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tv   This Week in Defense  CBS  September 26, 2010 11:00am-11:30am EDT

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next this week in defense news who launched
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welcome to this week in defense news. i'm vago muradian. they're most skilled riflemen in the world and we'll look at how snipers are changing the fight in iraq and afghanistan. >> and how the ceo of a top intelligence firm views the pentagon's new efficiency initiatives. first the deadly anthrax attacks highlighted just how easy it would be for a terrorist organization to carry out a biological attack on the united states. that sparked new research and vaccines, but to this day, we're not sure who mounted the attack. our next guests have spent five years studying the attack. our guests have written, directed and produced a 90 minute documentary that claims far more people were involved in the attacks than widely
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believed. welcome to the show. >> thanks, vago. >> how big of a threat is anthrax to the american public? >> it's been a biological weapon of choice since the days of the second world war. and the fact that the u.s. army deems it a threat, enough to vaccinate all u.s. troops who are deployed into the arenas of war, i think it's a very real threat. and absolutely out of all the arsenals of biological weapons, it's the most effective because it's hardy resistance. it's a real threat and billions of dollars are spent on coming up with defenses against anthrax. >> despite the amount of spending to date, are we any safer today? and how easy is it for a group to make anthrax and deploy it? >> the paradox of the whole situation is that in the effort
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to combat possible use of anthrax by a terrorist organization, we've seen an enormous expansion and proliferation of laboratories and personnel who are allowed to work with these so called select agents of which anthrax is one of them. and as security has been lax and oversight has seen accidents and mistakes and lack of event controls, what you have is a real life situation that is far less safe than i think we were a few years ago. and as the government activities proliferate, the chance that terrorists or someone disturbed such as the man is fbi thought was behind the attacks, those chances increase. in a very real sense, i think we're less safe today than ever. >> how is it that historically, it was the government in charge
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of this biological research. how is it that so much of it has shifted to industry? >> after the anthrax attacks of 2001, the government put in place a lot of programs, government funding such as bioshield and opened it up to private sectors who had the experience, field operation, vehicles, where field testing could take place and the countermeasures, including vaccines. years ago, the anthrax vaccine facility in the united states was administered by the u.s. army and run by a state owned division in michigan. michigan corporation. in the 1990s. that operation was bought by private interests, and today you've got private corporations
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in the anthrax business which is very lucrative. and we start mixing business with deadly pathogens, you have a whole bunch of security conversations. >> the story is that it was a disgruntled army employee that was solely responsible. why do you say it wasn't this guy at fort detrich. >> i don't think we're saying it wasn't him. but upon investigation it was clear that bruce i vans could not have -- if he was the person responsible, could not have acted alone. we spoke with a number of people he worked with and he simply did not have the equipment necessary to make is very sophisticated weaponnized anthrax used in the letter attacks, particularly the
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letters sent to senators lehiyh and daschle. and he did not have access to that equipment. it does not exist. >> it's important to note that it's not just us who take issue with this. senator patrick leahy at a senate hearing, he said there are others who can be implicated in murder in the case. and that implies a conspiracy. this is chairman of the judiciary committee with direct oversight over the fbi performance. the fbi performance is now widely condemned by editorial pages and in congress, the government accountability office has announced that they will be investigating the fbi performance in this case and so there's a ground swell of
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support for keeping this investigation alive from very powerful political and editorial sources. >> who were the accomplices? >> basically, ivan -- the powder found in the letter to senator daschle was the most sophisticated ever discovered. it was ground down and meant to be a killing machine. he didn't have the expertise, maybe he got it from somebody else. we just don't know. >> that's remarkably distressing news. we don't know who is manufacturing it. how will the new acquisition reforms affect companies that supply
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>> last week pentagon acquisition chief ash carter joined us to explain his plan to cut the costs of the department. this week we're joined by a company that provides intelligence services and the company was founded in 1978 and employs 7000 people. welcome back. >> glad to be here. >> what do the guidelines mean for companies like yours? >> i think they're logical. if you read the memo and think about it. everything he's proposing makes sense. it's hard on the face to argue
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with any of those things. the question will be in the implementation. >> under this strategy, and obviously, ash is going out to do the whole rollout over the coming months and years and maintain pressure on how to get the changes inculcated. one of the things is for example, compete services contracts more often. don't let them last for 10 years but let them compete more often. do you see that as problematic? >> i think in every cloud there's a silver lining. it depends on how you look at it. i welcome the opportunity to compete for things that perhaps we don't have today. more frequent competition i would view an opportunity as much as a risk. it will cost more money. ultimately, the government pays the cost of competing for new
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business for companies through the overhead rates. and by having more frequent competition, you are going to incur more costs. but the logic is sound that the government gains an efficiency by doing it. so to some degree i would expect it to be off setting. >> what you think of the notion that the government could do better at certain very technical contracts. how can the government get better at doing that? >> one thing is reforming or improving the acquisition work force in the government which is part of the undersecretary's memo. and i'd argued that in the past. the issue is not just quanted. quantity. and it's one thing to say that you're going to hire an additional 30,000 people,
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acquisition professionals. the problem is it's some number of years before the people become skilled at their jobs. it's a complicated job. >> it takes decades to grow somebody with the nuance and expertise. >> you have to keep that in mind. >> about that, how is that going to affect the business? not only is the government hiring additional folks, but it's insourcing, and pulling work that used to be done by contractors. what impact is that having on you? let's take that first. >> it has minimal impact. has had minimal impact on our company. the impact more broadly is larger. so far, we haven't seen large scale numbers of folks being insourced. that said, i think there's -- i would differ from the government's approach on this one. it would seem to me we would want governmental work to be
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done by governmental employees. and i absolutely support that. anything that's not inherently governmental should be outsourced. it's a better deal and more effective to out source everything they can out source. and i think that's a little different than current trend. >> the debate is what is inherently governmental work and what is not. some say intelligence work, the term 60,000 contractors in intelligence was used. some say that's an inherently governmental task. where is the dividing line? >> i don't think there's a good argument to say that because you can't define the boundary very clearly that that changes the basic argument. there may be a bit of a gray area in defining the last 10% of what's inherently governmental, but that shouldn't be a deterrent to
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what i said. in the intelligence community, all the normal work of every other part of government goes on. it's just that in a lot of cases, it happens to be classified. you have people doing i.t. work and installing servers. all of those things have to be done for the intelligence community. when it comes to analysis and reporting, some of that work is outsourced to industry. and my view is that the inherently governmental parking lot of intelligence has to do with the decision making and the qualification of what gets reported. not necessarily the production of the data that goes into the reports. and i don't see anything conflicting to outsource that work. >> you guys are specialists in cyber, and just to change gears a little bit. the administration has talked a lot about it. how much of a change has there been in taking the issue
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seriously and getting their arms wrapped around it. >> i think the issue is taken very seriously. i would still argue that we need more emphasis on the protection of commercial intellectual property. that warrants much greater investment and focus. and that can only be addressed through a collaboration through government and industry. the level of awareness about cyber is certainly increasing, and the attempts either in the government of private industry to defend and address those threats is increasing, but the threat is also increasing, and that's becoming more sophisticated. cyber is one of those things, it's like a bad disease. you're not going to cure it. the best you can do is keep it at bay. when the offense advances, up to have a defense. >> thank you for being here. >> thank you for being here. we
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snipers and their alluring mystique of precision, danger and stealth are everywhere in pop culture, whether on tv, movies and video game. but who are the real men behind the scopes? gina cavallaro and matt larsen chronicle their stories of dozens of snipers in their new book, sniper, america's warriors and rocking in afghanistan. gina is here today, a veteran reporter for military times who is embedded with the army and marine corps in iraq and afghanistan. welcome to the show! >> thank you for inviting they. >> it's a great book. have iraq and afghanistan really changed the role of snipers in the u.s. military? >> well, i think in talking to the snipers, i talk to about 30 snipers in the conventional army and special operations community, as well as the
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marine corps, and as best i can tell there's still the capability for the long shot from one ridge to another, and an afghanistan setting. but what has emerged in this war is a capability and urban set that amounts to something called a sniper assaulter, which is where a sniper would place himself on a rooftop or on a number of rooftops, a team maybe, couple teams, and provide covering fire, multiple ranges, for an assault package on the ground. >> which has proven critical in counter-insurgency and urban operations. >> absolutely. and it keeps the ground force safer, to have those guys up there. because you can put infantry men up there too, but these guys are pre-programmed and trained to come up with different mathematical formulas to engage at different ranges quickly. >> is -- the job has changed
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and they're being used -- obviously the pipeline increased so snipers now in the career field than in the past, but officers don't receive all that much training on how to use snipers. why is that p why has that got to change? >> i'm not sure why it is. there was a sniper employment leader force at the army sniper school, and if it's not -- been cull main eight yet, it's about to be. it was going for about three years, a popular course, one week course where the officers would go, mostly to learn the familiarization with the weapons and sniper role, and then they would get to shoot the weapons and they love the course, but i think infantry officers probably maybe get a few hours of training within a curriculum, maybe to captain's career course, newer career course, and it's just not something that they do in the army or the marine corps. >> so they're learning the capability on the job when they arrive in theater. >> yes.
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and this is something that i learned by talking to the snipers. i think that most of the snipers i talk to in the army and marine corps complained their commanders didn't know how to use them. so that kind of prompted me to ask the question, how do they? when they go to places like the national training center, the snipers just don't get used, get -- incorporated into the plan. >> in chapter 10 you tell about an army sergeant who describes how they in iraq were tracking insurgents and sort of the how the insurgents smelled. do folks really understand the important reconaissance capability the snipers bring to the for? >> i think that you talk to any sniper he'll tell that out the mission of a sniper is 90% reconaissance and 10% shooting. in fact, there's another chapter called the shot not taken, and at least one every stories is about how you just can sit there forever and never take a shot.
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they bring to the battlefield for commander a reconaissance capability that their training is superior to do that. they can hide and stay in one place for three days, for a week. they might get compromised if they stayed that long, but that's mostly what they do. and they can bring intelligence back to a commando too, what most people don't know is that snipers are not like the guys in the hollywood movies where they're given a mission and in a darkroom and told by some g man to go out and shoot so and so. they've pretty much delivered their own intel by going out and watching intersection for hours on end. >> right. what sets a military snipear part from a police sniper? >> that's a good question. and what i was able to learn was -- and really, it's kind of a logical when you think about it. a law enforcement sniper in the united states has a lot of
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considerations. there's civilian population, there are -- as recently demonstrated in silver spring, it's a very tenuous situation, and as opposed to a military sniper who has a specific role on the battlefield and is dealing with end many combatants in the situation where he can do more damage than an entire platoon by striking fear into the heart of a enemy element. >> right. >> so it's a different mission. >> you can buy sniper, american single shot warriors in iraq and afghanistan
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the navy's recent decision to build new environmentally friendly double haul oilers in 2014, three years earlier than planned looks like an election year gift to new orleans given that the avondale shipyard is there. expecting the oiler program not to start until 2017, avondale was to exit naval ship building in late 2012. with no new work in the pipeline, the owner, northrop grumman, said they would close avondale. that's what many in the
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pentagon wanted. it would cut overcapacity. the navy would be left with just a single yard with recent experience building large ships like the oilers. the yard in san diego. the problem is that it won't solve the overcapacity problem. eight shipyards build large ship for navy and not enough work to keep them busy. the challenge will be to maintain the benefits with the remaining yards. thanks for joining us with this week in defense news. i'll be back next think about the internet. growing, evolving, literally transforming our lives. now imagine the possibilities of what tomorrow could bring. at at&t, we support a core set
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of standards that will guide the internet into the future... to protect users, and reward innovators, for years to come. we support a fair and open internet - affordable and accessible to everyone. transparent networks, managed in ways that are clear to all users. we support the fcc's plan to bring high-speed internet to everyone in america by 2020. and we are committed to keeping the internet working, as the economic engine that's creating jobs now. working together, investing, keeping information and ideas flowing freely, we can ensure that the internet will continue to grow and influence the future... in ways we can only imagine. because the future has always been our business. at&t. from washington, the mclaughlin group. the


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