Edited time: April 17, 2013 14:54
New Zealand has become the first Asia-Pacific country to legalize same-sex marriage after lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday extending civil union rights to gay couples.
The bill amended the country’s 1955 Marriage Act, making it not only the first in Asia-Pacific to legalize same-sex marriage, but the 13th worldwide.
Conservative religious organizations have voiced opposition to the bill, saying it would undermine the traditional family institution.
“This is not about church teachings or philosophy. It never has been,” said Labour Party MP Louisa Wall, who is openly gay and was involved in the promotion of the bill.
“It’s about the state excluding people from the institution of marriage because of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Lawmakers had been encouraged by party leaders to vote with their consciences, rather than toeing a party line. People watching from the packed public gallery burst into song when the bill passed, singing a New Zealand anthem in the native Maori language.
Parliament’s public gallery was so booked out for the vote, that a big screen had to be erected in an overflow room near the debating chamber, according to AFP reports.
Despite the controversy, many of New Zealand’s 4.4 million residents are planning to take to the streets in celebration. Opinion polls in the lead up to the vote suggested that some 70 per cent of New Zelanders were in favor of gay marriage.
In the capital, Wellington, parties are expected to be held on ‘Cuba Street’, and various gay venues as the reading of Wednesday’s vote is screened.
Homosexual civil partnerships, or de facto relationships, were recognized in the country in 2005. However, MPs voted 77-44 in favor of actual marriage.
Legalized gay marriage is likely to come into effect in New Zealand in August.
Last year, Australia shunned a similar proposal, making New Zealand’s adoption of the legislation a landmark event.
Despite its small population, New Zealand has a reputation for progressive policy. It is widely cited as the first country to have given women the vote, as early as 1893.
The 12 countries which have already passed same-sex marriage legislation include Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada, Argentina and Iceland.
The most recent country to legalize gay marriage prior to New Zealand was Uruguay, which passed a law in favor last week.
France passed a bill in its Senate to legalize marriage between same-sex couples last Friday. It is expected to be signed into law in forthcoming days.
However, France has also experienced opposition from conservative institutions. On Tuesday, France’s top Catholic Bishop, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, told a collective of French bishops that actual legalization of same-sex marriage stood the risk of inciting violence.
Pyongyang warned that Tokyo would be its primary target if war broke out on the Korean Peninsula, if Japan maintains its “hostile posture.” It also threatened a nuclear strike against the island nation if it intercepts any North Korean test missiles.
In the comments, carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday, Pyongyang lambasted Tokyo’s standing orders to shoot down any North Korean missile heading towards Japan, Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reports. The agency warned that any “provocative” intervention on the part of Japan would see Tokyo “consumed in nuclear flames.”
“Japan is always in the cross-hairs of our revolutionary army and if Japan makes a slightest move, the spark of war will touch Japan first,” KCNA warned.
Speaking in Seoul alongside his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-Se on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the rhetoric emanating from Pyongyang was “unacceptable.”
Kerry, who arrived in South Korea to kick off a four-day diplomatic tour in East Asia amidst rising tensions in the region, further insisted the international community “are all united on the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power.”
“I am here to make it clear today, on behalf of President Obama and the citizens of the United States and our bilateral security agreement, that the United States, will, if needed, defend our allies and defend ourselves.”
Kerry continued that any North Korean nuclear missile test would be “a huge mistake.”
“If (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-Un decides to launch a missile, whether it’s across the Sea of Japan or any other direction, he will be choosing willfully to ignore the entire international community.”
“It will be a huge mistake for him to do that because it will further isolate his country,” Kerry continued.
His comments mirrored statements made by President Barack Obama, who met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the Oval Office on Thursday.
“We both agree that now is the time for North Korea to end the belligerent approach they have taken and to try to lower temperatures,” Obama told reporters.
“It’s important for North Korea, like every other country in the world, to observe basic rules and norms,” he continued.
Kerry’s visit coincides with the disclosure of a US Defense Intelligence Agency report which says North Korea has the technological know-how to arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.
The analysis, disclosed at a congressional hearing in Washington on Thursday, was rebuffed by Pentagon spokesman George Little.
Little argued “it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced” in the DIA report.
The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also concluded that the report was not in line with America’s other intelligence agencies.
“Moreover, North Korea has not yet demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear armed missile,” Clapper continued.
On Wednesday, the South Korean military was put on high alert following intelligence reports from Seoul, Tokyo and Washington that a North Korean mid-range missile test could occur at any time.
Pyongyang is expected to launch its untested Musudan missile from its east coast. With a range of 1,800 to 2,180 miles, the missile could hit the Japanese mainland, as well as the Japanese island of Okinawa and the US territory of Guam.
On Friday, Japan announced it would permanently deploy Patriot missile interceptor batteries on Okinawa, where the United States currently has a total military deployment of some 50,000 personnel.
Japan had initially planned to station the missile batteries in March 2015, but now hopes to place them on the island later this month. Several other Patriot Advance Capability-3 missile interceptor were deployed throughout Japan during the past week to defend key military units and Tokyo.
The US for its part announced last week that it will soon deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to Guam in response to North Korean threats.
The ongoing crisis on the Korean Peninsula was sparked in February, when North Korea conducted its third nuclear test. The launch was condemned by the United Nations and much of the international community, prompting the UN to approve a new round of sanctions in early March.
Pyongyang reacted to the sanctions by threatening to launch a nuclear strike against the US.
In late March, Pyongyang declared it had entered a state of war with its southern neighbor following an earlier decision to withdrawal from the 60-year armistice that ended the Korean War.
North Korea had previously threatened to pull out of the 1953 armistice if the South did not halt a joint annual military exercise with the US.
Pyongyang warns foreigners to evacuate S. Korea, threatens ‘thermonuclear’ war(The destruction of America is getting closer)
Edited time: April 09, 2013 11:27
Pyongyang has issued a warning urging foreign nationals to evacuate South Korea, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The statement was followed by threats from North Korea of “thermonuclear” war on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has warned all foreign nationals to prepare to evacuate the South in the event of conflict.“We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war,” Reuters quoted KCNA news agency as saying, citing the spokesperson for its Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.
The warning was read out on North Korea’s state television: “all international organizations, businesses and tourists” were told to “work out measures for the evacuation”.
The statement was followed by renewed threats of “thermonuclear” war on the Korean Peninsula, AFP reported.
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war,” Pyongyang’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee stated.
No evacuation in sight
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged N. Korea to refrain from “provocative rhetoric” and encouraged other countries to exercise their influence over Pyongyang.
“The current level of tension is very dangerous. A small incident caused by miscalculation or misjudgment may create an uncontrollable situation,” Reuters quoted Ban Ki-moon as saying.
The Russian Embassy in South Korea said that it has no plans to evacuate Russians from the country over Pyongyang’s warning.
“At this point we are working out our position on the issue. But our preliminary response has no signs of plans related to evacuation,” RIA Novosti quoted Russian diplomatic spokesperson Nikita Kharin as saying.
N. Korea issued another warning last week advising embassies there to consider evacuating in the event of war. Currently, about two dozen countries have embassies in North Korea; most have said there are no immediate plans to withdraw personnel.
Despite the heavy rhetoric, the atmosphere in S. Korea remained calm with embassies, airlines, international offices and schools with foreign nationals operating normally, Reuters reported.
China responded by saying that it does not want to see chaos in the Korean Peninsula and opposes further escalation, Reuters quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei as saying.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said that she was resolved to break North Korea’s “vicious cycle”of having their bad behavior rewarded with economic aid.
“How long are we going to repeat this vicious cycle where the North Koreans create tensions and we give them compromises and aid?” she said during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. “North Korea must stop its wrong behavior and make a right choice for the future of the Korean nation.”
The aggressive rhetoric from North Korea has motivated neighboring Japan to deploy Patriot missiles batteries to protect the 36 million people who live in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Two Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air missile launchers have been stationed in the Japanese capital, reinforcing battery units on Okinawa and other Pacific islands, an official said Tuesday.
The weapons were authorized to shoot down any North Korean missile headed towards Japanese territory, Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori said on national television.
On Monday South Korea said that nuclear support from Washington is needed to protect against North Korea’s continued aggression and unpredictability, and to keep its neighbor in check. Rep. Chung Moon-joon suggested that South Korea needs nuclear weapons of its own – not just to intimidate Pyongyang, but also to send a strong message to China.
The situation was worsened on Tuesday when North Korean laborers did not show up for work at the Kaesong joint industrial zone in the morning, effectively suspending operations. Earlier, Pyongyang refused to allow South Korean workers to enter the area, located a few kilometers inside the North’s territory.
English.news.cn 2013-04-04 23:00:20
SHANGHAI, April 4 (Xinhua) — Authorities in Shanghai said Thursday night that another person has died from H7N9 bird flu, bringing the death toll from the new deadly strain to five around the country.
The city has reported six infections to date, and four have died, said the Shanghai Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission.
Of the rest two, there was a four-year-old, the agency said. The baby was recovering from mild illness, it added.
The person died at Huashan Hospital on Wednesday and was confirmed infected with the H7N9 strain on Thursday. The commission gave no further information on the latest case.
Also on Thursday, the commission reported the city’s third death from the H7N9 bird flu.
The case involved a 48-year-old man surnamed Chu, a poultry transporter from Rugao in neighboring Jiangsu Province.
He developed symptoms of cough on March 28. After having a fever on Monday, he went to a private clinic for treatment. The man then sought help in the Tongji Hospital in Shanghai in the early hours of Wednesday after his condition worsened.
Chu died three hours after being admitted to the hospital. He was confirmed infected with the H7N9 virus on Thursday. Eight people who had close contact with him have shown no abnormal symptoms.
So far, China has confirmed 14 H7N9 cases — six in Shanghai, four in Jiangsu, three in Zhejiang and one in Anhui, in the first known human infections of the lesser-known strain. Of all, four died in Shanghai and one died in Zhejiang.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture said Thursday the H7N9 avian flu virus has been detected from pigeon samples collected at a marketplace in Songjiang District of Shanghai.
After gene sequence analysis, the national avian flu reference laboratory concluded that the strain of the H7N9 virus found on pigeons was highly congenetic with those found on persons infected with H7N9 virus.
The ministry has ordered beefed-up monitoring of H7N9 bird flu virus in more areas.
China’s health authorities have promised transparency and cooperation to the World Health Organization in regards to human infections of the new strain of bird flu.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that no human-to-human transmission of H7N9 has been discovered and no epidemiological connection between these cases has been found.
Austerity has hit the United States as President Barack Obama signed into law a directive ushering in significant cuts to federal agencies’ budgets and triggering the sequester that has been debated in Washington during the last several weeks.
In the White House on Friday, President Obama inked his name to the order, and with it signed off on automatic budget cuts that the country’s political class say will save the United States over $1 trillion over the course of the next decade. In doing so, though, $85 billion will be erased from this year’s budget and a number of government departments will see their funding slashed immediately.
Through the sequester deal, roughly half of all cuts will be imposed on the Pentagon, drastically reducing funding for America’s defense. While uniformed personnel are protected from the directive, civilian employees and contractors across the world will be faced with layoffs and furloughs. The Department of Defense has already published a plan explaining who exactly will be impacted, and at its worst it could mean roughly $500 billion dollars cut from the Pentagon during the next decade.
The second half of all cuts triggered by the sequester will be implemented on domestic non-military spending. While crucially important programs like Social Security are exempt from the changes, practically all federal departments and agencies will face some degree of slashed funding. The Departments of Education, Agriculture and dozens of other agencies will see serious changes during the coming days, weeks, months and years. Many have already announced that the order will bring dire consequences. The Department of Transportation, for example, has warned that budget cuts might affect its ability to control air traffic; cuts to the Department of Homeland Security will mean longer lines at international borders and airports due to personnel layoffs. Rollbacks on education are expected to cause as many as 40,000 jobs to disappear nationwide, and more than half of a million women and children across the US will no longer have access to food aid due to reductions in the Women, Infants and Children program.
With the sequester deal essentially effecting each sector and every US resident alike, lawmakers in Washington have hoped to find another solution for solving the country’s ever-increasing economic woes. During an address from the White House Friday morning, though, Obama blamed Congress for not being able to prevent the cuts.
“What I can’t do is force Congress to do the right thing,” said the president. “The American people may have the capacity to do that, but in the absence of a decision on the part of the speaker of the House and others . . . we are going to have these cuts in place.”
The Obama administration has come under fire as of late for blaming the sequester deal on House Republicans. “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed,” the president said last year. By some reports, though, the budget cuts were brought to the table by White House officials during the president’s first term in office. A bipartisan commission chaired by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles offered a way to cut America’s ever-growing deficit. Under this proposal, Congress and the president would have to both raise taxes and cut spending across the board. Knowing that neither party was willing to agree on these measures, lawmakers and Obama agreed on a law that would trigger automatic cuts beginning March 1, 2013, unless a deal could not otherwise be reached. Back then, it was seen as a sword of Damocles that would prompt action from either party.
“Nobody who ‘agreed’ to sequestration actually wanted it to happen,” reports Molly Ball of The Atlantic. “The supercommittee was supposed to forge the deal that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner could not in their July 2011 debt-ceiling talks. It was this hypothetical future deficit reduction that got Republicans, grudgingly, to agree to raise the debt limit,” she says.
As time passed, though, the lawmakers that agreed to make the sequester an option stopped searching for other solutions. A failure to find a compromise between lawmakers on the Hill left the spending cuts scheduled for March 1 inevitable, and as the clock wound down on Friday the only option left was to slash the budget.
“In the end, nobody could agree, and nobody took the deadline very seriously anyway,” adds Ball.
While the sequester officially starts today following President Obama’s signature on the directive, most government agencies won’t feel the pinch until later in the year. Many departments have already published their plans for handling the crisis, including outlines of how spending will be conducted during the coming months. But with funds drying up quickly and a further deal reversing the sequestering uncertain, the impact of the cuts are likely to only increase over time.
About half of the cuts, 43 billion dollars, will affect the US military sector.
The US president signed the order after a last-minute meeting with Republican Congressional leaders failed on Friday.
Obama blamed the Republicans for refusing to prevent the “dumb” spending cuts which will target military and domestic spending.
“They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit,” the US president stated.
He also censured the Republicans and said their support for the rich was the major reason no agreement was reached on Friday.
Obama has warned that the budget reduction will hurt the middle class. He has also stated that the cuts should be made in “strict accordance” to the US law.
The International Monetary Fund has also warned that the spending cuts in the US could slow the global economic growth.
Experts say the GDP (gross domestic product) of the United States is expected to grow by only 1.4 percent in 2013, which shows a decline from the 2.2% in 2012. The United States is facing a $16.6-trillion debt.
On Friday, Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in the White House in order to settle differences over the budget before the sequester cuts damage the economy.
The sequester cuts, designed in 2011, could affect the salaries for 10,000 teachers and 7,200 specialists for children with disabilities. About 800,000 civilian employees at the Department of Defense could also see a 20-percent cut in their salaries.
- See more at: http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/03/02/291508/obama-orders-85bn-in-us-budget-cuts/#sthash.mXO0aPxM.dpuf
Obama Signs Cybersecurity Executive Order
President Obama bypassed the Congress on Tuesday and signed the much maligned but anticipatedcybersecurity executive order.
He made the announcement during the State of the Union address, stating:
‘We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private email. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems,’ Obama said during his speech. ‘We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.’
‘That’s why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy,’ Obama continued. ‘Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.’
The privacy-killing cybersecurity legislation CISPA has failed to pass in the Senate in two votes last year which Obama called the ”height of irresponsibility.”
As usual, the executive action was “urgent” and “for our safety”. Yet, we already know that the government has already been using the powers vested in the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act through the secret Presidential Directive 20 and warrantless cooperation with private communications companies who may act with impunity.
The lengthy executive order does not give federal agencies “new authority”, rather it just spells out more or less who’s in charge — which is the Department of Homeland Security of course:
The cyber order gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a lead role in establishing a voluntary program that encourages critical infrastructure operators to adopt the NIST and industry-developed cybersecurity framework, which is aimed at beefing up the security of their computer systems and networks. DHS will work with agencies, such as the Department of Energy, and industry councils to implement the cybersecurity best practices laid out in the framework, as well as identify possible ways to entice companies to join the voluntary program. (Source: The Hill)
Below is the entire Executive Order called Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Repeated cyber intrusions into critical infrastructure demonstrate the need for improved cybersecurity. The cyber threat to critical infrastructure continues to grow and represents one of the most serious national security challenges we must confront. The national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of the Nation’s critical infrastructure in the face of such threats. It is the policy of the United States to enhance the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure and to maintain a cyber environment that encourages efficiency, innovation, and economic prosperity while promoting safety, security, business confidentiality, privacy, and civil liberties. We can achieve these goals through a partnership with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to improve cybersecurity information sharing and collaboratively develop and implement risk-based standards.
Sec. 2. Critical Infrastructure. As used in this order, the term critical infrastructure means systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.
Sec. 3. Policy Coordination. Policy coordination, guidance, dispute resolution, and periodic in-progress reviews for the functions and programs described and assigned herein shall be provided through the interagency process established in Presidential Policy Directive-1 of February 13, 2009 (Organization of theNational Security Council System), or any successor.
Sec. 4. Cybersecurity Information Sharing. (a) It is the policy of the United States Government to increase the volume, timeliness, and quality of cyber threat information shared with U.S. private sector entities so that these entities may better protect and defend themselves against cyber threats. Within 120 days of the date of this order, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security (the “Secretary”), and the Director of National Intelligence shall each issue instructions consistent with their authorities and with the requirements of section 12(c) of this order to ensure the timely production of unclassified reports of cyber threats to the U.S. homeland that identify a specific targeted entity. The instructions shall address the need to protect intelligence and law enforcement sources, methods, operations, and investigations.
(b) The Secretary and the Attorney General, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, shall establish a process that rapidly disseminates the reports produced pursuant to section 4(a) of this order to the targeted entity. Such process shall also, consistent with the need to protect national security information, include the dissemination of classified reports to critical infrastructure entities authorized to receive them. The Secretary and the Attorney General, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, shall establish a system for tracking the production, dissemination, and disposition of these reports.
(c) To assist the owners and operators of critical infrastructure in protecting their systems from unauthorized access, exploitation, or harm, the Secretary, consistent with 6 U.S.C. 143 and in collaboration with the Secretary of Defense, shall, within 120 days of the date of this order, establish procedures to expand the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program to all critical infrastructure sectors. This voluntary information sharing program will provide classified cyber threat and technical information from the Government to eligible critical infrastructure companies or commercial service providers that offer security services to critical infrastructure.
(d) The Secretary, as the Executive Agent for the Classified National Security Information Program created under Executive Order 13549 of August 18, 2010 (Classified National Security Information Program for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities), shall expedite the processing of security clearances to appropriate personnel employed by critical infrastructure owners and operators, prioritizing the critical infrastructure identified in section 9 of this order.
(e) In order to maximize the utility of cyber threat information sharing with the private sector, the Secretary shall expand the use of programs that bring private sector subject-matter experts into Federal service on a temporary basis. These subject matter experts should provide advice regarding the content, structure, and types of information most useful to critical infrastructure owners and operators in reducing and mitigating cyber risks.
Sec. 5. Privacy and Civil Liberties Protections. (a) Agencies shall coordinate their activities under this order with their senior agency officials for privacy and civil liberties and ensure that privacy and civil liberties protections are incorporated into such activities. Such protections shall be based upon the Fair Information Practice Principles and other privacy and civil liberties policies, principles, and frameworks as they apply to each agency’s activities.
(b) The Chief Privacy Officer and the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall assess the privacy and civil liberties risks of the functions and programs undertaken by DHS as called for in this order and shall recommend to the Secretary ways to minimize or mitigate such risks, in a publicly available report, to be released within 1 year of the date of this order. Senior agency privacy and civil liberties officials for other agencies engaged in activities under this order shall conduct assessments of their agency activities and provide those assessments to DHS for consideration and inclusion in the report. The report shall be reviewed on an annual basis and revised as necessary. The report may contain a classified annex if necessary. Assessments shall include evaluation of activities against the Fair Information Practice Principles and other applicable privacy and civil liberties policies, principles, and frameworks. Agencies shall consider the assessments and recommendations of the report in implementing privacy and civil liberties protections for agency activities.
(c) In producing the report required under subsection (b) of this section, the Chief Privacy Officer and the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of DHS shall consult with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
(d) Information submitted voluntarily in accordance with 6 U.S.C. 133 by private entities under this order shall be protected from disclosure to the fullest extent permitted by law.
Sec. 6. Consultative Process. The Secretary shall establish a consultative process to coordinate improvements to the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. As part of the consultative process, the Secretary shall engage and consider the advice, on matters set forth in this order, of the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council; Sector Coordinating Councils; critical infrastructure owners and operators; Sector-Specific Agencies; other relevant agencies; independent regulatory agencies; State, local, territorial, and tribal governments; universities; and outside experts.
Sec. 7. Baseline Framework to Reduce Cyber Risk to Critical Infrastructure. (a) The Secretary of Commerce shall direct the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (the “Director”) to lead the development of a framework to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure (the “Cybersecurity Framework”). The Cybersecurity Framework shall include a set of standards, methodologies, procedures, and processes that align policy, business, and technological approaches to address cyber risks. The Cybersecurity Framework shall incorporate voluntary consensus standards and industry best practices to the fullest extent possible. The Cybersecurity Framework shall be consistent with voluntary international standards when such international standards will advance the objectives of this order, and shall meet the requirements of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act, as amended (15 U.S.C. 271 et seq.), the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-113), and OMB Circular A-119, as revised.
(b) The Cybersecurity Framework shall provide a prioritized, flexible, repeatable, performance-based, and cost-effective approach, including information security measures and controls, to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure identify, assess, and manage cyber risk. The Cybersecurity Framework shall focus on identifying cross-sector security standards and guidelines applicable to critical infrastructure. The Cybersecurity Framework will also identify areas for improvement that should be addressed through future collaboration with particular sectors and standards-developing organizations. To enable technical innovation and account for organizational differences, the Cybersecurity Framework will provide guidance that is technology neutral and that enables critical infrastructure sectors to benefit from a competitive market for products and services that meet the standards, methodologies, procedures, and processes developed to address cyber risks. The Cybersecurity Framework shall include guidance for measuring the performance of an entity in implementing the Cybersecurity Framework.
(c) The Cybersecurity Framework shall include methodologies to identify and mitigate impacts of the Cybersecurity Framework and associated information security measures or controls on business confidentiality, and to protect individual privacy and civil liberties.
(d) In developing the Cybersecurity Framework, the Director shall engage in an open public review and comment process. The Director shall also consult with the Secretary, the National Security Agency, Sector-Specific Agencies and other interested agencies including OMB, owners and operators of critical infrastructure, and other stakeholders through the consultative process established in section 6 of this order. The Secretary, the Director of National Intelligence, and the heads of other relevant agencies shall provide threat and vulnerability information and technical expertise to inform the development of the Cybersecurity Framework. The Secretary shall provide performance goals for the Cybersecurity Framework informed by work under section 9 of this order.
(e) Within 240 days of the date of this order, the Director shall publish a preliminary version of the Cybersecurity Framework (the “preliminary Framework”). Within 1 year of the date of this order, and after coordination with the Secretary to ensure suitability under section 8 of this order, the Director shall publish a final version of the Cybersecurity Framework (the “final Framework”).
(f) Consistent with statutory responsibilities, the Director will ensure the Cybersecurity Framework and related guidance is reviewed and updated as necessary, taking into consideration technological changes, changes in cyber risks, operational feedback from owners and operators of critical infrastructure, experience from the implementation of section 8 of this order, and any other relevant factors.
Sec. 8. Voluntary Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Program. (a) The Secretary, in coordination with Sector-Specific Agencies, shall establish a voluntary program to support the adoption of the Cybersecurity Framework by owners and operators of critical infrastructure and any other interested entities (the “Program”).
(b) Sector-Specific Agencies, in consultation with the Secretary and other interested agencies, shall coordinate with the Sector Coordinating Councils to review the Cybersecurity Framework and, if necessary, develop implementation guidance or supplemental materials to address sector-specific risks and operating environments.
(c) Sector-Specific Agencies shall report annually to the President, through the Secretary, on the extent to which owners and operators notified under section 9 of this order are participating in the Program.
(d) The Secretary shall coordinate establishment of a set of incentives designed to promote participation in the Program. Within 120 days of the date of this order, the Secretary and the Secretaries of the Treasury and Commerce each shall make recommendations separately to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs, that shall include analysis of the benefits and relative effectiveness of such incentives, and whether the incentives would require legislation or can be provided under existing law and authorities to participants in the Program.
(e) Within 120 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of General Services, in consultation with the Secretary and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, shall make recommendations to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs, on the feasibility, security benefits, and relative merits of incorporating security standards into acquisition planning and contract administration. The report shall address what steps can be taken to harmonize and make consistent existing procurement requirements related to cybersecurity.
Sec. 9. Identification of Critical Infrastructure at Greatest Risk. (a) Within 150 days of the date of this order, the Secretary shall use a risk-based approach to identify critical infrastructure where a cybersecurity incident could reasonably result in catastrophic regional or national effects on public health or safety, economic security, or national security. In identifying critical infrastructure for this purpose, the Secretary shall use the consultative process established in section 6 of this order and draw upon the expertise of Sector-Specific Agencies. The Secretary shall apply consistent, objective criteria in identifying such critical infrastructure. The Secretary shall not identify any commercial information technology products or consumer information technology services under this section. The Secretary shall review and update the list of identified critical infrastructure under this section on an annual basis, and provide such list to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and the Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs.
(b) Heads of Sector-Specific Agencies and other relevant agencies shall provide the Secretary with information necessary to carry out the responsibilities under this section. The Secretary shall develop a process for other relevant stakeholders to submit information to assist in making the identifications required in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) The Secretary, in coordination with Sector-Specific Agencies, shall confidentially notify owners and operators of critical infrastructure identified under subsection (a) of this section that they have been so identified, and ensure identified owners and operators are provided the basis for the determination. The Secretary shall establish a process through which owners and operators of critical infrastructure may submit relevant information and request reconsideration of identifications under subsection (a) of this section.
Sec. 10. Adoption of Framework. (a) Agencies with responsibility for regulating the security of critical infrastructure shall engage in a consultative process with DHS, OMB, and the National Security Staff to review the preliminary Cybersecurity Framework and determine if current cybersecurity regulatory requirements are sufficient given current and projected risks. In making such determination, these agencies shall consider the identification of critical infrastructure required under section 9 of this order. Within 90 days of the publication of the preliminary Framework, these agencies shall submit a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the Director of OMB, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs, that states whether or not the agency has clear authority to establish requirements based upon the Cybersecurity Framework to sufficiently address current and projected cyber risks to critical infrastructure, the existing authorities identified, and any additional authority required.
(b) If current regulatory requirements are deemed to be insufficient, within 90 days of publication of the final Framework, agencies identified in subsection (a) of this section shall propose prioritized, risk-based, efficient, and coordinated actions, consistent with Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993 (Regulatory Planning and Review), Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), and Executive Order 13609 of May 1, 2012 (Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation), to mitigate cyber risk.
(c) Within 2 years after publication of the final Framework, consistent with Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 13610 of May 10, 2012 (Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens), agencies identified in subsection (a) of this section shall, in consultation with owners and operators of critical infrastructure, report to OMB on any critical infrastructure subject to ineffective, conflicting, or excessively burdensome cybersecurity requirements. This report shall describe efforts made by agencies, and make recommendations for further actions, to minimize or eliminate such requirements.
(d) The Secretary shall coordinate the provision of technical assistance to agencies identified in subsection (a) of this section on the development of their cybersecurity workforce and programs.
(e) Independent regulatory agencies with responsibility for regulating the security of critical infrastructure are encouraged to engage in a consultative process with the Secretary, relevant Sector-Specific Agencies, and other affected parties to consider prioritized actions to mitigate cyber risks for critical infrastructure consistent with their authorities.
Sec. 11. Definitions. (a) “Agency” means any authority of the United States that is an “agency” under 44 U.S.C. 3502(1), other than those considered to be independent regulatory agencies, as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(5).
(b) “Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council” means the council established by DHS under 6 U.S.C. 451 to facilitate effective interaction and coordination of critical infrastructure protection activities among the Federal Government; the private sector; and State, local, territorial, and tribal governments.
(c) “Fair Information Practice Principles” means the eight principles set forth in Appendix A of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
(d) “Independent regulatory agency” has the meaning given the term in 44 U.S.C. 3502(5).
(e) “Sector Coordinating Council” means a private sector coordinating council composed of representatives of owners and operators within a particular sector of critical infrastructure established by the National Infrastructure Protection Plan or any successor.
(f) “Sector-Specific Agency” has the meaning given the term in Presidential Policy Directive-21 of February 12, 2013 (Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience), or any successor.
Sec. 12. General Provisions. (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations. Nothing in this order shall be construed to provide an agency with authority for regulating the security of critical infrastructure in addition to or to a greater extent than the authority the agency has under existing law. Nothing in this order shall be construed to alter or limit any authority or responsibility of an agency under existing law.
(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) All actions taken pursuant to this order shall be consistent with requirements and authorities to protect intelligence and law enforcement sources and methods. Nothing in this order shall be interpreted to supersede measures established under authority of law to protect the security and integrity of specific activities and associations that are in direct support of intelligence and law enforcement operations.
(d) This order shall be implemented consistent with U.S. international obligations.
(e) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Military equipment flowing to local law enforcement raises questions
By Rhonda Cook
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The southeast Georgia town of Bloomingdale is tiny but well-armed.
Metro Atlanta police departments and sheriff’s offices have armored trucks and personnel carriers in their arsenals.
And the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office has in its possession four grenade launchers should there be a need to send canisters of tear gas or bean bags into a volatile situation.
All donated surplus military equipment available to law enforcement agencies nationwide — large and small.
Some people are upset that there are local law enforcement agencies armed with such weapons of war.
But the agencies that got the guns, armored vehicles and grenade launchers say it sends a message to would-be criminals: Officers “are armed to meet any threat,” so criminals should just stay away, said Bloomingdale Police Chief Roy Pike.
“Having the equipment precludes having to use it,” Pike said. “In the 20 years I’ve been here, we haven’t had to use deadly force against anybody.”
From the so-called 1033 program operated by a U.S. Department of Defense unit, Pike’s department of 13 officers acquired a grenade launcher for shooting tear gas, two M14 single-shot semi-automatic rifles and two M16 military-style rifles converted to semi-automatic from automatic.
The Defense Department established the 1033 program in the late 1990s to provide state and local law enforcement agencies with weapons, helicopters, armored vehicles, body armor, night vision equipment, surveillance equipment and protective gear. It also provides such things as surplus .45-caliber handguns and first-aid supplies.
Several local law enforcement officials said if their agencies had to buy the stuff, they’d just do without most of it. But since it’s donated, they find a place for it.
There is no cost to local taxpayers since they’ve already paid for the equipment with their federal taxes.
According to the most recent inventory by the Georgia Department of Public Safety, $200 million in surplus military equipment and weapons is in the hands of 600 Georgia law enforcement agencies, large and small.
Some say it’s an example of the militarization of police departments.
“I think military-grade weapons should be restricted to just that, the military. If local police run into a situation where someone is using those types of weapons, then call in the National Guard,” said LaShanda Hardin, who lives in Clayton County.
The Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank that promotes individual liberty and limited government, believes the military surplus program should be shut down, said Tim Lynch, director of the criminal justice project.
“When this equipment is given away, police departments start saying, ‘Let’s grab it.’ ” And once the equipment is in the hands of law enforcement, “we have militarized units going into the community in situations where they aren’t warranted,” Lynch said.
“This is one of the most alarming trends in American policing,” Lynch continued. “We used to call them peace officers and they would treat people … with more respect and civility. We’re getting away from that. We’re getting into these military tactics and mindset that the people they (police) come into contact with are the enemy … and part of this is the militarized units in police departments.”
According to state records, the Georgia Department of Corrections has one armored truck and the state Department of Homeland Security has seven armored vehicles.
State records also show agencies that have benefited from the program include:
- The Waycross Police Department, which has two armored personnel carriers and 16 M15 rifles.
- The Cartersville Police Department, which has an armored personnel carrier and 17 M14 rifles.
- The Doraville Police Department, which has an armored personnel carrier.
- Newnan PD, which has an armored personnel carrier, 15 M16s and 12 M14s.
- Clayton County PD, which has a helicopter, an armored truck, 11 M16s and five M14s.
- Cobb County PD, which has an armored truck, 106 M16s and eight M14s. Cobb also has a second armored vehicle, which it bought using federal grant funds.
Other agencies with armored trucks include the Sandy Springs and Pelham police departments and the Gordon, Morgan, Oconee, Pickens and Walton county sheriffs offices.
According to state records, the U.S. Department of Defense has put the value of the armored personnel carriers at almost $245,000 each and the armored trucks at around $65,000 each. State records did not assign a value to the rifles or the grenade launchers.
The agencies who have them say they save lives, and there is a waiting list of agencies that want armored vehicles as well as weapons.
“It gives the … SWAT guys a protection to where they can get closer to the folks shooting at them,” said Don Sherrod, director of excess property for the Georgia Department of Public Safety, which oversees the program for the DOD. “When you pull up in something … and the bullets start bouncing off, they (criminals) give up.”
Cobb County Police Department SWAT uses its two armored vehicles to extricate people from a “hot zone” or to get officers closer to a “volatile situation.”
Capt. Craig Dodson of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said the agency has grenade launchers that have not been used, but they are held in reserve for scenarios that require deputies to fire tear gas canisters or non-lethal bean bags. He said the agency also has not yet used any of its 65 M16 semi-automatic rifles from the program.
“Our goal is to try to equip every patrolman in the law enforcement division with a rifle,” Dodson said.
“The M16 … gives you more capability to penetrate body armor or to make long-distance shots if you are not able to get closer. … It’s a safety blanket. We ask people to go out and do a job, and we want to give them the tools to be safe and do the job.”
But regardless of what law enforcement officials contend, Kimberly Binns, a multimedia designer who lives in Decatur, is alarmed by what military-grade firepower could mean for law-abiding citizens.
“I do not see the need for police departments to have such an extended arsenal,” she said.
Candace Garrett Daly, a Cobb County homemaker, is equally unnerved.
“What are we headed to?” Garrett asked. “Whatever it is seems to be already in motion at a breakneck speed. The police are preparing for an enemy. My question is, ‘Who is the enemy?”
Data specialist Kelly Guckian and staff writer Ernie Suggs contributed to this article.
By the numbers
About 600 Georgia police agencies are participating in a program with the U.S. Department of Defense that allows them to acquire surplus military weapons and vehicles. A by-the-numbers look at the program.
Military-style rifles (M-14, M-16): 3,532
Grenade launchers: 8
Armored trucks/personnel carriers: 26
Unaccounted for weapons: 26
Total value of the weapons, vehicles: $200 million
“We do not hide that the various satellites and long-range rockets we will continue to launch, as well as the high-level nuclear test we will proceed with, are aimed at our arch-enemy the United States,” said North Korea’s National Defense Commission on Thursday.
The defense commission statement offered no timeframe of when the country intended to perform the test.
On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council adopted a US-backed resolution to sanction North Korea for launching a long-range rocket in December 2012.
The North Korean National Defense Commission said the resolution “masterminded by the US has brought its hostile policy towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) to its most dangerous stage.”
It also dismissed as “illegal and outlawed” such resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council.
On December 12, 2012, Pyongyang announced that it had launched a long-range rocket from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, located in Cholsan County of North Pyongan Province, and successfully placed a satellite into orbit.
However, the rocket launch drew widespread criticism from the European Union and the UN.
On December 14, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country would go ahead with its space program and would launch more rockets and send more satellites into orbit.
However, Washington and its allies said the North Korean rocket launch had been a cover for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.