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AS THE GLOBE TURNS: INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION IS STILL VITAL

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Dan Callahan

Consider this January 31st posting by Michael M. Dunn, President/CEO of the Air Force Association; spend three minutes considering how your company’s value proposition supports the IC in these events.  The world is constantly changing.  What is your contribution to making the IC agencies better in their specific mission, given this list of potential or outright threats?

  • President Hu Jin Tao of the PRC visited the US … and right before his visit, the Chinese flew their first test flight of their 5th generation fighter, the J-20.

  • The Vice Chief of Staff of the Chinese Air Force declared publicly that the J-20 would not be deployed in 2020 as stated by Sec Gates, but it would enter the PLAAF by 2017 … not long after the USAF F-35 achieves its Initial Operational Capability.

  • Riots on the streets of Tunisia caused the government to fall.

  • This was followed by riots in Yemen and by severe demonstrations in Egypt. 

  • The Egyptian street activity has sent shock waves throughout the world.  Oil has jumped $4 per barrel and countries are scrambling to get their citizens out of the country.

  • The Russian press speculated that Russia would offer their 5th generation fighter, the PAK-FA, to Brazil.  This aircraft has also been developed in partnership with India.  The prototype of this aircraft also flew its first flight.

  • The German press reported that Iran and Venezuela reached an agreement to station Iranian surface-to-surface missiles and advanced surface-to-air missiles in Venezuela.  The piece went on to say the surface-to-surface missiles have the range to reach Miami.

  • Talks meant to urge Iran toward heeding U.N. Security Council demands to stop uranium enrichment collapsed, with Tehran shrugging off calls by six world powers to cease the activity that could be harnessed to make nuclear arms.  No new date for another meeting has been set.

  • In a separate report, Iran flatly stated that it intends to continue to enrich uranium and to proceed towards development of nuclear weapons.

  • For the first time in 20 years, Burma convenes its parliament – with the members all supporters of the junta.  Opponents call it a “sham.”

  • According to non-government estimates, Pakistan has now doubled its nuclear arsenal to more than 100 deployed weapons.

  • Cyber “attacks” continue to occur against the US … though not widely reported.  In a separate report, half of U.S. government Web sites are vulnerable to commonplace Domain Name System (DNS) attacks because they haven't deployed a new authentication mechanism that was mandated in 2008.

Michael Dunn comments:  The point of above … is, very simply, that … except possibly for the last item, no one predicted that these items would occur when they did.  Most have looked optimistically at Afghanistan and definitely stated that all conflicts of the future would resemble the counter insurgency on-going in Afghanistan.  It doesn’t take much for any of you to posit scenarios based on any of the events above.  That is why we have argued that we must have a strong military – one that is trained and ready across the spectrum on conflict.  We can’t wait for conflict to be imminent before we start to build up our forces and their equipment.

 

Discussion Question:  Is it realistic to map your company’s capabilities to the current news affecting the IC?