Martina Coccarelli tapped the mouse pad on the laptop, navigating through the Web site in front of her.
Coccarelli, an eighth-grader at Erie’s Jefferson Elementary School, was searching for an image of the National Security Agency’s logo and had turned to that font of information — Wikipedia — for help.
Normally, Coccarelli’s teachers might have directed her to another source, but this wasn’t just any research project. It was an exercise in intelligence — specifically, open source intelligence, or information that can be found through publicly accessible channels, including newspaper stories, reference books, and Web sites.
Coccarelli and a group of about 14 other seventh- and eighth-grade students at Jefferson are participating in the Intelligence Technology Initiative, a new after-school program offered through Mercyhurst College, the Erie School District, and the Boys and Girls Club of Erie aimed at “training the a new generation of information technologists.”
Intelligence technologists use computer research and information technology skills to support the work of intelligence analysts.
The hourlong course is offered twice weekly at Jefferson and at the Boys and Girls Club, during which time students learn computer competence, communication skills, research methods, Internet awareness and teamwork.
The program is geared toward students who might not be college-bound but who are interested in supportive careers in the intelligence field, said Bob Heibel, founder of the intelligence studies program at Mercyhurst and director of its Institute for Intelligence Studies.
Defense officials are conducting no fewer than three separate strategy assessments to help Mr. Obama decide on a new approach
to confront the radical Islamic forces sowing unrest in the region. One report will come from Gen. David Petraeus, who came
to represent the voice of the Bush administration on Iraq and who now oversees the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Another
due in coming days is from Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the “war czar” at the National Security Council.
But the one that may count the most, say sources in and outside the Pentagon, is the assessment by Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. For months, the chairman has said the US must do more to reverse deteriorating security in Afghanistan
Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a view Obama is known to share.
Admiral Mullen to assert his position as top military adviser. General Petraeus’s views held sway during the latter years
of the Bush presidency, when the administration was desperate for a turnaround in Iraq. But Petraeus is now aligned in public
thought with Bush policies, and Obama may feel he needs a new face to represent US military endeavors. This could well be
Mullen, who is keen to restore the authority of his post, which had eroded under President Bush.
The connection Petraeus had to the White House, which was encouraged by Mr. Bush, irked some senior officers at the Pentagon
who believed they were put at a disadvantage when they tried to provide advice on the “surge” of American troops in Iraq.
Obama, whose advisers are attuned to that friction, shows signs of wanting to also restore the advisory authority of the chairman.
Of course. Everyone knows that it’s more important to stick to the org. chart so that feelings don’t get hurt rather than take advice from a successful, combat-tested commander. Propriety, protocol, and feelings are more important than success. – post by TransTracker
“I’ve said during this campaign, and I stick to this commitment, that as soon as I take office I will call in the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, my national security apparatus, and we will start executing a plan that draws down our troops, particularly in light
of the problems that we’re having in Afghanistan, which has continued to worsen,” Obama said on a “60 Minutes” interview shown
Translation: “We’re going to fight the plan not the enemy. I’m going to listen to advisers in Washington, not advisers in theater.” – post by TransTracker
Mullen appears to be quietly asserting himself. Noting this week that there will be differences among the reports, he said
it will be his job to provide the new president with conclusions that take the other assessments into account.
“While there is a level of independence in each of those, which I think is healthy, I expect … to take the outputs of those
[reports] and integrate them from my perspective as chairman, in terms of my recommendation for future strategy with respect
to Afghanistan,” Mullen told reporters Tuesday.
And that will certainly make Obama’s “decision-making” and “leadership” easier, won’t it? In fact, by sticking to the org. chart, he won’t have to decide or lead at all! He’ll have a perfect cover for not deciding among three alternative recommendations. Instead, he can just say, “Well, that’s the the CJCS recommended, so that’s what we’ll do! After all, he’s my official military adviser!” – post by TransTracker
President-elect Barack Obama picked two academics to co-chair his transition team for the Federal Communications Commission. While the professors — Kevin Werbach, who teaches business, policy, and social implications of emerging Internet and communications technologies at the Wharton, the business school at the University of Pennsylvania, and Susan Crawford, who teaches communications and Internet law at the University of Michigan — are immersed in technology policy, Werbach, it turns out, enjoys online gaming. Rather, he plays the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORG, in the vernacular) World of Warcraft, according to an article posted by Gigaom.com.
The Joint Multinational Simulation Center is screening
applicants for a computer gamerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dream job.
Tom Lasch, JMSCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s director of models and simulations, said the organization,
which opened a simulation building packed with hundreds of computer screens at
GrafenwÃƒÂ¶hr on Friday, is looking for a civilian “first-person simulation
Whomever is selected will be charged with testing gaming technology Ã¢â‚¬â€
computer simulations that the Army uses to train soldiers for combat Ã¢â‚¬â€ and
test-driving gaming technology that the Army is looking to acquire, he said.
The simulations, which include “AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Army,” “Darwars Ambush” and
“Virtual Battle Space 2 (VBS2),” need regular testing because the manufacturers
constantly add patches and extra features that could make the software
malfunction, Lasch said.
The simulations, which include accurate maps of large parts of Baghdad and
several Iraqi towns, do a good job replicating Iraq, said Hensel, who served
there 2004-05 and again in 2006-07.
This is very, very interesting. It seems to confirm my admittedly less-than-systematically-developed impressions about the real threat from “cyber attacks”–i.e. that denial of service, defacement, intrusion/theft do not constitute “real war.” Based on Dorothy Denning’s categories, most of this stuff is at the level of hactivism, not cyberterrorism or cyberwar. Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say that, as military activities, they are forms of PSYOPs or intelligence gathering.
Secure ComputingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third-quarter Internet Threat Report
predicts that 2009 will see an increase in politically motivated
attacks such as those experienced already in Estonia and Georgia
(the nation, not the state).
However, for the time being, the surreptitious theft of data
from information technology systems, as Chinese hackers are alleged
to have done in this country, is likely to remain a more serious
Cyber attacks against infrastructure havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t risen to the
level of real warfare or terrorism. Although the Estonian attacks,
suspected of having been carried out by Russian partisans in a
dispute between the nations, interfered with some online commerce,
denial-of-service attacks seldom have more than nuisance value in
disrupting some one-way communications from Web sites.
Studies indicate that the wholesale disruption of systems is
more difficult than often thought, and as systems become more
diverse, interconnected and complex, bringing them down only
becomes more difficult.
For the foreseeable future, Internet warfare is likely to remain
the domain of spooks operating under the radar rather than cyber
attackers carpet-bombing our infrastructure.
The next several months will bring massive changes to Air Force Space Command, stripping it of nuclear weapons and missiles, adding the emerging mission of defending cyberspace and shifting some 21,500 airmen and civilians into or out of the command.
But Gen. Bob Kehler, commander of AFSPC, said the changes are not as earthshaking as some might imagine.
The space, missile and cyberspace missions are closely intertwined, Kehler said.
Indeed, not that different at all. I mean, two of the three both have the word “space” in them. So, they’ve got to be pretty similar, right? – post by TransTracker
The Air Force announced Oct. 24 that Air Combat CommandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2s, along with AFSPCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s intercontinental ballistic missile forces, will transfer to the new Global Strike Command, and Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional) will be renamed 24th Air Force and move from ACC to AFSPC.
Global Strike Command will stand up by September 2009, and Cyber Command is expected to move to AFSPC next spring or summer.
Global Strike Command sounds an awful lot like reconstituting Strategic Air Command. I haven’t heard any talk of putting the aerial refueling tankers under GSC though, which would be necessary for this to truly be SAC II. – post by TransTracker
But the third major shake-up of Air Force Space Command since it was created in 1982 means more than musical chairs. It changes the commandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s focus.
For starters, AFSPC will not have a kinetic war-fighting role for the first time since ICBMs were placed under the command in 1993. The loss of those ICBMs and the addition of 24th Air Force means AFSPC likely will be about 18 percent larger.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.