Russia Has Americans’ Weaknesses All Figured Out | Defense One

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What are Americans supposed to think when their leaders contradict one another on the most basic question of national security—who is the enemy?

This is happening every day on the floors of the House and the Senate, in committee hearing rooms, on television news programs, and in President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.

Is Russia the enemy, or was the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election just a slow-motion attack on the president and his supporters?

Are Russian fake-news troll farms stirring up resentment among the American electorate, or are mainstream-media outlets just making things up?

U.S. military commanders, national-security officials, and intelligence analysts have a definitive answer: Russia is an enemy. It is taking aggressive action right now, from cyberspace to outer space, and all around the world, against the United States and its allies.

But the public has been slow to catch on, polls suggest, and Trump has given Americans little reason to believe that their president recognizes Russia’s recent actions as a threat.

All the uncertainty is part of Vladimir Putin’s plan.

America’s confusion is both a product and a principal goal of a qualitatively new kind of warfare that the Kremlin is waging—a campaign that systematically targets a democratic but politically divided society whose economy, media environment, and voting systems all depend on vulnerable electronic technologies.

Source: Russia Has Americans’ Weaknesses All Figured Out – Defense One

Moscow to Weave AI Face Recognition into Its Urban Surveillance Net | Defense One


This year, Moscow will join a growing number of global cities whose populations are monitored by AI-enabled facial recognition programs.

More than 160,000 cameras already watch the capital city’s 12 million people on the streets and in its sprawling subway system, one of the world’s largest. Now Russia’s artificial-intelligence development companies will vie for the chance to have their programs run the show. This points to the growing sophistication of the country’s AI developers and the confidence the government has in implementing such technologies across the country.

Among the top contenders for the job is NtechLab, an AI startup whose FindFace face recognition technology won IARPA’s Face Recognition Challenge Prize in 2017.

Source: Moscow to Weave AI Face Recognition into Its Urban Surveillance Net – Defense One

Senate bill restricts U.S. tech exports to China | FCW

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A new bill would severely restrict U.S. companies from selling a broad range of technologies to Chinese-owned entities.

The China Technology Transfer Control Act of 2019, introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), would place a large swath of technologies and intellectual property deemed “important to the national interest of the United States” on the Department of Commerce’s export control list, forcing American companies to obtain a special license to sell their products to China or Chinese-owned entities.

The bill takes direct aim at technologies targeted in the Made in China 2025 plan, a 10-year strategy crafted by Beijing policymakers in 2015 to develop and promote domestic business in a number of emerging technology sectors, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, semiconductors, lithium batteries and high-capacity computing.

Source: Senate bill restricts U.S. tech exports to China — FCW

Why the U.S. wants zero tolerance on Chinese 5G gear | FCW


Senators have a warning for U.S. allies whose network providers plan to incorporate Chinese-made 5G telecommunications gear.

“We’re telling the world, ‘If you buy Chinese 5G stuff, you’re not doing business with us,'” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in his questions to two U.S. cybersecurity experts about the nation’s 5G cybersecurity policy.

“It’s increasingly about the availability of the network,” Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security said.

If a portion of the traffic from a Defense Department mission in Europe, Africa or elsewhere is riding on a commercial network that’s supported by Huawei, DOD command and control could be short-circuited.

“They would control our ability to communicate,” Krebs said.

Source: Why the U.S. wants zero tolerance on Chinese 5G gear — FCW

With Even Fewer Checks on His Power, Where Will Duterte Take the Philippines?


Although divisive internationally, President Rodrigo Duterte has remained popular at home in the Philippines despite a deeply illiberal streak. And with this week’s midterm elections, he has amassed even more political power—probably more than any Philippine leader since dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

After pro-Duterte candidates dominated elections for the Senate—the only real remaining source of resistance to Duterte’s agenda—his allies control both chambers of the Philippine Congress. There will now be even fewer constraints on Duterte, who has already been working to weaken the checks on his powers, including by reshaping the Supreme Court.

By the end of the year, he will have appointed 12 of the court’s 15 justices.

What will Duterte do with this victory?

Given the past three years, it is easy to imagine him using his expanded political powers to move the Philippines further from an illiberal democracy and closer to an outright autocracy, while also taking steps to entrench his influence well beyond the end of his term in 2022.

Greater centralization of power not only threatens what is left of Philippine democracy; it could also hurt the economy, unsettling local and foreign investors.

Source: With Even Fewer Checks on His Power, Where Will Duterte Take the Philippines?

Is ‘Made in China 2025’ a Threat to Global Trade? | Council on Foreign Relations

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The Chinese government has launched “Made in China 2025,” a state-led industrial policy that seeks to make China dominant in global high-tech manufacturing.

The program aims to use government subsidies, mobilize state-owned enterprises, and pursue intellectual property acquisition to catch up with—and then surpass—Western technological prowess in advanced industries.

For the United States and other major industrialized democracies, however, these tactics not only undermine Beijing’s stated adherence to international trade rules but also pose a security risk.

Washington argues that the policy relies on discriminatory treatment of foreign investment, forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft, and cyber espionage, practices that have encouraged President Donald J. Trump to levy tariffs on Chinese goods and block several Chinese-backed acquisitions of technology firms.

Meanwhile, many other countries have tightened their oversight of foreign investment, intensifying debate over how best to respond to China’s behavior.

Source: Is ‘Made in China 2025’ a Threat to Global Trade? | Council on Foreign Relations

Air Force Orders Northrop Electronic Warfare Threat Simulators | ExecutiveBiz

Northrop Grumman has received a $46M delivery order from the U.S. Air Force to supply Joint Threat Emitter systems designed to simulate anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile threats for aircrew training activities.

The order, which falls under a potential $450M contract awarded to Northrop’s Amherst Systems subsidiary in late 2018, covers eight wideband JTE variants and retrofit kits, the company said Tuesday.

The original indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity award includes testing and training support for the mobile electronic warfare threat simulator as well as related equipment to support U.S. and foreign military sales customers.

Source: Air Force Orders Northrop Electronic Warfare Threat Simulators | ExecutiveBiz

129 Small Businesses Get NASA Space Tech Dev’t Contracts Worth $106M Total | GovCon Wire

NASA has awarded $106M in total contract funds to 129 small businesses to further develop technology platforms that may help sustain human presence on the moon and Mars.

The companies submitted 142 innovation proposals to develop, demonstrate and deliver space-based systems for planetary missions under the second phase of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research program, the agency said Wednesday.

Each awardee has the opportunity to receive up to $750K over two years.

Proposed technologies for SBIR Phase II include autonomous aircraft operation systems, sensor-based landing systems, next-generation magnets and an X-ray instrument for scanning planetary and asteroid rock samples.

Source: 129 Small Businesses Get NASA Space Tech Dev’t Contracts Worth $106M Total – GovCon Wire

Criterion Unveils Cybersecurity Compliance & Risk Mgmt Platform for Federal Agencies | ExecutiveBiz

Criterion Systems has launched a platform designed to help federal agencies develop and field cybersecurity and privacy programs.

CyberScale is a cyber compliance and risk management platform for customers to identify and assess a CS&P program’s risk using the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework, the company said Tuesday.

Source: Criterion Unveils Cybersecurity Compliance & Risk Mgmt Platform for Federal Agencies | ExecutiveBiz

Can the Bay Area Rein In the Surveillance Tools It Created? | Nextgov

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A predecessor to the first Privacy Advisory Commission convened five years ago, after news of a planned surveillance hub surfaced.

The federally funded “Domain Awareness Center” was initially intended just for the Oakland port, but city officials proposed expanding it in 2013. The stated purpose of the $11 million expanded project was to fight crime and better respond to potential emergencies. (Oakland had been struggling with an increase in violent crime since 2005.)

The proposal sought to blanket the city with cameras, gunshot detectors, and automated license plate readers so that the actions, movements, and connections of suspects could be tracked—and unwanted incidents, preempted.

“It’s all about efficiency and automation into the response when it comes to public safety and emergency response,” the city’s then-chief information officer, Ahsan Baig, told GovTech.

But privacy activists raised the alarm about mass surveillance, particularly highlighting the risk that this technology would discriminate against communities of color in poor neighborhoods.

Later, their concerns were vindicated when emails revealed that the real purpose of this initiative was spying on protesters, and the scope of the project was rolled back.

Source: Can the Bay Area Rein In the Surveillance Tools It Created? – Nextgov