Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘CEMA’ Category

SLNT – Faraday Sleeves

Friday, November 4th, 2022

I met SLNT at SOFIC where they were exhibiting in the new products pavilion.

SLNT manufactures bags with a particular emphasis on Faraday bags of various sizes. A Faraday bag works as a portable Faraday cage, blocking electronic emissions both into and out of your device including Cellular, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, RFID, NFC, EMR, EMP, and EMF.

Of both personal and professional interest are the Faraday Sleeves which are sized to accommodate key fobs, phones/End User Devices, tablets, and laptops. There are even versions that not only block emissions, but also integrate PacSafe anti-theft technology to prevent a would-be thief from cutting open the bag.

In addition to their website, SLNT products are available via GSA Advantage.

Join The Army Security Agency

Saturday, October 15th, 2022

Existing officially from 1945 to 1977, the ASA was an army within the Army whoch conducted Signal Intelligence. Later, it was subsumed into the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command with field elements assigned directly to Corps, Divisions, Seperate Brigades and Armored Calvary Regiments as well as Army Special Forces units. During the Cold War, ASA Soldiers had to enlist for three years to join the organization. The only draftees in the units were service support Soldiers. This is an Army recruiting pamphlet for ASA.

Flipper Zero – Cyber Tool Disguised As A Toy

Saturday, July 30th, 2022

Sold as a Multi-tool for Geeks, Flipper Zero started out as a Kickstarter campaign and has transitioned to a full-time product with pre-orders currently open.

In a nutshell, Flipper Zero is used to probe access control systems, RFID, radio protocols, and debug hardware using GPIO pins. Use it for hardware exploration, firmware flashing, debugging, and fuzzing.

It is controlled with the 5-Position directional pad with common scripts and functions are available from the menu. Or, you can connect to Flipper via USB. There is an LCD screen, which is visible in sunlight and has an ultra-low power consumption of 400nA with the backlight turned off.

It features a sub-1 GHz transceiver which is the operating range for a wide class of wireless devices and access control systems, such as garage door remotes, boom barriers, IoT sensors and remote keyless systems.

Additionally, it has an integrated 433MHz antenna, and a CC1101 chip, which makes it a powerful transceiver capable of up to 50 meters range. It also uses 433 MHz to communicate with other Flippers.

It does lots more. Read up on its capabilities at flipperzero.one.

Low-Cost Tech Shaping Modern Battlefield, SOCOM Commander Says?

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

ASPEN, Colo. — In his 38 years as a soldier, across theaters ranging from the Middle East to Europe, the commander of Special Operations Command says he never had to look up. But those days are ending.

“I never had to look up because the U.S. always maintained air superiority,” Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke said during a discussion Friday at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado. “We won’t always have that luxury,” he added.

Low-cost quadcopters and larger unmanned aerial vehicles are disrupting the status quo as militaries and insurgents increasingly rely on them, the general said.

“When Russia is running out of them for Ukraine, and they’re going to Iran to go buy more, [that] should cause us all a bit of concern because you can see how valuable that they can be in the future fight,” he said.

U.S. and partner forces have largely focused on ways to defeat enemy drones after takeoff, but Clarke said there is also a need for interagency discussions on ways to disrupt supply chains to prevent them from taking off.

But first, there must be a discussion on norms and authorities for their use, he said. With a “very low” cost of entry for some of the small unmanned systems, the general said some countries may want to use drones to move patients or supplies. Medical transport vehicles are protected under the Geneva Conventions.

Chemical, Biological Weapons

Clarke said the Defense Department has charged Socom with looking at another threat that is inexpensive to produce and use — chemical and biological weapons.

ISIS used chlorine and mustard gases in Iraq and Syria, he said. Russia has used chemical weapons against its political allies — on its own soil and elsewhere, Clarke added.

“The fact that someone in the basement in Mosul [Iraq] with a few lab sets can do this,” proved that it’s a simple process to create these weapons, the general said. Chemical and biological weapons are a terrorist weapon system, he said, and ISIS and al-Qaida will continue to use them because they instill fear.

“As we go into the future, we have to be prepared for that eventuality … and look for methods to continue to combat it,” Clarke said.

Cyber Threats

Though U.S. officials have said government and other critical systems are receiving daily cyberattacks, the general said he’s equally concerned with the way adversaries are using cyber to exploit the information space.

Malign actors are spreading misinformation and disinformation online, and these have had an impact on elections, he said.

Misinformation is false or misleading information — a mistaken breaking news announcement, for example. Disinformation is meant to intentionally deceive the recipient.

Clarke said cyber gives adversaries a quick route to spread false information that can damage the U.S. cause.

“The message, if you look at the internet and what is happening from the African countries, its U.S. sanctions against Russia are causing food shortages in Africa,” the general said. “So we’re being blamed for people in Africa not getting to eat. … We have to look at what is on the internet and get the truth out about what is happening. And I think we have to be able to do that as a government a little bit faster than what we’re doing today.”

By Claudette Roulo, DOD News

US, Moroccan Special Forces Team Up For Inaugural Cyber Training

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

TIFNIT, Morocco – U.S. Army Soldiers with 3rd Special Forces Group (SFG) Tactical Information Support Center, Expeditionary Cyber Team 2, and Royal Moroccan Special Operations Forces (SOF) teamed up to conduct prototype cyber effects training during African Lion 22, June 26, 2022.

African Lion 22, U.S. Africa Command’s largest, premier, joint, annual exercise hosted by Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia, June 6 – 30, is a critical opportunity for members of the joint team to build and test their strategic readiness to deploy, fight and win in a complex, multi-domain environment. The cyber training collaboration was the first of its kind and sought to discover how low equity cyber solutions can expand options for key decision makers at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

The cyber effects training included hands-on cyber lab demonstrations using commercial tools and comparing them to less accessible high-tech devices. The lead 3rd SFG trainer described the hands-on training as an ‘opportunity to take cyber security to the field and into the mind of each Service Member in a combat situation.’

3rd SFG endeavors to learn, iterate, and eventually offer flexible cyber options at scale while maximizing the indigenous approach through partner forces.

“By actually shifting the focus of training to the modern combat environment, which is now becoming rapidly digital, you create a more potent, lethal force, moving into the future,” stated a member of 3rd SFG.

Building an understanding of multi-domain digital activities would allow U.S. and partner forces to work with more sustainable equipment and better understand digital threats to their missions.

U.S. Africa Command is ready to provide the necessary resources to advance mutual interests and respond to crisis in Africa because of successfully forged and maintained partnerships and demonstrated operational success.

African Lion 22 is a joint all-domain, multi-component, and multinational exercise, employing a full array of mission capabilities with the goal to strengthen interoperability among participants and set the theater for strategic access. More than 7,500 participants from 28 nations and NATO train together with a focus on enhancing readiness for U.S. and partner nation forces.

Story by Charli Turner, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

Photo by SFC Katie Theusch, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

Red Team: Reserve Marines Simulate Cyberspace Attackers In Exercise Cyber Yankee 22

Sunday, July 10th, 2022

CAMP NETT, Conn. —

Cyber warfare is defined as the use of computer technology to disrupt the activities of a state or organization, especially the deliberate attack or defense of information systems for strategic or military purposes. If a successful cyber-attack was directed at a power utility grid, it would have the ability to cut off electricity and running water. In response to this potential threat, service members from all branches of the United States military work alongside industry professionals to simulate an attack and defense of the northeastern power grid and transmission system.

“The transmission system is just a bigger version of what you have in your house,” said. Jason LaDuke, a Company CEO of the electrical enclave. “It’s like a circuit breaker, but a much, much bigger system. So power flowing into a city is flowing over a specific line. If you could close those breakers you would effectively cut off power to the transmission system.”

Reserve Marines from Defensive Cyberspace Operations-Internal Defensive Measures Company B, 6th Communication Battalion, and Marines from the newly created Marine Innovation Unit (MIU), joined their active duty counterparts from 8th Communication Battalion, with help from a subject matter expert from Marine Cyber Auxiliary to participate in exercise Cyber Yankee June 13-17 2022 Camp Nett, Conn.

“Cyber Yankee is a joint effort between the national guards of the New England states. They try to build up their capabilities and respond to any attacks to the critical infrastructure in New England while building a partnership between the National Guard, industry partners and the other branches of the United States military,” said Lance Cpl. Miles Young, a data systems administrator for Defensive Cyberspace Operations-Internal Defensive Measures (DCO-IDM) Company B, 6th Communication Battalion. “The Marine Corps role in this is to simulate an attacker so that the defense can clearly evaluate how they are doing.”

During Cyber Yankee, the service members are divided up into red teams and blue teams, with the Marines participating as the red team. The red team acts as an attacking force while the blue team tries to defend their network.

“This exercise is red versus blue. This emulates four different threat actors that leverage the cyber kill chain to meet their end states.”

MSgt Mike McAllister, cyberspace operations chief, MIU

“Each one of the four actors have different end state objectives. They vary in levels of sophistication from a cyber-criminal or hacktivist that is doing nothing more than low risk access attempts that can be mitigated by very simple security controls and elevate all the way up to the most advanced threat act or using sophisticated means of initiating access with stealthy movement throughout the IT enclave and into the operational technology enclave where the critical infrastructure is located,” said Master Sgt. Mike McAllister, cyberspace operations chief, Marine Innovation Unit.

Cyber Yankee is currently the only exercise of its kind.

“Training like this event is hard to come by. It’s rare and there are no other exercises that take it to this level. The power grid is a very complex system. It’s essentially one of the biggest machines on the planet when you look at it all together. This exercise really drives that complication element because it is so fast paced and high energy similar to what would take place in a real attack,” explained LaDuke.

The ability for Reserve Marines to integrate with Active Component Marines and service members from other branches provided a valuable training experience as the potential threat of cyber warfare continues to evolve.

“Marines participate in regional exercises and provide red team capabilities to the Joint Force Reserve, National Guards, and industry professionals [as they] interface for regional utilities which means we’re going in and helping the blue teams refine their play books so if they are called to support utility companies or in disasters of cyber nature,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Sarich, an innovation laboratory specialist at Marine Innovation Unit.

The Reserve Marines from MIU also played an important role in Cyber Yankee 2022 and plan to continue to support similar exercises to bring in additional talent and subject matter expertise from the cyber and developmental support occupational fields. MIU leverages existing talent in the Marine Corps Reserve to address advanced technology challenges in order to accelerate the development of new capabilities. MIU houses coders who have the potential to bring a new skillset and in-depth challenges to the exercise.

“It’s good for us to participate in this exercise because it’s important for us to build our technical skills defending this kind of network because the critical infrastructure power and water have very specific systems most people don’t have experience defending,” said Young. “We get the opportunity to sharpen our skill sets and expand our knowledge.”

LCpl Ashley Corbo, Marine Corps Forces Reserves

Veteran, Linguist Reflects on Vietnam Service

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California, Dr. Tom Glenn originally enlisted in the Army so he could attend the Army Language School — later called the Defense Language Institute, or DLI. With a passion and knack for linguistics, Glenn taught himself French and Italian as a child, studied Latin during high school and German during college.

With a craving for more, Glenn enrolled in DLI with the hopes of learning Chinese.

“I wanted to go to the best language school in the U.S., maybe in the world,” he said. “But when I got [there], they told me they weren’t going to teach me Chinese, they were going to teach me a language I had never heard of: Vietnamese.”

Glenn was a Soldier and had to follow orders, so he spent all of 1959 learning Vietnamese. He spent six hours a day in class with two hours of private study each night for a full year.

“I graduated first in my class of ten,” he said. “I asked the Army to send me to Vietnam but [they said] they had nothing going on there.” Instead, Glenn was assigned to the National Security Agency, or NSA, at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Still hoping to study Chinese, Glenn enrolled in George Washington University in Washington, D.C. as a part time graduate student. Glenn went on to earn a master’s degree in government and a doctorate in public administration.

By the time Glenn finished his enlistment in 1961, he said he was “comfortably speaking” Vietnamese, Chinese and French; the three main languages spoken in Vietnam.

The NSA immediately offered Glenn a job at “five steps above the normal level” and sent him to Vietnam for the first time in 1962 as a civilian.

“Between 1962 and 1975, I spent more time in Vietnam than in the U.S.,” he said.

Despite being a civilian, Glenn lived with the military as if he were still a Soldier.


Tom Glenn poses for a photo in his fatigue uniform in Dak To, Vietnam in 1967. One morning while assisting U.S. 4th infantry division and 173rd airborne brigade, Glenn woke up to find his uniforms missing. Some of the Soldiers at his camp had “snitched” his fatigues and taken them to a local tailor whom they paid to sew tags above the breast pockets that read ‘Glenn’ and ‘Civilian.’ (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

“I was one of them — sleeping on the ground next to them, eating [field rations while] sitting in the dirt by their side, using their latrines and going into combat with them,” he said. “I was the only civilian I knew who was willing to put his life on the line by working with the military in combat on the battlefield.”


Tom Glenn in Saigon, Vietnam in 1962 (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

Glenn’s job was in intelligence; using signals intelligence, intercepting and exploiting the enemy’s radio communications, informing friendly forces on what enemy force intentions were and where they were.

He says that the strongest human bond he’s ever seen was that between two men fighting side by side.

Glenn spent his thirteen years in Vietnam all over the country, “wherever combat was going on.” He worked most often in central Vietnam, just south of the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam. The day-to-day was just like any other Soldier in combat.

“[The days were] defined by the boredom of waiting and the terror of close combat,” he said.

Glenn wants Americans to know the “grisly horror” of war. He wants citizens to respect and admire service members who “put their lives on the line for our good.”

After the Vietnam War, Glenn’s readjustment to civilian life would have been more difficult had he been sent straight home. Instead, he was sent abroad to serve on the battlefield all over the world after Saigon fell in 1975.

Glenn retired from NSA in 1992.


Tom Glenn in Saigon, Vietnam in 1974 (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)


A Civilian Meritorious Medal that Glenn earned for saving lives during the fall of Saigon, Vietnam under fire in 1975 (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

“Welcome home, brother”

When Glenn meets other Vietnam veterans, he puts his hands on their shoulders and looks them in the eye. They share an experience unknown to other Americans.

For years following the war, many Americans saw Vietnam as “the war we never should have been involved in.” During those years, Glenn never mentioned his service overseas.

“Then, several years ago, I was invited to a welcome-home party for Vietnam veterans,” he said. “After some hesitation, I went. A bunch of young people, who hadn’t even been born before the end of [the war], shook my hand, hugged me and thanked me for my service.”

Glenn urges other Americans to approach those who served and thank them. Only then will that service member know that their service is “worthy of gratitude.”

Award-winning author

“The real adjustment [came] thirty years ago when I retired as early as I could [to] write full time,” Glenn said. “I was so intent on writing that the transition was a relief rather than an adjustment.”

Glenn’s first book is titled “Friendly Casualties” and consists of a collection of short stories to highlight the horrors of war. He chose to write about Vietnam because of his post-traumatic stress injuries, or PTSI. “[It] wounded my soul,” he said.

He learned that the only way to survive his injuries was to face the memories “head-on.” The best way to force himself to face those memories was to write it all down, which has resulted in six books and 17 short stories as of March 2022.

Glenn’s books are categorized as “fact-based fiction” which he said is the only way he could “delve into the emotions [he] lived through in real life.” He said he’s lived through experiences “far more compelling” than anything completely made up.

“I want people to know what [it was like],” he said. “I needed to vent, to stand face-to-face with my memories and learn to live with them.”

By Megan Clark

Electronic Battle: Cold War Peer-Threat SIGINT Then and Now | Cold War Wednesday

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

As the man said, “Ivan will destroy your grid square if you even key your radio, let alone talk to your squad. Break out the books and practice. This is for real.”

Given recent events in and around Ukraine, we thought it might be interesting to consider the contrast of what modern technology – particularly social media – has to electronic-related security issues in contrast to what we were taught during the Cold War era. PERSEC, INFOSEC, OPSEC, ELINT, SIGINT, COMINT, and of course EMCON – there is absolutely no shortage of acronyms all those cell phones (among other things) might jeopardize…and with them, both missions and lives (see reported Redditor example, below).

Combat Electronic Warfare and Intelligence is one hell of a lot more complicated now than it was in the teen years of the Superbowl. Cyber Warfare and GPS Spoofing are just two examples. Geolocating is another. Even something as simple as a Google image search can precipitate an attack. Several examples of this have emerged over the last few weeks on both sides of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Compromised by TikTok” and “death by Reddit” sound funny until the Kalibrs and Bayraktars come calling. While apps like Air Alarm are certainly beneficial, they don’t counterbalance all the OSINT opportunities afforded by Telegram, Instagram, Twitter, and the like. This is why cell phones are often taken up before training evolutions and troop movements (unless, apparently, you’re Chechen).

But if you’re reading this, chances are you already know that.

What you might not know, depending on the length of your teeth, is what electronic warfare and signals doctrine looked like 40 or 50 years ago. And that’s why we’re sharing the following article.

Much like Crossfit workouts and pet shenanigans, you gotta take a pic of your invasion or it didn’t happen.

The Electronic Battle

Lt. Col. Don E. Gordon

INFANTRY Magazine, 1980

The Reddit Example

Even if this report is apocryphal, the lesson it delivers is not. 

Thoughts on then vs. now?

More SIGINT history

DRW

David Reeder is a sometime SOLSYS contributor and reporter-at-large. He is currently the editor of the GunMag Warehouse blog (The Mag Life) and the world’s okayest 1/6 scale kit-basher.