Fedwire Briefs

Report: New cyberterrorism coming

Terrorist groups of the future will rely increasingly on advanced communications and network technologies to carry out new kinds of coordinated cyberattacks, according to a report released this month by Rand Corp.

According to "The New Terrorism," a study that resulted from a year-long project sponsored by the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for air and space operations, changes in the way terrorist groups organize and use technologies indicate the emergence of a new form of terrorism known as "netwar," which is keenly attuned to the Information Age. As a result, new defense strategies and scenarios are needed to combat the threat, the report concluded.

"The rise of networks is likely to reshape terrorism in the Information Age and lead to the adoption of netwar—a kind of Information Age conflict that will be waged principally by nonstate actors," the report said. "There is a new generation of radicals and activists who are just beginning to create Information Age ideologies."


FAA restores free-flight funding

The Federal Aviation Administration has restored $14.8 million in critical fiscal 1999 funding for its Free Flight Phase One program. The program will allow the agency to test five capabilities in the field that are essential for free flight, a new air traffic management concept that will reduce airspace congestion by giving pilots more flexibility to choose the best route, speed and altitude based on flying conditions such as weather.

The five capabilities include a traffic management adviser, which helps manage planes in the en route space; passive final approach, which is a spacing tool that will help sequence planes for landing; and a collaborative decision-making tool that allows airlines to exchange flight plans with the FAA in real time.


Leo named to USDA post

Joseph Leo has been appointed acting executive director of the Agriculture Department's Support Services Bureau. Leo was team leader of the administrative convergence implementation planning team at the USDA. The team was tasked with merging the administrative functions of three USDA organizations into the Support Services Bureau.


SAIC, GB Tech win NASA contract

NASA has awarded a $28 million contract to Science Applications International Corp. and GB Tech Inc. for technical assistance to support a remote-sensing research program.

Under the contract, SAIC and GB Tech, a small, disadvantaged company in Houston, will provide technical assistance to NASA's Airborne Sensor Facility at the Ames Research Center.

The work will focus on sensor operations, data processing, aerial photography, sensor calibration, systems development and telemetry systems. SAIC and GB Tech will support Ames' suite of airborne remote-measurement equipment flown on NASA's ER-2 and DC-8 aircraft, which conduct Earth sciences research.


Report outlines weaknesses

The Pentagon-managed National Communications System this month released a report supporting concerns that the Internet and networked computers leave public and private critical infrastructures vulnerable to cyberattacks and exploitation by employees.

NCS, operated by the Defense Information Systems Agency, said in the report that the United States depends increasingly on the National Information Infrastructure, which depends on public networks "controlled by complex computer-based operating, switching and signaling systems. Each of these systems has been attacked successfully by electronic intruders.... Adversaries seeking to harm the United States could cause severe disruption through coordinated attacks in key systems within the [public networks]."


Kind named to Y2K center

Retired Lt. Gen. Peter Kind will serve as director of the Information Coordination Center for the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, the White House announced last week.

As director, Kind will collect information about domestic and international systems operations during the transition to the Year 2000 to assist the council in coordinating with federal agencies and departments to develop an emergency response plan.

Kind previously served as commanding general of the Army's Information Systems Command and the Army Signal Center, the largest technical training center in the world.


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