The FBI assesses anti-government, identity based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to commit criminal and sometimes violent activity. The FBI further assesses in some cases these conspiracy theories very likely encourage the targeting of specific people, places, and organizations, thereby increasing the likelihood of violence against these targets. These assessments are made with high confidence, based on information from other law enforcement agencies, open source information, court documents, human sources with varying degrees of access and corroboration, and FBI investigations.
Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Russian Efforts Against Election Infrastructure in the 2016 Election
From 2017 to 2019, the Committee held hearings, conducted interviews, and reviewed intelligence related to Russian attempts in 2016 to access election infrastructure. The Committee sought to determine the extent of Russian activities, identify the response of the U.S. Government at the state, local, and federal level to the threat, and make recommendations on how to better prepare for such threats in the future. The Committee received testimony from state election officials, Obama administration officials, and those in the Intelligence Community and elsewhere in the U.S. Government responsible for evaluating threats to elections.
China plans to defeat powerful adversaries by systematically targeting the linkages and nodes that hold an advanced network-centric force together as a cohesive whole. The PLA calls this theory of victory “systems attack and destruction warfare,” hereafter, “system attack. Authoritative PLA doctrine emphasizes importance of system attack as China’s “basic operational method” of warfare. System attack is perhaps best remembered as “the American way of war with Chinese characteristics,” since the PLA developed the concept based on observing U.S. military victories In the 1990s. Some of the PLA’s writings on systems attack are clearly aspirational, but this does not preclude the effectiveness of the approach, and the doctrine shows that the Pl.A is thinking seriously and realistically about how to defeat.an advanced adversary. The requirements of system attack are actively driving PLA reform, acquisitions, operations and training, and the doctrine telegraphs how Chine intends to fight.
This report is NTAC’s second analysis of mass attacks that were carried out in public spaces, and it builds upon Mass Attacks in Public Spaces – 2017 (MAPS-2017). In MAPS-2017, NTAC found that attackers from that year were most frequently motivated by grievances related to their workplace or a domestic issue. All of the attackers had recently experienced at least one significant stressor, and most had experienced financial instability. Over three-quarters of the attackers had made threatening or concerning communications, and a similar number had elicited concern from others. Further, most had histories of criminal charges, mental health symptoms, and/or illicit substance use or abuse.
All modern forces depend on the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS). The military requirement for unimpeded access to, and use of, the EMS is the key focus for joint electromagnetic spectrum operations (JEMSO), both in support of military operations and as the focus of operations themselves. Electronic warfare (EW) is essential for protecting friendly operations and denying adversary operations within the EMS throughout the operational environment.
This white paper was prepared as part of the Strategic Multilayer Asssessment, entitled The Future of Global Competition and Conflict. Twenty-three expert contributors contributed to this white paper and provided wide-ranging assessments of Russia’s global interests and objectives, as well as the activities—gray or otherwise—that it conducts to achieve them. This white paper is divided into five sections and twenty-five chapters, as described below. This summary reports some of the white paper’s high-level findings, but it is no substitute for a careful read of the individual contributions.
Commanders ensure operational security (OPSEC) is practiced during all phases of operations. OPSEC is a capability that identifies and controls critical information, indicators of friendly force actions attendant to military operations, and incorporates countermeasures to reduce the risk of an adversary exploiting vulnerabilities. As adversary analysts apply more information to an analytical model, the likelihood increases that the analytical model will replicate the observed force. Thus, current and future capabilities and courses of action can be revealed and compromised.
Peace operations are activities intended to build, keep, enforce, or make peace, or when necessary, prevent conflict. They include crisis response and limited contingency operations and frequently involve international military missions to contain conflict, restore peace, and shape the strategic security environment to support reconciliation and rebuilding, as well as to facilitate the transition to legitimate governance. They include peacekeeping operations (PKO), peace building, peacemaking, conflict prevention, and peace enforcement operations (PEO). Peace operations may be conducted under the sponsorship of the United Nations (UN), another international organization, within a coalition of nations, or unilaterally.
Nuclear weapons are a key feature of the security environment. Adversaries increasingly rely on nuclear weapons to secure their interests. Those seeking ways to use nuclear weapons for coercion and war termination present complex deterrence and escalation management challenges. US nuclear weapons and the associated capabilities needed to conduct nuclear operations are essential to ensure an effective deterrent.
This policy memorandum provides guidance for the domestic1 use of Department of Defense (DoD) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in U.S. National Airspace to ensure that such use is in accordance with U.S. law and DoD policy. Policy Memorandum 15-002, “Guidance for the Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” February 17, 2015 is hereby rescinded. This guidance implements measures identified in DoD’s efficiency and effectiveness review of domestic use of DoD UAS. The revisions in this memorandum streamline the approval process for domestic use.
FBI Private Sector Report: US Adversaries Exploit Social Media Information to Target US Individuals and Government Clearance Holders
The FBI’s Washington Field Office, in coordination with the FBI’s Office of Private Sector (OPS), is informing private sector partners regarding foreign intelligence services’ (FIS) exploitation of social media platforms and data to target corporate and US government (USG) clearance holders. FIS and US adversary intelligence officers are using popular US-based social media platforms to identify, recruit, and conduct operations against USG clearance holders, to include private sector employees or contractors supporting the USG. FIS officers will use popular US-based platforms and their respective countries’ social media platforms for personal and intelligence gathering/operations purposes.
(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Appears in Video for the First Time in Nearly Five Years
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) is intended to provide information on the recent video appearance by the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The video addresses the group’s territorial defeat in Syria, discusses the acceptance of pledges of allegiance from ISIS supporters, and praises recent attacks in Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia. This JIB is provided by the FBI, DHS, and NCTC to support their respective activities and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials and private sector security partners in deterring, preventing, or disrupting terrorist attacks against the United States. All video details described in this JIB are taken from the translated transcript of Baghdadi’s speech.
(U//FOUO) FBI Counterintelligence Note: Update on Huawei Chinese Government-Subsidized Telecommunications Company March 2018
With the expanded use of Huawei Technologies Inc. equipment and services in US telecommunications service provider networks, the Chinese Government’s potential access to US business communications is dramatically increasing. China’s intelligence services and Chinese cyber actors could exploit Chinese Government-supported telecommunication equipment on US networks operating as an advanced persistent threat. China makes no secret that its cyber warfare strategy is predicated on controlling global communications network infrastructure.
DODD 5100.01 tasks the Army to “train and equip, as required, forces for airborne operations, in coordination with the other military Services, and in accordance with joint doctrine.” This guidance directs the Army, which has primary responsibility for the development of airborne doctrine, procedures, and techniques, to develop, in coordination with the other military Services, doctrine, procedures, and equipment that are of common interest.
Department of Justice Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election
The Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out the earliest Russian interference operations identified by the investigation-a social media campaign designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States. The IRA was based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and received funding from Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin and companies he controlled. The IRA later used social media accounts and interest groups to sow discord in the U.S. political system through what it termed “information warfare.” The campaign evolved from a generalized program designed in 2014 and 2015 to undermine the U.S. electoral system, to a targeted operation that by early 2016 favored candidate Trump and disparaged candidate Clinton. The IRA’s operation also included the purchase of political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities, as well as the staging of political rallies inside the United States. To organize those rallies, IRA employees posed as U.S. grassroots entities and persons and made contact with Trump supporters and Trump Campaign officials in the United States. The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons conspired or coordinated with the IRA. Section II of this report details the Office’s investigation of the Russian social media campaign.
(U//FOUO) National Counterterrorism Center Report: Envisioning the Emergence of Shia Homegrown Violent Extremist Plotters in the US
We assess that a Shia homegrown violent extremist (HVE) attack in the US is highly unlikely absent a catalyzing event that could galvanize some US-based Shia to engage independently in violence. Given sustained bilateral US-Iran tensions, the occurrence of such a catalyst could prompt Shia HVE activity relatively quickly, underscoring the benefits of early engagement with Shia communities about indicators of HVE radicalization. Potential triggering events for such Shia HVE violence include US military action against Iran and Lebanese Hizballah, Shia leadership or senior clerics sanctioning violence in the US, prominent Sunni government attacks on Shia, or high-profile anti-Shia activity in the US, judging from the results of a structured NCTC brainstorming exercise.
(U//FOUO) National Counterterrorism Center Guide: Sunni Extremist Attacks and Plots in the US Before 9/11
NCTC assesses that the Sunni extremist threat to the US before 9/11 was characterized by diverse extremist organizations and lone actors motivated by multiple ideological narratives and other factors, including Salafi jihadism, Palestinian nationalism, theological disputes within Islam, anti-Semitism, and anti-Hindu sentiments. We have identified a dozen successful attacks, four disrupted plots, and one attempt to set up an extremist training camp in the US between 1973 and 2001, underscoring the persistent threat from al-Qa‘ida–associated extremists, Palestinian terrorist groups, and Sunni extremist lone actors in the decades leading up to 9/11. These extremists chose a wide array of targets, with the majority of their attacks before 1993 focused on Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim individuals or institutions. Most attacks after that date were against civilian or US Government targets, because of al-Qa‘ida–associated extremists’ focus on indiscriminate mass casualty attacks. In some cases, we lack clear insight into the attackers’ motivations because of information gaps, and FBI disagrees about the motivations underlying two of these attacks.
Since its founding in 2012, the National Institute of Justice’s Domestic Radicalization to Terrorism program has sponsored research on how radicalization to terrorism occurs in the United States in order to support prevention and intervention efforts. These projects have taken a variety of approaches to examining the process of radicalization to terrorism, but in spite of this there is substantial overlap in their findings, which collectively provide evidence of the importance of several facilitators of radicalization and the need to take into account how this process unfolds within individuals over time.
(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Attacks on Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand May Inspire Supporters of Violent Ideologies
This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) is intended to provide information on Australian national and violent extremist Brenton Tarrant’s 15 March 2019 attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. These attacks underscore the enduring nature of violent threats posed to faith-based communities. FBI, DHS, and NCTC advise federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials and private sector security partners responsible for securing faith-based communities in the Homeland to remain vigilant in light of the enduring threat to faith-based communities posed by domestic extremists (DEs), as well as by homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) who may seek retaliation.
The FBI has identified successful spearphishing campaigns directed at college and university students, especially during periods when financial aid funds are disbursed in large volumes. In general, the spearphishing emails request students’ login credentials for the University’s internal intranet. The cyber criminals then capture students’ login credentials, and after gaining access, change the students’ direct deposit destination to bank accounts within the threat actor’s control.
(U//FOUO) National Domestic Communications Assistance Center Presentation: Quantifying Law Enforcement’s “Going Dark” Problem
U.S. Army Future Warfare Division White Paper: Operationalizing Robotic and Autonomous Systems in Support of Multi-Domain Operations
Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) and artificial intelligence (AI) are fundamental to the future Joint Force realizing the full potential of Multi-Domain Operations (MDO 1.5). These systems, in particular AI, offer the ability to outmaneuver adversaries across domains, the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, and the information environment. The employment of these systems during competition allows the Joint Force to understand the operational environment (OE) in real time, and thus better employ both manned and unmanned capabilities to defeat threat operations meant to destabilize a region, deter escalation of violence, and turn denied spaces into contested spaces. In the transition from competition to armed conflict, RAS and AI maneuver, fires, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities provide the Joint Force with the ability to deny the enemy’s efforts to seize positions of advantage.
The number of active shooter incidents in schools (ASIS) has remained steady over the past 18 years, with an average of 2.8 shootings per year. ASIS are most likely to happen at the high school level or higher (37 out of 52). The average deaths from ASIS was 7.4; however, this includes the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 32 and 26 people died, respectively. Most of the deaths from ASIS resulted during incidents that met the threshold for a mass killing (81 percent).
The idea of invisibility has fascinated people for millennia, inspiring many myths, novels, and films. Invisibility cloaking has recently become a subject of science and technology. This paper describes the important current theoretical and experimental developments and tries to project into the future.