Tagged: personal

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Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
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Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
0

Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
0

Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
0

Face of Defense: Guardsman Takes Army Values to Heart


ARLINGTON, Va. —

An infantryman with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, takes the Army values to heart. [1]

“We’re supporting the mission on the ground and making that difference,” said Army Sgt. Stephen Caldwell, adding that he loves being a part of a larger team.

“Being a fire team leader, providing fire superiority and taking over the objectives — it’s an adrenaline rush to say the least,” he said.

Monitoring Threats

In his civilian job, Caldwell is a watch analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he monitors potential national threats that could pose harm to physical structures, cyber networks and the environment.[2]

“We have situational awareness on pretty much anything,” he said.

And, regarding his infantry duties, Caldwell said good radio communications provide a tactical edge for his unit.

“It’s communication that makes everything run and I love the challenge,” he said, adding the radio makes him feel like a double threat on the battlefield.

“A single radio has the power to change the outcome of an engagement,” Caldwell said.

Before working at DHS, he spent four years working at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s joint operations center. The experience there laid the groundwork for his current DHS job, Caldwell said.

“It gave me an understanding of what affects critical infrastructures,” he said. “Just seeing it from a technical standpoint helped me understand what is needed at the national level with DHS, as far as the cause and effect of things.”

Caldwell said he has also found crossovers from the military side, as well.

Communication

“Great communication is key when a situation is developing and when you need to put something out to leadership so they can make a judgment call,” he said. “Camaraderie is a big thing on our teams, and it keeps me motivated when taking on a new task.”

Whether he is in his civilian or military role, Caldwell said he likes to learn and grow, making it a point to move laterally within DHS and absorb all the new information he can along the way.

“Complacency kills, so I take the time in learning new things outside of my normal skill set,” he said. “It makes for more excitement on a daily basis.”

That eagerness to learn — along with being highly competent and having a strong commitment to the homeland security mission — makes Caldwell an asset, said Matt Vaughn, a program manager in the section where Caldwell works at DHS.

“He’s a real go-getter, and you never have to tell him [to execute a task] twice,” Vaughn said. “He gets it. He does it, and it’s always done well.”

Training, Teamwork

While Caldwell said training and teamwork have been the backbone of his success with the South Carolina Army National Guard and the DHS, he is furthering his personal and professional growth by attending school for intelligence studies at the American Military University.

“Education helps me relay my thoughts in a productive way, helping me better connect with soldiers,” he said.

But education has not been the only source of learning for Caldwell.

He was a self-described “gung-ho kid” when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 218th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He said the experience of working with his fellow soldiers in a deployed environment taught him the importance of thinking in a more critical and tempered way.

“I learned that even though you can’t control everything, you still have to remain mission focused,” Caldwell said. Following that mindset, he added, requires not making “emotional decisions.”

He said he tells new soldiers that taking on new tasks will help them stand out – such as becoming a “double threat” by learning the ins and outs of radio communication.

“Always be willing to learn something new,” Caldwell said. “Once you start to do that you fall into a pattern as that soldier with a can-do attitude.”

References

  1. ^ South Carolina Army National Guard (www.scguard.com)
  2. ^ Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov)
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Military Consumers and Sentinel: A deeper dive

Last week, we gave you an overview of the latest Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book[1]. Today, let’s look a bit more closely at the data from military consumers. We got more than 113,000 reports from military consumers in 2017. Although not all of them gave details about their military status,more than 28,000 are servicemembers, their family members, and inactive Reserve or National Guard, and more than 78,000 are military retirees or veterans. Here are a few interesting take-aways.

Identity theft[2] and imposter scams[3] were among the top reports for both the general population and the military community. Imposter scammers pretend to be someone you trust, to convince you to send them money or personal information. There are many variations on the scheme. People may pretend to be from the government or from a business with technical support expertise. Others lie about being your online love or say there’s an emergency with your family member. These kinds of scams cost military consumers more money than any other type of scam, with $25 million reported lost. Military median losses were $699. For other consumers, the median loss was $500.

We’re not sure why, but military folks reported median losses much greater than civilians did for other frauds, too. For instance, the median loss from the general population for all types of fraud was $429, but for military consumers, it was $619. That’s more than 44% higher. On the other hand, military consumers also told us they lost money in just 15% of the frauds they reported, versus 21% in the general population. That tells us that military consumers are doing a great job reporting consumer fraud to the FTC, even if they didn’t lose money to it. More reports yield more data, tell a more detailed story, and help law enforcement go after unlawful practices.

References

  1. ^ Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book (www.ftc.gov)
  2. ^ Identity theft (www.militaryconsumer.gov)
  3. ^ imposter scams (www.militaryconsumer.gov)
0

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)
0

Xi Jinping's Military Might

Military delegates leave the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing on March 5.

Military delegates leave the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 5.


Photo:

nicolas asfouri/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

By

The Editorial Board

March 8, 2018 6:30 p.m. ET

The annual session of China’s rubber-stamp legislature opened this week, and Chinese Premier

Li Keqiang

announced an 8.1% increase in defense spending, the largest in three years. Lawmakers are expected to approve the military budget and constitutional changes to let supreme leader

Xi Jinping

serve as President indefinitely. All of this will amplify the angst in Asia about Beijing’s military buildup.

The budget of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) isn’t transparent, and the U.S. Defense Department estimates that spending is about 25% higher than Beijing’s figure. More important, Mr. Xi is remaking the military into an effective fighting force. Under previous leaders, the PLA became top-heavy with generals whose main mission was to line their own pockets. They padded the ranks with followers and offered promotions in return for bribes. An anticorruption campaign has netted 16 top generals in the past six years.

Mr. Xi has replaced them with loyalists, giving him the clout to reform the PLA. He replaced regional commands that were personal fiefdoms with theater commands that require the army, navy and air force to work together, much as the U.S. did after the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986. Beijing is reducing the military’s headcount and investing the savings in sophisticated weapons. Since 2015 the PLA has shed 300,000 troops. Instead of relying on human-wave attacks, it is racing the U.S. to develop artificial intelligence for the battlefield.

Under Mr. Xi the PLA is harassing U.S. forces in the international waters and airspace off China’s coast. Chinese vessels and aircraft are testing Japanese defenses around the disputed Senkaku Islands almost daily. Despite a promise by Mr. Xi that China would not militarize the seven artificial islands it reclaimed in the South China Sea, the PLA has built hangers for 72 fighter aircraft and 10 bombers.

Beijing is also stoking nationalism at home to an extent not seen since the death of

Mao Zedong.

Feature films such as “Wolf Warrior” show the PLA fighting abroad, while television documentaries extol the military’s reforms and growing strength. Mr. Xi’s “China Dream” slogan includes a “strong army dream,” and last year he reviewed troops on Army Day without other senior leaders present.

All of this raises questions about Mr. Xi’s intensions. The U.S. retains a military edge over China, but that is slipping as the PLA seeks to build a blue-water navy, and deploy weapons that could kill U.S. satellites and put American aircraft carriers at risk.

Mr. Xi’s predecessors also increased China’s military budget. But his success in amassing personal power and his record of using the PLA to intimidate neighbors mean his moves to build military might will be closely watched from Japan through the Straits of Malacca to the Indian Ocean. One lesson of history is that rising authoritarian powers often make the mistake of tempting conflict in the name of nationalist glory.

References

  1. ^ Biography (www.wsj.com)
  2. ^ @wsjopinion (twitter.com)
  3. ^ 5 COMMENTS (www.wsj.com)
0

In Honor of Women's History Month, Military Women Share Experiences Facing Sexism in the Armed Forces

Major Amanda L. Minikus J.D. ’15 was in Afghanistan when she received her acceptance letter to Cornell.

“I was in this craphole,” she said, referring to where she was stationed in Afghanistan. “I was like ‘[Cornell] looks like a magical kingdom’ — rolling grassy hills and a beautiful clock tower.”

Minikus and five other military women, four of whom are current or former Cornell graduate students, spoke in a panel honoring Women’s History Month on Wednesday.

The six women answered a series of questions about their personal experiences in the military, at Cornell and the process of “overcoming systematic biases to pave the way for future generations of women.”

Fleet Master Chief April D. Beldo, Minikus, Lt. Alicia Jane Flanagan grad, Capt. Molly Heath, recruiting flight commander for Cornell’s Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Shannon Boyle grad and Natoshia C. Spruill MBA ’14 participated in the panel.

The panel members all gave a range of different reasons for joining the military. Spruill had family members in the service; Beldo desired more “structure and discipline” in her life; Minikus wanted to serve after witnessing the 9/11 attack.

“Sept. 11 was in my senior year at high school,” Minikus recounted. “That directed me. I wanted to do something about it.”

“The United States Naval Academy also had a really nice swimming pool,” Minkus added, who captained the academy’s varsity women’s swim team.

A service member since 1983, Beldo recounted the times she faced sexism while in the navy. One time, her commanding officer told her, “I don’t want an aviator. I don’t want a female.”

“That was a challenge,” she said. “You are making a decision without even knowing what I can bring to the table.”

Beldo said that, while the encounter was discouraging, she did not ask to be reassigned and continued on in her assignment with an “I will show you” attitude.

Spruill and Boyle, who are both mothers, commented on the difficulty of balancing their service, studies and children.

“There are always trade-offs,” Boyle said. “It’s how you choose to prioritize.”

But despite the sexism her fellow colleagues faced, Minikus argued that ultimately “people follow good people,” regardless of “whether you’re female, male, white, black, hispanic.”

The panel members agreed that female service members are becoming more accepted within the military.

“I think the Air Force has done a good job of trying to create a supportive environment for women,” Heath said.

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Senate panel to take up Homeland Security reauthorization

A key Senate panel will take up legislation this week that would reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as institute a number of reforms to the department’s operations. 

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will meet Wednesday to continue consideration of the legislation, the committee announced Monday. The House-passed version includes a number of reforms, including some that aim to bolster the department’s cybersecurity efforts. 

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Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCongress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks American women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE[2][3][4][5][6][1] (D-Calif.) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordAfter Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward GOP senator: ‘The problem is not owning an AR-15’ Sunday shows preview: Russian charges, Florida shooting dominate coverage MORE[8][9][10][11][12][7] (R-Okla.), both committee members, are planning on introducing amendments to the bill that would help states bolster the cybersecurity of their voting systems.

Harris said last week that they planned to introduce “bipartisan election security measures to modernize election cybersecurity across America and protect against foreign interference on future elections.” 

Both senators are already sponsoring[13] stand-alone legislation that would set up block grants for states to replace paperless voting machines with systems that provide a paper backup. The bill, called the “Secure Elections Act,” is one of several stalled efforts in Congress to secure future U.S. elections from foreign threats following Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. officials say that Russian hackers targeted election-related systems in 21 states as part of a broader effort to meddle in the 2016 election.

While none of the systems were involved in vote tallying, the revelation has triggered discussion about how to bolster security around and increase confidence in U.S. voting infrastructure, including voter databases and actual voting systems. Department of Homeland Security officials say that most of the targeting efforts ahead of 2016 were not successful. 

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will take up the House version of the reauthorization bill on Wednesday morning.

If signed into law, the bill would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security since its creation following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.