Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Pentagon

Feb.
20th

Get tough on Ugly Gorilla and other Chinese hackers

21ehackersThis editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

If you can’t innovate, steal.

That’s likely the rationale behind years of Chinese cyberattacks against U.S. companies in such fields as aerospace, satellite and telecommunications, information technology and scientific research.

A private U.S. technology security firm, Mandiant Corp., announced earlier this week that it has linked a massive cyberattack campaign to the Chinese military (China steadfastly denies any role). Mandiant says that 141 companies and governmental agencies were targeted, 115 of them in the United States, by such entertainingly named hackers as Ugly Gorilla, Dota and SuperHard.

All of the hackers seem to operate out of one place – a Shanghai office building operated by the People’s Liberation Army cyber-command unit. Among the unnamed companies whose security has been breached are military contractors and ones with responsibility for parts of the U.S. power grid, water supply, and oil and gas pipelines.
Read more »

Dec.
27th

Norm Dicks: Embodiment of a better Congress


Congressman Norm Dicks

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

To understand what Washington will lose when Norm Dicks leaves Congress five days from now, you have to meet the man.

He comes across as a latter-day Teddy Roosevelt: beefy and bombastic; exuberant, gregarious and dominating; funny, friendly and full of stories. Though he talks nonstop, he’s no bore: The ideas just come too fast.

After about 10 minutes, you realize Dicks is not merely a consummate politician, but also a man of rare intelligence and insatiable curiosity. Once he’s on one of his favorite subjects – stealth aircraft, for example, or Puget Sound cleanup – you start to wonder if anyone else knows as much as this guy.

At 72, he still looks and talks like an irrepressible ex-Husky linebacker, which he is. On the issues he follows, he’s also a formidable intellectual with a dazzling grasp of technical detail and broad context.

Many of the tributes now being paid to Dicks amount to inventories of the projects and funding he brought home to Washington and the 6th Congressional District during his 36 years in office.

None of those lists is complete, though, because he’s done so much. Here is a sampling: Read more »

Aug.
5th

Military can catalog World War I bombs but not medals?

This editorial, which will appear in Monday’s print edition, is an expanded version of an earlier blog posting.

For the last six years, Lt. Col. Jenns Robertson has been compiling a database listing every bomb the Air Force has dropped since World War I.

Sounds like a monumental mission, right? For World War II alone, he had to scan an estimated 10,000 pages of bombing reports.

Yet the Pentagon has long said that it would be too hard for it to compile another database – one listing medals given to service members. Such an online database would allow the media and individuals to verify claims many people falsely make regarding decorations they supposedly received.
Read more »

Aug.
1st

Pentagon inches into a Stolen Valor database

On the io9.com website I learned that the Air Force is compiling a database listing every bomb its planes have dropped since World War I. Sounds like a monumental mission, right?

Yet the Pentagon has long said that it would be too hard for it to compile a database listing medals given to service members – something that could be checked to verify claims all too many people falsely make.

I always thought that argument a little specious. So I was glad to learn that the Pentagon is backtracking and is, indeed, setting up a medal database. It’s taking

Read more »

Jan.
9th

State stands to weather storm of defense cutbacks

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The Obama administration’s plan to trim the defense budget by $487 billion over the next decade – about 8 percent – has some critics saying it cuts too deeply and others saying it doesn’t cut enough.

But hardly anyone is disputing that Washington state’s military facilities are as well poised as any to weather the cutbacks in the new age of austerity – and perhaps even benefit from them.

That’s because as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the Pentagon’s focus is shifting to threats along the Pacific Rim. For operations in that region, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the state’s naval bases in Everett and on the Kitsap Peninsula have a geographical advantage over just about any other state’s military installations. Read more »

June
29th

U.S. defense budget needs Gates-style scrutiny


Robert Gates

This editorial appears in Wednesday’s print edition.

The Cold War ended in 1980s after leaders of the Soviet Union realized they weren’t buying more security with unsustainable military spending – just more antagonism abroad and poverty at home.

The United States isn’t in the same hole, but a growing number of defense advocates – people who genuinely care about the nation’s military strength – are recognizing that something’s got to give.

Foremost among them is Robert Gates, who’s stepping down this week as secretary of defense. Serving under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Gates has skillfully outmaneuvered Pentagon power blocs to kill or curb immensely expensive weapons programs – the F-22 Raptor, example – designed to fight large conventional wars.
Read more »