Hackers attacked a US health agency's computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY TRENDING

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

As the US ramps up its response to the spread of COVID-19, the Health and Human Services Department was hit with a cyberattack, according to a new report from Bloomberg.


The cyberattack reportedly aimed to slow down HHS computer systems Sunday night, but was unsuccessful in doing so. The attack attempted to flood HHS servers with millions of requests over the course of several hours.

An HHS spokesperson confirmed in a statement to Business Insider that it is investigating a “significant increase in activity” on its cyber infrastructure Sunday night, adding that its systems have remained fully operational.

“HHS has an IT infrastructure with risk-based security controls continuously monitored in order to detect and address cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities,” HHS spokesperson Caitlin Oakley told Business Insider. “Early on while preparing and responding to COVID-19, HHS put extra protections in place. We are coordinating with federal law enforcement and remain vigilant and focused on ensuring the integrity of our IT infrastructure.”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said during a White House press briefing Monday afternoon that HHS did not yet know the source of the cyber attack.

“The source of this enhanced activity remains under investigation so I wouldn’t want to speculate on the source of it,” Azar said. “But there was no data breach and no degradation of our function to be able to serve our core mission.”

Following the attempted intrusion, federal officials reportedly became aware that false information was being circulated. The false-information campaigns were related to the hack, but no data was reportedly stolen from HHS systems.

The National Security Council tweeted Sunday night that there were false rumors circulating about a national quarantine, calling the rumors “FAKE.”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

One year and one week later: where military families stand following the housing crisis

As military spouses, we are all too familiar with the phrase “hurry up and wait.” When it comes to the health and safety of our families in our homes, enough is enough.


When we heard from our network that families were struggling with the safety and deterioration of their military homes, we mobilized the Military Family Advisory Network’s research process so that we could learn more. Our goal was simple: understand what is happening through scientific data. Good data can be powerful and hard to ignore.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

We created a survey that allowed us to take a deep dive into the issue, and we shared what we learned with the Department of Defense, Congress, and the general public. We made sure our data was actionable, because our priority is shortening the time between the identification of an issue and the deployment of a solution.

Sadly, it has been one year and one week since we released findings from our Privatized Military Housing Survey, and families are still struggling. It should not have taken a survey with nearly 17,000 military families sharing their experiences with us – many of which were severe – to drive change. The entire country heard about what was happening in military housing in the nightly news, in the paper, and on social media. Despite the overwhelming number of heartbreaking stories, the brave testimonies from military spouses, the news coverage, and the compelling data, families are still struggling.

Based on what we hear, we believe that those who are entrusted with fixing this issue are on the right path, but we also know that there is a long way to go. We understand that for the military families who have spent months in temporary housing or hotels, who have thrown away thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture due to water damage, have lived with pests, and worst of all, who are struggled with the health-implications that can be associated with mold or lead, actions speak louder than words. We understand that the trust between military families and housing offices (and those charged with oversight) continues to erode as families wait for a Tenant Bill of Rights and increased accountability.

We commit to keeping the pressure up and continuing to learn from families who share their experiences with us, and we commit to doing so in collaboration with everyone who has a vested interest in supporting our community. That is why MFAN created the Military Housing Roundtable. During our first meeting, we took a step back to answer a few key questions: What is happening that is causing families to choose to live in military housing? Do military families have other safe and affordable options? Or, do they feel stuck? Based on these questions, here’s what we know:

We need to bring together public and private agencies to ensure that military families have a central hub where they can get the information they need.

We need to explore what is happening in housing and rental markets near installations.

We need to educate families on the Service Member Civil Relief act, so they know their rights when they are signing a lease or need to move.

We need to teach families the dangers of mold and lead, show them where to look, how to safely navigate these hazards, and where to turn for help if they discover them in their homes.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Most importantly, we need to elevate the voices of military families, because as the last year has shown us, their experiences matter. MFAN is proud to have provided the microphone for these families through our research. We are honored to be able to create collaborative solutions with Roundtable attendees – which included nonprofits, military and veteran service organizations, subject matter experts on environmental risks, the Department of Defense, the military services, and businesses with a mission of supporting military families.

We are committed to rallying together to fix this because we all know one thing for certain: military families deserve a safe place to live, raise their families, and call home.

MIGHTY TRENDING

How North Korea announced the Trump-Kim summit to its people

North Korea broke its silence March 21, 2018, on its surprise peace overtures, including a tentative summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, while denying that U.S. pressure led to the breakthrough.


The Korean Central News Agency, a North Korean propaganda outlet, said the sudden conciliatory moves were an “expression of self-confidence” by a regime that already “has acquired everything it desires,” a possible reference to the buildup of its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals.

Also read: War with North Korea will either be all out or not at all

Without directly referring to the Trump-Kim summit, KCNA noted the recent “great change in the north-south relations,” as well as a “sign of change also in the DPRK [North Korea]-U.S. relations.”

KCNA denied that the openings came about “as a result of sanctions and pressure.”

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response
President Donald Trump. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Charges that the “maximum pressure” campaign of the U.S. led to the potential for dialogue were “just as meaningless as a dog barking at the moon,” KCNA said.

North Korea had been silent on the proposed Trump-Kim summit since Trump agreed to the talks on March 8, 2018.

Related: Trump hints at breaking with generals on Iran

The North Korean statement came amid reports that the annual Foal Eagle military exercises in South Korea could be cut short to avoid coinciding with the tentative Trump-Kim summit at the end of May 2018.

South Korean media reported March 21, 2018, that the exercises could run for just a month, rather than the traditional two, in what may be an effort cut a wide berth around the proposed dialogue.

MIGHTY TACTICAL

The Taliban have special forces and the tech to match it

In January 2018, an Afghan National Army position near Kunduz was assaulted and knocked out during a precision night raid. The attackers were using laser targeting systems and wearing night vision. The attack came from a special Taliban fighter unit called “The Red Unit,” a team of insurgents carrying American weapons and technology, attacking the police in Kunduz in daring night raids. By 2018, The Red Unit had wiped out several police posts around Kunduz.


Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

This isn’t your grandaddy’s Mujahideen. Probably.

Raids in Kunduz saw The Red Unit killing the defenders of police outposts, occupying the fortifications while they looted it for food and weapons, destroying whatever vehicles and weapons they couldn’t take, and then leaving the scene – without taking any casualties themselves.

The special insurgent forces carry M4 rifles and Russian-made night vision, along with laser targeting systems on their rifles. The only difference is they’re also sporting traditional garb and wearing head scarfs around their faces. Rumor has it they go into combat riding in a Ford truck or armored humvee. They make these quick strikes on outposts in order to avoid air strikes.

No one knows where they’re getting this advanced gear.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

How do drones never catch these video shoots mid-production?

“Night-vision equipment is used in ambushes by the insurgents, and it is very effective,” said Maj. Gen. Dawlat Waziri, the spokesman for the Defense Ministry told the New York Times. “You can see your enemy, but they cannot see you coming.”

Videos released by the Taliban depict their fighters training with even more advanced American weapons technology, including the FN SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) 7.62mm rifle, AN/PEQ 5 visible lasers, and more. The SCAR is only used by the U.S. Special Operations Command, so seeing a Taliban insurgent carrying one came as a surprise to those in the know.

MIGHTY HISTORY

The original ‘Memphis Belle’ is now restored and on display

The Memphis Belle has received a lot of attention over the years. In 1944, this Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber was the subject of a documentary, entitled Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, that followed an aircrew as they completed their 25th and final mission. Today, we now know that the Memphis Belle was actually the second choice for that documentary — the first was shot down in battle.

Nonetheless, the Memphis Belle was thrust into notoriety and had a place in the public eye. Then, in 1990, that documentary was dramatized and turned into a film, titled Memphis Belle, starring Harry Connick Jr.

Now, you can see the famous bomber itself at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. The bomber’s display was formally opened on May 17, 2018, which marked the 75th anniversary of the plane’s 25th mission. But this B-17 bomber endured a long journey before finally arriving at the museum.


Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

The Memphis Belle being restored at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. In the background is Swoose, another historic B-17.

(USAF)

According to an Air Force release, restoring the bomber has taken over 55,000 man-hours since 2005. She was saved from the scrapyard by the city of Memphis for a grand total of 0 in 1945. After that, the plane spent most of her days stored outside, left exposed to the elements, as she awaited proper preservation. In 2004, the Air Force reclaimed the bomber.

Still, 55,000 hours is a long restoration period — what took so long? Well, the experts weren’t interested in plastering on a pretty paint job and calling it done. Instead, they wanted this iconic plane to look exactly as it did when she flew that famous 25th mission. That was no easy task. One of the hardest parts was finding authentic parts for the plane, or at least period-accurate parts.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

The Memphis Belle as she appeared during World War II.

(USAF)

The Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress, was able to carry as many as 17,600 pounds’ worth of bombs and was equipped with as many as 13 M2 .50-caliber machine guns as well as a single .30-caliber machine gun. It had a crew of ten, a top speed of 325 miles per hour, and a maximum range of 4,420 miles.

Of the over 3,400 B-17Fs built, only three survive today — the Memphis Belle is one of those.

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘The Mandalorian’ episode 6 recap: Mando makes bad choices

Is anyone else feeling some anxiety with regards to our Mandalorian’s decision-making? This week, he brings the Yoda Baby on a reckless adventure with very shady sidekicks. It’s just very irresponsible parenting, to be honest.

But hey, more fun guest stars.

Here’s your spoiler warning.


Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

The Mandalorian, Disney+

Chapter six of The Mandalorian is called “The Prisoner” because Mando (I’m still struggling with this nickname…is every Mandalorian called “Mando”?) our Mandalorian accepts a job from Space Santa, officially known as Ranzar Malk (played by Patriot’s Mark Boone Junior), to release a prisoner from a New Republic prison ship.

We’re not really given a backstory into why he chose to go meet up with this dude from his past but it’s immediately clear that he walked into a hostile environment.

Usually in an ensemble heist situation, we’re introduced to a ragtag crew of lovable characters with specific skills, but here it’s just a list of annoying enemies.

There’s Mayfeld (played by Bill Burr), who will be running point on the operation because Space Santa is retired. Then there’s a Twi’lek named Xi’an (played by Game of Thrones’ Natalia Tena), who likes to do a full-body hiss and play with her knives, which I can appreciate. There’s the droid Zero (played by Apple Onion’s Richard Ayoade), who is a droid so our Mandalorian already dislikes him for reasons that haven’t been explained yet. And then there’s Burg (Clone Wars’ Clancy Brown), who Mayfeld immediately insults for his looks.

(Also, why do guys do this to their friends? I’m genuinely asking. Why do you guys insult each other all the time? I can’t imagine introducing my girlfriends and being like, “This is Sally, she’s our DD tonight, and that ugly slut is Jane, who has promised to buy the first round…”)

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

It’s like Guardians of the Galaxy meets Suicide Squad.

The Mandalorian, Disney+

So…when our Mandalorian accepted Space Santa’s job, he was under the impression that his Razor Crest wouldn’t be part of the deal. In other words, his plan was to — again — just leave the Yoda Baby alone on the ship and then fly off to some illegal and dangerous mission?

Instead, he’s surprised when all these greedy criminals, one of whom already bears a grudge (Xi’an, who also maybe used to have a sexual history) board his ship and fly it and the Yoda Baby into harm’s way.

And, like, literally the only thing keeping the baby hidden was a button? Which Burg immediately pushes during a skirmish where he tried to take off Mando’s helmet.

The only good thing about all this was Bill Burr’s reaction:

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

“What is that? Did you guys make that thing? Is it like a pet?”

The Mandalorian, Disney+

Just like in previous episodes, the Yoda Baby’s race is rare — none of these scoundrels recognize him or register his significance other than sensing he’s important to Mando. The Yoda Baby is then dropped again when the Razor Crest is yanked out of hyperspace and docked on the prison ship.

This kid is going to need a therapist, I swear.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

The Mandalorian, Disney+

The distraction is enough to move the crew into the bulk of the episode. They board the prison ship, which is supposed to be manned by droids only. Our Mandalorian proves himself by taking out the first wave of them. Within the control room, however, they discover a young New Republic prison ward.

Unfortunately for this kid, he becomes collateral damage (RIP Matt Lanter), but not before activating a New Republic distress call. Now we’ve got a ticking clock, spurring the group into action.

They find their prisoner, another Twi’Lek named Qin (played by Berlin Station’s Ismael Cruz Cordova), who is Xi’an’s brother — stranded there by Mando. The crew rescue Qin and shove Mando into his cell, which actually made things interesting.

Would the crew take off with the Yoda Baby in the Razor Crest, leaving Mando locked in a New Republic prison? Potentially forcing him to team up with them as he builds toward the season finale?

Oh. No. He busts out in two seconds. He busts out so quickly that he’s able to also track down and imprison each of the other crew members before they were able to reach the ship?

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Holy crap, he’s so cute.

The Mandalorian, Disney+

Speaking of which, back on the Razor Crest, Zero has learned that the Yoda Baby is an expensive asset and sets off to hunt him. Right before he’s able to shoot the child, the Yoda Baby readies his adorable little Force powers and BOOM the droid drops.

Cute moment when the Yoda Baby thinks he did it, only to reveal that Mando is standing behind the droid, having just shot him.

This leaves Qin, who tells Mando he’ll go clean and urges the bounty hunter to just do his job and deliver the bounty.

I was kind of hoping to see the Twi’Lek in carbonite but apparently it wasn’t necessary.

Mando delivers Qin to Space Santa, who abides by the “no questions asked” policy with regards to the missing crew, and takes off.

As he leaves, Space Santa orders an attack ship to kill him…

…but in a fun twist, Qin discovers the New Republic distress beacon on his person right before an echelon of X-Wings drop out of hyperspace and destroy the ship.

https://twitter.com/sithmando/statuses/1205413491269656576
baby yoda was shook #TheMandalorianpic.twitter.com/qZ0CWBXdYS

twitter.com

With two episodes left, I still have no idea where this show is going. It’s a fun ride but I’d love to see some more mystery and back story. What do you think?

Reminder, Chapter 7 will air on Wednesday, December 18, because Rise of Skywalker will open on December 19 and people will be busy all weekend watching that.

See you then.

#TheMandalorian Chapter 6 spoilers without context. #StarWarspic.twitter.com/rTti3gpvBe

twitter.com

MIGHTY CULTURE

The Space Medal of Honor is the highest award for astronauts

On Oct. 1, 1978, President Jimmy Carter wrapped the Space Medal of Honor around the neck of Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon. It was the first-ever of such medals awarded, even though the medal was authorized by Congress in 1969 — the year Armstrong actually landed on the moon.

Better late than never.


Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Astronaut Neil Armstrong received the first Congressional Space Medal of Honor from President Jimmy Carter, assisted by Captain Robert Peterson. Armstrong, one of six astronauts to be presented the medal, was awarded for his performance during the Gemini 8 mission and the Apollo 11 mission.

(NASA)

The list of men also receiving the Space Medal of Honor that day was a veritable “who’s who” of NASA and Space Race history: John Glenn, Alan Shepard, and — posthumously — Virgil “Gus” Grissom. They received the medal from the President of the United States, in the name of Congress, and on the recommendation of the NASA administrator.

Today, as the list of Space Medal of Honor recipients grows, it continues to have such esteemed names joining their ranks, as earning it requires an extraordinary feat of heroism or some other accomplishment in the name of space flight while under NASA’s administration. Just going to the moon doesn’t cut it anymore — Buzz Aldrin still does not have one.

Read: Watch Buzz Aldrin punch a moon landing denier in the face

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

President Clinton presented the Congressional Space Medal of Honor to Captain James Lovell for his command of the nearly disastrous Apollo 13 mission. Actor Tom Hanks portrayed Lovell in the movie Apollo 13 the same year he received the medal.

(Clinton Presidential Library)

Recipients can also receive the award for conducting scientific research or experiments that benefit all of mankind in the course of their duties. In practice, however, most of the recipients of the Space Medal of Honor died in the course of their duties. The crew of the ill-fated Challenger disaster who died during liftoff and the crew of the Columbia shuttle, who died during reentry are all recipients. To date, only 28 astronauts have earned the Space Medal of Honor, and 17 of those were awarded it posthumously.

Though the award is a civilian award, it is allowed for wear on military uniforms, but the ribbon comes after all other decorations of the U.S. Armed Forces.

MIGHTY CULTURE

Borne the Battle: Marine veteran Todd Boeding, Carry the Load

On this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Tanner Iskra interviews guest Todd Boeding, who shares his past, present and future as a Marine Corps veteran, as well as his involvement honoring veterans through Carry the Load.

Born and raised in Texas, Boeding was always known to take unorthodox paths in life. He dabbled in college, left for the Marine Corps seeking structure and discipline, and eventually returned to finish up his degree at The University of Texas at Dallas.


Since leaving the Marine Corps in 2003, Boeding discussed the hardest part of the transition back to civilian life: finding a sense of belonging. Boeding was able to find his purpose of being part of something bigger through Carry the Load.

September 11th Volunteer Opportunity with Carry The Load

www.youtube.com

Carry the Load offers opportunities to learn how to care again and to do it in a way that meaningfully impacts the families who lost their loved ones. Currently, Carry the Load is partnering with the National Cemetery Association on Sep. 11, 2019, to help maintain the dignity of cemeteries.

If you would like to learn more or want to help in this movement, click on this link: www.carrytheload.org/NCA.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY FIT

Try this veteran daily-deployment cycle to manage your life

The struggle is real brothers and sisters. You’ve been indoctrinated, but are now in the civilian world trying to figure out how to apply all of your skills, experiences, and structure to a seemingly impossibly chaotic world.

I wasn’t the best Marine, and I’ll be the first to admit that. I had long hair, I traveled on my own often, and I ignored most liberty restrictions. I told my E-dogs to stop saluting me, and I was constantly planning my next move after the Corps.

As far as I was concerned, I drank the least Kool-aid of anyone I knew.


Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

I’m in there somewhere plotting my next move.

(Courtesy of one of the citizens of MOUT town)

After nearly five years of service, I was out and grateful. Grateful for everything I learned in the military, but also grateful that I could finally become the person I thought I was meant to be. There was one problem, though…

I was paralyzed by fear. Fear of failure, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of wasting time, fear of being an imposter veteran/adult/man. Fear that all of a sudden, my safety net was gone, and I was actually on my own. I had been on the government’s teat for a decade–I signed my first paperwork when I was 17 and was given the opportunity to go to college before active duty started.

I had bought into the culture of the military more than I ever realized. I feared for my future, because I knew it would never resemble my past.

Sound familiar?

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Not me, but the point stands. The older you get, the more your body makes you pay for a night like this.

(Photo by Ben Konfrst on Unsplash)

From structure to nonsense to balance

My first move involved scheduling every waking moment of my day.

Mind you, I was living in Bali at this point with a nice nest egg saved, so the expectation was that I would chill and decompress.

That was not f*cking happening though. I was stressed and lost. So I scheduled when I would wake up, work out, surf–I even scheduled naps. I needed structure. I wound myself up tighter than I had ever been while on active duty.

I was stressed, with no “daddy” to tell me what to do.

Eventually, I came undone and decided to relive my early 20’s, the years I had “missed.” It turns out I cannot handle alcohol or late nights partying like I could when I was 18 (err, I mean 21).

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Hungover, happy, sad, or crying: I’m in there when it’s on the schedule.

(My phone and tripod)

That period didn’t last long. It was like a flash flood: it swept in, destroyed a lot, and was gone before I could ever move to higher ground.

Maybe that sounds familiar too?

Through the whole figuring-it-out phase, I had one practice that kept me sane and somewhat grounded: my training.

I never stopped training. I didn’t know what I was training for, I just knew I had to keep training.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Nothing better to teach the lessons of the world than a heavy barbell.

(Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash)

Training for life

It turns out I was training for the day-to-day enemy. I just didn’t know it.

While on active duty, I spent a fair amount of time in the Philippines “training” with the Filipino military. They have terrorists in their backyard literally, so it was interesting to watch how they operate with the fight so close to home.

One day they were sitting in a briefing with me talking theory and best practices. The next day they were two-ish islands away in the jungle, their backyard, engaged in a firefight with terrorists. They had to be at the ready at a moment’s notice.

This is not something that U.S. military personnel can relate to easily. We have big, grand deployments with all the bells and whistles, halfway around the world in countries we would never otherwise visit. The enemy is far removed from the homeland. There are no terrorists in Pennsylvania; we are not used to an enemy constantly at the gates, like our Filipino counterparts are.

They have to be ready every single day, at any time, for the very real threats that are so close to home.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

U.S. and Filipino forces training together in the Philippines. One of these guys is training, one is prepping for next week.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Courtney G. White)

Learning a daily cycle

So who are the enemies for us veterans?

With my military issued umbrella gone, I was opened up to a deluge of enemies in my own backyard. Even on a tropical paradise, I had to confront fears that never left my side. They come with me everywhere.

It takes an approach like that of the Filipino military to keep close-at-hand fears and inadequacies from crushing us into a debilitating depression.

The real world doesn’t give us a pre-deployment plan to prepare and train us to combat feelings of inadequacy. There is no doctrine written with step-by-step directions on how to troubleshoot imposter syndrome.

We are now like the gladiators of ancient Rome. We have to train for all possible contingencies and hope that our daily practices will allow us to walk out of the Colosseum of the day.

I keep my blade sharp, my rifle clean, and my mind clear through my daily practices. My training area is the gym. These tools have helped me find balance.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Small acts add up and keep us on track.

(Photo by Cyril Saulnier on Unsplash)

Creating momentum

Training in the gym is more than just training the body. It’s training the mind, resolve, patience, maturity, and composure.

Look at each day as a deployment cycle:

  • The mornings are work-ups
  • Going to work is the deployment
  • Training is downtime on deployment
  • The evenings are post-deployment leave

I’ll go into more detail about how veterans can optimize each of these steps in their daily lives in coming articles, so keep an eye out for “Veteran Daily Deployment Cycle Plug-In” posts.

In the meantime, take 2 minutes on this survey and help Michael and the other Mighty FIT writers create the content that you want to read. Thank you!

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response
MIGHTY TACTICAL

Navy says it’s finally ready to test railgun

The US Navy is planning to finally test the electromagnetic railgun it has spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars developing aboard a warship, according to new documents detailing the service’s testing and training plans.

Unlike conventional guns, a railgun uses electromagnetic energy rather than explosive charges to fire rounds farther and at six or seven times the speed of sound.

“The kinetic energy weapon (commonly referred to as the rail gun) will be tested aboard surface vessels, firing explosive and non-explosive projectiles at air- or sea-based targets,” the Navy’s 1,800-page Northwest Training and Testing Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Assessment revealed.


The Seattle Times, followed by Task Purpose, was the first to report the Navy’s latest testing plans and the possibility of a milestone achievement for the railgun program.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Electromagnetic Railgun located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

(U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams)

The Navy, which has spent more than a decade and at least 0 million trying to build a working railgun, was initially expected to conduct a sea test of this new weapon aboard the Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Trenton at Eglin Air Force Base’s maritime test range in the summer of 2016.

That test never took place. Instead, the Navy chose to continue testing the weapon on land. If the Navy’s new testing and training plans are approved, sea trials for the railgun could take place as early as next year. It’s unclear what type of test platform might be involved.

Should the Navy test its railgun at sea, it will be a major achievement for a program that has struggled for quite some time now. When asked about the program earlier this year, the best answer Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson could offer was: “It’s going somewhere, hopefully.”

The US is not the only country chasing this technology. Another clear competitor is China, which has already managed to arm a warship — the Type 072III Yuting-class tank-landing ship “Haiyang Shan” — with a railgun. The weapon is believed to have been put through some preliminary sea trials.

Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Photograph taken from a high-speed video camera during a record-setting firing of an electromagnetic railgun at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Va., on Jan. 31, 2008.

(U.S. Navy)

It is unclear how far along the Chinese railgun program is, but the competition is on. Chinese media proudly boasted in January that “China’s naval electromagnetic weapon and equipment have surpassed other countries and become a world leader.”

The railgun is a curious weapon, one that some naval affairs experts feel offers prestige to the innovator but little military advantage to the warfighter, no matter who gets their first.

“It’s not useful military technology,” Bryan Clark, an expert with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and former US Navy officer, previously told Business Insider, arguing that it is a poor replacement for a missile. “You are better off spending that money on missiles and vertical launch system cells than you are on a railgun.”

So far, the most impressive thing to come out of the US Navy’s railgun research is the hypervelocity projectile, which the Navy has tested using the Mk 45 five-inch deck guns that come standard on cruisers and destroyers.

The Army is also looking at the HVP for its 155 mm howitzers.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY HISTORY

Their first battle: George A. Custer charges into Manassas

Famous Maj. Gen. George A. Custer is probably best known for his exploits after the Civil War, but he graduated from West Point in June 1861, arriving in the regular Army just in time to lead cavalrymen in the First Battle of Bull Run that July. Yeah, Custer rode into combat the month after he graduated college.


Hackers attacked a US health agency’s computer system in an attempt to slow down its COVID-19 response

Cadet George A. Custer at West Point in 1859.

(Public domain)

The First Battle of Bull Run, or the First Battle of Manassas as it was known in the South, focused on the railroad intersection at Manassas. The railroads that intersected there were key to Washington’s ability to send troops and supplies south into Virginia in case of an invasion of the South. Both sides knew this and wanted to control the junction.

The South stationed an army there, but those men largely fell back when 30,000 Union troops assembled nearby in June 1861. Just weeks later, the field commander of the Union Army, Gen. Irvin McDowell, proposed using his 30,000 men to further drive back the Confederate defenders and then advance on Richmond. His goal was to capture the Virginia capital, recently selected as the second capital of the Confederacy.

While the Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard had fallen back when the Union troops showed up, they were obviously not willing to leave the capital undefended. They had to fight the Union at Manassas Junction.

Custer arrived in Washington D.C. on July 20, 1861, the day before the battle broke out. He had been held on West Point’s campus for disciplinary reasons right after he had graduated from the school as the 34th ranked student in a class of 34. Because of his late start after this detainment, he barely reached D.C. in time for the battle.

He reported to the Adjutant-General’s office and was told that he had been assigned as an officer in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. (This was an auspicious assignment. Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee had commanded the unit until January 1861.)

But after giving Custer his orders, the adjutant offered to introduce Custer to Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott. At the time, Scott was the Commanding General of the United States Army. Custer gave his assent, and Scott asked Custer if he would rather spend the following weeks training recruits or if he desired “something more active?”

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A Union artillery battery is overran at the First Battle of Bull Run.

(Sidney King, public domain via Good Free Photos)

Custer said he wanted more active work, and Scott ordered him to procure a horse and report back by 7 p.m. to carry dispatches to McDowell, the field commander. Custer did so, introduced himself to the general and his staff, and then reported to his regiment.

Because of West Point’s detaining him, Scott had managed to ingratiate himself with the Army’s top commander and its top field commander mere hours before its first engagement, a fight he would now ride in. It was a pretty great start for a bottom-of-his-class West Pointer.

But when the actual battle touched off, Custer was present and in the saddle, but did not see serious action. The Union commanders had seven cavalry troops on the field, but largely used them attached to infantry brigades where they would, at most, protect the infantry’s flanks or do a little reconnaissance.

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Custer, on the right, as a captain after he captured one of his West Point classmates.

(Library of Congress)

Still, he made himself present and provided warnings to commanders, leading to a citation in reports from the battle and impressing George C. McClellan. The battle went badly for the Union, and McDowell was removed from command. That might seem like a problem for the cavalry officer who had just impressed McDowell, but McDowell was replaced by McClellan.

As McClellan re-organized and re-trained the Union military, he kept an eye on Custer who was quickly impressing others, largely through brash actions. During the Peninsula Campaign, he saw a debate about whether it was safe to ford a river and ended the argument by riding into the middle of it and reporting that, yeah, he wasn’t dead. It was probably fine.

His bravado earned him fans, and his connections to top officers got him looked at for commands that a young officer likely wouldn’t have gotten looked at for. In fact, he rose so quickly that he received a brevet promotion to brigadier general of volunteers at the tender age of 23.

MIGHTY TRENDING

9 heartwarming, good news stories from 2017

Much of what the media report can seem negative or downright depressing.


That’s because two of the main objectives of journalists, especially those covering people in power, is to expose wrongdoing and shine a light on problems in society so they can be fixed.

But it’s also important to highlight the good that happens around the world — stories of triumph and courage, community and giving back.

This year was more divided than most, but Americans still came together to lift each other up. Here are nine heartwarming news stories from 2017:

9. Hurricane Harvey brings out the best in Americans.

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Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston, Texas to aid citizens in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD)

Amid the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in parts of Texas and Louisiana in August, many people came together to support the victims most in need.

Residents loaded up rowboats, pontoons, and fishing vessels to rescue survivors stranded on their roofs because the floodwaters in the Houston area were so high.

Miguel Juarez and others from the Texas Rio Grande Valley created a make-shift aid station, where people could pick through supplies like hygiene products and cereal. Juarez also set up a free water station at his truck.

One family near the Barker Reservoir in Houston escaped flooding on an air mattress. When journalists from the local news station ABC13 found them, they pulled them to safety aboard their vessel.

And grocery chain H-E-B, which is based in San Antonio, deployed a convoy of disaster-relief vehicles, including mobile kitchens and pharmacies, to Victoria, Texas. Grateful residents poured into the parking lot for a hot meal.

8. A Philadelphia man giving free haircuts to the homeless gets a free barbershop of his own — from a complete stranger.

In January, 29-year-old Philadelphia native Brennon Jones started a the charity “Haircuts 4 Homeless“, helping the homeless clean up so they could get jobs. His goodwill caught the attention of a Philly-area barber shop owner, who decided to donate a fully-furnished barbershop space for Jones to continue his work.


(Global Citizen | YouTube)”I decided what other way to help another brother out than to donate the shop,” Sean Johnson, the owner of Taper’s Barber Shop, told CBS Philly. “What he was doing down there, I was very impressed.”

Jones says it’s more than just a haircut. Cleaning up, and talking to a barber can boost morale and confidence, too.

“My very first haircut, his name is Braden,” he told CBS. “I cut his hair on 15th Walnut [Streets]. A few days later, I went to check up on him and he wasn’t there. I was hoping nothing bad happened to him. When we did catch up weeks later, he got offered a full-time job.”

7. A wounded Las Vegas shooting victim fights his injuries to stand when Trump comes to shake his hand.

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Thomas Gunderson fights his fresh gunshot wound to the leg to stand and shake Trump’s hand. (Image from Thomas Gunderson via Facebook)

When President Donald Trump toured a Las Vegas hospital in October after the US’s deadliest mass shooting in living memory, 28-year-old Thomas Gunderson pushed through his injuries to stand up and shake his hand when he entered his hospital room.

“Hey, this guy looks tough to me,” Trump said of Gunderson, who was recovering from a fresh gunshot wound to the leg.

“I will never lie down when the President of this great country comes to shake my hand!” Gunderson wrote in a video of the encounter he posted to Facebook, which has since garnered 26 million views.

6. After months of waiting, YouTube star April the Giraffe finally gave birth to a healthy male calf.

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April and her young male calf. (Image via Twitter @AprilTheGiraffe)

In April, at least 1.2 million people watched the Adventure Park’s YouTube streaming of 15-year-old April the giraffe giving birth in an enclosed pen in Harpursville, New York.

The video of April went viral after millions of fans had waited months for the giraffe’s impending birth.

Giraffes are usually pregnant for 13 to 15 months. Zookeepers thought April was overdue, but may also have also miscalculated her due date.

5. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana recovers after being shot by a gunman.

In June, Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana was among four people shot during a practice for an annual charity baseball game featuring members of Congress.

Four months later, Scalise threw out the first pitch before a playoff game between the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs. He received a standing ovation.

In September, he made a triumphant return to the House chamber to thunderous applausefrom his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Scalise’s presence at the practice was likely what prevented the incident from becoming a massacre, because his security detail as House Majority Whip was there to neutralize the shooter.

4. The wife of a fallen soldier tracked down the owner of her husband’s old car to buy and give it as a gift to her son for his 16th birthday.

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Justin Rozier’s mother bought him his dad’s old car for his 16th birthday. Rozier’s father died while serving in Iraq in 2003. (Photo from Jessica Johns via Facebook)

Justin Rozier barely knew his father. The former US Army lieutenant was killed while serving in Iraq in 2003, when his son was just 9 months old.

At the time, Justin’s mother, Jessica Johns, sold her husband’s car so she didn’t have to “keep chipping away at my savings to pay for a car that nobody was using,” she told NBC News.

This August, Johns made an appeal on Facebook in search of the car’s owner to see if she could buy it. She wanted to re-buy the car to give to her son for his 16th birthday so he had something to remember his father.

Johns tracked down the owner within days. He agreed to sell her the 1999 Toyota Celica, and she gave it to Justin for his 15th birthday.

“I think that your son will get more enjoyment out of having his dad’s car than I would,” the owner told her.

3. A 93-year-old Georgia man displays a photo on the table while eating lunch to honor his late wife.

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Clarence Purvis, 93, eats lunch with a photo of his wife, who died four years ago. (Image from WTOC Extras YouTube)

Clarence Purvis, 93, lost his wife Caroyln four years ago. They were married for 64 years.

Although she is gone, Purvis never eats lunch without her. During meals out at a restaurant where the couple used to go, Purvis sets up a framed photo of his wife on the table.

“Ain’t nobody loved one another more than me and my wife loved one another,” Purvis told a local news station. “She was always with me when we were livin’. She’s with me now.”

2. Homeless veteran gives his last $20 to help a stranded woman get home. In return, she raises nearly $400,000 for him.

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Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 34, who was once homeless, spent his last $20 to help a stranger, Kate McClure, 29, get home after she ran out of gas on the highway. (Image from Kate McClure via GoFundMe)

Kate McClure was stuck on a highway in Philadelphia when she ran out of gas. She didn’t have money and couldn’t get home. It was then that a 34-year-old homeless veteran, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., came up to her and said he would use his last $20 to buy her gas.

McClure and her boyfriend eventually repaid him. Then, they devised a plan to raise money for Bobbitt to get back on his feet. So she set up a GoFundMe page, soliciting donations.

“Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break,” McClure wrote. “Hopefully with your help I can be the one to give it to him.”

Read More: This homeless veteran and good samaritan just bought a home

They ended up raising close to $400,000. The couple says the money will be used to rent Bobbitt an apartment and pay for his food, clothing, cellphone, and transportation.

“[Bobbit] definitely has the drive,” Mark D’Amico, McClure’s boyfriend, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He doesn’t want to be on the streets anymore. He wants to be a functioning member of society and not be sitting on a guard rail in Philadelphia.”

1. A US marine surprises his mother with a trip home.

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Naim Tauheed surprises his mother during a family reunion upon return from military deployment abroad. (Image via DailyPicksandFlicks YouTube)

Naim Tauheed, a US marine deployed abroad, hadn’t seen his mom in 2 years. Luckily, he had a 1-month window in between deployments and decided to surprise his mom during a family reunion at her home in Los Angeles.

The surprise worked.

“I was just so blown away. I was almost blown off of my feet when I saw him, because I didn’t expect him to come,” Nekel Moore, Tauheed’s mother, told Fox News. “When I saw him walk through the door, it just floored me.”

Watch their incredible reunion:

(DailyPicksandFlicks | YouTube)
MIGHTY TRENDING

Some dirtbags messed with an Iwo Jima memorial — and Marines caught ’em on film

Police in Massachusetts are investigating the latest case of vandalism to an Iwo Jima memorial.


Officials say the memorial in Fall River was doused with the contents of a fire extinguisher last weekend.

Commandant Bruce Aldrich of the city’s Marine Corps League tells the Herald News that surveillance video captured a man and woman vandalizing the statue at about 4 a.m. Oct. 14. The fire extinguisher was left behind and is being processed for fingerprints.

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The Fall River memorial. Wikimedia Commons photo by user Kenneth C. Zirkel.

City Veteran’s Agent Raymond Hague is concerned the statue’s protective coating was damaged.

The memorial is a one-third scale replica of the Iwo Jima memorial in Washington depicting Marines raising the US flag on Mount Suribachi, a moment captured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph.

The Fall River memorial, dedicated in 2005, has frequently been targeted by vandals.

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