Signals & Space Monthly Cyber Security Briefing

August 2017

Prepared by the CyberWire (Tuesday, August 1, 2017)—Developments in Signals and Space, from July 1st through July 31st.

DPRK launch success, PRC launch failure.

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea conducted another missile test on Friday, July 28. The test vehicle appeared to have reached an altitude of about 2300 miles in its 45-minute flight, which suggests an intercontinental range. (The New York Times says the missile could hit Los Angeles; the London Times says Denver or Chicago.)

On July 4th North Korea had successfully launched a long-range ballistic missile it characterized as an ICBM. Pyongyang says the launch is the "final gate to state nuclear force," characterizing the system as having transformed the DPRK into a "confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth."  The missile, a Hwasong-14, reached an altitude in excess of 2500 kilometers and a range of 933 kilometers before splashing down in Japan's economic exclusion zone at the end of its 39-minute flight. The story, disturbing as it is, is all about range. It's not clear that the DPRK has succeeded in either engineering a nuclear weapon that will fit the Hwasong-14, or that they've developed a re-entry vehicle the weapon could ride to its target. 

Chinese news agencies are taking the ICBM claim seriously. So are American authorities, since the system is said (by Kim, but that's the US Department of Defense assessment, too) to have the range to hit US targets: President Trump has called for a UN Security Council meeting over North Korea's nuclear missile program. The US and the Republic of Korea quickly announced missile defense drills. China called for suspension of further missile testing in exchange for cessation of US-South Korean military exercises; this seems unlikely to happen. And the US pushes China, still the DPRK's biggest trading partner, to increase its own sanctions against Pyongyang.

North Korea's successful launch came a day after a Chinese Long March 5 heavy lift launch vehicle failed, the second such failure in two weeks. The mishap is regarded as having serious consequences for China's space program, and to put it at a commercial disadvantage with respect to India's competing program.

Pakistan has successfully tested a medium-range missile. Iran continues its own missile development program, enjoying some success is tests of a satellite launch vehicle. The Islamic Republic is also developing an increasingly aggressive offensive cyber capability. Prominent among Iran's espionage interests are aerospace companies.

Weaponizing nuclear devices.

The DPRK may have demonstrated an ICBM, but South Korea is quick to point out that there's more to nuclear capability than sheer missile range and throw-weight. North Korea has yet to demonstrate that, first, it's successfully packaged a nuclear device as a deliverable weapon (this is usually cast in media reports as "miniaturization," but there's more to it than that, and a warhead doesn't really have to become all that small before it can be fit onto a ballistic missile), and second, that the weapon's vehicle can survive reentry, and third, that it can reliably hit its target. Accuracy need not be terribly precise, of course--a nuclear strike anywhere would be alarming enough, devastating if it hit a populated area. A groundburst would produce considerable fallout, and the electomagnetic pulse of any detonation could have widespread effect on electronics.

There are disturbing reports that the DPRK may have more fissile material than previously thought.

Missile countermeasures.

The US and South Korea are testing and readying missile defense systems. On Sunday, July 30th, the US announced another successful THAAD test. An interceptor fired from Alaska hit a ballistic missile target.

Adjusting surveillance.

The US National Reconnaissance Office is tweaking satellite coverage to provide closer inspection and surveillance of North Korea.

Policy options.

The US has had small luck, so far, in bringing increased international tension to bear against North Korea. US allies, particularly those in the Asia-Pacific region, are equally concerned about the DPRK's nuclear strike ambitions, but Russia and China have consistently dragged their feet on sanctions or effective condemnation of Pyongyang. China has called for a mutual relaxation of tension, but that tension is mainly being applied from North to South, however it may appear to Kim's regime.

The North Korean regime is said to see cyber theft as an important source of revenue for sustaining its nuclear program.

One interesting range of options is suggested by studies that conclude the DPRK's ruling elite (a very small body) is about as connected to and involved with the Internet as any group of affluent Westerners. The implications of this for targeting in cyber operations are significant. There was much speculation in March that North Korean launch failures were caused by US hacking in what would have been a counter-force cyberattack. Recorded Future's study suggests there might counter-value options in cyberspace as well. 

Those concerned about proliferation have other worries than what's up with Pyongyang. The US State Department may have this past month certified Iranian compliance with the controversial nuclear agreement that country negotiated with the US, but US concerns about Tehran's ballistic missile program are inducing tighter, more restrictive sanctions. Iran is crying foul.

Not all launches are malign: SpaceX has some good news (but may reboot its Mars ambitions).

SpaceX continues to deliver on its promise of rapid turnaround reusable launch vehicles. Reusable launch vehicles, industry observers say, are fundamentally a way increasing frequency of flights, which is where cash flow improves. A Falcon Heavy launch is planned for November.

SpaceX has decided against attempting powered landings with its crewed Dragon vehicle. The company has judged them to be be prohibitively difficult and expensive. 

In what may be a related judgment about the feasibility of propulsive landing systems, SpaceX now thinks its Red Dragon vehicle isn't the right one to start Elon Musk's projected Mars settlement. Instead, the company may turn to a lunar expedition and work through a different technology for landing on Mars.

The public sector agrees: Mars is pretty far off.

NASA has also noted the difficulty of a Mars mission: it can't put a date on a trip to the red planet. Having for some years characterized the Space Launch System and the Orion crew vehicle as the technological centerpieces of human exploration of Mars, NASA acknowledged that it won't be so easy. Unsurprisingly, the space agency cites lack of funding as a principal obstacle.

William Gerstenmaier, NASA's director of human spaceflight, told the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics on July 12th, "I can't put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is the other piece is, at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don’t have the surface systems available for Mars. And that entry, descent and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars." Like SpaceX, NASA's now mulling a return to the moon.

Quantum encryption and satellite technology.

Two successful demonstrations advanced quantum encryption technology this month. In one, researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China at Hefei succeeded in maintaining photon entanglement between sites on Earth separated by up to 1200 kilometers. The researchers found that entanglement was easier to maintain in an exoatmospheric environment. In another experiment, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, in Erlangen, Germany, used the geostationary Alphasat I-XL to measure quantum properties at a distance of 38,600 kilometers. 

The two experiments represent different approaches to quantum cryptography. The former approach, exploiting photon entanglement, promises more powerful encryption tools. The latter approach, not dependent on entanglement, offers the prospect of nearer term deployment.

Australia's Ministry of Defense has awarded Canberra-based Quintessence Labs a research contract to extend its quantum key distribution technology to free space communications.

More Colorado Springs console jockeys than Starship Troopers, but the US House wants a Space Corps.

The House Armed Services Committee successfully inserted a provision creating a Space Corps into the House's version of the 2018 Defense appropriations bill, and the measure appears headed for a floor vote. The Space Corps would be housed in the Department of the Air Force but as a service distinct from the Air Force itself, roughly as the US Marine Corps forms a distinct Service within the Department of the Navy. The White House and the Department of Defense aren't crazy about the idea. Indeed, it's difficult to find fans outside the House of Representatives. Observers wait to see if the provision makes it through reconciliation, but that seems increasingly unlikely: the Senate is cool to the idea.

Industry notes.

The new US Deputy Director of National Intelligence said she intended to push for greater use by the Intelligence Community of imagery from commercial small satellite constellations. 

Space technology firms are said by analysts to be actively looking for acquisition candidates among startups.

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Today's edition of the CyberWire reports events affecting Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Keny, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mozambique, New Zealand, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Syria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Selected Reading

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities (16)

Trends (1)

Marketplace (16)

Products, Services, and Solutions (8)

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards (22)

Research and Development (13)

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation (51)

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement (1)

Events (13)

Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities

North Korea Tests a Ballistic Missile That Experts Say Could Hit California (New York Times) The missile flew on a high trajectory that, if lowered, may allow it to reach large American cities, a milestone for the North’s weapons program, experts say.

Early Observations of North Korea’s Latest Missile Tests (38 North) Missile defense expert Michael Elleman offers observations on North Korea's July 4 and July 28 ballistic missile test

Pyongyang's nighttime missile launch signals growing skill (Nikkei Asian Review) ICBM flight lasts more than 45 minutes, uses atypical staging site

North Korea’s Ruling Elite Are Not Isolated (Recorded Future) Our in-depth analysis of North Korean internet activity reveals an informed, modern, and technologically savvy ruling elite. Learn more.

An Isolated North Korea Turns to Cyber Coercion and Cyber Chaos (The Cipher Brief) As North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs ruffle the feathers in the United States and regional players in East Asia, there is another, less visible, confrontation occurring in the depths of computer systems around the world.

Report: North Korean Cyber Attacks Launched from Other Countries (Infosecurity Magazine) Report: North Korean Cyber Attacks Launched from Other Countries. India and China prime candidates, according to Recorded Future

North Korea Targeting Poker Sites For Nuclear Cash, South Korea Says (Cardschat) South Korea's Financial Security Institute has linked North Korea to high-profile hacking groups they say have attacked online poker and gambling sites.

North Korea Turns Cyber-Attention to Hacking for Profit (Infosecurity Magazine) North Korea's cadre of cyber-spies are working overtime to steal cash from flush targets like international banking systems.

North Korea threatens U.S. with 'nuclear hammer' after CIA chief appears to hint at regime change (The Japan Times) North Korea vowed Tuesday to strike the U.S. with a "powerful nuclear hammer" after CIA chief Mike Pompeo hinted last week that Washington was open to the

North Korea could cross ICBM threshold next year, U.S. officials warn in new assessment (Washington Post) “Alarming” advances in its missile program are forcing analysts to dramatically alter their forecasts.

US intelligence shows North Korean preparations for a possible missile test (CNN) CNN has learned that US intelligence indicates that North Korea is making preparations for another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or intermediate range missile test.

N Korea warns of nuclear 'tipping point' over USA bomber drill (Apps for PC Daily) In the meantime, the US State Department named China as one of the worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor, partly over forced laborers from North Korea.

High-Tech 'Cyber Nukes' Threaten Aging Nuclear Deterrents (Newsmax) EMP satellites and "cyber-nukes" are an unprecedented challenge to the aged U.S. nuclear deterrent.

Korean crisis near 'nuclear tipping point', says US prof (The Straits Times) The Korean peninsula is reaching a "nuclear tipping point" as the North continues to boost its nuclear arsenal and even crossed a new threshold when it tested what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

The Iranian Cyberthreat Is Real (Foreign Policy) As Trump increasingly boxes in Tehran, U.S. allies should be worried about the potential for a devastating cyberattack from the Islamic Republic.

APT Group Uses Catfish Technique To Ensnare Victims (Threatpost | The first stop for security news) APT Cobalt Gypsy or OilRig, used a fake persona called “Mia Ash” to ensnare tech-savvy workers in the oil and gas industry into downloading PupyRAT malware.

Trends

On-orbit operations the next frontier for space, experts say (SpaceNews.com) Operating while in orbit is the next big challenge for the space sector, be it manufacturing, assembly, satellite servicing, or debris removal, experts said.

Marketplace

As dominance of launch market looms, SpaceX now valued at $21 billion (Ars Technica) The updated value of SpaceX places the company in rarefied air.

U.S. government geospatial imagery buyer re-ups with Planet, reassures DigitalGlobe (Space Intel Report) The incoming U.S. deputy director of national intelligence on July 19 said she would push for greater use of commercial satellite imagery from small-satellite constellations for intelligence purposes but cautioned that quicker revisit time is not a panacea.

Defense Industry Race to Buy Hot Startups (Scout.com) In just one year, the nation’s largest defense contractor has injected close to $20 million into tech startups.

Raytheon, Orbital, Aerojet Firmer After North Korea Missile Launch (NASDAQ.com) Shares of defense stocks such as Raytheon Company ( RTN ), Orbital ATK ( OA ) and Aerojet Rocketdyne ( AJRD ) were firmer on Wednesday after North Korea test-launched on Tuesday an intercontinental ballistic missile ( ICB ), which some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska and the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

Northrop Grumman Unit Wins $98M Contract for USSTRATCOM (NASDAQ.com) Falls Church, VA-based Northrop Grumman Corp. 's NOC unit, Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., has won a contract to offer overall operations, and maintenance of command and control capabilities for the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).

ViaSat awarded DISA contract (C4ISRNET) ViaSat has been awarded a Defense Information Systems Agency contract to support Blue Force Tracking 2.

DTRA awards network survivability contract (C4ISRNET) CENTRA Technology has been awarded a $61.7 million Defense Threat Reduction Agency contract to assess vulnerabilities.

Northrop Grumman Australia Awarded Contract to Deliver Next-Generation Satellite Communications for the Australian Defence Force (Northrop Grumman Newsroom) The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has selected Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) to provide systems that will expand Australia’s ability to fully realise its investment in the most advanced U.S. military satellites and...

Raytheon awarded missile defense software contract (C4ISRNET) Raytheon will support the Software Engineering Directorate at the Army's Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

Braxton awards satellite control contract (C4ISRNET) Under the Air Force Research Laboratory contract, Braxton will support the Navigation Technology Satellite-3 ground control segment.

Boeing and Lockheed Are Heading Toward a GPS Bidding War (Bloomberg.com) The Air Force is taking the final step toward a probable multibillion-dollar competition that would give Boeing Co. a second shot against incumbent Lockheed Martin Corp. for as many as 22 new Global Positioning System III satellites.

GPS III Satellite Rematch Between Lockheed and Boeing Readied (Bloomberg.com) The Air Force is taking the final step toward a probable multibillion-dollar competition that would give Boeing Co. a second shot against incumbent Lockheed Martin Corp. for as many as 22 new Global Positioning System III satellites.

House Appropriators Urge USAF To Stick With Lockheed For GPS III (Aviation Week) The U.S. Air Force is deciding whether to compete production of the next tranche of GPS III satellites, but the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) indicates it would prefer the service stick with Lockheed Martin...

Navy Releases Details of New FFG(X) Guided-Missile Frigate Program in Request to Industry (USNI News) The Navy released the first formal details on what it wants in its guided-missile frigate in a new request for information to industry issued today. The new ship concept outlined in the RFI in many ways resembles the Navy's previous frigate plans but also looks at upgrades like more powerful radars and vertical-launch missile tubes.

Lockheed Martin’s UK Cyber Works centre (Software Testing News) American global aerospace, defence, security and technologies company, Lockheed Martin, has invested £3million in a cyber security centre in Gloucester.

Romania cleared to buy Patriot missile defense system (Defense News) The State Department has cleared the sale of seven Patriot missile defense systems for Romania just days after announcing a roadmap forward for landing the system in Poland.

Products, Services, and Solutions

Japanese company preparing for country’s first private rocket launch (Ars Technica) The vehicle stands 8.5 meters tall and has a dry mass of 250kg.

Astro Digital launched its first imaging satellites (TechCrunch) With the satellite launch earlier today Astro Digital has sent its first shot across the bow at its competitors in the earth imaging and analysis market. The..

SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch Planned for November (TechCrunch) Falcon Heavy launch is set for November, i.am+ acquires Wink and Stitch Fix has confidentially filed for an IPO. All this on Cruch Report.

SpaceX goes there—seeks government funds for deep space (Ars Technica) Ideas: Vertical takeoff of rockets on the Moon. Cargo to Mars. Deep space comms.

SpaceX successfully launches third Falcon 9 in under 2 weeks (TechCrunch) SpaceX launched yet another Falcon 9 successfully today, for a mission from its LC-39A launch facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch..

On its third try, SpaceX delivers a heavy satellite to high orbit (Ars Technica) The launch window for the Intelsat 35e mission opens at 7:37pm ET.

Recovered SpaceX booster arrives aboard drone ship (C4ISRNET) Southern California-based SpaceX is recovering first stages of its Falcon 9 rockets in an effort to bring down launch costs by reusing hardware.

Aerospace guru explains why SpaceX reuses rockets – and it’s not to save money (BGR) SpaceX’s reusable rocket technology has been hailed as the future of space travel, and even the Russians have admitted that the company seems to be on to something…

Technologies, Techniques, and Standards

Speeding to fix spotty satellite coverage over North Korea (C4ISRNET) The government's timeline for a solution to the spotty coverage over North Korea has become ambitious, looking to be ready for Kill Chain by the end of this year.

North Korea ‘could hit San Diego within two years’, experts say (South China Morning Post) South Korea has disputed North Korea’s claim to have an ICBM that can strike the US mainland, saying Kim’s regime may not yet have re-entry capability for such projectiles

North Korea uses 'lofting' technique to bring it ever closer to long-range missile goal (The Japan Times) In mid-May, a rocket launched by North Korea soared to an altitude five times higher than the International Space Station, and an analysis of publicly avai

North Korea launches unidentified missile on July 4 (UPI) North Korea launched a ballistic missile early Tuesday, local time, into the waters along the eastern coast of the peninsula.

North Korea heralds ‘final’ nuclear step (South China Morning Post) After Pyongyang claims successful launch of intercontinental ballistic missile, China and Russia call on US and South Korea to suspend military drills in exchange for no further tests

Pentagon confirms North Korea launch was ICBM (Defense News) The Pentagon believes North Korea’s July 4 missile test launch featured an intercontinental ballistic missile shot from a mobile launcher, a marked advance in capability for the regime of Kim Jong Un.

North Korea makes bold ICBM claim. But can it deliver a nuclear strike? (South China Morning Post) There are doubts whether North Korea has mastered technology needed for a nuclear weapon to survive the difficult re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere

South Korea says North doesn't have ICBM re-entry technology (Reuters) South Korea's intelligence agency does not believe North Korea has secured re-entry capabilities for its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program, a South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday, disputing Pyongyang's account.

North Korea’s Yongbyon Facility: Probable Production of Additional Plutonium for Nuclear Weapons (38 North) Thermal imagery analysis of North Korea's Yongbyon Nuclear Facility from September 2016 to June 2017 indicates probable production of additional plutonium for nuclear weapons.

The secret behind primitive North Korea’s modern nuclear weaponry (South China Morning Post) The reclusive state did have a few helpful friends

North Korean missile advances put new stress on US defenses (Military Times) North Korea's newly demonstrated missile muscle puts Alaska within range of potential attack and stresses the Pentagon's missile defenses like never before.

We Ran a Simulated ICBM Attack on the United States to Find Out: Could We Stop One? (The Aviationist) We Went Inside Northrop Grumman Demonstration of Critical Anti-Ballistic Missile Technology.

US responds to North Korea with 'successful' missile test (Washington Examiner) The United States on Sunday conducted a 'successful' a test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, military officials said.

Target practice and North Korea's missiles (Defense News) There is a way to slow down North Korea’s missile program and there is no need to launch any military attack on the Pyongyang regime.

U.S. missile defense plans to zap North Korean threats (USA TODAY) North Korea’s march toward a nuclear ballistic missile has prompted the U.S. military and Congress to ramp up new defense technology.

Missile Defense Will Protect You From North Korea, Say USA Today’s Missile Defense-Funded Sources (FAIR) USA Today's sources on "US missile defense plans" mostly have a direct financial connection to the US missile defense program.

Air SDF, U.S. forces to test missile defenses at Yokota base (The Asahi Shimbun) The Air Self-Defense Force will test its capabilities to shoot down North Korean ballistic missiles

Long March 5 Failure Casts Doubt On Chinese Space Schedule (Aerospace Daily) Failure of a Long March 5 launcher on the type’s second mission has dealt a possibly severe blow to China’s space program, at least casting doubt over the timing of planned missions that rely on the ...

Iran reportedly launches satellite-carrying rocket into space (C4ISRNET) The launch comes as the United States has criticized Iran’s ballistic missile tests.

Pakistan test-fires short-range ballistic missile (Defense News) The military said Wednesday the NASR is a high-precision weapons system with the ability for quick deployment and a range of 70 kilometers.

A satellite may be falling apart in geostationary orbit [Updated] (Ars Technica) It is not clear what might have caused the AMC-9 satellite to become unresponsive.

NASA communications satellite damaged 3 weeks before launch (C4ISRNET) The accident occurred inside a payload processing building as the satellite was being packed for launch.

Research and Development

China makes quantum leap forward by 'teleporting' data from Tibet to satellite (The Sydney Morning Herald) The breakthrough gives China a significant edge in developing unbreakable codes.

Unhackable Quantum Networks Take to Space (IEEE Spectrum) In two new trials, satellites set distance records for beaming photons usable in quantum crypto

Why China's 'Unhackable' Quantum Network is Unlikely to Replace Existing Ones (Sputnik) China’s recent success in testing a new communications network based on the quantum technology, labeled as "unhackable" by the media, is unlikely to bring overhauling changes or replace existing communications networks, experts told Sputnik.

QuintessenceLabs $3.26 Million Investment from Australian Department of Defence for Quantum Key Distribution Research (Military and Aerospace Electronics.) QuintessenceLabs was awarded a $3.26 million AUD ($2.4 million USD) investment from the Australian Department of Defence to continue the expansion of its quantum key distribution (QKD) capabilities and extend it to free space communications.

Army rapid prototyping office wants EW, PNT solutions (C4ISRNET) Among a series of questions these EW solutions should be able to answer, the Army is interested if a potential solution can use machine learning and artificial intelligence to assist in understanding local electromagnetic spectrum usage and the performance of command and control of available EW assets.

Australia poised to join US on Next Generation Jammer (Jane's 360) Australia is in discussion to join the US Navy's next-generation jamming pod programme

NASA’s First Asteroid Deflection Mission Enters Next Design Phase at Johns Hopkins APL (Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory) The first-ever mission to demonstrate an asteroid deflection technique for planetary defense — the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART),...

Four volunteers will live in a sealed lab for 200 days as China preps for its first manned moon mission (TechCrunch) Four volunteers at China’s top aeronautics university will live in a sealed laboratory for 200 days without any outside interaction as the country prepares..

SpaceX's Mars Plans Hit a Pothole. Up Next: the Moon? (WIRED) SpaceX is rebooting its colonization plan, and may pivot to focus on a moon base that would aid that effort.

Elon Musk’s Mars rocket may be about to lose half of its engines (Ars Technica) Downscaling the Mars booster suggests that Musk may be bending toward reality.

SpaceX Drops Plans for Powered Dragon Landings (Space.com) SpaceX no longer plans to have the next version of its Dragon spacecraft be capable of powered landings, a move that has implications for the company's long-term Mars plans.

Lockheed Martin will turn Space Shuttle capsule into Mars habitat (USB POrt) Last week, Lockheed Martin announced that it would start Phase II of its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) contract with NASA.

China takes a page from Pentagon with hi-tech weapons agency (South China Morning Post) Steering committee was created early this year to develop state-of-the-art equipment, state broadcaster reveals

Legislation, Policy, and Regulation

Mattis: US no closer to war with North Korea after ICBM test (Fox News) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that the U.S. was no closer to war with North Korea after the rogue nation successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this week.

Top U.S. General Hints at Military Action Against North Korea in a ‘Few More Months’ (The Daily Beast) The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the U.S. might use force against North Korea as early as this fall. Did you hear that, Pyongyang? How about you, Beijing?

(LEAD) North Korea warns of action against sanctions after ICBM test (Yonhap News Agency) North Korea on Sunday warned of "a stern action of justice" if the United States seeks new sanctions against its latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Empty US threats over North Korea are boosting China’s hand (South China Morning Post) Hugh White says Washington cannot disarm North Korea without risking major war, and empty threats only make America look weak and undermine its Asian alliances. China, its strategical rival, will benefit

US wants China’s help to monitor North Korea’s ‘missile sub’ (South China Morning Post) Navy chief says two sides must address restive state’s ‘provocative and unacceptable military behaviour’

Donald Trump says China does ‘nothing’ to thwart North Korea’s nuclear quest (the Guardian) Trump has previously used conciliatory and at times fawning language to refer to China’s President Xi, but the honeymoon appears to be over

China's North Korean Liability (Foreign Affairs) On July 8, at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, U.S. President Donald Trump held a cordial press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping where they discussed how they would address the growing threat of North Korea.

Why Isn’t Russia Worried About Kim Jong Un’s Nukes? (Foreign Policy) As the Trump administration heads toward a showdown with Pyongyang, Vladimir Putin sees strategic advantage to be gained.

North Korea Needs Nukes Because of Its Religion (Foreign Policy) Kim Jong Un can’t stop his nuclear program without threatening the national ideology that keeps him in power.

Time to Lose Your Illusions on North Korea (War on the Rocks) In launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korea has done what many experts said must not occur, and what President Donald Trump said would

Trump Has 6 Options to Neutralize North Korea—but None Are Good (Observer) The carrot and the stick approach clearly failed.

Opinion | North Korea has one big advantage over its adversaries (Washington Post) Kim Jong Un’s dynasty has the clarity of focus lacking among the United States, China and Japan.

Kim vows North Korea's nukes are not on negotiation table (Military Times) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed Wednesday his nation will "demonstrate its mettle to the U.S." and never put its weapons programs up for negotiations, a day after successfully testing its first intercontinental ballistic missile.

Opinion | North Korea: The Rubicon is crossed (Washington Post) Kim Jong Un has an intercontinental weapon. What do we have?

North Korea's Latest Missile Launch Hastens the Inevitable (WIRED) North Korea's successful test of its first intercontinental ballistic missile carries grave geopolitical implications for a vast swath of the world. Although such an achievement seemed improbable not long ago, it was all but inevitable.

North Korea's ICBM: A New Missile and a New Era (War on the Rocks) What happens when a rogue state with a history of bellicose anti-American rhetoric acquires the ability to hit parts of the United States with a nuclear-ti

Trump calls on China to make 'heavy move' on North Korea (POLITICO) His tweets follow North Korea's latest missile launch.

Russia's deputy nuke negotiator visits N. Korea (Yonhap News Agency) Russia's deputy nuclear negotiator has visited North Korea to discuss issues on the divided peninsula with the North's senior diplomats, Pyongyang's state media said Tuesday.

China-Russia alignment on North Korea raises eyebrows (TheHill) Beijing and Moscow issued a coordinated response to North Korea's missile launch.

Putin and Xi try to limit US role in Korean crisis (Times (London)) The world has become used to images of western leaders grimacing or looking blankly into the distance when they meet Vladimir Putin at summits, but China and Russia’s premiers were all smiles at...

Chinese trade with North Korea jumped more than 10 percent in first half of year, official says (Fox News) China’s trade with sanctions-riddled North Korea increased more than 10 percent in the first half of the year from last year, a Chinese official said Wednesday.

House moves to bar Pentagon contracts with firms backing North Korean cyberattacks (TheHill) Rep. Pittenger positions bill as way to crack down on China's support for Pyongyang.

Regime change is the only way to disarm North Korea (South China Morning Post) John Power says Pyongyang under the Kim family sees its weapons as a security guarantee and powerful negotiating tool, and the only way it will disarm is through a change of leadership

Lawmakers demand stronger Trump response after North Korean missile test (POLITICO) Following a round of tweets about North Korea late Monday, Trump spent Tuesday at his golf club.

The Spies of the 'Five Eyes' Need to Speed Up Intel-Sharing (Defense One) Nations must speed the dissemination of information to enable real-time responses and counter disabling cyber threats.

After Attack on IS, Iran Proposes Expanding Missile Program (VOA) Bill would raise IRGC budget to $8B, in addition to an already approved five-year plan requiring government to earmark at least 5 percent of national budget to defense

When Iran launches missiles, Democrats want transparency from Trump (Washington Examiner) The Trump administration must quickly notify Congress any time Iran conducts a ballistic missile launch. The requirement expires in 2019, bu...

US Issues Sanctions After Iran Rocket Test (VOA) The US and three allies said the rocket tested earlier this week is violation of the UN Security Council resolution

U.S. Certifies Iran Complying With Nuclear Deal But Vows New Sanctions (RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty) U.S. President Donald Trump's administration certified on July 17 that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal and will continue to receive nuclear-related sanctions relief, but vowed to press ahead with sanctions over ballistic missiles, fast boats, and other matters.

The Latest U.S. Sanctions Against Iran (The Atlantic) The Treasury Department’s action is related to the Islamic republic’s ballistic-missile program.

As Relations Worsen, Iran Says U.S. Sanctions May Violate Nuclear Deal (New York Times) The Trump administration announced new restrictions, mainly aimed at the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and has revived notions of abandoning the agreement.

Why Regime Change in Iran Wouldn't Work (Foreign Affairs) There are roughly two avenues by which Washington could attempt to accomplish the goal in Iran: by supporting a faction more friendly to the United States or by invading the country and replacing its institutions. Neither strategy, however, would produce the desired end.

Polish Ministry of Defense announces PAC-3 missile defense acquisition (UPI) The Polish defense minister announced Thursday that the U.S. has agreed to sell Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile systems to Poland.

Work with India in cyber,space operating domain; Pentagon told (Outlook India) Aware that key defence cooperation agreements -- Communications Capability and Security Agreement and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Intelligence -- have not been completed, the report said the Department of Defence has approached negotiation of these agreements with consistency and good faith...

In NASA speech, Mike Pence shoots for the Moon (and Mars) (TechCrunch) Taking a break from touching pieces of sophisticated technology labeled "do not touch" in a Kennedy Center clean room, Vice President Mike Pence made a speech..

Sorry Veep, America already leads the world in space by a large margin (Ars Technica) Trump administration has a golden opportunity to extend US leadership.

NASA finally admits it doesn’t have the funding to land humans on Mars (Ars Technica) "I can't put a date on humans on Mars," chief of human spaceflight says.

Space center critical to Pentagon’s third offset, future of warfare (C4ISRNET) The National Space Defense Center is the first tangible item coming from the Pentagon's elusive third offset.

Congressional panel puts plans for a US Space Corps in 2018 defense budget (Ars Technica) "Space has not been given adequate priority by our friends in the Air Force," says congressman.

Space Corps amendment blocked (SpaceNews.com) The House Rules Committee did not accept an amendment submitted by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) for a defense appropriations bill that would have blocked the Air Force from spending any money creating a Space Corps.

Senators sending lofty Space Corps hopes down to Earth (Defense News) Rep. Mike Rogers, the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee chairman and Congress’s chief advocate for a new branch of the military focused on space, issued a dire warning to fellow lawmakers.

White House against 'Space Corps' and other House plans, fueling policy bill debate (Defense News) The Trump administration is registering more than two dozen objections to the House’s 2018 defense policy bill, including a new space-focused branch of the military, it announced Wednesday.

Space Corps could 'disrupt' DoD capabilities, warns Selva (Defense News) Creating a new military branch focused solely on space could disrupt Pentagon capabilities and exacerbate existing issues rather than fixing them, the Defense Department’s No. 2 uniformed official warned Tuesday.

Abort The Space Corps On The Launchpad (Breaking Defense) The recent proposal in Congress to create a new military service—the Space Corps—conjures visions of space marines and battlestars. Considering the all-encompassing duties of this service as outlined in the bill, illustrators could be forgiven for their hyperboles.

Pentagon demands contractors up cybersecurity (San Antonio Express-News) Changes include a requirement for contractors to use multi-factor authentication; prohibit the use of flash drives; and send reports of any attacks on computers accessing government networks.

Here's how the Air Force is fighting in the cyber domain (C4ISRNET) This is part four of a series exploring the differences between military cyber forces, capabilities, mission sets and needs.

The Marine Corps starts its first cyberwarfare expeditionary group (Marine Corps Times) The Marines Corps takes cyberspace.

Don’t Enshrine A Russian Advantage In Surveillance Flights Over the US (Defense One) Provisions in the House version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act would prevent the Pentagon from matching Russia’s advances in aerial photography.

Lawmakers Tread Carefully on Space-based Interceptors (Aviation Week) Despite the increase in threats from North Korea and Iran, Washington is taking a cautious approach to missile defense from space.

Is an intel community reorg in the works? (C4ISRNET) The intelligence community is in the middle of a “significant transformation process,” according to the IC’s top official.

Why We Need a Decentralized Autonomous Space Agency (Motherboard) Everyone should have the chance to explore the stars.

Litigation, Investigation, and Law Enforcement

Court dismisses Orbital ATK suit against DARPA (Defense News) A Virginia court has dismissed Orbital ATK’s complaint against a government robotic satellite-servicing program on Thursday, according to a court memo.

 
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