Posts Tagged cyber privateers

Strategy: The Future Of War, By Sean McFate

I really liked this presentation because it brings in all of the elements that I have been talking about on this blog, into a nice format that Dr. Sean McFate has put together. It is definitely worth your time to watch and absorb.

The thing that stood out to me was the discussion of the strategic uses of private forces or PMSC’s. He presents the case that A. the industry is not going away B. we are reverting back to a pre-westphalian era, and C. that the west might not want to use PMSC’s for waging war, but other countries like China or Russia have no issue with them.

It is that dynamic that is interesting to me. That countries are slowly going towards the use of PMSC’s to wage war, and they are doing it as a part of their national interest. Russia for example used their little green men hybrid warfare strategy in the Ukraine. Iran uses mercenaries in Syria. And then there is China and their use of maritime militias. Even with the west, contractors have been used in Iraq and Afghanistan as a way to supplement manpower shortages in this wars. The common theme here is that private forces are used as a part of a larger ‘strategy’, and this presentation challenges those who are closed minded or unaware of those uses. It forces the viewer to think about how PMSC’s are used, or could be used, strategically.

In the past, I have discussed all sorts of interesting ways that private forces have been used for the sake of national interest. The very first overseas land operation of the US was the Battle of Derna (Shores of Tripoli from the Marine Hymn) in Libya, where a small contingent of Marines/Army commanded several hundred Christian and Islamic mercenaries to fight in the First Barbary War. The early privateers that the US used in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 were another example of the use of PMSC’s as a part of a larger strategy to support national interest. The Flying Tigers was another example of modern aviation PMSC’s, or Britain’s Watchguard International Lmtd. in Yemen, or even recently with STTEP in Nigeria. Private forces can be used to great effect, and there are historical cases that make this point.

Sean covers a broad scope of ideas, and they are provocative to the say the least. What I wanted to post was the ten ideas of this future war he describes. Bear in mind, he is mostly referencing what is going on right now, and trying to envision where this goes with each point.

1. There will never be ‘symmetry’.

2. Technology won’t save us.

3. States matter less.

4. Warriors are masked and may not fight for states.

5. Laws of war and international law don’t apply.

6. There will be a market for force with mercenaries.

7. Others will wage war and new kinds of superpowers will emerge.

8. Plausible deniability is power.

9. Hearts and minds matter very little.

10. There will be more war.

I won’t ruin the whole thing for the reader, but I did want to comment on one deal he brought up that is not discussed a lot out there. He mentioned ‘hack back‘ companies, or basically cyber companies contracted to attack hackers or countries that used hackers to attack those companies. To me, this is pure cyber privateering, and we are getting close to the concept of state sanctioned hacking as this becomes more of a problem. I am reminded of the attack on Sony, and how brutal that was. Or worse, hacks on nuclear facilities…. In the past I have talked about how the Letter of Marque could be used for this as a means of keeping it in check. As more companies or countries get attacked by hackers who are sponsored by states, the idea of attacking back becomes more and more a thing to consider. For a further exploration of cyber privateering, I suggest the Morgan Doctrine blog. Interesting stuff and check it out below. If you are interested in further exploring this topic, I highly recommend Sean’s book called The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order. –Matt

 

The future of war points.

A screen shot of the future of war points.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Technology: Dr. Regina Dugan Speaks At DARPA Cyber Colloquium, Sam Quint Reponds….

Boy, after listening to this, I am wondering if DARPA is reading the blog? I have talked about the Cyber Lance in the past, as well as Cyber Privateering and the issuance of the Letter of Marque, and the language I am hearing in this talk sounds a lot like Offense Industry talk to me. All I know is she really wanted to emphasize the complexity of the commons called cyber space, and that ‘capability’ must be explored for the defense and offense in such an environment.

I say offense industry because DARPA has been really exploring the possibilities for bounties. They also use rewards for contests as a prize for innovation. I know they are aware of the Letter of Marque concept because Michael Hayden brought it up in a speech, and myself and the Morgan Doctrine have been bringing it up in posts.

What is really interesting is that Dr. Dugan is heading off to work for Google. Google would be a fantastic place to work at, to truly explore the various ways to combat cyber criminals and enemies. She would also get an inside view as to what Google thinks is the answer.

As to my commentary on the whole thing?  I think I will let Sam Quint speak for me below…. lol –Matt

 

 

The honorable Sam Quint replies….

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Military News: Cyber Combat–Act Of War

To supplement my cyber lance post, this news, along with the attacks on L3 and Lockheed Martin or the Stuxnet attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, all point to how important and dangerous this stuff really is. I will let the article speak for itself.

Also check out the Morgan Doctrine’s opinion about this story. The MD is a blog that promotes the concept of cyber privateers and tracks the world of cyber warfare and crime. –Matt

Cyber Combat: Act of War
MAY 31, 2011
Pentagon Sets Stage for U.S. to Respond to Computer Sabotage With Military Force
By SIOBHAN GORMAN And JULIAN E. BARNES
WASHINGTON—The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.
WSJ’s Siobhan Gorman has the exclusive story of the Pentagon classifying cyber attacks by foreign nations acts of war. – News Hub
The Pentagon’s first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country’s military.
In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a military official.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Technology: China Used Cyber Privateers In Attack Against Google

     The hack was part of a computer sabotage campaign carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. This has been going on since at least 2002, the cable said.

     I read this and the first thing that popped out at me was that China was contracting with private industry to attack an enemy in cyber space (the commons).  In this case, that enemy was Google.

     Also, just look at the list of folks they contracted with, and you wonder how is this not cyber privateering?  Perhaps the Chinese understand the concept of ‘creating an industry out of destroying your enemies’, much better than the west. It is also the Chinese who are doing this, and not some poor third world country.

     So this is the next thought that came to mind.  If China is doing this, then why couldn’t the US use the same tool of cyber warfare against the Chinese, or even against a group like Wikileaks?  Hell, we can even be open about it and issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal to individuals and companies in order to make this happen. Just a thought, and hey, China is doing it. lol –Matt

Chinese Government Ordered Hack on Google Servers: Wikileaks

By Clint Boulton2010-11-29

Wikileaks gave the New York Times a diplomatic cable that shows the Chinese government was responsible for the hack on Google’s Gmail system.

China’s government was indeed behind the hack on Google’s Gmail system earlier this year according to a cable captured by the controversial Wikileaks organization.

Wikileaks, which butters its bread collecting secret documents and seeding them in media outlets, snagged 250,000 American diplomatic cables dating back three years and released some of them to the New York Times and other media outlets.

The Times cited one of the cables as proof that “China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January.”

The hack was part of a computer sabotage campaign carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. This has been going on since at least 2002, the cable said.

A Google spokesperson told eWEEK: “We aren’t going to be able to comment. As you know, since we revealed this incident in January, we haven’t been speculating as to the parties responsible.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Building Snowmobiles: Cyber Privateers

     Ahhhh, time to fire up the old Building Snowmobiles category again, and thanks to James from Death Valley Magazine for giving me the heads up on this story below. Wired’s Danger Room wrote up an interesting article on the latest contract that Booz Allen Hamilton won with the Air Force in regards to cyber-security. This is interesting to me, because it is a government contracting a PMC to provide security in a commons called cyber space.  It reminds me of our original privateers in the US who were contracted by Congress via the Letter of Marque, to go after the British in that other ‘commons’ called the open sea. And with this latest contract, I would have to say that Booz Allen Hamilton gets the award for top cyber privateer. lol (that is not to say that Booz Hamilton will be getting bounties or seizing assets any time soon, but private industry is certainly answering the call for this one and making some serious money)

     I have lately been toying with the idea of how the Letter of Marque (LoM) could be applied to today’s current cyber security threats and to cyber warfare.  The scope of threats are so large and so complex, that there must be a strategy implemented that can keep up with these threats.  It is my belief that you should approach the problem with multiple solutions that all contribute to the overall strategy, and to create those solutions you need some analysis and you need synthesis.  And cyber privateers is some serious synthesis in my opinion, and I don’t think anyone has really delved into this before.  Issuing a LoM to individuals or companies might be one way to tap into the creativity and freedom of private industry, and still keep a leash on them based on the legal requirements of the letter.  It would be a way for congress to keep control over these kinds of contractors, yet still allow them to do their thing out there.  That kind of free market warfare coupled with very specific control mechanisms is crucial to this concept.

     The LoM can also allow the government to contract with one person or an entire company.  Companies like Booz Hamilton might not be able to attract the star players of cyber warfare.  So if the government wants to get these lone wolves on their side(both foreign and domestic), the LoM and an extremely lucrative bounty or prize law system would be one way to do that. The LoM could also give that lone wolf cyber warrior a license that is signed off and approved by the nations top law makers.  That to me has more appeal than being a subcontractor for some military branch of service, and hanging in limbo as to what laws and policies I need to follow or pay attention too.  Please note all the legal issues surrounding today’s usage of private military companies in the war.  The LoM could be the answer to mitigate those issues for today’s union between private industry and the government.

     Also, the way the LoM works is pretty flexible in my view.  It can be as complex or as simple as we want to make it.  After all, congress would be the ones forming the committee to issue the things, and they would be writing the thing up.  I am sure no one would want the LoM if it did not fully answer all and any legal issues, hence ‘my lawyer will talk with your lawyer’.  That is the way I would envision this.  Because if not, no one would want to do business with Congress and the US government if it did not have all the right protections in that document.

     As to what kind of activities the cyber privateers could do?  Hmmmm. Let your imagination run wild I guess.  Basically, if China wants to use hackers to go after the US for example, those Chinese hackers would be prime targets for cyber privateers.  Hell, cyber privateers could be tasked with going after entire countries that we consider threats. You could also use cyber privateers to go after organized crime, terrorists, etc., and set up bounties for all types of activities that a congress would want their cyber privateers to do. You might want to use cyber privateers for a very specific corner of the cyber warfare market, and the imagination is the only limit. Like Thomas Jefferson once said “Every possible encouragement should be given to privateering in time of war.” Using cyber privateers to conduct cyber warfare or defend the country, is one tool that the government could implement. For further study on the subject of LoM, I would suggest the reader check out this post and publication here, and use the search feature on this blog. –Matt

——————————————————————-

Booz Allen hiring 5,000 employees this year

Friday, May 14, 2010

Washington Business Journal – by Bryant Ruiz Switzky and Gayle S. Putrich

Consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. is going on a major hiring binge.

The McLean-based government contractor is hiring 1,500 people over the next two months and expects to hire about 5,000 workers in 2010, some of which are rehires.

More than 60 percent of those jobs will be in the Washington area, said Leslie Esposito, director of recruiting.

Most of the positions are for consultants and include cost estimators, intelligence analysts, operations research analysts, program managers, acquisitions analysts, clinical health consultants, energy consultants, environmental consultants and human capital management and organizational efficiency experts. There is also a wide range of technology-related positions.

Story here.

——————————————————————-

Recent Air Force Contracts with Booz Allen & Hamilton

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $24,302,677 contract which will provide combat-ready forces to conduct secure cyber operations in and through the electromagnetic spectrum, with air and space operations.  At this time, $496,032 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Deliver Order 0414).

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $24,283,152 contract which will provide innovative recommendations on information assurance disciplines for Systems Center Atlantic to develop information assurance capabilities for the Federal Compliance Program.  At this time, $122,060 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0407).

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $23,302,445 contract which will provide instrumented live, virtual and constructive joint exercise enabled via the Joint National Training Capability’s global grid to enhance information assurance/cyber activities under U.S. Space Command’s span of control.  At this time, $2,672,756 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0417).

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $19,835,902 contract which will provide information integrity and integration of information assurance capabilities into existing operational command and control networks and systems.  At this time, $5,000 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0415).

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $19,831,145 contract which will define information assurance scientific and technical analysis to be applied to future military satellite communication systems development and assess vulnerabilities of emerging satellite communication systems to provide secure end-to-end communications services to deployed warfighters.  At this time, $1,607,798 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0411).

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $15,870.840 contract which will provide secure and highly reliable network operations and computer network defense components in order to carry out Air Combat Command’s mission.  At this time, $45,120 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Deliver Order 0408).

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $14,877,735 contract which will provide information assurance and information systems security improvements to U.S. military ground communication systems and onboard U.S. military airborne systems and platforms.  At this time, $2,692,270 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0413).

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $14,880,375 contract which will provide state of the art information assurance capabilities in order to increase interoperability and availability of secure information to improve decision making.  At this time, $347,793 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0409).

                Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded an $8,925,518 contract which will develop innovative cyber security capabilities and network defense for Air Force information systems.  At this time, $164,682 has been obligated.  55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0410).

——————————————————————

Defense Firms Pursue Cyber-Security Work

MARCH 18, 2009

By AUGUST COLE and SIOBHAN GORMAN

WASHINGTON — The biggest U.S. military contractors are counting on winning billions of dollars in work to protect the federal government against electronic attacks.

U.S. agencies from the Pentagon to the Department of Homeland Security have experienced major cyber-break-ins in recent years, even into classified systems. Cyberspies also have siphoned off critical data from Pentagon contractors, including one breach that cost a major aerospace contractor $15 million.

Intelligence officials estimate annual U.S. losses from cyber breaches to be in the billions of dollars, and some worry that cyber attackers could take control of a nuclear power plant or subway line via the Internet — or wipe out the data of a major financial institution.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,