The Pentagon’s controversial plan to hire military leaders off the street

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Lateral entry, if approved, could open a door for civilians to join the military’s senior officer ranks. Some leaders want to explore this idea for enlisted military jobs, too.(Photo: John Harman/Staff)

 

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to open the door for more “lateral entry” into the military’s upper ranks, clearing the way for lifelong civilians with vital skills and strong résumés to enter the officer corps as high as the O-6 paygrade.

The idea is controversial, to say the very least. For many in the rank-and-file military, it seems absurd, a bewildering cultural change that threatens to upend many assumptions about military life and traditional career paths. But while it’s not universally embraced, there is interest in Congress and among some of the military’s uniformed leaders — even, they say, in exploring how the services could apply this concept to the enlisted force.

This is a key piece of Carter’s “Force of the Future” personnel reform. Unveiled June 9, it aims to help the military bring in more top talent, especially for high-tech career fields focused on cyber warfare and space. Advocates say it will help the military fill important manpower shortfalls with highly skilled professionals and, more broadly, create greater “permeability” between the active-duty military and the civilian sector. Continue reading

The Pentagon Still Hasn’t Decided Who’s In Charge If America Comes Under Cyberattack

Is it NORTHCOM or CYBERCOM? CYBERCOM or the NSA—or both? So many agencies; so little clarity.

One of the Pentagon’s key missions is to lend a hand—or a drone—during natural disasters or other domestic emergencies. But it is unclear, in the event of of a massive data breach, which element of the Defense Department is in charge of military support, according to Congress’ watchdog agency.

In other words: When there is an Ebola virus epidemic, for example, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs steps in to help the civilian government. But it’s not clear what military official should organize forces when there is, for instance, a hospital computer virus unleashed by Iran. Continue reading

U.S. Electrical, Financial Networks Mapped for Future Cyber Attacks

Check out the SCADA tags to see more information on how systems can be compromised and diverted or shut down.

 

Critical U.S. infrastructures are being penetrated by foreign states in preparation for devastating future cyber attacks designed to cripple electrical power, communications and financial networks, the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command told Congress on Thursday.

Adm. Mike Rogers, Cybercom chief and director of the National Security Agency, said foreign states have broken into the networks that control industrial systems for a range of what the U.S. government considers 16 critical infrastructures, ranging from electrical power, water, telecommunications and financial systems.

“We have seen instances where we’re observing intrusions into industrial control systems,” Rogers told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Continue reading