Today in War

Here are three notable stories you may have missed the past few days but definitely want to know about:

1. Marcus Weisgerber at Defense One: U.S. Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert.
The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the "Christmas tree" for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons, and set to take off at a moment's notice.

"This is yet one more step in ensuring that we're prepared," Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in an interview during his six-day tour of Barksdale and other U.S. Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission. "I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we're prepared going forward."

Goldfein and other senior defense officials stressed that the alert order had not been given, but that preparations were under way in anticipation that it might come.
2. Jeff Daniels at CNBC: Trump Executive Order Lets Air Force Recall up to 1,000 Retired Pilots for Active Duty.
Invoking the National Emergencies Act, [Donald] Trump on Friday signed an executive order that allows the Air Force to voluntarily recall up to 1,000 retired aviators for active duty.

...Trump's executive order signed Friday amends emergency powers signed by President George W. Bush after the terrorist attacks on September 11. Last month, Trump extended the post-9/11 emergency powers.

According to the Pentagon, the Air Force is currently short by about 1,500 pilots.

...Friday's executive order gives Defense Secretary James Mattis "additional authorities to recall retired aviation officers regardless of certain limitations on status, period of service, and numbers to mitigate the Air Force's acute shortage of pilots," [Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross] said.
3. A massive hacking campaign is underway — and has been for quite some time.

A US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) Alert was issued on October 20: "Advanced Persistent Threat Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors."
This joint Technical Alert (TA) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This alert provides information on advanced persistent threat (APT) actions targeting government entities and organizations in the energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors.

...DHS assesses this activity as a multi-stage intrusion campaign by threat actors targeting low security and small networks to gain access and move laterally to networks of major, high value asset owners within the energy sector. Based on malware analysis and observed IOCs, DHS has confidence that this campaign is still ongoing, and threat actors are actively pursuing their ultimate objectives over a long-term campaign.

Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

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