Tag Archives: missile defense

Pentagon: The Chinese stole our newest weapons

Pentagon: The Chinese stole our newest weapons

Reuters / Carlos Barria

The designs for more than two dozen major weapons systems used by the United States military have fallen into the hands of the Chinese, US Department of Defense officials say.

Blueprints for the Pentagon’s most advanced weaponry, including the Black Hawk helicopter and the brand new Littoral Combat Ship used by the Navy, have all been compromised, the Defense Science Board claims in a new confidential report.

The Washington Post acknowledged late Monday that they have seen a copy of the report and confirmed that the Chinese now have the know-how to emulate some of the Pentagon’s most sophisticated programs.

“This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China,” a senior military official not authorized to speak on the record told Post reporters. “They’ve just saved themselves 25 years of research and development.”

“It’s nuts,” the source said of the report.

The Defense Science Board, a civilian advisory committee within the Pentagon, fell short of accusing the Chinese of stealing the designs. However, the Post’s report comes on the heels of formal condemnation courtesy of the DoD issued only earlier this month.

“In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military,” the Defense Department alleged in a previous report.

Ellen Nakashima, the Post reporter who detailed the DSB analysis this week, wrote that the computer systems at the Pentagon may not have necessarily been breached. Instead, rather, she suggested that the defense contractors who built these weapons programs have likely been subjected to a security breach. US officials speaking on condition of anonymity, she reported, said that a closed door meeting last year ended with evidence being presented of major defense contractors suffering from intrusions. When reached for comment, the largest defense contractors — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman — all refused to weigh in.

Chinese hackers have previously been accused of waging cyberattacks on a number of US entities, including billion-dollar corporations and governmental departments. In 2007 it was reported that China accumulated the blueprints for the Pentagon’s F-35 fighter jets, the most expensive weapons program ever created, but the latest news from the DSB decries that much more has been compromised.

According to the Post, the plans for the advanced Patriot missile system, an Army anti-ballistic program and a number of aircraft have all ended up in the hands of the Chinese. The result could mean the People’s Republic is working towards recreating the hallmarks of America’s military might for their own offensive purposes, while also putting China in a position where even the most advanced weaponry in the world won’t be able to withstand complex defensive capabilities once those projects are reverse engineered.

“If they got into the combat systems, it enables them to understand it to be able to jam it or otherwise disable it,” Winslow T. Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight, told the Post. “If they’ve got into the basic algorithms for the missile and how they behave, somebody better get out a clean piece of paper and start to design all over again.”

Mandiant, a US security firm located outside of Washington, reported earlier this year that the China has enlisted an elite squadron of cyber warrior to attack American computer systems and conduct espionage on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army. When the report was released in February, Mandiant said the PLA’s elusive Unit 61398 has successfully compromised the networks of more than 141 companies across 20 major industries, including Coca-Cola and a Canadian utility company. Those hacks reportedly subsided after Mandiant went public with their claims, but earlier this month the firm said those attacks have since been renewed.

“They dialed it back for a little while, though other groups that also wear uniforms didn’t even bother to do that,” CEO Kevin Mandia told the New York Times recently. “I think you have to view this as the new normal.”

On their part, China has adamantly denied all claims that they’ve waged attacks on US networks. Following Mandiant’s initial report, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said the claims were “irresponsible and unprofessional.”

“Hacking attacks are transnational and anonymous,” Hong Lei said. “Determining their origins are extremely difficult. We don’t know how the evidence in this so-called report can be tenable.” SOURCEu

Red Alert Pentagon activates missile defenses for North Korean launch

Red Alert
Pentagon activates missile defenses for North Korean launch

BY: Bill Gertz –

The Pentagon recently activated its global missile shield in anticipation of North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile, according to defense officials.

The measures include stepped-up electronic monitoring, deployment of missile interceptor ships, and activation of radar networks to areas near the Korean peninsula and western Pacific.

Three interceptor ships near Japan and the Philippines, as well as U.S.-based interceptors, are ready to shoot down the North Korean missile if space-, land-, and sea-based sensors determine its flight path is targeted at the United States or U.S. allies, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Obama administration will regard any launch by North Korea as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions regardless of whether the North Koreans claim the rocket test is for space launch purposes, the officials said. The technology and rocketry used for a space launch is nearly identical to that used with ballistic missiles that carry a warhead, they said.

Also, because the payload or warhead of the test launch cannot be determined prior to launch, the Obama administration decided to activate the missile defense system.

According to U.S. officials, current intelligence assessments indicate the North Korean missile will be launched from a base called Tongchang-ri, located on a west coast peninsula north of Pyongyang between April 12 and April 15.

Satellite Photo of Tongchang-ri from March 28, 2012 / AP Images

The missile’s first stage could impact in the Yellow Sea near South Korea and the second stage could land east of the Philippines in the Pacific.

Satellite images published Monday show preparations for the launch are continuing.

Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham would not say if missile defenses were activated for the upcoming test.

However, Cunningham said, “North Korea’s announcement that it plans to conduct a long-range missile launch at any time would be in direct violation of its international obligations.”

U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 “clearly and unequivocally prohibit North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology,” she said.

“Such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea’s recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches,” Cunningham said.

“The U.S. closely monitors threats to international security and has the capability to respond if and when appropriate.”

A U.S. official said the military’s large, X-band radar that is based on a oil-rig-sized floating platform sailed from Honolulu to waters near Korea on March 26 as part of the activation.

Current U.S. missile defense systems include networks of radar and space tracking gear, including ground- and sea-based radar, Aegis ships, and long-range interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California. A total of 30 three-stage interceptors are deployed.

Any decision to shoot down the missile would be made by the president, officials said.

The missile defense activation was briefly mentioned by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Saturday during a meeting with reporters aboard the Navy ship USS Peleliu. Asked what military steps were taken to deal with a future North Korean launch, Panetta said the U.S. has “put whatever assets in place that we need in order to deal with any contingency.”

“We expressed our concern,” Panetta said of the upcoming launch. “The president of the United States made very clear that the North Koreans should not do this. It is provocative. It’s dangerous and it violates the international law. And so our hope is that they will not do it. But as always takes place in these kinds of situations, we have to be fully prepared for any possibility—and we are.”

Details of the missile defense deployments are classified. However, defense officials said the measures include the stationing of three Navy Aegis-equipped warships around Japan that are equipped with SM-3 missile interceptors.

The U.S. missile defense deployments are being closely coordinated with Japan’s government and military, which has deployed two Aegis ships armed with SM-3s, along with Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile batteries around Tokyo.

Japan’s concern is that if the missile goes astray or breaks up, it will target Japanese territory, and the shorter-range defenses will be used to try and shoot down the debris before impact.

North Korea has announced that it is planning a space launch of a satellite. But U.S. officials said the missile being readied on a launch pad north of the capital of Pyongyang appears similar to North Korea’s Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile.

U.S. officials also said that regardless of the configuration, the launch is likely cover for a missile test since U.N. sanctions prohibit North Korea from launching missiles.

According to the officials, the initial phases of the U.S. missile defense activation include stepped-up intelligence gathering by spy satellites and RC-135 Cobra Ball aircraft based at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.

Asked for details, a U.S. official would say only that “We’ve got what we need to monitor a possible launch.”

Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a second Pentagon spokeswoman, declined to provide details on the North Korean launch preparation but said, “We’re monitoring the situation very closely, along with our [Republic of Korea] counterparts, to ensure the defense of the ROK.”

“Through our combined capabilities, we can sufficiently monitor North Korea’s efforts,” she said.

Hull-Ryde declined to discuss military operations, plans or intelligence but said, “We stand ready to defend U.S. territory, our allies and our national interests.”

The last time missile defenses were activated on the current scale was 2009, when North Korea conducted a test flight of a Taepodong-2 on April 5.

Prior to that launch, also announced by Pyongyang as a space launch, the Navy deployed two Aegis ships in the Sea of Japan and one Aegis east of Japan, according to a State Department cable made public by Wikileaks.

Also, in 2009, the military shared ballistic missile data with Japan from the Shared Early Warning system and the AN/TPY-2 X-band radar located at Shariki, Aomori, Japan.

The Seventh Fleet and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces carried out aegis ship data sharing.

As the missile was being fueled, U.S. Forces Japan activated a 24/7 Crisis Action Team with the Japanese military.

U.S. secrecy regarding its missile defense deployments contrasts with Japan’s openness on the issue. Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka on March 23 ordered missile defenses prepared for the North Korean launch. The preparations included Aegis warships and ground-based PAC-3 defenses.

The North Korean missile’s likely flight path could take it over Okinawa.

SOURCE

President Obama Asks Medvedev for ‘Space’ on Missile Defense — ‘After My Election I Have More Flexibility’

President Obama Asks Medvedev for ‘Space’ on Missile Defense — ‘After My Election I Have More Flexibility’

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SEOUL, South Korea — At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

When asked to explain what President Obama meant, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes told ABC News that there is room for the U.S. and Russia to reach an accommodation, but “there is a lot of rhetoric around this issue — there always is — in both countries.

A senior administration official tells ABC News: “this is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we’re about to have a presidential and congressional elections — this is not the kind of year in which we’re going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this. So there’s an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying.”

-Jake Tapper

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