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walrus
04-15-2010, 11:05 PM
Can someone explain why this person has the ear of the Joint Chiefs? Why would she be advising on areas that are way outside her competence. She majored in Russian studies, yet advises on cyberwarfare and the Middle East????

How can this be? How does a former Major in the Israeli military, and presumably a dual national, get to this position? Two examples of her work are here:

http://www.au.af.mil/info-ops/usaf/cyberspace_taskforce_sep06.pdf


http://www.mountainhome.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123060048

More info here:

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/04/dr-lani-kass.html#comments

Her bio has been pulled from the Air Force website.

And here:


Dr. Strangelove, Made in Israel
by Philip Giraldi, April 15, 2010

One would expect the Air Forceís top civilian adviser to be someone who has spent some time in the US military or who has a very particular educational or skills set that brings something special to what is, after all, a very senior and sensitive position. Not so. Dr. Lani Kass, who is the senior Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General Norton A. Schwartz, was born, raised, and educated in Israel and then served in that countryís military where she reached the rank of major. She has a PhD in Russian studies but advises Air Force Generals on Cyberwarfare, terrorism, and the Middle East. And Kass appears to have close and continuing ties to her country of birth, frequently spicing her public statements with comments about life in Israel while parroting simplistic views of the nature of the Islamic threat that might have been scripted in Tel Avivís Foreign Ministry.

Kassí official Air Force bio, which has been expunged from the Pentagon website possibly due to less than flattering commentary regarding her appointment, indicates that since January 2006 she has been "the principal adviser on policy and strategy and formulates, develops, implements, and communicates the policies, programs and goals of the Air Force." Another official bio adds that she "Öconducts numerous complex, high priority special assignments involving research and fact-finding to develop analyses, position and issue papers, and generate new initiatives based on a variety of strategic subjects of critical importance to the Joint Staff and/or the Joint Force." There have also been suggestions that Kass has recently become an informal adviser to Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Middle Eastern policy.

Dr. Lani Kass is married to Norman Kass, a former Pentagon Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, and resides in McLean, Virginia. She has been naturalized as a US citizen and is presumably a dual national who now holds both American and Israeli passports. Her three children were all born in Israel. While it is perhaps not unusual for American citizens to volunteer with the Israel Defense Forces as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel did in 1991, it would have to be considered unprecedented for a senior Israeli military officer to obtain a high level position at the Pentagon. In fact, it is hard to imagine that anyone carrying out a security background investigation would approve such a transition under any circumstances, suggesting the possibility that Kassís ascent to high office might have been aided or even godfathered by friends in key positions who were able to override or circumvent normal procedures.

Dr. Kassís full first name is Ilana and her maiden name is Dimant. She has a 1971 BA in political-science and Russian area studies, summa cum laude, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a 1976 joint PhD from the Kaplan School of the Hebrew University and Columbia University in international affairs. She apparently met her husband Norman at Columbia. Both she and her husband are fluent in Russian and Hebrew. After completing her PhD, she served in the Israeli Air Force, achieving the rank of major. For those who are unfamiliar with the military, the rank of major is a senior rank that normally would be awarded to a career officer.

Between 1979 and 1981, Kass worked at the Russian research Center of Booz Allen and Hamilton. Between 1985 and 2005 she held the position of Professor of Military Strategy and Operations of the National War College. In 1992 Dr. Kass obtained a senior position at the Pentagon as Special Assistant to the Director, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5). Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense at the time. She returned to the Pentagon under Secretary William Cohen and stayed on during 2000 Ė 2001 as Senior Policy Adviser and Special Assistant for Strategic Initiatives to the Director, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5) under Donald Rumsfeld.

In early November 2006, US Air Force officials formed the Air Force Cyberspace Command that had the "authority to launch wars in cyberspace." The command was reported to be "largely the brainchild of Dr. Lani Kass, director of the Air Force Cyberspace Task Force."

Dr. Kassí position and access inevitably raise a number of questions. Her appointment is somewhat unseemly, which even the Air Force appeared to recognize when it removed her bio from the website. Surely there must be qualified Americans who would be both delighted and proud to serve their country in the position she holds. Surely someone in Washington must see the security implications of a former foreign military officer holding a high level post in the Pentagon with full access to classified information. To challenge Dr. Kassís position is not to question her academic credentials and intelligence or even her ability or integrity, but it is not unreasonable to ask why the Pentagon would appoint to a sensitive position someone who was born, raised, and served at a senior level with the armed forces in a foreign country..........................

http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2010/04/14/dr-strangelove-made-in-israel/

Ken White
04-16-2010, 12:48 AM
a long time ago... ;)

Read those hard core left wing sites and you'll get flooded with misinformation. Aside from the links you posted, check this one: (LINK) (http://wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/3717)They're even more pointedly anti Semitic...

Your first link, BTW, is old news. That briefing dates from a time when the US Air Force tried a power play to grab all the cyber warfare responsibility (and funding) for all of DoD. Didn't work.

She's been around for a long time, had several jobs and worked her way up the system, one step at a time; more history here: LINK (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Lani_Kass). Note she started out at Booz Allen Hamilton, one of our larger think tankettes who offer a springboard into government. That was back in the 80s.

She's been a power player for a while (LINK (http://www.afa.org/events/conference/2008/Conference2008_speakers.asp) scroll way down). Note all the females -- the US DoD is an equal opportunity employer. One hopes she learned something in all those positions. As for the major in Russian Studies, so too did Condoleeza Rice who parlayed that into the Secretary of State job. I also seem to recall that 85% of all degree holders work outside their major field...:D

Besides, she's a follower of Uncle Carl: (LINK) (http://www.clausewitz.com/readings/Achenbach2c.htm), ergo she can't be all bad...:cool:

Not to worry, she's only an adviser to the Air Force Chief of Staff. He may or may not listen to her. ;)

Bernard Finel
04-16-2010, 01:13 AM
I had the pleasure of working with Lani when I taught at the National War College from 2004 to 2006. She's very, very smart. Very insightful about a very, wide range of national security and strategy issues. I may not agree with her on all things, but we could do a lot (A LOT) worse than having her advising the Air Force.

Bernard Finel

walrus
04-16-2010, 05:57 AM
Ken White:


Read those hard core left wing sites and you'll get flooded with misinformation. Aside from the links you posted, check this one: (LINK)They're even more pointedly anti Semitic...

Thank you for your comments. For your information Ken, it didn't come from a "Hard core leftist website" unless you call Col. (ret.) Pat Lang's "Sic Semper Tyrannis" website hard core leftist.

Phil Giraldi picked it up from there and ran with it at antiwar.com if you read the comments on Col. Langs blog..

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/04/dr-lani-kass.html

The question remains; how did she get this position? I'm very sure she is very smart and good at what she does. However, the "world islamofication" map and her associated speech however is certainly unmeasured and certainly not in Americas best interests by any stretch of the imagination, as recent events surrounding settlements in East Jerusalem and comments by Gen. Petreaus have indicated.

I fail to understand her qualifications having anything to do with cyberwarfare, and I speak as someone who drifted into the field of information technology without a computer engineering qualification, and I have the scars to prove it. I've given powerpoint presentations about "seamless integration of technology to produce a magic customer experience" myself. I smell the same paradigms in that presentation.

To put it another way, being an expert on the Russian weltschmerz does not translate into being an expert on middle eastern affairs, let alone computer networks and cyber warfare.

What we are talking about are the best interests of America first. That is the issue raised by Col. Lang, Giraldi and others, including me. We fail to understand how this person is "adding value" to command, nor how the risk associated with potentially divided loyalties, as demonstrated by her unhelpful and misleading hype about Islam, is being managed.

If there is some form of risk management in place, and it can be shown that there is some value add, then well and good.

William F. Owen
04-16-2010, 07:21 AM
The question remains; how did she get this position? I'm very sure she is very smart and good at what she does. However, the "world islamofication" map and her associated speech however is certainly unmeasured and certainly not in Americas best interests by any stretch of the imagination, as recent events surrounding settlements in East Jerusalem and comments by Gen. Petreaus have indicated.

Well smart and good at what she does would seem grounds for qualification. As for the rest she's just pumping her political schtick, just as Gen. Petreaus is. Personally I think they are both wrong.

I fail to understand her qualifications having anything to do with cyberwarfare, and I speak as someone who drifted into the field of information technology without a computer engineering qualification, and I have the scars to prove it. I've given powerpoint presentations about "seamless integration of technology to produce a magic customer experience" myself. I smell the same paradigms in that presentation.
I concur. So what? How did Excum, Kilcullen and Nagl, end up as COIN experts? Dave is actually a very smart guy and excellent infantry officer, but when I knew him, there was no inkling if the COIN stuff.

Personally, I do not really care about qualifications. I read what they write and listen to what they say.

IDF service: Most/All smart Israelis have military backgrounds. What did she do in the Air Force? She may well have only got to Major in her Reserve Service. She may have been a logistician. So what? Are you saying she is a Spy?
I know quite a few former Israeli Officers in big US defence companies working on everything from armour to space-based EW.

Ken White
04-16-2010, 12:55 PM
it didn't come from a "Hard core leftist website" unless you call Col. (ret.) Pat Lang's "Sic Semper Tyrannis" website hard core leftist.Nah, I consider Lang soft core. He's a waste of time, I've long paid him very little heed. Giraldi seems to lean somewhat more crossways -- or something...

The question remains; how did she get this position? I'm very sure she is very smart and good at what she does. However, the "world islamofication" map and her associated speech however is certainly unmeasured and certainly not in Americas best interests by any stretch of the imagination, as recent events surrounding settlements in East Jerusalem and comments by Gen. Petreaus have indicated.By being bright and obviously ambitious, she insinuated herself into various positions and friendships and used those to lever herself 'up,' one job at a time. Fairly standard way of doing business. I don't agree with it but it's quite common and I doubt we'll change it. Has to be that way to prove the Peter Principle.

As for her 'ideas' -- there are a lot of folks who have ideas with which I disagree in all facets of government in most nations. I'm opposed to most social welfare provisions for example as I believe their secondary goal of creating a complaint citizenry is inimical to freedom -- and accountability. Yet, most western governments are filled with folks who believe in that stuff. Idiots abound. The Air force -- indeed all the services, the entire US guvmint -- puts people in high places that I wouldn't take as working troopies in combat because while they may be intelligent and educated, they have no common sense and thus are ineffective -- or mildly dangerous...

The Middle East today is a conundrum, all the rest of the world can do is watch as it sorts itself out. Yet, the urge to poke it, stick fingers in odd places or otherwise meddle seems to overwhelm many. No worries, as my wife, for some inexplicable reason, absolutely hates to hear me say; "It'll all work out -- one way or another..."
I've given powerpoint presentations about "seamless integration of technology to produce a magic customer experience" myself. I smell the same paradigms in that presentation.Yes. Hmm. I agree but I also am confirmed in my opinion that a grease pencil on acetate is far better than a computer and PP...:D

Also confirmed is my suspicion that certain salespeople are best avoided. ;)
...We fail to understand how this person is "adding value" to command, nor how the risk associated with potentially divided loyalties, as demonstrated by her unhelpful and misleading hype about Islam, is being managed.I strongly doubt she is adding any value. OTOH, neither is or did Pat Lang in his government tenure. Very few people in government really add much value at all, most just do their job to one degree or another. The system is too large and self correcting (self-defeating??? :wry: ) to be much perturbed by anyone or any group of persons. Nothing to worry about, really -- there are a slew of bright people in the US (all???) government(s) who probably don't have the best interests of the nation or its people as their overarching drive. Fools, charlatans, con men, mildly incompetent well meaning and generally ineffective folks, blithering idiots all abound. That's life...
If there is some form of risk management in place, and it can be shown that there is some value add, then well and good.The risk management factor is amply provided by plain old bureaucratic risk aversion and generic US governmental mismanagement. :D

Olive Oyl
04-17-2010, 06:09 PM
Ms. Kass's history suggests she isn't on the ground doing the nitty gritty. She is likely not hacking and coding, but synthesizing the information gleaned from her subordinates - who are more likely the "real" pros on cyberwarfare - into strategic advice for a burgeoning and rapidly evolving field of warfare.
Similarly, I recently met someone described to me as a "gaming expert" and offered up as the equivalent of an advisor (on gaming) to our team. This person actually had no real experience with gaming, and was even lacking some basic terminology, but has worked on developing strategy for several high level gaming related initiatives, which made him apparently qualified.


Also: It's easier to self identify as an expert in a field that is in such nascent stages. There simply isn't a critical mass of established pros to deny another's expertise in cyberwarfare yet (although there is some emerging genius; it'll be interesting to watch this woman's (http://www.ndu.edu/cisa/index.cfm?secID=458&pageID=119&type=section) work on cyberterrorism develop). Sad but true: there aren't enough academic groups well-established on the topic, as interested parties face fierce fights from within their institutions on justifying the need for cyberwarfare education beyond a single course or workshop.
Of course, one could always start with an IT or Computer Science degree... But when ever does logic reign in the high seas of bureaucracy?

Besides, who knows, maybe she's a closet programmer :wry:

walrus
04-22-2010, 05:15 PM
Apparently the good Doctor is now the Principal Advisor for the Middle East to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff. She also rejected Gen. Petreaus conclusions regarding American credibility in the Muslim world.

Col. Langs comments was that he knows of no foreign national who could possibly obtain a position like this. She must know Americas likely response if Israel were to attack Iran, and other sensitive information.

More from Giraldi..


Additional information has come to light on Kass that heightens my concern about her high position in the United States government’s defense and security establishment. Her first job in Washington was with the Advanced International Studies Institute (AISI), a Washington DC area based think tank. After being recommended by someone at the Pentagon, she was hired for her Russian language skills in an unclassified program funded by the Department of Defense called Soviet Watch. Her fellow employees understood that she was a former major in Israeli intelligence. A few months later she moved on to beltway bandit Booz Allen Hamilton. Some months after she departed AISI, one of her colleagues received a call from a personnel manager at the Industrial War College asking to confirm Kass’s employment with AISI. The Industrial War College was, as the name implies, an institute set up to coordinate industrial production with Defense Department needs. Some of its work was classified. Kass’s colleague told the caller that Kass was an intelligence officer who thought of herself as an Israeli and added that putting her in any position of influence would be a bad idea.

From there and then to here and now has taken more than twenty years, proceeding through a number of Defense Department positions with ever-increasing responsibility and access. It would not be out of place to observe that if the report that Kass was truly an intelligence officer for the Israeli Defense Forces is correct the Department of Defense security screeners should have erred on the side of caution based on the supposition that she was still in touch with her former employers. She should never have been given a security clearance and provided access to United States classified information in the first place, which again raises the issue of just if and how thoroughly her background was actually investigated.

More information has also been developed regarding Kass’s current role. According to a highly reliable source, Dr. Lani Kass is now the principal adviser to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen regarding the Middle East. She recently was involved in a very important meeting, one that concerned Israel.

The meeting took place because of concerns that the United States has been losing the "war of ideas" in the Muslim world. At the end of last year, General David Petraeus sent a special emissary out on a fact finding mission to meet with the heads of state and top military officers in all of the Muslim countries considered to be friends or allies of the US for a frank exchange of views. The emissary, an Arabic speaker, learned that no country any longer trusts the United States because it is widely believed that all American policies in the Near East region are subject to veto by Israel. It was also commonly observed that Washington is complicit in the genocide against the Palestinians because of its failure to do anything to restrain Israel, making it extremely difficult to rally popular support in any Muslim country for US policies.

Petraeus was surprised by the unanimity and emotion of the views that were confidentially expressed and thought the issue to be important enough to move it up the chain of command. In February, he met with Admiral Mullen and briefed him on his findings. Mullen was accompanied only by Dr. Lani Kass, who was described to Petraeus as his special assistant for the Middle East. Mullen expressed some dismay at the implications of the findings while Kass disputed Petraeus’ conclusions and said that the concerns being expressed were greatly exaggerated. Petraeus nevertheless presented his report to the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 17th together with his judgment that the failure to address the Palestinian issue was putting US soldiers in danger because it was inflaming anti-American sentiment and giving groups like al-Qaeda an unnecessary propaganda victory.

One might argue that Dr. Lani Kass is just another Israel firster who has risen to high office in the US government, not really unlike Dennis Ross, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, and Douglas Feith. And that might well be true. But at the same time one must challenge the judgment of those who enabled her rise to a position of great responsibility and power and there should be serious questions about whether her bellicose and racially tinged viewpoint comes from objective and honest analysis of the genuine challenges confronting the United States or from her loyalty to her country of birth.


http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2010/04/21/israel-first-more-on-dr-lani-kass/

Ken White
04-22-2010, 06:04 PM
LINK. (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1973/kissinger-bio.html)

LINK. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Albright)

LINK. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Shalikashvili)

I have little use for Lang's self professed 'expertise' but if he knows of no other foreign nationals who emigrated to the US, became US citizens -- some dual -- and moved into high places -- then he leads a sheltered life...:eek:

I realize that's not exactly the same thing as 'he knows no...' but it's close enough for government work -- which is as close as he seems to get. ;)

I'd also suggest that Kass, like Lang, may not know as much as he thinks she knows. I doubt, for example, she knows America's likely response if Israel were to attack Iran -- mostly because I don't think 'we' * know what we'd do. :rolleyes:


- * - 'We' being the entire US government. No doubt some in the Administration have ideas, probably several -- but Congress may have still other ideas...

You apparently also lead a sheltered existence, Pinniped -- you should broaden your horizons, an excessive amount of that leftish foolishness will warp your mind. :D

walrus
04-22-2010, 07:33 PM
Ken, thank you for your reply.

Henry Kissinger - arrived as a Fifteen year old.

Madeleine Albright - arrived as an Eleven year old.

Gen. John Shalikashvili - arrived as a Sixteen year old.

All of them fled Europe with their family to start a new life in the United States. There is no question regarding conflicts of interest or loyalty, nor as far as I know, any interest in dual citizenship.

Dr. Lani Kass on the other hand, arrived in America by choice as a born, bred, educated and trained Israeli army major and a Twenty something and immediately began work in the national security and intelligence community.

I note that she has also taken care that her children were born in Israel.

It is axiomatic that Israeli interests and American interests diverge from time to time, if not permanently, as Gen. Petreaus demonstrated in his testimony before Congress.

Dr. Kass by definition as a dual citizen must face these conflicts of interests in her work, and no amount of mental gymnastics can make them go away.

If Giraldi's account of the meeting of Adm. Mullen and Gen. Petreaus is to be believed, then that, taken with her unmeasured and untrue pronouncements about Islam are suggestive of a deep and totally unmanaged conflict of interest regarding American policy towards Islamic nations and also Israel..

Needless to say, it is not in Americas interests that a highly placed advisor should have such conflicts, nor is it fair to the advisor, to not have such conflicts of interest openly declared and discussed, and steps taken to address the obvious risk to both parties. In the case of Dr. Kass, I fail to see how ths matter can be addressed. If she was advising about South America, maybe, but the Middle East? This is like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.

To put it another way, Ken; You want a Likudnik to give advice about Americas best interests to Adm. Mullen? You want I should ask what that advice should be about Iran? Sheesh!


P.S. These days I send my minions out to broaden horizons. :D

J Wolfsberger
04-22-2010, 08:21 PM
Walrus,


I note that she has also taken care that her children were born in Israel.

Is this assertion really fair? My immediate assumption would be that they were born in Israel prior to her coming to the US. Is there any evidence otherwise?


Dr. Kass by definition as a dual citizen must face these conflicts of interests in her work, and no amount of mental gymnastics can make them go away.

...

Needless to say, it is not in Americas interests that a highly placed adviser should have such conflicts, nor is it fair to the advisor, to not have such conflicts of interest openly declared and discussed, and steps taken to address the obvious risk to both parties. In the case of Dr. Kass, I fail to see how ths matter can be addressed. If she was advising about South America, maybe, but the Middle East?

But one of her roles is as an adviser on cyberwar, on leave from the US War College. I don't see where her Israeli experience has a bearing on suitability in this regard.

Presumably, her expertise on the Middle East stems, at least in part, from her experience with the Israeli armed forces. If any bias or prejudice is understood up front, I don't see what the problem is.

J Wolfsberger
04-22-2010, 08:36 PM
As a side note on the issue, which you may not have picked up on as an Australian, Mr. Philip Giraldi is rather ignorant of the workings of the US defense community. Just two glaring examples:

1. BAH is hardly a "beltway bandit." The term is a pejorative. If it has any accurate usage, it is to describe retired officers and civil servants who take high salary jobs in the DC area to lobby their former employers/organizations and Congress. It's application to BAH is 100% inaccurate.

2. He states "It would not be out of place to observe that if the report that Kass was truly an intelligence officer for the Israeli Defense Forces is correct the Department of Defense security screeners should have erred on the side of caution based on the supposition that she was still in touch with her former employers." Well, yes, it would be out of place. His observation is also so stunningly wrong as to call into question whether he has any knowledge of US procedures regarding security clearances. The US has granted clearances to people who came out of the Soviet bloc countries, and still had relatives there, beginning, to my absolutely certain knowledge, in the 1970s and continuing to the present.

I can't know what Mr. Philip Giraldi's motivation is, but given the significance of these two errors to his questioning Dr.Kass' suitability, and the over all ad hominum tone, I wouldn't give him any credibility.

Ken White
04-22-2010, 08:44 PM
Though I've noted that some opinion sources more nearly could be called cesspits. Anti Semites to the left of me, anti Islamists to the right of me -- why, I even understand there's a Pommy anti-Oz site! ;)


All of them fled Europe with their family to start a new life in the United States. There is no question regarding conflicts of interest or loyalty, nor as far as I know, any interest in dual citizenship.That may be true but it still refutes to a great extent what you say Lang said. It also proves one shotgun blast may draw another.
Dr. Lani Kass on the other hand, arrived in America by choice as a born, bred, educated and trained Israeli army major and a Twenty something and immediately began work in the national security and intelligence community.Easiest place to watch her...
I note that she has also taken care that her children were born in Israel.My Mother was from Kentucky but a traveling Navy Wife, yet she made sure all her children were born in Kentucky, one even during a big war. There is no accounting for the vagaries of the female mind.
It is axiomatic that Israeli interests and American interests diverge from time to time, if not permanently, as Gen. Petreaus demonstrated in his testimony before Congress.Of course they do, just as Australian and US interests diverge frequently. Israel probably diverges far more than you Strynes and most of us dumb Merkuns are very much aware of that -- including people in high places. I, BTW, put little more stock inthe good General than I do in the retired Colonel you have been citing. I suggest it is entirely possible that the good Doctor's words may be as little heeded to by many in positions of consequence. She's one more advisor of many with a viewpoint that may or may not be worthwhile and that worth is likely to vary from time to time and topic to topic. Not to mention polite listener to polite listener.
Dr. Kass by definition as a dual citizen must face these conflicts of interests in her work, and no amount of mental gymnastics can make them go away.Who's trying to make them go away? Not I. I say they're present, however, I also say they are well known to everyone and they're just of small consequence.
If Giraldi's account of the meeting of Adm. Mullen and Gen. Petreaus is to be believed...If. Surprised he was in attendance...
...suggestive of a deep and totally unmanaged conflict of interest regarding American policy towards Islamic nations and also Israel.Yeah. There's a LOT of that going around and not just from former Israelis who may -- probably -- still have a an Aman connection.

Umm, How do we know it's unmanaged?
To put it another way, Ken; You want a Likudnik to give advice about Americas best interests to Adm. Mullen? You want I should ask what that advice should be about Iran? Sheesh!I'm far less concerned with advice given -- there's a tremendous amount of that going on and the majority of it is from sources of dubious provenance, is of quite speculative value and really amounts to little more than noise -- than I am with advice that is actually heeded. :wry:

One of the problems any and all senior persons have is sorting out the tons of chaff to get to a few kernels of wisdom.
P.S. These days I send my minions out to broaden horizons. :DExcellent planning! Truly. Ensure you listen to them... ;)

P.S.

Stop worrying. Bad for the digestion and longevity...

walrus
04-22-2010, 10:18 PM
I note that she has also taken care that her children were born in Israel.

I'm wrong there. She didn't come to the U.S.A. until 1981 0r 82.

Without going into it in detail, one needs a computer science degree to have any understanding of "cyberwarfare".

Her presentation here is a disgrace:

http://www.au.af.mil/info-ops/usaf/cyberspace_taskforce_sep06.pdf

Furthermore, her immoderate and simply untrue comments about Islam, if they were unfortunately accepted as true by the good Admiral, have the capacity to destroy Americas relationships with each and every Islamic country. Here is a sample of her rhetoric:


I recently attended a presentation by Dr. Lani Kass, special assistant to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and director of the Air Force Cyberspace Task Force. A former professor of military strategy and operations at the National War College, she helped develop the national strategy for combating terrorism and the military's Global War on Terrorism strategic plan. During her presentation, she detailed why we're at war with radical Islam, outlined their agenda and what we need to do to win this war.

After Sept. 11, 2001, most Americans asked the questions, "Why did they do this to us, and why do they hate us?" According to Doctor Kass, the reason stems from the history of Islam. Between the seventh and mid-16th centuries, Islamic culture was among the world's most dominant. For more than nine centuries, Islamic academia, medicine and science remained unrivaled. Islamic expansion and dominance declined in the 17th century following the advance of western culture and religion.

Those who follow radical Islamic believe it's God's will they dominate the world. They hate western culture because they feel the western world took their position in the world away from them, and they want it back.

Their intent was clearly outlined in a map posted on a Muttahida Jihad Council Web site titled, "The Map of United States of Islam." It shows the current Islamic dominated regions and the expected end state at the end of this century. By the year 2100, every nation and person on earth, including the United States, will follow the law of Islam.

The diversity of this intent, their level of hatred for western culture and their message of world domination became very clear to me recently while watching an interview of a captured terrorist leader. He was the mastermind behind hundreds of bombing deaths that targeted only westerners. He didn't operate in Afghanistan or Iraq or even the Middle East. He isn't affiliated with Al Qaeda but aligns with Osama bin Laden's principles that it's OK to kill civilians in the name of Islam, our arrogance is to blame for 9/11 and western cultures must give back everything taken from Muslims. He is Abu Dujana, the leader of the most notorious terrorist group -- in Indonesia.

We are in a fight for our lives.

To win this fight, we must first understand the fight we are in, Doctor Kass said. We must understand this war is unlike anything we've ever fought. It's not like World War I, World War II or the Cold War, because the foes we fought in those wars wanted to live.

Radical Islam, on the other hand, have developed a "culture of death" where they either meet their objective or die trying. In their narrow view, we must surrender and convert to Islam, or we must die. There is no middle ground or room for negotiation.

According to Doctor Kass, people in the United States fall into two groups. We are either sheep or sheepdogs. The sheep know wolves are stalking them but keep their heads down and continue to graze hoping the wolves will attack other sheep in the flock and not them. The sheepdogs know the wolves are out there, but they do something about it to protect the flock.

I feel there's a third type out there -- people who think we shouldn't fight this war and just pull back our troops. They're convinced if we leave the terrorists alone they'll leave us alone. However, this live-and-let-live philosophy is flawed, even suicidal. In the long term, radical Islam's strategic vision doesn't just include taking back their land and regaining the dominance they lost. They want to control the entire world. Those who do not submit to Islam must die.

As a military member, I'm honored to serve with the "sheepdogs" protecting our country, and I'm proud to be one of them.

When will this war end? It's tough to say right now. However, Doctor Kass provided a clue, "When they learn to love their children more than they hate us."



http://www.mountainhome.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123060048


I'm sorry, but if this B.S. above is representative of the quality of advice she is whispering in Adm. Mullens shelly pink ear than God save the United States!!


I speak as someone who has travelled and traded through Indonesia, the worlds largest Muslim country for Thirty Five years, a country that, while Muslim, has booze, pork, women in the Government, bikinis, etc. as does Malaysia. it's a very laid back form of Islam, and I'm not standing idly by and watch attempts by Israelis to antagonise them into radicalism because it creates a massive headache for Australia were it to be successful. In addition we have our own troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

Furthermore her statement about the hard line Wahabists is untrue:


Those who follow radical Islamic believe it's God's will they dominate the world. They hate western culture because they feel the western world took their position in the world away from them, and they want it back.


These folks specifically reject Western culture in its entirety. Al Qaeeda in particular wants to overthrow the Saudi regime, and their antagonism for us arises out of our support for Israel, the Saudi Monarchy, and our pervasive communications technology (DVD, Internet) that is making it increasingly difficult for religious leaders to control their youth as they used to. I see no "world domination" tendencies outside a few sects that are no more important than the "Christianist' types that want exactly the same Theocratic type of government.


Having been to Karachi by accident many years ago, I have seen first hand the hate of the West, but that is by no means representative of Islam and it is patently false to claim it does, as apparently Dr. Kass does.

This is not a matter about Left or Right, or Conservative of Liberal. It is a matter of what are the best interests of the United States Of America? It is obvious at least to the President, the Vice President and Gen. Petreaus that Israels interests and U.S. interests are not the same thing. Why try and deny it?

Furthermore, it is neither Anti Semitic nor an Ad Hominem attack to fail to understand how Dr. Kass can possibly manage the conflict of interest she obviously has, in the position she apparently holds, period.

J Wolfsberger
04-22-2010, 10:27 PM
She was very specifically speaking about radical Islam, not Islam in general, or about all Moslems.

walrus
04-22-2010, 11:28 PM
I note the use of the nice qualifier "radical" Islam, but its "non radical" Muslims that keep getting killed, and that has the potential to antagonise, and radicalise, a whole lot more who are not radicalised at present. Furthermore, I fail to see how Palestinians can be classified as "radical" for wanting their land back.

The best example of that process in action is the deterioration of Turkish/Israeli relations following Israels ruthless and possibly criminal attack on Gaza, as detailed in the Goldstone report.

To apply the golden rule, how would you feel if China for example said it "was only attacking bad Christians" when a lot of perfectly normal Christians of all ages and sexes kept ending up dead?

Ken White
04-23-2010, 12:59 AM
...This is not a matter about Left or Right, or Conservative of Liberal. It is a matter of what are the best interests of the United States Of America? It is obvious at least to the President, the Vice President and Gen. Petreaus that Israels interests and U.S. interests are not the same thing. Why try and deny it?

Furthermore, it is neither Anti Semitic nor an Ad Hominem attack to fail to understand how Dr. Kass can possibly manage the conflict of interest she obviously has, in the position she apparently holds, period.not everyone commenting on this thread is as upset about that issue as you appear to be.

I submit the issue is NOT how "Dr. Kass can possibly manage the conflict of interest she obviously has, in the position she apparently holds..." but rather how elements of the US government are handling that possible conflict. The answer to that question is unknown and the speculation in your web links and here is displaying undesirable ideological aspects by concentrating on the person instead of the performance -- which no commenter here has personal knowledge of or experience with, ergo we have rampant ideologically based speculation and not a factual discussion on demonstrated merits of actual results achieved by her as opposed to what is publicly released. While all are entitled to opinions and to express them, we should all realize that that's what we're stating -- partly informed opinions.

We should also realize that those opinions are not going to have the slightest effect effect on her current position, future positions or international relations of the US, Israel or Australia. In short, there's nothing here to merit hate and discontent -- or even a minor spike in ire... :wry:

Most posting have agreed with your first paragraph above quoted and no one is denying that conflict -- or her possible conflict of interest. The problem seems to be that most us are aware and accord it far less importance than you do. I'm unsure why that is unacceptable to you; the fact that you and I disagree on the matter is not unacceptable to me...:confused:

We should be able to disagree without getting disagreeable and we should be able to discuss the issue without getting pejorative or drifting off into the ills and sins of Israel and /or Islam. That is a discussion to be avoided as it generally turns rancorous and will just get the thread shut down.

Civil discourse is always welcome, disagreements are expected to occur and should not engender hostility or digressions into name calling and allied uncouth actions.

I say that as a bona fide Couth School Graduate, Camp J. H. Pendleton Class 49-7, with post graduate work at Fort Bragg in 1960. :D

Full disclosure: My Wife and Kids state they believe the courses had no noticeable effect. :o

walrus
04-23-2010, 05:07 AM
Thanks for the reply Ken, my Labrador thinks I'm pretty couth as well as easily mollified.

My point is that Dr. Kass is Principal advisor on the Middle East. that implies that there is no further filter between Adm. Mullen and her good self.

I am also making the assumption here that senior commanders rely on the advice of their advisors when making decisions, and that Obama makes his decisions exactly the same way.

That fact gives advisors enormous power which is exactly why the lobbying industry flourishes.

I do not buy the argument that Dr. Kass is lost in the noise, or that Dr. Kass is one of many with competing viewpoints that will all balance out and leave a sensible bureaucratic answer.

I base that statement on the simple fact that a small group of like minded individuals working together convinced America to invade Iraq when all sane professional intelligence indicated such an act was totally unnecessary.

To put it another way, and I know it is rude, but what if Dr. Kass is another Douglas Feith?

Are the conflicts of interest being managed, and if so by who?

To put it yet another way, I, and others would dearly like to know State Departments view of this matter for obvious reasons, but I am unlikely to find out.

Some indication that Dr. Kass is not breathing fire and brimstone into the Admirals ear, or news that he has an asbestos Balaklava would be suitable mollification for me.

William F. Owen
04-23-2010, 05:16 AM
Sorry, Walrus, but what's the problem here?

Lani Kass is a right wing American, born in Israel.
She is neither patently expert nor overly influential in her chosen subjects. Do you have some personal issue with her? If so, what is it?

I entirely agree that US interests and Israeli interests are not one and the same. Again, so what? The arguments break down along entirely party political lines, and to date has been very poorly informed.

Sumtingwong
04-23-2010, 06:01 AM
Walrus,

To chime in here, I would be surprised if Dr Kass gets more than 30 minutes a week with the Admiral. His staff may read her stuff and may pass the pertinent perspectives, if any exist. The ADM and the service staffs know very well the perspectives of the advisors that surround them as all would have meet and greets upon entering the position.

Also, where you quote her "rhetoric" on Islam, this appears to be on "Islamism" as interpreted and carried out by radicals. This is somewhat analogous to Zionism in that both are political movements. Not many Muslims subscribe to this, as you attest to in your travels.

I would argue that a degree in computer science is absolutely not required to be an expert in cyberwarfare; I do not need to know how to build an F-18 with laser-guided bombs to know the effects of its capabilities. Other than "Flying and Fighting in Cyberspace,":confused: what was wrong with the presentation linked?


I base that statement on the simple fact that a small group of like minded individuals working together convinced America to invade Iraq when all sane professional intelligence indicated such an act was totally unnecessary.

A very small group of individual(s) had also convinced his own staff that he had WMD.

My $.02.

Entropy
04-23-2010, 12:44 PM
Walrus,

I think we get that you don't like what you believe to be Dr. Kass' political and policy views. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but your ad hominem-based arguments aren't very convincing when the basis for your opposition to her is so transparent.

As someone who's held a high-level security clearance for the better part of two decades now, Dr. Kass' history does raise some questions in my own mind, but I'm in no position and I see no evidence that the decision to grant her a clearance was inappropriate. The clearance adjudication process and rationale is a bit opaque by design. At the end of the day, however, the information collected by investigators on Dr. Kass or anyone else is protected in this country, so there is no way to independently verify what you believe to be true without someone violating a lot of laws and the privacy of Dr. Kass, her family, friends, associates and neighbors.

Ken White
04-23-2010, 05:20 PM
we also may not be as dumb as many seem to think. Including some Americans...:rolleyes:

First, clarification points of which you may or may not be cognizant.

In the US there are those who are committed supporters of Israel and those who wish its destruction. My sensing is that most Americans fall between those poles and are broadly supportive of Israel without being enamored of it, realize that there are errors on the part of Israelis and of Palestinians (and the supporters of both) and really wish the problem would just go away. They realize that it will not and are resigned to that. Make no mistake, supportive does not mean a surrender of US interests. Not at all.

Secondly, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is by law an adviser to the SecDef and the President. Neither he nor the service Chiefs are in the chain of command to combatants. That line is Prez-SecDef-Combatant Commander (ala Petraeus for the ME).
My point is that Dr. Kass is Principal advisor on the Middle East. that implies that there is no further filter between Adm. Mullen and her good self.That is a rather simplistic view that neglects the facts that ADM Mullen (a) is probably not stupid. (b) is aware of Kass' background and loyalties almost certainly to a far greater extent than are Lang Giraldi or the rest of us. (c) has dozens of Advisers, many of whom will be virtually enemies of Dr. Kass and will share the views of you and Lang and quite probably are even more opposed to Israeli influence (and the five billion plus dollars they and Egypt get annually as a result of Carter stupidity). (d) has no command authority, is an adviser himself and thus Kass is advising an Adviser who must defer to the SecDef on all things.

That SecDef is also advised by dozens of advisers, many of whom will be opposed to Kass' views and one of whom is his direct subordinate for the ME, David Howell Petraeus. Between Kass and CincCent Petraeus, who do you think has more clout with Gates? Consider both proximity and the law -- which will trump proximity.
I am also making the assumption here that senior commanders rely on the advice of their advisors when making decisions, and that Obama makes his decisions exactly the same way.A valid assumption. Do not discount the number of those advisers and the number of alternative views presented. Also, do not discount the by design dysfunctional US political process with numerous checks and balances which severely constrains the actions the Executive may take. Also consider the clout of Petraeus -- I mean, you cited him... ;)
That fact gives advisors enormous power which is exactly why the lobbying industry flourishes.Here we disagree. First, Lobbyists and advisers work in different ways. Both depend on 'expertise' to an extent but Lobbyists do things for their targets -- advisers do not (there's more...). Second I've been in the position of having numerous advisers provided by the system -- I had to put up with all, I listened to few. I respected even fewer. I also had subordinate leaders or commanders working for me -- their input counted about 50X that of advisers and staff weenies. I also didn't give a few really smart PhD types nearly as much credibility as their position would seem to indicate they deserved due to either their hidden agendas (as I believed) or, more often, their lack of common sense (as duly evidenced).
I do not buy the argument that Dr. Kass is lost in the noise, or that Dr. Kass is one of many with competing viewpoints that will all balance out and leave a sensible bureaucratic answer.Your prerogative. I live here, worked for that government for over 45 years in one capacity or another and I find fear of an individuals influence in all that bureaucratic milieu almost comical. Each must be considered on his or her own merits. I've considered this one and I'm not at all concerned. You may be so if you wish, of course but I suggest you're letting a perception and possibly a lack of knowledge of the US skew your assessment. Lang does that all the time... :D
I base that statement on the simple fact that a small group of like minded individuals working together convinced America to invade Iraq when all sane professional intelligence indicated such an act was totally unnecessary.

To put it another way, and I know it is rude, but what if Dr. Kass is another Douglas Feith?Your presumption is, I think, incorrect. That is not what happened. George W. Bush decided the ME needed a message to stop attacking US interests world wide as they had been doing since 1979. Iraq was selected as though not directly involved in any attacks on the US, it was geographically central in the ME as the point of attack, because it was a pariah state, it would not disrupt the world oil supply and it was presumed it would be fairly easy (THAT was the big intel failure, the WMD bit was actually totally ancillary and solely for public consumption -- Boy, did that dumb Wolfotwits idea backfire as he later acknowledged...).

Bush was not a Neocon, he simply saw some value in adopting part of their foolishness to do what HE wanted to do. It was a great strategic move, unfortunately, DoD and the US Army screwed up the execution (mostly due to having poorly navigated all those checks and balance I mentioned above).

I also think Kass is perhaps smarter than was Fido Feith or his leader, Wolfotwits -- neither of whom had nearly as much influence on US policy as they (and the left) like to think. They had some, no question and much of it was not beneficial but they also did a few good things. They just melded into the bureaucracy and got attention due to US domestic politics. Both got where they were due to US domestic politics as did and do many others. US Domestic politics play far too large a part in US international affairs; bad lick, I don't like that but it's not going away. Still, on balance, the system works.
Are the conflicts of interest being managed, and if so by who?Why, by the Byzantine US bureaucracy, of course. Has to be seen or experienced to be believed. :D
To put it yet another way, I, and others would dearly like to know State Departments view of this matter for obvious reasons, but I am unlikely to find out.True, likely would depend on who you talked to at State and his or her personal position on Israel -- and as I said, there are numerous variations on that theme, inside and outside government. Inside State and DoD included. Inside the WH as well...

Not that anything would be different if you and those others did find out. this is the US -- it will change in an eye blink in any event...
Some indication that Dr. Kass is not breathing fire and brimstone into the Admirals ear, or news that he has an asbestos Balaklava would be suitable mollification for me.Again we differ. I don't give a fig about what anyone in a political position -- and the CJCS is such a position -- says, I care about what they DO. I care even less about advisers because they are always counterbalanced by others with diametric positions.

With regard to the CJCS, I also know what most can do and the numerous constraints on their actions. Further, I know that at those levels, I may disagree with their positions on issues but I also know they aren't stupid (Congress is an exception to that last).

Been my observation that most Four Star Flag Officers have asbestos ears...

Dayuhan
04-23-2010, 10:55 PM
I have to say that the cyberwarfare ppt is really, really, dumb. That doesn't mean that Dr Kass is dumb, but it does suggest that she has a fairly low opinion of her audience. If someone asked me to watch that under the guise of professional development I'd walk out early on and have some choice words for somebody. Of course I've never been in the military or worked for the Government... possibly this sort of thing is normal in that environment? One hopes not...

Have to note that the alleged comments on Islam, while less than impressive, are second hand. It would be more convincing to cite some work that comes from Dr Kass herself. The potential for divided loyalties is of course a concern; we all know the Israelis spy on the US when they can and do what they can to influence US policy in support of their interests (just like everybody else). I assume there are procedures in place for vetting and monitoring in cases where the potential for divided loyalty is obvious.

walrus
04-24-2010, 12:40 AM
Ken, thank you for your long post on the Byzantine Washington bureaucracy. :D

I hope you are right about the beneficial effects it has in moderating conflicting viewpoints. I have no personal issues whatsoever with Dr. Kass, how could I?

As long as Washington recognises the context of her advice all will be well, but why did the Air Force pull their bio of her?

Ken White
04-24-2010, 01:47 AM
...but why did the Air Force pull their bio of her?Or it could be that the Air forces is paranoid -- lot of speculation about that up here...;)

Dunno. Since there's plenty about her on the web, I doubt it was an attempt to hide anything.

selil
04-24-2010, 02:08 AM
I fail to understand her qualifications having anything to do with cyberwarfare, and I speak as someone who drifted into the field of information technology without a computer engineering qualification, and I have the scars to prove it. I've given powerpoint presentations about "seamless integration of technology to produce a magic customer experience" myself. I smell the same paradigms in that presentation.

To put it another way, being an expert on the Russian weltschmerz does not translate into being an expert on middle eastern affairs, let alone computer networks and cyber warfare.

There are very few academic experts in cyber warfare. The defining principles have not even been agreed upon. Currently you have information operations proponents, electronic warfare proponents, computer network defense/attack proponents, and very few warfare experts.

The result is a biased tumult response to the issues we know about. There is also a conflation/subterfuge of placing information assurance and security in the same bucket as cyber warfare. That is kind of like putting generic law enforcement in the same realm as high intensity armor and air war.

I have been a critic of Dr. Kass' views on cyber warfare as proposed through the Air Force and I talked to her for a moment at the Air War College a few years ago. She seemed open and interested in the topic to me at that time.



Also: It's easier to self identify as an expert in a field that is in such nascent stages. There simply isn't a critical mass of established pros to deny another's expertise in cyberwarfare yet (although there is some emerging genius; it'll be interesting to watch this woman's (http://www.ndu.edu/cisa/index.cfm?secID=458&pageID=119&type=section) work on cyberterrorism develop). :

The example of the NDU professor is evidence of the issues in how information operations and intelligence gets mixed with cyber warfare. SITE and the professors work was great but it is not cyber warfare.

There are a lot of hobbyists that are relatively new to the topic and for some reason they get substantially more press than people who have been studying the topic for decades. Many excellent professionals have entered the field with credibility in other disciplines and rely on the halo effect. There is a "whoa classified hide under the table the NSA reads your email" grand wizard effect that permeates some organizations. And air power will win every war right?

The fact people think cyber war is nascent is an example of the ignorance surrounding the topic more than the reality of the discipline. Someday we'll be able to have real conversations about the realistic expectations of actual capabilities in actual contexts.

Summary: Cyber warfare is not computer security; Cyber warfare has a long history of research; many people have followed the money; when the water clears real experts will be here plugging away just like the last go around on this topic (10 years ago).

But, what would I know?