8:59 am, May 29, 2015

Pentagon & Beyond

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.

Computer worms evolving

About 4 years ago, computer worms began nibbling at the Pentagon's sensitive computer based information networks. One in particular managed to infiltrate computers linked to U.S. Central Command. Now it appears that original version of the worm has been improved several times over and attempting even more damaging attacks of Pentagon systems. The Chinese are commonly accused of the attack, but experts who've studied the constant assaults, they say it bears the hallmarks of Russian Intelligence.

DoD to continue with drone program

Department of Defense Undersecretary Ashton Carter has told Congress that it would keep working on Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk reconnaissance drone even though it's way over budget. He notified Congress on Tuesday that the program was essential to national security and that there were no alternatives that would meet the department's requirements for less money.

Pakistan disappoints the U.S. again

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Associated Press that the Obama administration tried to improve relations with Pakistan recently by sharing intelligence about on the locations where insurgents were suspected of making bombs, but it turned out to be a big disappointment. The two locations are in the tribal territories in northwestern Pakistan. But by the time authorities reached the facilities, the suspects had been tipped off and were gone.

"No one would shed a tear"

The United States and NATO are stepping up military operations against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, hoping to push him out of power to drive him from power -- or Reuters says a senior U.S. official is hoping they can kill him. The comments came after some of the heaviest bombing in Tripoli since the campaign to oust Gadhafi began. According to the Reuters report, the official said, "no one would shed a tear" if Gaddafi were to die in one of the many attacks."

U.S. troops may stay in Iraq

CIA director Leon Panetta, expected to be the next Secretary of Defense told the Senate during his confirmation hearing he thinks Iraq will ask the U.S. to maintain a military present beyond the end of this year, when American troops are currently scheduled to leave. Panetta said Iraqi leaders will have to decide support they need, and for how long, in order to make sure security gains there are not lost. He said there are still about 1,000 al-Qaida insurgents in Iraq and keeping some troops in Iraq to support security forces there is a good idea.

The U.S. must stay the course

The U/S has to continue its financial investment in Afghanistan. That's what the nominee to be the next Ambassador says. Ryan Crocker, who did some tough duty in Iraq said during his confirmation hearing that the multi-billion dollar commitment that now totals close to $20 billion dollars, is necessary to prevent the government there from slipping back into the state that it was when Al Qaida used it as a launching ground for terror attacks.

The U.S.S. Carl Vinson makes a stop

The U.S.S. Carl Vinson is arriving in Hawaii. This is it's first port of call since it ferried Osama Bin Laden's body out to sea to be buried. The ship arrived in Pearl Harbor for a a short visit before heading home to San Diego. The aircraft carrier was deployed in the Arabian Sea last month with the Navy SEAL team carrying the body of the man who spearheaded the Sept. 11th terror attacks was brought aboard. Bin Laden's body was reportedly put in a weighted bag on the carrier, an officer made religious remarks and his remains eased into the sea.

Training on law admitting gays moving smoothly

A non-event is how Army Vice Chief of Staff Peter Charelli describes the training that U.S. troops are getting on a new law allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. Most of the problems and trouble that had been predicted appears not to have materialized. The Pentagon has avoiding giving up details on the training because of concern that too much attention could enflame the issue. All of the training should be complete by mid august. Two point two million people need to be trained on the new regulation.

Pentagon surveys employers

The Pentagon wants to better understand how military service affects those who employ members of the Guard and Reserves. The Department of Defense is surveying about 80,000 employers of all sizes across the nation. Guard and Reserve members currently comprise about 50 percent of the military's total strength, according to the Pentagon. Defense officials say they generally receive strong support from companies who employ Guard and Reserve members, who sometimes must be away from their families and their jobs for extended periods of time.

It's Free but it ain't cheap

The white head stones and Arlington and Punchbowl and at many other cemeteries just sit there today, silent but proud monuments to the sacrifice that this country was built upon. Originally called Decoration Day, this is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Several cities lay claim to observing the first memorial day but on this day, from California to the New York Island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters every town village and hamlet honor those who proved Freedom is free but it ain't cheap.

Khadr's sentence upheld

The eight year sentence for Omar Khadr will stand. He is the youngest detainee at the Guantanamo bay detention facility. He was taken there when he was 15 in 2002. On Oct. 25, 2010 he pled guilty to charges that included murder for throwing a grenade that mortally wounded an American soldier in Afghanistan. A military jury at the U.S. base in Cuba recommended a 40-year sentence. But a pretrial agreement limited him to no more than eight years. The Pentagon official in charge of war crimes tribunals upheld the eight-year sentence on Thursday.

President Obama to chose next Joint Chiefs Chairman

Who will be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? The Associated Press indicates "Two people familiar with President Barack Obama's search" indicate he's chosen Army Gen. Martin Dempsey. Pentagon officials asked about it declined to comment on it way or the other. Dempsey would be an interesting choice because he just started a four-year term as Army chief of staff on April 11. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen's term ends Oct. 1.

Defense spending drying up

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is trying to prepare the defense industry for a huge decline in defense spending. Fiscal concerns could cause the Pentagon to abandon some military missions, and reduce the size of the armed forces. He's preparing to retire next month and in one of his last speeches, he told the American Enterprise Institute, that the days of post 9/11 unchallenged defense spend are numbered. He said neither the money nor the political support are there.

Time is running out

U/S intelligence agents are on the hunt around the world for Osama bin Laden's associates. Fred Burton, VP of intelligence at Stratfor says, "the first step is the identification of the individual and the second step is what country are they located in and can you find them." Mullah Omar, Ayman at Zawahiri and Anwar al Awlaki are the top of the list. And if any of them are in Pakistan says Burton, "That's going to pose a unique problem at this time." That problem is restoring trust between the two countries in time to capture them before they disappear.

Al Qaida is warned

President Barack Obama has sent a blunt and chilling warning to Al Qaida. "We not only took out (Osama Bin Laden) the symbol and operational leader of Al Qaida, we walked off with his files." He called it the largest treasure trove of intelligence ever seized from a terrorist. "Today every terrorist in the al Qaida network should be watching their back, because we're going to review every video, examine every photo, read every one of those millions of pages, we're going to pursue lead," said Mr. Obama. He told an audience at the CIA, they're going to go wherever they have to go to finish the job.

Mental health problems rising

The Army surgeon general says U.S. troops in Afghanistan are suffering with the highest rates of mental health problems since 2005 and morale is skidding. The report is a significant and detailed glimpse of the psychological cost of the battle that commanders claim has reversed the momentum of the insurgency. The doctors say morale is suffering given the dramatic increase in fighting, which is at the highest level since they started doing their mental health studies in 2003.

Al Qaida has a new "interim" leader

Why did Al Qaida appoint Saif al Adel as their interim leader? U.S. intelligence sources say there is a split in the al Qaida organization and there a those who don't trust him and feel as though the Egyptian contingent of the organization which is led by Al Qaida number two Ayman al Zawahiri is not radical enough. A former U.S. intelligence official says most of the Al Qaida rank and file wanted a Saudi because they are perceived as having better Islamic credentials. What does the discord mean for Al Qaida? Experts say al Qaida is accustomed to disagreements.

Who's leaking

So who's leaking the material from the Bin Laden raid? Former CIA Osama Bin Laden chief Michael Scheuer on CNN said only a handful high well known ranking intelligence officials have access to it. It's also especially ironic because several former intelligence officials say that some members of the media were being scrutinized after being suspected of receiving classified material and legal action pursued. No word yet on whether an investigation into the Bin Laden leaks will happen or not.

Questions raised about killing of Saudi diplomat

The killing of a Hassan al-Qahtani, a Saudi diplomat in Karachi, Pakistan has raised a lot of questions in the intelligence world. Why him? Why wasn't he driving an armored vehicle? Why was he even driving himself? Karachi is known to be a hotbed of terrorist activity and the Saudi government is known to be hated by Al Qaida. In the meantime The Saudi's say they will increase security for their diplomats around the world and at home. Al Qaida has vowed it will avenge the death of Osama bin Laden.

U.S. and Chinese military meet

China and the U/S will hold their first top tier military talks since 2009 this week and there will be a 500lb elephant in the room. Pakistan has reportedly been approached by the Chinese about sharing the wreckage of the stealth helicopter used in the Osama Bin Laden raid. Pakistan supposedly has said it will not share it, but the U/S military is still leery about that according to sources close the Pentagon. The Chinese are trying to develop a fleet of stealth air craft of their own.

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