US Air Force is Focusing on Cyber Deception

The US Air Force is focusing on cyber deception next year:

Background: Deception is a deliberate act to conceal activity on our networks, create uncertainty and confusion against the adversary's efforts to establish situational awareness and to influence and misdirect adversary perceptions and decision processes. Military deception is defined as "those actions executed to deliberately mislead adversary decision makers as to friendly military capabilities, intentions, and operations, thereby causing the adversary to take specific actions (or inactions) that will contribute to the accomplishment of the friendly mission." Military forces have historically used techniques such as camouflage, feints, chaff, jammers, fake equipment, false messages or traffic to alter an enemy's perception of reality. Modern day military planners need a capability that goes beyond the current state-of-the-art in cyber deception to provide a system or systems that can be employed by a commander when needed to enable deception to be inserted into defensive cyber operations.

Relevance and realism are the grand technical challenges to cyber deception. The application of the proposed technology must be relevant to operational and support systems within the DoD. The DoD operates within a highly standardized environment. Any technology that significantly disrupts or increases the cost to the standard of practice will not be adopted. If the technology is adopted, the defense system must appear legitimate to the adversary trying to exploit it.

Objective: To provide cyber-deception capabilities that could be employed by commanders to provide false information, confuse, delay, or otherwise impede cyber attackers to the benefit of friendly forces. Deception mechanisms must be incorporated in such a way that they are transparent to authorized users, and must introduce minimal functional and performance impacts, in order to disrupt our adversaries and not ourselves. As such, proposed techniques must consider how challenges relating to transparency and impact will be addressed. The security of such mechanisms is also paramount, so that their power is not co-opted by attackers against us for their own purposes. These techniques are intended to be employed for defensive purposes only on networks and systems controlled by the DoD.

Advanced techniques are needed with a focus on introducing varying deception dynamics in network protocols and services which can severely impede, confound, and degrade an attacker's methods of exploitation and attack, thereby increasing the costs and limiting the benefits gained from the attack. The emphasis is on techniques that delay the attacker in the reconnaissance through weaponization stages of an attack and also aid defenses by forcing an attacker to move and act in a more observable manner. Techniques across the host and network layers or a hybrid thereof are of interest in order to provide AF cyber operations with effective, flexible, and rapid deployment options.

More discussion here.

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 5:08 AM • 41 Comments

Comments

keithAugust 20, 2014 5:57 AM

Bruce, is this post a play on deception? clever funny.

for those that may not have noticed (or are visiting at a later date): That it wasn't visable yesterday yet it is today (with an older time stamp), and no commnets indicating suggesting that it is a new post, suggests that you're planting deceptive ......

unnamed (thanks to Google and NSA)August 20, 2014 7:26 AM

Governments had been using psyops for years... nothing new, I think.

unnamed (thanks to Google and NSA)August 20, 2014 7:35 AM

and, yes, as Keith I have noted that this post is the last one on this blog too... it seems there are people that play deception on blogs. ;-)

anymooseAugust 20, 2014 8:00 AM

This post seems a little deceptive. As others have noted the time stamp doesn't match and the changed time stamp places it closer to the post on TLA's using personal computers to conceal sources which IMO is very different.

Reading the post and links it sounds like they are looking for a next gen honeypot with some DoD specific use cases. As long as this is used for defensive purposes this should be a good technology and will likely see commercial use eventually (without some of the DoD specific stuff).

Clive RobinsonAugust 20, 2014 8:21 AM

The art of deception is older than mankind it's self acording to some anthropologists. And has a curios relationship with religion, showman ship and acting which we only know about in more recent recorded history, but can safely assume was around long prior to that.

There are four basic deception goals for tangible items,

1, To make something not visable.
2, To make something appear harmless.
3, To make something more visable.
4, To make something harmless appear dangerous.

After a moments thought it can be seen that the nature of the internet precludes making something invisable, otherwise it could not be routed to it's destination or exist in code/firmware (supply chain poisoning is technicaly not a cyberspace deployment).

This should be an attention grabbing flag to people that the assumptions of the tangible physical world don't translate to the intangible information world. But it is a warning that often appears lost on those of a traditional political or military mind set.

There are consiquences to this the first being lack of "locality" not only do network routes and nodes have no real relationship to the physical world, an attacker can be virtually in any place or multiple places. Thus a force of one can be magnified to a force of any desired strength bandwidth alows.

Another aspect is the limitation of energy costs that applies in the real world, anything we do requires energy to either make physical objects or use physical objects. In the current setup of the internet the defender not the attacker provides the energy source. So all a defender has to do at the lowest level is flip a switch to off. Unfortunatly few systems are designed in a way to allow this relativly easy defence often for what appear quite sensible reasons.

Whilst information is not constrained by either the speed of light or forces, it's communication, storage and use in our physical world requires it to be impressed on physical objects that are. However appart from a select certain few financial organisations most human activities are to slow in comparison to the speed of light, which means that attackers can be in defenders systems effecting them before defence systems can stop them. Whilst there are relatively easy stratagies to deal with this again few currently designed systems alow for this. Which means grandiose sounding ideas like "The Internet Kill Switch" are due to humans being in the decision loop next to pointless.

The above therefore allow for outsider attacks to become insider attacks, this can cause a "delayed response" attack, where a payload can be instilled into many many insecure by design --ie nearly all current-- systems and deploy at a near simultaneous point in time, against which no grandiose "Internet Kill Switch" or similar will have any effect either.

If people care to sit and think for a while they will realise that "deception" is a failing of tangible beings in a tangible world applying tangible object assumptions to intangible information systems where the assumptions are at best an ill fit.

Thus we need to as a first sand, to ditch the majority of implicit tangible physical object assumptions and start designing systems that can actually defend against intangible information based attacks. It's not going to be easy, but the effort, cost and time will be worth it. Unless you take the view that such an attempt will make our supposed enemies --ie everybody-- invulnerable and that attacking them is the only thing that matters in state craft...

paulAugust 20, 2014 9:58 AM

The security of such mechanisms is also paramount, so that their power is not co-opted by attackers against us for their own purposes. These techniques are intended to be employed for defensive purposes only on networks and systems controlled by the DoD.

Pull the other one.

ScaredAugust 20, 2014 2:13 PM

US Air Force is Focusing on Cyber Deception?
Let me rephrase that:
US is Focusing on Deception

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-08-20/tsa-scanners-that-saw-you-naked-can-be-tricked-to-miss-guns-bombs#r=hp-ls

On Thursday morning, at the Usenix security conference in San Diego, researchers from several top U.S. universities will present a study revealing that the controversial airport scanners that let TSA agents see through travelers’ clothes can be fairly easily obstructed from detecting concealed weapons or bombs.

NobodySpecialAugust 20, 2014 2:17 PM

But the deception is so obvious that you can see straight through it.

No real organisation would spend billions of $ on a series of supersonic stealth air superiority fighters to fight a Battle of Britain style dog fight against an enemy who lives in caves on the other side of the world.
Or claim to be spending billions on a pair of aircraft carriers equipped with versions of the same fighters but claim they can afford either the aircraft or the catapults to launch them - but not both.
Or insist that they have movie heroes sitting in these aircraft when the job could be done better by drone.

The only conclusion is that the airforces of most western powers are entirely deceptions.


JacobAugust 20, 2014 2:19 PM

So far, and for the foreseeable future, the US only fights Jihadists who ride Dushka-mounted Toyotas and their best tactical comm gear, besides the donkey express, is some old-school RF personal gear. And they are very effective at it.

I doubt that "defensive cyber operations" and pouring money into "doing beyond the current state-of-the-art in cyber deception" will materially change that battlefield.

AND, seeing the militarization of the police forces in the country, thriving on surplus military gear given to them by the DHS, I forsee that surplus "cyber deception" equipment will be provided eventually, so when citizens will look up to find out what goes on in Ferguson MO, everything would seems copacetic.

The lies shall be protected with a bodyguard of liesAugust 20, 2014 2:59 PM

It's important to remember that a crucial target of military deception is the troops and the beltway grunts. Here's a priceless order from some 95-IQ military ape: keep yourself ignorant or you too will be a security risk.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1276886/us-military-letter-banning-the-intercept.pdf

The most important function of compartments and "need to know" is keeping the worker bees ignorant of the psycho-killer insanity they're hard at work on. That's where Skep and associated government apologists get their schizo Weltanshauung: from totalitarian mind control. And when the information dike starts leaking, the response is positively droll: intellect itself becomes a threat. This is why the Air Force cultivates fundamentalism - fundies know how to shut off their brains on cue.

BenniAugust 20, 2014 4:20 PM

Does this mean the airforce is putting their "active interrogator" and "gilgamesh" devices formerly used on drones on "deceptive" google loon ballons instead?

TrogdorAugust 20, 2014 4:51 PM

This post is so vague as to be tautological. I'm having a hard time figuring out what this post is telling me, besides what's very obvious.

Okay ... So the Air Force is in the practice of doing ... an activity which any smart military force will do.

In other news, water has been found to be rather wet.

Heck, the US Army Air Forces had a massive deception campaign, complete with fake "traffic", just prior to d-day (a massive network of balsa wood aircraft gliders, fake tanks, the works creating a fake "invasion" in a separate location, so the Nazis wouldn't realize the US was invading at Normandy).

I think there are only 3 things actually being talked about here:

* USAF
* focus
* cyber

Now the manner in which such deception happens ... that's what's interesting. Not in the post. Maybe it's in the discussion. But aside from those 3 words ... what is this post telling me? Or is it the discussion link?

CallMeLateForSupperAugust 20, 2014 5:50 PM

I did not read the source material, just what Bruce posted. That bit precipitated narco here. If the source is not a genuine DoD document, it's a darn good pretender. Nearly impenetrable. The style reminds me of the many AFMs (Air Force Manuals) I had to "read and heed" years ago. But what it really, really reminds me of is the "in partial fulfillment of the requirements" papers that students at our war colleges.produce.

Last April I d/l and read (part of) a manual about AF Spec. Ops. organization; I'd been one of those guys back in the day and wondered what was new. Very hard going, that document, and I tossed it in short order. But first I made a screen grab of the two paragraphs that were the "final straw". Here's an excerpt:
"When established, the Joint Forces Special Operations Component Commander (JFSOCC) is the commander within a joint operations area (JOA) responsible to the establishing commander for execution of SOF missions...... The JFSOCC will normally be designated when one or more functional components are established and there are sufficient SOF in the JOA to execute SO. The TSOC commander or the commander, joint special operations task force (COMJSOTF) is normally designated the JFSOCC. THe TSOC commander is normally established as a JFSOCC if there is more than one joint special operations task force (JSOTF) to command. If only one JSOTF is established within a JTF, the COMJSOTF is normally designated as the JSOCC by the establishing JFC."

trolling forensic investigatorsAugust 20, 2014 6:24 PM

I do this when building phones. I purposely leave daemons like adbd and installd running as bait to entice an attacker into trying the easiest solution first. What you don't see is these daemons have all been completely rewritten to instead start overwriting the user data and keys silently then power down. "su" does the same thing, it's there if you want to try it but if you do user is notified and device overwritten. Trying to umount/mount anything results in the same disaster for the attacker as the device startup scripts replace those commands with something evil after boot is completed, but they are tantalizingly sitting there awaiting your abuse.

Of course this only works if you build everything from source and never have a need to install packages.

SkepticalAugust 20, 2014 7:15 PM

@Jacob: So far, and for the foreseeable future, the US only fights Jihadists who ride Dushka-mounted Toyotas and their best tactical comm gear, besides the donkey express, is some old-school RF personal gear. And they are very effective at it.

Unfortunately war is not always foreseeable. The US prudently prepares for contingencies that may involve adversaries with high levels of technological sophistication. Were the US to permit its advantages in such contingencies to erode, the world would rapidly become a less stable place.

Nick PAugust 20, 2014 7:34 PM

@ Bruce Schneier

This isn't what some people think it is. DOD organizations continually run research programs to enhance INFOSEC both for them and in general. This program focuses on many recurring themes: prevention, containment, recovery, and productivity. The deception is an interesting addition that's, according to the govt site, focused on defending networks. It's nothing to worry about as it's an old technique many white hats and black hats have used forever: using unusual port numbers, blocking OS fingerprinting, using odd architectures, honeypots, etc. Same old same old.

They're just now realizing that this stuff is effective, it's a good addition, and they should probably get research going on it. Interesting enough, previous programs that mentioned similar things (eg OASIS, CRASH) led to papers with good work that was very helpful to people in general. Hopefully, this program will too. So far, though, they're way behind the curve.

Nick PAugust 20, 2014 7:49 PM

EDIT TO ADD:

I also notice it tells potential participants to read the "NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL SECURITY PROGRAM OPERATING MANUAL (NIPSOM)" to understand the baseline methods of protecting classified information. When the NSA fuss started & people wanted organizational security, I posted here that organizations can start by looking at the (public) NIPSOM manual as a start to improving their security posture. The SAP supplement is quite useful, as well. Then I see NIPSOM yet again in this proposal. Shows they themselves believe in its quality for the basics and specialists can be consulted for advice on any one area.

Main manual. SAP supplement here.

Btw, deception is a common tool in SAP security. One document promoted telephone relays, fake addresses, a cover story for employees, etc to misdirect people looking into it. They always use separate buildings, dedicated equipment, network isolation, limits on sharing, documents in safes, TEMPEST protection, etc. So, again, this part of security is long known to the more dedicated and sneaky practitioners.

Number One SonAugust 20, 2014 7:51 PM

@CallMeLateForSupper
@The lies shall be protected with a bodyguard of lies

At a library book sale years ago I bought a book on military planning dating from WW2. The character of the thinking in that book was also concrete-bound pragmatism, but without as many acronyms as your example. What passed for abstraction when it appeared was actually anti-conceptualism. Rule following replaced logic.

The difference between reason and faith is the difference between an air force and a cargo cult.

RoadowlAugust 20, 2014 8:59 PM

The open society and its enemies.

Soon to be, among the latter: the U.S. Air Force.

And does this mean the Vermont Air National Guard will now be focusing on cyber deception too?
Anyway, question:

Can cyber deception and a free internet co-exist?
Can cyber deception and /any/ free and open communications co-exist?

In short, isn't cyber deception in the sense described above, no more and no less a direct corrollary
to the total closing-up of a free, democratic, open society? Would the U.S. Air Force, be any
effective in this deception, if, say, any school kid might hop into a public library and get the facts
a quick surf on the net?
To ask the question is to answer it.


Household note:
I think the comment section to this blog should divide up into 'political/societal aspects of the
surveillance state and totalitarianism', and 'technological/cryptologic aspects' -- although, at
the same time, I would propose to oblige readers of any section to read the other...

Ferguson DeceptionAugust 20, 2014 11:45 PM

@Jacob "...to find out what goes on in Ferguson"

Even today we are boggled by the bizarre response of law enforcement.

I think the explanation can be found in an examination of the larger context.

By framing Ferguson in racial terms rather than in government accountability terms, the public can be distracted from the consequences of the Snowden revelations.

In other words, the main purpose of how Ferguson is being handled is to switch the general frame of reference from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War.

Since the government is small relative to the whole population, they must rely on producing divisions. The Democrat/Republican division has been breaking down as people unite to preserve their liberty.

The fallback is to inflame racial and religious divisions.

That's Ferguson in essential terms, a global level COINTELPRO operation.

Gerard van VoorenAugust 21, 2014 12:54 AM

@ Skeptical

"Unfortunately war is not always foreseeable. The US prudently prepares for contingencies that may involve adversaries with high levels of technological sophistication. Were the US to permit its advantages in such contingencies to erode, the world would rapidly become a less stable place."

I disagree with your statement.

Btw a lot more people think that way. Just watch:

"The power of nightmares" (2004)
"Why we fight" (2005)
"The untold history of the United States" (2012)

I would even go further and say that compared with Bush, the murderous and lying actions of Nixon are that of an altar boy. Obama is on the same level as Bush. He is only more tacky.

What is your blind eye? The left one or the right one?

Or do you use an eye patch and switch that when it is convenient?

THEY did NOT make the world a more stable place!!! At this moment they use drones strikes in Iraq against a boogie man enemy that I never heard of a year ago.

You are aware that half of the posts here are about that the NSA is doing deeply wrong things?

I leave it with that before I say things I regret later on.

Clive RobinsonAugust 21, 2014 4:34 AM

@ Gerard van Vooren,

Somerhing you need to remember is what happened in 1812, the US for a purely "land and resources grab" started a war against an adjacent unwarlike country, of which many of the inhabitants were direct first generation relatives of American citizens.

They had done this piratical act because the knew that the people in that country were not at that time able to be protected by their sponsoring / protecting european power due to the Napoleonic wars ranging across western Europe.

The fact that the US "troops" plundered, raped and murdered their way and were often drunk to the point of being insensible ment that those they were praying upon who were their own kith and kin quickly organised a defending action, slowed and stopped US troops.

With the ending of the Napoleonic wars the sponsoring / protecting power cleared out the US troops and amongst other things more than successfully invaded US soil including the US Capitol, and sent the then US President running from the Presidential Palace with his tail between his legs, leaving his wife and Palace staff to their fate at the hands of the sponsoring / protecting state. Luckily for his wife and staff the attacking troops were well disaplined and carried out their orders to burn down the politicaly related buildings after driving out the ill disciplined and ineffective rabble of US troops supposadly protecting the Capitol, then retire sufficiently to allow the US to realise their hopless position and arrange for a negotiated peace. The bullet scared and fire damaged Presidential Palace, was eventialy repaired and the smoke damage painted over with white paint, and it became renamed with the name it still bears "The White House", and some of the bullet scars are still visable to remined anyone who choses to look of that ignominious day when the US President ran coward like from a handfull of British Troops.

Since then US mainland soil has not been invaded in a similar way but it serves as one of the reminders that keep US war hawks eyes afire. So much so that untill recently the US was spending about 20 times the amount of any other nation to maintain a standing military for non domestic use.

As has been pointed out, "A race horse is only a race horse as long as it races, otherwise it is a usless nag". The same applies to armed forces, if they are not fighting then they are a dead weight on a narions economy, and often little or no use as a deterrent. This is because others nations see them as a threat and thus build up their standing military in response causing needless escelation (same reasoning as MAD).

It's a sick joke to hear US politicos and talking heads talk of the US being the "Worlds Police Force" when the politicos decided some years ago that the US military would be given no "policing training" --unlike other western nations where it is standard training-- primarily because the US citizens would fear the US was in danger of becoming a police state...

SkepticalAugust 21, 2014 10:52 AM

@Clive: Since then US mainland soil has not been invaded in a similar way but it serves as one of the reminders that keep US war hawks eyes afire. So much so that untill recently the US was spending about 20 times the amount of any other nation to maintain a standing military for non domestic use.

I'm not going to rehash the causes of the War of 1812, nor the conduct of the involved parties.

But, you are mistaken as to the role it plays in modern American foreign policy.

Following the Revolutionary War (1776-1783), the distrust of a strong federal government and standing army (though finally strengthened by the replacement of the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution in 1787) combined with fear of foreign invasion led to a military policy which emphasized the use of coastal fortifications and coastal gunboats.

Indeed for many decades US military education consisted mainly of instruction on building fortifications.

The War of 1812 was in part responsible for that emphasis in the decades following, though for obvious reasons the US had been concerned of such a dangerous beforehand. The US Civil War, in many ways the first modern war which demonstrated the extent to which technology had outpaced certain aspects of Napoleonic strategy, had some impact on US military thought in the decades following (less so on European and British military thought, which dismissed the American experience as the consequences of amateurism - a conclusion that helped lay the foundation for the disastrous approaches in WW1). But that impact was largely lost as the US military demobilized at the end of the Civil War and became primarily concerned with keeping order in the West, fighting against various Native American tribes (one of the sadder, more unjust, chapters in US history).

By the late 19th century, with an improved Navy, the US had begun to assert itself more strongly, particularly in the Spanish-American War (1898). With the exception of a counter-insurgency campaign in the Philippines (1899-1902) and smaller actions in the Caribbean, the US was not heavily invested in the projection of military force abroad with the use of land forces, though the rise of Alfred Mahan's theory of sea power in conjunction of growing US industrial power had led to an expanding naval force.

When the US did eventually resolve to enter WW1, it encountered enormous logistical problems in preparing a military force for modern war. Following WW1, that military force was largely disbanded - and matters were then repeated as the US entered WW2.

The experiences of WW1, and especially WW2, taught the US that the oceans were not the insulation they once were against wars abroad. Twice the US had sent massive amounts of people and resources overseas, to fight in wars begun by the aggression of other nations already embroiled in conflict.

Following WW2, impelled by certain Soviet actions, the US concluded that it was dangerous to permit the conditions that allowed WW2 to occur to ever come about again. It would fight smaller wars, if necessary, to prevent larger wars; and it would deter some nations from even considering war by establishing such superior forces that none would dare make the challenge.

As part of preventing the conditions which led to WW2, the US, along with other democratic allies, would attempt to construct a global trading system, tying together nations with commerce, further lowering the probability of armed conflict between them. Finally, where possible, the US would attempt to promote democratic self-governance.

That's a two sentence summary of an incredibly complex foreign policy that is subject to varied particular contingencies and forces. Obviously in execution it has included mistakes, and abuses.

So the strategy you see today has nothing to do with the War of 1812. It has everything to do with the two world wars of the last century - and, of course, with the experience of the Cold War which followed, the rise of international terrorism as a potentially destabilizing force, and the challenge of integrating rising powers, such as China, peacefully into the global framework.

I highly recommend Russell Weigley's The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Policy and Strategy as an overview of the foregoing (though published in the early 1970s, and obviously therefore not complete).

As has been pointed out, "A race horse is only a race horse as long as it races, otherwise it is a usless nag". The same applies to armed forces, if they are not fighting then they are a dead weight on a narions economy, and often little or no use as a deterrent. This is because others nations see them as a threat and thus build up their standing military in response causing needless escelation (same reasoning as MAD).

It's not quite that simple. First, whether another nation A sees the forces of nation B as a threat depends on a number of factors. Iceland, for example, does not view the US as a military threat despite an imbalance in forces. Second, you also must understand that since many nations distrust one another, they will arm against each other. It might be better if they all agreed not to, and had some way of relying on that agreement, but they don't. Third, especially in the case of dictatorships, a government may believe that it can successfully use its military, aggressively, to decide some issue or another.

In short, because of the anarchic nature of the international system and the continued presence of authoritarian, non-liberal, anti-democratic governments, along with various non-state militant movements able to wage war to some degree, a military force remains useful, and indeed can be vital.

It's a sick joke to hear US politicos and talking heads talk of the US being the "Worlds Police Force" when the politicos decided some years ago that the US military would be given no "policing training" --unlike other western nations where it is standard training-- primarily because the US citizens would fear the US was in danger of becoming a police state...

You're confusing two separate issues: to what extent should the US become involved in foreign conflicts or problems (usually the party arguing against involvement will deliver the old "we're not the world's policeman" somewhere in his talking points), and to what extent should the US military assume the role of acting as a police force in an occupied nation (the simplified model in the minds of some is that the US military engages to resolve a military problem, and then disengages once that military problem is resolved; that "the purpose of the US military is to fight and win wars, full stop", and this never involves police-like operations).

Just to be clear, I think both talking points are silly. The US military is quite familiar with counter-insurgency and stabilization problems, and has extensive training and experience on the matters; and no foreign policy problem has ever been seriously discussed and analyzed with a "world's police force" metaphor as a framework.

And it's always dangerous to understand a nation's foreign policy simply on the basis of the soundbite of a politician who's managed to win some air time.

Nick PAugust 21, 2014 12:40 PM

@ Skeptical

People reading your post might figure we just dealt with a small number of strategic targets for most of our existence. It would seem reasonable. Unfortunately, that's fantasy and the reality is that we were steadily using the military all over the place. NATO Watch adds that we have bases in 63 countries, about 800,000+ facilities, and over 200,000 personnel. All very consistent with a doctrine of imperialism. A doctrine Americans should reject for its immorality and enormous cost to us that mostly benefits a rich few at taxpayers' expense.

SkepticalAugust 21, 2014 2:12 PM


@Nick: Merely listing every military operation, including the use of cavalry to break up a gunfight in Wyoming and a peacekeeping mission in East Timor, won't give anyone an understanding of US policy.

Nor does it make any sense to derive a conclusion of imperialism from the presence of US military bases. Does the US rule Britain, Germany, Israel, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Italy, Turkey, etc? Does Britain rule Germany, since the British have a base there? Does Russia rule Vietnam, since Russia has a naval base there?

همجي كذابAugust 21, 2014 3:31 PM

"anarchic nature of the international system"
[Classic US international-relations Juche. The institutional hierarchy and body of law is clear to everyone on earth
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/UniversalHumanRightsInstruments.aspx
- except brainwashed US apparatchiks, who imagine or induce anarchy as a pretext for illegal use and threat of force.]

"...and the continued presence of authoritarian, non-liberal, anti-democratic governments"
[ i.e. http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/hrctte-110-session-united-states/ ]

"...along with various non-state militant movements able to wage war to some degree"
[e.g. http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?sum=367&p1=3&p2=3&case=70&p3=5 ]

∴ a military is "vital".
[It's dangerous out there (I know, I made it that way) but I'll protect you. It's the same trick that ensures job security for pyromaniac firefighters and pedophiles in childcare.]

∴ Nuke the Pentagon with a couple of the neutron bombs they used at Baghdad Airport in '03, and the world will settle down quite nicely.

ChrisAugust 21, 2014 6:04 PM

@Skeptical, I'm glad you're here, and I hope you don't stop posting anytime soon. Partly this is because you're a dissenting view, which every community needs in order to fight groupthink. But you're also knowledgeable, and I like to be exposed to knowledgeable people, even when I don't agree with everything they say.

Keep the dialogue going.

Chris_0.20/203r4August 21, 2014 7:04 PM

@Skeptical, I'm happy you're here with us, and I hope you keep posting. That is because you provide differing views, which every community needs in order to fight the crippled epistemology and cognitive blunders that obtrude moral and legal concerns into straightforward policy issues such as extrajudicial killing, torture, aggression, arbitrary government interference with privacy and blackmail. But you are also cognizant of current doctrine and guidance, and I enjoy being exposed to people who can rebut the self-sealing ethical and legal ideations of people who believe it is rational to hold unsanctioned theories, even though I do not of course agree with everything that the US government says.

Keep the infiltration going.

Nick PAugust 21, 2014 8:14 PM

@ Chris

Lol well said. I agree.

@ Skeptical

"Merely listing every military operation, including the use of cavalry to break up a gunfight in Wyoming and a peacekeeping mission in East Timor, won't give anyone an understanding of US policy."

This is true. What it does show is how active our military has been and in how many countries. People like you present it like it's minimal and sensible activities. The list threw that out immediately. Assessing the policy relevance would involve going through each incident, looking up whether it was official, looking at the stated justifications, looking at who benefited from the operation (esp financially), and producing an overall picture of our activities.

First example of that was Gen Butler's War is a Racket book. (Free here). You could probably read it in an hour or so. He straight up confessed why they did it, who each military action benefited, and how the economics of it cost the many to benefit those few. A double Medal of Honor winner who led many wars and had access to internal justifications is also a respectable source of information on what we were doing.

The common thread? Imperialism that benefited rich capitalists.

همجي كذابAugust 21, 2014 9:21 PM

For Skep, war is a meal ticket. For ethical americans, war is a racket. For the civilized world, war's a crime.

- http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/Resolutions/RC-Res.6-ENG.pdf
- http://crimeofaggression.info/documents/1/handbook.pdf
- http://crimeofaggression.info/role-of-the-icc/faq/

'Cyberwar', illegal unilateral sanctions, interference, all of it. Coercion is coercion. Violence is violence. The window is closing. Skep's gonna have to get a real job.

Andrew BAugust 21, 2014 10:41 PM

The AFRL branch that issued this BAA focuses on computer security and mission assurance. The poster who suggested that this BAA included building honeypots to distract someone who might be poking around inside the Air Force's networks is on the money.

Gerard van VoorenAugust 22, 2014 5:35 AM

@ Nick P

That is an interesting read! Probably the best book that I ever read about the subject of war.

He knew exactly what he talked about. The advises at the end makes sense too. They do. I agree with all of them.

The book is from 1935. Today it is clear that Corporate America won. At the expense of everyone else. The US national dept is proof of that. The veterans and people being killed too.

SkepticalAugust 23, 2014 2:28 PM

@Nick: People like you present it like it's minimal and sensible activities.

I've never used the word "minimal" to describe contemporary US policy. US foreign policy, since WW2, has been highly active, for the reasons I've given. I said that it was a highly complex policy, in which mistakes and abuses have occurred.

First example of that was Gen Butler's War is a Racket book. (Free here). You could probably read it in an hour or so. He straight up confessed why they did it, who each military action benefited, and how the economics of it cost the many to benefit those few.

General Smedley Butler's courage as a United States Marine is indisputable.

His analysis of policy is questionable at best, and of course has nothing to do with post WW2 American policy. He also claimed that a group of financiers had organized 500,000 men, which he was to lead to overthrow FDR.

He wrote the book you cite in the same year that he became the spokesperson for the American League Against War and Fascism - 1935. It is not a study, and is not considered authoritative or scholarly; it is a pamphlet, delivered in the cause of isolationism during the 1930s, as Europe was already descending into darkness. For the most part he repeats what others had long since alleged regarding US involvement overseas in the late 19th and very early 20th century.

Anyone who wants to understand US policy would not be well served by relying on his work. Weigley's The American Way of War, by contrast, is considered to be one of the major works in the field, and is not written for any political purpose. It is of course focused heavily on military policy.

A double Medal of Honor winner who led many wars and had access to internal justifications is also a respectable source of information on what we were doing.

One is awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of one's life above and beyond the call of duty. Knowledge of US foreign policy is not a pre-requisite, nor does courage in battle by itself endow one with such knowledge, any more than it might make one an expert on monetary policy.

The common thread? Imperialism that benefited rich capitalists.

Unfortunately that's highly simplistic, and, today, generally just incorrect. The factors that determined US involvement in Honduras in 1903, for example, where such analysis would be closer to the mark, are not the same as those which determine US involvement in NATO in the latter half of the 20th century, or Iraq, or Somalia, or Bosnia.

SkepticalAugust 23, 2014 2:42 PM

@---: "anarchic nature of the international system"
[Classic US international-relations Juche. The institutional hierarchy and body of law is clear to everyone on earth

Yes, the effectiveness of int'l law is clear to everyone on earth, and the need for power to defend oneself and one's values, is clear to everyone on earth.

'Cyberwar', illegal unilateral sanctions, interference, all of it. Coercion is coercion. Violence is violence. The window is closing. Skep's gonna have to get a real job.

By your lights the beheading of a journalist by ISIS is equivalent to the dropping of a US bomb on an ISIS column.

I don't think they're morally equivalent acts. You're free to continue to embrace your view of the world, of course. Which makes you luckier than many.

Gerard van VoorenAugust 23, 2014 3:14 PM

@ Skeptical

Ah, the "moral" issue.

"By your lights the beheading of a journalist by ISIS is equivalent to the dropping of a US bomb on an ISIS column.

I don't think they're morally equivalent acts. You're free to continue to embrace your view of the world, of course. Which makes you luckier than many."

Let's put the "moral" thing aside. Also let's put the emotions aside (very important). Let's look at the numbers. Let's look at the facts for once.

OBL put an 500.000 USD operation into action and got ~3000 people killed and a couple of billion in damage. The response was 2 wars with hundreds of thousands killed and trillions of dollars to be paid by the taxpayer.

Who won here?

The industrialists.

Who lost?

Everyone else.

War is a racket.

The rest is smoke and mirrors, camouflaged with nationalism, "patriotism", a lot of uniforms and flag waving. And fear of course.

Gerard van VoorenAugust 23, 2014 3:42 PM

Sorry, I made two errors that could be confusing. Here is the corrected version.

@ Skeptical

By your lights the beheading of a journalist by ISIS is equivalent to the dropping of a US bomb on an ISIS column.

I don't think they're morally equivalent acts. You're free to continue to embrace your view of the world, of course. Which makes you luckier than many.

Ah, the "moral" issue.

Let's put the moral aspect aside. Also let's put the emotions aside (very important). Let's look at the numbers. Let's look at the facts for once.

OBL put an 500.000 USD operation into action and got ~3000 people killed and a couple of billion USD in damage. The response was 2 wars with hundreds of thousands killed and trillions USD to be paid by the taxpayer.

Who won here?

The industrialists.

Who lost?

Everyone else.

War is a racket.

The rest is smoke and mirrors, camouflaged with nationalism, "patriotism", a lot of uniforms and flag waving. And fear of course.

SkepticalAugust 24, 2014 12:08 AM


@Gerard: OBL put an 500.000 USD operation into action and got ~3000 people killed and a couple of billion USD in damage. The response was 2 wars with hundreds of thousands killed and trillions USD to be paid by the taxpayer.

You're conflating Iraq and Afghanistan. While I agree that the two wars are related, their causes are not identical.

So let's focus on Afghanistan for a moment. You're comparing the costs of the event which started the war (which you've underestimated) to the costs of the entire course of the war. This is analogous to someone comparing the costs of Pearl Harbor to the costs incurred by the US over all of WW2.

If you want to ask whether it was rational for the US to invade Afghanistan post 9/11, you'd need to ask what the costs of not invading after 9/11, and undertaking some alternative course of action, would have been.

That's something extremely difficult to determine. But, it's clear that post 9/11, the judgment of the US Government and that of the American people was that the invasion was the best option.

Who won here?

The industrialists.

Again, your determination of "who wins" seems to rest entirely upon a comparison of a single event that starts a war, or at least furnishes casus belli, and the costs of the entirety of the war. But that's not the way anyone rationally thinking about entering a war calculates.

Moreover, you must understand that most of the US economy isn't composed of companies that supply the Defense Department with goods or services. So when resources in the economy are diverted into defense spending, those other sectors, i.e. the vast majority of what you call "industrialists", actually lose.

Immediately following 9/11 the equity markets remained closed for several days in anticipation of panic selling. When they did re-open, while the overall market declined, certain companies that would do well in a war were valued more highly.

But there's no indication, of any kind, that these few companies somehow inveigled the US Government into invading Afghanistan. It's somewhat mind-boggling to me that anyone would think the US invasion of Afghanistan had anything to do with something other than the fact that al Qaeda killed 3000 people on a single morning, promised to do more, and were being sheltered by the Taliban. Pull that kind of action on the US and you can expect certain destruction. UBL thought the US was a paper tiger. His mistake. Who won in that fight? The United States. At a high cost? Yes. War is costly and war is hell. Nonetheless war is sometimes better than the alternatives.

Gerard van VoorenAugust 24, 2014 2:41 AM

@ Skeptical

So let's focus on Afghanistan for a moment. You're comparing the costs of the event which started the war (which you've underestimated) to the costs of the entire course of the war. This is analogous to someone comparing the costs of Pearl Harbor to the costs incurred by the US over all of WW2.

There are two major differences between 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.

1) Japan was a military country. Not a couple of hundred / thousand jihadists. The scale is totally different.
2) Japan did declare war.

It's somewhat mind-boggling to me that anyone would think the US invasion of Afghanistan had anything to do with something other than the fact that al Qaeda killed 3000 people on a single morning, promised to do more, and were being sheltered by the Taliban. Pull that kind of action on the US and you can expect certain destruction. UBL thought the US was a paper tiger. His mistake. Who won in that fight? The United States. At a high cost? Yes. War is costly and war is hell. Nonetheless war is sometimes better than the alternatives.

Let's set this clear. OBL should have been tracked down and eliminated. There is no question about that. He was a serious treat. How do you do that? A simple commando raid.

But invading Afghanistan wasn't the answer. Tora Bora was a big lie. I remember Rumsfeld lying about that multiple times. Besides that, the Taliban was mostly in North Pakistan. Oops. Could that have been the reason they couldn't find OBL?

I am not even gonna discuss the Iraq war anymore. It was lies galore.

SkepticalAugust 24, 2014 11:39 PM

Gerard, I think you're missing my point. There are many differences between WW2 and Afghanistan, and between AQ and the last imperial Japanese Government.

The point of my analogy is very limited. It concerns the methodology you are using to determine whether the US invasion of Afghanistan was rational.

You compared the costs of the precipitating event of a war (9/11) to the costs of the entire war which followed. By this measure, the invasion of Afghanistan certainly looks foolish.

My point is that the comparison is mistaken. You need to compare the costs of alternative courses of action to the invasion, not merely the cost of the precipitating event.

The analogy with Pearl Harbor is limited to that point. In deciding whether to declare war against Japan, for example, the US did not weigh the damage incurred by Pearl Harbor against the damage likely to be incurred over the course of the entire war in the Pacific.

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