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.

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

Vietnam Minority Economy

A Story of a Trade – An Environment for Hard Currencies

by Lou Rothenstein

When I toured through Vietnam in 2012, I noticed how much of the hardwood forests had been cut down in the Central Highlands. This was in areas commonly called triple-canopy jungle or forest. There were coffee plants in their place in some areas. The hardwoods are probably gone for good as they take many years to mature. Teak takes 19-25 years, rare Rosewood 19-21 years, but some may take up to 100 years. Hopefully, the monsoon rains will not wash the viable topsoil downstream in clear cut areas. Any vegetation can help prevent soil erosion but most cannot provide the cover that hardwood trees do that is needed for the native people and wildlife.

In the areas of the Mekong Delta I helped defoliate, one might be able to say that the mangrove swamps have recovered for the most part. The Plain of Reeds has become a very large rice producer. Even in the high years of defoliation, we limited spraying coconut and banana areas to very small parcels along known supply trails.

I thought it ironic. Our defoliation efforts destroyed or heavily damaged about 7700 square miles of forests, about six percent of Vietnam’s total land area. In the 1990s, one could see the start of large-scale re-planting. In 2012, most areas near the 17th parallel appeared to have recovered. The process was accelerated by Doi Moi and a market-driven forest management system funded by outside assistance after years of stagnation by the government. A good report can be found at

Although this is good news, there is more from the negative side. The pursuit of hard currency for furniture wood ($2.8 billion with the U.S. alone) and coffee has deforested more land than defoliation did. This is hurting the minority people such as the Montagnards whose life and culture is intertwined with the forests they live in. As good furniture hardwood is used up in Vietnam, the illegal and legal cutting of trees in Cambodia, Burma, and Laos has increased. This has also affected their local natives as it has in Vietnam. There were areas visited in the highlands near borders that were off-limits to foreigners. It was apparent that there was illicit logging underway.

In 2016 while helping my wife who was participating in a medical mission in rural Vietnam (Vets with a Mission), one could not help but notice the Chinese road construction crews during the day and occasional timber transport passing by the clinic.

A friend who supports Montagnards on the Cambodian side of the border returned from nearly a month in Eastern Cambodia. He told me that this is the last refuge area for the mountain people, many who fled their native lands to avoid Vietnamese persecution. Big corporations are buying up the land and planting rubber, coffee, tea, and peppers in plantation settings. Hun Sen (Cambodian leader) has invited in the Chinese and they are building like crazy. The average Khmer on the street hate them as the Chinese come as disguised conquerors; they bring their own laborers, destroy the environment, have ruined the pristine beaches at Sihanoukville, and look down on the Cambodians as inferiors. Hun Sen received $600 million in foreign aid from China in July of 2016. Little of this has made it into the indigenous minority communities. It appears that the way of life of the Montagnard people will not survive for very long.

As in most socialist countries, the laws passed to protect people and the environment is often overlooked to gain those overseas monies – particularly hard currencies. Local party officials approach the situation with a “palms up” posture – where they expect a cut of the illegal profits for looking the other way. They care little of the long-term effects on the environment or the people.

I recall a trip to Europe around the time the old USSR broke up. It was apparent that little or no regard for the environment or the health of the local people was considered very important in some areas of East Germany. I was interested in finding out a little from my old analyst work in the Army. It was really an environmental muddle. West Germans were starting to clean up the environmental mess left by the old Communist central controlled East German government industries. Water and air pollution required the closing of many factories and plants. In some areas, chemical contamination was so great, whole villages were cordoned off to await clean up. To see the terrible health consequences in some former and current socialist countries, see

Corporations were once considered the major polluters in the U.S. and other free market economies. Regulations and a desire to be good caretakers of the land have changed this quite a bit. In fact, private companies probably pollute less than our governmental agencies as liability legislation doesn’t apply to polluting government activities. The clean water act is an example of that. It has worked well until one looks at governmental cases like Flint, Michigan.

One can look at the U.S. logging industry as a model. As each tree is cut for timber products and paper pulp, they are replaced by three fast-growing trees that can be harvested in 12-15 years. There are more trees in America than there were 100 years ago. But the forests are young in many areas and do not support all wildlife well. When trees are replaced by other crops, the wildlife diminishes. That is the big reason loggers in America use their wood trees much as a farmer uses his crops. The trees take longer to mature but overall, there are more oxygen-producing trees in the environment and other forest land, much which lays near parks and wilderness areas, are allowed to mature untouched by the saw and a haven for native wildlife. This is just one reason some controlled emissions continue to decline in the U.S. as opposed to increases in many developing countries of the world.

But the Chinese appetite for more exotic and traditional materials such as ivory for carving and rosewood for furniture grows; neighboring Southeast Asian countries will be providing them, much of it illegally. Sadly, this is at great cost to their indigenous people. An example:
Cambodia Accused Vietnam of Systematic Logging Fraud

I heard Chinese Foreign Minister Wang-Yi make comments to the effect that control of the South China Sea was China’s destiny. It was their lake. More frequently, he has touted the Chinese plan of building an economic “Common Destiny Community” among their neighbors. When one reads into this a bit more, it sounds somewhat like the Japanese “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” where Japan’s goal was to replace western colonial powers with themselves.

Vietnam has moved to the number two coffee producing country in the world, second to Brazil. They produce coffees mostly from the Robusta bean that many believe not as good as Arabica beans but I prefer the stronger medium and dark roasted Robusta for flavor, but I feel a bit guilty drinking it.

We are planning a return trip to Vietnam and its neighbors for 2019. I am sure I will see fewer big trees and more coffee plants. I am wondering if the last of the Montagnard culture might someday be found in North Carolina. That group of loyal peoples who worked with our Army Special Forces and advisors during the Second Indochina War and were helped to continue their chosen way of life in a free land.


 CSM Louis Rothenstein, served in the US Army from 1956 to 1986. He started out in the Infantry, before moving to AIS, and MI.  He served most of his thirty years overseas including stints in France, Germany, Berlin, Korea and the DMZ, as well as several trips to Vietnam.   His duties ranged from working as an analyst to a collector and team sergeant on advisory teams supporting ARVN, the US Navy, and USSF.   After serving as a CSM at battalion and Brigade levels, he retired as CSM, US Army Communications and Electronics Command.  Afterwards, he served as Honorary Sgt. Major, MI Corps working with reserve component MI units from 1990-1994.  He is a Distinguished Member of the US Army MI Hall of Fame.

By, With, and Through: Lessons from Advising Afghans

by Richard Laszok
Printed with Permission

As an Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps, I spent the majority of my time training with or advising partnered forces.  Through my career, I participated in Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) exercises across the Asia-Pacific region and served as an adviser in Afghanistan.  Aside from the cultural differences, the partnered forces in the TSC exercises I participated in had varying capabilities and proficiencies.  This required my team to develop different approaches to how we would maximize training opportunities for everyone.  As a member of Task Force Southwest, an adviser team deliberately built to provide training, advising, and assistance to the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) in Helmand province had to apply similar skills.  All these experiences have taught me several lessons, but have identified what I consider the top three which contributed to the success of my teams.

1)    Know your stuff.  It seems intuitive enough, but before you can teach or advise, you must master the material yourself.  It requires competency in the subjects you will be advising.  The amount of time you dedicate to learning and reviewing your subject will directly relate to your effectiveness as an adviser or partner.  Competency provides accurate information taught or shared and provides a level of confidence that helps deliver the information.  I attribute the success of my teams during the TSC exercises and advising efforts to the preparation.  Preparation also includes knowing a little about your partner.  Take the time to learn about their culture, customs, and if possible a few simple phrases.  Knowing some of these little things will make what you teach more meaningful and leave a positive lasting effect.

2)    They aren’t us.  It’s okay that they are different and sometimes that makes the partnership more valuable.  Leverage the differences to bring new ideas and approaches to problem solving.  Often we tend to think that our way is the best way to solve the problem but when working with different cultures the host nation personnel may provide the best solution with a little assistance from you.  They bring an understanding that a foreigner might not understand or overlook.  For example, initially, when we were advising the Afghan instructors at the 215th Corps Regional Military Training Center we wanted the instructors to follow written outlines for the courses.  This is how our militaries do business, why shouldn’t they.  Well, we quickly found out that the majority of the instructors were illiterate.  Having detailed written classes would not have helped because they couldn’t read the material.  Our solution was to develop the instructors in the skills they were good at already and help them professionalize their ability to instruct.  If you are there solely as an adviser, always encourage the host nation personnel to develop their own solutions but be willing to assist along the way.  There were many occasions as an adviser where it would have been faster or easier for my team or me to provide the solution upfront.  We had to resist the urge to do this and allow the host nation personnel to work through the issues.  At the end of the day as long as progress was made and solutions were developed that was effective advising.  Efficiency became the next goal.

3)    Be self-aware.  You and the team need to have self-awareness.  Effective advising means the host nation is demonstrating improvements.  If they aren’t improving, you aren’t being effective.  You might be the most knowledgeable subject matter expert or best instructor back home, but if the target audience doesn’t get it your wasting everyone’s time.  This requires the adviser(s) to have the maturity to reflect to improve or sustain their approach to advising.  Constant assessments of yourself and your partner will help shape and drive your engagement strategy.

Advising skills will continue to be relevant to the U.S. military and success of future missions.  Understanding these skills will enhance partnerships during TSC exercises, which are valuable for building partnered capacity throughout the world.  Maintaining these strong relationships will be imperative if the countries have to work together in response to a humanitarian disaster or execute combat operations.  Finally, these lessons are also good leadership tools that can be applied to our own military services.  Leaders can use them to develop their subordinates and ultimately strengthen our own warfighting organizations.

Dismantling North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program Starts with Understanding Its History

Published with Permission by:
Irajpanah, Katherine, “Dismantling North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program Starts with Understanding Its History”, In Homeland Security, 04 July 2018, Web,

By Katherine Irajpanah
Writer, Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc., and Special Contributor, In Homeland Security 

On June 12, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea met in Singapore for a historic summit. During the meeting, the United States and North Korea established the diplomatic foundation for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The Singapore summit followed a year of intensified vitriol between the two countries and decades of unsuccessful attempts at halting North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons.

The summit and forthcoming diplomatic talks highlight the need to understand the history of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The program, which has developed over the course of approximately six decades, has perplexed the past several presidential administrations. That suggests that the United States must approach the negotiating table cautiously and be prepared for lengthy, technical discussions.

The Beginnings of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program

North Korea’s nuclear weapons program dates to the 1950s in the aftermath of the Korean War. The war, which pitted South Korea and the United States against North Korea and China, created a great sense of insecurity in the regime of the DPRK’s founder, Kim Il-sung.

DPRK nuclear ambitions largely grew from those insecurities. Weapons of mass destruction, including biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, presented the Kim regime with a potential guarantor of its security as well as a means of deterring the United States from invading North Korea.

Although North Korea’s nuclear program has largely been indigenous, Pyongyang received external technical assistance during its early years. In the 1960s, for example, the Soviet Union helped the North Koreans develop early nuclear reactors, which can provide a source of fissionable material to make a hydrogen bomb. Moreover, in the 1970s, North Korea modeled its short-range missiles on Soviet Scud missiles it had acquired from Egypt.

By the 1980s, North Korea had developed its own nuclear research institutions, uranium mining facilities, a fuel rod fabrication complex and a five-megawatt nuclear reactor. After signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1985, Kim secured further Soviet assistance to develop light water reactors (LWRs). With these facilities and other projects in place, Kim Il-sung successfully developed a nuclear bomb option and the foundation of North Korea’s current nuclear weapons program.

The Rise and Fall of Diplomatic Agreements

North Korea’s nuclear threat reached a flashpoint in 1994, when the United States and North Korea faced the risk of war as a result of the North’s provocations. After the 1994 crisis abated, Washington and Pyongyang held diplomatic talks that led to the 1994 Agreed Framework.

In that agreement, the United States promised security assurances and proliferation-resistant LWRs to North Korea. Also, North Korea promised to freeze and dismantle its nuclear reactors and submit to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Both parties, however, failed to live up to the agreement. As a result, the Agreed Framework fell apart.

North Korea Gradually Builds Nuclear Bomb Program

By late 2003, under Kim’s son, Kim Jong-Il, North Korea likely had acquired a nuclear bomb. To stem the North’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, the United States convened a new diplomatic channel, the Six-Party Talks. That channel involved North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China.

In 2005, the North Koreans announced that they would abandon their nuclear program. Nonetheless, North Korea reneged on its statement and conducted its first nuclear weapons test in 2006. In April 2009, after much back-and-forth communication over proposed arrangements, North Korea withdrew from the Six-Party talks.

Kim Jong-un and the DPRK Nuclear Program

In 2011, Kim Jong-un succeeded his late father, Kim Jong-Il, as “Supreme Leader” and accelerated the nuclear weapons program. To the young leader’s way of thinking, nuclear weapons would ensure the regime’s security and afford him a level of international prestige.

Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea conducted four new nuclear tests. On September 3, 2017, the official North Korean news agency, KCNA, reported the successful testing of a hydrogen bomb.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, North Korea now has an estimated 15 to 20 nuclear weapons, “while U.S. intelligence believes the number to be between thirty and sixty bombs.” Experts also believe that Kim has a functioning intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Some reports suggest that North Korea has the capability to miniaturize its nuclear weapons and mount them on an ICBM, the final element needed to bring about a nuclear holocaust.

International Community’s Response to North Korea’s Behavior

The international community has responded to North Korea’s behavior with intensified economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. Even China, which has always served as a key economic and political ally of North Korea across the decades, has joined the international efforts to use sanctions to bring Kim to the negotiating table.

As a probable consequence of the mounting economic pressure of these sanctions and the rogue nation’s increasing international isolation, Kim Jong-un has turned away from bombastic rhetoric to diplomatic overtures. At the recent Singapore summit, Kim affirmed “his firm and unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Beyond the Singapore Summit

The history of North Korea’s nuclear program suggests that the diplomats involved in the forthcoming negotiations must now proceed deliberately and in a clear-eyed manner. To work toward the dismantlement of the North’s nuclear arsenal, the United States will need to consider some form of security reassurance for the Kim regime.

Furthermore, many details about North Korea’s nuclear program remain unknown, and North Korea has reneged on agreements in the past. Any agreement with North Korea will need to emphasize intrusive, on-the-ground verification to both monitor its progress on denuclearization and close the information gap on DPRK nuclear assets.

Finally, the world at large must understand that, as nuclear expert Siegfried S. Hecker estimated, DPRK disarmament could take over a decade to complete due to the technical demands of dismantling its nuclear complex.

Overall, the best path forward in addressing the North Korean nuclear threat is one that emphasizes diplomacy and recognizes the historical challenges associated with Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

About the Author

Katherine Irajpanah is an intern and writer at the Lint Center for National Security Studies. She is currently studying for her bachelor’s degree in international relations at Stanford University and works as a research assistant at the Center for International Security and Cooperation.