We've sprung a must-read Inside the Pentagon story a day early:
Money, or the lack of it, will be on the minds of many military officials this week when they gather in Suffolk, VA, for an annual Worldwide Joint Training Conference to develop schedules and proposals for military exercises amid an uncertain budget environment.
Air Force Col. J.T. Russell, the deputy director for program management activities (J-7), characterized the reductions to joint training in recent years as "relentless," adding that the likelihood of automatic budget sequestration in fiscal year 2016 would force some "difficult" decisions on how many exercises to conduct, and how large they should be.
"The challenge is . . . how are we going to work together within the resources we have to optimize the delivery of readiness?" he said in an Aug. 22 interview. "There you have to set priorities. Quite frankly, the nature of the iterative, repeated and, if I may, relentless reductions to the resources are going to force some harder decisions moving forward."
The joint exercise budget squeeze began in FY-13 when the Combatant Commanders Exercise Engagement, Training Transformation (CE2T2) fund -- which underwrites joint exercises and training -- took a $64 million cut. In FY-13, the total CE2T2 budget after sequestration was $631 million. The budget kept falling the following year. The CE2T2 budget request for FY-14 was $702 million, but the enacted amount was $598 million. The CE2T2 budget request for FY-15 is $612 million.
The Defense Security Service is keeping tabs on who's spying on what:
A new Pentagon report on espionage against the U.S. defense industry finds that collection efforts from East Asia and the Pacific region have focused on acquiring technologies critical to enabling anti-access, area-denial doctrine -- as China is adopting -- including components needed for effective military space capabilities, long-endurance unmanned air vehicles and missiles.
The Defense Security Service -- an arm of the Pentagon's acquisition directorate responsible for overseeing the protection of classified information in industry's possession -- states in a new report that East Asian and Pacific attempts to obtain U.S. technology have been focused on electronics; command, control, communications and computers (C4); aeronautic systems; and marine systems.
The 84-page report on foreign collection attempts during fiscal year 2013 -- "Targeting U.S. Technologies: a Trend Analysis of Cleared Industry Reporting" -- was published on Aug. 8 and first reported by Inside Cybersecurity. The report reveals more than 30,000 reports of suspicious activity leading to 717 investigations. The total number of potential espionage incidents assessed to be linked to an individual's effort to obtain unauthorized access to sensitive or classified information increased by 33 percent over FY-12, according to the report.
And we told you about this aspect of it a few days ago:
The outing of Chinese cyber espionage operations last year and the media firestorm that followed led hackers in the East Asia and the Pacific region to briefly curb attempts to steal sensitive U.S. technology so they could incorporate new methods of penetrating the networks of cleared defense contractors, according to a new Pentagon study.
Free trials available to Inside Cybersecurity.
Meanwhile, Pentagon officials talked Iraq and Syria yesterday:
The Pentagon on Tuesday declined to discuss reports suggesting that the Obama administration has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a move that would mark a significant escalation in the air campaign against Islamic State militants across the border in Iraq. Defense officials did, however, confirm that such an operation would not be coordinated with the Syrian government.
Several news reports citing unnamed Defense Department officials said the Pentagon has begun sending manned and unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft -- including U-2 planes -- over Syria after receiving authorization from the White House.
At an Aug. 26 press briefing at the Pentagon, DOD spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby declined to discuss intelligence matters even though the Defense Department has been providing regular reports on the number of ISR and strike operations being conducted over Iraq.