Homegrown extremists inspired by Islamic State propaganda probably will “continue to pose the most significant Sunni terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland in 2016,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a summary for Congress of the perils facing the nation globally, according to Bloomberg.com.
Threats from Islamic State, or ISIL, are likely to “continue to involve those who draw inspiration from the group’s highly sophisticated media without direct guidance from ISIL leadership” as well as “individuals in the United States or abroad who receive direct guidance and specific direction” from the terrorists, Clapper said.
Clapper’s far-ranging prepared testimony also cited Iran’s support for terrorism and the development of offensive cybersecurity capabilities by Russia, China and North Korea. His summary of the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community” was obtained by Bloomberg News in advance of delivery Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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With the 2016 presidential election just nine months away, the Air Force released an informational video last week, reminding airmen of Department of Defense regulations on discussing politics on social media.
Scott Air Force Base posted a reminder about the regulations on Facebook:
In the video, Tech. Sgt. Holly Roberts-Davis cites a long-established DoD directive that prohibits active-duty military members from directly participating in partisan political activities, but includes updates as the policy relates to social media.
Things like campaigning for a candidate, soliciting donations to a particular campaign and even wearing a military uniform to a partisan political event have long been outlawed by the military, Roberts-Davis says in the video. But 21st century ways of communicating have extended those same concepts to the online world.
Federal agencies need to implement the strongest cybersecurity tools available but with so many competing mission priorities, departments rarely have enough funding to secure their systems. To make sure no agency is breached for lack of funding, the president’s 2017 budget proposal includes a $3.1 billion revolving fund to secure the most high-risk networks, according to Federal Times.
The IT Modernization Fund will work much like an energy savings loan, enabling agencies to upgrade their legacy systems — and security — now and repay the balance with the money saved by not having to maintain aging infrastructure. As the fund replenishes, more loans are issued.
In addition, the White House on Tuesday unveiled a 2017 budget proposal that requests boosting cybersecurity funding by 35 percent to $19 billion and announced new efforts to defend federal networks on the heels of a data breach that exposed thousands of government employees, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Obama administration's new Cybersecurity National Action Plan aims to modernize government networks, hire skilled personnel to maintain them, coordinate with companies on privacy and security and empower Americans to adopt better online habits that will protect personal data, according to White House officials.