America’s Military Weakness?

Regular readers will know that I believe that the global debt picture makes conflict — proxy or direct — between America (the world’s great debtor) and its creditors highly likely in the next century. Already America and Eurasia are engaged in media, cyber, and information warfare. Recent Iranian threats to close the Straits of Hormuz — an arterial shipping channel — could give America and Israel an excuse to directly engage the Iranian state.

Alas, it seems America has a chink in her armour, one demonstrated perfectly by Iran’s retrieval of an intact American spy drone. That drone didn’t crash: its intact appearance suggests one thing — that it was landed.

How could that be possible?

From VeteransToday:


The national insecurity stakes just went up once again.

Being in the armed forces of any country, at any time, has always been a hazardous occupation.

But thanks to the gross incompetence, malfeasance and short sightedness of our current and former elected officials it just became much, much, deadlier to be a US Serviceman.

“Surprise, Surprise, Surprise”,  to quote Gomer Pyle. The secret spy mission to create photographic proof of Iranian nuclear intentions has gone horribly wrong.

China is the country of origin for many, many of the semiconductors used by the US Military. It was most likely that China provided the hardware with the secret backdoor that allowed the Iranians to seize control of the Stealth drone while the drone was on a secret CIA mission over Iran.

Working together, they captured a state of the art US Military stealth aircraft.

What this means to all US Military personnel serving anywhere in the world? It means that control of any electronics system in any type of platform, can be seized and used against the military that launched it.

So what can America do about such security holes?

No electronics system within any platform is safe as long as there is any non-domestic electronics content.

Components from China are OK for a flat-screen TV, but not for critical weapons systems. Chinese components simply cannot be trusted.

Every system down to the component level must be recalled.

Any and all suspect components must be replaced, immediately before we actually place our fighting men and women in harm’s way with compromised systems.

As a country we need certain strategic industries. In this computer age, we need a strong and vibrate semiconductor industry we cannot safely or prudently outsource this to China.

In the interim, the Pentagon should stand down all weapons systems activated since 1998, and re-activate the older, but trustworthy systems.

If this is true, there can be no war against Iran or Syria in the near future.

Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China will be free to stampede over American interests in Eurasia.

20 thoughts on “America’s Military Weakness?

  1. Like, wow dude!

    If that’s the case, then it serves them right. I mean, what’s the point of having an industrial-military complex if you outsource critical components to your main rival?!! WTF?!!

    Better to find out now, I suppose, rather than later….

    Still…WTF?

    • Well it hasn’t been confirmed, and when this was first suggested to me I was extremely sceptical, having read tonnes of Rumsfeld and Cheney, and noted how paranoid they were about exactly these scenarios. But how else did that spy plane end up intact in Iran’s possession? It doesn’t look like it was shot down, and it doesn’t look like it malfunctioned and crashed. It seems like nothing escaped the cult of “comparative advantage” and outsourcing.

      • Aziz,

        You forgot to consider it landed in a giant foam beach party, held by the Uber Iran ilite, and managed to bounce off the blowup dolls of the Likud Party.

        Possible.

        But yet again I would not be entirely surprised if the USA landed it, in order for the machine to be tracked. They probably figure the Iranians are so stupid, and will take it to an area where their top minds work (Nuclear facilities) and carpet bomb the entire area. Imean their best and brightest would not drive too far to work each day.

      • Comparative advantage and outsourcing are sound economic principles, but when did that override security principles? Priorities, Al, priorities!!

        • When looking at comparative advantage, I think we have to be very careful. Its benefits are one-dimensional and monetary. But there are many other effects (such as, in this example, weakened national security). This is why when we look at economic systems, we must always tailor our analysis to consider systemic fragility/ robustness/ antifragility.

      • The guy in the article seemed to know what he was talking about. Highly plausible. It reminds me of when the Soviets built bugs into the then new US embassy. Stupidity knows no bounds!

  2. A backdoor is a real possibility. China is upping its hacking (as noted here http://wp.me/p1Tl8l-4c) and using it to strike at American interests around the world, partly in response to US moves to constrain China.
    I completely agree that war is looming. It will probably not be a straight US-China fight, but most likely a proxy conflict in Asia or Europe. Hacking and other non-conventional forms of war will be central to this, as Russia and China know – hence their keen interest and experience in the field

    • I find it very odd and frustrating that America has spent a lot of time and effort on authoritarian (and in my opinion, ineffective and counter-productive) “national security” initiatives like the Patriot Act and the recent NDAA, but has completely ignored areas where there is a real threat to America’s national interest, e.g. military component sourcing, cyber-attacks on corporate servers.

      I think looking back from the start of the 22nd Century it will be painfully obvious that the real threat to America was not bin Laden’s ragtag gang of disgruntled Islamists, nor Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, nor was it the Montana militia. It was America not controlling her supply chains, her dependence on foreign energy, and her thinly-spread global military commitments.

  3. I use Kasperky Internet Virus Software, as it is the best, but now I think, what if this was rolled out to Government and Corporate departments. What a security breach!

  4. When I was working in the US Senate dealing with the headache that was steel import licensing (i.e. stopping China dumping badly made steel on the US) there were a lot of crazy arguments about why America needed to protect her supply chains. “Listen, dumbass, China is no way going to do anything bad to us. By outsourcing our steel production to them we get to save a ton of money and concentrate on the real value-add parts of our economy.”
    All sounds completely valid still, wouldn’t you agree?

    • I’m not sure the West really understands how big an event China’s imperial breakdown was to the Chinese psyche, and particularly to the inner circles of Chinese elites in the CPC. It makes ending Anglo-American hegemony a very high priority for some elements in the CPC. Of course, as connoisseurs of Confucius and Sun Tzu (as well as Lenin — “we’ll hang the capitalists with the rope we will sell them”) their strategy has always been to avoid direct conflict and subtly gain advantage through indirect, and particularly economic means. American outsourcing was a gift to them. The West was prepared to lay down and hand over its means of production to the Chinese so that our kids could all become singers, financial “engineers” and graphic designers.

      The single thing Marxists got right above all else was that whoever controlled the means of production controlled society. If a situation where capital controls the means of production is called capitalism, surely this system is Chinaism?

      • Surely the USA leadership understands Sun Tsu philosophy?

        They are either very clever, with some end game in site, or completely out of touch.

        • I think Sam’s point was that much of the US leadership, particularly in the legislative branch was completely in denial about this issue.

          As for the US military leadership, I think they do understand, and I think they are appalled at the American political leadership. Anyone wonder why Ron Paul gets the most donations from active US military?

    • One thing I have learned is that the Idiots who can speak and network and ladder climb by social skill, are not too bright with details. Politicians are the same as Upper Management.

      Reminds me about the time I uncovered the F Up that was a result of outsourcing to India. 3-4 people lost their jobs, and they hand balled it to the Indians, who performed the role by rote learning. Problem was the idiot manager who outsourced did not understand Australian mortgage securities law and forgot to train them to register the securities.

      Because I read too many renegade sites, I warned them that if a recession occurred, which was a possibility, the Finance company is in deep trouble. I was dismissed as a worry wart.

      When the GFC hit, the Finance company had to be saved by the parent bank. 150 years of history down the drain.

  5. As an IT person I’m 99.9% sure that what that journalist wrote is just bullshit and if there was a weakness it was most likely a security issue in the software running on top of the hardware. Also, I read some time ago that the drones didn’t even bother to encrypt the video they were capturing and sending to the troops (they found the bad guys had hours of video captured by the drones).

    • PS: To be thorough, in the very remote possibility that some piece of hardware was involved, again, I’m 99.99% sure that it would have been something related to the nature of how that piece of hardware works and how it could be abused – which has nothing to do with the fact that it was fabricated in China or elsewhere.

      And all this, again, considering that it was indeed hacked – this is not a sure thing (though the probability for this is considerably higher).

  6. Pingback: The New Cold War « azizonomics

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