U.S. to Create an Independent U.S. Cyber Command, Split Off From NSA – United States
After months of delay, the Trump administration is finalizing plans to revamp the nation’s military command for defensive and offensive cyber operations in hopes of intensifying America’s ability to wage cyber war against the Islamic State group and other foes, according to U.S. officials. Under the plans, U.S. Cyber Command would eventually be split off from the intelligence-focused National Security Agency. Details are still being worked out, but officials say they expect a decision and announcement in the coming weeks. The officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter so requested anonymity. The goal, they said, is to give U.S. Cyber Command more autonomy, freeing it from any constraints that stem from working alongside the NSA, which is responsible for monitoring and collecting telephone, internet, and other intelligence data from around the world — a responsibility that can sometimes clash with military operations against enemy forces. Making cyber an independent military command will put the fight in digital space on the same footing as more traditional realms of battle on land, in the air, at sea, and in space. The move reflects the escalating threat of cyber attacks and intrusions from other nation states, terrorist groups, and hackers, and comes as the U.S. faces ever-widening fears about Russian hacking following Moscow’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 American election.
More Security for U.S. Bound Flights – Canada and The United States
Flying to the United States may take a while longer as of today due to enhanced security measures affecting flights to the U.S. Both Air Canada and WestJet are advising passengers to arrive at airports at least two hours prior to scheduled departures to allow for additional screening. Air Canada says in an advisory that heightened security introduced by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security beginning today requires enhanced screening of personal electronic devices such as tablets and laptops. In addition, all personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone will need to be easily accessible and have all cases and covers removed. WestJet has posted similar advice, adding the recommendation applies to all flights departing Canada. The Dept. of Homeland Security said last month that “in light of evaluated intelligence,” it was deemed necessary to implement enhanced security measures for all commercial flights to the United States. It said these measures would include enhanced overall passenger screening, increased security around aircraft and in passenger areas, the use of advanced technology, and expanded canine screening. “The United States and the global aviation community face an adaptive and agile enemy,” said the DHS on its website. “Terrorist groups continue to target passenger aircraft, and we have seen a spider web of threats to commercial aviation as terrorist pursue new attack methods.”
Thousands Evacuated as Wildfires Burn Across U.S. – United States
A 25,000-acre wildfire in central California, one of three dozen major blazes burning across the U.S. West, threatened hundreds of homes and businesses on Wednesday after forcing the evacuation of about 5,000 residents. There were 46 active large fires spread across 12 states, with 11 new blazes reported on Tuesday alone, according to National Interagency Fire Center website. Around 4.4 million acres have been burnt since the start of 2017, compared to 2.7 million acres in the same period last year, it said. Dry and windy conditions have fueled the wildfire season and thousands of people have been evacuated, including in Oregon and Nevada. Firefighters managed to contain 5 percent of the Detwiler Fire, which threatened 1,500 structures in tiny foothill communities in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, authorities said. Around 2,000 residents were ordered to flee Mariposa, California on Tuesday.