In response to the growing threats to US military and civilian networks, the Pentagon has unveiling its first formal cyber strategy.
This follows a series of events over the last few years that have escalated cyber attacks against networks and infrastructure to warlike events. For example, an unidentified foreign national penetrated the internal networks of the Department of Defense (DoD) with an infected thumbdrive in 2008. In 2009, a virus known as Stuxnet, suspected of being the product of Israeli-US government collaboration, shutdown an Iranian nuclear power plant. And in 2011, defense contractor Lockheed Martin suffered a major cyber attack that was suspected of being carried out by the Chinese government.
While the Pentagon has struggled to combat these threats, it has also had to fight some within its own ranks, as well as other agencies, for authority in cyberspace. This article focuses on the growing cyber threat to US military and civilian infrastructure and the efforts being made by the Pentagon to deal with these threats.
The steady rise in the number and variety of electronic systems in military equipment has spawned 2 trends. One has been reduced readiness, as multiplying points of failure consistently push readiness rates down and maintenance costs up, for each successive generation of advanced equipment. The other is a security issue, as equipment “obsoletes itself every 18 months, is made in unsecure locations and [in an industry where] we have absolutely no market share influence [any more].”
The defense industry that played such a big role in building Silicon Valley now grapples with ways to ensure that chips and circuits don’t have hidden design codes in them. They’re also grappling with the issue of counterfeit electronics.
As the 2007 Paris Air Show drew to a close, France and Germany confirmed the rumors and signed a joint declaration of intent to set up a heavy-lift helicopter program. The French DGA procurement agency’s announcement lists an intended in-service date of around 2020. The new machines would be designed to carry personnel, light armored vehicles, and/or cargo, with good performance under a wide range of conditions including hot weather and high altitudes (both of which reduce helicopter performance due to thinner air). The project is known as Helicoptère de Transport Lourd (HTL) in France, and Future Transport Helicopter (same FTH in Deutsch) in Germany.
In terms of future force structure, these helicopters would replace Germany’s aging CH-53G Mittlerer Transporthubschrauber, and offer France a heavy-lift helicopter option for its future force that would sit above its planned NH90s and/or AS 532 Cougars. Both countries would rely on the forthcoming Airbus A400M tactical cargo plane and its 35-tonne capacity for larger loads or longer distances.
Note that some reports have stated that the new helicopter would be “capable of carrying a 30-tonne load.” Unless they’re planning to use gyrodyne technology or something similarly revolutionary, this is very, very doubtful. Meanwhile, the program may be morphing into an off-the-shelf competition, complete with international contenders:
We wish there were more elected officials like Rep. Walter Jones [R-NC-3], who has spent 10 years trying to clear the names of 2 pilots involved in a fatal MV-22 Osprey crash. Why didn’t H.Res. 698 (111th) get out of committee?
RAND Corporation analyzed the root causes behind Nunn-McCurdy cost breaches for the following MDAPs: Zumwalt, JSF, Apache, and WGS. See also DOT&E’s presentation [PDF] from last August on the very same topic, and The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s just-released report on managing risk in defense projects.
The Heritage Foundation, the Lowy Institute for International Policy, and the Observer Research Foundation think tanks jointly made the case for US-Australia-India cooperation defense cooperation.
First battalion of UH-72A Security & Support variant helicopters enter service with the US military.
The crew of the Taiwanese fishing vessel Chin Yi Wen takes back their boat from about 6 Somali pirates, then contacts the UKMTO naval task force. Seems some of the sailors were veterans of the Vietnam War. 3 sailors injured, and the pirates, uh, “fell into the sea” and haven’t been found. Last week German frigate FGS Köln sank 2 pirate fishing boats and captured several people.
3 soldiers of the Welsh Cavalry on a patrol in Nahr-e Saraj, Afghanistan got out of their recently-rehulled Scimitar Mk2 almost unfazed after an IED blast. The 1st video below shows what these tracked vehicles look like.
The 2nd video below shows the US Navy’s Deep Submergence Unit (DSU) using a pressurized rescue module to practice a submarine rescue with their Chilean peers: