WP-ORG: Value For Your Dollar

WP-ORG is a small non-profit, run on a shoe string.  As Warren explained two weeks ago, West-Point.Org was hit with a ransomware attack in July, and it’s truly ONLY because of the dedication of Warren himself (our CIO), Steven Brunasso (a friend whose dad was ex-cadet Class of ’66) and Megan Klein, Wonder Woman of West-Point.Org, that we’re still here to serve you.

During routine maintenance work, the three of them noticed that something was amiss and immediately began locking down the system to protect it. Warren flew out to Austin the weekend of the attack and he, Megan and Steven began the painstaking work of rebuilding WP-ORG from bare metal.  

Warren is paranoid and Warren keeps backups of backups of backups. Really, he does. And Megan and Steven have always rolled their eyes and made fun of him. Warren had the last laugh because it was his backups that saved the day. Backups that were completely untouched and hidden in some dusty corner even ransomware couldn’t find!

Quick action and dedication saved West-Point.Org, so that we can continue to serve you. Yes, the recovery was painstaking work and extremely time consuming – but done quietly and without complaint – hallmarks of how West-Point.Org has operated and served you for all these years.

Our semi-annual fund drives are very modest – we have a bare bones budget and value for the dollar is extraordinary.  I can think of no other organization that has the dedicated folks that got West-Point.Org back up and running – literally working 24/7 for all too many days.

The recent ransomware attack proved the value of how we do business and I truly hope that you will join me in making a donation to West-Point.Org so we can continue to serve the Long Gray Line.

Below my signature is a ton of information on how to donate – via credit card, PayPal or check, as well as the details on our budgets (past and present) and our IRS letter confirming our 501(c)(3) status.

Many thanks for helping us continue to serve you.
Megan Hostler
West-Point.Org Advisor

Donation page linking to all payment methods (credit card, check or PayPal):
http://www.west-point.org/donate

        By credit card:
https://secure.west-point.org/donate/

        By check, please indicate class year and affiliation:

        WP-ORG
        23802 Oscar Road
        Spicewood TX 78669

        By PayPal::
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=GXGCWRKX48UHY

        After entering Donation Amount, login to PayPal account. On next screen, please click on “Add special instructions to the seller”; enter class year and affiliation, and comment if you wish.

Fund Drive Donation Report, sorted by WP-ORG member group, etc.:
https://secure.west-point.org/donate/report/

WP-ORG Budget April 19, 2019 – September 19, 2019:
http://www.west-point.org/budget

WP-ORG Budgets, FD8 – FD45:
http://www.west-point.org/service/fd45/program/BudgetPlotFD8-FD45.JPG

What is WP-ORG & Why Donate?:
http://www.west-point.org/why_donate/

WP-ORG Member Information Privacy Policy:
http://www.west-point.org/privacy-statement/

IRS Letter Confirming WP-ORG 501(c)(3) Status:
http://www.west-point.org/publications/501SUMMARY.PDF

Here’s how the Army is planning to roll out the ACFT this year

The Army Combat Fitness Test has reached initial operating capacity, with the entire service gearing up to take diagnostic tests this year before the ACFT officially becomes the fitness test of record in October 2020.

However, all new officers and enlisted soldiers coming into the Army after Oct. 1 of this year will be training for and required to pass the ACFT before they graduate and report to the operational force, according to Maj. Gen. Lonnie G. Hibbard, commander of the Center for Initial Military Training.

“I don’t think it will impact graduation rates; It’s really going to impact how we train,” Hibbard said in a late-September interview with Army Times. “We’re taking a high school student and transitioning him into a soldier, we just have to make sure he is competent in the ten components of physical fitness to be successful on the ACFT.”

For those soldiers already in the force, the active-duty Army will take two ACFT diagnostic tests over the next year, while soldiers in the Guard and Reserve components will take one diagnostic test.

Many Guard and Reserve soldiers have voiced concerns about getting the necessary equipment to prepare for the new ACFT in time.

READ MORE…

After Almost 5 Years, Army’s 101st Airborne Will Return to Full Air Assault Power

U.S. Army aviation officials have launched an effort to restore full air assault capability to the 101st Airborne Division — a capability the Screaming Eagles have been without since 2015.

As the Army’s only air-assault division, the 101st has traditionally had two combat aviation brigades — instead of one CAB like other divisions — to allow the unit to lift a full brigade combat team into combat at one time.

But mandatory budget cuts under sequestration prompted the Army to take one of the 101st’s CABs away.

The effort to re-equip the 101st with dozens of helicopters is one of the top aviation priorities the Army has identified as it races to be ready to conduct major combat operations across all warfare domains by 2028, Maj. Gen. David Francis, commander of the Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, said.

READ MORE…

Time, Talent, Treasure

Fund Drive 46 Donation Link: https://secure.west-point.org/donate/

As we enter WP-ORG’s 24th year and consider the future, we find ourselves in need of more than simply financial help from our members. WP-ORG was built by a core group of volunteers with varied skill sets who came together to create this non-profit organization that enables graduates, parents, and friends of the military academy to maintain and strengthen the associations that bind us together. We strive to provide this community any requested support, consistent with this purpose, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In recent years, death, career transitions, and health concerns have whittled away at our Board of Advisors. Our technical bench has suffered similarly. To be clear, WP-ORG is a non-profit with a very small budget. We are not hiring. Rather, we are looking for those who wish to volunteer their time and talent in support of a little organization that has had a big footprint in the West Point community for nearly a quarter of a century. We’ll outline a few places where interested individuals might be able to help:
Technical operations: The hardware of WP-ORG lives in a data center in Austin TX. It consists of network attached storage (NAS) servers, Linux servers running on VMWare ESXi for virtualization, rsync for backups, a MariaDB MySQL database, HP Switches and a Fortigate firewall. Some of this hardware was obtained via in-kind donations from grads and it has served us well. As the hardware ages, we are considering moving some or all of our operations to the cloud.

  • We have a Fortigate Firewall running the latest OS. We are looking for experienced volunteers to help set up and secure our network.
  • We run our current on-premise virtual machines using VMWare ESXi as hosts and our Synology NAS for disk space. We are looking for experienced volunteers to help us set up, maintain, and upgrade these VMs as well as develop and execute disaster recovery plans.
  • We will be evaluating various cloud providers in the near future as our current hardware ages. We are looking for experienced volunteers who have moved on-premise to either a hybrid- or full-cloud structure.
  • We can find projects for anyone experienced with Linux system administration, LDAP, MySQL, and web development.

Financial: From a business perspective, WP-ORG is looking for a volunteer CFO and a volunteer bookkeeper with QuickBooks skills. 501(c)(3) experience in both of these roles would truly be an asset.
If you are interested in donating time and talent to fill any needs outlined above, please respond to this message.
We also still enthusiastically accept donations of treasure!https://www.west-point.org/donate
Ring Recovery: Ring Recovery is a group under WP-ORG’s umbrella with the mission to find and repatriate lost USMA class rings. They’re looking for help too: Like a well-worn ring, the founders of West Point Ring Recovery are starting to show a little wear. We would welcome a few volunteers who wish to assist us in our efforts to save and protect West Point rings. Contact Michael McGurk ’85 at USMArings@west-point.org.
Thank you, 
Megan Klein & Warren Hearnes
WP-ORG
~~~Donations by check, please indicate class year and affiliation:
WP-ORG
23802 Oscar Road
Spicewood TX 78669

WP-ORG Budget for the next six months: https://www.west-point.org/budget

What is WP-ORG & Why Donate?: https://www.west-point.org/why_donate/
Fund Drive 46 Donation Report:  https://secure.west-point.org/donate/report/

IRS Letter Confirming WP-ORG 501(c)(3) Status:
https://www.west-point.org/publications/501SUMMARY.PDF

Army M1 Tanks Are Getting the Ability to Locate and Destroy Enemy Missiles

U.S. Army M1 tanks will soon be equipped with anti-missile protection systems, now that the service has taken delivery of the Israeli-made active protection systems.

Leonardo DRS, Inc. and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel announced today that the team had delivered the first Trophy Active Protection Systems to the Army, roughly two years after the service began searching for ways to protect its tanks and armored vehicles from anti-armor missile threats from potential adversaries such as Russia and China.

“This delivery marks the first of several that will ultimately outfit four brigades of tanks,” a release states.

In May of 2018, then Army Chief of Staff told Congress that the service planned to begin equipping the four heavy brigades with APS with in two years.

The Army’s Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems awarded the two firms an initial contract worth up to $193 million for Trophy in June of 2018.

READ MORE…

US Special Forces Unit Under Fire from Turkish Shelling in Syria

Turkish cross-border artillery fire hit a northern Syria town where a U.S. Special Forces unit was operating as fighting escalated between the invading Turkish military and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, as first reported by Newsweek Friday.

The shelling took place in the mostly-Kurdish town of Kobane, west of the Euphrates River and about 45 miles from the scene of the ground incursion in northeastern Syria,

In a statement, a Pentagon official confirmed that the Turkish military had shelled within “a few hundred meters” of U.S. troops.

“U.S. troops in the vicinity of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions at approximately 9 p.m. local Oct. 11,” Navy Capt. Brook DeWalt, director of Defense Press Operations, said in a statement to Military.com. “The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present.”

READ MORE…

Hackers target job-hunting service members, veterans with sham employment website

Veterans hunting for jobs may have thought “Hire Military Heroes” was just another jobs website that would help them find employment.

But in reality, the site prompted users to download an app containing malicious malware that would allow the attacker to access a plethora of information, according to cybersecurity researchers at Cisco Talos.

“The attacker retrieves information such as the date, time and drivers. The attacker can then see information on the system, the patch level, the number of processors, the network configuration, the hardware, firmware versions, the domain controller, the name of the admin, the list of the account, etc.,” Cisco Talos said in a blog post in September about the malware.

“This is a significant amount of information relating to a machine and makes the attacker well-prepared to carry out additional attacks,” Cisco Talos added.

The phony site shared a similar URL to the site “Hiring Our Heroes,” an employment site the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched.

According to the security intelligence and research group, an actor called Tortoiseshell was responsible for the attack — the same actor Symantec identified being behind attempts targeting Saudi Arabian IT providers.

READ MORE…

US forces unharmed after coming under fire in Syria

U.S. special operations forces located in Syria came under fire Friday but did not sustain any casualties, the Pentagon has confirmed.

Artillery fire from Turkish positions landed “a few hundred meters” near U.S. troops in Kobani, Syria, according to a statement late Friday night from Navy Capt. Brook DeWalt, Director of Defense Press Operations at the Pentagon.

The area was “known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present,” DeWalt said. “All U.S. troops are accounted for with no injuries. U.S. Forces have not withdrawn from Kobani.

Turkey this week began an offensive into Syria to strike against Kurdish groups Ankara sees as terrorist organizations, but which the U.S. has trained and equipped to lead the fight against the Islamic State organization.

“The United States remains opposed to the Turkish military move into Syria and especially objects to Turkish operations outside the Security Mechanism zone and in areas where the Turks know U.S. forces are present,” DeWalt added. “The U.S. demands that Turkey avoid actions that could result in immediate defensive action.”

READ MORE…

Commandant Promoted to rank of Brigadier General

By West Point Public Affairs – October 7, 2019

WEST POINT, N.Y. –– Col. Curtis A. Buzzard, 78th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy and a Class of 1992 graduate, was promoted to Brigadier General during a ceremony in the Haig Room, Jefferson Hall, Friday, Oct. 4.

“In every assignment and in just the short time he’s been part of the West Point team, Curtis has shown a keen force of intellect, tremendous energy and steadiness of purpose as he has led Soldiers, enhanced Army readiness, trained multinational partners and now, developing the next generation of leaders for our Army,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, 60th Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy.

Col. Curtis A. Buzzard assumed command as the 78th Commandant of Cadets on June 28, 2019. The summer and fall semester have been about observing training and building relationships with more than 4,400 future leaders of this nation.

“The methodology behind producing leaders of character has been refined since my time here, but the enduring ideals of this institution and what it provides to the Army and the American people are the same,” Buzzard said. “All of us have important roles in developing cadets and achieving the mission. This is a team effort.”
Buzzard was commissioned an infantry officer in 1992 from the academy and began his career in the 82nd Airborne Division as a rifle platoon leader, support platoon leader and battalion air staff officer responsible for operational and training plans in 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He later served as the Brigade air staff officer responsible for operational and training plans. Buzzard then served on staff and as a company commander in both the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and later in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

After attending the U. S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, he returned to the 82nd Airborne Division as a battalion operations officer, battalion executive officer and later as battalion commander for 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Buzzard then served as the U.S. Army War College Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and returned to the 82nd Airborne Division as the division senior staff officer for operations and plans and later commanded the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Next, Buzzard commanded the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany and he most recently served as the deputy commander for operations for the 7th Infantry Division. Buzzard has also served as a strategist at Department of the Army Headquarters and as the Army military aide to the president, serving for Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.
He has earned master’s degrees from Harvard University and the Marine Corps University. He has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and his awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star Medal (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal (six awards), Army Commendation Medal (three awards), Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Presidential Service Badge, Army Staff Badge and numerous foreign jump wings.

Buzzard is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

About West Point:
The U. S. Military Academy at West Point is a four-year, co-educational, federal, liberal arts college located 50 miles north of New York City. It was founded in 1802 as America’s first college of engineering and continues today as the world’s premier leader-development institution, consistently ranked among top colleges in the country. Its mission remains constant—to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the U. S. Army. For more information, go to www.westpoint.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT
845-938-2006
mediarelations@westpoint.edu

West Point to honor first female 4-star general

WEST POINT, N.Y. — The first woman to become a four-star general in the U.S. military will be honored with an award at West Point.

Retired Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody will receive the Thayer Award on Oct. 10 at a ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy.

The award is presented by West Point’s Association of Graduates to those whose service in the national interest reflects the academy’s motto of “Duty, Honor, Country.” Past recipients include Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bob Hope and Tom Brokaw and Robert Mueller. Last year’s recipient was Leon Panetta.

Before her retirement in 2012, Dunwoody led and ran Army Materiel Command, the largest global logistics command in the Army.

The award is named for Col. Sylvanus Thayer, a revered early leader of the academy.