The Real Threat Is Surprise Attacks

Please see my new article in Israel Defense called, “The Real Threat is Surprise Attacks.

The element of surprise can overcome most defenses. This can happen whether through an insider threat or through new and stealthy technologies. Already in August 2018, two explosive-laden drones were used to attack the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. Similarly, last year, in the movie, Angel Has Fallen, we saw the president of the United States attacked by a swarm of drones. While this is a great threat in and of itself, I believe that the greater threat lies in the miniaturization of the drones, in some cases, drones with the size, shape, and function of insects.


Unfortunately, Yigal Amir used the element of surprise to assassinate the prime minister of Israel. Now there are other high-tech threats like miniaturized, weaponized drones. There is no excuse for us not to be on the lookout for and to be prepared to defend against these, so that our leadership and our democracies are duly protected. Surprise is a big advantage in warfare, but we must be one step ahead, so that we are prepared to defend against these as well as to turn the tables and effectively employ the continued element of surprise against our relentless adversaries.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Welcome Back – Leadership and Donuts

Really impressed today going back to work after the 5-week Federal government shutdown…

And who is at the front gate, in the dark and freezing cold welcoming every single person back?

The director of the agency!

And not only that, but he is handing out morning donuts to the crew. 

This was a truly spectacular display of leadership. 

I’ve seen this only one other time in my 30-year career and that was at the Secret Service, where the director stood behind the dessert table at the agency holiday party serving out the ice cream. 

Humility and giving are what true leadership is all about. 

I am proud to serve under such leaders as these.  😉

(Source Photo–not from today–by Andy Blumenthal)

Taking The Bullet

So I learned many valuable lessons when I worked at the U.S. Secret Service–I loved it there!


But one of the lessons that sticks out it that sometimes you have to take a bullet for the President!


This lesson stayed with me and I believe it applies to a lot of other situations in life as well.


Sometimes you take one for the 


– Team


– Cause


– Relationship  


It’s easy to say you are going to preserve you self by “dodging a bullet,” but often it’s really just the opposite that is needed. 


If you take the bullet, you are putting yourself subordinate to a larger cause and what is really important. 


Taking one to safeguard the President of the United States is definitely a larger cause. 


But also your team, the success of an important cause or project, precious relationships that have been built over time–these can all mean more than taking even a significant hit. 


This doesn’t mean to be stupid, become anyone’s punching bag or just take people’s sh*t for nothing. 


Rather what it does mean is that you can suck it up sometimes–when the ends justify the means–and jump in front of that bullet to preserve something bigger and more important than just yourself. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fake Media

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So it’s not supposed to be this way. 


While of course, there is a media bent, it’s not supposed to be a downright bias–the media’s job is to report the news, not take absolute sides. 


Yet these days, the alt-left media seems most hell bent on incessantly attacking the President and working to delegitimize him.


And the President is calling the news media, “the enemy of the American people.”


Russ Limbaugh commented: “The media did not make Donald Trump and they can’t destroy him.”


It started with the election when biased media outlets “ordered employees to destroy Trump“and tried to convince Americans that he absolutely couldn’t win


And only 4 weeks into the now Trump presidency, they are calling that “Congress should impeach Donald Trump.”


What type of Democracy is this?


For eight years, Obama ruled and the media glowed bright with near endless praise–even when things went very wrong, the media played the Secret Service and took the bullet shielding Obama’s every move.


Now with the Trump, the media is no longer the Praetorian Guard, but the the assassin in waiting–plotting and maneuvering for their chance to fire the fatal shot. 


Will it be Flynn, the Russians, the Islamic Terrorist immigration ban or something entirely else. 


The media has the people’s ears…they can spread the news or seed gross and even malicious propaganda. 


While Trump wants to put America First, many media outlets are instead looking to put Trump out to his final pasture. 


When they are targeting the President in such a merciless and endless barrage of negativity and hate, can even President Trump survive? 


While the alt-left media–with funding by billionaire George Soros–kicks and punches away with every article and news segment, it’s our democracy that is surely taking the power beating and dying the death of bias and overthrow. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Trouble In Protection Land

Insect
The Secret Service is one of the finest agencies in the Federal government, but unfortunately, the “recreational” drone crash landing at the White House was a protection disaster this week.



(And it comes on the heels of knife-wielding assailants running wild through the front doors of the White House, people taking pot shots at the White House, and even planes crash landing there). 



This time it was perhaps, a small drone innocently passing low without a significant radar signature unto the White House grounds, but next time it may be a miniaturized drone the size of an insect that attacks the President or his senior staff in the White House itself. 



This could happen with a pin prick of poison or a small drone carrying explosives, biological, or chemical weapons. 



We are entering a new dimension of threats that are not easily addressed with existing technology. 



It is said the the President is proverbially protected by a bubble of defenses around him, but where we are going is that this bubble may need to become an actual physical bubble that nothing, not even an insect drone can get through. 



It may sound ridiculous, but it may be the only way (for now) to really protect against these threats that literally fly beneath our radar!



Perhaps at some future time, we will have our swarms of defensive drones that go after any attack drone, no matter how small or how many, but in the meantime, we must protect our critical leadership and assets. 



Almost two years ago, I blogged about robots, drones, and commandos in exoskeletons attacking the White House and our not being prepared with adequate defenses and counter-measures.



This week’s drone crash should be making the alarm bells go off on this issue big time now!



We must move past reactive steps and a failure to anticipate and become true forward-thinkers, strategists, planners, enterprise architects, and futurists. 



The protection of our leaders, institutions, critical infrastructure, and people depend upon true out of the box thinking, not doing the same thing but on a different day. 



The time is now to think about protections from much more than traditional attack patterns to the wildest and craziest we can imagine–because our enemies are not hampered by the past and won’t rest until they see what we won’t. 😉



(Source Photo: here with attribution to David Illig)

Planning For The Next Big One

I saw the movie Olympus Has Fallen, where the North Koreans attack the White House and take the President and the National Security Council hostage.

While the acting was a “B” at best, the creativity of the attack and the action was an “A”.

The attack begins with a stolen Air Force modified AC-130 with side-mounted Gatling guns unleashing hell on the streets of Washington, D.C. and the White House, followed by suicide bombers creating a breach in the gates, RPG’s blowing up the security towers, 40 commandos storming though, and more Gatling guns hidden in the sides of two garbage trucks taking out our finest, the Secret Service agents that protect it.

There is plenty of subterfuge as the North Koreans posing as the security detail for the South Korean leader visiting at the White House make their way into the Presidential bunker, and there’s even a countdown to a potential nuclear holocaust by detonation of our own Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in their silos by the terrorists.

It was so upsetting to see the Secret Service agents overwhelmed by the North Korean’s vicious attack–being literally mowed down trying to protect the President and White House. It was also wrenching to see them throw the American Flag from off the White House, as well as terrorize and nearly kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense in order to get the codes to access our nuclear missiles to shut them down and then blow them up.

There is a saying that “Generals are always trying to fight the last war,” and this is the feeling you get when you see this brazen dastardly attack on the central pillar of our political power base–where we are taken by surprise and the White House and President are held in foreign hands on our own soil.

These types of movies are great action, but also a wake-up call to our security professionals to think out of the box—yes, even like Hollywood–about what such a creative attack could look like.

I remember after 9/11, when everybody seemed to be saying that no one could’ve ever imagined something like this happening to us with airplanes being used as weapons, yet the movie “Executive Decision” with Kurt Russell in 1996 posed just such a scenario with an airplane loaded with a bomb and poison gas hurtling towards the east coast.

Years ago, as robotics and drones started to take anchor, I wondered out loud how prepared we were for armored robot(s) or commandos in robotic exoskeletons making just such a brazen attack.

Science fiction today is real threats of tomorrow. We may not be there just yet, but how creative are we in really thinking and planning for the next big ugly surprise.

I say get out your most outrageous thinking caps and let your mind run wild with the worst scenarios you can imagine, and then figure out what you will do about it–rather than waiting for the bad guys to figure it out for you! 😉

Biowarfare: A Fight At The Molecular Level

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There is a fascinating article in The Atlantic (November 2012) on an emerging bioweapons storm that is brewing that could be used in a decapitation strike to harm anyone, even the President of the United States. 

Advances in genetic engineering, biotechnology, and synthetic biology (Synbio) has been seen from decoding human DNA to the development of “magic bullets”, personalized viral therapies that can target and destroy cancer cells.

However, just as most things can be used for good or evil–so too, can this biotechnology be used to target and destroy cancerous cells or perversely to attack healthy ones.

Bioweapons could be targeted to various parts of the body or brain to cause blindness, memory loss, or death itself. More subtly, it can be used to “fabricate evidence” of affairs, crimes, “cast doubt” as to birthplace or heritage, or as supposed markers for genetic diseases, and even mental disability. 

Moreover, while bioweapons of mass destruction can destroy virtually entire civilizations, personalized bioweapons can be engineered based on the manipulation of a specific person’s DNA to attack that person–then just like a sniper, it becomes one shot, one (targeted) kill. 

Personalized bioweapons can be silent and deadly, difficult to detect, hard to pin on a source, and may even be confused with death by natural causes. 

And the cost is coming down…cell-culturing gear “can be had on eBay for as little as $10,000” or “cobbled together for less than $1,000.”

Even non-weaponized use of this technology, can be extremely dangerous. For example, Synbio, can be used to “cut and paste” genetic code from one species to another, can be mixed from multiple species, and new creatures can be created altogether–all this potentially leading to frightening scenarios of “undesired cross-breeding with other organisms, uncontrolled proliferation, crowding out existing species, and threats to biodiversity.” 

Already, “forty nations now host synbio research” and “The Beijing Genomics Institute…is the largest genomic research organization in the world.”

The article speaks to various approaches to counter the personalized bioweapons threat including scientific task forces, bio-detectors, “Clean DNA” (as biological backup system), conducting biological war games, and open/crowdsourcing for solutions. 

It seems clear that the answers of how to defend against these emerging threats are not as good as the questions raised by them–and we will need to be vigilant and fast-track R&D in these areas, as we are still vulnerable. 

Further, I see some similarities between bioweapons, cyberweapons, and even legions of attack drones/droids, as all areas that are non-conventional and developing quickly and quite lethally. 

Unfortunately, we can’t just put on a coat of armor and be safe from attacks at the molecular level, or from malicious code seeking to cripple our national critical infrastructure, or from robots that can stream across a battlespace attacking without fear, pain, or tiring. 

There is no simple paradigm for killing anymore and we better let our imaginations run wild, so we can figure out new ways to protect everyone–from the President and on down to us all.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)