ARMY & NAVY CLUB: In the dog-eat-dog, admiral-eat-general world of budget warfare in the age of sequestration, it’s easy to pit programs against each other. The Navy’s new nuclear missile submarine and the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber, for example, are both huge strategic-weapons programs with enormous bills coming due in the next decade and much debate… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: On the day that China’s president took personal charge of his country’s new cyber body, pledging to make the People’s Republic of China a “cyber power,” the outgoing head of America’s Cyber Command laid out a clear red line that, if crossed, could lead to war. “If it destroys government or other networks,… Keep reading →
PENTAGON: Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James spent most of last week talking with the officers and enlisted men who control and protect America’s nuclear missiles. She told reporters today she believes the service’s nuclear missile force — hit by drugs, a cheating scandal that now embroils 92 officers, and several other recent mishaps — is… Keep reading →
PENTAGON: In the wake of drug abuse and cheating on proficiency tests at nuclear missile silos, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a two-pronged review of the nuclear weapons program today. Hagel issued his memo after speaking with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, who had toured the service’s ICBM sites in the wake of the… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: For those who aren’t part of the insular space community, you need to know that the National Space Symposium is the most important conference on space issues in the world. Everyone goes: the intelligence community; the Air Force; Army; Navy; industry; allies; even senior Chinese officials show up fairly regularly these days. Some 9,000 people attend in a good year.
But this year no one from NASA – that’s right, those people who gave us the Moon landings, Mars Rover, Voyager and are sort of synonymous with space — will attend NSS at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs next month. Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: If there’s one command — a very important one — that must worry about the short term impact of sequestration, it’s Strategic Command, those who command three of the most important weapon systems we deploy — nuclear weapons, cyber and space. Roughly 60 percent of STRATCOM’s headquarters staff do not wear uniforms. And, as anyone knows who’s been following the debacle we call sequestration, one of the first and hardest human impacts will be furloughs, as involuntary layoffs for federal employees are known.
Gen. Robert Kehler, STRATCOM’s leader, told the House Armed Services Committee today in his written testimony that he is, “extremely concerned about the impacts of actual and potential budget reductions on our people. While I believe these amazing professionals will continue to cope with uncertainty in the near-term, I cannot say the same over time if the financial risks to the individuals and their families persist.”
I covered STRATCOM for five years while at Space News and was always struck by how pervasive the civilians were. Keep Reading →
CAPITOL HILL: The head of Cyber Command, Gen. Keith Alexander, confirmed today that China was behind last year’s penetration and software theft from the respected Internet security company, RSA.
Alexander was asked by Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, for unclassified examples of cyber attacks from China. Alexander, who rarely speaks in any detail about threats, immediately offered the RSA attack as an example of China’s “high order” capability to launch attacks against the U.S. and other countries. Keep reading →
The Obama administration will probably announce soon that the United States will join in supporting adoption of the European Code of Conduct for Space Activities, which the White House now calls the “international” code of conduct. This commitment reflects the administration’s continuing determination that security for US interests in space can best be found by collectivizing key space functions, replacing national autonomy with international entanglement.
Hence the enthusiasm for the code; for inviting potential space-faring adversaries to tour our military space operations centers; for wider sharing of what we know about foreign space activities; for considering the future merger of the US GPS system into a condominium using signals from the European, Chinese, and Russian navigation satellites; for depending on others for military space support; and for making “international norms” the first line of defense against all types of threats to our satellites, from jamming to nuclear detonations. Keep reading →
Washington: When you oversee the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise, there are a lot of things that can keep you up at night.
But figuring out how to sustain the industrial base that supports the U.S. nuclear arsenal, particularly as the Pentagon prepares to shrink that arsenal by thousands of weapons, is what has Strategic Command chief Gen. Robert Kehler tossing and turning. Keep reading →