Amazon Web Services can Now Host the Defense Department’s Most Sensitive Data

Blackboard/Shutterstock.com

 

This week, the Defense Department granted the cloud computing giant a provisional authorization to host Impact Level 5 workloads, which are the military and Pentagon’s most sensitive, unclassified information.  Continue reading

How Russia and others use cybercriminals as proxies

Employees watch electronic boards monitoring possible ransomware cyberattacks at the Korea Internet and Security Agency in Seoul. (Yun Dong-jin/Yonhap/AP)

 

US adversaries are offering cyber criminals a bargain: Use your talents for spy agencies, in exchange for legal immunity. One such cybercriminal was involved in the 2016 US election interference.

JUNE 28, 2017 It had taken American prosecutors a long time to hand down the indictment, but finally they had their man. In 2013, authorities had tracked down Alexsey Belan, a notorious Russia-linked cyber criminal, and were getting ready to extradite him to the United States.

But Mr. Belan, a Latvian-born hacker wanted by the FBI for launching assaults on US networks using thousands of hacked computers, slipped from the clutches of European law-enforcement agents. Continue reading

China Tests Missile With 10 Warheads

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Multi-warhead weapon tested amid growing tensions with the United States

China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.

The missile was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and flew to an impact range in the western Chinese desert.

No other details about the test could be learned. Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross suggested in a statement the test was monitored. Continue reading

F-35 Program Delayed Again, Costing At Least $500 Million

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program has been delayed again and will cost at least $500 million more, according to correspondence between the Pentagon and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) revealed Tuesday afternoon that the Defense Department had confirmed the seven-month delay in the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase, or SDD. McCain has long been a harsh critic of the F-35 program for its delays and accompanying cost overruns, and President-elect Donald Trump has more recently took aim at Lockheed Martin’s development of the fifth-generation stealth fighter jets for its “out of control” costs. Continue reading

White House tells the Pentagon to quit talking about ‘competition’ with China

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(Photo Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

 

The White House has barred Pentagon leaders from a key talking point when it comes to publicly describing the military challenges posed by China.

In February, Defense Secretary Ash Carter cited the “return to great power of competition” in the Asia-Pacific, “where China is rising.”

Similarly, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson characterized China and Russia as rivals in this “great power competition” in his maritime strategy. Continue reading

US Air Force set to replace intercontinental nuke arsenal

While the last Minuteman II was deployed in the early 1990s, which still run off 1970’s floppy disc era technology (See also HERE), Russia and China have both developed and deployed their advanced nuclear weapons. To make matters worse, if the GBSD’s being developed will be “phased in” during the 2030 decade, that is at least a 15 year window of opportunity for China and Russia to strike an ancient America with its 40 year old nukes — if their shelf life is even that long.

 

Hidden underground in steel-and-concrete silos across rural America, more than 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles point to the skies, poised for launch — and ready to obliterate cities across the world.

First designed in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War, the Minuteman nuclear weapons are starting to show their age, and replacement parts are difficult to find for the weapons designed in an analog age.

Also aging are their silos, many built in the 1950s and now rusting as water seeps through the decaying concrete. Continue reading

Broken: America’s Latest Failed Supercarrier

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Caption: USS Gerald R. Ford (U.S. Navy)

 

The most expensive warship ever built can’t go to war.

America’s new, most expensive, most advanced aircraft carrier doesn’t work properly.

According to a June 28 memo obtained by Bloomberg News, the $12.9 billion uss Gerald R. Ford “may struggle to launch and recover aircraft, mount a defense, and move munitions.”

Continue reading

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn: Military fired me for calling our enemies ‘radical jihadis’

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Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. /AP

 

 

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 2014, has detailed the backstory of his departure from the DIA.

Flynn, who is said to be on Donald Trump’s short list as a potential running mate, is author of the new book “The Field of Fight” in which he describes why he believes the U.S. is not getting any closer to winning the war on terrorism.

“Two years ago, I was called into a meeting with the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and the director of national intelligence, and after some ‘niceties,’ I was told by the USDI that I was being let go from DIA. It was definitely an uncomfortable moment (I suspect more for them than me). Continue reading

Nuclear Questions, Nuclear Answers

The next administration will face a number of important nuclear policy decisions. On May 13, I invited Franklin Miller, a Principal in the Scowcroft Group, and a former top White House defense official, to discuss these matters before an audience of Congressional staff, senior administration defense and security officials, top staff from defense and security public policy organizations, defense media, defense industry officials and a number of allied embassy colleagues. It was interestingly the 1400th seminar I have hosted on the Hill since 1983 on key defense and national security matters.

Franklin Miller in his prepared remarks extensively addressed the nature of the current debate on future nuclear modernization and whether the US force was obsolete, unaffordable, destabilizing or an obstacle to further arms control. Those remarks were posted recently by Family Security Matters. Continue reading

US auditor points out software problems with F-35

The U.S. government auditor has urged the Defense Department to fix software problems associated with the F-35 fighter jet, saying the problems could result in taking the entire F-35 fleet offline.

The Government Accountability Office said in a April 14 report that the Pentagon is aware of risks that could affect the F-25’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), but does not have a plan to remedy the problems in a “holistic” manner. Continue reading

The admiral in charge of Navy intelligence has not been allowed to see military secrets for years

For more than two years, the Navy’s intelligence chief has been stuck with a major handicap: He’s not allowed to know any secrets.

Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch has been barred from reading, seeing or hearing classified information since November 2013, when the Navy learned from the Justice Department that his name had surfaced in a giant corruption investigation involving a foreign defense contractor and scores of Navy personnel.

Worried that Branch was on the verge of being indicted, Navy leaders suspended his access to classified materials. They did the same to one of his deputies, Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, the Navy’s director of intelligence operations.

More than 800 days later, neither Branch nor Loveless has been charged. But neither has been cleared, either. Their access to classified information remains blocked. Continue reading

New Navy Ships Have Trouble Surviving the High Seas

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The Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) – designed for rapid intra-theater transport of troops and military equipment. Source: U.S. Navy

 

 

 

The U.S. Navy is spending millions of dollars to repair new high-speed transport ships built by Austal Ltd. because their weak bows can’t stand buffeting from high seas, according to the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester.

“The entire ship class requires reinforcing structure” to bridge the twin hulls of the all-aluminum catamarans because of a design change that the Navy adopted at Austal’s recommendation for the $2.1 billion fleet of Expeditionary Fast Transports, Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, said in a report to Congress. Continue reading

Former U.S. official urges Pentagon to skip buying new ICBMs

Again, America’s enemies are arming and modernizing while America wants to continue suicidally disarming. This brings into play serious doubts what side the previous administrations (as well as current) are working for, as this is beyond incompetence or ignorance.

This is the same defense secretary who worked under the Clinton administration. This is the same Clinton administration who purposely sold American supercomputers to China via the U.S. Department of Commerce and is largely responsible for the Asian giant’s threatening rise. One can only wonder what has been given to Russia since then.

 

Former Defense Secretary William Perry on Thursday called for the Pentagon to skip replacing its aging stockpile of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), arguing that U.S. nuclear-armed submarines and a new long-range bomber program would provide sufficient deterrent value.

Perry, a close friend and mentor of the current defense secretary, Ash Carter, said the United States was on “the brink of a new nuclear arms race,” that would be extremely expensive, and the ICBMs were not necessary as a deterrent force. Continue reading

DOD’s Current InfoSec Strategy Is ‘Patch and Pray’

As said here multiple times, the “patch and pray” method is the vulnerability, not the vulnerabilities themselves. Nothing will change until the IT culture changes. Businesses and governmental agencies do not want to fork out extra money to strengthen defenses until something already happens. They’re reactive, not proactive. In the end, Americans end up paying the price for years to come.

 

But DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar says that her agency is working to make computing ‘mathematically, provably secure.’

The Pentagon’s emerging technology agency faces almost continuous cyber threats. And according to Director Arati Prabhakar, its strategy so far has been to “patch and pray.” Continue reading

Report: Pentagon Made Fewer than Half of Recommended Cyber Fixes Last Year

In the span of one year, the Pentagon addressed fewer than half of the recommendations to shore up cyber vulnerabilities identified by its inspector general’s office.

All told, the Defense Department addressed 93 of 229 cyber recommendations made by the IG’s office between Aug. 1 2014 and July 31, 2015, according to a summary of a new audit released by the IG’s office.  Continue reading