Preparing for Increasing Cyber Attacks

Feb. 28, 2017 (From AUSA National)

Cyber warfare will only intensify in the future, with a strong possibility that the U.S. Army will not be able to completely defend itself from attacks, a new report warns.

The Army Cyber Institute report says the U.S. Army and the rest of the military “cannot defend all of the digital, individual, social, physical and kinetic domains.” Called “A Widening Attack Plain,” the report was written in collaboration with Arizona State University and represents the work of more than two dozen experts from the military, government, academia and industry. The Army Cyber Institute is located at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Cyber threats over the past decade have been limited mainly to “data only” threats like espionage, leaks and hacks but threats are changing as attacks become more targeted and aggressive.

The report suggests the Army should work on improving encryption of crucial infrastructure, identifying vulnerabilities and should also champion closer bonds with industry and academia to share ideas.

The Army has been working on new leadership doctrine to prepare officers to operate if communication and data feeds are attacked, while also stepping up defenses.

“In the next decade, we will see a continuing widening of the attack plain,” the report says “The attack surface in the future broadens out, including more people, increasing targets, and changing the very nature of security and threat.”

The complete report is online at http://www.usma.edu/acc/SitePages/Threatcasting.aspxcvc.

National Guard (and Army Reserve) Essential in Europe

[Editor’s Note: Excerpt below From AUSA National]

For those of us who served in the National Guard or Army Reserve on training or on deployment in Europe or Asia, we know the value of the partnership with active duty units. It helps them with training, alleviates burdens when there are personnel shortages, and provides a level of comfort to leadership when regular rotations include known National Guard and Army Reserve units. The National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers often provide continuity on scheduled training exercises. –Editor.

To make the fewer than 30,000 soldiers assigned to Europe look more like 300,000, U.S. Army Europe needs the Army National Guard and Army Reserve to train in the theater on a regular basis, the command’s top Guard leader says.

To that end, Army commanders in Europe are creating every possible training opportunity for Guard and Reserve troops, said Maj. Gen. John M. Gronski, who became U.S. Army Europe’s deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard on May 1.

Read more here.

Army Gets $7 Billion Budget Boost

[From AUSA National]

The Army would get a $7 billion increase in its base budget for 2016 under the Obama administration plan unveiled Monday.

The increase primarily goes to operations, maintenance and weapons modernization programs.

The administration requests $147 billion for the Army in fiscal 2016, $2 billion less than the current budget in a reduction resulting from reduced funding for contingency operations.

For fiscal year 2015, the Army received $121 billion in the base budget and $28 billion in operating contingency funds. For fiscal 2016, the administration proposes boosting the base budget to $127 billion while cutting the contingency budget to $21 billion.

The 2016 budget was announced Feb. 2, at a time when the Army has 140,000 soldiers serving in 150 foreign countries, and with nine of the Army’s 10 active divisions having headquarters actively engaged in ongoing operations.

The modest boost for the Army is part of a decision by the administration to ask Congress for a 2016 defense budget that is $38 billion over spending caps set in the Budget Control Act, something that will require consent from lawmakers. While the Army would receive $7 billion more than current spending, the budget would provide a $16 billion increase for the Air Force and an almost $12 billion increase for the Navy, according to Defense Department briefing charts.

Forty-five percent of the Army’s base budget goes for personnel costs, with 36 percent for operations and maintenance and 18 percent for weapons programs. Spending on personnel is flat, even though the Army expects to be smaller in 2016, a result covering the cost of modest increases in pay and benefits. The budget includes a 1.3 percent basic pay hike, an average 1.2 percent increase in housing allowance and a 3.4 percent increase in subsistence allowance.

Active-duty personnel levels would drop from 490,000 today to 475,000 by Oct. 1, 2016, under the plan. Army National Guard strength, now 350,200, would drop to 342,000. Army Reserve strength would remain at 198,000.

There is $16.1 billion allocated to Army weapons procurement in the budget request, up from $13.9 billion in 2015. Increases are spread over aircraft, missiles, track vehicle and ammunition programs, but Army officials said a top priority is modernizing Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopter fleets in support of the Aviation Restructuring Initiative, a controversial topic where an independent commission could end up deciding details and timing.

Ninety-four Black Hawks, 64 Apaches and 39 Chinooks would be purchased in 2016, an increase from the 87 Black Hawks, 35 Apaches and 32 Chinooks funded in 2015. Money also is included to buy 450 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and upgrades for 87 Strykers.

For more headlines, click here.

Army Announces Restructure of the Force

After the Army announced that it is reducing end-strength and reorganizing brigade combat teams, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., said, “As damaging as they are, these cuts don’t begin to reflect the crippling damage sequestration will do to our Armed Forces and National Security.  The Committee will carefully examine the implications of this initial restructuring, but we all must understand that this is only the tip of the iceberg, much deeper cuts are still to come.  America learned the hard way that our pre- 9/11 military was too small.  Now, even before sequestration, we are reducing the force to that same size and foolishly expecting history to teach us a different lesson.  What lessons will we learn when sequester doubles these cuts in just a few months’ time?”

The Army plans to reduce the authorized end-strength of the Active Army from 570,000 to 490,000 and the Army National Guard from 358,000 to 350,000 and will inactivate a total of 12 BCTs.  In a press conference last week, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said, “The reduction of 80,000 Soldiers or 14% from the Active Component will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2017.  Let me be clear, we are taking these actions as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011.  This end-strength and force structure reduction predates sequestration.  If sequestration continues into Fiscal Year 2014, Army reductions to end-strength, force structure and basing announced today will be only the first step.”  Later in the press conference, Odierno reiterated, “I want to emphasize that these reductions do not reflect reductions due to sequestration.  Full sequestration could require another significant reduction in Active, Guard, and Reserve force structure as much as 100,000 combined.”

AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan said that “Congress must quickly find an alternative to sequestration.  Everyone needs to be reminded of history’s lessons, of the dangers of a hollow Army that is called to fight the first battle of the next war – but without enough manpower, training or weaponry to do the job – of an Army which then pays the price in the blood of too many Soldiers killed or wounded while they train the hard way – during war, not before it.”