- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2000

The admiral's computer

The Navy inspector general found security lapses in a classified computer system maintained at home by the service's nominee to be the next vice chief of naval operations, it's No. 2 ranking officer.
The Navy stresses that investigators found no security breaches in the system used by Vice Adm. William J. Fallon, whose nomination is now pending before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Navy does not believe the lapses will prevent Senate confirmation of Adm. Fallon, a career aviator who flew strike missions in Operation Desert Storm.
The IG found that Adm. Fallon failed to change his password on a frequent-enough basis and sometimes left his hard drive in the computer instead of removing and safeguarding the disk. The computer is kept in Georgia House, Adm. Fallon's official residence as 2nd Fleet commander in Norfolk.
An official said after the lapses were discovered last winter, Adm. Vern Clark, then Atlantic Fleet commander, ordered a broad review of computer security practices. He also spoke to Adm. Fallon about the lapses. Adm. Clark is now the chief of naval operations, the Navy's top officer.
The IG investigation began after Adm. Fallon detected what he thought were attempts to penetrate a system that holds some of the Navy's dearest secrets. The suspected penetrations were also detected by the Navy's computer security monitoring system.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service was called in. Its investigators determined the "penetrations" were actually a glitch in the Microsoft system not a criminal act that created about two dozen password attempts.
The Navy IG also reviewed security procedures and concluded in its report there were some lapses.
The White House reviewed the NCIS and IG reports before forwarding Adm. Fallon's nomination to the Senate last week.
In response to questions from Inside the Ring, Rear Adm. Steve Pietropaoli, the Navy's chief spokesman, said, "Adm. Clark did in fact discuss with Adm. Fallon administrative procedures that were not followed. There were some lapses here, and he handled it with a discussion. The bottom line is there was no compromise of classified information and no attempted intrusion on the network."
Adm. Pietropaoli added, "We know the committee takes very seriously [its] responsibilities for reviewing these nominations. We think it's all been done to a level of care that will satisfy the Armed Services Committee and the greater Senate."

China at the Pentagon

The Pentagon's support for Chinese military development continues. A group of Chinese colonels got a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday. It included information on plans for the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, known as the QDR, a topic being discussed only in utmost secret among the Pentagon's military brass.
A Pentagon spokesman at first told us the colonels, who finished up a two-week course at Harvard University before visiting the Pentagon, were told only about the 1997 QDR. He described the information as "old stuff."
We learned later, however, that the colonels' were briefed on the 2001 QDR now under development by the military services and U.S. intelligence agencies. The Chinese military is said by officials to be extremely interested in the topic because the review will help shape how the U.S. military will be structured in 2015. The emerging threat from China is expected to be a key element of it.
We could not learn exactly what the Chinese were told by an official in the office of Edward L. Warner, assistant defense secretary for strategy. But we obtained two briefing slides used in the meeting. The slides included the topics: "U.S. national security interests; threats to U.S. security interests; national defense strategy; force structure to implement the strategy."
Areas also listed on the charts included "readiness; allies; warning times; engagement in smaller-scale contingencies; intensity, duration and end-states of conflicts."
Additional slide topics included:
Appropriate ratio of combat forces to support forces.
Strategic and tactical airlift, sea lift and ground transportation.
Forward presence, pre-positioning and other anticipatory deployment requirements.
The extent to which resources must be shifted between theaters in the event of conflict in more than one theater.
The effect of force structure technologies expected to be available in next 20 years.
Earlier at Harvard, the colonels were told about other aspects of future U.S. military structure by several high-ranking Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps officers.
Congressional and administration officials said the QDR information supplied to the Chinese, while limited in scope, far exceeded what the Pentagon has told Congress on the subject. It came very close to violating congressional guidelines limiting Pentagon contacts with the Chinese military, they said.
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon on Tuesday made light of concerns expressed by some members of Congress last month. They worried about a briefing given to a second Chinese military delegation on U.S. joint warfighting.
Mr. Bacon said the briefing slides used by the Joint Forces Command did not appear to be sensitive. He then suggested the briefing was inconsequential because China's military is so "primitively equipped" it will never be able to catch up to the United States.
Other officials said the information provided the Chinese with a blueprint on how to set up their own joint war-fighting center and what places to target for spying.
A law passed last year prohibits sharing any information on joint war-fighting with the Chinese that could aide China's military buildup. Mr. Bacon said he had not read the law but considered the briefing "appropriate."

Duke's dogfight

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, California Republican and a former ace Navy flier, took umbrage this week at Defense Secretary William S. Cohen. The congressman's ire is over Mr. Cohen's spokesman saying the defense secretary does not want his generals and admirals begging Congress for more money during the presidential political season.
In a message to Mr. Cohen on Tuesday, Mr. Cunningham wrote, "With critical readiness issues and our security at stake, you owe it to military men and women, Congress and the American people to [allow] full, open and honest discussion of the remaining problems we face by our service leaders."
Mr. Cunningham further requested, "Please put principle above politics and stop toeing the political line that has been drawn by your bosses at the White House. If you don't, your legacy as secretary of defense will be diminished."
For the record, Kenneth Bacon, Mr. Cohen's spokesman, told reporters last week:
"[Mr. Cohen] said to them [top admirals and generals] that he expected them to play straight on the readiness issue, to give the facts, not to beat the drum with a tin cup in hand to try to generate more pressure for defense spending, but, on the other hand, to talk honestly about the pressures they face from the operations their forces are undergoing."

'Gender-neutral' toilets

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee, is somewhat skeptical of a Navy admiral's request to replace all aircraft carrier urinals a strictly male domain with "gender neutral water closets." The Navy says the new stainless steel commodes are easier to clean and enable commanders to switch the "men's" sign to "women's" if a crew's sexual makeup dictates.
Said Mr. Bartlett, "It's premature to make a judgment about this proposed policy and the cost estimates used to justify it. Unfortunately, the Clinton-Gore administration has a well-established pattern of doing three things to our military: cutting it, over deploying it, and feminizing it. If Clinton and Gore didn't have a record of forcing the military to pay more and get less by imposing social engineering policies that please radical feminists, but degrade the capability of the military to achieve its core function, then there wouldn't be this suspicion that this is just more of the same."

Bill Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or by e-mail at [email protected]
Rowan Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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