing the envelope.

“AUVSI is certainly concerned that the longer FAA takes to write the safety rules for small unmanned aircraft, the more difficult it will become to regulate this industry,” Ben Gielow, general counsel of the group, said in an interview.

 

‘Careless, Reckless’

The FAA had planned to propose rules by 2011 allowing commercial flights with drones weighing less than 55 pounds (25 kilograms). The agency now doesn’t expect to unveil the proposal until November.

The agency also isn’t expected to meet a Congress-imposed deadline to craft rules for safely integrating unmanned aircraft into the nation’s airspace by 2015, the Transportation Department’s inspector general said in a report Feb. 5.

Even without those regulations, the FAA says it has the authority to prohibit commercial unmanned aircraft operations and “careless or reckless” flights by drones, which it calls unmanned aerial systems or UAS.

On Feb. 12, for example, an FAA inspector called Wesley Berry, chief executive officer of Flower Delivery Express LLC in Commerce, Michigan, after the company posted a video showing a drone delivering flowers to a home, Berry said in an interview. The tests, which showed the technology wasn’t ready for routine deliveries, were shut down, Berry said.

 

‘Genie Out’

“We are concerned about any UAS operation that poses a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground,” the agency said in a statement.

After the agency fined a Swiss man $10,000 for flying a drone over a Virginia university in 2011, the only fine the FAA has issued, his lawyer argued there were no regulations that applied. An administrative law judge hasn’t ruled on the appeal.

The number of civilian unmanned aircraft will reach 175,000 by 2035, most of them smaller models, a report by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Volpe National Transportation Systems Center found. Many such aircraft, such as the DJI Phantom 2, are already on the market.

“All of these people are out there flying trying to make a buck,” Egan said. “The genie is definitely out of the bottle.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Levin in Washington at alevin24@bloomberg.net

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-14/illegal-drones-dare-faa-to-stop-filming-wolf-to-bulls.html

 

 

Curbs shut US drone makers out of export markets

by Press • 13 February 2014

http://www.suasnews.com/2014/02/27503/curbs-shut-us-drone-makers-out-of-export-markets/?utm_source=sUAS+News+Daily&utm_campaign=aad335b8b6-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b3c0776dde-aad335b8b6-303662705

BY KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer

 

SINGAPORE — Military brass shopping at Asia’s biggest defense expo this week have drones high on their to-buy list. But for U.S. manufacturers including General Atomics, which makes the Predator hunter-killer, there’s one problem: they can only sell to a few countries because of tight export restrictions.

 

The controls give rival drone makers from countries such as Israel and China a chance to win more business in the growing global market for unmanned aerial vehicles, which one group forecasts to more than double in the next decade.

U.S. arms makers have been lobbying the government for several years to loosen the restrictions so they can sell their systems to more countries. They fear their established market is shrinking as domestic defense spending is squeezed and the U.S. military withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan.

American aerospace companies are showing off the latest missiles, attack helicopters and fighter jets at the Singapore Airshow but they may find foreign rivals have the upper hand in cutting more deals for drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles.

“There are countries like Israel and China that have weapons-capable aircraft and they can sell, so it definitely hampers us with business not just in this region but around the world because we cannot compete,” said Billy Gililland, president of systems integration at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.

The company’s Predator and Reaper are among the world’s most widely deployed drones. They can loiter in the air for long periods to give their operators more time to verify targets before firing precision-guided warheads.

Exports of drones are tightly controlled by an agreement signed by members of a group called the Missile Technology Control Regime, which includes the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. The group has since expanded to 34 countries but Israel and China aren’t members. The 1987 agreement was originally intended to curb the spread of ballistic missiles. Present day concern about spreading advanced weaponized drone technology to countries or groups hostile to the U.S. is a factor in keeping the American restrictions in place.

Officials at companies such as Northrop Grumman, which makes the high-altitude Global Hawk, argue the restrictions hurt competitiveness in a market that Teal Group Co. forecasts to expand to $11.6 billion in 2023 from $5.2 billion last year.

At the same time, human rights groups and some U.S. politicians have been increasingly critical of drone strikes for killing civilians.

Israeli drone makers including Elbit Systems Ltd. and Israel Aviation Industries Ltd., or IAI, had big displays at the Singapore Airshow.

IAI unveiled its Superheron drone, an upgraded version of its popular Heron. The company has sold drones to 20 countries including Brazil and Turkey.

Israel has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s largest exporter of unmanned aerial systems, selling $4.6 billion worth from 2005 to 2012, according to a report by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. In the same period, U.S. overseas sales amounted to $2-$3 billion.

Asia is a growing market for IAI, said Sharly Ben Chetrit, its executive vice president of marketing, He said Israel also has its own restrictions on exports.

“I can assure you that we are adhering to the most strict licensing policy in Israel. I don’t think we have it easier,” he said.

China’s state-owned companies have developed dozens of drones, including the Wing Loong, or Pterodactyl, which bears a striking resemblance to the Predator. A scale-model was on display at the airshow’s Chinese booth, where a salesman said it could carry two air-to-ground missiles weighing a combined 100 kilograms.

“It not only has strike capability but can be used for reconnaissance. America also has this type of UAV,” he said. He declined to give his name or say how much it cost. Staff said no officials were available to be interviewed.

 

China’s rapidly maturing drone capabilities alarm experts.

“China is positioning itself so that any country on the planet that, for political or financial reasons, is restricted from purchasing American or allied drones will be able to go to Beijing and get a comparable platform,” said Ian Easton, a research fellow at the 2049 Project Institute security think tank. He co-authored a recent report on China’s drones.

China’s $139 billion defense budget last year was the world’s second biggest, accounting for about 9 percent of global military spending, according to a report last week by IHS Jane’s. It’s leading a broader rise in regional military spending, with Australia, India and South Korea also hiking budgets that’s widens opportunities for defense contractors.

To compete for export business, General Atomics launched a drone model last year called the Predator XP that can’t be armed. Gililland said his company has been pitching for business to countries “all over the Pacific Rim.” Only Britain, Holland and Italy have been allowed to buy the missile-ready version, the latter two only recently.

The XP has had a lukewarm reception because foreign militaries want the version that can carry out an airstrike.

The list price for a Predator XP system, including three aircraft, three ground stations and spare parts, is about $50-$60 million. So far only the United Arab Emirates has bought it. A Predator that can carry weapons is “substantially” more expensive, Gililland said, though he declined to give a figure.

On Tuesday, the airshow’s first day, Gililland met the chief of Saudi Arabia’s air force, who said because of the curbs the country would buy the Wing Loong made by a Chinese state-owned company. Chinese media reports say it has been exported to countries in the Middle East and Asia at a fraction of the Predator’s price.

Gililland said he hoped buyers would become more interested in the XP but the company would need to sell them on its surveillance capabilities.

“There’s a lot of ways that we can sell the XP but we have to get past everyone’s desire to have a U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army-style Predator that shoots Hellfire missiles.”

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/02/13/3617900/curbs-shut-us-drone-makers-out.html#storylink=cpy

 

Rasmussen Reports

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

Bottom of Form

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia have provided plenty of drama for over a week now, but Washington, DC offered some excitement of its own this week.

Following a challenge from the Tea Party wing of the party, 12 Republican senators joined Democrats in voting to raise the federal debt ceiling through March 2015 without any additional spending cuts. While most U.S. voters agreed that not raising the debt ceiling would have been bad for the economy, they wanted a debt ceiling bill that included long-term spending cuts.

Another issue receiving a lot of attention in Washington is immigration reform, now that Republican leaders in Congress are expressing support for a measure that paves a way to citizenship for those here illegally after the border is completely secured. Voters aren’t confident the feds will actually secure the border, but an overwhelming majority have a favorable opinion of immigrants who work hard to pursue the American Dream.

The spending and immigration issues could impact some key Senate races this year, but many Republicans are hoping the health care law will help them capture the Senate. Voters are a bit more critical of the U.S. health care system four months into Obamacare, but most still have high praise for their health insurance coverage and the care they personally receive

Democrats have reclaimed their lead on this week’s Generic Congressional Ballot.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this week called for lifting voting bans on millions of felons as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to address the U.S. justice system. Most voters believe someone convicted of a felony should regain the right to vote after serving their sentence problem-free.

Voters are only slightly less convinced that the Internal Revenue Service broke the law when it targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups, and they strongly oppose bonuses being awarded to IRS employees for their work last year.

On the economic front, the number of homeowners who say their home is worth more than what they owe on their mortgage has increased after a weak start to 2014. 35% Expect Their Home’s Value To Go Up Over Next Year Most homeowners continue to say they have not missed a mortgage payment in the last six months and fewer than ever expect to in the near future. 25% Believe Gov’t Should Assist Those Who Can’t Make Mortgage Payments.

CVS Caremark drugstores announced last week that they would stop selling all tobacco products in their stores “to help people on their path to better health,” and most Americans think it’s likely that other major retail chains will follow their example in the next few years.

Most voters continue to support an economic system that provides everyone a chance to succeed, and they generally believe it is fair and helpful for the economy to let those who are successful become very rich

Just 32% rate President Obama’s handling of economic issues as good or excellent, down two points from the previous week and the lowest positive ratings since early December

Finally, there was quite a bit of entertainment news this week, including one of the most celebrated events in modern music history. The Beatles made their U.S. television debut 50 years ago last Sunday and 63% say they have watched the iconic Ed Sullivan show

Late night comedian Jay Leno ended his 22-year run as the host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” last week, and Americans view him more favorably than his replacement, Jimmy Fallon. But more than half of adults say the switch from Leno to Fallon won’t impact their decision to watch the long-running show

Singer Clay Aiken, who got his start on the “American Idol” TV program, made headlines last week when he announced he is running for Congress in North Carolina, but very few consider a candidate’s celebrity a deciding factor to their vote.

In other surveys this week:

– Very few adults consider Valentine’s Day one of the nation’s most important holidays, but more than half neither look forward to nor dread the day 

Most adults aren’t planning to send or receive flowers this Valentine’s Day, which may be good, since most want something else anyway. Here’s more of what Americans think about the holiday

 – For the second week in a row, 29% of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending February 9.

– A majority of Americans have a favorable impression of the so-called Baby Boomer generation, but they are less enthusiastic about the generation’s impact on America. Here’s more of what America thinks about the baby boomers.

Most voters still have a favorable opinion of the Social Security system but also continue to doubt that they will receive all their benefits from the federal retirement system.

Most voters continue to believe Americans should be able to choose their own Social Security and Medicare retirement age and decide what they pay out of their paycheck for those benefits.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 127 other followers