October 25th, 2010
DENVER – A new Air Force manual for cyberwarfare describes a shadowy, fast-changing world where anonymous enemies can carry out devastating attacks in seconds and where conventional ideas about time and space don't apply.
Much of the 62-page manual is a dry compendium of definitions, acronyms and explanations of who reports to whom. But it occasionally veers into scenarios that sound more like computer games than flesh-and-blood warfare.
Enemies can cloak their identities and hide their attacks amid the cascade of data flowing across international computer networks, it warns.
Relentless attackers are trying to hack into home and office networks in the U.S. "millions of times a day, 24/7."
And operating in cyberspace "may require abandoning common assumptions concerning time and space" because attacks can come from anywhere and take only seconds, the manual says.
The manual — officially, "Cyberspace Operations: Air Force Doctrine Document 3-12" — is dated July 15 but wasn't made public until this month. It is unclassified and available on the Internet.
It dwells mostly on protecting U.S. military computer networks and makes little mention of attacking others. That could signal the Pentagon wants to keep its offensive plans secret, or that its chief goal is fending off cyberattacks to keep its networks up and running, analysts said.
"Their primary mission is in some ways defensive," said James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert and a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Lewis said the government still hasn't decided whether offensive cyberwarfare is the province of the military or intelligence agencies.
"Who gets to do it? Is it a military operation?... An intel operation?" Lewis said. "They've made a lot of progress in the last year but they're still sorting out the doctrine."
Noah Shachtman, a contributing editor to Wired magazine and a fellow at the Brookings Institute think tank, said even the limited mention of offensive operations in the manual surprised him.
The manual cites one example of a cyberwar objective as "shutting down electrical power to key power grids of enemy leadership."
"That's usually not the kind of thing we talk about doing to others," Shachtman said. "The offensive stuff is supersecret."
Much of the manual is entry-level material, Shachtman said, citing an appendix listing 10 things Air Force personnel should know, including a warning not to open attachments in e-mails from unknown senders.
"The equivalent appendix would be like, 'This is a gun. Guns are unsafe. Please do not point them at your face,'" Shachtman said.
The manual explains how dependent the military and civil society have become on computer networks for communication, banking, manufacturing controls and the distribution of utilities.
It also outlines the vulnerabilities of the Internet, including the relatively low cost of computers that could give an adversary a way to block, manipulate, damage or destroy a network.
It describes a 2005 incident when a hacker or hackers got access to personal information of more than 37,000 Air Force personnel.
The manual points out that much of the Internet's hardware and software are produced and distributed by private vendors in other countries who "can be influenced by adversaries to provide altered products that have built-in vulnerabilities, such as modified chips."
Defending the entire U.S. military network is unnecessary and probably impossible, the manual says. Just as the Air Force doesn't try to defend every square mile of airspace around the globe, it won't try to defend the whole of cyberspace.
"Whether used offensively or defensively ... conducting particular cyberspace operations may require access to only a very small 'slice' of the domain," the manual says.
Overall U.S. military cyberwarfare operations will be the job of the U.S. Cyber Command, which began limited operations in May. It will have components from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.
The Air Force component — the 24th Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas — is part of the Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
Lewis said the Cyber Command had a hand in the content of the Air Force manual.
"I see it as the first step in assigning special missions to the services. It's a division of labor among the services," he said.
The Marine Corps' cyberspace operation document is still in development, a spokeswoman said. Army and Navy officials didn't immediately respond to Associated Press questions about their planning.
Responsibility for civilian and government cybersecurity is less clear. Congress is debating between giving more power to the Homeland Security Department or the White House and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Homeland Security and the National Security Agency announced this month they would cooperate to strengthen the nation's cybersecurity.
The Air Force cyberwarfare manual is on the website of the LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education: http://www.cadre.au.af.mil/main.htm
October 25th, 2010
By John Lillpop Sunday, October 24, 2010
Once again, Senator Jim DeMint, Republican from South Carolina, brings clarity and common sense to the national debate on an issue that Americans hold near and dear
This time, the issue is the un-American treatment of Juan Williams for the unforgivable sin of revealing his true and honest feelings about Muslims on airplanes.
Feelings, by the way, shared by tens of millions of Americans.
Williams’ comments put panties at NPR in a knot, not because of any factual or journalistic concern, but because his words did not conform to NPR’s far-left agenda for PC mumbo-jumbo.
Because Williams “spoke outside the box,” NPR ruthlessly trashed his free speech rights and terminated his ten- year employment with the network.
Enter American patriot, Senator Jim DeMint.
As reported, in part, at Reference 1:
“Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., plans to introduce legislation to strip federal funds from National Public Radio over its firing of news analyst Juan Williams. He said he also plans to seek an end to taxpayer subsidies for public television
“Once again we find the only free speech liberals support is the speech with which they agree,” DeMint said. “The incident with Mr. Williams shows that NPR is not concerned about providing the listening public with an honest debate of today’s issues, but rather with promoting a one-sided liberal agenda.”
“The country is over $13 trillion in debt and Congress must find ways to start trimming the federal budget to cut spending,” DeMint said in a statement. “NPR and PBS get about 15 percent of their total budget through federal funding, so these programs should be able to find a way to stand on their own. With record debt and unemployment, there’s simply no reason to force taxpayers to subsidize a liberal programming they disagree with.”
Hooray, for and God Bless, Jim DeMint!
October 24th, 2010
WASHINGTON — The Republican Party chief on Sunday forecast a wave of anti-Democratic voting on Election Day while his Democratic counterpart said a strong get-out-the-vote effort would hold back losses and help keep Congress out of GOP hands.
Nine days before elections that will decide whether President Barack Obama will face a Republican Congress, party chairman Michael Steele said he has seen a groundswell and energy behind GOP candidates as he has traveled around the country.
"I think you are going to see a wave, an unprecedented wave on Election Day that is going to surprise a lot of people," Steele said.
Steele said he believes "absolutely" that Republicans will gain the seats needed to become the majority party in the House and thus oust Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. He was less certain that Republicans will take over the Senate.
Tim Kaine, the Democratic National Committee chairman, expressed confidence that Democrats would retain power in both chambers. He argued that early voting and turnout at rallies for Democratic candidates are evidence that the party's "ground game" will prevent the disaster some are predicting for the party.
"From this point forward it's all about turnout and ground game," Kaine said. "We've got work to do, but we think we can do it."
In a mid-October survey of people likely to vote, an Associated Press-GfK poll found all signs pointing to a huge Republican victory on Nov. 2. In the survey, 50 percent said they will back the GOP candidate in their House district while 43 percent say they will support the Democrat. The GOP edge slightly narrowed in recent weeks as Democrats grew more energized.
Republicans need a 40-seat gain to take over the House. By some estimates at least 75 House seats may change hands, and most of those are held by Democrats. An additional two dozen other races for Democratic-controlled seats have tightened in recent weeks.
Republican political adviser Karl Rove predicted GOP gains in the upper 50s to low 60s in the House, well over the number needed for a GOP majority. Polls show intensity among voters on the side of those favoring the GOP, he said.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the chairman of the Democrats' House campaign committee, said he believes the House will remain in Democratic control, saying that early voting was showing good news for the party.
In the Senate, Democrats are seen as having a better chance of holding their majority even though 37 seats are up for election. Democrats currently have 57 seats, plus the backing of two independents, but they are expected to lose some seats to Republicans.
Steele said Republicans hope for a better relationship between Obama and a GOP-controlled Congress than they have seen with Democrats in the majority in the House and the Senate. Kaine said some economic issues might draw bipartisan support once the election is behind the two parties.
Steele appeared Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" while Kaine spoke on ABC's "This Week." Rove and Van Hollen appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation."
October 24th, 2010
October 24th, 2010
By Foreign Staff
The president will spend much of the last days before polling in a frantic dash around the country to defend his first two years in office and save imperilled Democrats.
The former governor of Alaska, who was on the losing ticket to Mr Obama in 2008, has already left her mark.
The unofficial queen of the Tea Party movement, Mrs Palin has pioneered a new breed of candidate in her image, the Mama Grizzlies – tough, assertive, fashion-conscious mothers with staunch conservative values.
Her success has only increased speculation that she will seek the Republican nomination in 2012, and the smart money is on her running.
Whether or not she would win is however still very open to question.
Mrs Palin is a rare political star but remains a highly divisive figure, with 22 per cent of the population holding a negative view of her in a recent CBS poll, while 75 per cent of Republicans view her favourably.
Some Republican candidates have not wanted to appear with her on the campaign trail because she drives away independent voters.
She appeared over the weekend in the safe territory of Florida, where there is a strong Tea Party presence.
But even the faithful there expressed doubts about her suitability as president – a finding that matched a straw poll at a recent Tea Party convention in which she came second on a list of possible 2012 candidates.
Her Florida speech included a shameless plug for her new "docu-series" on Alaska's wilderness that had some in the audience looking at their shoes in embarrassment. Though there were stirring moments, her thought process was disjointed and her delivery wayward at times. The applause was greater before she spoke than when she finished. Her talent in other words remains raw.
"I really love Sarah," said one woman. "But I would want to see who else is in the running before I make up mind." It was a typical response.