29 March 2017

*** What Prompted The Electronic Devices Ban

On the afternoon of March 20, Royal Jordanian Airlines announced on Twitter that effective March 21, it would ban all electronic items from passenger cabins of its aircraft traveling directly to and from the United States with the exception of cellphones and medical devices. The announcement, which was later deleted from the airline's Twitter account, noted that the security measures were being instituted at the request of "concerned U.S. Departments." The U.S. government soon confirmed the ban and added that, in addition to Royal Jordanian, it applied to flights from eight other airlines originating from 10 airports in eight Middle Eastern countries.

The airports covered by the ban are located in Cairo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Doha, Amman, Kuwait City, Casablanca, Jeddah and Riyadh. The airlines affected include Etihad Airways, EgyptAir, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines. A U.S. Transportation Security Administration notice reportedly gave the affected airlines 96 hours to implement the new security measures. Noncompliance would result in their losing authorization to land in the United States. U.S. airlines were not affected by the measure because none of them fly from the affected airports to the United States.

*** In Japan, Russia and China Find Common Ground

For the first time in three years, Russia and Japan have revived an avenue of negotiation that had stalled in the face of enduring tension between the two nations. Foreign and defense ministers from both countries met in Tokyo on Monday to hold 2+2 talks on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. As expected, Japan took the opportunity to question Russia's recent attempts to bolster its defenses on the southern Kuril Islands, to which Tokyo has long laid claim. Russia fired back with its own objections to Japan's desire to build up its ballistic missile defenses as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear program.

For the Russians, not to mention Pyongyang's Chinese backers, the deployment of U.S. antiballistic missile (ABM) technology around the world is becoming a bigger and bigger concern. The Kremlin's anxiety, on clear display in Europe over the past few years, has more recently come to include the Asia-Pacific as the United States wraps up its delivery of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to South Korea. That these systems will extend the coverage of missile defense radars operated by U.S. allies to include Chinese and Russian territory is an obvious concern to Beijing and Moscow, since the systems will enable Washington to better track missile flights and tests in both countries. But their fears go far beyond these immediate consequences.

** What Happens After China Invades Taiwan?

By Wang Mouzhou

Even a tactically “successful” invasion of the island might lead to strategic defeat for the PRC and the Communist Party. 

Let’s assume, hypothetically, that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) successfully conquers Taiwan. Most analyses of an attempted invasion consider only if the PRC could successfully subdue Taiwan. The consequences of an attempted invasion –even a tactically successful one – have received little thought, however. This analysis considers some likely consequences for the PRC if it attempts and/or completes an invasion of Taiwan. Likely consequences include: the direct human and economic expenditures of the invasion itself; the costs of garrisoning Taiwan; the PRC’s post-war diplomatic and economic isolation; and, finally, the significant and potentially destabilizing process of incorporating 23 million individuals into the PRC.

It is still too soon to say if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Crimea and the Donbass produced a strategic defeat or victory for Russia. However, the elements that advantaged Russia vis-à-vis Ukraine will not avail themselves to the PRC in a cross-straits crisis. Invading Taiwan would prove highly dangerous and costly for Beijing. Incorporation of Taiwan into the PRC would prove to be, at best, a Pyrrhic victory if attempted in the near or medium term.

** The Idea of ISIS Will Outlive the Caliphate


Despite claiming responsibility for attacks like the one in London, the group is dying. It will retain the ability to inspire. 

The Islamic State is claiming responsibility for the London attack that left three people and the attacker dead on Wednesday. “It is believed that this attacker acted alone,” Prime Minister Theresa May said, adding that the British-born man, already known to authorities, was inspired by “Islamist terrorism.” For its part, ISIS called the attacker its “soldier” in a report published by its Amaq news agency in both Arabic and English. The caliphate, it seemed, was eager to signal to a broad audience that it was as busy and effective as ever. The facts, however, tell a different story.

Back in 2014, God was on the side of ISIS—or so it appeared, and so ISIS claimed, with some plausibility. The speed and scope of its ascent was extraordinary. In mid-June it seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and in the following months it annexed a Britain-sized swath of territory crossing Syria and Iraq. In his historic June 29 statement, in which he declared the restoration of the caliphate and announced Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its leader or caliph, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said:

Of swayamsevaks and intellectuals

by Dr Rakesh Sinha

At the three-day meeting of the All India Pratinidhi Sabha (AIPS), the highest decision-making body of the RSS, that concluded in Coimbatore on March 22, the swayamsevaks felt unburdened. They are no longer in direct confrontation with the state. Those who considered the RSS the enemy of “secularism and nationalism” no longer hold state power. However, they still hold the dominant position in academia.

In the past, the annihilation of dominant political regimes, whether in the former Soviet Union, Britain, France or in Latin America, was preceded by the assertion of intellectual hegemony. However, the situation in India is different. While the RSS dominates India’s politics, its domination in the country’s intellectual discourse is awaited. The only change is that forces whose secular discourse required the exclusion of the RSS now realise that the presence of the organisation is necessary.

Anti-RSSism is not a monolith. The organisation’s critics can be divided into three broad categories. One, those academics and intellectuals who critique the RSS position on the nation and the state: Their misconception is not far-fetched since they find little substance in popular literature on the RSS to allay their misgivings. But the closer they come to the RSS, the more they will shed their misgivings. There is definitely a paucity of literature that delineates the value-loaded terminologies and narratives of the movement, like Hindu Rashtra and cultural nationalism. This gives rise to misconceptions. For instance, all anti-RSS literature and narratives describe the Hindu rashtra as a theocratic idea. That is absolutely against the RSS’s own understanding. But then, these critics have not felt the need to delve into serious work by RSS’s theoreticians. Dattopant Thengadi’s book Rashtra (nation), for example, is an attempt to delineate RSS’s understanding of the nation and the Hindu Rashtra.

India’s Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP): Will it Help India’s Upstream Oil and Gas?

India’s petroleum and natural gas minster, Dharmendra Pradhan, recently announced that the ministry will hold a new auction for oil and gas exploration blocks in July. 

This auction will be the first under a relatively new exploration and licensing policy passed in March 2016 known as the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP). 

HELP unifies the authority to grant licenses for exploration and production (E&P) of conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources, including oil, gas, coal bed methane, shale gas/oil, tight gas, and gas hydrates. 

HELP introduces an Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) that will allow companies to approach the government at any time and seek permission to explore any block. It also gives companies access to the National Data Repository (NDR) maintained by the government, to consult these maps and data to help inform them about which areas to bid on. Previously, companies had to wait for formal bid rounds by the government, and E&P activity was restricted to only those blocks offered for bidding by the government. 
The previous licensing policy, New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), was criticized for its narrow scope (it required companies to obtain a separate license if they discovered unconventional oil or gas that was not covered under the initial permit) and for the production sharing and marketing relationship with the government, which was seen as burdensome. 

HELP changes India’s E&P policy in the following ways: 

The Afghan Quagmire

Paul Pillar
The National Interest

Fifteen years and counting. America’s longest war keeps getting longer. The very duration of the expedition, with an end no more in sight now than it had been at any of several points one could have chosen over the last several years, ought to indicate the need for a fundamental redirection of policy. And yet there continue to be calls, including from influential members of Congress, to sustain and even enlarge the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan.

That campaign has now continued under three U.S. presidents, two Afghan presidents, too many U.S. military commanders to count, and a variety of operational strategies associated with the different generals. Different levels of U.S. troops also have been tried, with the peak of just over 100,000 American troops reached in 2011.

Something approaching peace and stability will come to Afghanistan the only way it ever has come to Afghanistan in the past: through deals reached among the different factions, power centers, and ethnic groups within Afghanistan. External military intervention does not negate or obviate that process, and instead becomes the object of Afghan resistance to outside interference. It is not for nothing that the place is called the graveyard of empires.

The shape of any deals reached among Afghan factions matters relatively little to the United States. One need make no apologies for borrowing from old speeches in describing the current conflict in Afghanistan as a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing. Unlike the circumstances in which that phrase was first used, there is no hostile and threatening power poised to exploit passivity on our part.

Let's admit the obvious: Afghanistan War is unwinnable


The Afghanistan War is unwinnable. Partnered with a corrupt and ineffective Afghan government, U.S. forces confront a robust and growing insurgency, substantively funded by skimmed American contracts. After 15 years of dysfunctional U.S. development schemes costing over $100 billion, Afghans remain near the bottom of most human development indices.

Beyond the counterinsurgency failures, many Afghans remain resistant to ideas imposed by foreigners. One Kentucky sergeant, frustrated by his team's failed development mission, drawled to me, "The Afghans ain't buyin' what we're sellin'."

There is no good way forward. The systemic failure of the 21st-century American way of war and development cannot easily be reformed. The many entrenched beneficiaries, both Afghan and American, have perverse incentives to continue the futile war. "It's the perfect war," one intelligence officer told me. "Everyone is making money."

Doing more of the same won't yield a different outcome.

With operations ramping up in Syria, Afghanistan is the forgotten war. Americans are often surprised to learn Afghanistan remains our largest military foreign engagement, with 8,400 troops plus untold numbers of special forces, and tens of thousands of contractors for the Department of Defense and other agencies.

Deterring Chinese Aggression

by Nathan Jennings

Tensions between China and nations across the South China Sea have simmered for the past decade as competing states contest territorial waters and economic exclusion zones. As the leading power in the Asia-Pacific region since World War II, the United States, and its peerless military in particular, should begin deploying diverse and scalable elements of national power to promote coalitions to deter Chinese aggression. This would fulfil the 2015 National Security Strategy’s imperative to, “manage competition from a position of strength while insisting that China uphold international rules and norms.”[1] While objectives should both limit and accommodate Chinese ambitions, the judicious application of diplomatic, military, economic, and informational capabilities in the South China Sea and across the Pacific basin—in concert with empowering coalitions—offers the best hope for achieving a peaceful balance of power.

Any effort to form coalitions to deter Chinese belligerence begins with American diplomatic leadership. As the traditional guarantor of international freedom of navigation and commerce in the region, the United States is uniquely positioned to sponsor and guide any emerging multinational partnerships. It alone possesses the national power and influence and lead combinations of conciliatory and provocative diplomacy. This would include both bi-lateral and multi-lateral economic arrangements and broader military coalitions with long-standing allies like Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia, and newer partnerships with modernizing powers like India, Vietnam, and Burma.

Driving India Into the Arms of the Dragon

by E. John Teichert

In the midst of an American pivot towards Asia, the United States has telegraphed a clear intent to improve upon its relationship with India. During President Obama’s visit to India early last year he contended that the relationship was “one of the defining partnerships of this century.” During Indian Defense Minister Parrikar’s recent visit to the United States, Secretary Carter called the U.S.-Indian defense partnership one that “will become an anchor of global security.” Yet, in spite of common values, warming ties, and shared interests, a fruitful and enduring relationship between the United States and India is not guaranteed, nor should it be taken for granted. Doing so would place American strategic interests in peril.

A diagnosis of the relationships between India, China, and the United States reveals that a strong partnership between India and China is possible, and must be carefully considered as a part of American strategy. While not likely, this relationship is plausible based on shared Chinese-Indian interests, independent Chinese and Indian objectives, and potential American strategic mistakes in South Asia. A proper American strategy would consider this possibility, watch for strategic warnings of it, and design a current strategy to hedge against it. Otherwise, the desired strategic partnership between the United States and India may not come to fruition.

Trump administration weighs deeper involvement in Yemen war

Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan
Washington Post

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has asked the White House to lift Obama-era restrictions on U.S. military support for Persian Gulf states engaged in a protracted civil war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to senior Trump administration officials.

In a memo this month to national security adviser H.R. ­McMaster, Mattis said that “limited support” for Yemen operations being conducted by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — including a planned Emirati offensive to retake a key Red Sea port — would help combat a “common threat.”

How To Counter Political Islam

by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

It is refreshing and heartening that President Trump acknowledges the need for an ideological campaign against “radical Islam.” This deserves to be called a paradigm shift. President Bush often referred to a “war on terror,” but terror is a tactic that can be used for a variety of ideological objectives. President Obama stated that he was opposed to “violent extremism” and even organized an international summit around this subject. Yet at times he made it seem as if he worried more about “Islamophobia” than about radical Islam. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, Obama declared: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

In what follows, however, I shall refer to “political Islam” rather than radical Islam. Political Islam is not just a religion as most Western citizens recognize the term “religion,” a faith; it is also a political ideology, a legal order, and in many ways also a military doctrine associated with the campaigns of the Prophet Muhammad. Political Islam rejects any kind of distinction between religion and politics, mosque and state. Political Islam even rejects the modern state in favor of a caliphate. My central argument is that political Islam implies a constitutional order fundamentally incompatible with the US Constitution and with the “constitution of liberty” that is the foundation of the American way of life.

There is no point in denying that political Islam as an ideology has its foundation in Islamic doctrine. However, “Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Muslims” are distinct concepts. Not all Muslims are Islamists, let alone violent, but all Islamists—including those who use violence—are Muslims. I believe the religion of Islam itself is indeed capable of reformation, if only to distinguish it more clearly from the political ideology of Islamism. But that task of reform can only be carried out by Muslims.

The National Security Economics of the Middle East: Comparative Spending, Burden Sharing, and Modernization

By Anthony H. Cordesman and Abdullah Toukan 

The economics of national security in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have changed dramatically since 2001. Counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and internal security have emerged as having the same priority as military forces, and the rise of non-state actors, the use of proxies, and the increased use of asymmetric warfare has changed the nature of warfighting as well. Nuclear and missile threats are not new to the region, but they are a rising threat, and one that affects the cost and shape of many of the region’s military forces. 

Internal security has also increased in priority and in cost. The 9/11 attacks made it clear that violent Islamist extremism posed a major threat inside and outside the region, a threat reinforced by the al Qaeda attacks inside Saudi Arabia in 2011, and by the emergence of ISIS and its claims of creating a “Caliphate” in Syria and Iraq in 2011. 

At the same time, the major political upheavals that began in 2011 have shown that national security faces a critical threat to internal stability growing out of failures to provide effective governance and development, and that regional states need to pay far more attention to the needs of their peoples, to the impact of massive population growth, to the need to create jobs and higher levels of income, and to dealing with social change. 

Critical Assumptions and American Grand Strategy

Hal Brands, Peter Feaver, William Inboden, Paul D. Miller 

Every grand strategy rests on a set of critical assumptions about how the world works. Today, the assumptions underpinning American grand strategy are becoming more contested and uncertain than at any time in a generation. 

This report examines America's grand strategy in the post-Cold War era, it explores the global and regional assumptions that are now coming under strain, and it offers suggestions for how U.S. planners can best adapt to a more competitive and uncertain world.

Download full “Critical Assumptions and American Grand Strategy” report.

Concrete Barriers: A False Counterinsurgency Idol

In 2013, David Kilcullen, an advisor to Gen. David Petraeus during the Iraq War, was asked how the US military reduced violence in Baghdad by 95 percent. “We did it by killing the city,” he responded. “We shut the city down. We brought in more than 100 kilometers of concrete T-wall. We put troops on every street corner.” The US military’s counterinsurgency campaign—and the concrete barriers that were an integral part of it—certainly brought impressive, measurable short-term improvements to the security situation in Baghdad. However, by 2014, just after Kilcullen’s explanation, civilian deaths in Iraq had returned to 2006–2007 levels. The concrete barriers emplaced during the “surge” dramatically slowed sectarian violence—for a time—but also cemented the sectarian and ethnic divisions that empowered Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s power grab, contributed to government corruption, and set the conditions for the rise of ISIS. These same divisions will threaten Iraq long after ISIS is defeated if a political solution that incorporates and adequately represents all sects and ethnicities is not further developed.

Population-centric counterinsurgency primarily emphasizes securing the population instead of targeting the enemy and seeks to reinforce the legitimacy of the government while reducing insurgent influence. While US COIN efforts produced an array of tactical successes, the overall result cannot be construed as a total success. This is not a reflection of US service members, their efforts, or their sacrifices, but rather a function of the ambiguity typical of a COIN mission, time constraints, and poor quantitative metrics with which to assess mission progress. While policy debates take place at the strategic level, stop-gap measures and temporary solutions are constantly tried and tested in a process of tactical innovation that attempts to compensate for strategic challenges. However, what appear to be militarily successful tactical innovations can inadvertently compound strategic failures and erode progress toward a political objective. The widespread employment of concrete on the streets of Baghdad offers an illustrative example.

ISIS’s killer drones are a threat, but the Pentagon is bracing to face more-advanced ‘suicide’ aircraft

By Dan Lamothe

The Pentagon, concerned about the danger that small, armed drones pose to U.S. troops, is moving forward with a project that looks beyond remote-control aircraft used by the Islamic State to an even more complex problem: an aerial raid of autonomous suicide bombers. 

The unmanned bombers have not yet appeared in combat, but defense officials already are researching how to stop them. Laden with explosives or other dangerous materials, they would operate by crashing into U.S. troops in a combat zone and would not be as easy to detect as existing drones used by the Islamic State, because they would not rely on radio frequencies for remote controlling. Instead, they would be programmed to carry out a specific mission, making them especially hard to see coming. 

The effort to stop the aircraft is known as the Mobile Force Protection Program and is overseen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which examines ways that technology can help the U.S. military. DARPA anticipates awarding contracts within weeks for the first of three phases of testing and research, said J.C. Ledé, who oversees the program. 

“Right now, the best way of detecting that there is an unmanned airplane is by listening for that radio signal,” Ledé said. “Once they stop emitting that radio signal, they’re going to get a lot harder to find.” 



Tailhook. Aberdeen. Lackland. All of the service academies. Now the Marine Corps social media photo scandal. Military sex scandals have been happening for decades, and in that time leaders have implemented reforms from all angles. Generals denounce the behavior, congressional representatives hold hearings, and leaders create new reporting requirements and call for consequences. But, as a female veteran of the Marine Corps noted in response to the recent scandal, top down admonishment will only get you so far when cultural change is needed.

As noted in this week’s “Strategic Outpost” column at War on the Rocks, the cultural root of this issue cannot be ignored. A RAND study found that women in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were 1.7 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in the Air Force. The researchers eliminated variations in service member ages, educations, proportions of officers, proportions of men in work settings, months of service, or past-year deployment as explanations for this difference. Culture was one of the few factors left that could possibly explain the variance.

While that study did not have the data to determine the exact sources of the difference in sexual assault rates, one factor that the services would do well to examine is how gender segregation shapes military culture. This is particularly important in the context of basic training, which is ground zero for military cultural indoctrination.



In his recent book, The Big Stick, Eliot Cohen quotes Abraham Lincoln, stating that “as our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” Military organizations across the globe now find themselves with a range of new circumstances affecting how their operations are conceptualised and executed. In developing an intellectual edge with their military personnel in these new circumstances, military forces must also think anew and act anew.

In the first installment of this series, I proposed that like war, the profession of arms possesses a duality and is underpinned by enduring features. But I also proposed that the profession of arms is constantly evolving. The key drivers for this evolution were explored in the second installment. Noting these changes in the environment for the profession of arms, the aim of this article is to propose the competencies of military professionals that should drive their development and prepare them for success in joint, interagency, and multinational environments.

Based on current trends and our understanding of the nature of the profession and how it developed over history, there are seven competencies of the profession of arms required for contemporary and future military leaders. These are physical mastery, technical and tactical mastery, psychological and cognitive mastery, mastery of military history and organizational theory, mastery of leadership and ethics, mastery of operational art, and mastery of strategic thinking.

New Army Unit To Test Tactics: Meet The Multi-Domain Task Force


WASHINGTON: The Army is creating an experimental combat unit to develop new tactics for lethally fast-paced future battlefields. The Multi-Domain Task Force will be “a relatively small organization…1,500 or so troops,” the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told the Future of Warfare conference here this morning. While small, it will have capabilities not found in the building block of today’s Army, the 4,000-strong brigade. “That organization will be capable of space, cyber, maritime, air, and ground warfare,” he said, extending its reach into all domains of military operations to support the Air Force, Navy, and Marines.

Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) launch. The Pentagon is developing an anti-ship version.

“It’s got a bunch of capabilities, and that’s what we’re going to play with to figure out what’s the right mix,” Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the deputy chief of staff for operations (G-3/5/7), told reporters at last week’s Association of the US Army conference. “It’s got some aviation. It’s got some maneuver. It’s got signal. It’s got cyber.” In English, that means it has helicopters, infantry and/or tanks, communications troops, and technical troops to protect (and perhaps attack) computer networks. By contrast, a typical Army brigade today, a much larger formation, has maneuver and signal, but no helicopters or hackers.

Here are the top 6 ways websites get hacked, according to Google

In 2016, the number of hacked websites rose by 32%, according to a recent blog post from Google. And, unfortunately, the search giant said it believes that number will continue to rise as hackers become more sophisticated.

While 84% of webmasters who "apply for reconsideration" were able to clean up their sites, the post said, 61% were never alerted by Google that they had been hacked. The primary reason for this disconnect for more than half of hacked webmasters is that their sites weren't verified in Google's Search Console, which the company uses to communicate information about websites.

In the post, Google outlined some of the common hacks that are affecting websites today, such as the Gibberish Hack, the Japanese Keywords Hack, and the Cloaked Keywords Hack. Citing the old adage "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link," Google said that prevention is key in keeping these hacks at bay.

To improve prevention, it is important to know how these attacks are being carried out. In aseparate post, Google outlined the following six ways that websites get hacked by spammers:

1. Compromised passwords

Whether an attacker is using guessing techniques to obtain a password, or simply trying out common variations of passwords, compromised account credentials are a serious issue. It's important to create a strong password, not use the same password across multiple web properties, and use additional security tools like two-factor authentication, the post said.

SECURITY Think your Cisco switch is secure? Think again: Hundreds are vulnerable to a simple attack

By Brandon Vigliarolo

The Vault 7 documents released by WikiLeaks continue to reveal security weaknesses in trusted technology. This time it's Cisco's turn to reveal its mistakes to the world. 

WikiLeaks' dump of CIA spying programs has another victim: Cisco. The network hardware manufacturer's switches have a security flaw that is easy to exploit, widespread, and currently unpatched.

The hole, which is present in 318 different models of Cisco switches, is definitely a gaping one as well. It exploits the Cisco Cluster Management Protocol (CMP) to allow an outside user to gain Telnet access into the switch. The intruder can then reload a device or execute commands with elevated privileges.

To make matters worse, Cisco has admitted that there is currently no workaround or patch available to fix the problem short of disabling Telnet connections to affected devices.
How the hack happens

Cisco's CMP uses Telnet to communicate between machines in a cluster, and it fails to distinguish between internal requests and those sent from outside, and potentially unidentified, users.

What are the highest paid jobs in programming? The top earning languages in 2017

By Nick Heath

Want to earn decent money as a developer? Then your best bet might be to swot up on Clojure.

Globally, developers whose role requires them to be proficient at using Clojure have the highest average annual salary, with the typical take home being $72,000, according to the 2017 Developer Survey by programmer community Stack Overflow.

Clojure is a 10-year-old language that is growing in popularity and used by companies of all sizes. A functional programming language and dialect of the decades-old Lisp, it excels at handling tasks that can be split into smaller jobs, which can then be processed in parallel. Clojure also has the advantage of running on a Java Virtual Machine, or JVM, giving it a degree of compatibility with existing enterprise software stacks.

Other highly rewarded programming languages, according to the survey of almost 65,000 coders, include relative newcomers such as Mozilla's Rust, the Erlang spin-off Elixir and the Google-created Go. Also well-compensated were developers specialising in the functional, JVM-targeted language Scala, the Microsoft-designed F# and the venerable scripting language Perl.

Image: Stack Overflow 

Request for Information (RFI) for Cyber Electronic Warfare Techniques Against Electromagnetic Communications & Computer Networks



The U.S. Army Contracting Command - Aberdeen Proving Ground (ACC-APG), Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 21005 is conducting a Market Survey to identify potential sources for the procurement of cyber electronic warfare capabilities. This RFI is not related to any current work.

The U.S. Army intends for its subject matter expert cyber team to review submissions to gain knowledge of technology. Proprietary information should be clearly marked. The requested information is for planning and market research purposes only and will not be publically released. In accordance with FAR 15.201 (e) responses to this RFI are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. The Government may utilize responses received as market research to in the future support an award decision for a contract action.

Army RFI seeks cyber electronic warfare techniques

by Tony Ware

U.S. Army Spc. Julio Rodriquez, with the 1014th Sapper Company, Task Force Roughneck, Task Force Sword, a combat engineer form Canovanas, Puerto Rico, teaches new reconnaissance software (Automated Route Reconnaissance Kit) to soldiers from the 190th Engineer Company, TF Roughneck, at Forward Operating Base Deh Dadi 2, Dec. 6. The 1014th Sapper Company reached out to qualify their fellow engineers with the 190th Eng. Company. 

The Army is conducting market research on techniques and tools to disrupt traditional and nontraditional radio communications and digital networks.

In a request for information posted to FedBizOpps on March 17, the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, has asked for industry feedback on existing technical capabilities and the potential for research and development of cyber electronic warfare technologies that can pinpoint computer system vulnerabilities, impair or influence networks, surgically jam communications and manipulate data against or in systems.

Contractors have been requested to provide white papers containing what capabilities they can develop and perform at technology readiness levels three to six, with all proprietary and other sensitive information marked and identified with disposition instructions. Submitted material will not be returned.

Former top cyber officials: ‘Don’t stove pipe cyber’

by Mark Pomerleau

Ken Foster, a computer network analyst with the California Army National Guard Computer Network Defense Team, assists one of his fellow analysts to defend against a simulated virus attack during the 2014 Cyber Shield exercise at the National Guard Professional Education Center in North Little Rock, Ark., April 30, 2014.

With recent high-profile cyber incidents and intrusions, many are left with the idea that cyber is so special and unique that it does not fit the rational roles of international, military or civilian relations. Some top current and former officials have poured cold water on these perceptions, warning that siloing cyber is not a winning formula.

“Don’t stove pipe cyber,” Suzanne Spaulding, former undersecretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, said March 20 at the Cybersecurity for a New America conference in Washington, hosted by the New America Foundation. “We think of cyber in stove pipes still, as if you can put it over here with all of your cyber ninjas and understand and solve the problem.”

This model does not help to understand the nature of the threat, she said, especially when trying to prioritize cyber threats as an administrator. To prioritize, one must understand consequences and consequences are not just going to be within one’s IT system, she added.