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Category Archives: Defense

SIGAR Publishes Newly Declassified Data

POGO – “This week, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released a supplement to its January 2015 quarterly report to Congress. The supplement comes after the Pentagon’s change of heart about keeping secret a large quantity of data about the Afghan military and police. As SIGAR reported in January, the U.S. has spent $65 billion to develop and train the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). For many years, SIGAR regularly informed the public about how that money was being used by documenting ANSF troop strength, salaries, training, equipment, and infrastructure. But shortly before SIGAR released the quarterly report, the U.S. military command retroactively classified much of that data. The Project On Government Oversight pointed out the absurdity of the decision; some speculated that the military was trying to hide bad news about the condition of Afghanistan’s security forces. Less than a week later, however, the military reversed itself and declassified most of the material. Appendix A of the supplement explains the current classification status of ANSF data. According to SIGAR, “some information concerning corps-level ANSF personnel strength data, future requirements for Afghan Air Force (AAF) equipment, the number of trained AAF pilots, and operational data on the Afghan Special Mission Wing remains classified.” But a new problem has emerged. Just hours before the supplement was originally scheduled to be released, SIGAR was notified that the ANSF strength numbers the military provided between April and October 2014 were incorrect due to an accounting error. The error was discovered in September 2014, but the military failed to notify SIGAR or provide updated numbers until last week. Until then, the military kept SIGAR in the dark even as it reviewed and approved SIGAR reports containing the incorrect data. “The U.S. military’s inconsistent reporting on ANSF strength numbers indicates long-standing and ongoing problems with accountability and personnel tracking,” SIGAR noted. “Given that accurate reporting on ANSF strength is an important factor in judging Afghanistan’s ability to maintain security and in determining the pace of U.S. troop withdrawals from the country, and that the United States is paying to train, equip, and sustain the Afghan troops based on these numbers, these inconsistencies are deeply troubling.”

Report – Index of U.S. Military Strength

News release: “The U.S. military may be weaker than you think. All but one branch of America’s military and nuclear forces are currently operating at “marginal” strength levels. The exception is the Air Force, which is rated as “strong” in the “Index of U.S. Military Strength,” released today by The Heritage Foundation. A first-of-its-kind report,Continue Reading

CRS – Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons, Amy F. Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy. February 23, 2015. “The FY2013 Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310, Section 1037) indicated that it is the sense of Congress that “the United States should pursue negotiations with the Russian Federation aimed at the reduction of Russian deployed and nondeployed nonstrategic nuclear forces.” TheContinue Reading

Kapersky Lab Reveals Detailed View of Most Advanced Hacking Operation Known

Via ars technica: “… In an exhaustive report published Monday at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit here, researchers stopped short of saying Equation Group was the handiwork of the NSA—but they provided detailed evidence that strongly implicates the US spy agency. First is the group’s known aptitude for conducting interdictions, such as installing covert implantContinue Reading

How the U.S. Paid for Death and Damage in Afghanistan – Intercept

The Intercept – “An armored vehicle ran over a six-year-old boy’s legs: $11,000. A jingle truck was “blown up by mistake”: $15,000. A controlled detonation broke eight windows in a mosque: $106. A boy drowned in an anti-tank ditch: $1,916. A 10-ton truck ran over a cucumber crop: $180. A helicopter “shot bullets hitting andContinue Reading

EPIC Files Lawsuit for Details About Government “Pre-crime” Program

“EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit about “Future Attribute Screening Technology”, a “Minority Report” program that purports to identify individuals who will commit crimes in the future. EPIC filed the complaint after the DHS failed to respond to EPIC’s FOIA request for information. EPIC charged that the agency uses secret algorithms toContinue Reading

Financing of the Terrorist Organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

“FATF’s report on the financing of the Financing of the Terrorist Organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) analyses how this terrorist organisation generates and uses its funding.  This knowledge is crucial in order to determine how FATF and the international community can choke off ISIL funding..  This knowledge is crucial in order toContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Defense Logistics, Defense Major Automated Information Systems, DHS, FAA, Private Pensions, Transportation Safety

Defense Logistics: Improvements Needed to Accurately Assess the Performance of DOD’s Materiel Distribution Pipeline, GAO-15-226: Published: Feb 26, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2015. Defense Major Automated Information Systems: Cost and Schedule Commitments Need to Be Established Earlier, GAO-15-282: Published: Feb 26, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2015. Department of Homeland Security: Progress Made, butContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – DOD Acquisition Reform, Drug-Impaired Driving

Acquisition Reform: DOD Should Streamline Its Decision-Making Process for Weapon Systems to Reduce Inefficiencies, GAO-15-192: Published: Feb 24, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 2015. Drug-Impaired Driving: Additional Support Needed for Public Awareness Initiatives, GAO-15-293: Published: Feb 24, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 2015.

The Unredacted Truth About Spare Parts Overcharges – POGO

POGO: “More than 30 years after the $7,600 coffee pot and the $436 hammer, weapon spare parts overcharges remain the clearest example of how the Department of Defense (DoD) wastes billions in taxpayer dollars. Numerous audits by the DoD Inspector General (IG) have unearthed Boeing overcharging up to 177,000 percent for spare parts, Sikorsky chargingContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Flood Insurance, Identity and Tax Fraud

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board: Improvements Needed to Strengthen Internal Control and Promote Transparency, GAO-15-181: Published: Jan 20, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 2015. Flood Insurance: Status of FEMA’s Implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act, as Amended, GAO-15-178: Published: Feb 19, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 2015. Identity and Tax Fraud: Enhanced Authentication Could Combat RefundContinue Reading

Report – 12 Risks that threaten human civilisation

“This report [via Global Challenges Foundation] has, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, created the first list of global risks with impacts that for all practical purposes can be called infinite. It is also the first structured overview of key events related to such risks and has tried to provide initial rough quantifications forContinue Reading