US ponders changes after insider attack in Afghanistan

first_imgIn this 1 July photo, police and firemen work at the site of a deadly suicide attack in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Photo: APIt’s too early to tell if training or other changes must be made in light of an insider attack in Afghanistan that killed one American soldier and wounded two others, because there’s some uncertainty about whether the assailant was a disgruntled Afghan soldier or an insurgent infiltrator, says a top officer of US army.Mark Milley, army chief of staff, said Friday that the three soldiers who were shot last weekend were protecting members of the new US advisory brigade that deployed to Afghanistan for the first time just five months ago. He said the Army is moving ahead with plans to create more of the training brigades and use them primarily in Afghanistan, although other locations could be considered in the future.According to officials, the attacker fired on the soldiers at the airfield on the base at Tarin Kowt, in southern Uruzgan Province, a hotbed of Taliban activity. He was taken into custody on the day of the attack on 7 July.It was the first death involving the advisory brigade, and the first insider attack in about a year. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, was shot by small arms fire and killed. The other two soldiers are in stable condition.In a message to the media last Saturday, Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmadi said the shooting was carried out by a member of the Afghan security forces who acted alone, but the militant group “appreciated” his attack.The military, said Milley, is still trying to determine if the shooter was from the Taliban or another insurgency or just an angry Afghan soldier. Either way, he said, it doesn’t change the mission of the new advisory teams, working closely with their Afghan partners. Those jobs carry risk.”Those guys are out there, and they’re in exposed positons and it is a high-risk situation,” Milley said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. “So casualties are going to occur.”That’s a reminder of the challenges facing US forces in Afghanistan in the 17th year of America’s military involvement there. The Trump administration is trying to boost the capabilities of Afghan security forces and increase military pressure on the Taliban in the hope of forcing them to negotiate a peace.During a surge in the US military presence in Afghanistan under the Obama administration, when American forces had a greater combat role, there were dozens of so-called insider attacks.Despite additional precautionary steps since then, the threat has continued. Last June, there were two insider attacks – in which a soldier in an Afghan uniform turns his weapon on US or other coalition troops – within a two-week period, killing three US soldiers and wounding another seven.Speaking to reporters last month, Scott Jackson, commander of the new security force assistance brigade, acknowledged the possible threat of a friendly fire attack.”I will tell you honestly, we have had our Afghan partners come to us with intelligence that pre-empted potential attacks, and they have been proactively taking care of their own problems,” Jackson said during a 13 June briefing.Jackson said that when the assistance brigade arrived in Afghanistan, they began vetting the higher-level Afghan forces and steadily worked their way down to the smaller units. That vetting, said Jackson, goes on continually as soldiers rotate in and out of the units, and has not delayed operations.Just six months ago, Jackson was at Fort Benning, Georgia, pulling together the new training brigade, working to make real the vision of senior Army leaders.The idea was formed early last year, as officials recognized the need for permanent military training teams that could be deployed worldwide to help local forces learn how to fight better. The plan was a reflection of the new reality of America at war: Army soldiers advising and building indigenous security forces, not doing the fighting for them on foreign soil.Under the plan, the Army will build six brigades over the next several years. And Milley said Friday that the second brigade is currently doing pre-mission training to replace Jackson’s unit when it’s time for them to come home.last_img read more

WATCH US Mayors Travel To Border To Demand Family Reunification

first_img Share Mayors from more than a dozen U.S. cities including New York and Los Angeles gathered near a holding facility for immigrant children on Texas’ border with Mexico to call for the immediate reunification of immigrant children with their families.Trump has ordered a halt to the separation minors from families that are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally. But concerns persisted Thursday about the emotional trauma inflicted on immigrant children under President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy for illegal border crossings.New York City’s Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti and Democratic mayors from new Mexico’s three most populous cities were among those who gathered near the facility on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas.Santa Fe, N.M. Mayor Alan Webber said the president’s zero-tolerance approach to illegal border crossings has traumatized children and remains a humanitarian threat.“You can’t backpedal on the damage you have already done to all of those children,” Webber said. “The fact that, at least for the moment, Trump has gotten a little less inhumane hardly solves the problem.”In the face of worldwide outrage, Trump on Wednesday reversed a policy that has already separated more than 2,300 children from their parents.In Washington D.C., the House of Representative prepared to vote Thursday on a Republican immigration bill. Trump suggested that any measure that is approved by the House would be doomed in the Senate anyway.last_img read more

ArtTech Startup Makes the Digital Picture Frame Super Classy

first_imgApril 7, 2015 2 min read Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalscenter_img Register Now » The idea of the digital picture frame is logical, but in execution, it doesn’t always work. In many cases, the picture quality isn’t great, the frames are cheesy and the whole vibe is a bit suburban-country-living gone wrong.A new art-tech startup, Meural, is making digital picture frames super classy and innovative. The image appears on a matte LCD display and the frame is made by hand of maple wood. The New York City-based startup isn’t interested in a slideshow of family vacation snaps from your latest family trip to Disney, either. The idea is for you to rotate images of fine art and professional photographs in your Meural.The startup is being very careful not to upset the art community traditionalists. “We unreservedly respect the established means of art collection and curation,” says CEO Vladimir Vukicevic, in a statement announcing the launch. “Meural is working closely with museums, galleries and artists to create an innovative new layer in visual culture by increasing the opportunity for exploration and accessibility.”Related: Marc Ecko on Entrepreneurship as an Art Form (Video)The discovery component of the Meural “digital canvas” makes it appealing to the indecisive set. And what if your tastes change? Or your mood shifts? Or you grow tired of a particular image? The Meural frame is connected to an app wirelessly, so you can change the image from across the room. But, also, if you are standing in front of the image, the frame is gesture sensitive, so you can wave your hand in front of the “digital canvas” and change the image displayed.Related: Artists Are Job-Creating Entrepreneurs, Too.The Meural frame is not available for purchase just yet. It’s in pre-order, starting at $395, and is expected to ship this fall.The technology that Meural is using to collect pre-orders is a new “standalone” crowdfunding software developed by the alternative finance platform RocketHub. The pre-order software, called LaunchPad, allows businesses to customize the RocketHub software to their particular needs. Vukicevic, the founder of Meural, was previously the CTO of RocketHub.Related: Crowdfunding Nearly Tripled Last Year, Becoming a $16 Billion Industrylast_img read more

Top 8 Tips for Women Entering IT

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 6 min read The future of IT is bright: New technologies are being developed at a faster rate than ever before, and our lives are increasingly integrated with and dependent on technology. IT talent, therefore, is in high demand.Related: The 4 Biggest Myths Discouraging Women From Tech CareersA Careerbuilder & EMSI survey showed that the most in-demand IT positions in 2016 are information security analysts, software and application developers, network and systems administrators and computer analysts. The survey also showed that with the shortage of skilled IT talent, between 65 and 89 percent of these positions will remain open.Yet, despite this bright outlook, the number of women in IT remains low. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, in 2015 only 25 percent of professional computing jobs in the U.S. were held by women. And the presence of minorities was especially low.Of the women in the National Center survey, only 5 percent were Asian, 3 percent were African-American and 1 percent, Hispanic. The problem apparently starts in high school: Although 47 percent of AP calculus test-takers last year were female, only 22 percent of those taking AP computer science tests were female.Clearly, while women aren’t lacking in aptitude, there are obstacles — real or perceived  — to women succeeding in IT professions. Experts regularly debate what those obstacles are, discussing things like male-dominated work environments, lack of female role models and a failure by employers to accommodate measures that allow women to balance a career with a family.But does all that mean women can’t enjoy a long, successful IT career? Absolutely not. Think of Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and the six female mathematicians who worked as programmers on the ENIAC computer. Since that time, many more women have made hugely important contributions to the field. In short, participation from women has always been, and remains critical to, continued innovation in IT.So if you’re a woman looking to enter IT today, what do you need to know?1. Be confident.Being the only woman in the room can be intimidating. However, you should always keep in mind that you’re there thanks to your skills and experience — just like everyone else. You’re a valuable asset to your company, and that’s why you were hired. One way to maintain your confidence is to keep a list of all of your qualities, skills and accomplishments, and review it every day.2. Assert yourself.A male-dominated workplace and industry will likely require some getting used to, since men and women have distinctly different ways of working and communicating. You don’t have to adapt your behavior to match that of your male colleagues, but you are advised to assert yourself. Speak up when you have something to contribute. Don’t let anybody patronize you. Use assertive (but not aggressive) body language. If you want or need anything, ask for it. And take the initiative when that’s appropriate.3. Cultivate a thick skin. In her Inc. article, “The 2 Things Ellen Pao Says Women in Tech Need to Know,” Christine Lagorio-Chafkin quotes Pao, the former Reddit CEO, as advising women to have a thick skin. In her high-profile position, Pao received a lot of negative and hurtful feedback — which is often the case for women dealing with social media. However, even if your IT position has nothing to do with social media, you might encounter negative attitudes from colleagues, peers or clients.Related: Women Made Incremental Progress in Tech the Past Few Years (Infographic)It’s often better to ignore it and to constantly produce high-quality work than to let other people’s negativity get to you and compromise your performance. Keep in mind that every minute of energy you spend worrying about what others are saying about you detracts from the energy you have to focus on your own work and life.4. Report bullying and sexism. Having a thick skin doesn’t mean you have to tolerate actual bullying and sexism — nobody does, regardless of gender or profession. If you encounter these issues at work, review your employee handbook to determine what company policy says about reporting these kinds of incidents. Follow company regulations to the letter. If this doesn’t resolve the situation, consider taking legal action and/or reporting the incidents to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).5. Project your brand. Your personal brand is the persona you project professionally: how you dress and interact, as well as what your specialties and values are. In Scott Carey’s TechWorld article “13 Career Tips for Women in Tech, from Women in Tech,” Emily Forbes, founder of Seenit, advises carefully projecting your personal brand. This will help prevent others from stereotyping you.6. Seek out other women. Many women in tech feel supported when they seek out other women, whether that happens in real life or online. Look for LinkedIn groups and professional associations like the National Center for Women & Information Technology, as well as local events through through colleges and chambers of commerce.7. Create a career map and stick to it.Opportunities are rife in IT — but you have to be alert to them. Create a career map that depicts what your ultimate objective is and how you’ll get there; then focus on creating or taking advantage of the opportunities that come along. This will help you advance. And, in the event you become discouraged, your career map will show you how far you’ve come.8. Maintain a good work-life balance. Just as your colleagues do, set boundaries around your time and ask for what you need to make your work environment a pleasant and productive one. If you’re a new mom and need a private room where you can pump breast milk, ask for it. If you want to work from home two days a week to be with your toddler, say so. If you want to join the department’s running team that trains at lunch time, that’s fine too!Related: The 5 Richest Women in TechKeep these eight tips in mind, and you’ll find that you’ll be able to focus more and more on your actual work instead of on the fact that you’re one of the few women in IT. And that’s exactly what the industry needs in order to keep advancing. May 24, 2016 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now »last_img read more