Monday, August 24, 2015

Mark Milley Takes Command as Army Chief of Staff

Gen. Mark Milley has taken command as the 39th U.S. Army Chief of Staff. In an August 14 ceremony at Fort Myer, near Arlington National Cemetery, Gen. Milley took over from Gen. Raymond Odierno. As reported in the Washington Post, Gen. Milley said,

Freedom is a very expensive gift paid for with the blood of those from earlier generations. A short distance away at Arlington cemetery, he said, are so many “soldiers of freedom” who sacrificed their lives.
“There is no cheap way to change, and more importantly, there is no cheap way to buy freedom,” Milley said. “The only thing more expensive than fighting and winning a war is fighting and losing a war — and fighting and winning a war is what the United States Army is all about.”
An August 22 Associated Press story focused on his considerations of the role of women in combat units. He said, 
“Right now I would call myself right on the line,” he said in the interview while flying to Fort Benning to attend an Army Ranger School graduation that included the first women ever to pass the rigorous Ranger training course. After the ceremony he briefly met privately with the two trailblazers, Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, and 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver, 25.
Milley said that in coming weeks he will weigh a wide range of information, including Army assessments of the experience of Israel and other countries with women in combat, as well as studies by the Marine Corps, data collected during Army experiments and judgments reached by his own experience in war.
“Whatever decision is made is going to have some pretty far-reaching impact,” he said. “So it’s a big deal, and I want to make sure I’m thinking it through.”

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Reuven Koret Writes About "Panicking Obama" and Iran Nuke Proposal

Reuven Koret is now contributing columns to the Jerusalem Post under the title "A Zionist Abroad." In his August 7 column, "A Panicking Obama Just Crippled His Chances in Congress," Koret writes,

The headline emerging from President Obama’s Tuesday meeting with Jewish leaders was stunning. If Congress rejects the Iran deal, he reportedly said, we can expect rockets to “rain down on Tel Aviv.”
If Congress rejects the deal, he said, the Iranians will attempt to race to the bomb, the US will be forced to attack them, and Iran will respond by attacking Israel directly through proxies.  “They will fight this asymmetrically. That means more support for terrorism, more Hezbollah rockets falling on Tel Aviv,” Obama was quoted as saying. Surprisingly, he said that the result of congressional disapproval would not be the US going to war with Iran. Israel would suffer most. “I can assure you that Israel will bear the brunt of the asymmetrical response that Iran will have to a military strike on its nuclear facilities.”
News flash for Obama (who doesn’t appear to understand what asymmetrical means): Israelis have faced rockets from Iranian proxies for more than a decade now. And we have lived to tell the tale.
Koret's bio on the site says, "After 30 years writing and publishing from Israel, Reuven Koret now reports from Europe. He loves to write about how Europeans regard Israel and Israeliness."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Michael Evans Named President of China's Alibaba Group

Michael Evans has been named the President of China's Alibaba Group, effective immediately. The company is a major force in online commerce. He will continue his service as a management member of the Alibaba Group Board, having previously served as an independent director since the company’s initial public offering in September 2014. An Alibaba release said,

“Michael has been a close advisor to Alibaba Group for many years, and we greatly value his deep knowledge of our business, his experience as a proven business builder and leader globally, and his more than 20 years of experience in China,” said Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang.
“Globalization is Alibaba Group’s most important strategy for the coming decades, and our goal is to help 10 million global businesses and serve 2 billion consumers around the world. We have been laying the foundation for many years and now we need a global team in place with best-in-class talent to bring our vision to fruition. To that end, I can think of no one better than Michael to help Alibaba become a truly global company.”

Prior to joining Alibaba, Evans spent 30 years in global finance, including the last 20 years as a Partner of Goldman Sachs, where he served as Vice Chairman, head of Global Growth Markets, and Chairman of Asia, in addition to leadership positions in the Securities and Investment Banking Divisions before leaving the firm in 2014. Evans is a member of the Board of Directors of Barrick Gold Corporation, Castleton Commodities International LLC and several not-for-profit organizations. Evans won an Olympic gold medal for his home country Canada as a member of the men’s eights rowing team in the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Peter Elkind Explores Sony Hack for Fortune Magazine

The horrendous hack of Sony Corp. and release of internal documents falls under the journalistic gaze of Peter Elkind in the July 1 issue. Titled, "Inside the Hack of the Century," the 12,000-word story was called one of the magazine's most important ever by Fortune editor Alan Murray. The article appeared in three parts online. Early in the piece Elkind writes,
Three weeks later—starting at about 7 a.m. Pacific time on Monday, Nov. 24—a crushing cyberattack was launched on Sony Pictures. Employees logging on to its network were met with the sound of gunfire, scrolling threats, and the menacing image of a fiery skeleton looming over the tiny zombified heads of the studio’s top two executives. 
Before Sony’s IT staff could pull the plug, the hackers’ malware had leaped from machine to machine throughout the lot and across continents, wiping out half of Sony’s global network. It erased everything stored on 3,262 of the company’s 6,797 personal computers and 837 of its 1,555 servers. To make sure nothing could be recovered, the attackers had even added a little extra poison: a special deleting algorithm that overwrote the data seven different ways. When that was done, the code zapped each computer’s startup software, rendering the machines brain-dead. 
From the moment the malware was launched—months after the hackers first broke in—it took just one hour to throw Sony Pictures back into the era of the Betamax. The studio was reduced to using fax machines, communicating through posted messages, and paying its 7,000 employees with paper checks.