Sorry for delay on this, but the Senate Armed Services Committee has just concluded its hearing on cyber security threats, including the Russian influence, desinformatziya, and kompromat operations during the 2016 US elections. Here’s the link to C-SPAN’s video where you can watch the whole thing. And here’s a video embed:
And yes, I know this is the Fox News Youtube feed/embeddable feed. It’s the only one I could find.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Adam L Silvermanhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAdam L Silverman2017-01-05 12:16:532017-01-05 12:16:53Senate Armed Services Committee on Cyber Security Threats/Russian Hacking of the US During the 2016 Election
We all saw that the President-elect went after the F-35 program this morning. We now know, thanks to Kurt Eichenwald, that what appears to have set him off was a CNN piece yesterday about the program and its price tag.
Wall Street guy: Found what led Trump to F-35. CNN mentioned cost yesterday.They now monitor TV all day 2 short stock Trump might tweet bout
Regardless of whether the F-35 program is a good idea, or if its anything other than a trillion dollar weaponized Keynesian jobs program, the Defense acquisition process is not for the faint of heart. Here’s the Defense acquisition portal. Here’s the Introduction to Defense Acquisition. And here’s what it looks like as a flow chart:
The process is detailed and complex. It is covered in Defense Management at the Senior Leader Colleges (the war colleges) and there is a stand alone school just for Defense acquisitions: Defense Acquisitions University, which is attended by acquisitions officers/professionals. I sat through, barring other duties or being on Temporary Duty, four years of my teammate teaching Defense Management. Its dry, its tedious, its very, very, very important! I don’t remember any lesson materials dealing with tweeting!
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Adam L Silvermanhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAdam L Silverman2016-12-12 21:57:172016-12-12 22:06:08Defense Acquisition: Easy as Pie!
From 1939 through 1941 the US and Japan were locked into a security dilemma (insecurity spiral) as the result of strategic miscommunication – the miscommunication of policy choices and strategic decisions on both sides. As the Japanese attempted to increase their influence throughout Asia, through the use of both economic and military power, the US sought to check them through the use of economic power. A significant portion of the Roosevelt Administration’s response, which was the result of the preferences of President Roosevelt and Secretaries Stimson, Morgenthau, and Ickes, was to adopt the Open Door Policy for China and impose economic sanctions and actions to limit Japan’s activities in Asia. The US policy was to bankrupt the Japanese and therefore stop their expansionism within Asia. The Japanese response was to utilize military power to get out from under the US’s actions – the attack at Pearl Harbor.
So while we take a moment and consider the events of that day, and those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, there is an important lesson to be relearned as 2016 gives way to 2017. Strategic preferences for policy decisions and the actions taken on them have consequences. For every problem solved or resolved as the result of a successful policy and strategy, new problems arise and are created. And context matters. How one’s allies, partners, and competitors understand what you are doing is as important as how you understand it. Failure to account for this is the difference between policy success and strategic failure.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Adam L Silvermanhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAdam L Silverman2016-12-07 19:34:082016-12-07 19:34:08The 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Day That Will Live in Infamy
Anybody still here? This blog on? Anyhow, I’ve been both busy on a project and still dragging tuchas from whatever bug I caught, so instead of something thoughtful as I just don’t have it in me, here’s President Obama’s address at MacDill Air Force Base* from earlier today.
* Technically MacDill Air Force Base is now Joint Base MacDill, but no one calls it that.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Adam L Silvermanhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAdam L Silverman2016-12-06 21:23:422016-12-06 21:23:42President Obama's Address at MacDill Air Force Base Earlier Today
There is a long term International Relations concept called the security dilemma, or as I like to think of it, the insecurity spiral. The security dilemma is a Realist concept that arises from the lack of an international sovereign. Basically because there is no overarching international controlling power, the actions of one or more states, usually in regard to military preparations, can/are misinterpreted leading to other states undertaking responses that in turn lead the original actor or actors to respond, leading to more counter responses. All of which causes a crisis of security, an insecurity spiral, which increases the possibility of conflict.
To avoid a security dilemma states, intergovernmental organizations, and a lot of non state actors, try to utilize strategic communication. Joint Publication 5-0 defines strategic communication as:
… efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of … interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all instruments of national power. Also called SC.
While some of this is a unique combination of the age of social media, 24/7 news media, and the Internet and a President-elect who seems addicted to social media and has a unique talent for capturing 24/7 news media, it is not unknown. To a certain extent the events that led up to World War I were the result of a classic security dilemma leading to a catastrophic insecurity spiral and the outbreak of actual war.
More recently, in the early 1980s, the aggressive attempts by President Reagan to pressure the Soviet Union led to a breakdown that almost led to war over the NATO war game known as Able Archer.
But just to remind us all of Cold War history, Reagan did indeed shock the Soviets as part of a coherent plan. And it nearly backfired. /1
Able Archer was a 1983 NATO war game that was misinterpreted by the Soviet Union. The signals intercepts being made by Soviet Intelligence led them to mistakenly believe that NATO, led by the US and Britain, was preparing a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. This almost kicked off a classic security dilemma as the Soviets mobilized in response to the war game. This was initially misinterpreted by NATO as the Soviets conducting their own, counter, war game. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. After Able Archer’s conclusion, British Intelligence provided a complete report on the security dilemma that resulted from the strategic miscommunication to Downing Street, which then communicated to the Reagan Administration in order to prevent something like this from ever happening again. The documentary below details Able Archer, the Soviet Response, and just how closely everyone, on every side, escaped a war caused by misinterpretation from unintended miscommunication.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Adam L Silvermanhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAdam L Silverman2016-12-04 20:27:102016-12-04 20:34:04Strategic Miscommunication
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Adam L Silvermanhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAdam L Silverman2016-11-12 00:02:352016-11-12 00:26:32As Veterans Day Comes to an End
NBC News is reporting out that the US Government has taken steps to prepare to counter-strike a Russian cyber attack on election day next week.
U.S. military hackers have penetrated Russia’s electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin’s command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary, according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents reviewed by NBC News.
American officials have long said publicly that Russia, China and other nations have probed and left hidden malware on parts of U.S critical infrastructure, “preparing the battlefield,” in military parlance, for cyber attacks that could turn out the lights or turn off the internet across major cities.
It’s been widely assumed that the U.S. has done the same thing to its adversaries. The documents reviewed by NBC News — along with remarks by a senior U.S. intelligence official — confirm that, in the case of Russia.
U.S. officials continue to express concern that Russia will use its cyber capabilities to try to disrupt next week’s presidential election. U.S. intelligence officials do not expect Russia to attack critical infrastructure — which many believe would be an act of war — but they do anticipate so-called cyber mischief, including the possible release of fake documents and the proliferation of bogus social media accounts designed to spread misinformation.
Brown and others have noted that the Obama administration has been extremely reluctant to take action in cyberspace, even in the face of what it says is a series of Russian hacks and leaks designed to manipulate the U.S. presidential election.
Administration officials did, however, deliver a back channel warning to Russian against any attempt to influence next week’s vote, officials told NBC News.
The senior U.S. intelligence official said that, if Russia initiated a significant cyber attack against critical infrastructure, the U.S. could take action to shut down some Russian systems — a sort of active defense.
Retired Adm. James Stavridis, who served as NATO commander of Europe, told NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden that the U.S. is well equipped to respond to any cyber attack.
“I think there’s three things we should do if we see a significant cyber-attack,” he said. “The first obviously is defending against it. The second is reveal: We should be publicizing what has happened so that any of this kind of cyber trickery can be unmasked. And thirdly, we should respond. Our response should be proportional.”
One problem, officials say, is that the doctrine around cyber conflict — what is espionage, what is theft, what is war — is not well developed.
“Cyber war is undefined,” Brown said. “There are norms of behavior that we try to encourage, but people violate those.”
For further reading if anyone is interested, here’s the link to Joint Publication (JP) 3-12(R)/Cyberspace Operations. JP 3-12 covers all the Joint Force doctrines and concepts for cyberspace operations. Here’s the link to the US Army Cyber Center of Excellence (COE)* doctrine and concepts brief for those that like death by powerpoint. Finally, here’s the link to a very interesting monograph on cyberspace operations published by the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute (full disclosure: I know the author, he was on the faculty of USAWC during the first two years of my assignment there).
* The Army uses Center of Excellence for the overarching Branch commands at their Professional Military Education (PME) schools. These are not traditional, civilian academic Title VI Centers of Excellence.
https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpg00Adam L Silvermanhttps://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/balloon_juice_header_logo_grey.jpgAdam L Silverman2016-11-04 22:28:352016-11-04 23:10:34The Maskirovka Slips V: The Counter-Threat