Inside Dope

Don’t know this particular person, but I know his brothers and sisters and their song remains the same (courtesy of Small Wars Journal):

Morale has become bad enough in the Iraq office that DIA has
had to drop the requirement for analysts who deploy to Iraq work in the
office after they return. In the last several months, the office has
experienced an exodus of many of its veteran analysts. The office
remains critically undermanned and short of computers. Analysts have
begun to apply for jobs with local county police departments.

You need to read the whole thing.

I’ve said it before but it is always nice to have corroboration: The longer we tolerate industrial-age processes and cold-war mindsets in the IC, the faster it slides towards irrelevance.

It Takes a Marine

STRATCOM’s Cartwright points out imperial nudity:

Under [the current cyberwar] approach, Net Warfare is responsible
for attack and reconnaissance, the Joint Task Force for Global Network
Operations manages network defense and operations, and the Joint
Information Operations Warfare Center oversees electronic warfare,
Cartwright explained. These groups operate independently and don‘t
effectively share information on their activities, he said.

This isn’t news to those who have been working this for a while, but it is refreshing to actually hear someone in a position to influence things voice it. If the necessary consolidation and focus is not undertaken (rarely a popular option even in a growingly purple world) then we need the digital version of Air-Land Battle Doctrine to take us to the next level.

On top of that is the pressing need to push intel to the virtual world (search Kent’s Imperative for many applicable posts) so that we can avoid the kind of surprise that regularly plagues us there now (roots of the current approach date back to the late 90s, which is what, 50 digital years?). This is particularly important in cyberspace where blitzkrieg really moves as the speed of light. The impact of failure? Consider the ghost of Dick Clarke:

If the United States found itself under a major
cyberattack aimed at undermining the nation’s critical information
infrastructure, the Department of Defense is prepared, based on the
authority of the president, to launch a cyber counterattack or an
actual bombing of an attack source

That’s a  policy that aims to make carpet bombing seem like a humane approach to warfare. The recent DDoS against TLD servers is given as an example, but the last-hop – S. Korea – is a well known platform for all sorts of attacks thanks to its deep broadband penetration and generally sloppy security posture. There are hints that a source in Europe is more likely the technical origin but the motivation very likely lies somewhere else (everyone who remembers Solar Sunrise raise your hand). Tracing the origin? Possible but is that sufficient “evidence” to merit a kinetic response?

We’re not where we need to be, and recycling IT news and calling it intel isn’t going to get us there.

Sword, double-edged, one-each

Bloody hell:

Google is talking with military agencies in Iraq after learning that terrorists attacking British bases in Basra appear to have been using aerial footage from Google Earth to pinpoint strikes … Among documents seized in raids on insurgents’ homes were printouts from photos taken from Google Earth that show the location of buildings, tents, latrines and lightly armored vehicles…


Royal Green Jackets soldiers based at Basra Palace base said they would consider suing Google if they were injured in any attacks in which Google Earth aerial shots were used.

That this is old news and of concern to militaries worldwide is little comfort to the RGJ troopers but that’s a tough break in the information age. I laughed at the idea of soldiers suing those who may have facilitated attacks, but then remembered that they let kooky things like that go on in the EU. Good luck with that, mate.

There was a time, when I was trying to work Iraqi sand out of my own crevasses, that Google Earth caliber imagery would have been pretty darn handy, because you’d have been hard pressed to get national-level assets to give you pictures with that kind of quality in a timely fashion. In the age of backpack UAVs I wonder if that is still the case. The skeptic in my thinks it probably is, in which case having access to Google Earth means units on the ground don’t have to rely on dated military maps and too-late satellite snapshots to get an aerial view of the AO that they can mash up with any first-hand info they gather on the ground. Borders, hidden alleys, safe houses, etc., etc.

Turn-about being fair play and all . . .

The More Things Change…

With regard to hard problems:

Fifty years ago today the Soviet Presidium overturned its earlier decision to pull its troops out of Hungary in the face of a popular uprising, yet the CIA–with only one Hungarian-speaking officer stationed in Budapest at the time–failed to foresee either the uprising or the Soviet invasion to come, according to declassified CIA histories posted on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Describing the several days in early November 1956 when it seemed the Hungarian Revolution had succeeded (before the Soviet tanks rolled in on November 4), a CIA Clandestine Service History written in 1958 commented: “This breath-taking and undreamed-of state of affairs not only caught many Hungarians off-guard, it also caught us off-guard, for which we can hardly be blamed since we had no inside information, little outside information, and could not read the Russians’ minds.”

Hey, don’t blame us, we were clueless. Unfair? You’d think that with even one man on the ground current events would have been slap-in-the-face obvious, but apparently not. Now fast-forward to current hard problems (pre-war Iraq, Iran, North Korea) where the manpower issue is as bad or worse, and begin to understand just how dim the light is under which we are forced to make decisions.

History, repeat thyself . . .