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Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

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Congress isn’t giving Obama this power so Obama is going to use an executive order to grant himself more powers that usurp Congressional authority.

WASHINGTON — A secret legal review on the use of America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons has concluded that President Obama has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad, according to officials involved in the review.

That decision is among several reached in recent months as the administration moves, in the next few weeks, to approve the nation’s first rules for how the military can defend, or retaliate, against a major cyberattack. New policies will also govern how the intelligence agencies can carry out searches of faraway computer networks for signs of potential attacks on the United States and, if the president approves, attack adversaries by injecting them with destructive code — even if there is no declared war.

The rules will be highly classified, just as those governing drone strikes have been closely held. John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser and his nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency, played a central role in developing the administration’s policies regarding both drones and cyberwarfare, the two newest and most politically sensitive weapons in the American arsenal.

Cyberweaponry is the newest and perhaps most complex arms race under way. The Pentagon has created a new Cyber Command, and computer network warfare is one of the few parts of the military budget that is expected to grow. Officials said that the new cyberpolicies had been guided by a decade of evolution in counterterrorism policy, particularly on the division of authority between the military and the intelligence agencies in deploying cyberweapons. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk on the record.

Under current rules, the military can openly carry out counterterrorism missions in nations where the United States operates under the rules of war, like Afghanistan. But the intelligence agencies have the authority to carry out clandestine drone strikes and commando raids in places like Pakistan and Yemen, which are not declared war zones. The results have provoked wide protests.

Mr. Obama is known to have approved the use of cyberweapons only once, early in his presidency, when he ordered an escalating series of cyberattacks against Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities. The operation was code-named Olympic Games, and while it began inside the Pentagon under President George W. Bush, it was quickly taken over by the National Security Agency, the largest of the intelligence agencies, under the president’s authority to conduct covert action.

As the process of defining the rules of engagement began more than a year ago, one senior administration official emphasized that the United States had restrained its use of cyberweapons. “There are levels of cyberwarfare that are far more aggressive than anything that has been used or recommended to be done,” the official said.

The attacks on Iran illustrated that a nation’s infrastructure can be destroyed without bombing it or sending in saboteurs.

While many potential targets are military, a country’s power grids, financial systems and communications networks can also be crippled. Even more complex, nonstate actors, like terrorists or criminal groups, can mount attacks, and it is often difficult to tell who is responsible. Some critics have said the cyberthreat is being exaggerated by contractors and consultants who see billions in potential earnings.

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Enduring Freedom

Yet our president and his party can’t find a single dollar to cut.

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today wrote Army Secretary John McHugh to express “growing concern” regarding Army actions that have ended service of breakfast to American troops serving at 17 US military outposts in Afghanistan.

Braley has also been informed by the Army that this policy will be expanded to more locations in Afghanistan beginning on February 1st.

“I am troubled that the Army would deny any deployed troops three meals per day, regardless of force size,” Braley wrote.  “These men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect the very freedoms we cherish. The exhaustive mental and physical labor that is required by soldiers to fight in harsh and unforgiving conditions is tremendous. We shouldn’t deny our troops something as fundamental as a proper meal.

“I am positive that with the logistical mastery the Army has exhibited in combat operations around the world, you can logistically administer the procedure of serving breakfast every day.”

The issue was brought to Braley’s attention by concerned family members of Iowa soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

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Wonder how many of those 46,000 voted for Obama?

Washington (CNN) – The Pentagon has begun laying off 46,000 contract and temporary civilian employees in an effort to cut back on military spending, the No. 2 Pentagon official said on Friday.

Full time civilian employees, which number in the hundreds of thousands, also will be furloughed for one day a week for 22 weeks, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an interview with wire service reporters.

His comments were confirmed by a Pentagon spokesman.

The moves are part of a Defense Department effort to reduce spending given the potential for billions in mandatory cuts beginning as early as this spring should Congress fail to reach a deal on deficit reduction.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered military services to begin implementing cost cutting measures to mitigate the risk of the cuts to the military budget should no congressional deal emerge.

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A liberal feel-good policy that will backfire the first time a female soldier/soldiers is captured, raped or killed.

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is lifting the military’s ban on women in combat, which will open up hundreds of thousands of additional front-line jobs to them, senior defense officials said on Wednesday.

The groundbreaking decision overturns a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry and other such combat roles, even though in reality women have found themselves in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, where more than 20,000 have served. As of last year, more than 800 women had been wounded in the two wars and more than 130 had died.

Defense officials offered few details about Mr. Panetta’s decision but described it as the beginning of a process to allow the branches of the military to put it into effect. Defense officials said Mr. Panetta had made the decision on the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Women have long chafed under the combat restrictions and have increasingly pressured the Pentagon to catch up with the reality on the battlefield. The move comes as Mr. Panetta is about to step down from his post and would leave him with a substantial legacy after only 18 months in the job.

Mr. Panetta’s decision came after he received a Jan. 9 letter from Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who stated in strong terms that the armed service chiefs all agreed that “the time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.”

But there was a note of caution. “To implement these initiatives successfully and without sacrificing our war fighting capability or the trust of the American people, we will need time to get it right,” General Dempsey wrote.

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This administration just can not admit al-Qaeda was involved because it goes against Obama’s false narrative that al-Qaeda is on it’s heels.

The Associated Press reports, via Fox News:

The Pentagon on Tuesday stopped short of saying Al Qaeda North Africa affiliate is definitely to blame for the deadly Algeria terrorist attack, but it said there is good reason to believe the group had a leading role.

“When it comes to terrorist attacks of this sort in North Africa, AQIM has to be at the top of the list of suspects, I’ll put it that way,” said Pentagon press secretary George Little, referring to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The White House said the Obama administration is working with the Algerian government to learn more about what happened and did not echo concerns expressed by the British defense minister over the Algerian government’s collaboration.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that the blame for this lies with the terrorists,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Little told reporters there are “strong indications that AQIM, “had a hand” in the assault on an Algerian natural gas plant that left dozens of hostages and militants dead, but he would not be more specific.

“AQIM does what terrorist groups do — they plan and carry out attacks. I’ll leave it at that,” he said.

The State Department has said three U.S. citizens were killed in last week’s hostage standoff, while seven Americans made it out safely.

The State Department has not definitively declared that AQIM was responsible for the attack, but it has suggested the group played a leading role. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has blamed the broader Al Qaeda network.

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Mad Dog questioned Obama too much.

Mad Dog questioned Obama too much.

Can’t have a qualified General questioning Obama’s “open-hand” policy for Iran. How many generals has Obama gotten rid of? It’s almost like he doesn’t want anyone questioning his failed foreign policy.

From WFB:

“Word on the national security street is that General James Mattis is being given the bum’s rush out of his job as commander of Central Command, and is being told to vacate his office several months earlier than planned,”reports veteran national security correspondent Thomas E. Ricks.

It now appears likely that Gen. Mattis, a Marine Corps legend, will leave his post as head of America’s most important combatant command in March, several months earlier than planned. Ricks continues:

Why the hurry? Pentagon insiders say that he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way — not because he went all “mad dog,” which is his public image, and the view at the White House, but rather because he pushed the civilians so hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran. Some of those questions apparently were uncomfortable. Like, what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf? He kept saying, “And then what?

Wanna bet Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett is involved?

Inquiry along these lines apparently was not welcomed — at least in the CENTCOM view. The White House view, apparently, is that Mattis was too hawkish, which is not something I believe, having seen him in the field over the years. I’d call him a tough-minded realist, someone who’d rather have tea with you than shoot you, but is happy to end the conversation either way.

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Still no US troops to defend our true ally, Israel, from rockets being fired by Islamic terrorists. All the US aid and money going to the Muslim world sure could be used to pay down Obama’s deficit or help pull some Americans out of poverty.

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AP) — The U.S. will send two batteries of Patriot missiles and 400 troops to Turkey as part of aNATO force meant to protect Turkish territory from potential Syrian missile attack, the Pentagon said Friday.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed a deployment order en route to Turkey from Afghanistan calling for 400 U.S. soldiers to operate two batteries of Patriots at undisclosed locations in Turkey, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters flying with Panetta.

Germany and the Netherlands have already agreed to provide two batteries of the U.S.-built defense systems and send up to 400 German and 360 Dutch troops to man them, bringing the total number of Patriot batteries slated for Turkey to six.

German lawmakers voted 461-86 Friday to approve the deployment of two Patriot missile batteries. The mandate allows Germany to deploy a maximum 400 soldiers through January 2014. NATO foreign ministers endorsed Turkey’s request for the Patriots on Nov. 30.

A number of Syrian shells have landed in Turkish territory since the conflict in the Arab state began in March 2011. Turkey has condemned the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, supported Syrian rebels and provided shelter to Syrian refugees. Ankara is particularly worried that Assad may get desperate enough to use chemical weapons.

During a brief stop at Incirlik Air Base, Panetta told U.S. troops that Turkey might need the Patriots, which are capable of shooting down shorter-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft.

He said he approved the deployment “so that we can help Turkey have the kind of missile defense it may very well need to deal with the threats coming out of Syria,” he said.

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As most of us know, the Obama administration secretly approved arms shipments to the Libyan rebels despite their al-Qaeda links. The administration want to arm the Syrian rebels (and secretly are) who also have strong al-Qaeda links. Sound familiar? Think Fast & Furious on an international level and instead of arming Mexican drug cartels the Obama regime armed al-Qaeda linked terrorist.

From Fox News:

A U.S. congressman is complaining that the Pentagon has ignored his inquiries into whether the U.S. is helping facilitate the movement of arms from Libya to the Syrian opposition.

“If it is true, it’s disturbing. The U.S. doesn’t have a good record of arming so-called rebel groups and in some cases those weapons have been used against us and our allies,” said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Poe has posed the question twice to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The inquiries from Poe and others on Capitol Hill come amid claims that weapons are at least traveling from Libya to Syria. Sources told Fox News last week that the movement of arms from Libya to support Syrian fighters is well-known in Benghazi and began almost immediately after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi.

Following a report in Britain’s Sunday Times that the Obama administration was facilitating that movement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland flatly denied the charge.

“It was a false report,” she said. Nuland later added: “We are providing nonlethal assistance. Other countries are making other choices. … We have not changed our policy.”

So far, however, Panetta has not responded to the letters sent by Poe, the first of which was sent Oct. 31.

The letters pose a number of questions about whether the U.S. was facilitating movement of weapons from Libya to Syria as some reports have suggested.

“It has been blissful silence” said Poe, who added “so far the administration hasn’t given the answer, but we will eventually get it.”

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Doesn’t this make you feel all warm and fuzzy? This is from the administration who has stated that US citizenship does not make you immune from being targeted and killed without due process (See 5th Amendment of the US Constitution).

From Wired:

The Pentagon wants to make perfectly clear that every time one of its flying robots releases its lethal payload, it’s the result of a decision made by an accountable human being in a lawful chain of command. Human rights groups and nervous citizens fear that technological advances in autonomy will slowly lead to the day when robots make that critical decision for themselves. But according to a new policy directive issued by a top Pentagon official, there shall be no SkyNet, thank you very much.

Here’s what happened while you were preparing for Thanksgiving: Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signed, on November 21, a series of instructions to “minimize the probability and consequences of failures” in autonomous or semi-autonomous armed robots “that could lead to unintended engagements,” starting at the design stage (.pdf, thanks to Cryptome.org). Translated from the bureaucrat, the Pentagon wants to make sure that there isn’t a circumstance when one of the military’smany Predators, Reapersdrone-like missiles or other deadly robots effectively automatizes the decision to harm a human being.

The hardware and software controlling a deadly robot needs to come equipped with “safeties, anti-tamper mechanisms, and information assurance.” The design has got to have proper “human-machine interfaces and controls.” And, above all, it has to operate “consistent with commander and operator intentions and, if unable to do so, terminate engagements or seek additional human operator input before continuing the engagement.” If not, the Pentagon isn’t going to buy it or use it.

It’s reasonable to worry that advancements in robot autonomy are going to slowly push flesh-and-blood troops out of the role of deciding who to kill. To be sure, military autonomous systems aren’t nearly there yet. No Predator, for instance, can fire its Hellfire missile without a human directing it. But the military is wading its toe into murkier ethical and operational waters: The Navy’s experimental X-47B prototype will soon be able to land on an aircraft carrier with the barest of human directions. (The video below is of the X-47B being loaded on a ship.) That’s still a long way from deciding on its own to release its weapons. But this is how a very deadly slope can slip.

It’s that sort of thing that worries Human Rights Watch, for instance. Last week, the organization, among the most influential non-governmental institutions in the world, issued a report warning that new developments in drone autonomy represented the demise of established “legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians.” Its solution: “prohibit the “development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.”

Laudable impulse, wrong solution, writes Matthew Waxman. A former Defense Department official for detainee policy, Waxman and co-author Kenneth Anderson observe that technological advancements in robotic weapons autonomy is far from predictable, and the definition of “autonomy” is murky enough to make it unwise to tell the world that it has to curtail those advancements at an arbitrary point. Better, they write, for the U.S. to start an international conversation about how much autonomy on a killer robot is appropriate, so as to “embed evolving internal state standards into incrementally advancing automation.”

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Another one of those wasteful programs Obama failed to cut.

From Washington Guardian:

The Defense Department’s Foreign Comparative Testing program is supposed to study weapons and combat technology and determine the appropriate gear for U.S. troops. That usually means testing body armor, batteries for battlefield electronics and mine-clearing systems.

But the program strayed from its normal work recently to study the culinary skill of turning thin strips of beef into jerky. The goal, officials say, was to make a beef jerky that was more like a Fruit Roll-Up — tastier and cheaper — than than the traditional grocery store fare.

The project, however, cost taxpayers $1.5 million and is unlikely to improve battlefield performance. And that has left some lawmakers in Congress incredulous that the money wasn’t spent on something more essential, especially in an era of soaring deficits, fiscal cliffs and impending defense budget cuts.

“While our men and women in uniform certainly would welcome new menu options, these dollars could be better spent at this time when sequestration imposed by the Budget Control Act is set to cut billions of dollars from our national defense budget,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who identified the program as an example of unnecessary spending at the Pentagon.

For doling out $1.5 million developing a snack that can be bought from the nearest grocery store, the Pentagon’s Foreign Comparative Testing program wins this week’s Golden Hammer, a distinction given out by the Washington Guardian to the worst examples of government misspending.

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