Washington Pulse

By Erwin, Sandra I.; Magnuson, Stew | National Defense, August 2006 | Go to article overview

Washington Pulse


Erwin, Sandra I., Magnuson, Stew, National Defense


HACKERS VICTIMIZE TRANSPORTATION COMMAND

A series of cyber-attacks launched against the U.S. Transportation Command last year prompted the organization to tighten its security, says Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Basla, director of command, control communications and computer systems.

In one case, a hacker was able to enter a "system that provides real-time information for our decision-makers" and create his own account, including an email address. He declined to name the system. In a separate security breach, foreign entities were repeatedly able to access data involving airborne tanker operations. Unclassified command data was also retrieved from restricted Web sites, Basla says. Potential enemies have identified the U.S. military's logistics supply chain as a weakness they can exploit, he adds. "We recognize that this war will not end."

NATIONAL GUARD: TIRED OF CRYING 'WOLF'

National Guard leaders for years have griped and groaned about insufficient equipment and about mostly getting by with hand-me-downs from the active-duty force. Generals and politicians got so used to the steady diatribes that the complaints never were taken seriously. But the Guards sizeable contribution to Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, in addition to busier-than-ever hurricane and wildfire seasons, finally could lead to some financial relief. "I have frankly been surprised at the depth of the equipment issue in terms of the unavailability of important pieces of equipment for the Guard and Reserve, and frankly, for the active military as well," says Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro, USMC Reserve, chairman of the congressionally mandated commission on National Guard and Reserve forces.

"Having been on the Hill many years, and having heard the siren cry of the active Guard and Reserve about 'please add more money for equipment,' I was a little bit skeptical." Their cries for help now deserve attention, he says. "The shortfall is a very significant issue."

AIR FORCE: How MUCH FUEL CAN IT SAVE?

As the largest consumer of petroleum products in the U.S. military, the Air Force has been contemplating whether replacing the engines of hundreds of aging airplanes could help curtail fuel costs. A study currendy under way at the Air Force Materiel Command is probing the potential payoffs from new engines, and the obvious conclusion is that fuel prices would have to increase substantially more to justify the cost of the new engines, says Gen. Bruce Carlson, AFMC commander. "You can't make a case for converting an old airplane to a new engine for fuel economy. …

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