Headline – Djibouti: U.S. AFRICOM must adapt to new challenges: outgoing commander.
Today, the Pentagon issues press releases when enemy targets are taken out in Somalia or Libya.
For AFRICOM’s spotlight-averse commander, U.S. Army Gen. David Rodriguez, the emerging image of AFRICOM as a hard-charging hunter-killer force is a source of frustration, and one he says is at odds with reality.
Unilateral strikes are “a very tiny sliver” of what AFRICOM does, which is building up local forces (Such as DANAB in Somalia) so they can take fight their own battles at home. But the U.S. strikes against insurgents “colors your perception that this is a combatant command that is doing a lot of kinetic activities,” he said during an exit interview at his Stuttgart headquarters, in Germany.
1- Regional Security Partnership: Israel’s Netanyahu to visit Ethiopia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to pay an official visit to Ethiopia in July 2016, According to the ministry, the premier’s trip to Ethiopia was announced by Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Belaynesh Zevadia, the 68th Independence Day of Israel was marked.
Zevadia added that Natanyahu’s visit would further bolster political, militaryeconomic and social ties between the two countries which she said had an age-long historical and religious tie dating back to time of Queen of Sheba.
3- Turkey could suspend EU agreements, according to Erdogan adviser
Turkey could suspend all of its agreements with the European Union, including a customs union, if the bloc continues its “double standards” in talks with Ankara, an adviser to President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.Speaking on state broadcaster TRT Haber, Yigit Bulut, who advises Erdogan on the economy, warned that if Europe failed to live up to its promises to Turkey, Ankara could review all of its relations with the 28-member bloc.
A deal between Brussels and Ankara to stem the flow of illegal migrants into Europe has been hampered by disagreements over Turkey’s counter-terrorism law, which the European Union wants to see brought in line with EU standards.
4- U.S. Intelligence: Foreign Hackers Spying on Campaigns
The United States has found evidence of hackers, who may possibly be working for foreign governments, spying on the presidential candidates, according to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence. Government officials are consequently assisting the campaigns to bolster their security as the race continues. Hacking was also an issue in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, according to U.S. intelligence officials. Cyber experts said that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have campaign networks secure enough to eliminate such risks. Trump has probably the largest “attack surface” of the candidates, according to John Dickson of the Denim Group. “It’s his entire empire,” he said. The international activist group and hackers called Anonymous has already declared cyber war on Trump, encouraging their supporters to take down his website and expose private figures. More recently, a masked figure also posted a YouTube video against him. Dickson and other experts have said that while they are not privy to an incidents of foreign hacking of the campaigns, they do have concerns about a well-timed, sophisticated attack by a government to help, or hinder, a candidate as the conventions and general election get closer.
5- Greece: EgyptAir Made Sharp Turns Before Crashing With 66 Aboard
An EgyptAir flight with 66 people on board disappeared over the Mediterranean en route from Paris to Cairo on Thursday. Greek officials said the plane made two sharp turns then suddenly lost altitude before vanishing from radar. “It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360- degree turn toward the right, dropping from 38,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet,” said Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos. Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi said the possibility of a terror attack as the cause of the crash of flight MS804 was “stronger” than technical failure. Greek authorities reported that searchers had spotted two floating orange objects in the sea 50 miles southeast of the area where the plane left the radar, 174 miles off the Egyptian coast. Greek civil aviation authorities noted that all appeared fine with the flight until air traffic controllers were preparing to hand it over to their Egyptian counterparts. The pilot did not respond to their calls, and the aircraft then vanished form radars. Kostas Lintzerakos, the director of Greece’s civil aviation authority, said the pilot did not report any problems before exiting Greek airspace. On Twitter, EgyptAir said that the passengers included 30 Egyptians and 15 French and two Iraqis. Also onboard were one person each from Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria, Canada, Great Britain, Belgium, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Greece’s defense ministry mobilized a search and rescue operation and the French military says a Falcon surveillance jet monitoring the Mediterranean for migrants has been diverted to help search for the plane.
6- Europe’s Top Cop: It’s ‘Almost Certain’ Terrorists Will Try to Strike Again
European Union officials have faced criticism for months for failing to prevent the recent series of terrorist attacks, with many intelligence experts blaming lack of information sharing. The EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol, has been trying to piece together terror threats, but has also faced criticism. Some EU lawmakers are concerned that some European officials want the agency to become a “European CIA.” The organization is, however, comparatively small. It has a staff of 1,000 and its budget in 2015 was $106 million. According to Europol’s director Rob Wainwright, there are “several hundred” battle-trained European jihadists likely plotting further major attacks, and his agency is supporting some 50 ongoing terrorist investigations. He said that the “threat is alive and current” and that “another attempted attack is almost certain.” He also said that the European Football Championships in France may be the next potential large target. In order to prevent more attacks, Wainwright believes that there needs to be “[improved] collection and shared information on a European landscape.” He noted that the “threats…are inherently cross-border in nature, and require a transnational response.” Wainwright also thinks Great Britain will be far less secure if it votes to leave the union on June 23.
7- World Powers Urge Warring Syria Parties to Revive Cease-Fire
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov led a meeting of foreign ministers and officials in Vienna Tuesday and pressed the warring parties in Syria to maintain their weakening cease-fire. More than 20 countries and organizations signed on the joint statement, which also called for UN airdrops if humanitarian aid convoys cannot access the besieged areas by June 1. “We are all concerned about the violence that broke out, endangering the cessation of hostilities,” Kerry said. Big differences still remain between the U.S. and Russia as to whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power. Lavrov accused his Western counterparts of having partly caused the humanitarian crisis in Syria by imposing sanctions on the Assad regime. Russia continues to back the Assad regime, and will likely remain in this position because the country views Assad as the most effective way to fight terrorism on the ground. Ramadan starts June 7, so officials pressed for the talks to conclude before then to make progress against a war that has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the last six years.
8-Chinese Jets Intercept U.S. Military Plane Over South China Sea: PentagonTwo Chinese fighter jets carried out an “unsafe” intercept of a U.S. military aircraft over the disputed South China Sea, the Pentagon said Wednesday. The contested waterway has already heightened tensions between the U.S. and China and the latest incident could make the situation even more tense. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the U.S. statement was “not true” and that the aircraft had been engaging in reconnaissance close to China’s island province of Hainan. The encounter comes just one week after China scrambled fighter jets as a U.S. Navy ship sailed close to a disputed reef. China currently claims the South China Sea, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei all have overlapping claims. Washington, meanwhile, has accused China of militarizing the waterway after creating artificial islands.
9- U.S. Commander: Islamic State May Be Reverting to Its ‘Roots’
Recent deadly attacks by Islamic State in and around Baghdad may signal that militants are returning to their “roots” as a terrorist organization, according to U.S. officials. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, noted that this does not mean ISIS is giving up on creating a caliphate; instead, it indicates tactics aimed at diverting attention from the group’s recent losses on the ground. “I think they believe it will cause the Iraqi government to divert forces, divert effort, divert intellectual horsepower to solving those problems,” Votel said. ISIS has lost around 40 percent or more of the territory it once controlled in Iraq, and the recent attacks have claimed more than 200 lives.
10-Security Concerns Raised for Democratic National Convention After Nevada
Security preparations for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia have taken on a sense of urgency after violence broke out at last week’s state convention in Nevada. The DNC released a statement saying it is “deeply concerned” with what happened in Nevada, where some Bernie Sanders supporters became unruly and started throwing chairs. The DNC is not the only organization preparing for potential conflict. There is still concern that violence may break out in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention. Party front-runner Donald Trump warned that there may be riots if the RNC denied him a nomination and even though that possibility now seems slim, the threat of violence still remains. Officials said that it would be fair to expect more than 1,000 law enforcement officers at the DNC. The Philadelphia Police Department has not released any information about its security plans for the DNC, and five groups supporting Sanders’ campaign have recently filed permits with the city to protest near the site of the convention.
11- Hong Kong Launches Fresh Plan to Fortify Cyber Security After SWIFT Heist
Hong Kong’s central bank has launched a new program known as the “Cybersecurity Fortification Initiative” (CFI), to strengthen lenders’ ability to protect their critical technology systems after recent attacks on a global messaging system used by the financial community. The FBI, authorities in Dhaka, and private forensic experts are investigating the February cyber heist in Bangladesh where thieves raided a central bank account kept at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, stealing $81 million. The theft prompted attacks on other central banks within the region. Next week, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority will issue a formal circular to all banks setting out that it is a supervisory requirement for them to implement the CFI, a spokeswoman said.
12- Slovenian Bank Was Recipient Named in Failed Vietnam Cyber-Heist”
Cybercriminals unsuccessfully tried to send money from a Vietnamese bank to a Slovenian one in December, but there have been no other cases of attempted fraud transfers in Vietnam, according to Le Manh Hung, the head of the State Bank of Vietnam’s Information Technology Department. According to Hung, the December transfer—for $1.36 million—made via the SWIFT network was the only attempt to steal funds detected by Tien Phong Bank. There were no financial losses and TPBank uncovered the fraudulent transfer through its own reconciliation system, Hung said. Unlisted TPBank revealed the interrupted cyber heist on May 15. The hack involved the use of fake SWIFT messages, the same technique used in the massive theft from the Bangladesh central bank in February. SWIFT, a linchpin of the global financial system, is used by about 11,000 banks and financial institutions for transactions. The two attacks on banks will likely prompt an increase in scrutiny of the security of its network. SWIFT declined to comment on TPBank’s claims.
13- Most Organizations Can’t Protect Digital Information in the Long-Term
The majority of organizations do not have a coherent long-term strategy for dealing with their important digital information, even though 98 percent of them are required to keep information for 10 years or longer, according to new research from the Information Governance Initiative. Ninety-seven percent of information professionals understand the need for a specialized plan for their assets, but only 11 percent are storing the data in systems specifically designed to ensure long-term protection and access. Sixty-eight percent of organizations rely on shared network drives to store their data; however, this particular technology provides no assurances of long-term access or protection. The disparity could have economic, legal, and business competitiveness implications. Information management professionals are faced with the challenge accelerating innovation and technology presents when trying to maintain such files. Information can become unusable, long before an organization’s legal need or business requirement to keep and use that information expires.