Saturday, October 02, 2010

TSA to Issue Secret Clearances to 10,000 Employees!

The TSA is expanding its operations. For those that are working in that agency, you may be one of the chosen few who get one of these 10,000 secret security clearances. According to John Pistole (Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security and Administrator, Transportation Security Administration), his goal is to get the latest intelligence to all employees who have what he called an "action need" to "inform their judgment and decision-making." Pistole made the remarks at an Aero Club luncheon on September 23, 2010.

Valuable intelligence must be distributed rapidly to our employees in the field-our frontline Transportation Security Officers, Federal Air Marshals, explosive specialists and Behavior Detection Officers, among others - in order to better combat those who would do us harm. One important change that we're implementing, which I'm pleased to report to you today, is our expansion of secret-level security clearances to a greater number of TSA employees. TSA's explosive specialists already receive these clearances, but TSA is now providing behavior detection officers, supervisory transportation security officers and transportation security managers with a secret security clearance. This will impact approximately 10,000 employees and significantly enhances TSA's ability to leverage the best intelligence and elevate our security practices across the board.

Source: Aero Club

Friday, October 01, 2010

U.S. Marine Corps' Latest Attack Helicopter (AH-1Z Cobra) Completes Its Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL)

Another toy in the arsenal - like it's straight out of a G.I. Joe cartoon. I would hate to have one of these choppers chasing me down the Venice Beach boardwalk. Check the press release below.


News Release Number: E201009291 29-Sep-10

AH-1Z helicopters found operationally effective and suitable

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The U.S. Marine Corps’ newest attack helicopter, the AH-1Z Cobra has successfully completed its Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL).

On Sept. 24, NAVAIR’s H-1 Upgrades program office received official notification from the Navy’s Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force that its AH-1Z helicopters were found to be “operationally effective and suitable” and were been recommended for fleet introduction.

“This marks a significant milestone for the program,” said Col. Harry Hewson, program manager for U.S. Marine light and attack helicopters. “The AH-1Z has come a long way through development and it has finally proven itself as a lethal and reliable attack helicopter. The Marines in the fleet are very eager to get their hands on the Zulu and get it into the fight.”

A total of 189 new and remanufactured AH-1Z helicopters are anticipated, with deliveries expected to be complete by the end of 2021.

The AH-1Z Cobra helicopters are part of the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Upgrade Program. The program’s goal is to replace AH-1W helicopters with new and remanufactured AH-1Zs which provide significantly greater performance, supportability and growth potential over their predecessors.

The evaluation report noted that the AH-1Z fire control and additional weapons delivery modes allowed for improved weapons delivery accuracy, reduced pilot workload, and enhanced employment flexibility compared with the AH-1W.

The H-1 Upgrade Program offers 84 percent “identicality” of parts shared between the AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters. This commonality reduces lifecycle and training costs and decreases the logistics footprint for both aircraft.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FLASHBACK: U.S. Military Eases Thumb Drive, Flash Media Bans on Its Computer Networks

With the current Stuxnet Worm invading the software that Iran uses at its nuclear production plants, I wonder if the decision by the U.S. military regarding USB drives will come back to haunt us all if some terrorist or false flagger manages to infiltrate the military's servers and networks to cause chaos. It is alleged that Stuxnet worms enter networks through USB portals. Nevertheless, there may be some thumb drive usage, but the military says that there will be strict protocols in place to avoid potential cyberattacks.


Military Eases Thumb Drive, Flash Media Bans

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2010 – New guidelines from U.S. Strategic Command officials allow servicemembers to use “thumb drives” and other flash media to store computer data under specific circumstances.

Strategic Command officials banned use of thumb drives and flash media in November 2008, after the use of the media infected a number of Defense Department computer systems. Computers users had to turn to alternative means to transfer data from one machine to another.

Now, the command has lifted the ban on the devices under carefully controlled circumstances, said Navy Vice Adm. Carl V. Mauney, Stratcom’s deputy commander.

The command issued an order Feb. 12 that allows “a return to limited use of removable devices under very specific circumstances and guidelines,” Mauney said.

“This is not a return to ‘business as usual,’” the admiral emphasized. “There remain strict limitations on using these devices.”

In a telephone interview, Mauney said units in active operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere will get priority in implementation of the new guidelines.

“In terms of the mechanics, we’ve put together several small kits of the equipment that’s needed and we’ll be transitioning those to people out in the theater – in Afghanistan in particular – to help certain groups facilitate their use,” Mauney explained. The kits will contain hardware and software to ensure the safe use of removable media, he added, and scans and filters are included in the process.

After extensive testing of mitigation measures, Defense Department officials decided to make the technology available again on a very limited and strictly controlled basis, the admiral said.

“Since the order restricting use of removable media, [the Defense Department] developed capabilities and processes that allow safe use of these devices,” Mauney said. “Removable media use will be limited to mission-essential operations, and only after strict compliance requirements are met.”

The order calls on combatant commands, the services and Defense Department agencies to establish approval authorities for determining whether flash media may be used.

“The commanders and directors can decide that the measures that we’re using already meet their needs,” Mauney said. “In fact, when we’re traveling, … we look to see how people are doing in moving around their information. People have trained themselves and are able to do it, and are effective and efficient. I think, initially, some will look at this and say they are good with what they are doing. It’s proven, and they may opt not to do this.”

The removable media will be a tremendous help in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mauney said. “We think there will be some ground to be gained there,” he added.

Use of the devices under the new guidelines is restricted to operational mission requirements, Mauney said, and only properly inventoried, government-procured and –owned devices will be allowed for use in Defense Department information systems. Servicemembers and civilians will not use personally owned devices on any Defense Department network or in any Defense Department computer, he said.

Computer users also will not use Defense Department thumb drives and flash media on nongovernment networks or computers without authorization from an approval authority, the admiral said.

Defense Department officials say they’re urging all computer users to be responsible and to do the right thing for cybersecurity. Mauney said the Defense Department has the means and the right to scan the department’s computers, and randomly selected users and drives will be subject to periodic auditing.

Joint Task Force Global Network Defense is the operational command that will oversee the program.

FBI Says Hackers Are Targeting Houston Energy Companies in Attempt to Destroy United States Economy

Is the above video not viewable? Go to the KENS-5 page to see the video at its original source.

Thought to self: I always wonder why critical energy infrastructure is connected to the Internet where this infrastructure can be hacked.