Archive for February 7, 2014

HOMELAND SECURITY: New DHS Chief Cites Syria, “Lone Wolf” Terror Threats

New Boss, New Threats

WASHINGTON – The new head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says foreign jihadists streaming into war-torn Syria and self-radicalized “lone wolf” terrorists in the United States have become a top concern for him.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson (DHS photo)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson
(DHS photo)

DHS Secretary Jeh (PRONOUNCED Jay) Johnson said the department has become “very focused” on foreign fighters heading to Syria, where foreign Islamists have radicalized and complicated the three-year civil war with the Bashar al-Assad regime. The DHS concern is what these fighters will do when they return to their home countries or travel elsewhere, indoctrinated with a violent Islamist mission.

Johnson told a Washington think tank audience Friday (February 7) that Syria was a constant topic of discussion at a recent meeting he attended with European security officials in Poland. “Syria has become a matter of homeland security,” he told the Woodrow Wilson Center in his first major public address since taking charge of the nation’s third largest cabinet-level department in December.

He added that the terrorist threat “is increasingly decentralized” as al Qaeda’s leadership has been killed, captured or driven farther into hiding. But “the threat has evolved” has evolved into al Qaeda offshoots like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa’s al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Johnson, former Pentagon general counsel under Defense Secretaries Robert Gates ands Leon Panetta, said another major concern to U.S. security officials is the so-called “lone wolf,” a home-grown self-radicalized terrorist behind incidents like the Fort Hood shootings and the Boston Marathon bombing. “They may be the hardest to detect,” Johnson said of home grown terrorists, because they have little – if any – connection to international terror groups and may done nothing to drawn the attention of the FBI or local police. “It is the thing I worry about the most,” Johnson said.

February 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 7, 2014)

Way Up North

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith)

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith)

Over the last decade of war, we’ve gotten used to photos of troops launching an unmanned aircraft in the deserts of the Middle East or the arid landscape of Afghanistan. But here’s one being readied for launch in snowy Alaska.

These paratroopers –from Bravo Company, 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division — are preparing this RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for launch at Forward Operating Base Sparta on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.

The Shadow, manufactured by AAI Corp. of Hunt Valley, Maryland, can detect ground level temperature variations and can visually survey large stretches of territory, providing commanders with valuable battlefield information.

The troopers from Bravo Company were joined by soldiers assigned to the 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team for a nine-day field training exercise almost 400 miles from their base at Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks, Alaska.

To see a photo slide show of this exercise, including closer views of the Shadows, click here.



February 7, 2014 at 1:31 am 1 comment


February 2014


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