• There is a debate in the United States over the effectiveness — and cost to civilians — of the U.S. intensifying UAV war over Pakistan; Taliban tactician tells the New York Times that of all the elements of the U.S. war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the only effective weapons are the UAVs

  • Listening in

    Last week Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri entered a plea deal in Illinois in which he admitted to entering the United States on 10 September 2001 in order to form a sleeper cell for future terrorist activities; plea details Al-Qaeda’s communication methods

  • Trend

    The security situation in Iraq improved in 2008, but outside Iraq there were more terrorist incidents and more fatalities as a result of these incidents; Pakistan is rapidly being engulfed by terror: in 2007 there were 890 incidents which killed 1,340 people; in 2008, 1,839 incidents which killed 2,293 people

  • The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) will help the U.S. Navy counter growing “asymmetric” threats like coastal mines, quiet diesel submarines, global piracy, and terrorists on small fast attack boats; two teams — one led by General Dynamics, the other by Lockheed Martin — compete for a contract that could be worth more than $30 billion when all is said and done

  • After 9/11, many law enforcement and intelligence agencies turned their attention to the fight against terrorism; a new report from CRS says that evolving organized crime threatens U.S. national security and the economy as it grows increasingly transnational

  • Chertoff: “The natural ingredients of a biological threat are not difficult to come by, and it’s just a question of the know-how in terms of fabricating them to make a weapon”

  • Auditors visited 22 of 66 naval installations last year and found only one base that adhered to the Navy directive requiring an antiterrorism plan

  • Pakistan watch

    Brown, calling the area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border “breeding ground for terrorism,” unveils new strategy to enhance security there

  • Pakistan watch

    Petraeus says Pakistan should get over its fixation on India as enemy No. 1, and recognize instead the growing danger to Pakistan’s existence from home-grown Islamic extremists

  • High-seas piracy

    A new weapon against pirates my be in the offing: the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System combines the features of helicopters, drones, and snipers

  • Taliban in Pakistan’s northwest territories and Afghanistan renew their campaign against vaccination of children against polio; clerics describe vaccination as “Western plot”; Taliban fighters have attacked vaccination teams in Pakistan’s Swat valley; Islamic clerics in northern Nigeria have embarked on similar campaign

  • In London, the business capital of the world’s maritime industry, firms shape decisions on arming ships and negotiating with pirates

  • A state of emergency declared at Ben-Gurion Airport after Delta Airlines airplane headed to Israel failed to contact control tower due to technical problem

  • Insurgents and terrorists fight from within civilian structures, making it difficult for soldiers and first responders to respond without injuring many civilians; DARPA wants a solution which would allow soldiers to look through concrete walls and give them a detailed picture of a building’s interior — right down to the fixtures

  • The United States uses bases inside Pakistan from which to launch UAV attacks not only against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets, but also against Pakistani opponents of the Islamabad government; the United States no longer informs the Pakistani authorities about such attacks in advance (the U.S. military found that there are so many Taliban and al-Qaeda sympathizers in the Pakistani security establishment — especially in the ISI, the country’s intelligent service — that any information given to the Pakistanis immediately found its way to the intended targets); Pakistanis now demand intelligence, UAVs, and missiles, claiming they can fight the terrorists on their territory

  • The U.K. government will train pro-West Islamic groups to game Google searches in order to fight the influence of radicals; search engine optimization techniques will make moderate Islamic groups come up first in Google searches

  • On Monday, a new EU regulation went into effect mandating that ISPs store details of user e-mails and Internet calls; a Home Office site contained a link for citizens who felt the measure was too intrusive, and who would want to send the Home Office a complaint about it; trouble is, those who clicked on the link were sent to a Japanese porno site

  • SWAT teams, special forces units, and first responders often are called upon to storm buildings in which terrorists hide; would it not be better if these units had up-to-date, accurate pictures of the insides of the structures they are about to storm? DARPA thinks it is a good idea

  • Israel used “dozens of aircraft” to destroy an Iranian arms convoy in Sudan in late January; UAVs were used for BDA (bomb damage assessment); sources: there was another Israeli attack in Sudan, in early February, and an attack on a ship in the Gulf of Aden

  • Insight into the news // Ben Frankel

    Israeli aircraft, with U.S. logistical and intelligence support, attack and destroy an Iranian arms convoy in Sudan; arms were part of an effort by Iran to resupply Hamas’s forces in Gaza