Information Net for March 5

Army Leaders Defend Plan to Shutdown M1 Tank Production

Military.com February 17, 2012 | by Matthew Cox

Read by: RICK N9GRW

The Army’s top two leaders defended the service’s strategy to cut spending before lawmakers on Capitol Hill today, including a plan to shutdown M1 tank production.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee applauded the Army’s proposed 2013 defense budget but expressed concern over how the plan’s deep cuts will affect the defense industrial base.

Texas Democratic Congressman Silvestre Reyes said he was worried about the future of the Army’s armored combat vehicle fleets since “the current plan, according to the budget submitted, calls for a total shutdown of the Abrams, Bradley and Stryker production lines for three to four years, which starts in 2014.”

Such a move could result in layoffs of experienced workers and damage industry’s ability to meet the Army’s needs in the event of an unforeseen conflict, Reyes said.

“That is a very real concern on behalf of industry, that the skilled workers aren’t going to be there after such a lengthy shutdown,” he said. “So after going cold for three or four years, how can we be sure that that capacity will be able to be regenerated?

Read by: PAUL KJ4WQN

Army Secretary John McHugh said that the Army and the Defense Department are hoping that short-term solutions such as increased foreign military sales will help sustain companies such as General Dynamic Land Systems in Ohio and ensure that “those skilled engineer positions remain employed until 2017 when we begin the recapitalization program of the M1A2 SEP Abrams.”

“This is something that is of great interest; it’s something that as I said we are looking at very hard,” McHugh said. “We are willing to pursue any reasonable path to ensure that those particularly critical jobs remain viable.”

Shutting down tank production is just one many cost-cutting strategies the Army is now proposing to help cut $450 billion out of the total defense budget. That said, few proposals create as much worry among lawmakers as one that might suggest that the Pentagon might not have enough M1 tanks to go into a major ground war with North Korea or even China.

The Army’s M1 fleet is roughly 5,000 strong and according to Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno does not need to grow any larger right now.

“Our tank fleet is in good shape, and we are not going to need to start recap of that until 2017,” Odierno told lawmakers, adding that the temporary shutdown stands to save $2.8 billion.

The Army would have to buy at least 70 M1s a year just to keep the production line open, McHugh said, “which is not just far beyond our fiscal ability, it’s far beyond our need.”

How Do You Choose a Good Password?

by US-CERT

Read by: MARTHA KJ4RIQ

Most people use passwords that are based on personal information and are easy to remember. However, that also makes it easier for an attacker to guess or “crack” them. Consider a four-digit PIN number. Is yours a combination of the month, day, or year of your birthday? Or the last four digits of your social security number? Or your address or phone number? Think about how easily it is to find this information out about somebody. What about your email password—is it a word that can be found in the dictionary? If so, it may be susceptible to “dictionary” attacks, which attempt to guess passwords based on words in the dictionary.

Although intentionally misspelling a word (“daytt” instead of “date”) may offer some protection against dictionary attacks, an even better method is to rely on a series of words and use memory techniques, or mnemonics, to help you remember how to decode it. For example, instead of the password “hoops,” use “IlTpbb” for “[I] [l]ike [T]o [p]lay [b]asket[b]all.” Using both lowercase and capital letters adds another layer of obscurity. Your best defense, though, is to use a combination of numbers, special characters, and both lowercase and capital letters. Change the same example we used above to “Il!2pBb.” and see how much more complicated it has become just by adding numbers and special characters.

Read by: NICKI KF4DHK

Longer passwords are more secure than shorter ones because there are more characters to guess, so consider using passphrases when you can. For example, “This passwd is 4 my email!” would be a strong password because it has many characters and includes lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and special characters. You may need to try different variations of a passphrase—many applications limit the length of passwords, and some do not accept spaces. Avoid common phrases, famous quotations, and song lyrics.

Don’t assume that now that you’ve developed a strong password you should use it for every system or program you log into. If an attacker does guess it, he would have access to all of your accounts. You should use these techniques to develop unique passwords for each of your accounts.

Here is a review of tactics to use when choosing a password:

  • Don’t use passwords that are based on personal information that can be easily accessed or guessed.
  • Don’t use words that can be found in any dictionary of any language.
  • Develop a mnemonic for remembering complex passwords.
  • Use both lowercase and capital letters.
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Use passphrases when you can.
  • Use different passwords on different systems.

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