OK, I know that there are more than enough things going on to worry almost anyone at this point in time – but there are also things going on that just make me shake my head…if I could express it verbally it would go along with the refrain from this song (and yes I am that old).
I figured it might make me feel better if others were shaking their heads as well so here are some small samples for you – and since much of my research and writing has to do with national security, that’s the source for all three.
First off, everyone who is not in denial is quite aware that Russia is engaged in a number of types of political warfare against the EU, NATO and the U.S. Some of it involves military posturing – enough to stampede us into a horrendous defense budget escalation – and some of it involves some rather sophisticated psychological warfare using social media. Both those tracks have been in play for some four years now and show no sign of diminishing. The other track which appears to so far have been more “exploratory” than anything else involves actual direct intrusion into our voting systems. That is documented to some extent already and certainly get worse should any sophisticated aggressor decide to take the risk. Given that, consider the following news article, which relates how one of our most experienced experts in countering that threat is being removed from the field:
Next, we move on to something that really made me shake my head when I really thought about the story for a bit. Everyone is aware of the “nuclear football”, the so called bomb bag, which carries the nuclear response options which the President can order in response to an attack…or whatever. I cover this in Surprise Attack and actually following the Cuban Missile Crisis and JFK’s experience there, the options expanded significantly (when he looked his choices over there was really only one – nuke everybody consider communist, whether they actually attacked us or not, including Russia and China and the satellite countries). Over time many more options were developed and coded and nobody really expects the President to study this stuff (another reason to shake your head) so the bag is always carried by an officer who understands them and can help the President decide on what set of targeting options to select.
Well it seems that on his trip to China President Trump was accompanied by the football and the officer as SOP…including on his various travels and into meetings with the Chinese. Indeed there appears to have been a bit of a tussle over the bag at one point. This makes me wonder how long that had been going on….I mean carrying all your nuclear strike options as well as the officer who knows them by heart directly into the physical premises of folks you actually consider as a potential military opponent? I’m thinking you really should not do that and that while the President is on such a trip you should have a backup protocol. Read this story and think about what could actually go wrong…
For my third point, I return to something I covered in an earlier post. However over the last few weeks more detail has emerged in this incident; an incident in which an unidentified aircraft (referred to in FAA dialog as an “intruder”) moved down and back over the west coast, flying at high speeds at commercial aircraft altitudes, reported by a number of airline flights and tracked at points by FAA operations centers. The aircraft had no transponder, responded to no radio calls, was reported to NORAD and apparently either totally escaped NORAD radar tracking or somehow managed to spoof it – the result being that even when fighters were scrambled no intercepts were made. Whatever the aircraft was, its flight demonstrated that the entire west coast is seemingly wide open to aerial surveillance and attack. Not a sneak attack mind you since this aircraft didn’t really do anything all that sneaky, it was in plain sight, not at extreme high or low altitudes and just “cruising”. The following video is a bit sensational but it contains the full FAA tape of calls relating to the aircraft so that’s pretty worthwhile. As to what the Air Force and NORAD knew, knows or did…they simply are not saying: