Cyber Intelligence War 2000 to Present

Starting from Titan Rain to present Nation State Actors conducting Cyber Espionage

One of the best articles about Titan Rain was from Time Magazine.

The lesson of Titan Rain: Articulate the dangers of cyber attack to upper management. article by Homeland Security News Wire.

(2003). Intelligence in Support of Strategic Signal Units – starts page 40 by James R. Lint

Please send your information, story or pictures for this time in history. http://lc-vans.lintcenter.org/submit-your-story/

Titan Rain

Titan Rain: Chinese Cyberespionage? – TIME  Inside the Chinese Hack Attack 25 Aug 2005

The Invasion of the Chinese Cyberspies – TIME  29 Aug 2005

A look at how the hackers called TITAN RAIN are stealing U.S. secrets.

 Attack Via Chinese Web Sites – The Washington Post 25 Aug 2005

Combined Action Platoons: A Blueprint for Counterinsurgency

by Jared Zimmerman
Printed with Permission

Summary

Combined Action Platoons (CAPs), a Marine Corps civic action program in Vietnam aimed at pacification and counterinsurgency (COIN), experienced significant success, but has not been widely considered as a COIN option for the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are some risks associated with using CAPs as a COIN strategy, while there are also several ways that CAPs can be improved.

Background

CAPs in Vietnam: The United States Army and Marine Corps approached the war in Vietnam with a different set of experiences. The Army was accustomed to large-unit operations on the division or corps level conducted against conventional enemy forces. The Marines, while no stranger to large-unit action, were also accustomed as an organization to unconventional guerrilla wars fought against irregular forces[1]. Prior to both world wars and the war in Korea, the Marine Corps had been the United State’s primary ground troops in the Banana Wars, a series of conflicts fought in Panama, Honduras, Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and elsewhere between 1898 and 1934[2]. The experience gained in these conflicts and others prompted the Corps to publish a book, The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars, in 1921. The book, renamed The Small Wars Manual (SWM) in 1940, continues to be read within the Corps to this day[3]. In short, at the outset of Vietnam, large-unit conventional wars were the exception to the Marines, while small-unit guerrilla wars were the exception to the Army[4].

Given this difference in backgrounds, it is no surprise that as early as 1965, Marine units in Vietnam: 1) realized that winning the war would require supplanting the Viet Cong (VC) as the main provider of security and aid to the average Vietnamese, and 2) began pursuing strategies by which to do this[5]. Through a series of iterations, Marines in the Da Nang region developed what became known as Combined Action Platoons. Each CAP consisted of roughly thirteen Marine volunteers, a Navy Corpsman and fifteen-to-thirty indigenous Popular Forces (PF) militia members—local Vietnamese “who were either too young or too old to be drafted into the Army of the Republic of VietNam (ARVN) or the Regional Forces (Dia Phuong Quan)[6]”—who were tasked with living in and protecting a single village.

The CAP initiative had a number of advantages compared to the strategy the Army was implementing in their zones of responsibility at the same time. While the Army and ARVN conducted massive and expensive search-and-destroy sweeps that possibly created more enemies than they killed, the Marines found that CAPs were less expensive and allowed them to secure larger areas with fewer Marines. PF forces on their own were generally undisciplined and ill-equipped, but when paired with Marine volunteers, “each element of the team strengthened the other[7].” While, “the Marines contributed firepower, training, and access to American medical evacuation, artillery and air support[8],” the PF members contributed knowledge of the terrain, language and where the VC were hiding[9]. The Marines helped build schools and roads, dug wells, taught English and brought in Navy doctors and dentists to provide medical care to the villagers. The Marines would also start learning basic Vietnamese. In response, the villagers often began to trust the Marines when they saw that they were providing relatively permanent security and aid. They would start to turn on the VC who had previously provided security while extorting food and supplies[10]. The VC living in the hills outside the villages would no longer receive the food they needed from the villages and were forced to attack for supplies. When they did attack, they would be cut down by Marine firepower. This led to the CAP program having a high kill ratio, in some cases killing more VC than units of larger size elsewhere[11].

Despite this success, CAPs did have some drawbacks. For one, building trust through CAPs was slow. While CAPs were winning so-called “hearts and minds,” the Army and ARVN’s large search-and-destroy missions were losing them at a faster rate. Vietnamese government and ARVN leaders were also often corrupt and brutal and lost support for the American cause faster than CAPs could build this support. CAPs also spread Marines across a wide area where they essentially “de-escalated” the war. They conducted small patrols around their villages gathering intelligence and capturing VC. CAP tactics were guerrilla vs guerrilla and sniper vs counter-sniper. This made CAPs illprepared to fend off a feared massive conventional attack by North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces in the event that they attacked across the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Further, Americans served in Vietnam in twelve-month tours, so CAP Marines often rotated home just as they were becoming proficient in Vietnamese and adapting to village life[12]. Finally, CAP duty was dangerous. For example, Bing West—a CAP Marine veteran, RAND analyst, author and former Assistant Secretary of Defense—has written of how his seventeen-man CAP suffered thirteen casualties: four wounded and nine killed[13]. My own grandfather, Maj. Elmer Holthus USMC (Ret.), was wounded by what we would now call an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while visiting a CAP in a remote village.

CAPs in the War on Terror: Since Vietnam, CAPs have been used in the war in Afghanistan, though perhaps not a widely as might be expected giving the strategy’s apparent success in Vietnam. In 2010, soldiers started living with Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) personnel in the Khost-Gardez pass area in Afghanistan’s Paktika province to conduct combined action operations[14][15], while Marines began living and working alongside Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers in Helmand Province to form a Combined Action Company (CAC) to do the same[16].

CAPs in the Future

Risks of CAPs: There are two main risks associated with using CAPs.

  1. American forces integrated into CAPs become used to low-intensity conflicts and are not prepared for a large-scale conventional war. This was a serious concern in Vietnam as the NVA did possess large conventional forces. It should have been of less concern in the war in Afghanistan as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban do not possess large conventional forces.
  2. Villages with CAPs risk becoming overly reliant on Americans for security. This is especially dangerous in the absence of a well-defined exit strategy. A clear exit strategy should outline goals for CAPs. Americans should make up a smaller portion of each CAP each year as violence is reduced, while allowing individual CAPs to request to delay this “drawdown” on a case-by-case basis.

Ways to Improve CAPs: There are four main ways to improve the use of CAPs.

  1. The length of deployments and how units rotate in and out of the area of operations should be designed around the needs of the CAPs and the needs of the soldiers and Marines in them. Two or three units should be responsible for supplying the American contribution to the CAPs in a given area. While one unit is in country supplying soldiers or Marines for these CAPs, the other one or two units should be learning the local language and training in simulated villages. When the unit in country rotates home, it is replaced by one of the units that has been training to takeover its role providing soldiers or Marines for the CAPs. The unit that has just returned home should continue learning the language and training in the simulated villages. Every effort should be made so that when this unit deploys again, it deploys to the same group of villages it was supporting previously. This way villagers can get used to seeing, if not the same faces, then the same unit patches while also establishing a certain continuity of protection and aid.
  2. There should be as little “mixing” of strategies as possible. Units in one area should not be supplying soldiers and Marines to CAPs while units in a neighboring area are conducting large-scale search-and-destroy operations. Search-and-destroy operations of the sort conducted in Vietnam can lose the support and trust of a populace faster than CAPs can build it.
  3. Indigenous forces and leaders need to be trustworthy and just for this same reason. Corrupt and brutal local officials or military leaders who have the support of the United States will lose “hearts and minds” faster than CAPs can win them.
  4. CAP programs should have greater integration with and support from USAID, the Peace Corps, the World Health Organization, the UN and other international aid and peacekeeping organizations from the very beginning. When American soldiers and Marines arrive in a village, interpreters, teachers, medical supplies and food and water should arrive with them.

Endnotes

[1] Williams, J. H. (n.d.). The Real War: Marine Pacification in Vietnam. The Retired Officer, 1983 (August), 16-21.
[2] Banana Wars. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_Wars
[3] Small Wars Manual. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Wars_Manual
[4] Williams, J. H. (n.d.). The Real War: Marine Pacification in Vietnam. The Retired Officer, 1983 (August), 16-21.
[5] Williams, J. H. (n.d.). The Real War: Marine Pacification in Vietnam. The Retired Officer, 1983 (August), 16-21.
[6] Combined Action Program. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_Action_Program
[7] Combined Action Program. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_Action_Program
[8] Combined Action Program. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_Action_Program
[9] Williams, J. H. (n.d.). The Real War: Marine Pacification in Vietnam. The Retired Officer, 1983 (August), 16-21.
[10] Williams, J. H. (n.d.). The Real War: Marine Pacification in Vietnam. The Retired Officer, 1983 (August), 16-21.
[11] Combined Action Program. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_Action_Program
[12] Williams, J. H. (n.d.). The Real War: Marine Pacification in Vietnam. The Retired Officer, 1983 (August), 16-21.
[13] West, B. (2017, December 15). The Kindergarten Marines. The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/15/opinion/thekindergarten-marines.html
[14] Today’s Focus at Stand-to! – Combined Action Operations. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2018, from http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/todays-focus-at-stand-tocombined-action-operations
[15] Combined Action in Afghanistan. (n.d.). Army Magazine, 2010(August), 69-72. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from
https://www.usma.edu/caldol/SiteAssets/ArmyMagazine/docs/2010/CC_ARMY_10-08 (Aug10) CAP-in-AFG.pdf
[16] Bodrog, M., & LeBron, D. (2015, November). 2d Platoon: Call Sign “Hades” and the Combined Action Company. Leatherneck, 98(11). Retrieved March 31, 2018, from
https://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/2015/11/2d-platoon-call-sign-hadesand-combined-action-company

A Military Brat & 9/11

by Francis Smiley
Printed with Permission

Prior to September 11th, 2001 my life was as normal as your normal can be for a military kid, after that dreadful day my life would be forever changed.

My family and I had moved from England to Japan in early 2001, and by September 2001 I had just turned 11 years old living life every two to three years at a time. The center of my world throughout my stay in Japan revolved around two locations: Camp Zama, where U.S. Army Headquarters Japan was located and Sagamihara Housing Area (SHA) where many military families lived, including ours. Camp Zama was the central hub the PX, food court, and a movie theater were there and for any 11 year old these were the locations we always wanted to be.

When the attacks occurred I had just started my 6th grade year at SHA’s own John O Arnn Elementary School. My memories of living overseas are filled with spotty events all riddled with hazy recollections, however 9/11 and the months that followed are still very clear in my mind.

That day would not only change my family’s lives, but would continually transform my own life for the years to come. I remember waking up early and watching my mother glued to the television. I don’t remember if I was comprehending what I was watching at the time, though now I understand it was the constant reruns of the planes crashing into both Twin Towers, and there eventual collapse. I had no idea what New York City or Washington D.C. was, what the towers were, or what effect of what I was watching would have on me. The memories I have of that day are not of the actual day or any specific one day, but the weeks and months that followed.

First, was the dramatic change of my everyday environment. Both SHA and Camp Zama were on full lock down, both installations had increased armed guards and extremely strict curfews that seemed to last forever. At some point after the attacks I remember being at school, and a small contingent of military police were on the campus. These men were armed, and I remember all of us kids were excited to see their weapons, this mixture of infatuation and fear continued for some time. I can’t recall how long this new change occurred, though it has always been significant in my mind with the date of 9/11/01.

My most significant memory associated with 9/11 is when my father sat my two brothers and myself down and explained he was going away. I don’t remember the full conversation but I do remember that once we had it, he was gone a few months later and gone for a while once he left. At this point the realization of what 9/11 actually was and why my father was going away sank in. This realization would never truly fade away, and in later years that day would continually shape my future.

Many kids raised within the military community follow their parent(s) into any one of the respective military branches. Many who were children during 9/11, and saw their parents deploy, have now shaped their own lives mirroring that of what they have experienced. Some have enlisted, some have joined an officers program, and many others have joined in federal service for our nation.

For me, I have dedicated my young adult life towards academics in the fields of international security and history, so I can too at some point make my contribution towards the safety and security of our nation. Throughout my academic career I have made many transitions, reflections, and observations for how best I can contribute to our nation’s defense. One certainty I have always had is my perspective of 9/11 as a military kid overseas.

The significance of that day fifteen years ago has always stuck with me, and like so many others it has made the drive for a more effective security environment for our nation’s defense a target goal in life.

The Belfort Ruse (August-September 1918)

Published with Permission by:
Lori S. Tagg, Command Historian,
US Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Fort Huachuca, AZ.

“My dear General Pershing:  I hear from everywhere, and especially from the armies and civil authorities of the east, that, in their generous enthusiasm on account of the prospect of a great success over the enemy, numerous American officers and soldiers have talked in a public way of the projects of the High Command in the Woëvre. …It is impossible that the enemy should not be forewarned….” –Gen. Henri Philippe Pétain, Commander-in-Chief, French Army

The date was August 19, 1918.  After 15 months of preparation, planning, and training, the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) was finally ready to launch its first large-scale military operation of World War I. The early September offensive would pit the US First Army and more than 100,000 French troops against 11 German divisions at the St. Mihiel salient in northeastern France. The French were worried, and rightly so. Inexperienced American soldiers and officers, who certainly should have known better, were egregiously violating operational security.

General John J. Pershing, commander of the AEF, was no stranger to the importance of negative intelligence—keeping information from the enemy. Chagrined that his own troops were exhibiting such carelessness, Pershing replied to Pétain on August 22: “…the importance of the considerations which you have set forth relative to the necessity for secrecy in all operations had not escaped me. I keenly regret that indiscretions may have been committed, and I consider, with you, that we must attempt to deceive the enemy upon the actual directions the attack.”

Pershing directed the Information Division within his G-2 Section to devise and execute, in very short order, a plan to mislead the Germans as to the true location of the planned American attack. The chief of the division was Capt. (later Col.) Arthur L. Conger, Jr., a Harvard graduate, instructor at Fort Leavenworth, and German linguist familiar with the German army. Conger, however, was a reluctant intelligence officer. Reportedly difficult to work with, he had been passed over by other AEF staff officers and ended up “stuck” in the G-2. After the war, Conger told a group of new intelligence officers, “I was one of those people in Intelligence who felt that they were in the wrong place all during the war and wanted very much to be some place else.” Despite his wishes, Conger was second in command to Maj. (later Maj. Gen.) Dennis Nolan, the AEF G-2.

Although unhappy about the assignment, Conger attacked it with vigor. To prevent further security breaches, he limited knowledge of the deception plan to Pershing, his Chief of Staff, and the AEF G-3. Conger had the G-3 issue a confidential order to the VI Corps commander to establish a headquarters at Belfort and to expect seven divisions for an attack on the city of Mulhouse through the Belfort Gap, 125 miles southeast of St. Mihiel. Staff officers from the corps and each of the named divisions converged on Belfort to arrange for lodging and administrative space to support this large force. Conger also traveled to Belfort, a hot bed of German sympathizers and spies, where he dropped hints to local inhabitants and conveniently left “confidential” papers in plain sight. He arranged for reconnaissance flights over enemy lines, sent borrowed French tanks to drive around open fields, and dispatched agents to scout rail lines, roads, and hospital facilities. Signal units set up large antennas and proceeded to dispatch a flurry of messages.

Throughout the execution of his deception plan, Conger expressed pessimism on its chances for success, doubting “that the enemy takes this reconnaissance very seriously; … [he won’t] be deceived by a mere ‘paperwork’ demonstration or reconnaissance of officers, unaccompanied by actual preparations of guns, munitions, materiel, and subsistence….” And he was right. German intelligence officers doubted the legitimacy of the information they received out of Belfort but felt it was too important to ignore completely. After all, Belfort might very well have been the true site of the upcoming attack and the American preparations at St. Mihiel the ruse.

The US First Army moves forward to its first offensive of World War I at the St. Mihiel salient, September 1918. (Library of Congress)

Ultimately, the Belfort Ruse had little impact on the offensive at St. Mihiel. It did sow enough confusion and concern within the German forces for them to divert resources, time, and effort that could have been more effective elsewhere. Pershing believed the ruse successful enough to request additional deception operations to keep the enemy uncertain and distracted.

After the war, Conger stated, “Of course, it is as old as the history of war for false information to be given to the enemy.” Indeed, examples, both successful and not, can be found throughout US Army history. Used to counteract a serious security leak or to mislead the enemy, deception operations can help a commander preserve that all-important principle of war–Security.