Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spending in Afghanistan Out of Control

The U.S. government is doing a poor job of coordinating the work done and accounting for money spent by 7,000 contractors rebuilding Afghanistan, an audit found.  "Navigating the confusing labyrinth of government contracting is difficult, at best," the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in an accompanying statement Wednesday.  Read more in "Audit: Agencies can't readily account for Afghanistan spending", CNN News, October 28, 2010.

Investigative Report on "Information Operations Capstone" - Secret Private Sector Intelligence Gathering Operation Exposed

A recent news article provides some details on an investigation on "Information Operations Capstone" - the secret private-sector intelligence operation run by defense contractor Michael Furlong.  Read it here at "Pentagon says intel contractors went too far", Google Hosted News, October 29, 2010.

The Battle for Afghanistan | An Australian View

The Australians have been critical allies in Afghanistan for a number of years.  So naturally their press carries stories about their fighting men, the debate over the war (should they pull out), how to win the war, and how the war is going.  Read a viewpoint from one Australian on "how the war is going".  See "Latest Afghan battle front is in Washington", The Sydney Morning Herald, October 30, 2010.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Intel Opn in Afghanistan Went Too Far According to DoD Inquiry - Information Operations Capstone

The privately contracted intelligence operation run by Michael Furlong known as "Information Operations Capstone" is said to have exceeded its legal limits according to a recent inquiry by the Department of Defense.  Many are wondering what the issue is.  The operators in Afghanistan collecting the information were retired intelligence and Special Forces operatives.  If the endeavor was producing good intelligence then what is the problem?  Read more in "Pentagon: Intel Contractors Went Too Far",, October 29, 2010.

US Army Special Operations Holds Conference in Raleigh, NC to Discuss Future

U.S. Army Special Operations units are spread across the world but they still manage to keep in contact with each other from time to time.  One of these ways of staying in touch is holding conferences where they can periodically meet.  The United States Army Special Operations Command recently held a conference in Raleigh, NC.  Read about the conference in "US Army Special Ops Leaders Discuss Overseas Campaigns In Raleigh", The Raleigh Telegram, October 29, 2010.

3rd Commando Kandak in Afghanistan

The link below will bring you to a short news article about the Afghan 3rd Commando Kandak.  The Commando Kandaks have been one of the few success stories in Afghanistan. Partnered with U.S Special Forces teams these well-trained and experienced battalions are effectively fighting the Taliban.

Private Security Firms in Afghanistan Provided Two Month Extension Before Shut Down

Private security firms operating in Afghanistan have been provided with a two-month long extension before being forced to shut-down due to a presidential decree by Karzai.  The firms provide security to NGOs and military installations throughout Afghanistan.  Read more in "Karzai delays private security deadline", The Sydney Morning Herald, October 29, 2010.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Matiullah Khan Aides Train in Australia

A warlord, Matiullah Khan, who controls a private Afghan army in Oruzgan Province has sent several of his key aides to Australia for some advanced training with Australian Special Forces.  Read more in "Afghan warlord's private army trained in Australia", The Sydney Morning Herald, October 29, 2010.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Private Security Companies in Afghanistan to Disband - Who Will Replace Them?

Karzai is insisting that the private security companies that have contracted with the coalition, private entities, and non-governmental organizations be disbanded.  His plan is to replace the almost 50,000 security contractors with Afghan National Police (ANP) or Afghan National Army (ANA) units.  That is not likely.  The police and Army are already fully engaged in the counterinsurgency fight - especially in southern Afghanistan. In addition, these units are largely untrained and plagued with desertion and drug use.  Many foreign firms and NGOs will leave rather than leave their security to Afghan security forces.  Read more in "Who Will Replace Afghan Security Guards",, October 27, 2010.

Calls for Ceasefire in Afghanistan

A leading news magazine has called for a cease-fire in Afghanistan.  The Nation published an article saying that the escalation of operations by the coalition has failed to kill off or diminish the Taliban and it is time for a negotiated settlement.  Read more in "Time for a Cease-Fire", The Nation, October 27, 2010.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Can the Taliban and Al Qaeda be Split in Afghanistan?

One of the efforts underway in Afghanistan is to bring back into the fold "moderate" Taliban fighters.  The intent is to separate the Taliban from Al Qaeda and to "reintegrate" them into Afghan society and have them support the Afghan government.  A commentator provides his insight as to how this is going.  See "Turning the Taliban Against Al Qaeda", The New York Times, October 26, 2010.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Night C-17 Cargo and Personnel Parachute Jump - Video

A good video of the inside of a C-17 Cargo Jet dropping four Army vehicles and paratroopers on a night parachute jump.

Jamestown Foundation's Annual Terrorism Conference

The Jamestown Foundation will be holding their 4th Annual Terrorism Conference on Thursday, December 9, 2010 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  For more information click on the link below:

Military to Assist in Domestic Cyberattacks

The Defense Department will assist the Homeland Security Department in fighting domestic cyberattacks.  A recent new report in The New York Times provides details.  See "Pentagon Will Help Homeland Security Department Fight Domestic Cyberattacks" posted on October 20, 2010.

Detection Technologies Conference, Nov 9-10, 2010, Arlington, VA

The Detection Technologies Conference is an event for those interested in the detection and identification of biological and chemical threats.  The conference will be held in Arlington, Virginia on November 9-10, 2010.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Furey - Local Engagement in Afghanistan

A paper recently published and posted on the Small Wars Journal provides some valuable insight into what has gone wrong with the war in Afghanistan and what needs to be done in the future to stabilize the country and accomplish the objectives of the United States.  The author takes us step by step through some of the past roadblocks and proposes some unique ways to attain our goals.  Read "A Comprehensive Approach to Local Engagement in Afghanistan", by Eric T. Furey, October 24, 2010.

Info about the author taken from the paper: 
"Eric Furey is a retired US Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel. He served as a Red Team Leader and as part of the first Red Team (Alternative Perspective) to deploy with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan from July 2008 to January 2009. He along with his fellow Red Teamers wrote the initial concept and plan for Tribal Engagement. In addition, they created a Tribal Engagement Fusion Cell. Their efforts became the genesis for subsequent local engagement activities in Afghanistan."

Classified Iraq War Documents Provide Insight on the Conflict - WikiLeak Documents

The New York Times has posted numerous reports about the Iraq War that it has obtained from WikiLeaks.  Some of the reports are very damaging to the Iraqi regime supported by the United States with detailed accounts of torture of its prisoners.  Take a look at the "War Logs" on the Times website.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Southeast Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Response Conference and Expo - Nov 16-18, 2010

The Southeast Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Response Conference and Expo will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 16-18, 2010. 
"This conference was created for Senior Level counter-terrorism personnel, emergency management and disaster response personnel, and first-responders, including emergency medical personnel, police and sheriff’s, Fire Chiefs, Emergency Medical Technicians, and military. The Conference schedule will include speakers covering regionally relevant and timely topics on counter-terrorism measures, threat assessment, crisis training, trends in terrorism threats, methodology for tracking, medical center preparedness and others. This conference will provide information on current terrorist threats, current mitigation and prevention systems and plans and information on how to best prepare as responders should a threat occur.  Workshops offering practical training for law enforcement and first responders would be held November 17-18. simultaneous to the conference."

Click here for a comprehensive listing of all security and homeland defense conferences and seminars.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bomb Detection - The Dog is a Soldier's Best Friend Says JIEDDO

A lot of money has been spent by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization or JIEDDO on defeating the IED networks in Iraq and Afghanistan.  JIEDDO received priority in the defense department because IEDs were among the biggest killers of our troops.  After several years of intense work JIEDDO has determined that dogs are one of our best weapons against bombs.  Read more in "$19 Billion Spent Over Six Years, Pentagon Realizes the Best Bomb Detector Is a Dog", Popular Science, October 22, 2010.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dazed and Confused Afghan National Army

A read an interesting article by a war correspondent who is spending time in Afghanistan.  See "The Afghan National Army in Combat: Dazed and Confused?", Time, October 19, 2010.

White House Report on Afghanistan and Pakistan Not Encouraging

The White House has released a report on current efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan - and the report is not encouraging. Read more in "The White House's report on Af-Pak: Hold the optimism", The Washington Post, October 8, 2010.  Read more news on the war in Afghanistan in

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yemen - How to Fix the Instability. Fire President Saleh?

An opinion piece recently suggested that Yemen's biggest problem was not
" . . . the Zaidi Shiite rebellion in Yemen's north or the separatist movement in Yemen's south. It isn't the 40 percent unemployment. It isn't the near one-in-10 childhood mortality rate or the malnutrition that causes more than half the country's children to be stunted. Although all those factors exist, tragically, in this hospitable, ancient, and beautiful country, and all are grave, none of them is Yemen's main problem."
According to this columnist the big problem is the country's president - Saleh.  Read the article at "Our Man in Sanaa", Foreign Policy, October 6, 2010.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wiretapping the Internet - What is the Correct Approach of LE Agencies?

The FBI wants more latitude in their ability to monitor Internet traffic for the purposes of fighting crime.  The current wiretap laws don't take into account the advances in communications technology - which provide a measure of security for criminal organizations.  Read an opinion piece on this topic in "Law enforcement's limits in wiretapping the Internet", The Washington Post, October 7, 2010.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shadow UAVs to Get Laser Target Designators

Shadow UAVs will soon be enhanced as a result of several programs to equip them with laser designators.  The RQ-7 Shadows are too small to carry weapons but can carry a lightweight laser designator that would mark targets for other platforms launching or carrying munitions.  Read more in "Laser Designators for RQ-7 Shadow UAVs", Defense Daily Industry, October 5, 2010. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Investment in Small Tactical Units vs Big Weapons Systems

Retired MG Robert Scales has wrote an article entitled "Small unit dominance" which has been published in Armed Forces Journal (October 2010).  In the article he presents the argument that we spend billions of dollars on complex weapons systems yet ignore the common infantryman who actually fights and dies in our wars.  He advocates a reallocation of resources towards the man on the ground who fights and dies.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Army and its Ground Combat Vehicle Program

The military is always looking towards the future even as it fights its current wars.  This is true in the area of new equipment as well - the Army continues to develop plans for its future purchases.  Currently the Army is looking at the types of wars it will have to fight in the future and proposing what ground combat vehicles it will need to fight those wars.  Read an interesting article about the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle program entitled "A Heavy Load to Bear", by Thomas Donnelly.  It was posted on the website of the American Enterprise Institute on October 5, 2010.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Will History Judge British Performance in Basra, Iraq?

"The British army suffered defeat in Iraq when it pulled out of Basra, a senior American general has argued.  UK forces left the city in 2007, leaving the people to be "terrorised", key White House adviser Gen Jack Keane told the BBC.  Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown described the withdrawal at the time as "a pre-planned and organised move".  The former UK commander in southern Iraq said his actions were constrained by political considerations."
Read the rest of the news article in "Britain suffered defeat in Iraq, says US general", BBC News, September 28, 2010.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Michael Vickers to Head up Pentagon Intelligence Activities

Michael Vickers has been nominated to be the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and should be up for Senate confirmation soon.  Vickers was a Special Forces officer before joining the CIA.  He played a leading role in the CIA's support of the Afghan Freedom Fighters who fought the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  Read more in "Charlie Wilson's Warrior Becomes Top Pentagon Spook", Danger Room, September 30, 2010.

Monday, October 11, 2010

ICTOA 8th Annual Conference

The International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association (ICTOA) will hold its annual conference on October 19-21, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Click on the link below to learn more:

To see a listing of other security related conferences click below:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cyber Security Blog

Are you interested in how your family, school, business, or organization can stay safe online while using the Internet?  There are resources out there on the Internet that can assist you.  Many websites and blogs provide some detailed information.  One of these blogs is called "The Cyber Security Blog".  This blog " . . . explores a variety of cybersecurity issues including how to stay safe and secure online, emerging trends in security, the integration of cybersecurity, cybersafety, . . ." and more.  Click on the link below to visit the blog.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

$15 Million for USC Anti-Terrorism Center (CREATE)

The University of Southern California (USC) announced that the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events has received a $15.3 million grant.  Read more in "USC receives $15.3 million grant for its anti-terrorism center", Beverly Hills Courier, September 28, 2010.

Friday, October 8, 2010

ASIS International Annual Seminar and Exhibit - October 12-15, 2010

The ASIS International annual seminar and exhibit will take place October 12-15, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  The security seminar and trade exhibit is the largest held in the United States.  Guest speakers will include Captain Sullenberger (the pilot who landed the US Airways flight in the Hudson River) and President Pervez Musharraf (former President of Pakistan).  Learn more about this event at the link below.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Medal of Honor Presented to Family of Green Beret - SSG Robert Miller, 3rd Special Forces

The Medal of Honor was presented to the family of SSG Robert Miller - a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group who died in Afghanistan.  Read the Presidents remarks during the ceremony in "Highest Honor", Time Magazine, October 6, 2010.  Read a biography of SSG Miller.

Dangerous Solutions for Afghanistan?

A guest writer has posted an article on the AfPak Channel of the Foreign Policy website.  Thomas Ruttig, the co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, discusses some dangerous ideas proposed by others on how to solve our Afghanistan problem (one of which involves dividing Afghanistan into Pustun and non-Pustun areas).  Red the article entitled "Inside a Crazy Strategy for Afghanistan", AfPak Channel - Foreign Policy Magazine, September 28, 2010.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Super Yacht Security

Super yacht owners are spending big money for yacht security.  Some of the equipment they are buying includes underwater sonic cannons, surface lasers, GPS technology, and more.  Read about it in "Superyachts Lure Billionaires With Sonic Cannons, Lasers", Bloomberg, September 30, 2010.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blackwater and Partners Recieve Huge Contract from State Department

Blackwater (now known as Xe) has received a big contract from the State Department.  The contract, shared by a number of firms, is for providing protective services for American embassies overseas. The contract is worth $10 Billion.  Read more in "Blackwater firm partners with State Dept., CIA insiders", SpyTalk at The Washington Post, October 1, 2010.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October is National Awareness Cybersecurity Month

The National Cybersecurity Awareness Month takes place in October.  This is a campaign to educate citizens, schools, businesses and other organizations about the dangers of the Internet and how to stay safe online.  You can learn more about staying safe online by clicking on the link below:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Industrial Controls Susceptable to Computer Worms - as in Stuxnet

"Ongoing analysis of the Stuxnet worm, which has breached thousands of industrial control systems around the world, reveals a complex, professional and dangerous piece of malware that appears to cross the line from cyberspace to the physical world.  “Stuxnet has been called a cyberweapon,” said Jimmy Sorrells, senior vice president of Integrity Global Security. “The intent was to cause physical damage and maybe to kill people.”
Read more in the news article entitled "Stuxnet reveals vulnerabilities in industrial controls", Government Computer News, October 1, 2010.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Terrorism Warning Issued for Americans in Europe

Adminstration officials are warning of threats against Americans who are in Europe.  Recent intelligence reports state that terrorism attacks are imminent.  Read more in "Source: U.S. to Issue Travel Warning on Public Places in Europe", Fox News, October 2, 2010.

Pennsylvania Homeland Security Chief Resigns Amid Intel Bulletin Controversey

Pennsylvania's Homeland Security chief has resigned as a result of controversy over a contract with a private "intelligence firm" that provided bulletins relating to threats to Pennsylvania.  Read more in "Pa. homeland security chief resigns in fallout over intel contract", Politico, October 1, 2010.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Information about U.S. Army Special Forces Training

Much of my blogging is about the war in Afghanistan.  U.S. Army Special Forces plays a huge role in the war - conducting operations ranging from capture / kill missions against Taliban and al Qaeda leaders, advising Commando Kandaks, assisting in village security and defence programs, and working with and training the Afghan Special Forces units.  So what type of training prepares these "Green Berets" for these complex and dangerous missions?  Now you can know.  Visit a newly created website at the link below:

Techno Forensics & Digital Investigation Conference - Gaithersburg, MD - Oct 25-26, 2010

The 6th Annual “Techno Forensics and Digital Investigation Conference” will be held in Gaithersburg, Maryland on October 25-26, 2010.  Click on the link below for more information.