Posts Tagged danger room

DIY: Defense Distributed And The Democratization Of Weapons Manufacturing

Check this out. I first heard about Defense Distributed from Danger Room and this group is totally dedicated to the concept of democratized weapons manufacturing. This goes along with my prior posts about the concept of Opensource Military Hardware.

This concept is also a threat to the major weapons manufacturers out there–hence why the company they leased their 3D printer from ultimately chose to take it back. Who knows, and both sides of this issue are presented in the posts at Danger Room.

The other thing that perked me up was the use of crowd funding in order to get this going. They used Indiegogo as a funding tool for this project in order to raise the $20,000 to get it started. Below I have posted the group’s goals and here is a link to their website. –Matt


1) Create the world’s first 100% 3D printable gun
GOAL: Develop a fully printable 3D gun
Our initial Wiki Weapon (A) design has no moving parts and relies on a separate, inserted solenoid to fire. We begin with this design to learn from the ABS material itself, but this is a method of trial and error. At $5 per cubic inch, we are at the point where we need outside funds to produce and complete a proof gun. The result of the lessons we learn from WikiWep A will instruct the design and development of Wiki Weapon B, a fully-printable gun comprised of near 100% printable parts.
2) Adapt the design down to cheaper 3D printers
Goal: Adapt the design so it can be printed on less expensive 3D printers-without compromising safety.
These guns will be almost completely plastic, so melting and failing in your hand will be a concern. Only after testing a few dozen designs to failure will we discover the right limitations to be comfortable rating a WikiWep as safe for one use. Basically we need to break some guns. This is the seed money for the second phase of development. We want to minimize negative media about the safety concerns of untested firearms and the inevitable suggestions that governments should protect us from ourselves.
3) Become The Web’s Printable Gun Wiki Redoubt
Goal: Further embrace the “Wiki” root of the project and establish a printable gunsmithing commons.
Instead of hacking off central planners directly, why not ignore them into irrelevance? In response to our project’s feedback and instincts, we open up this site to the world to share and participate in the creation and distribution of knowledge relevant to advancing 3D printable weapons.

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Bounties: State Department Sponsors International Game Of Tag With Cash Prize

A big hat tip to Danger Room for putting this one out there. Awhile back I posted a Building Snowmobiles concept dealing with RIM or recursive incentive mechanism. This is what MIT came up with in a DARPA contest to find ten red balloons scattered throughout the US, using social media and a bounty system.  MIT blew away the competition for this contest, and I suspect they will participate in this game and do well. But you never know?

So why is this important? In the new rules of war that I have talked about in the past, finding the enemy is key if we want to destroy them or capture them. Especially if today’s enemies hide amongst a population.

If we can leverage the power of these people networks that are already established on places like Twitter and Facebook, and incentivize and reward these networks for finding and reporting wanted fugitives or terrorists, then that is a significant capability. With everyone carrying a computer called a smart phone in their pocket, we have nodes walking around all over the place that could potentially help. The key is tapping into these networks, and then those networks use their computers/cellphones/smart phones etc. to communicate/seek/find/report to win the game.

On a side note, notice how all of this stuff really lends itself to a rapid OODA decision making cycle? Games like this get people engaged and incentivize them to really tap into these tools and networks to build their personal OODA machine–to win the game.

I have also argued that our current systems of bounties or incentives suck, and it is smart to really explore the realms of offense industry here if we want to get good at ‘finding’ folks.

On the other hand, organizations with ill intent might also use these methods to find folks. So to me, it is imperative to figure out what works and capitalize on it first so as to stay one step ahead of competitors/criminals/enemies.

So we will see who wins this game, and what the results will be. Also, if you would like to participate, go to the website and check out the rules. This is a world wide game and there is a nice little prize. Check it out. –Matt


State Dept. Sponsors International Game of Tag with Cash Prize
Gamers challenged to locate five “jewel thieves” in U.S. and Europe
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 2012 Tag Challenge calls on technology enthusiasts from several nations to set their sleuthing skills loose on a mock gang of jewel thieves in an  international search contest to take place Saturday, March 31.
The social gaming contest will have participants  use  technological and social resources to  locate and photograph five “suspects”  in  five different cities—Washington, D.C., New York City, London, Stockholm,  and Bratislava—based only on a picture and a short description  of each one.
The  first  person  to  upload  pictures  of  all  five  suspects  to  the  Tag  Challenge  website  will  earn  international bragging rights—and  a  cash  prize  of  $5,000.

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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


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.

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War Art: ’Modern SWAT’, From LMS Defense-The Comics

 Modern SWAT

‘Modern SWAT’ by LMS Defense- The Comics.  Artwork by Righteous Duke.  Recently showcased on Wired’s Danger Room blog here.

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Industry Talk: Wired’s Danger Room PR Tips for Blackwater Revisited

   I wanted to resurrect this post from Wired’s Danger Room, to show some interesting ideas for public relations.  I have no clue if Sharon or the gang at Wired has been privately talking with BW since this article, but it is kind of interesting how BW has adopted some of these ideas.  Especially the whole ‘Xe’ thing. –Matt


 Top Ten PR Moves for Blackwater

By Sharon Weinberger 

September 20, 2007   

As the saying goes, free advice and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee (though it’s probably more like three bucks these days). So, here are my top 10 ideas for “rebranding Blackwater” as a warm, fuzzier merc outfit Private Military Contractor. (By the way, this is PR advice, so I’m not going to touch any policy/operational issues; this is just good old-fashioned spin.)

Personally, I prefer the Blackwater of current incarnation — the one that produces tons and tons of too-awful-to-be-true PR missteps, which in turn produces lots of good news stories and blog posts. But I’m just doing this is as sort of an intellectual exercise in Machiavellian thinking, like musing about how you would commit the perfect crime.

So, in no particular order…..

1) New name, preferably with indecipherable acronym.

It took decades before anyone run an “expose” about SAIC. And most people have already forgotten about it. When was the last time you saw a major article about CSC, or Computer Sciences Corporation (hmm, never). DynCorp and prostitutes? A distant memory.

Let’s face it: Does your typical American know (or care) what ARINC stands for?

Heck no.

The point here is if you want to be a shadowy, low-profile sort of company, start acting like one.

It’s a fine balance here, so no, no, nothing like “Executive Outcomes.” That was too Bond-like. Nothin’ but trouble. Personally, I’m fond of something snooze-worthy like SMS, for “Strategic Management Solutions.” Words like “systems,” “integration,” and “analytics” all work well.

Or heck, just use the acronym.

2) New logo.

Yes, that bear paw is totally awesome cool, if you want teenage boys to love ‘ya as much as they love Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Press just loooooves that logo (photographers, too!), it just screams “page one.” Choose something like the DARPA logo, that innocuous globe-shaped thingamajig also favored by companies of unknown acronyms. Remember how many problems DARPA had when they went with the masonic temple/eye thing for the Information Awareness Office?

Shadow companies should use forgettable logos. Anybody even know what Anteon’s logo looks like? Does your average American even know what Anteon does?! Of course not.

3) Don’t sell gear with your logo.

Just don’t do it. Trust me on this one.

4) Change colors (this goes with the logo point, perhaps).

Black is just soooo Angelina Jolie from her knife-cutting days. And nothin’ says “spicy mercenary story” like a man wearing wraparound shades and dressed in black. I think a darkish blue would work; still manly, but with a softer edge.

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