Fort Meade

FORT MEADE, MD: “Remember the peace dividend we took in the Clinton years in the ’90s? Welcome back,” said Douglas Packard. “That’s where we’re at.” Some 20 years ago as defense budgets plummeted post-Cold War, the defense industry consolidated, recalled Packard, acting head of procurement at the Defense Information Systems Agency. Contractors better beware once more,… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: The private sector — and the government — must “exhaust” the use of traditional responses such as public shaming, criminal charges, diplomatic demarches, and sanctions “before we contemplate the dangerous possibility we might encourage vigilantism,” the powerful deputy director of the National Security Agency says. Chris Inglis offered an audience of several hundred gathered for… Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: For years the Air Force has claimed to be the service most suited to understanding and operating in cyberspace and the service fought hard to be the Pentagon’s lead on cyber issues. But top officers recently admitted that the service has never answered key questions such as how it works with the other services or whether it has legal standing to run global cyber missions.

A lack of internal cohesion has stymied the Air Force on this issue, Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command said at AFCEA’s Air Force IT Day conference. Shelton noted that definitions of cyberspace as a place for military operations are vague and must be refined. Getting a sharper picture of what the domain means from an Air Force perspective will also help the service to better understand its place in it, he said. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: Many members of Congress don’t really understand cyber issues and that’s getting in the way of passing legislation to protect the country, the leader of the House Homeland cybersecurity subcommittee.

The public takes the use of the Internet for granted and that complacency extends to some members of Congress said Dan Lungren, chairman of the House Homeland cybersecurity subcommittee. “It is not just a domain of warfare. It is a domain of everyday living. Everything we do depends on that today,” he said at a recent defense industry conference. Keep reading →

As the Senate reconvenes to debate the cybersecurity bill, President Obama himself has set the stakes in terms of preventing a future catastrophic attack. But some say the real and present danger is what’s happening under our noses right now, in an online theft of intellectual property that Cyber Command chief Gen. Keith Alexander called “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

“Don’t wait for something to go boom. It’s happening and it’s happening quietly right now,” said David Smith, director of the Potomac Institute’s Cyber Security Center, in an interview with Breaking Defense. “I don’t think they’re nibbling around the edges; I think the rat’s eating your sandwich.” Keep reading →

FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: Lockheed Martin, joining Boeing, Raytheon and other prime contractors in pursuing foreign sales in the face of drooping domestic spending, has announced it plans to increase them to 20 percent over the next “several years.”

Incoming President Marillyn Hewson told reporters at a dinner hosted in the wonderfully named In and Out, a London club for military officers more properly known as the Naval and Military, that Lockheed would pursue an increase in foreign sales but did not say how. So I asked her what regions and sectors were likely to be the source of most of the sales. She listed the Asia-Pacific and Middle East, which pretty much anyone could guess at. Europe will also figure in the growth, but won’t drive most of it, she added. A wide of range of weapons may help to boost foreign sales. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House intelligence committee, cast doubt today on reports that the Stuxnet and Flamer viruses were the work of the US and Israel. In fact, he argued, it’s against America’s interest to be staging any cyber attacks because the US is so vulnerable to retaliation.

“Don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper,” Rogers said of reports that both Stuxnet and Flamer were a joint US-Israeli endeavour. “I would be very, very cautious about assigning any nation-state originator to any of the [viruses]…. There was as much wrong in those [articles] as there ever was right.” Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: An Army general was named Friday to head plans and policy at Cyber Command, based at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper is moving from Fort Huachuca, where she headed Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, to Fort Meade, where she’ll be the director of plans and policy — staff section J-5 — for the inter-service Cyber Command. At Army NetCom, Napper helped consolidate the Army’s scattered email systems to a centralized “cloud” service called Enterprise Email, run by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Congress had ordered a halt to the migration over cost concerns but allowed it to resume in March. The outward and visible manifestation of this massive IT project has been the replacement of “” addresses with “” ones. The deeper drivers, though, are cost savings and better security — the latter a particularly crucial issue in Napper’s new job at CyberCom. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: The White House moved quickly Thursday to name Michael Daniel as President Obama’s cybersecurity adviser to replace retiring Howard Schmidt. Daniel assumed the key position immediately as Congress and the White House continue to spar over how best to protect critical U.S. industries from crippling cyberattacks.

PENTAGON: The United States will police the globe, respond to disasters and shape the international environment much as it has –though our sharpest focus will be on China and the western Pacific — but it will do all that with a significantly smaller land force than it currently has.

That was the essential message offered today by President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey as they unveiled the administration’s new military strategy. Obama had ordered the review which led to the new strategy when he announced the more than $450 billion cuts to the defense budget.

The administration, knowing that the world would be watching for signs of retrenchment or long-term weakness, sent the clearest message it could. “Our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority,” President Obama said.

For those who may have forgotten, this strategy is the culmination of what the president called a roles and mission analysis when he called for the roughly $450 billion in defense cuts over the next decade.

“The signals here are clear. America is extricating itself from land wars in Asia and reducing its role in Europe. The new focus is on deterring Iran and China, relying mainly on air and naval power,” Loren Thompson, defense consultant and analyst at the Lexington Institute, said.

Panetta and Dempsey admitted the US would have to accept “additional but acceptable” risk as the military shrinks.

The initial reaction from Capitol Hill Republicans, was, not surprisingly, negative. “This is a lead from behind strategy for a left-behind America. The President has packaged our retreat from the world in the guise of a new strategy to mask his divestment of our military and national defense. This strategy ensures American decline in exchange for more failed domestic programs. In order to justify massive cuts to our military, he has revoked the guarantee that America will support our allies, defend our interests, and defy our opponents,” said Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee.

At the core of the strategic discussion at the White House and Pentagon has been the infamous two Major Regional Contingency (MRC) strategy that has warped U.S. military budgets since the early 1990s.

While the administration did not formally renounce it, Gen. Dempsey and others have made it pretty clear it is no longer guiding U.S. policy.

“We’re keeping but not really keeping the two-war force planning construct. It is a ‘paradigm residual of the Cold War’ per General Dempsey. But he was quick to say the U.S. military can and will always be able to conduct more than one operation at a time,” Mackenzie Eaglen, former Hill staffer and now a defense analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation, said in an email. “Pentagon leaders are trying to thread a needle saying this is not about whether we’ll fight two adversaries at once, but how we’ll fight them.”

Eaglen said the administration’s “force planning construct is too muddled and nuanced to be helpful

to the services, just like the 2010 QDR that abandoned the 2-wars but then just replaced it with the “kitchen sink” construct (do everything, everywhere, across-the-spectrum, all the time). Keep reading →

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