US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

An example of the difficulty of enforcing opsec as the internet becomes ever more pervasive in everyday life.

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US military reviewing security practices after fitness app reveals sensitive info
CNN Digital Expansion Shoot, Joshua BerlingerAnchor Muted Background
By Joshua Berlinger and Maegan Vazquez, CNN

Updated 10:14 AM ET, Mon January 29, 2018

Washington (CNN)The US Central Command says it's in the process of refining its privacy policies after it was reported that a fitness tracking app that maps people's exercise habits could pose security risks for security forces around the world.

Strava, which bills itself as "the social network for athletes" and allows its users to share their running routes, released a newly updated global heatmap last November. But experts and keen observers have recently realized its potential to reveal location patterns of security forces working out at military bases in remote locations.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has been made aware of the issue and the DoD is reviewing policy regarding smartphones and wearable devices, Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said on Monday.

"We take these matters seriously and we are reviewing the situation to determine if any additional training or guidance is required, and if any additional policy must be developed to ensure the continued safety of DoD personnel at home and abroad," Manning said.

He added that Mattis "has been very clear about not highlighting our capabilities to aid the enemy or give the enemy any advantage, so that would be our approach going in on this one as well."

Nathan Ruser, a 20-year-old Australian student and analyst for the Institute for United Conflict Analysts, noted on Twitter on Saturday that the map made US bases "clearly identifiable and mappable."

"If soldiers use the app like normal people do, by turning it on tracking when they go to do exercise, it could be especially dangerous. This particular track looks like it logs a regular jogging route. I shouldn't be able to establish any Pattern of life info from this far away," Ruser tweeted.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for US Central Command said it is constantly working to "refine policies and procedures to address such challenges."

"The coalition is in the process of implementing refined guidance on privacy settings for wireless technologies and applications, and such technologies are forbidden at certain coalition sites and during certain activities. We will not divulge specific tactics, techniques and procedures," the statement continued.

In addition, the statement said that Central Command maintains "confidence in our commanders' abilities to enforce established policies that enhance force protection and operational security with the least impact to our personnel."

The Army previously issued fitness trackers to officers, though it's unclear how many of these devices were synced to Strava's software.

In 2013, the Army issued Fitbit Flex wristbands to some 2,200 soldiers as part of its "Performance Triad" program, reported. In 2015, the program expanded: 20,000 soldiers and reservists across American bases within the continental US were tagged to participate, according to the Army Times.

In a post about the update in November, Strava said the update would include "six times more data than before -- in total one billion activities from all Strava data through September 2017." Strava boasts "tens of millions" of users, and according to the company, marked three trillion latitude/longitude points on the updated map. It tracks location data using GPS from Fitbits, cellphones, and other fitness tracking devices.

In response to inquiries about the Strava data, Pentagon spokeswoman Maj. Audricia Harris said "DoD takes matters like these very seriously and is reviewing the situation to determine if any additional training or guidance is required, and if any additional policy must be developed to ensure the continued safety of DoD personnel at home and abroad."

10,000 'screw-ups'

Scott Lafoy, an open-source imagery analyst, told CNN it's too early to truly assess how useful the data is.

"In terms of strategic stuff, we know all the bases there, we know a lot of the positions, this will just be some nice ancillary data," said Lafoy.

From the site, it's possible to identify individuals' running routes, and around military bases users had posted profile photos of themselves wearing military uniforms.
Tracking the timing of movements on bases could provide valuable information on patrol routes or where specific personnel are deployed, Lafoy said.

It could also pose a danger for government officials posted in dangerous locations, like diplomats, who may not be in as secure locations as military personnel.

"If the data is not actually anonymous, then you can start figuring out timetables and like some very tactical information, and then you start getting into some pretty serious issues," LaFoy said.

Strava said in a statement to CNN that the company is "committed to working with military and government officials to address sensitive areas that might appear."

"Our global heatmap represents an aggregated and anonymized view of over a billion activities uploaded to our platform. It excludes activities that have been marked as private and user-defined privacy zones. We are committed to helping people better understand our settings to give them control over what they share," the statement said.

Regardless of the data's usability, the fact that it's out there shows a lapse in protocol, one that likely has the potential to cost information and operation security personnel their jobs, Lafoy said.

"This is literally what 10,000 innocent individual screw-ups look like," he said. "A lot if it is going to be a good reminder to security services why you do opsec (operational security) and why you do manage this sort of thing, and everyone is going to really hope it doesn't get a couple people killed in the meantime."

Limiting public profiles

When zoomed out, the heatmap shows more populated and developed parts of the world nearly completely lit up. Remote areas and conflict zones are darker, but eagle-eyed observers have noticed small lights in some of the areas, potentially identifying military personnel.

Twitter users have identified locations including a suspected CIA base in Somalia, a Patriot missile defense system site in Yemen and US special operations bases in the Sahel region of Africa. CNN cannot independently verify these claims. Known military sites like Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and the Falkland Islands' RAF Mount Pleasant also show activity.

Multiple airports in Somalia show circles around airfields in the city. "Heavy jogging" at the airport in the capital of Mogadishu was spotted earlier by The Daily Beast's Adam Rawnsley.

The US Department of Defense said in response to the Strava data that "annual training for all DoD personnel recommends limiting public profiles on the internet, including personal social media accounts."

"Furthermore, operational security requirements provide further guidance for military personnel supporting operations around the world. Recent data releases emphasize the need for situational awareness when members of the military share personal information," said Pentagon spokeswoman Harris.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the location of Diego Garcia.

Joshua Berlinger reported and wrote from Hong Kong, while Maegan Vazquez reported and wrote from Washington. CNN's Ryan Browne, Kevin Bohn, Jason Hoffman and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
... now skimmed over
Army's New Pistols Often Eject Live Rounds and Don't Work Well With Regular Bullets
January 29, 2018
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is it sensationalist?
just a bit but ...
now I read it and I wouldn't have thought a country with like one billion pieces, and Military experienced with firearms since the times of Brown Bess, might select (= to pay for) something like this


Tyrant King
now I read it and I wouldn't have thought a country with like one billion pieces, and Military experienced with firearms since the times of Brown Bess, might select (= to pay for) something like this
History Jura... History The M9 had a major engineering design change imposed early on to.
according to some ( who know who they are) the AR15 as a whole is also a piece of junk. They are wrong the early issues were fixed and had more to do with people not bothering to make ammo to spec, or considering the humidity of the tropics.
The rounds of the M17/M18 are also new, and the sidearms is always a fall back weapon.
Some are very very angry about the choice not to go with Glock or just to Keep the M9. What the new pistol seeks to offer is a future proof design. A system that can be easily reconfigured to match changes in sidearm design rather then having to buy new ones when changes need to happen. M1911A1 and M9 couldn't do that. When the US army bought M1911's back in 1911 those pistols fought well in WW1 but could not be refit to match the demands of the Change to M1911A1. Well those farther suffered as the US kept them in service until the late 80's because as a pistol designed in the early quarter of the century it demands a lot of hand machining to get it to work perfectly. Now once that is done it's a work of Art and Shoots like a dream. but the Heavy caliber Low capacity and heavy gunsmithing needs really should have retired it by the 1970's, of course the replacement only emerged in the 80's, and even then elements of US SOCOM and MARSOC kept M1911A1 modifications in service until a few years back.

The M9 had issues upfront in the form of a slide not designed for the heavier ball ammo that was used in it from time to time. In fact the Navy Seals flat out dropped it and adopted Sig P226 pistols, and because of its size some units demanded a smaller pistol the M11 a Sig P228 was adopted for them.
Those M9 pistols remain in service and only the Marines authorized a modification the M9A1. on the Whole the M9 as issued in the US military is the exact same pistol as issued in the 1991 Gulf war.

In the early 90's SOCOM demanded a pistol for suppressor use. the M9 although possible was felt lacking so Socom adopted the Mk23 mod 0, a Pistol just smaller then the Desert Eagle and so specialized it basically replaces an Primary weapon, it's size however counted against it and it's proved a unpopular weapon. Especially since soon after HK the maker of the MK23 developed the smaller USP tactical in .45ACP with the same suppressor features but the .45ACP has also proven a bit troubled because of high recoil low velocity and low capacity plus specialized need.

MEUSOC and FORCE RECON Marines kept the M1911A1 and heavily modified them continuously.

With the War on Terror these pistols special forces and otherwise faced far more use then they had in the peaceful period and started to show their age. The first plan was simple Reprocure
MEUSOC moved from rebuilding M1911A1's from it's stocks to Building increasingly more and more custom pistols into the new millennium when they had to stop using existing stores of M1911 frames and buy new frames from custom makers ( Kimber ICQB) but the numbers game demanded more so they stopped and outsourced to Colt Firearms to make the M45 based off Colt modified Rail M1911A1s with 8 rounds of .45ACP. But then something happened In a joint exercise in Jordan and they were facing off against commando's packing Glocks and Sigs in 9mm with 17 round magazines. They couldn't keep up.

In around 2008
The Navy Bought brand new Mk 25 mod 0 Sig P226 pistols and they worked well
They also bough the New Mk 24 mod 0 to phase out the USP and MK23's these new pistols were HK45 Compact Tactical
but increasingly Socom found that there was a pistol that found itself the better competitor as the 9mm round was more and more proving just enough to get the job done without the losses in capacity. This is when (2016) US SOCOM adopted the MK 26 mod 0, Mk 27 mod 0, Mk 28 mod 0 and Mk 29 mod 0 Variants of the Glock 26, Glock 19, Glock 17 and Glock 34 respectively. Around that time MARSOC and Marine Raiders as well as Army Rangers and Delta ( had already) traded in there .45's for variants of the 9mm Glock pistol.
With this you can see why a lot of people were betting on a Glock M17

So What happened at MHS? how did Glock not win? well 2 pistols got to the final phase, The Pistol that would become the Glock 19X on the commercial market and the winner the Sig P320 MHS.
What Glock offered has been jokingly described as the Handgun equivalent of a Mullet. "business in the front, party in the back"
It is a Glock 19 slide and recoil system on a Glock 17 frame. All evidence is this was there single intended offering.
Now I am not a fan of Glock pistols. The Glock is the Toyota of pistols, it's the barrest most basic of what a modern combat pistol should be, It's nothing special. back in the 80's and early 90's when polymer frames were new yeah a stand out but today just about everybody has a polymer frame option.
The sights are basic nothing special, they added a lip to the grip which actually hurts it using some magazines and so to does the lanyard loop. The Glock Accessory rail that only mounts accessories made for it. The only difference between the 19X and the MHS offering is the MHS 19X had a manual safety.

Sig P320 has it's issues, and they are still having some issues. what they offered was a P320 modified with manual safety in FDE color, with fiber optic sights, that's a major upgrade compared to the Glock irons. a removable plate on the rear of the slide that allows mounting of a micro dot optic in this case the Leupold delta point Pro was specified for the Army. a Mil Std rail that will fit in service accessories, two sizes a full size and a smaller for compact carry.

Both had to offer Suppressor kits and holsters. Sig won because they did all that, they met or acceded the reliability demanded by the testing standards and at a price point below the Glock bid.
Now Jura what the Article you link to does is basically try to say that the Army's own reliability demands were invalid. That the bar was set to low. Now 6 other bidders were entered for the MHS including Beretta APX, CZ P07, FN FNS, Kriss USA Sphinx SDP and Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0, all of these pistols were dropped from the program for not meeting the demands of reliability with only the SIg and the Glock standing.
These complaints are paroting of the Glock Complaints to the GAO who found them to be mostly baseless.

History Jura...

thanks for your explanation, but what I basically meant Yesterday at 8:40 PM was this:

since the main issue appears to be [the winner] "... did not function reliably with the companion XM1152, a standard “ball” round with a bullet fully enclosed within a copper jacket." (according to the article from Monday at 8:56 PM), and it's hard to believe they didn't know about this issue,

why did the Pentagon buy?


"Lockheed Martin has tested a new configuration of its Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) missile at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Friday, January 26th. The test comprised a controlled flight of the miniature missile to demonstrate the interceptor’s increased agility and to validate the performance of its airframe and electronics. The missile now uses a common configuration for both active and semi-active guided missiles.

The increased agility was required to enable the weapon to defeat its primary targets – rockets, artillery and mortar (RAM) and Counter-UAV target with greater accuracy, reliability, and range compared to current systems."

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" The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for additional Lot 10 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, interceptors for the U.S. Army.

The deal, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, is valued at more than $459.2 million under a modified fixed-price incentive-firm target contract for line item numbers."

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Tyrant King
thanks for your explanation, but what I basically meant Yesterday at 8:40 PM was this:

since the main issue appears to be [the winner] "... did not function reliably with the companion XM1152, a standard “ball” round with a bullet fully enclosed within a copper jacket." (according to the article from Monday at 8:56 PM), and it's hard to believe they didn't know about this issue,

why did the Pentagon buy?
because they deemed the issue not a deal breaker. Because the X in XM means developmental and subject to change.
Op-ed by the recent candidate for US ambassador to South Korea Victor Cha related to the latest rumors of US consideration of a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, take it as you will.

Victor Cha: Giving North Korea a ‘bloody nose’ carries a huge risk to Americans
By Victor Cha January 30 at 8:28 PM
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Fears of US ‘bloody nose’ attack on North Korea on the rise
Dropped US ambassador designate publishes scathing attack on limited strike option just prior to Trump’s State of Union address
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Lieutenant General
The test did occurred but there was no confirm "failed" and I doubt the military will ever tell either.o_O

The U.S. missile defense system reportedly failed to intercept a test missile
Bad news, everyone: America's missile defense system failed during a test Wednesday, CNN reports. In the test, the defensive missile known as the SM-3 Block IIA was supposed to shoot down a flying object meant to imitate an intercontinental ballistic missile. This is no easy feat. One of the missile's developers, defense contractor Raytheon, compares it "to intercepting a bullet with another bullet." Still, it reportedly failed, raising concerns that the U.S. remains vulnerable to incoming missiles. A Department of Defense spokesperson would only acknowledge to CNN that the test occurred, not whether it failed.
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