posts about or somewhat related to ‘military’

US Army Blocks Soldiers' Access to The Guardian Because of NSA Leaks →

"Downloading" classified material is a crime. The Guardian is publishing classified material. Ergo: No access to The Guardian for you, dear soldiers.

Via the Monterey Herald:

Gordon Van Vleet, an Arizona-based spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, said in an email the Army is filtering “some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks.”

He wrote it is routine for the Department of Defense to take preventative “network hygiene” measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information.

"We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security," he wrote, "however, there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information."

The Future’s Getting Freaky
Via The BBC:

It’s been 30 years since the first message was sent over initial nodes of the Arpanet, the Pentagon-sponsored precursor to the internet. But this month, researchers announced something that could be equally historic: the passing of messages between two rat brains, the first step toward what they call the “brain net”.
Connecting the brains of two rats through implanted electrodes, scientists at Duke University demonstrated that in response to a visual cue, the trained response of one rat, called an encoder, could be mimicked without a visual cue in a second rat, called the decoder. In other words, the brain of one rat had communicated to the other.
"These experiments demonstrated the ability to establish a sophisticated, direct communication linkage between rat brains, and that the decoder brain is working as a pattern-recognition device,” said Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine. “So basically, we are creating an organic computer that solves a puzzle."
Whether or not the Duke University experiments turn out to be historic (some skepticism has already been raised), the work reflects a growing Pentagon interest in neuroscience for applications that range from such far-off ideas as teleoperation of military devices (think mind-controlled drones), to more near-term and less controversial technology, like prosthetics controlled by the human brain. In fact, like the Arpanet, the experiment on the rat “brain net” was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

BBC, Ten extraordinary Pentagon mind experiments.
For the rats, see, One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link.
Image: Turning insects into drones with implanted systems, by Darpa, via The BBC.

The Future’s Getting Freaky

Via The BBC:

It’s been 30 years since the first message was sent over initial nodes of the Arpanet, the Pentagon-sponsored precursor to the internet. But this month, researchers announced something that could be equally historic: the passing of messages between two rat brains, the first step toward what they call the “brain net”.

Connecting the brains of two rats through implanted electrodes, scientists at Duke University demonstrated that in response to a visual cue, the trained response of one rat, called an encoder, could be mimicked without a visual cue in a second rat, called the decoder. In other words, the brain of one rat had communicated to the other.

"These experiments demonstrated the ability to establish a sophisticated, direct communication linkage between rat brains, and that the decoder brain is working as a pattern-recognition device,” said Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine. “So basically, we are creating an organic computer that solves a puzzle."

Whether or not the Duke University experiments turn out to be historic (some skepticism has already been raised), the work reflects a growing Pentagon interest in neuroscience for applications that range from such far-off ideas as teleoperation of military devices (think mind-controlled drones), to more near-term and less controversial technology, like prosthetics controlled by the human brain. In fact, like the Arpanet, the experiment on the rat “brain net” was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

BBC, Ten extraordinary Pentagon mind experiments.

For the rats, see, One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link.

Image: Turning insects into drones with implanted systems, by Darpa, via The BBC.

Robots, War and Morality →

Via Slate:

The “Global Campaign To Stop Killer Robots” kicked off in New York on Oct. 21. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams urged the nations of the world to act against lethal autonomous robots, declaring them “beyond the pale.” Williams is not alone; on CNN earlier in October, Peter Bergen, the author of several best-selling books about Osama Bin Laden, also argued for a convention regulating lethal robots. The International Committee for Robot Arms Control, a group of academic experts on robot technologies and international security, is on board as well. The pressure on the robots is mounting.

Underlying the debate about “killer robots” is concern that machines are not, and cannot, be legally accountable for their actions. As professor Oren Gross of the University of Miami School of Law told this year’s inaugural “We Robot” conference on robots and the law in April, domestic and international law are not well suited to dealing with robots that commit war crimes.

As technology advances, we face a very real danger that it will become increasingly difficult to hold those who wage war on our behalf accountable for what they do.

Paul Robinson, Slate. Who Will Be Accountable for Military Technology?

Government Targets Wired for a Five-year-Old Article That Leaks Info on Weapons System That Doesn't Exist →

Via Wired:

In its mounting campaign against leakers, the U.S. government isn’t just going after officials who revealed weighty secrets like the White House’s drone strike “kill list” or its plan to sabotage Iran’s nuclear sites. Federal agents are also chasing a leaker who gave [Wired’s] Danger Room a document asking for a futuristic laser weapon that could set insurgents’ clothes on fire from nine miles away.

It’s an odd investigation, because the energy weapon doesn’t exist; the unclassified document describing it reads almost like a spoof of the laser system out of Real Genius; and this is 2012 — nearly five years after the leak in question.

But that hasn’t stopped the Naval Criminal Investigative Service from contacting Danger Room and its attorneys several times over six months regarding an investigation into the document, which describes a “Precision Airborne Standoff Directed Energy Weapon” and is marked ”For Official Use Only,” or FOUO.

“This investigation is currently being conducted as a counterintelligence matter to determine if a loss/compromise of classified information occurred,” e-mailed Special Agent Christopher Capps, who works for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s field office in Washington, D.C.

Capps also asked Danger Room to divulge the source who provided the imaginary weapon document.

FJP: Looking for more background on the war against leaks? Check our Leaks Tag.

Wired, NCIS Targets Danger Room in Silliest Leak Investigation Ever.

What WikiLeaks Means for the News

In April 2010, WikiLeaks released a video showing U.S. soldiers killing Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists from a helicopter. In a fragmented news world, what significance did this have as a media event? 

Gabriella Coleman, Assistant Professor and Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University, discusses what WikiLeaks means in a contemporary news environment. 

Memorial Day, 2012
From 1991 to 2009, the US banned the media from taking pictures  of dead soldiers upon their return to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The policy began under Bush the Elder during the first Gulf War.
This decision was overturned by the Obama administration in 2009. Current rules allow the media to take such pictures if they get permission from the soldier’s immediate family.
Image: Caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq being offloaded at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Via the Pentagon, undated.

Memorial Day, 2012

From 1991 to 2009, the US banned the media from taking pictures  of dead soldiers upon their return to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The policy began under Bush the Elder during the first Gulf War.

This decision was overturned by the Obama administration in 2009. Current rules allow the media to take such pictures if they get permission from the soldier’s immediate family.

Image: Caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq being offloaded at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Via the Pentagon, undated.

US Military Personnel Around the World
Yesterday came news that the Obama administration is introducing plans to reduce the size of the US military over the next decade.
It’s well known that US defense spending dwarfs that of the rest of the world. Less well known is where all its troops are.
Image via the BBC.

US Military Personnel Around the World

Yesterday came news that the Obama administration is introducing plans to reduce the size of the US military over the next decade.

It’s well known that US defense spending dwarfs that of the rest of the world. Less well known is where all its troops are.

Image via the BBC.

United Bases of America
National Post has a fascinating graphic of the 700+ US military bases around the world.
Click through to explore.

United Bases of America

National Post has a fascinating graphic of the 700+ US military bases around the world.

Click through to explore.

The Rapporteur believes that even if one is in favour of transparency, military and intelligence operations simply cannot be planned and consulted with the public. Transparency cannot exist without control. The government, and especially its security agencies, must have the right to limit access to information in order to govern and to protect. This is based on the premise that states and corporations have the right to privacy as much as individuals do and that secrecy is required for efficient management of the state institutions and organizations.

Lord Michael Jopling, Rapporteur for NATO, 2011 Information and National Security Survey.

Via Ars Technica, NATO: Anonymous will be “infiltrated” and “persecuted”

Note that in May the US released its International Strategy for Cyberspace that basically declared that digital hacking can be met with a forcefull, asymmetric, analog response (read: bombing).

Egypt's Military Censors Critics

  • Hossam el-Hamalawy: Any institution of the country that takes taxes from us should be open to question
  • Mahmoud Saad: No, no, no. I will not allow you to say those things on this network.
  • FJP: El-Hamalawy is an Egyptian blogger. Saad a television host. The New York Times reports that the Egyptian military "is pressing the Egyptian news media to censor harsh criticism of it and protect its image. The military’s intervention concerns some human rights advocates who say they are worried that such efforts could make it harder for politicians to scrutinize the military and could possibly undermine attempts to bring it under civilian control or investigate charges of corruption.
motherjones:

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Kind of randomly off topic but there’s an interesting PBS documentary about Pete Souza and the history of being a White House photographer.

motherjones:

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Kind of randomly off topic but there’s an interesting PBS documentary about Pete Souza and the history of being a White House photographer.

Psyops and Social Media →

That the online universe is the next frontier in modern warfare isn’t necessarily news.

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks, Stuxnet-style worms and infiltration into national defense and resource information systems are realities we frequently read about.

And it’s not necessarily news that the United States has campaigned on social networks via the State Department to win hearts and minds around the globe.

What is news is that a California firm called Ntrepid just won a $2.76 million contract from the US Defense Department to create fake online personas in order to influence online conversation.

Via the Guardian:

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.

According to the Telegraph:

The personas should be “replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent”, a US Central Command (Centcom) tender document said.

"Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms."

So careful with who you get chatty with online. You may be talking to a sock puppet.

Pentagon Likes Social Media →

We noted the other day that the US Military continues its foray into the Social Media world by releasing a citizen reporting tool for the iPhone.

That doesn’t mean that the Pentagon is shunning other networks like Twitter and Facebook. Last week, William Lynne, the Deputy Defense Secretary, reauthorized social media guidelines (pdf) that allows troops to post and like and share and do all those other social media things until January 2012.

Perhaps the military will even learn a thing or two.

Via Wired:

At his confirmation hearing today to be Army chief of staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey said the Army would need to get better at using social media (and online role-playing games!) if it wanted to attract the service’s next generation of leaders.