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The AI Column: Why Marine Corps Commandant Gen Neller Really Needs to Read ‘LikeWar’
While critics might scoff at the notion of social media as a vital national security issue, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, is chock full of sobering reminders that what happens online doesn’t always stay there.
The topic is one that senior leaders should be paying attention to—in particular, Gen. Robert Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, who has folded his arms and refused to engage with social media, like some 19th-century cavalryman who refuses to ride on the railroad. Headlines aside, both Russia and China have invested heavily in social media influence operations and begun weaponizing that capability. The authors explain how both governments and usurpers have used this new medium to advance their agendas.
The message is particularly relevant to the Marine Corps. John Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff and retired Marine general, stubbornly refuses to use Twitter, choosing to find out about Presidential tweets from his aides. The Corps’ belated and tone-deaf response to the Marines United scandal showed how out of touch its senior leadership is with the rank and file as well as their digital existence. On the occasion of the recent centennial anniversary of women entering the Corps, one female Marine remarked on Twitter that, “If you want to know why I’m not reenlisting, read the comments on the USMC Instagram page.”
The commandant, in particular, would benefit from the book, as well as Singer’s primer on cybersecurity. Two years ago, at a think tank speech, Neller punctuated sensible remarks about cybersecurity and the need for troops in the field to manage their electromagnetic profile with this comment.
"We realized that we didn't have the right solution because, you know, Seaman Hicks decided she wanted to check her Facebook page, and so she walked out on the weather deck at night with her phone, and what's that phone got?" Neller said. "It's got GPS. So anybody in the world is going to know there's some GPS somewhere out floating across the ocean, most probably on a ship."
Some of us listening in the audience were dumbfounded because his comments reflected a lack of understanding of the domain that at his level of leadership is stunning.
Without connecting to network towers, cell phones can’t be tracked in the middle of the ocean. The GPS on the fictional Seaman Hicks’ phone receives signals, it does not transmit them. And ship’s captains can and do limit internet access and block access to social media sites like Facebook, mitigating that threat.
It appears that the Commandant doesn’t understand how Facebook, GPS or cell phones work. He might want to add LikeWar to his reading list.
“Mal Ware” is a veteran of the AI racket who is so salty, he is still posting to his MySpace page. He writes a monthly column here on AI, as you can plainly see.
The book "Strange Defeat" details how France was conquered by Nazi Germany in 1940, but it could just as well describe President Donald Trump's record as commander in chief.
For someone who crows about winning all the time, the president seems to lose quite a bit. Since October 6, he has given Turkish President Recep Tayyip everything he has ever wanted by abandoning the U.S. military's best allies in Syria, allowing Turkey to establish a safe zone along its border with Turkey that expels all Kurdish forces, and withdrawing most U.S. troops from northeast Syria – allowing Russia to fill the vacuum.
What did he get in return? He gets to gloat that he made good on his campaign promise to end one of the U.S. military's commitments overseas and bring the troops home. (Although, a better way of saying it is that he allowed Turkey to chase out U.S. forces, who had to leave Syria so quickly that they did not have time to take high value ISIS prisoners into custody and they had to bomb one of their own ammunition dumps.)
Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.
"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.
Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.
Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.
KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.
Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.
Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.
On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.