Military News

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rogers Discusses NSA Reorganization, National Security Threats



By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2015 — Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, previewed an upcoming NSA reorganization and discussed a range of national security threats with members of a Senate panel here yesterday.

Rogers, also commander of U.S. Cyber Command, testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Rogers began his testimony by describing the work of “the nation’s cryptologic arm” and its 40,000 civilian and military employees in 31 states and worldwide.

“NSA now plays a key role in cyberspace, assisting U.S. government efforts to see, mitigate and deter cyber security threats. In concert with public, private and foreign partners, our work helps to ensure that users, operators and administrators maintain control of their systems and data,” Rogers said.

“NSA also gives our leaders unique insights into the hostile activities of foreign powers and their agents,” he added.

Reorganizing NSA

The agency does its work in accordance with the law and within strict guidelines, Rogers said, and only by collecting foreign intelligence in response to specific requirements from U.S. policymakers and senior U.S. commanders.

Rogers has been in the job at NSA and Cybercom for 18 months, the first part of that time spent focused on the aftermath of the Edward Snowden media leaks and ensuring that NSA’s collected data was secure, he told the panel.

Over many months, Rogers and the NSA workforce have been crafting a strategy for reorganizing the agency for a changing world.

“Our structure reflects a series of changes and choices that have been made over the last 20 years. The last major organizational change at NSA on a wide swath was 1999 or 1998 … and I want to make sure we're optimized to meet the future,” the admiral said.

Optimized for the Future

Rogers posed questions to the workforce about NSA capabilities and its evolving mission, and received more than 200 recommendations. From those, Rogers said he chose three areas on which he asked them to spend more time.

These included the military part of the workforce, a more far-reaching view of cyber, and the NSA organizational structure, he explained, adding that he would receive final input back on those areas by Oct. 1.

In his testimony on national security challenges for NSA and the nation, Rogers mentioned the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and similar groups, their technology capabilities and an issue known as “going dark,” and the potential Oct. 1 government shutdown.

On the shutdown, Rogers answered yes to a question from the panel: Would a shutdown of the federal government next week compromise national security?

Retaining the Workforce

“And if I could just go beyond that -- in the last five days or so, as we now are publicly talking about this possibility,” Rogers said, the reaction of the workforce at NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, who could easily get jobs on the outside and earn significantly more money there, is one of real concern.

“This instability [is a] message to the workforce that … you are a secondary consideration in a much larger game,” Rogers added, noting that he spoke this week to the leadership about how to “figure out how we're going to keep these men and women.”

On another national security issue, without going into the details of NSA’s work, Rogers said the agency broadly uses its ability to work communications in the foreign space to generate insights [about] what ISIL and other groups are doing largely through NSA’s cyber and signals intelligence expertise.

In the counterterrorism mission set, whether it's ISIL, al-Qaida or al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Rogers said, “I've seen more changes in their behavior in the last two years probably than any other target.”

They actively reference some of the data compromises that have occurred over the past couple of years, he added, “and we know that they have achieved a level of insight as to what we do, how we do it, and the capabilities we have that … they didn't have in the past.”

Going Dark

Rogers said that, as a result, combined with broader changes in technology, it has become harder to achieve insight into what such groups are doing.

“The nation's networks, communications and data are increasingly at risk from diverse and persistent threats,” he said.

“These include rogue states, organized criminal enterprises and terrorists who are showing a willingness and an aptitude to employ sophisticated capabilities against us, our allies and indeed anyone who they perceive as a threat or lucrative target,” the admiral added.

Such capabilities include going dark, or the use of encrypted communications by terrorists and criminals, the use of apps that offer end-to-end encryption, and more complicated attempts to hide in the “broader set of noise out there,” Rogers said, adding that the motivated men and women of NSA are the nation’s edge.

Working Together

This also poses a national security threat, Rogers told the panel.

“I am concerned that the direction we're going -- if we make no changes -- effectively represents a significant challenge for us in terms of our ability to generate insight that the nation is counting on,” the admiral said.

He added, “We have got to collectively get together among the private sector, government, industry, policy, and the technical side, and sit down and figure out how we're going to work our way through this.”

President Praises Retiring Dempsey, Incoming Chairman Dunford



By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va., September 25, 2015 — In an armed forces full-honors retirement ceremony, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey closed out 41 years of service, and Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. succeeded him as the highest ranking U.S. military officer.

Dempsey swore in Dunford here today as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer.

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter were among the dignitaries who attended today's retirement and change of responsibility ceremony.

"We all owe this great country our very best and our fellow citizens our very best," Dempsey said. "It was humbling to accept this job four years ago and it's humbling to relinquish it today."

Dunford said he was humbled for the opportunity to represent the men and women in uniform. "They are a true national treasure. My focus in the coming days will be to provide them with the leadership and the support that they deserve," he said.

Dempsey One of ‘Finest Men’ Obama Knows

Obama praised Dempsey for his vision for the military, his moral fiber, and deep commitment to American strength and values

Dempsey served during a time of many challenges, the president said, and managed each one with "integrity and foresight and care." America has reassured its global allies, ended the combat mission in Afghanistan, and forged new partnerships to fight terrorism, the president noted.

"We built a coalition that is combating ISIL in Iraq and Syria and have we bolstered our cyber defenses. We helped halt the spread of Ebola in West Africa," Obama said. "None of this would have been possible without Marty's guidance and leadership."

Obama described Dempsey as "one of the finest men that I know." He picked Dempsey to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and previously chief of staff of the Army, he said, because the general had the "steady hand" needed in the moment of transition.

"I can't tell you how much I have appreciated your candor and your counsel, and I have seen you build that trust not just with me, but across our military with our troops and their families, with Congress and our allies abroad and with the American people," Obama said.

"Over the last four years, Marty's wisdom, his vision and his character have helped lead the greatest fighting force the world has ever known," Obama said.

Every Decision Touches Lives of Troops

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that before Dempsey became chairman he was already a proven military leader who led the 1st Armored Division during "difficult days," returned to reconstitute the Iraqi army, and had been chief of staff of the Army.

"Every decision the military leader makes, large or small, touches the lives of our troops. It touches the lives of countless families, it changes the nature of the world and the destiny of the country," Carter said.

"For the men and women who operate during a time of rapid change and uncertainty, this is the constant weight and responsibility of leadership," Carter said.

Thanks to the unwavering service and commitment of Obama, Dempsey and Dunford to the military, "our nation is nobler and stronger, and will be forever more," Carter said.

All the speakers at the event lauded Dempsey and his wife Deanie for their unwavering commitment to the military, military families and their own family, which includes three children who have served in the Army and nine grandchildren.

Closing Out Career, Passing Responsibilities

Dempsey said it has been his privilege to serve the nation. The men and women who serve the nation are "most precious treasure," he said.

"They and their families inspire us. Today, we entrust them to our new chairman," he said.

"Our nation and its armed forced remain the world's foremost symbols of strength, of hope, and of freedom," Dempsey said. "The generation that is now blessed to serve will do its duty and will ensure that our nation remains strong."

Dunford commended Dempsey for his service to the nation.

"We're all indebted to General Marty Dempsey for his extraordinary leadership, commitment and service, and on a personal note, for many years he has been a great friend, mentor and role model," Dunford said.

Make It Matter

Dempsey forever honors the 132 soldiers who lost their lives under his command in Iraq, Obama said, explaining how Dempsey has a box that contains each soldier's picture and story.

"And on top of the box are three words: make it matter," Obama said.

"Every morning, Marty places three of the cards in his pocket so that every moment as chairman, every meeting, every trip, every decision, every troop review, every moment of every day, some of those fallen heroes are with him," the president said.

Dempsey, in closing his speech said, "To all who will continue to serve after, I ask only this in parting, make it matter."

KC-46A tanker completes successful first flight



By Daryl Mayer, 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs / Published September 25, 2015

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFNS) -- A KC-46A Pegasus tanker (EMD-2) made history with its first flight Sept. 25 from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, landing a few hours later at Boeing Field in Seattle.

"The KC-46A will provide critical refueling capacity and enhanced capabilities to the warfighter," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "This flight represents progress and brings us a step closer to fielding this much needed aircraft."

The EMD-2 completed its maiden flight as a KC-46A tanker, which will now begin flight testing in support of the next program milestone.

“Today is just the first flight of many for this aircraft as we deliver these next generation tankers,” said Brig. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, program executive officer for tankers at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “Like the KC-135 (Stratotanker) and KC-10 (Extender) before it, this aircraft will be called upon for generations to come to deliver capability, whether support equipment, supplies, medical aide, or personnel. However, its primary mission will always be to fuel the fight. The team at Boeing has done a remarkable job creating an entirely new aircraft that will soon become the backbone of our ability to project power anywhere in the world.”

The Air Force contracted with Boeing in February 2011 to acquire 179 KC-46A refueling tankers to begin recapitalizing the aging tanker fleet. This flight is an important step toward meeting the required assets available date -- a milestone requiring 18 KC-46A aircraft and all necessary support equipment to be on the ramp, ready to support warfighter needs by August 2017.

“Today’s flight is the call to duty for this new aircraft,” said Col. Christopher Coombs, KC-46 system program manager. “EMD-2 will be conducting the heavy lifting of testing in demonstrating the capabilities of this aircraft and leading the program down the path toward its Milestone C decision.”