Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- Value of Health IT
Shows & Panels
National Security Correspondent J.J. Green has traveled three continents covering intelligence, terrorism, and security issues. From Afghanistan to Africa, Iraq to Ireland, there isn't anywhere J.J. won't go, nor anyone he won't talk with, to get the stories affecting the defense and national security communities.
German authorities are investigating two men of Tunisian origin suspected of planning to use model airplanes for terrorist attacks, prosecutors said Tuesday. At the same time police in Germany and Belgium raided a series of sites searching for evidence of "possible attack plans and preparations." No one was arrested in Tuesday's raids, which were carried out by about 90 police in the Stuttgart and Munich areas of southern Germany and in Saxony in eastern Germany, federal prosecutors said in a statement.
Law enforcement and first responder got a special bulletin recently warning them to be aware of and understand that terrorists frequent popular social media sites and Web blogs to gather pre-operational surveillance. Some cyber terrorists according to the bulletin are sophisticated enough to penetrate an organization's network and devices-and gather personal, sensitive, or proprietary data. Virtual tours, security procedures, even business hours are key sources of information for terrorists and criminal organizations. Authorities warn terrorists are getting better and could use this type of information launch both cyber and physical attack almost simultaneously.
The U.S. government and military are still mulling over how to help Syrian rebels. Sources say the CIA and military are quietly training Syrian rebels on how to use anti-tank and anti-aircraft launchers, but one senior military official says no decisions have been made on what type of weapon support to provide or when to do it.
There is a lot of back and forth at the U.N. as Afghanistan and Pakistan traded accusations in the U.N. Security Council on Thursday over the whereabouts of Islamist extremists. The United Nations called increased tensions between the two as "unfortunate and dangerous." Both sides blame the other for deadly terrorist attacks that take place almost on a daily basis.
Hackers stealing sensitive design data from programs like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could limit the advantage the plane gives the U.S. Defense acquisitions chief Frank Kendall told a Senate hearing he was reasonably confident that classified information related to the development of the F-35 was well-protected. "But I'm not at all confident that our unclassified information is as well-protected," he said.
The U.S. is going to meet with the Taliban this week, but is managing its expectations. The talks are designed to achieve peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban opened an office in Doha, the Qatari capital, on Tuesday. U.S. officials say the talks will start in Doha on Thursday, but President Barack Obama says don't expect any quick progress, because the process won't be easy.
Later today, the military is going to add some clarity on its plan to start moving women into thousands of combat jobs, including those in special operations forces. The Army is expected to develop standards within the next two years to let women train and possibly serve as Rangers. By March of 2016, women could begin training as Navy SEALS. U.S. Special Operations Command is working on deciding what commando jobs could be opened to women, and when the transition would take place.
The Superintendent at West Point West Point is in hot water. Lt. Gen. David Huntoon, according to the Department of Defense Inspector, improperly allowed subordinates to give driving lessons, didn't properly compensate those who worked at a charity dinner and accepted gifts of services from subordinates. The report was released to The Associated Press on Friday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
The House of Representatives has endorsed a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for a member of the armed services convicted of rape or sexual assault in a military court. The Associated Press reports, "by voice vote, the House approved the additional punishment as part of a series of steps lawmakers have taken to tackle the growing problem of sexual assault. The provisions are contained in a sweeping defense policy bill for the 2014 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1."
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that four members of Army special forces in Tripoli were never told to stand down after last year's deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, disputing a former top diplomat's claim that the unit might have helped Americans under siege. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said timing and the need for the unit to help with casualties from Benghazi resulted in orders for the special forces to remain in Tripoli.
The Associated Press says it's recovered a 26 page document in Arabic from a building that was occupied by Al Qaida in Timbuktu Mali that strongly suggest they have acquired surface-to-air missiles. The recovery also seems to confirm that the al-Qaida cell is actively training its fighters to use the weapons, also called man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS. It's believed they came from the arms depots of ex-Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
Should the President and Congress take a second look at using the military in the war against terrorism? Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence committee, plans to introduce legislation today to repeal Authorization for the Use of Military Force. He's suggesting the law is outdated. He says, "A lot of troops that we have on the battlefield now were on playgrounds" when the law was passed. He linked the timing to when U.S. combat forces will be out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
China's rolling out its digital army. Xinhua, the official state news agency says next month they're going to conduct their first "digital" technology military exercise. It'll take place in north China's remote Inner Mongolia region. They're going to focus on digitalized combat, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces.
The Pentagon is responding to a Washington Post article claiming key weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese espionage. Spokesman George Little says, "We maintain full confidence in our weapons platforms." Little also says, "The Department of Defense takes the threat of cyber espionage and cyber security very seriously, which is why we have taken a number of steps to increase funding to strengthen our capabilities, harden our networks, and work with the defense industrial base to achieve greater visibility into the threats our industrial partners are facing." He says, "suggestions that cyber intrusions have somehow led to the erosion of our capabilities or technological edge are incorrect."
After the President's major speech on drones and GITMO, the intelligence community responded. DNI James Clapper welcomed "the effort to strengthen the process for reviewing and approving counterterrorism operations." He said "a consistent and regularized interagency coordination process that involves policymakers, intelligence professionals and the legal community is essential to preventing and responding to terrorism while ensuring the freedoms that are the bedrock of our democracy."
The Pentagon is buying a new computerized health records system to be able to better share and merge its data with the Department of Veterans Affairs. But the Associated Press is reporting, "officials cautioned that it was part of a "long-term modernization" effort and would not help ease the current backlog in VA disability claims." Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering DoD to seek bids for development of the new system.
Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts, Commanding General, U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson, in Fort Jackson, S.C. has been suspended. The Pentagon says the suspension is due to allegations that include adultery and a physical altercation. Military authorities say the charges are being thoroughly investigated. While the investigation is ongoing, Brig. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, Commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., will serve as the interim commander until the investigation is complete and the issue resolved.
The Obama administration is denouncing Russia's decision to equip the Syrian government military with anti-ship missiles, saying the weapons would only worsen a war that Washington and Moscow have been promising to work together on stopping. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, criticized what he called an "unfortunate decision that will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering."
Another decade or two, that at least how long Senior Pentagon officials say the U.S. war against Al Qaida and its affiliates will last. Acting General Counsel Robert Taylor and Michael Sheehan, an assistant secretary of defense for special operations, made the point before the Senate Armed Services Committee, while arguing to prevent changes to a law that allows for the broad use of military force in the war against terrorism.
Reuters is reporting, "the U.S. government believes a Chinese missile launch this week was the first test of a new interceptor that could be used to destroy a satellite in orbit." They launched a missile on Monday that reached 6,000 miles above the earth, making it the highest suborbital launch seen worldwide since 1976.