Sunday, February 26, 2017

How Two Badass Sheriffs Tamed The Most Dangerous Town In The West

Nick Poppy at the New York Post offers a piece on Tom Clavin’s book on Dodge City, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson

Any man fool enough to look for trouble in 1870s Dodge City could count on two things: finding it, and finding himself knocked over the head by the butt of a gun. And if he was especially unlucky or stupid, he could find a third thing: himself full of lead.

The infamous Kansas cow town had bloody beginnings, and violence, or the threat of it, was rarely far from mind. It started with buffalo. The seemingly endless herds on the nearby plains, coupled with demand for skins and tongues (considered a delicacy back East), birthed a buffalo hunting industry. And that industry, in turn, created a leathery class of buffalo hunters — skilled marksmen who could shoot from the saddle, subsist in harsh conditions and not shy from the sight of blood.

Out of these hunters’ ranks came two of the most fabled lawmen of the American West: Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, whose fascinating careers are brought to life in Tom Clavin’s “Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Secret life Of The SS-GB Spymaster: How Author Len Deighton, Who Lived Next Door To A Nazi Spy In The War, Created A Nightmare Vision Of Britain Under The Jackboot

Nicole Lambert at the Daily Mail offers a piece on one of my favorite writers, Len Deighton, the author of The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, Bomber and SS-GB, which has been adapted for TV and is now airing on the BBC.

He has dined with everyone from Nazi criminals to the cream of British society; from rock’n’roll royalty to eminent philosophers. He has lived all over the world and known spies and traitors. Some say he would have made a successful intelligence agent himself.

But he is also a man of many parts. Author, film producer and successful artist, published cook — who made it cool for men to be in the kitchen — and eminent historian: Len Deighton is all of these.

As a writer, he changed the way the world looked at spies with The Ipcress File, the 1962 thriller about a working-class spook (un-named in the book but christened Harry Palmer for Michael Caine’s screen portrayal) who is as interested in getting his expenses signed as in catching enemies of the state.

He also created a fascinating and terrifying alternative world in his 1978 book SS-GB, now adapted by BBC1 for peak-time Sunday viewing, set in a wartime England that has been invaded by the Germans and is under Nazi rule, with prime minister Winston Churchill executed and King George VI imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Deighton, who turned 88 last weekend, has dreamt up many fascinating characters in his novels but few are more intriguing than the reclusive man himself.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

Note: SS-GB is one of my favorite Deighton novels. I look forward to watching the TV series when it airs in America.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Admiral Rogers Discusses Near Future Of U.S. Cyber Command

Cheryl Pellerin at the DoD News offers the below report:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2017 — Navy Adm. Mike Rogers, the chief of U.S. Cyber Command, discussed the command’s future over the next five to 10 years yesterday at West 2017, a sea services event in San Diego co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute.

AFCEA is the international information technology, communications and electronics association for professionals in government, industry and academia.

Rogers, also director of the National Security Agency, fielded questions from moderator retired Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, who’s now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He’s also chairman of the board of the U.S. Naval Institute and a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Topics included integrating cyber at the tactical level of warfare, modeling Cybercom after the structure used by the Special Operations Command, the Cybercom workforce, and the relationship between Cybercom and the private sector, all in the five-to 10-year horizon.

“Here's what we need to build toward -- in the immediate near term, elevating Cyber Command to a combatant command,” Rogers said, adding, “I think the potential for that happening in the near term is high.”

Cybercom today is a component of U.S. Strategic Command.

Tactical Cyber

Over the next five to 10 years the admiral said he would like to see cyber integrated offensively and defensively “down to the operational tactical level.”

Offensive cyber in some ways is treated like nuclear weapons, he added, “in the sense that their application outside a defined area of hostilities is controlled at the chief-executive level and is not delegated down.”

Rogers said he hopes that over the next five to 10 years Cybercom can engender enough confidence in decision makers and policymakers that they feel comfortable pushing offensive cyber activities to the tactical level.

“We should be integrating [cyber] into the strike group and on the amphibious expeditionary side. We should view this as another toolkit that's available … as a commander is coming up with a broad schema of maneuver to achieve a desired outcome or end state. That’s what I hope,” the admiral said.

Special Operations Model

Rogers and Stavridis likened the journey of cyber to that of special forces, whose members in earlier times were called in only for special occasions and their use was highly controlled. Today, they said, combatant commanders have component commands from each service and from special operations.

“I would create Cyber Command much in the image of [U.S. Special Operations Command],” Rogers said. “Give it that broad set of responsibilities where it not only is taking forces fielded by the services and employing them; it's articulating the requirement and the vision and you're giving it the resources to create the capacity and then employ it.”

SOF also provides a theater special operations commander across all nine combatant commands, said Rogers, adding, -- that’s “a model I think we should drive to.”

Fighting for Talent

The cyber force, based on Cybercom billet structure, is about 80 percent military, 20 percent civilian, Rogers said. On the NSA side, he added, it’s 60 percent civilian, 40 percent military. Recruiting and retention, he said, is “a little bit harder on the civilian side.”

On the military side, the Cybercom leadership is finding that what motivates a young man or woman to be a Marine Corps rifleman, to work the flightline in the Air Force or to be a deck seaman in the Navy also motivates cyber warriors.

They want to be part of something bigger than themselves, they like the ethos and culture of the military, he said.

“That's a real selling point for us right now,” the admiral said. “The self-image of this workforce is that they are the digital warriors of the 21st century. The way they look at themselves -- we're in the future, we're the cutting edge, we're doing something new, we're blazing a path.”

As a leader, Rogers said, “you cannot underestimate the value of that.”

Rogers says he reminds recruits that as cyber warriors they’ll be able to do things in uniform, within the defense and Law of Armed Conflict application, that they can’t do anywhere else, and they’ll gain responsibility as they show proficiency in the job.

“Everybody responds well to that,” he said. “Retention is good right now.”

Public-Private Cooperation

In its work with the private sector over the next five to 10 years, Rogers said he would like to see Cybercom and tech companies “get to a level of integration where we have actual physical collocation with each other.”

The admiral says that in his military experience, “when we create [command-and-control] structures, when we create analytic and command-and-control nodes … we try to bring all together as much data, as many different perspectives and as many different elements in the broad enterprise that are necessary to achieve the outcome. I think we need to do the same thing” with the tech sector.

Rogers said he’d like to see Cybercom, for one thing, take advantage of the sector constructs that are in place for the 16 segments in private industry that Presidential Policy Directive 21 designates as infrastructure critical to the nation.

These sectors are chemicals, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial services, food and agriculture, government facilities, health care and public health, information technology, nuclear reactors and materials, transportation systems and water and wastewater.

“How do we take advantage of that and integrate at that level? Because as an execution guy, my experience teaches me that you want to train, you want to exercise, you want to simulate as many conditions as you can before you actually come into contact with an opponent,” Rogers said.

Help from the Tech Sector

On the cyber defense side, the admiral said, he’d like help from the technology sector to get to machine learning at speed and automation, and through this technology to help Cybercom free-up human capital. He’d also like the sector’s help with human capital development.

“People love to talk about the technology, but our greatest edge isn't technology; our greatest edge is that motivated man or woman with the intellectual capacity to anticipate, to be innovative and to be agile,” Rogers said. “Because ... what we’re dealing with is driven by a man or woman somewhere in the world sitting at a keyboard. There's a human dimension in all of this. It's not just about the machine.”

On the offensive side -- speaking for himself rather than the department, he said -- there are things Rogers is trying to come to grips with.

“In the application of kinetic functionality -- weapons -- we go to the private sector and say, ‘Build this thing we call a [joint directed-attack munition], a [Tomahawk land-attack munition].’ Fill in the blank,” he said.

“On the offensive side, to date, we have done almost all of our weapons development internally,” Rogers said. “And part of me goes -- five to 10 years from now is that a long-term sustainable model? Does that enable you to access fully the capabilities resident in the private sector? I'm still trying to work my way through that, intellectually.”

Note: You can click on the above DoD photos to enlarge.

Contractor At U.S. Military Bases Admits Paying Bribes And Kickbacks

The U.S. Attorney's Office District of New Jersey released the below information:

NEWARK, N.J. – A Pennsylvania man who operated a construction company that did work at construction projects at two military bases in New Jersey today admitted paying bribes and kickbacks to get the contracts, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

George Grassie, 54, of Covington Township, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit bribery and one count of providing unlawful kickbacks.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Grassie owned a business that did construction, excavation and landscaping and did work as a subcontractor at Picattiny Arsenal (PICA) and Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst (Ft. Dix). He admitted that from December 2010 to December 2013, he paid bribes valued at $95,000 to $150,000 to an individual employed by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in New Jersey to obtain and retain subcontracts and other favorable assistance at PICA and Fort Dix. He also admitted that he paid kickbacks valued at $40,000 to $95,000 to Shawn Fuller and James Conway, who were then project managers for a prime contractor at PICA and Fort Dix.
Conway previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud and accepting unlawful kickbacks on August 2016. Fuller previously pleaded guilty to accepting unlawful kickbacks in November 2015.
The conspiracy charge to which Grassie pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The charge for making unlawful kickbacks to which Grassie pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Both charges carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss associated with the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for May 31, 2017.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher; the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Craig R.Rupert, Special Agent in Charge, DCIS Northeast Field Office; and the U.S. Army, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Criminal Investigation Command, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Larry Scott Moreland, with conducting the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.  
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Leslie Faye Schwartz, of the United States Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Llanes, Deputy Chief, General Crimes Unit, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division, in Newark.     

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Littoral Combat Sailors Go For A Swim

The U.S. Navy released the above photo and the below caption:

Sailors assigned to the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) swim in the South China Sea. Coronado is a fast and agile warship tailor-made to patrol the region's littorals and work hull-to-hull with partner navies, providing the U.S. 7th Fleet with the flexible capabilities it needs now and in the future. 

The above photo was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amy M. Ressler.

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge. 

Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' Crime Film Heads To Netflix From Paramount

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Martin Scorsese's upcoming film The Irishman, starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and other fine actors, will heading to Netflix.

You can read the piece via the below link:

The film is based on the true crime book I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and Closing the Case On Jimmy Hoffa, by Charles Brant. You can read my Crime Beat column on the book and the story via the below link:

You can also read an earlier post on the South Philly connection to the story via the below link:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

On This Day In History President George Washington Was Born

As notes, on this day in 1732 President George Washington was born.

You can read about our founding father, general and first president via the below link:

Note: If you would like to learn more about George Washington, our greatest president, (as well as Benedict Arnold, our greatest traitor), I recommend Nathaniel Philbrick's Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution.