Bundeswehr Cyber Unit launches cyber warfare on Afghanistan’s mobile network

Source: RT

Source: Der Spiegel

A special cyber security unit of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) conducted its first offensive cyber operation abroad when it broke into an internal network of an Afghan mobile operator while assisting in a hostage release operation, it has emerged.

Personnel from the Bundeswehr’s Computer Network Operations Unit (CNO) hacked the network of the Afghan mobile operation to pinpoint the location of kidnappers after a German development assistance expert was abducted in Kabul, Der Spiegel daily reported, citing its sources.

The German military’s cyber operation took place in autumn last year, after the expert, identified only as Kaethe B., who worked in the Kabul office of the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ), was kidnapped on August 17, 2015.

German authorities started to negotiate the hostage’s release with the kidnappers. The CNO was tasked by the German crisis staff with monitoring the kidnappers’ phone conversations and pinpointing their location to ensure that they intended to comply with the negotiated deal.

The cyber unit was also tasked with providing data to the German Special Forces Commando (KSK), which would have launched a hostage extraction operation if the negotiations had failed. The CNO managed to hack into a local internet provider’s network and establish a real-time surveillance over the kidnappers.

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China claims to have invented quantum radar that could render entire US stealth fleet obsolete

Source: Extreme Tech

The Chinese military says it has invented quantum radar, a breakthrough which, if true, would render the hundreds of billions of dollars the United States has invested into stealth technology obsolete. Like the original invention of radar, the advent of modern artillery, or radio communications, quantum radar could fundamentally transform the scope and nature of war.

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Russian troops arrive in Pakistan for first-ever joint military exercise

Source: Hindustan Times

A Russian mechanised infantry unit arrived in Pakistan on Friday for the first military exercise between the two Cold War rivals, with reports suggesting part of the high altitude drill would be conducted in territory claimed by India.

“A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan for first ever Pak- Russian joint exercise (two weeks) from September 24 to October 10,” Bajwa said. The Russian contingent was warmly welcomed by senior Pakistan Army officials before it left for the training venue.

About 200 soldiers from each side will join the two-week exercise “Druzhba 2016” (Friendship 2016), which is expected to focus on high-altitude warfare.

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France’s DCNS says India submarine data leak may be “economic warfare”

Source: Reuters

French naval contractor DCNS said on Wednesday it may have been the victim of “economic warfare” after secrets about its Scorpene submarines being built in India were leaked.

India opened an investigation after The Australian newspaper published documents relating to the submarine’s combat capabilities, raising concerns over another major contract with Australia.

The leak contains more than 22,000 pages outlining the details of six submarines that DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.

“Competition is getting tougher and tougher, and all means can be used in this context,” she said. “There is India, Australia and other prospects, and other countries could raise legitimate questions over DCNS. It’s part of the tools in economic warfare.”

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China accelerates move on Azores

Source: American Enterprise Institute

Over the past year, I have written several times about how China might take advantage of the US drawdown from the Azores, an archipelago approximately 1,000 miles from the coast of Portugal and 2500 miles from the East Coast of the United States. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars on and around Lajes Field, Pentagon officials have decided simply to pack up and leave all but a skeleton crew.

Adding insult to injury, rather than locate a new intelligence center at Lajes Field which has the infrastructure in place and needs very few upgrades, the Pentagon decided to build a new center from scratch outside of London, at a cost of more than one billion dollars more.

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U.S.-backed forces control 70 percent of Afghanistan, U.S. military chief says

Afghanistan  located in within the Eurasian Balkans grants 70% control  of railways, roadways and gas and oil pipelines to Iran to the West, the Arabian Sea South and China to the East. Also, control of 70% of Afghanistan is control of 70% opium production. The production  increase of opium since early 2000’s in Afghanistan is a definitive   correlation between land security/control, poppy production with transport out of the country from centralized points.

Source: Washington Post

Local security forces control 70 percent of Afghanistan, a senior U.S. military official said on Thursday, suggesting that the Taliban and other militants hold almost a third of that nation after 15 years of U.S. and NATO efforts to secure it.

Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Afghan security forces had taken more casualties “than we’re comfortable with” and said they remained behind in what was required in key areas including air power, special operations and intelligence.

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House Panel: $1 Trillion Needed to Reboot Military

Source: Military

The ongoing fight in Congress over an $18-billion hike in military spending for 2017 has stalled the budget, but it might be small potatoes.

The price tag to rehabilitate the military after about 15 years of war and relentless overseas operations would be about $1 trillion over a decade, according to the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee.

The committee is spearheading the $18-billion annual increase for more equipment, training and troops. But it is facing a tough political fight with the Senate and Democrats, who oppose busting defense spending caps and raiding the Islamic State war fund to pay for the hike.

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Pentagon wants 500 more US troops for Iraq

Source: Fox News

The Pentagon is seeking to send another 500 U.S. troops to Iraq, in addition to the 400 that arrived over the Labor Day weekend, two military officials tell Fox News – a development that comes amid a new wave of attacks.

The Pentagon in July first received approval to raise the troop number in  Iraq to 4,647, from a previous authorization of 3,870 in January.

If President Obama signs off on the military’s plan for more troops, the number would rise above 5,000. There are other U.S. troops inside Iraq that the Pentagon claims are on “temporary” assignments, though some of these deployments last up to one year in country. Counting these troops, the new forces going to Iraq will push the unofficial number of American forces on the ground in Iraq to over 6,000 troops.

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Preparing for North Korea’s Inevitable Collapse

Source: Bloomberg

Excerpt:

A 2015 study from the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies estimated North Korea possessed 10 to 16 nuclear weapons, and will possess 20 to 100 such weapons by 2020. This says nothing of the highly enriched nuclear fuel the state has produced or the mobile rockets and longer-range missiles to launch the warheads.

Trying to secure all this after a chaotic collapse or overthrow of the Kim regime would be a nightmare. General Raymond Thomas, who heads U.S. Special Operations Command, called a regime collapse in North Korea a “worst case scenario,” at a conference hosted last week by the Institute for the Study of War. “In the event of the implosion of the region, we’d have the loose nuke dilemma on an industrial scale,” the general said, describing it as a “vertical track meet between the Chinese and the South Koreans in terms of securing the nukes.”

 

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Former CIA Chief Cites Electrical Grid Vulnerability to EMP Attack

Source: WSJ Blog

The U.S. is not doing enough to guard against attacks on critical infrastructure at the hands of rogue nations, said former Central Intelligence Agency Director R. James Woolsey at a cybersecurity conference here Wednesday.

Combative states such as North Korea and Iran could detonate a nuclear device in orbit above the U.S., unleashing an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, capable of knocking out the electric grid, Mr. Woolsey said in an interview with CIO Journal at the Cyber Security Summit sponsored in part by Nation-E, a technology security company.

Traditional policies of deterrence are ineffective against such “malevolent threats” because for these actors, “death is desirable rather than shunned,” said Mr. Woolsey, who served as CIA director for two years during the Clinton Administration.

 

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Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency has some 6,000 informants in Germany.

Source: Local

A security politician told Die Welt that Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency has some 6,000 informants in Germany.

For Germany’s population of about 3 million people with Turkish roots, that means that each informant could be responsible for monitoring 500 people, which is a greater proportion than the Stasi had in West Germany, intelligence expert and author Erich Schmidt-Eenboom told The Local.

In comparison, Schmidt-Eenboom explained, the Stasi had around 10,000 agents in West Germany to monitor a population of roughly 60 million – meaning 6,000 people per agent.

The Ministry for State Security, also known as the Stasi, was communist East Germany’s secret police force, which secretly monitored millions until the end of the Cold War and German reunification.

But the Stasi engaged primarily in gathering military, political or economic intelligence in West Germany, rather than targeting former citizens, as MIT seems to be doing in Germany, Schmidt-Eenboom said.

“This is no longer about intelligence reconnaissance, but rather this is increasingly being used for intelligence repression,” Schmidt-Eenboom said.

 

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Russia to send its aircraft carrier to eastern Mediterranean

Source: Fox News

The Russian navy will send its sole aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean as part of Moscow’s efforts to reaffirm its influence in Syria and showcase its resurgent military might.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that the Admiral Kuznetsov will sail to the eastern Mediterranean to join other Russian ships in the area. He didn’t specify when the carrier will be deployed, but Russian media have earlier reported that the mission was planned for the fall.

The Soviet-built Admiral Kuznetsov, the only aircraft carrier in the Russian navy, has recently been re-equipped with new Su-33 and MiG-29K fighter jets. It carries about 40 aircraft and is smaller than U.S. aircraft carriers.

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Jordanian Intelligence stole and sold on black market weapons shipped to Syria rebels by CIA

Source: Ya Libnan

Weapons shipped into Jordan for Syrian rebels by the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia were stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives and sold to arms merchants on the black market, the New York Times reported, citing American and Jordanian officials.

Some of the stolen weapons were used in a shooting in November that killed two Americans and three others at a police training facility in Amman, according to a joint investigation by the New York Times and Al Jazeera.

A Jordanian officer shot dead two U.S. government security contractors, a South African trainer and two Jordanians at a U.S.-funded police training facility near Amman before being killed in a shootout, Jordanian authorities had said in November.

The training facility was set up on the outskirts of the capital, Amman, after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq to help rebuild the shattered country’s postwar security forces and to train Palestinian Authority police officers.

The weapons used in the shooting had originally arrived in Jordan for the Syrian rebel training program, the paper reported, citing American and Jordanian officials.

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China Sets Up Shop in Africa

Source: NewsLaundry

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China will soon take control of a dual-use port facility in Djibouti. Designed to serve both military and civilian functions—thus the moniker of dual use—the naval installation will serve China’s national interests in the western Indian Ocean region and can be used as a platform for operations in the Middle East and Africa.

This is the first overseas military base for the People’s Republic. The PLA has historically focused its efforts at protecting China’s borders, which made the military an army-, not naval-, dominated force. This base, estimated to be finished in early 2017, demonstrates that the PLA is increasingly interested in the maritime domain. Once a bloated organization tied down by inefficiency and poor strategic planning, the PLA is becoming increasingly more efficient, technologically competitive and strategically prepared.

The base being constructed in Djibouti is evidence of this. The position of the base is strategically sound and does not substantially risk stoking regional tensions due to its existence. More than anything, the PLA base in Djibouti reveals where Beijing plans to deepen its footprint and that it is increasingly ready to shoulder the risks that follow from such an act.

WHY DJIBOUTI?

Djibouti might seem too far afield from the Chinese homeland to make sense as Beijing’s first foreign military installation. Logistically, Djibouti is a difficult location, but from a political and strategic vantage there are few better locations anywhere in the world…..

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Philippines, Russia start exploring possible military cooperation

Source: Update.PH

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said officials from the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) briefed the Philippine Embassy in Moscow on the different aspects of possible Philippines-Russia military cooperation, including the acquisition of Russian military equipment and technology.

“We welcomed the briefing, which was quite revealing, particularly as to the extent that Russia is able to interact with a large number of countries in this field and the different mechanisms that are employed, including in terms of the acquisition and transfer of Russian military equipment,” Ambassador Sorreta said.

“This is all part of our job to explore opportunities that could contribute to our government’s efforts to modernize our defense capabilities,” he added.

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CACI private contractors to support military counter-narcoterrorism efforts

Source: UPI

CACI International is to provide support services for the U.S. military’s effort against international threats funded by illicit drug activity….

Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict is primarily responsible for the overall supervision of special operations and low-intensity conflict activities, including counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, civil affairs, information operations, and counter-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Under the award, CACI will provide a range of solutions and services. Among them: building communications networks; performing trade studies to identify effective proposed technical solutions; and supporting linguistic operations centers.

Tasks will include building mobile communications networks in multinational, potentially hostile environments to enable U.S. forces and related agencies, as well as host nations, to conduct counter-narcoterrorism activities.

“CACI has a long history of supporting the Department of Defense’s counter-narcoterrorism efforts,” said CACI President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Asbury.

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DARPA sees future wars won with hypersonic weapons and artificial intelligence

Source: Business Insider

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md — In comments that conjure up dystopian images of a future dominated by robot soldiers controlled by Skynet, researchers with the Pentagon’s futuristic think tank said they are working on better ways to merge the rapid decision making of computers with the analytical capabilities of humans.

In fact, scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects agency, or DARPA, are even looking into advanced neuroscience in hopes of one day merging computerized artificial intelligence with the human brain.

“I think the future [of] warfighting is going to look a lot more like less incredibly smart people working with more incredibly smart machines,” said DARPA Deputy Director Steve Walker during a briefing with reporters at the 2016 Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber conference here. “And how those two things come together is going to define how we move forward.”

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Pentagon: US watched armed group in Syria for 2 days before airstrike

Source: Stars and Stripes

The U.S. military watched an armed group in eastern Syria for at least two days before launching an airstrike on Saturday that was halted after Russia reported the attack hit Syrian regime forces, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said Tuesday.

The Pentagon has launched a formal investigation into the incident to determine who was attacked near Deir al-Zour, Air Force Col. John Thomas told reporters at the Pentagon.

“We did take a couple of days to look at it, to develop the target, and then the decision was made … that it was a good target after looking at all the intelligence and considering that,” Thomas said. “The decision was not made on the spur of the moment.”

It was not immediately clear Tuesday how long the investigation would take. Thomas said lessons learned from the investigation would be added to the coalition’s future planning and operations.

The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the strike for killing 62 Syrians.

Thomas said coalition aircraft, including American jets, hit the target with “a good number of strikes” for about 30 to 50 minutes before the Russian military informed the coalition that it was bombing Syrian military. The assault was immediately called off after the call from the Russians, Thomas said.

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UK commits troops to train Egyptian military in counter-terrorism tactics

Source: mo4ch

British troops will continue to train the Egyptian Armed Forces (EAF) to tackle terrorism and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said during a visit to Cairo.

Fallon said that in line with the 2015-2016 contribution, British military support and training would continue with the Ministry of Defence saying that the “UK and Egypt have already made great steps through initial train-the-trainer focused work” and that they remain “committed to enabling the EAF to replicate the training in Egypt.

In a statement Fallon lauded the “vital training” which he said had “helped Egyptian Armed Forces to defuse dangerous devices as they tackle the threat from our common enemy – terrorism.

We are now going to step up co-operation with our Egyptian allies to help them increase training capacity in their Armed Forces,” he said.

Fallon also took the time to highlight the arms trading relationship between the two countries.

Egypt is a key partner, and we will continue to work together to achieve security and stability in this region,” he said.

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Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to increase activities in South China Sea

Japan’s defense minister says its forces will increase engagement in the South China Sea through training cruises with the U.S. Navy and multilateral exercises with regional navies.
Newly appointed Defense Minister Tomomi Inada says Japan will also help build the capacity of coastal nations. She was speaking ahead her first meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter Thursday in Washington.
Japan, a close U.S. ally, is not among the countries claiming territory in the disputed South China Sea but shares U.S. concern about China’s assertive behavior there.
Japan has a separate territorial dispute with China over unoccupied islands they both claim farther north in the East China Sea.
Inada says she is open to constructive dialogue with China on preventing collisions between their forces at sea and in the air.

Read More: Navy Times

Red Atlantic: Russia Could Choke Air, Sea Lanes To Europe

Russia could hinder US reinforcements headed to Europe in the event of a major war, warned the recently retired Supreme Allied Commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove. It’s well known Russian radars, missiles, and strike planes — “Anti-Access/Area Denial” systems — threaten ships and aircraft across wide swathes of the Black Sea, Eastern Europe, and the Baltic. But Gen. Breedlove’s worries are on a wider scale: He’s anxious about the Atlantic.

Read more: Breaking Defense

China Prepares to Use the Northwest Passage

Earlier this spring, the Chinese government turned heads in Canada by publishing a lengthy guidebook to shipping through the Northwest Passage. Entitled “Arctic Navigation Guide (Northwest Passage),” the work was produced by China’s Maritime Safety Administration to assist the Chinese shipping companies that, it was assumed, would soon be using the northern route as a shortcut from the Pacific to Europe or to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Ministry spokesman Liu Pengfei was widely quoted in the Canadian media saying that Chinese ships will sail through the Northwest Passage “in the future,” and “once this route is commonly used, it will directly change global maritime transport and have a profound influence on international trade, the world economy, capital flow and resource exploitation.”

Read more: Arctic Deeply

Air Force Unveils Name of Future Stealth Bomber as B-21 ‘Raider’

The U.S. Air Force has unveiled the name of the future stealth bomber as the B-21 Raider.

Raider was selected as the name of the Long Range Strike-Bomber, or LRS-B, by leaders after the service launched a survey of service members. Air Force Global Strike Command in March launched a website asking airmen, their family members and retirees to suggest names for the next-generation aircraft.

Read more: Military.com

 

CIA Head: Iraq, Syria might not ‘be put back together again’

Iraq and Syria have been so thoroughly damaged by warfare, sectarian conflict and killing that it is unclear they “can be put back together again,” CIA Director John Brennan said.

In an interview this week with the CTC Sentinel, a publication from the West Point military academy’s Combating Terrorism Center, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency said the current system of governance in the two countries might change altogether.

“I don’t know whether or not Syria and Iraq can be put back together again. There’s been so much bloodletting, so much destruction, so many continued, seething tensions and sectarian divisions,” Brennan said.

“I question whether we will see, in my lifetime, the creation of a central government in both of those countries that’s going to have the ability to govern fairly.”

He added that he could envision some type of a federal structure governing autonomous regions.

Read More: Yahoo Finance/AFP

Turkey’s Army Driving Deeper into Syria, Plans for Safe Zones

Behind their dirt embankments on the frontier with Syria, Turkish soldiers take refuge from the scorching sun in the shade of pine trees. A pile of shells sits beside them on the road, ready for action.

The border they’re defending is effectively less of a border than it used to be, and the action is further away. That’s because Turkey’s army, since it crossed into Syria late last month to fight Islamic State and Kurdish militias, has driven the front line deep into the neighboring state. It now controls a 900 square-kilometer (350 square-mile) area inside Syria. And that’s just the start, judging by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments on Monday.

The Turkish leader outlined plans for a “safe zone” in Syria the size of the Grand Canyon, where rebels can be sheltered and trained, and refugees resettled. It could be the biggest military intervention in Turkey’s recent history, with all the attendant risks: casualties in the short term, and in the longer run an open-ended engagement in a conflict zone where actual and potential enemies abound.

Read more: Bloomberg