Al Qaeda recons networks

Chinese hackers are not the only ones reconning Defense Department networks. So are al Qaeda terrorists and Iraqi insurgents, according to an Army memorandum labeled "FOUO" issued earlier this year and posted last month on the Federation of American Scientists' Web site.

"The enemy is actively searching the unclassified networks for information, especially sensitive photos, in order to obtain targeting data, weapons systems vulnerabilities and [tactics] for use against the coalition," Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, wrote in the Feb. 5 memo.

FYI: FOUO means "for official use only," which means we were probably not supposed to see it.

The next cyberwar

If you think DOD networks are under attack now, wait until 2010. An Aug. 24 story in The Age, an Australian publication, and based on a new book by Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein, reports that al Qaeda will increasingly target the U.S. economy using cyberterrorism between 2010 and 2013.

Al Qaeda calls this phase 4 of a seven-phase plan to take over the world and turn it into an Islamic state. Phase 1 started with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with al Qaeda provoking the United States to declare war on the Islamic world, thereby mobilizing radicals. Phase 7 occurs after 2016 with the terrorist organization achieving "definitive victory."

Just some light reading to start your week.

Comings and goings

Three Army colonels who retired recently are now making big bucks in industry.

Col. Tim Fong, who oversaw the Army Knowledge Online portal, is now general manager of Army operations in BAE Systems' Information Technology business unit. "It's a good fit for me," Fong said.

Army Col. Tom Catudal, who managed Army IT logistics and starred in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, is now senior vice president for engineering and operations at Segovia. "I was very interested in doing global IP anywhere, anytime, at a reasonable cost," he said. "That's what industry should be doing."

Col. Mark Barnette, who directed Army infrastructure activities, is senior principal and director for Army programs at SRA International, where he will support seven service efforts at the company.

Barnette said he looks forward to working with the "great team and organization of professionals with skills, knowledge and capabilities in just about all IT, information management and IT business operation areas."

DOD IG resigns

DOD Inspector General Joseph Schmitz informed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last week that he would resign Sept. 9, according to an e-mail from Schmitz to his staff that was intercepted by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

POGO reported that Schmitz will become chief executive officer of a holding company for Blackwater, a security company guarding U.S. and Iraqi VIPs in Iraq.

POGO is one of our favorite watchdog groups and the interceptor that fed us the Army report earlier this year on IT growing pains associated with the Stryker brigade combat team.

Army e-learning winners

Because the Interceptors and one of our spies who saw the notification letter can't wait for the protest period to end, the Army will soon announce that it has awarded six indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts to support the Distributed Learning Education and Training Program.

We reported last month that Karta won one of the contracts after issuing a press release early and supposedly "got a hand slap." The others are C2, Intelligent Decision Systems, Logistic Services International, Pal-Tech and Unitech.

We'll probably get our hands slapped, too, for reporting this. But we're used to it.

NCES dollar figure

On the subject of getting one's hand slapped, Intercepts East likely erred in the dollar figure for the Net-Centric Enterprise Services program. After an exhaustive Google search — 47 pages' worth — we found numbers ranging from $340 million, to $378 million to $774 million. Most likely the highest figure is the right one. n

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