Tagged: group

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Ellison Wants Answers About White Supremacists in the Military

Rep. Keith Ellison[1] wants the Pentagon to disclose any information it has about white supremacists currently serving in the the military[2].

The Minnesota Democrat sent a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis last week asking about “steps currently being taken to screen recruits for extremist ties,” Military Times reported.

Ellison’s letter came after a ProPublica and “Frontline” report found that three active duty service members were associated with Atomawaffen, a white supremacist group that has been tied to five murders in the past year.

“The involvement of service members in white supremacist organizations or other hate groups is cause for significant concern, particularly given their combat and weapons training,” Ellison wrote in his letter[3].

Ellison also pointed to a Military Times survey that found that nearly 25 percent of respondents said they had seen “examples of white nationalism from their fellow service members.”

Similarly, the survey said that 42 percent of non-white troops had personally experienced white nationalism in the military.

Ellison’s letter requested that Mattis produce information on the number of reports of service members with extremist ties for the past five years.

“In addition, I seek information on the steps currently being taken to screen recruits for extremist ties,” he said.

The ProPublica and “Frontline” report highlighted that one member of the Marines was allegedly involved in the racial violence around white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.

Since then, Mattis has praised the military’s “widely diverse force.”

Ellison requested that Mattis send the response by May 21.

Watch: Trump Thanks Kanye Again, Mocks Obama on North Korea

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Military Strikes Target ISIS Terrorists in Syria, Iraq


SOUTHWEST ASIA —

Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and its partners continued to strike Islamic State of Iraq and Syria targets in designated parts of Syria and Iraq between April 27-May 3, conducting 27 strikes consisting of 35 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.  [1]

Strikes in Syria

Yesterday, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal.

On May 2, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of four engagements against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal. The strikes destroyed an ISIS storage facility.

On May 1, coalition military forces conducted five strikes consisting of five engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, four strikes damaged an ISIS-held building.

— Near Shadaddi, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed two headquarters buildings.

On April 30, coalition military forces conducted 10 strikes consisting of 12 engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, six strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS staging area, a tunnel and a headquarters.

— Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.

— Near Shadaddi, three strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS vehicle, two headquarters buildings and damaged three ISIS-held buildings.

On April 29, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of two engagements against ISIS targets:

— A strike took place near Dayr Az Zawr.

— Near Shadaddi, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS vehicle.

Strikes in Iraq

There were no reported strikes in Iraq May 2-3.

On May 1, coalition military forces conducted three strikes consisting of eight engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Huwijah, two strikes destroyed 31 ISIS tunnel systems and six caves.

— Near Rutbah, a strike destroyed an ISIS bunker.

On April 30, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of three engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Mosul, a strike destroyed an ISIS tunnel system.

–Near Rutbah, a strike destroyed an ISIS fighting position.

There were no reported strikes in Iraq on April 29.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said. [2]

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and ground-based tactical artillery, officials noted.

A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

References

  1. ^ Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (www.inherentresolve.mil)
  2. ^ Operation Inherent Resolve (www.defense.gov)
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Reports of Sexual Assault in the Military Rise by 10 Percent, Pentagon Finds

WASHINGTON — More than 6,700 Defense Department employees reported being sexually assaulted in the 2017 fiscal year — the highest number since the United States military began tracking reports more than a decade ago, according to Pentagon data released on Monday.

The new data showed a 10 percent increase of military sexual assault reports from the previous fiscal year. The uptick occurred amid a Marine Corps scandal over sharing nude photos and heightened public discourse about sexual harassment in American culture.

Pentagon officials sought to portray the increase as reflective of more troops and military civilians trusting commanders and the military’s judicial system enough to come forward.

In all, 6,769 people reported assaults for the 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. It was the largest yearly increase since 2014 and the most reports since the Pentagon started tracking the data in 2006.

Roughly two-thirds of the reports resulted in disciplinary action, the data show. The remaining 38 percent were discounted because evidence was lacking, victims declined to participate in hearings or other reasons.

The Army, Navy and Air Force each saw a roughly 10 percent uptick in sexual assault reports. The increase nearly reached 15 percent in the Marine Corps.

Separately, roughly 700 complaints of sexual harassment were reported across the military in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the Pentagon data. Ninety percent of the reports were from enlisted troops.

In March 2017, a social media group made up of active duty and former Marines was accused of sharing explicit photos of female colleagues, prompting a widespread investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. A number of Marines were punished, and the service started a campaign to educate its troops on sexual harassment and assault.

Despite efforts to rid the internet of military-themed groups such as the one found last year, others have continued to pop up.

Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, said the service was in a “better place” after the scandal.

Lawmakers have long hammered the military on its predominantly male culture and have sometimes lobbied for military courts to be civilian run so due process is absent of command influence.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who last week called sexual assault a “cancer” in the military, has demanded that leaders throughout the ranks make sure the problem does not spread.

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Lawmakers Move to Protect Fort Carson's 2nd Brigade Combat Team

Colorado’s congressional delegation and Gov. John Hickenlooper have sent a letter urging the Army[1] to keep Fort Carson[2]‘s 2nd Brigade Combat Team in town after it trades its infantry marching boots for armored vehicles.

And Colorado Springs Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn isn’t stopping there. He wants the Army to also send an 800-soldier security force assistance brigade to Colorado Springs.

“I would love to see us expand,” he said.

The Army announced late last month that it would re-equip Fort Carson’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team with tanks and Bradley armored fighting vehicles. But in the shift, the Army is studying whether the brigade should be moved, with posts in Georgia, Kansas and Texas in play for the brigade.

Fort Carson remains all but certain to keep the 4,000-soldier unit, because moving it elsewhere could cost nearly $200 million. That’s because the Colorado Springs post already has the infrastructure an armored brigade would need.

But it doesn’t hurt to have the state’s full political might on Fort Carson’s side, said Rich Burchfield, who heads defense programs for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Burchfield said the lawmakers are adding an assurance to the Pentagon that moves to expand the post will have political backing and federal cash.

He also said keeping the brigade in town would be a boost for the troops involved. Colorado Springs remains the most-requested destination for soldiers.

“You’re looking at 4,400 soldiers and 6,000 family members who are already part of the community,” Burchfield said. “We have to keep our neighbors here in town.”

While keeping 2nd Brigade here is a top priority, Lamborn wants more.

The Army examining options to house a new security force assistance brigade and the congressman wants to woo it to the Rockies.

Assistance brigades are a new kind of Army formation aimed at training allied troops and helping them in battle. Born out of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the assistance units would extend America’s reach in troubled regions while keeping deployed troop numbers low.

Lamborn said Fort Carson has a leg up in landing the unit thanks to the 10th Special Forces Group that’s already stationed here.

The 10th Group’s Green Berets are already expert at training foreign troops and Lamborn said having that experience handy would allow the new assistance brigade to “hit the ground running with a minimal length of time between activation and full operational capability.”

Lamborn also touted the popularity of Colorado Springs with troops in his pitch.

“Finally, I would point out the fact Colorado Springs sits in the congressional district with the largest number of veterans of any congressional district in the U.S.,” he wrote.

A final decision on the fate of 2nd Brigade is weeks away and any decision on an assistance brigade could take months.

But for now, the Army’s top brass knows that Colorado’s leaders love Fort Carson.

“Community support in our state for Fort Carson missions, personnel and families is unmatched,” the lawmakers said.

This article is written by Tom Roeder from The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)[3] and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred[4] publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected][5].

Show Full Article[6]

© Copyright 2018 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.). All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ Fort Carson (www.military.com)
  3. ^ The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) (gazette.com)
  4. ^ NewsCred (www.newscred.com)
  5. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
  6. ^ Show Full Article (www.military.com)
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5 Things You May Have Missed in the Homeland Security Reauthorization Bill

The Homeland Security Department must launch a program offering cash rewards for hackable computer vulnerabilities discovered by non-government researchers under a reauthorization bill a Senate committee advanced last week.

The program, known as a bug bounty, would be limited to the department’s public-facing apps, websites and web tools, according to an amendment[1] to the reauthorization bill[2] the Senate Homeland Security Committee forwarded March 7.

The amendment, which was adopted on a voice vote, was sponsored by Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., who also sponsored a standalone version of the bug bounty bill that the committee passed[3] in October.

Bug bounties are increasingly prevalent among major tech firms, such as Google and Microsoft, but are less common in government. The Pentagon, Army and Air Force have all run pilot bug bounties in recent years, but the civilian government has been more wary of the programs.

The amendment provides $250,000 to carry out the bug bounty program and requires a report to Congress six months later about who participated in the program, what they found and how much Homeland Security paid out for vulnerabilities

The bug bounty provision was not included in a House version of the reauthorization bill, which passed[4] that chamber in December, though a standalone version[5] of the plan was introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.

Cyber R&D Back to S&T

A separate amendment[6] to the Senate reauthorization bill would return authority for Homeland Security’s cybersecurity research and development programs to the department’s science and technology division.

The Trump administration shifted[7] that responsibility in its most recent budget proposal to the department’s cyber operations agency.

The move followed complaints that the Science and Technology Directorate’s cyber research was not closely aligned enough with the department’s immediate cybersecurity concerns.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., specifies major focus areas for the department’s cyber research, including cyber defense technologies, advanced encryption tools and ways to monitor systems for insider threats.

CISA’s on a Roll

In general, the Senate version of the reauthorization bill, sponsored by Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and ranking member Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., wraps in more priorities, while the House version is more pared back.

A proposal to elevate and rename the department’s main cyber division, for example, was included in the Senate legislation but not in the House where it passed as a standalone bill.

Both the House and Senate versions of that provision would rename the division that’s currently called the National Protection and Programs Directorate, or NPPD, as the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA.

That agency would have a director who reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security and assistant directors for cybersecurity and infrastructure security.

The Senate bill mandates a report from CISA within six months about the most efficient and effective way for the new agency to consolidate its facilities, personnel and programs.

A separate report, due within three months, would focus on how the agency is filling its cyber workforce needs.

The bill also mandates a privacy officer at CISA who’s responsible, among other things, for “ensuring that the use of technologies by the agency sustain, and do not erode, privacy protections relating to the use, collection, and disclosure of personal information.”

If a compromise version of the reauthorization bills becomes law it will mark the first time Homeland Security’s work has been codified in statute since the department was formed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Let’s Form a Commission

The Senate version of the reauthorization bill also breaks with its House counterpart by appointing a congressional commission to explore ways to pare back the morass of overlapping congressional committees that Homeland Security agencies must report to.

That complicated oversight structure is largely a result of Homeland Security’s ad hoc composition out of existing divisions and offices moved from other federal agencies.  

Johnson championed[8] the idea of a congressional commission early in the reauthorizing process and the idea was largely supported by Republicans and Democrats on the committee.

As described in the Senate bill, the commission would include six members—three Republicans and three Democrats—who would provide recommendations for reforming the department’s congressional reporting lines within nine months.

The commission would be able to hire staff and consultants and hold hearings with funding provided by Homeland Security. That funding could not exceed $1 million, according to the bill.

Commission members would be appointed two each by the Senate majority and minority leaders and one each by the House majority and minority leaders. All recommendations would require a majority vote of commissioners before being included in the final report.

Cloud Security as a Service

The Senate bill also mandates a report within four months on how Homeland Security is helping other civilian agencies ensure the cybersecurity of their computer cloud-based systems.

That report must include a briefing on the department’s efforts to provide “security operations center as a service” to agencies that lack the resources or expertise to manage their own security operations centers, or SOCs. SOCs are essentially central command centers where an organization evaluates and responds to cyber threats.

A group of technology advisers to the White House urged Homeland Security to consider developing such services in a December report[9].

The report must also focus on how Homeland Security is helping agencies buy commercial SOC services and how it’s adapting its Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program—essentially a suite of cybersecurity services the department provides to other agencies—for the cloud era.

Other provisions in the Senate reauthorization bill would:

  • Order a report within three months on U.S. cooperative efforts with China to combat illegal opioids shipments, including through dark web drug markets.
  • Order a report within four months on results, obstacles and future plans for cybersecurity grant funds provided by the department.
  • Establish a cyber workforce exchange[10] between Homeland Security and the private sector.
  • Require better communication between department divisions about contractors that have been barred or suspended from receiving federal contracts.
  • Urge the department to share as much unclassified cyber threat information as possible with state, local and tribal governments.
  • Require a report within six months on possible dangers of blockchain technology, including the possibility of individuals and nations using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to fund terrorist groups.  
  • Offer cash rewards to Homeland Security employees who report waste, fraud and abuse to government watchdogs.
  • Order a report from the department’s chief human capital officer on possible improvements to a Homeland Security career rotation program that’s meant to help employees broaden their experience and expertise.

References

  1. ^ amendment (www.nextgov.com)
  2. ^ reauthorization bill (www.nextgov.com)
  3. ^ passed (www.hassan.senate.gov)
  4. ^ passed (www.nextgov.com)
  5. ^ version (www.congress.gov)
  6. ^ amendment (www.nextgov.com)
  7. ^ shifted (www.nextgov.com)
  8. ^ championed (www.nextgov.com)
  9. ^ December report (itmodernization.cio.gov)
  10. ^ cyber workforce exchange (www.harris.senate.gov)