Categories
Cyber Security, Digital Transition, Technology Geopolitics & Worlds In-Defense In-Security Pensiero Strategico

Daily news – febraury 18, 2022 updates

JAPAN

Japan has confirmed that it will put 68 license-built Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle interceptors through an upgrade that will improve its radar, electronic warfare, weapons carriage capacity and stand-off weapon capabilities. A document released by the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency, or ATLA, in early February also estimated that the total cost of the upgrade and sustainment of its F-15 fleet up to 2045 will cost 646.5 billion Japanese yen or $5.62 billion. Defense News, Mike Yeo: Japan confirms details of F-15J upgrade program worth $5.6 billion

LEBANON – FRANCE

Lebanon’s government has granted French company CMA CGM a contract to manage, operate and maintain the container terminal at Beirut’s port for the next decade. Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamie confirmed the deal to Al Jazeera on Thursday. Al Jazeera, Kareem Chehayeb: French firm gets contract to run Beirut port container terminal

NIGERIA

Nigeria’s economy grew faster than forecast by the central bank and government last year after an expansion in the agriculture and trade industries in the fourth quarter offset a sharp drop in oil production. Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, Ruth Olurounbi: Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, tops growth forecasts

RUSSIA – UKRAINE – SECURITY

Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east have traded fresh accusations of shelling and other ceasefire violations as fears Moscow may be poised to launch an imminent invasion mount. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said shelling targeted the rebel-held village of Petrivske in the early hours of Friday morning, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported, while the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic claimed there had been several incidents of mortar fire. Al Jazeera, 

TUNISIA

President Kais Saied’s new decree establishing a temporary judicial authority to replace the dissolved Supreme Judicial Council continues to draw widespread criticism in Tunisia in a setback for the rule of law. In a statement released on Monday, the High Judicial Council (HJC) fully rejected the presidential decree, considering its provisions an “attack on the independence of the judiciary” and denouncing “a violation of the fundamental rights of magistrates”. Al Jazeera, Alessandra Bajec: Does new decree mark the end of judicial independence in Tunisia?

TURKEY

Turkey’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a second month on Thursday, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government struggles to contain price surges that could threaten his two-decade rule. The Monetary Policy Committee held its one-week repo rate at 14% as forecast by all 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Turkish inflation climbed to 48.7% last month, pushing the nation’s yield when adjusted for inflation to almost -35%, the lowest by far among emerging market peers. Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, Baris Balci and Cagan Koc: Turkey keeps interest rates unchanged despite surging inflation

UKRAINE – UK – POLAND

The Ukrainian government announced a new security pact with the U.K. and Poland Feb. 17, as the day’s developments upped the ante yet again in the standoff with Russia. The tie-up is meant to deepen Ukraine’s relationships with the two European nations in matters of cyber security, energy security and countering disinformation, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a statement. Defense News, Sebastian Sprenger: Ukraine, UK, Poland announce security pact amid heightened tensions

USA

US President Joe Biden has made tackling climate change a top priority. One of his first orders in 2021 was to appoint John Kerry as the first US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. The Biden-Harris Administration have, since then, pursued an environmental agenda, backed by a push for clear regulations to move the American economy to a low-carbon path. World Economic Forum, Nathan Cooper, Lukas Bester: US commitment to lower emissions: affect on climate change

Two new and powerful supercomputers are set to enter production service for the Defense Department early this year—and when they do, they’ll be equipped with sophisticated, artificial intelligence-optimized storage capabilities for highly intensive workloads. “DDN is supplying storage systems to both the Air Force Research Laboratory DOD Supercomputing Resource Center and the Navy DOD Supercomputing Resource Center as part of an overall solution with Penguin Computing to help the DOD advance their physics, AI and machine learning applications,” Jeff Jordan, DataDirect Network’s vice president of federal sales, told Nextgov on Wednesday. Nextgov, Brandi Vincent: Pentagon Inches Closer to Unleashing Two New Supercomputers – Nextgov

A federal court temporarily halted part of President Biden’s executive order that requires contractors to pay their employees a $15 an hour minimum wage. President Biden issued an executive order in April that required contractors to pay their employees a $15 minimum wage starting in 2022, which commenced the rulemaking process for a final rule that took effect on Jan 30. The rule also eliminates the tipped minimum wage for contractors by 2024, ensures that federal contract workers with disabilities receive the $15 minimum wage and restored the minimum wage protections for outfitters and guides on federal lands (by revoking a May 2018 executive order from President Trump). Nextgov, Courtney Bublé: Part of Biden’s $15 Contractor Minimum Wage Order Has Been Halted Temporarily

The U.S. House of Representatives heard testimony on Wednesday from leading advocates and academics on the need for comprehensive federal data protection laws in an era where most Americans’ personal data becomes digitally accessible. “The United States—in the world’s liberal democracies—has thus far failed to construct a coherent political vision of a digital century that advances democratic values principles in government,” Shoshana Zuboff, a professor at Harvard Business School, testified. “This failure left a void where democracy should be, leaving our citizens now to march naked into the third decade of surveillance capitalism, without the rights, laws and institutions necessary for a democratic digital future.”. Nextgov, Alexandra Kelley: Government Has ‘Failed to Construct a Coherent Political Vision’ for Data Protection, Experts Say

The Department of Justice is adding another woman to the top ranks of those hunting and intercepting cyber criminals on the blockchain, according to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who announced an expansion of the department’s efforts to combat ransomware and other illicit activity like cryptocurrency-related money laundering. “Today the [National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team] gains its first director, Eun Young Choi, a seasoned computer crimes prosecutor and a leader in the field,” Monaco said Thursday during the Munich Security Conference. Nextgov, Mariam Baksh: Justice Builds Out Crypto Tracking, International Engagement Teams on Ransomware

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a request for information on Wednesday asking for information about a potential vendor that can build out software platforms as part of the agency’s commercial space situational awareness program. The solicitation specifically looks for vendors on data products, services and capabilities. These will go into developing an open architecture data repository. Nextgov, Alexandra Kelley: NOAA Prioritizing Data Architecture For Space Monitoring Technologies

The Space Force’s procurement organization has set 2026 as a target date for delivering “maximum operational capability” in the form of new, more resilient space systems. That timeline, says Space Systems Command Executive Director Joy White, was set by SSC Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein and is informed by growing concerns among the service’s leadership about growing on-orbit threats. Defense News, Courtney Albon: US Space Force aims for more resilient architecture by 2026

The chief of naval operations wants to deploy minimally manned or unmanned surface vessels with a strike group in the next five or six years, with an eye toward scaled-up unmanned systems operations around the globe in the 2030s. And he hopes to start working toward that goal without a proper budget in place. Defense News, Megan Eckstein: Unmanned or minimally manned vessels could deploy alongside strike groups as soon as 2027

Russian state-sponsored hackers have targeted U.S. defense contractors for years, absconding with information that provides “significant insight” into weapons development, communications infrastructure and IT, a bulletin published this week warned. Defense News, Colin Demarest: CISA accuses Russia-backed hackers of stealing info from U.S. defense contractors

U.S. companies, particularly in the defense industry, should be prepared for an increase in cyberattacks aimed at stealing data or disrupting operations as a result of new aggressive Russian activity aimed at Ukraine, a top Department of Justice official said on Thursday. The remarks come one day after a new alert from the FBI, National Security Agency, and the Computer Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, warning that Russian hackers had hit defense contractors and were likely to continue their attempts. Defense One, Patrick Tucker: US Companies Warned to Prepare for Russian Cyber Attacks

The Navy’s top officer says he’s seeing success in the service’s efforts to win more trust from Congress and more support from the American people, and he’s got some data to back that up. But others say the Navy needs to work on its message. Rep. Elaine Luria’s advice: stop talking about sea lines of communication and choke points. Defense One, Bradley Peniston: The Navy’s Messaging Choke Point

The deployment of military forces from bases in the U.S. to Europe should cause the Biden administration to rethink its critical defense policy priorities relevant to Russia, China, and the Indo-Pacific region. First, the now-delayed U.S. National Defense Strategy, President Joe Biden’s first as president, likely will prioritize China as “the pacing challenge.” There is good reason to do so in light of the ongoing, sustained, broad-based Chinese military modernization effort demonstrated last year, most pointedly by China’s hypersonic missile tests. Defense One, Barry Pavel: Biden Should Shift US Troop Positions Worldwide

USA – CHINA

E-commerce sites operated by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd have been placed on the United States government’s “notorious markets” list of entities that allegedly sell or facilitate the sale of counterfeit goods, the US Trade Representative’s office said on Thursday. The list identifies 42 online markets and 35 physical markets that are reported to engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy. Al Jazeera: US adds Tencent, Alibaba sites to list flagging counterfeit sales