News in Brief

Cyber shapes defense spending, privacy board reports on surveillance

Global defense spending shaped by cyber

Cybersecurity concerns are shaping global defense spending as nation-states shift from an emphasis on counterterrorism to protecting their information networks, Deloitte said in its 2014 Global Defense Outlook.

"Early 21st-century force structure, with its emphasis on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, is giving way to new structures built around multi-usage and mobility, as well as concepts of operations related to information networks," the report states.

Governments are "adapting to these new [cyber] threats by applying defense and intelligence resources, as well as by forming new command structures and military services to operate in the new domain of cyberspace," the report concludes. "Resources once devoted to tanks and battleships are now required to develop network security and offensive cyber techniques."

Although the largest percentage of cyberattacks in 2013 were aimed at rich countries that are higher defense spenders, more than 20 percent were directed at countries outside the top 50 in defense spending, the report states, citing public data.

Federal privacy panel backs NSA surveillance

An executive branch panel of lawyers unanimously affirmed a federal electronic surveillance program as lawful and largely respectful of personal privacy.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board examined Section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, which allows the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to authorize surveillance of foreigners outside the United States. The board's report, released on July 1, found the program to be well-supervised and well-intentioned.

"The operation of the Section 702 program has been subject to judicial oversight and extensive internal supervision, and the board has found no indication of intentional abuse," said David Medine, the board's chairman, in unveiling the report. "Outside of this fundamental core, certain aspects of the Section 702 program do raise privacy concerns and push the program close to the line of constitutional reasonableness."

Some of the privacy concerns flagged by the board are incidental collection of Americans' communications and the government's ability to query such information. The report recommends, among other things, that the National Security Agency specify its criteria for determining the expected intelligence value of a surveillance target.

If implemented, all the recommendations would "strike a better balance between privacy and civil liberties and national security," Medine said.

Leidos taps Boeing's Krone as CEO

Leidos has selected Roger Krone to be its CEO. Krone, who is currently president of network and space systems at Boeing, will succeed Leidos CEO John Jumper on July 14. Jumper has led Leidos since March 2012 and announced his retirement in February of this year.

One of Krone's projects at Boeing was a controversial electronic surveillance system along the U.S./Mexico border, which he defended during a 2010 congressional hearing as beneficial to border security.

Leidos split from SAIC last year to form what is now a 22,000-person firm that focuses on national security, health, and engineering products and services.

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