What We've Been Up To
The Conference Report for the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) directs the DoD to implement "each recommendation included in the 2013 report of the RAND corporation titled 'First Steps Toward Improving DoD STEM Workforce Diversity.'" This study, led by Nelson Lim, recommends that DoD clearly articulate which aspects of diversity to prioritize, establish goals, coordinate efforts across the organization, and pursue a managed-change plan to improve STEM workforce diversity.
For the Agency in Focus podcast on the Federal News Network, Sina Beaghley discusses the Office of Personnel Management data breach, the effects of which are still looming over federal cyber efforts.
Edward Geist and Marjory Blumenthal discuss the use of AI for deception and evasion in a commentary in War on the Rocks.
If unmanned aerial vehicles will soon be dropping packages at our doors, can they deliver blood to a combat or disaster zone? Absolutely, according to a new report by Christopher Gilmore, Michael Chaykowsky, and Brent Thomas. The trio developed a tool that uses distance, payload, and response times to determine what type of UAV fleet would be needed, and recommended fixed-wing drones that look more like planes than the usual quadcopter. The military in August ran a series of exercises to test the concept with the help of Zipline, a commercial drone operator. But as Thomas told Forbes and CNBC, military environments may be too dangerous for civilian vendors, though they could be useful in a disaster zone.
Stars & Stripes reported on a RAND project aimed at helping the U.S. Africa Command figure out optimal ways to rescue injured personnel in Africa. The research report was written by Christopher A. Mouton, Edward W. Chan, Adam R. Grissom, John Godges, Badreddine Ahtchi, and Brian Dougherty.
The Cipher Brief published an excerpt of the newly released Hostile Social Manipulation: Present Realities and Emerging Trends. The report about information warfare was authored by Michael J. Mazarr, Abigail Casey, Alyssa Demus, Scott W. Harold, Luke J. Matthews, Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, and James Sladden.
An essay in RAND Review describes a wargame whose participants are all young women, part of a nationwide movement to bring some diversity to the male-dominated field of national security.
The U.S. Transportation Command has announced a massive test of the sealift fleet's readiness, as Bradley Martin and Roland Yardley recommended in Approaches to Strategic Sealift Readiness. The authors' research called into question how TRANSCOM had been testing the effectiveness of "turbo activation"—giving semi-dormant cargo vessels with skeleton crews five days to prepare to go out to sea. The authors recommended that the "turbo activation" practice be revised to regular activation of multiple units for multiple days underway to align with missions. The test involving 28 ships is the largest exercise of its kind, according to Defense News. A TRANSCOM statement to Inside Defense says the test was "informed" by the study but not "driven" by it.
The Federal News Network published an article focusing on the $30 billion in potential savings from enrolling more security clearance holders in continuous evaluation. The outlet also aired an interview with David Luckey, who co-authored the Assessing Continuous Evaluation Approaches for Insider Threat with David Stebbins, Rebeca Orrie, Erin Rebhan, Sunny D. Bhatt, and Sina Beaghley.
Sina Beaghley, Associate Director of NSRD's Cyber and Intelligence Policy Center, appeared on a Women in National Security podcast for the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to discuss characteristics of the national security workforce and challenges facing it, as well as needed security clearance reform. Beaghley's expertise is based on more than a decade of service in the federal government developing and implementing national security policies before she joined RAND.
The question of whether civilization is on the verge of collapse may be as old as civilization itself. RAND defense researcher Jonathan Wong participates in a panel on the collapse of civilizations during a Zócalo/Getty event before an overflow crowd at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.