Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 30, 2014

Posts in "Cyber"

September 25, 2014

Holder Resigns, Congress Reacts to His National Security Record

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Eric Holder testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., is about to officially announce his resignation ( subscribers’ link here), and while much of the reaction to his departure has focused on non-national security topics — his civil rights record, the IRS scandal — he played a role in a number of security-related issues during his tenure.

Not so surprisingly, the Capitol Hill assessment of his national security record broke down along partisan lines, but it’s worth reviewing which aspects of Holder’s performance caught lawmakers’ eyes. Full story

September 11, 2014

#ThrowbackThursday: the Red Baron

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Manfred von Richthofen, former President of the German Sport Federation and nephew of the Red Baron himself, attends the “Der Rote Baron” premiere in 2008 in Berlin. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Wired just had an interesting piece on the Red Baron and how the aircraft most famously associated with him is a ripoff of a British plane. It’s well worth reading, and a reminder about the power of stolen military technology — in the analog age, it enabled one of history’s most famous warriors, and in the digital age we’re only beginning to grasp what the effects of cyber theft might be.

It’s also an excuse to talk about the Red Baron, real name Manfred von Richthofen, on Throwback Thursday. Here are some random facts! Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 9:16 a.m.
Cyber, Pop Culture, War

September 8, 2014

Police Militarization, Congressional Comeback in the Week Ahead

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Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is back in town for a little while, with a blend of housekeeping and rowdiness on the national security front. That means a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until December, including some national security programs; a House resolution criticizing President Obama over the “Taliban Five”/Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap; and maybe a new war authorization stemming from the uptick of military action in Iraq.

Congress’ return also means Washington, D.C. will be humming again, and Five By Five will be back to its regular publishing schedule… Full story

September 2, 2014

Advice for the New NATO Chief

As President Barack Obama preps for a visit this week to a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Wales, and as Russia readies a revised military doctrine in response to NATO, a think tank is offering advice to incoming secretary general Jens Stoltenberg of Norway.

The Center for a New American Security policy brief, released Tuesday, includes steps for the new NATO chief in reckoning with Russia and the group widely known as ISIS. Full story

August 11, 2014

World War I, National Security Agency and Iran in the Week Ahead

It’s a week that’s heavy in the middle with defense and national security-related events. Full story

July 28, 2014

Africa, Korea, Gaza in the Week Ahead

With the United States-Africa Leaders Summit starting Aug. 4, there is a preponderance of events about the continent this week in advance. President Barack Obama himself will kick off some of the pre-Summit activities. Africa has been a growing national security concern, given events in Nigeria, Libya and elsewhere.

It’s also the last week Congress is in town for a while. The schedule is a bit ambiguous, but before everyone leaves, there could be action at various levels on a new secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs; legislation addressing the VA’s health care backlog; a bill overhauling the National Security Agency’s bulk record collection programs; and declassification of a report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation and detention practices under President George W. Bush. Full story

July 21, 2014

Obama Adviser on Cybersecurity: Limit Cyber Capabilities, Regulate Sometimes

By the reckoning of a new report by the left-leaning Center for New American Security, we screwed it up from the start when designing the architecture of digital computing — security just wasn’t drawn into those original blueprints. Now we have to live with it. The report, helmed by Richard Danzig, a former Navy secretary who currently serves as a member of the Defense Policy Board and The President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, makes recommendations on how. Full story

Medal of Honor Recipient Ryan Pitts, 9/11 Commission, VA Secretary in the Week Ahead

Former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan J. Pitts will be at the White House on Monday to receive a Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama. His story is both heroic and a tale of missteps by superiors, as he fought to fend off a wave of insurgents in Afghanistan in a patrol base in the bloody Battle of Wanat, all while badly wounded by shrapnel himself. Obama is awarding more Medals of Honor to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than his predecessor, but the process has become slower.

The week’s offerings also include a confirmation hearing for a new leader at the Department of Veterans Affairs, a review of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 Commission report and discussions on the cyber threat, the shape of U.S. Combatant Commands, Iraq and the Navy budget. Full story

July 15, 2014

Democratic Congressman Blames Senate, White House for Target Corp. Cybertheft

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Rogers, right, and Ruppersberger hold a March 25 news conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:52 p.m. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, took aim at his own party’s leaders Tuesday, saying that if the White House hadn’t opposed the House-passed cybersecurity information sharing bill, and if the Democrat-controlled Senate had acted on it, then Target Corp. might not have suffered the cyber-breach last year where hackers stole data on as many as 40 million credit and debit cards.

“It’s really frustrating for us to work so hard and get a bill passed on House of Representatives,” the Maryland congressman said, only for it to go “to the Senate and unfortunately the White House was not in favor of our bill and yet we still got over 300 votes.”

“Look at Target as an example,” he said. “That’s on you, White House, and that’s on you Senate. If we passed that bill, we could’ve shared the information with Target and given them the information necessary to at least protect themselves.”

[Update: A senior administration official says "We have seen no indication that information sharing legislation would have had any impact on the Target breach."]

Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 4:47 p.m.

Report: Administration, Congress, Others Must Better Shield Electricity Grid Vs. Cyber Attack

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WINSCOMBE, U.K. – The sun goes behind an electricity pylon that is sited besides the M5 motorway near Winscombe on Nov. 6, 2012. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A high-level report on the security of the electricity grid, set for release Tuesday afternoon and led by a former White House chief of staff and Department of Homeland Security secretary, is complimentary of the Obama administration’s efforts to protect it and faults Congress for not doing enough.

Yet protecting the grid — “the most critical of critical infrastructure” and “the backbone of our modern society” — requires more action from everyone, from the executive branch to the Hill to industry, the report by the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress concludes. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 9:10 a.m.

July 7, 2014

Defense Globalization, Acquisition, Nominations in the Week Ahead

Congress is back in town after the July Fourth holiday, and not entirely coincidentally there’s a great deal of Afghanistan on the schedule this week, from nominations to hearings to events off the Hill. Full story

June 27, 2014

Five Questions With Rob Zitz of Leidos, on Cybersecurity

Rob Zitz has worked on national security for 35 years, 32 of them in the intelligence community, and now is a senior vice president at Leidos, the company that split last year with SAIC. It’s a top contractor for the Defense Department with nearly $6 billion in annual revenue.

Zitz spoke with Five By Five in an interview Friday about cybersecurity and the Department of Homeland Security. (Leidos has a number of prime contracts with DHS, some of which are related to cybersecurity, and Zitz is a former DHS official himself.) Here are some highlights: Full story

June 23, 2014

Cybersecurity, Drones and the Marines in the Week Ahead

The schedule is too jam-packed to just highlight one or two events each day. Full story

June 9, 2014

Security Technology, Defense Spending Bill and Air Force Contracting in the Week Ahead

It will be another busy week on Capitol Hill for the defense world: The House Appropriations Committee takes up the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill, and veterans will again be at the forefront as the Senate is likely to give floor consideration to a bill written in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal, while two committees will examine the Bowe Berdahl prisoner trade. But around Washington, D.C., there are plenty of other events on the calendar.

Full story

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