New US cyber strategy; Brits to add 2K cyber troops; Army to uparmor 2 BCTs; Rovers on an astroid; Did USAF highball Space Force cost?; And a bit more.

The National Cyber Strategy came out Thursday from the White House, after months of prodding from Congress. National Security Adviser John Bolton confirmed earlier reports that it loosens Obama-era restrictions on offensive and retaliatory online actions.
The 40-page doc got general praise, including this from Chris Painter, Obama’s top State Department cyber diplomat: “This is a good document that is largely consistent w/& builds on existing policies (that is a good thing). I applaud the emphasis on imposing costs on bad state actors & the launch of a int’l cyber deterrence initiative but we need to move from aspiration to action.”
Among its pillars: strengthen network defenses, work with foreign law enforcement to track down cyber criminals, promote the private-sector development of better software, hire better cyber professionals into government, deter threats, improve norms, etc. Read, here.
Speaking of hiring cyber pros: In May, the White House eliminated the job of cybersecurity coordinator in in the name of “streamlining management.”

BTW: Britain is creating a new cyber force of 2,000 personnel “amid a growing cyber threat from Russia and after the UK used cyber weapons for the first time to fight Islamic State,” Sky News reported Thursday. “The new force — expected to be announced soon — would represent a near four-fold increase in manpower focused on offensive cyber operations.”
FWIW: “The UK-end of the cyber mission against IS is run out of GCHQ’s headquarters in Cheltenham and the military’s permanent joint headquarters in Northwood. The new joint cyber force will be established at a separate location that has yet to be agreed upon. Another detail still to be hammered out is selecting who will run it.” Full story, here.


From Defense One

US Army to Up-Armor Two More Brigades // Katie Bo Williams: An infantry unit will get Strykers, and a Stryker brigade will shift to tanks, part of the Pentagon’s focus on great-power competition.

USAF’s Space Force Cost-Estimate Is Likely Too High: Analyst // Marcus Weisgerber: Todd Harrison says $13 billion is a high-ball figure meant to shift the debate.

Build Small Nuclear Reactors for Battlefield Power // Andy Erickson: Los Alamos engineers are working on a tiny, steel-encased core regulated by physics, not pumps.

DARPA-Funded Work May Help Troops See Around Corners // Patrick Tucker: By setting up multiple sensors, researchers have learned to “see” what’s out of sight.

The US-China Trade War is Steering the World into the Unknown // Abigail Grace, The Atlantic: A new Cold War is a possibility — but not the most likely one.

If Trump’s Message to the Palestinians is ‘You Lost, Get Over It,’ He Will Fail // Robert Malley and Aaron David Miller, The Atlantic: Instead of acknowledging the political and national aspirations of the Palestinians, negotiators are focusing on material and economic concerns.

Global Business Brief, September 21 // Marcus Weisgerber: Bezos encourages military to experiment; 1-on-1 with Lockheed Aero’s new chief; Pence drops into AFA; and a bit more.

Welcome to this Friday edition of The D Brief  by Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. And if you find this useful, consider forwarding it to a friend or colleague. On this day in 1942, Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress debuted in Seattle. Its development exceeded the Manhattan Project’s by at least $1 billion…the same Manhattan Project which led to the first-ever atomic bombing in war — via the B-29 Enola Gay.


World leaders, unite. The 2018 UN General Assembly gets going next week in New York. And on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump will deliver his second address before the international diplomatic ensemble.
Trump’s message? Sovereignty over multilateralism, said his UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, in preview remarks to Reuters Thursday. “It is not saying multilateralism can’t work. But it’s saying sovereignty is a priority over all of that,” she said.
On Trump’s agenda so far: Private meetings with the leaders of South Korea, Egypt, France, Israel, Japan, and Britain. Maybe his people can pencil something in with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s people — but that’s not clear just yet.

By the way: Read for yourself what came out of this week’s third inter-Korean summit, via South Korea’s release (here), and North Korea’s take, here.
How the U.S. State Department views the takeaways from inter-Korean summit, pt. 3: Where’s the beef? MIT’s Vipin Narang lays out the reax Thursday from State spox Heather Nauert, here.
For example, Nauert “says Kim didn’t agree to dismantle anything that he hasn’t already committed to… [she] still insists unilateral disarmament must come first, before sanctions relief and presumably end of war declaration.”
Advises Narang: “This is fantasy level stuff. We should stop talking about disarmament and start talking about arms control, deterrence, and what managing—not solving—a nuclear North Korea looks like.”

The U.S. State Department just sanctioned China’s defense industry for buying Russian jets and missiles. Targeted: China’s Equipment Development Department and its director Li Shangfu.
Why: For EDD’s “significant transactions” with chief Russian arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, 10 months ago.
Systems flagged: “ten Su-35 combat aircraft in December 2017 and an initial batch of S-400 (a.k.a. SA-21) surface-to-air missile system-related equipment in 2018,” according to the State Department’s notice, posted Thursday.
The effect: Li and EDD are blocked “from applying for export licenses and participating in the U.S. financial system.”
Russia’s reax: You’re trying to squeeze us out of the global arms market. (Agence France-Presse)
China’s reax: “strong indignation at these unreasonable actions,” according to the Foreign Ministry (AP). “We strongly urge the U.S. side to immediately correct the mistake and rescind the so-called sanctions, otherwise the U.S. side will necessarily bear responsibility for the consequences.”
Also in this announcement, “The U.S. also blacklisted another 33 people and entities associated with the Russian military and intelligence,” Reuters reports. “Some of those added to the list, which now contains 72 names, were indicted in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election,” a U.S. official told Reuters. A bit more, here.

The main threat to Syria’s integrity? America, says Russia. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said it without elaborating greatly — short of the U.S. military’s “control over the eastern bank of the Euphrates river” was Damascus’s biggest problem nowadays, he said — during a morning presser.

Here’s one just for fun:The Russian propaganda guide to stealing your roommate’s burrito.” Steps include: 

  1. Deny stealing the burrito
  2. Accuse your roommate of stealing his own burrito
  3. Admit the burrito theft occurred and demand an independent investigation
  4. Switch gears. Point out that your floss is missing from the bathroom cabinet. Pause dramatically. Let the implications set in
  5. Accuse your accuser of prejudice
  6. Point out random historical grievances in support of your argument
  7. And five more.

Russian and U.S.-made jets were flying today over the Persian Gulf. Why? The Iranian Revolutionary Guards and army exercised there in “a message of peace and friendship for friendly and neighboring countries,” according to army spox Colonel Yousef Safipour.
The unsubtle message: “And if the enemies and arrogant powers have an eye on the borders and land of Islamic Iran they will receive a pounding reply in the fraction of a second,” Safipour added.
Involved: French-made Mirages, U.S.-made F-4s, and Russian-made Sukhoi-22s. The show takes a naval turn on Saturday. More from Reuters, here.

And finally this week(end): Japan has sent two Minerva-II-1 space rovers to the surface of an asteroid (Ryugu), and they’re about to land on their target — though we won’t get confirmation of that until Saturday, AP reports.  
Location of these things: 170 million miles away from Earth, where they arrived last June. “The two rovers, each about the size of a cookie can, are to capture images of the asteroid and measure surface temperatures” by hopping and working off solar power.
You can monitor things via this dashboard from the unmanned spacecraft that brought them there. Or follow along via Twitter, here. Or you can see the latest imagery, here.

Have a safe weekend, everyone. And we’ll catch you again on Monday!

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne