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          Pilot Fixed Wing Job At General Atomics - Experienced Mce Uav Pilot      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Indian Springs, NV - United States, NV General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) an affiliate of General Atomics is a world leader in proven reliable remotely piloted aircraft and tactical reconnaissance radars as well as advanced high-resolution surveillance systems. Under general s
          Pilot Fixed Wing Job At General Atomics - Senior Mce Uav Pilot      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Indian Springs, NV - United States, NV General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) an affiliate of General Atomics is a world leader in proven reliable remotely piloted aircraft and tactical reconnaissance radars as well as advanced high-resolution surveillance systems. Under general s
          GIS Analyst - GDA - Cody, WY      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Ability to process imagery and classify point clouds from UAV data. We offer comprehensive design and consulting services in aviation, transportation, land...
From Indeed - Tue, 15 May 2018 17:12:33 GMT - View all Cody, WY jobs
          Skylogic Research Announces Launch of Annual Drone Industry Benchmark Survey      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
2018 study will examine the consumer and commercial sectors to pinpoint business use and market share of major UAV and software brands REDWOOD CITY, …
           SkyGuardian embarks on transatlantic flight       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The SkyGuardian is currently winging its way across the Atlantic to RAF Guildford#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc's (GA-ASI) SkyGuardian drone set out today on its historic transatlantic flight. At 12:48 pm CDT, the MQ-9B Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) took off from the company's Flight Test and Training Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is on its way to RAF Guildford in Gloucestershire, England.

.. Continue Reading SkyGuardian embarks on transatlantic flight

Category: Military

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          Engineering Job At General Atomics - Uav Systems Specialist Lmi Specialist      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
San Diego, CA - United States, CA General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) an affiliate of General Atomics is a world leader in proven reliable remotely piloted aircraft and tactical reconnaissance radars as well as advanced high-resolution surveillance systems. We recognize an
          GIS Analyst - GDA - Cody, WY      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Ability to process imagery and classify point clouds from UAV data. We offer comprehensive design and consulting services in aviation, transportation, land...
From Indeed - Tue, 15 May 2018 17:12:33 GMT - View all Cody, WY jobs
           SkyGuardian embarks on transatlantic flight       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The SkyGuardian is currently winging its way across the Atlantic to RAF Guildford#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc's (GA-ASI) SkyGuardian drone set out today on its historic transatlantic flight. At 12:48 pm CDT, the MQ-9B Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) took off from the company's Flight Test and Training Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is on its way to RAF Guildford in Gloucestershire, England.

.. Continue Reading SkyGuardian embarks on transatlantic flight

Category: Military

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          UAV Flight Crew Service      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Buyer: Army Contracting Command, MICC
           SkyGuardian embarks on transatlantic flight       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The SkyGuardian is currently winging its way across the Atlantic to RAF Guildford#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc's (GA-ASI) SkyGuardian drone set out today on its historic transatlantic flight. At 12:48 pm CDT, the MQ-9B Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) took off from the company's Flight Test and Training Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is on its way to RAF Guildford in Gloucestershire, England.

.. Continue Reading SkyGuardian embarks on transatlantic flight

Category: Military

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          Dejero and Draganfly the Ideal Match!      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
What better way to upload your drone footage to the cloud when up in the clouds! Dejero, a leading provider of cloud-managed solutions that provides video transport and Internet connectivity has collaborated with Draganfly, the Canadian-based sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft System) in forming a technology partnership. The new Draganfly’s Commander UAV quadcopter will be bundled ...
          Hacker Selling Pentagon’s Killer Drone Manual on Dark Web for $150, Cheap      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

A sensitive training manual for the U.S. military’s lethal MQ-9 Reaper UAV was put up for sale on an underground marketplace last month, after a hacker plucked it from an Air Force captain’s home network using a default password.

But despite an asking price of only $150, nobody was interested. “I’ve been personally investigating the  dark web for almost 15 years, and this is the first time I’ve uncovered documents of this nature,” says Andrei Barysevich, director of advanced collection at Recorded Future. “This type of document would typically be stolen by nation-state hackers. They wouldn’t be offering it on the dark web, and certainly not for $150.” Developed by General Atomics, the $64 million MQ-9 Reaper is the heavily-armed follow-on to the Predator drone, capable of dropping laser-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles on a target from an altitude of 50 thousand feet. In its unarmed configuration it’s been used by DHS for border surveillance and NASA for weather studies. The stolen Reaper training manual was titled “MQ-9A Reaper Block 5 (UHK97000-15) RPAMaintenance Event 1 Delta Training.” It was unclassified, but the cover bore a lengthy admonishment on safe handling.

“This information is furnished upon condition that it will not be  released to another nation without the specific authority” of the Air Force, the cover reads. “[T]he recipient will report promptly to the United States, any known or suspected compromises.” The document, and others like it, was pilfered from the home network of an Air Force captain in the 432d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, says Barysevich. A spokesperson for the squadron did not immediately respond to an inquiry from the Daily Beast on Tuesday. Barysevich says he spotted the manual for sale on a dark web forum in early June. Posing as a potential buyer, he struck up a conversation with the seller, who turned out to be part of a small hacking crew based in South America that specializes in low-hanging fruit. Armed with some rudimentary knowledge and an Internet-of-things search engine called Shodan, the hackers learned to exploit a feature in some Netgear home routers that allow a user to attach an external USB drive and load it up with documents, videos or music that they want to share across their home network. An extra option called the “Personal FTP Server” also makes the files accessible over the public Internet, so the user can fetch them from work or while traveling.If the user switches the Personal FTP Server option on, and doesn’t explicitly set a password for the server, all their shared files are left wide open to anybody who logs in as “anonymous,” with no password required — a mistake evidently made by the Air Force captain. “We reported this to DHS and various law enforcement agencies, and they forwarded the information to the U.S. Air Force,” says Barysevich.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here

          GIS Analyst - GDA - Cody, WY      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Ability to process imagery and classify point clouds from UAV data. We offer comprehensive design and consulting services in aviation, transportation, land...
From Indeed - Tue, 15 May 2018 17:12:33 GMT - View all Cody, WY jobs
           SkyGuardian embarks on transatlantic flight       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The SkyGuardian is currently winging its way across the Atlantic to RAF Guildford#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc's (GA-ASI) SkyGuardian drone set out today on its historic transatlantic flight. At 12:48 pm CDT, the MQ-9B Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) took off from the company's Flight Test and Training Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is on its way to RAF Guildford in Gloucestershire, England.

.. Continue Reading SkyGuardian embarks on transatlantic flight

Category: Military

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          GIS Analyst - GDA - Cody, WY      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Ability to process imagery and classify point clouds from UAV data. We offer comprehensive design and consulting services in aviation, transportation, land...
From Indeed - Tue, 15 May 2018 17:12:33 GMT - View all Cody, WY jobs
          Mini UAV Market Business Growth Statistics and Key Players Insights: Bormatec, Cyberflight Ltd, INNOCON, SURVEY Copter      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
(EMAILWIRE.COM, July 11, 2018 ) The Global Mini UAV Market 2018 to 2025 renders deep perception of the key regional market status of the Mini UAV Industry on a global level that primarily aims the core regions which comprises of continents like North America, Europe, Japan, China, and other regions...
          External flybarless system      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

CUAV Pixhack nano (PX4v4)

           SkyGuardian drone embarks on milestone transatlantic flight       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The SkyGuardian is currently winging its way across the Atlantic to RAF Fairford#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc's (GA-ASI) SkyGuardian drone set out today on its historic transatlantic flight. At 12:48 pm CDT, the MQ-9B Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) took off from the company's Flight Test and Training Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is on its way to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England.

.. Continue Reading SkyGuardian drone embarks on milestone transatlantic flight

Category: Military

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          En pointe sur les drones, Bordeaux Technowest ouvre l'UAV Show en octobre      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
La 5e édition de l’UAV Show, premier salon européen du drone professionnel, organisé par la technopole Bordeaux Technowest, aura lieu les 10, 11 et 12 octobre prochains, à Mérignac (Bordeaux Métropole) et sur la zone d’essais de Sainte-Hélène, où plusieurs démonstrations en vol seront faites. Un salon peut-être perturbé par la création d'une toute nouvelle manifestation sur le sujet près de Paris en septembre.
           Israel Patriot missile intercepts drone from Syria: army       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Israel intercepted a drone launched from Syria with a Patriot missile on Wednesday, setting off sirens in the occupied Golan Heights, the army said."UAV from...
          Tài liệu về máy bay 'Thần chết' của Mỹ bị rao bán trên mạng      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Tin tặc đã xâm nhập máy tính của một đại úy Không quân Mỹ và đánh cắp các tài liệu liên quan tới MQ-9A Reaper - máy bay không người lái (UAV) có biệt danh "Thần chết" rồi rao bán lén lút trên mạng.

MQ-9A Reaper là UAV được sử dụng nhiều nhất của không quân Mỹ cho các sứ mệnh đặc biệt, tấn công các mục tiêu khủng bố hoặc giám sát trên khắp thế giới.
UAV MQ-9A Reaper với bom dẫn đường bằng laser GBU-12 và tên lửa AGM-114 trên bầu trời Afghanistan - Ảnh: US AIR FORCE

Với chiều dài lên tới 11m và sải cánh 20m, MQ-9A Reaper là một trong những UAV quân sự lớn nhất thế giới đang hoạt động.
Theo đài CNN, các tài liệu bị đánh cắp, mặc dù không được đánh dấu Tuyệt mật, lại bao gồm danh sách cụ thể các phi công điều khiển MQ-9A Reaper, quá trình bảo dưỡng và nguồn gốc các loại vũ khí được sử dụng trên loại UAV này.
Đây là vụ tấn công tin tặc mới nhất nhắm vào các tài liệu quân sự Mỹ. Trước đó, một nhà thầu chuyên cung cấp vũ khí cho hải quân Mỹ cũng đã bị tấn công. Nhóm tin tặc khi đó đã lấy đi các tài liệu nhạy cảm về tàu ngầm và những vũ khí dưới nước của quân đội Mỹ. Các quan chức Mỹ khẳng định có yếu tố Trung Quốc đứng đằng sau vụ tấn công này.
Thống kê từ Bộ Quốc phòng Mỹ cho thấy cơ quan này bẻ gãy tới 10 triệu vụ tấn công kỹ thuật số mỗi ngày. Các nhóm tấn công thì đủ loại, từ những nhóm quá rảnh muốn gây sự chú ý và rắc rối đến các nhóm trình độ cao được các chính phủ nước ngoài tài trợ với hi vọng có thể đánh cắp được các tài liệu mật của Washington.
Trong vụ MQ-9A Reaper, theo nhóm điều tra của Recorded Future, một công ty bảo mật có trụ sở tại Mỹ, nhóm tấn công có nguồn gốc từ khu vực Nam Mỹ. Chi tiết không được công ty này tiết lộ bởi cuộc điều tra đang được tiến hành.
Người phát ngôn Cục điều tra liên bang Mỹ Lauren Hagee không xác nhận cũng chẳng phủ nhận sự tồn tại của cuộc điều tra. Không quân Mỹ không lập tức đưa ra bình luận.
Thông qua một mẩu quảng cáo trên "deep web", nhóm điều tra của Recorded Future đã liên lạc được với tin tặc đã đánh cắp tài liệu rồi thương lượng về việc mua bán. Theo CNN, kẻ đánh cắp đã khoe với các nhà điều tra rằng y thích đọc lướt các tài liệu về MQ-9A Reaper trong thời gian rảnh khi không tìm kiếm nạn nhân mới.
Một lỗi nhỏ từ bộ phát wifi Netgear đã giúp tin tặc đột nhập vào máy tính của vị đại úy không quân Mỹ. Ngoài MQ-9A Reaper, y cũng đánh cắp các tài liệu hướng dẫn sử dụng thiết bị nổ, sơ đồ tổ chức trung đội xe tăng.
Dark web - một phần nhỏ của deep web, là một thế giới mạng bí ẩn khác với thế giới mà ai cũng có thể truy cập. Người dùng chỉ có thể truy cập bằng trình duyệt đặc biệt như Tor nhằm che dấu địa chỉ IP.
Đúng như tên gọi, ở dark web và deep web, các hoạt động mua bán vũ khí, nội tạng, ma túy trái phép diễn ra hàng ngày.
Bảo Duy (Tuổi trẻ)

          Dejero and Draganfly Partner to Provide High Quality Real-Time Video Transport      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Dejero, a provider of cloud-managed solutions that provide video transport and Internet connectivity while mobile or in remote locations, has formed a technology partnership with Canadian-based  Draganfly Innovations Inc. The collaboration sees Draganfly’s Commander UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) quadcopter bundled together with the Dejero EnGo mobile transmitter—providing real-time video transport from the air. In addition, the […]

The post Dejero and Draganfly Partner to Provide High Quality Real-Time Video Transport appeared first on UAS VISION.

          #boosted - wd40007      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
#nissan #gtr #nissangtr #skyline #nissanskyline #r35 #r35gtr #gtr35 #omgtr #godzilla #jdm #cobb #stillen #gfb #supercar #supercars #boosted #twinturbo #sickwhips #carporn #photoshoot #gta5 #uav #drone #dji #samsung #nikon #canon #zeiss #jvc
          Doktorand/in, Sektion Meteorologie der Polargebiete      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung ist  eine von der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, der Freien Hansestadt Bremen und den Ländern Brandenburg und Schleswig-Holstein getragene Forschungseinrichtung mit rund 1.000 Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern. In einem breiten multidisziplinären Ansatz betreiben wir Polar- und Meeresforschung und leisten dabei im Verbund mit zahlreichen universitären und außeruniversitären Forschungseinrichtungen einen wichtigen Beitrag zur globalen Umwelt-, Erdsystem- und Paläoklimaforschung. Wir suchen für den Fachbereich Klimawissenschaften in der Sektion Meteorologie der Polargebiete in Bremerhaven zum nächstmöglichen Zeitpunkt eine/n Doktorand/in Hintergrund:
Im Rahmen des vom Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur geförderten Projekts AEROMET_UAV soll miniaturisierte meteorologische Messtechnik in ein eigens entwickeltes unbemanntes Flugsystem implementiert werden. Das System soll meteorologische Informationen aus Radiosondierungen bis in Höhen von 10 km ergänzen. Das AWI wird die Erprobung des Systems im operationellen Einsatz an der Neumayer-Station in der Antarktis umsetzen und eine erste wissenschaftliche Nutzung der Daten durchführen. Weitere Projektpartner sind das Institut für Flugführung (IFF, Technische Universität Braunschweig), die Firma exabotix GmbH (Bad Lauterberg) sowie der Deutschen Wetterdienst (DWD). Aufgaben:
Sie sollen die Projektaufgaben des AWI in AEROMET_UAV übernehmen. Dies ist zu Beginn die Anfertigung einer Anforderungsanalyse für den Einsatz des zu entwickelnden unbemannten Fluggerätes (UAV)  in der Antarktis (Neumayer-Station). Hierzu müssen die dort herrschenden Wetterbedingungen anhand langjähriger Datenreihen analysiert und die Ergebnisse den Projektpartnern in geeigneter Weise bereitgestellt werden. Die Hauptaufgabe wird sein, den Wert des Flugsystems für numerische Wettervorhersagen sowie klimatologische Zeitreihen zu quantifizieren. Hierzu sollen Evaluierungsmethoden des Europäischen Zentrums für mittelfristige Wettervorhersage (ECMWF) erlernt und angewendet werden. Weitere Aufgaben sind die Begleitung des Aufbaus und die Durchführung erster Messflüge in Deutschland. Zudem sollen Sie eine Messkampagne an der Neumayer-Station vorbereiten und an Expeditionen teilnehmen. Voraussetzungen:
Eine Anforderung an Sie ist ein sehr gut abgeschlossenes Masterstudium aus den Bereichen Meteorologie, Atmosphären- oder Umweltphysik oder vergleichbar. Zudem sollten Sie über folgende Qualifikationen verfügen:
  •  Programmiererfahrung oder –kenntnis zur Anwendung in wissenschaftlicher Datenauswertung
  • Grundkenntnisse der numerischen Wettervorhersage, insbesondere Analyse und Reanalyse
  • Grundkenntnisse der globalen meteorologischen Messnetze der World Meteorological Organisation
  • Erfahrung mit meteorologischer Messtechnik
  • Bereitschaft zur Teilnahme an einer Polarexpedition und an Dienstreisen im In- und Ausland
  • Sprachkenntnisse: Deutsch und Englisch in Wort und Schrift
Weitere Informationen erhalten Sie bei Herrn Dr. Holger Schmithüsen ( Die Stelle ist auf drei Jahre befristet. Die Vergütung ist abhängig von Ihrer Qualifikation sowie den Ihnen übertragenen Aufgaben bis zu Entgeltgruppe 13 (66%) möglich und richtet sich nach dem Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst des Bundes (TVöD-Bund). Der Dienstort ist Bremerhaven. Als Doktorand/in am AWI ist die Teilnahme an einem strukturierten Promotionsprogramm oder einer Graduiertenschule vorgesehen. In diesem Zusammenhang haben Sie die Möglichkeit sich in der Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’ ( einzuschreiben. Wir bieten ein multidisziplinäres internationales und spannendes Arbeitsumfeld mit flexibler Arbeitszeit, modernstem Forschungsequipment und einer erstklassigen Infrastruktur. Das AWI strebt die Erhöhung der Anzahl unserer Mitarbeiterinnen mit (Fach-) Hochschulabschluss an und fordert daher Frauen ausdrücklich zur Bewerbung auf. Schwerbehinderte Bewerber/innen werden bei gleicher fachlicher und persönlicher Eignung bevorzugt. Über verschiedene Maßnahmen wird gezielt die Vereinbarkeit von Beruf und Familie gefördert. Aufgrund unserer familienbewussten Personalpolitik wurde uns das Zertifikat zum Audit „Beruf und Familie“ verliehen. Bitte richten Sie Ihre Bewerbung mit den üblichen Unterlagen (Lebenslauf, Zeugnisse und Tätigkeitsnachweise) unter Angabe der Kennziffer 104/G/Kli bis zum 23. Juli 2018 auf dem Postwege an: Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Personalabteilung, Postfach 120161, 27515 Bremerhaven oder per E-Mail (alle Unterlagen in einer PDF-Datei kombiniert) an:
          'IDF had complete control over UAV situation'      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
IDF spokesperson says military took remote control of UAV launch from Syria into Israel before destroying it.

           SkyGuardian drone embarks on milestone transatlantic flight       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The SkyGuardian is currently winging its way across the Atlantic to RAF Fairford#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc's (GA-ASI) SkyGuardian drone set out today on its historic transatlantic flight. At 12:48 pm CDT, the MQ-9B Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) took off from the company's Flight Test and Training Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is on its way to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England.

.. Continue Reading SkyGuardian drone embarks on milestone transatlantic flight

Category: Military

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           Tài liệu về máy bay 'Thần chết' của Mỹ bị rao bán trên mạng       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Tin tặc đã xâm nhập máy tính của một đại úy Không quân Mỹ và đánh cắp các tài liệu liên quan tới MQ-9A Reaper - máy bay không người lái (UAV) có biệt danh "Thần chết" rồi rao bán lén lút trên mạng.MQ-9A Reaper là UAV được sử dụng nhiều nhất của không quân Mỹ cho các sứ mệnh đặc biệt, tấn công các mục tiêu khủng bố hoặc giám sát trên khắp thế giới.Với chiều dài lên tới 11m và sải cánh 20m, MQ-9A Reaper là một trong những UAV quân sự lớn nhất thế giới đang hoạt động.Theo đài CNN, các tài liệu bị đánh cắp, mặc dù không được đánh dấu Tuyệt mật, lại bao...
          07/11 Links Pt1: IDF intercepts Syrian drone; UK Taxpayers Sponsor Palestinian Terror; PLO-Hamas anti-England, anti-Israel Hatred Politicises FIFA World Cup      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
From Ian:

PWM: What makes a Palestinian parent proud?
One of the signs of the Palestinian Authority’s successful indoctrination of its population to admire terrorists who have murdered civilians, is when parents of terrorists openly say they are “proud” of their terrorist sons, or describe their actions as “honorable.”

The parents of Islamic Jihad member Muhammad Aql who recruited and prepared the suicide bombers who attacked a bus at Karkur Junction near Hadera on Oct. 21, 2002, murdering 14 and wounding 50, are such parents. When interviewed on official PA TV they described his actions as bringing them “honor”:

Mother of terrorist prisoner Muhammad Aql: “Our hope is that Allah will release them from prison. These are heroes we raise our heads thanks to them...”
Father of terrorist prisoner Muhammad Aql: “Praise Allah, he is imprisoned for an action that honors us, and not for anything else.”
[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, June 17, 2018]

Terrorist Aql was also involved in additional shooting and bombing attacks and is serving 14 life sentences.

By law, the PA pays Aql and thousands of other terrorist prisoners a monthly salary, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.
UK Taxpayers Sponsor Palestinian Terror
As support for the Palestinian cause drops off even in the Arab world, news that Australia has cut a $7 million ‘lifeline’ to a death-cult is welcome indeed.

Maybe it’s also time for Britain to get real – especially in the wake of the barely reported stoning of Prince William’s vehicle – and acknowledge the need to stop encouraging terror with taxpayers’ money.

Australia has decided to discontinue direct aid to the Palestinian Authority because it suspects the cash is freeing up funds used to back political violence. And we have recently learnt that the UK gave £20 million in aid to Palestinian schools, where they teach children about Jihad (holy war) and martyrdom.

A report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education reveals that the PA school curriculum “utilizes a variety of tools to convince children – mostly boys – to risk their lives and die as martyrs”.

It goes on to highlight some of the lessons being funded by British aid. For example, a science textbook explains Newton’s second law of physics – on power, mass and tensile strength – by using an image of a boy with a slingshot targeting soldiers.

Meanwhile jihadists continue their desperate attempts to engage Western sympathy by stoking up further flames in Gaza, sending burning kites to destroy Israeli crops while also trying to force their way through the border fence in order to kill Jews.
PA Promises to Only Pay Families of Nice Terrorists (satire)
The Israeli parliament’s decision to bring forward legislation to financially penalize the Palestinian Authority by the amount they pay out to families of terrorists, has led to a call for compromise by the West Bank leadership.

“We get it, honestly. We understand why the Israelis might be a bit pissed with us for dishing out dollars to encourage more stabbings”, a spokesman said. “But, not all our guys are that bad, Zionist-killing aside of course. More than one of them could be described, as I believe those Jews would say, as a ‘true mensch’. They never forget to call their grandparents and are always promising to find a nice young girl to start a family with. Well, before they go out and kill Jews anyway. So, all we’re asking is that Israel is just a bit more understanding and will let us to continue to pay out funds to the families of these nice guys.”

Israel, unsurprisingly, did not react positively to the PA’s proposal. One government spokesman said that “while we can all get behind a good mensch, we don’t appreciate the Palestinians abusing the term. However often they call their grandmother, these guys are no Kevin Hart or Dwayne Johnson.”
David Singer: PLO-Hamas anti-England, anti-Israel Hatred Politicises FIFA World Cup
FIFA’s admission of the Palestinian Football Federation as a member of FIFA in 1988 had also contravened Article 10.1 of FIFA’s then governing articles:
'Any Association which is responsible for organising and supervising football in its country may become a Member of FIFA. In this context, the expression “country” shall refer to an independent state recognised by the international Community.'

FIFA started living in its own dream world 26 years before Sweden joined it. Who will replace Sweden as Britain’s nemesis was summed up by another fan:
“Anyone supporting England is supporting Israel itself. These teams represent their countries and governments and will raise their flags in the stands. How can I support the country that allowed the Jewish state on our land?”

The Gazan fans are in for a shock and a reality check when they begin choosing one of the three remaining teams – France, Belgium or Croatia – to topple the evil Brits.

France, Belgium and Croatia just happen to have all voted in favour of the Mandate for Palestine incorporating the Balfour Declaration.

The semi-finals, final and third-place playoff will be agony for Gazan viewers as one of these last four countries holds up the trophy on the winner’s podium come finals day – the others the three minor places - with their flags filling Gaza’s TV screens.

The moral is clear – international law cannot be turned on and off as circumstances dictate – because one day the perpetrator will become entrapped in the hopeless position that the Arab States, the PLO and Hamas now find themselves.

Throwing out binding international law – the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine – and falsely creating fake international law – “the State of Palestine” – goes to the heart of why the Arab-Jewish conflict still remains unresolved in 2018.

IDF intercepts Syrian drone that penetrated 10 kilometers into Israel
The Israel Defense Forces shot down a Syrian drone that penetrated several miles into Israeli territory from Syria on Wednesday, apparently sending fragments of the aircraft crashing into the Sea of Galilee, the military said.

“Using a Patriot battery, the IDF intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle that infiltrated from Syria into Israeli territory,” the IDF said in a statement.

The IDF said the Syrian drone was flown into Israel through Jordan.

The incident took place as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow to stress to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria.

The anti-aircraft Patriot missile that was fired at the drone set off rocket sirens in the southern Golan Heights and northern Jordan Valley regions, the army said. Residents of northern Israel reported seeing a trail of smoke in the sky as well as hearing explosions.

The drone reportedly managed to fly some 10 kilometers (three miles) into Israel before it was shot down over the Sea of Galilee. This indicates that the UAV was deliberately flown into Israel and did not accidentally enter the airspace as it was conducting a mission near the border.

It was not immediately clear how the drone managed to penetrate so deeply into Israel before it was intercepted.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
Evelyn Gordon: Why has settlement building dropped with President Trump in Office?
Contrary to his image overseas, Benjamin Netanyahu has never displayed much interest in settlement expansion. As I’ve noted before, settlement construction during most of his last nine years in office was lower than under any of his predecessors, including [those most committed to territorial compromise] like Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert. . . .

But most of Netanyahu’s party and many of his coalition partners do favor expanding settlements. Thus, to persuade them to show restraint, he must be able to demonstrate that doing so will produce tangible international benefits—either increased international support or at least reduced international hostility. And since no Israeli concession has ever produced any recompense from Europe, . . . that means from America.

Under the Obama administration, settlement restraint provided no benefits whatsoever. In 2009, for instance, Netanyahu, [responding to U.S. pressure], instituted an unprecedented ten-month settlement freeze to facilitate negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, refused even to show up for nine months and then walked out in the tenth. . . .

At no point during President Obama’s two terms did administration officials even give Netanyahu lip-service credit for restraining settlement construction. Instead, they picked nonstop public fights over the issue. Thus, toward the end of Obama’s tenure, it had become impossible for Netanyahu to persuade his cabinet that Israel was gaining anything by this restraint, and settlement construction began rising again. . . .

In the past eighteen months, [by contrast], President Trump has provided unstinting support for Israel at the United Nations via Ambassador Nikki Haley; recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. embassy there; publicly confronted the PA’s “pay-to-slay” policy; cut funding for UNRWA, the organization whose sole purpose is to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee problem; and abandoned the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. For anyone but the most rabid settlement supporter, this is clearly a worthwhile tradeoff.
Caroline Glick: NATO Is the Author of Its Own Demise
Today the U.S faces two main threats: China and radical Islam. Obviously, European nations have no capacity to play a significant role in containing or deterring China militarily. And as a military alliance, it is hard to see why NATO would be the tool of choice for developing common trade policies among allied nations to rein in China economically. Certainly NATO has been unable or unwilling to assist the U.S. in confronting the malign influence of North Korea, China’s most dangerous satellite.

As for radical Islam, due to Turkish membership in NATO, and due to European refusal to take any significant steps to rein in radical Islamic forces in Europe or anywhere else, it is abundantly clear that NATO is not the proper vehicle for U.S.-led collective defense against Iran or other jihadist powers.

To the extent that the U.S. seeks to work in the framework of a collective defense organization, it will need to look beyond NATO. It will require new alliance structures. Those can be informal, or transactional, or limited in scope, rather than formal and brittle, as NATO has been. But whether or not such alliances form, it is abundantly clear that scaling back NATO is a reasonable — indeed, a necessary — move.

As for President Trump, despite the bloviations of his critics, he bears no responsibility for NATO’s irrelevance. Trump did not cause NATO to have little role to play in fighting the key threats to American and global security. NATO has had nearly three decades to figure out how to do that. But it failed.

All that Trump has done is point out the reality of NATO’s decline — which his four predecessors refused to acknowledge.
Trump’s Mideast ‘deal of the century’ turns out to be a big fat nothing burger
Mahmoud Abbas’ government in Ramallah is squeezing Gaza harder than the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem is. It is Abbas and the PA, not Netanyahu, who is withholding the salaries of civil servants in Gaza. It is Abbas and the PA who have reduced the flow of electricity from Israel to Gaza, by not paying Gaza’s bills. It is Abbas and the PA who have blocked the import of medical supplies from the West Bank to Gaza. All this is intended to foment anger at Hamas, with the goal of restoring the Palestinian Authority to power in Gaza. All it has achieved is to saddle Israel with the responsibility of saving the Gazans from humanitarian disaster—and the better life is in Gaza, the more entrenched Hamas becomes.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ha-Aretz, Trump’s envoys have secured promises of $500m from the Arab states, as support for a peace deal. Much of the money would fund the building of a power station and an industrial area adjacent to Gaza, on Egyptian territory in northern Sinai. In other words, to improve life and economy for ordinary Gazans. In June, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, one of Abbas’ close aides, called an American-led effort to raise more than $500m for Gaza from Sunni Arab states a strategy to ‘perpetuate the separation between Gaza and the West Bank’. But it is Hamas and the PLO who have perpetuated that separation since 2007, despite sustained Egyptian and Saudi pressure for ‘national reconciliation’.

Israelis used to say that there was no partner for peace. Now, they have two non-partners for peace, one in Ramallah and the other in Gaza. In June, when Arab and Israeli media announced leaks from the Trump ‘deal’, Mohammed Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, called the deal ‘an unfair plan that aims at the liquidation of the Palestinian cause’ in a sermon to 90,000 worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque. The truth is that the Palestinian cause is now two Palestinian causes, divided by ideology, clan and geography.

One of those causes is led by Hamas in Gaza and fired by demographic pressure, religious zeal and chronic poverty. The other is led by the PLO in the West Bank, under an eighty-two year-old heavy smoker with heart trouble, a history of dodging negotiations, and no clear successor. This week, an unnamed ‘senior US official’ told the Washington Post that the US has recognised reality. As Abbas refuses to talk, the US is going to forget about peace plans and concentrate on alleviating the crisis in Gaza. No deal of the century, then. No peace, either.
20,000 Arabs migrate from Judea and Samaria every year
Former Israeli Consul in Washington and Government Press Office head Yoram Ettinger participated in the Investing in a Solution conference held last night in Elkana at the initiative of economist Erez Tzadok.

Ettinger referred to a number of issues on the political and economic level, reviewed economic successes of Americans in Israel and Judea/Samaria, and stated "the American aid money to Israel is a profitable investment in every way that generates 600-700% profits for the Americans."

Within the demographic review Ettinger rejected reports of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics regarding population registry and immigration, noting the PA is trying to conceal the fact that 20,000 Arabs emigrate from Judea and Samaria every year.

He explained how the PA inflated the number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria from 1.8 to 3 million, and expressed disappointment at the lack of effort by Israeli officials to reveal the truth about immigration figures.
Congress Renews Push to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terror Group
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are renewing a years-long push to designate the international Muslim Brotherhood organization as a terrorist organization due to its support for terror organizations that threaten U.S. security interests across the globe, according to conversations with U.S. officials spearheading the effort.

The congressional effort to target the Muslim Brotherhood will kick off early Wednesday, when lawmakers on the House's Subcommittee on National Security gather for a hearing to "examine the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates pose to the United States and its interests and how to most effectively counter it, including potential next steps for U.S. policy," according to the committee.

The hearing is expected to set the stage for Congress to follow through on efforts that begun in 2015 to convince the Obama administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group following its violent, and eventually failed, takeover in Egypt.

The State Department has opposed formal designation of the Brotherhood for some time due to efforts by the Obama administration to make diplomatic overtures to the group, particularly during its coup in Egypt. Although the Trump administration has designated various offshoots of the Brotherhood as global terror groups, the organization as a whole has escaped U.S. scrutiny.
Israel's Labor party quits Socialist International after it adopts BDS
The Labor Party sent a sternly worded letter to the Socialist International organization Tuesday after it adopted a resolution joining the Boycott Divest and Sanction Israel campaign, saying that the party would immediately leave the organization.

The Socialist International resolution that passed “calls all governments and civil society organizations to activate boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli occupation, all the occupation institutions, and the illegal Israeli settlements including the total embargo on all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel as long as it continues its policies of occupation and Apartheid against the Palestinian people.”

Labor’s international secretary, MK Hilik Bar, called the decision hypocritical and said Labor’s decision to suspend its membership was immediate and would become permanent if the decision is not canceled. He asked the organization to stop including any reference to Labor or its party members in any of its membership information, publications, speeches, or events.

“Needless to say, the Declaration on the Palestinian Question is biased, blind to facts or reality, and partially antisemitic,” Bar wrote. “The Declaration further weakens the alleged legitimacy of the organization you lead. The language and arguments of the Declaration makes it clear that until its cancellation - there is no real dialogue to have with you, or with your organization on this issue.”
Growing Arms Purchases by Arab Countries Challenge Israel
While many are justifiably worried about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and the regional and international agendas continue to focus on this issue, the region itself is at the height of a conventional arms race. The motivation behind the purchases is linked mainly to the fear of Iran, internal regional competition, and the desire of Arab countries, headed by the Gulf states, to acquire status and prestige for themselves. However, the quantity and quality of the weapons reaching the region could damage Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME).

Trends in Regional Empowerment

Data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that the scope of weapons exports to the Middle East increased in monetary terms by 103 percent in the period 2013-2017, compared to 2008-2012. During this time, Saudi Arabia and Egypt (each among the five leading arms purchasers in the world) increased their weapons imports by 225 percent and 215 percent, respectively. Notwithstanding the difficult economic situation in Egypt, and the belt tightening in the Gulf states due to the drop in oil prices in recent years, the defense budgets of these countries have not been significantly affected, and as a rule they have not reduced their military purchases. Egypt is going through a broad process of military buildup. Its air and sea defense arms are undergoing major modernization, including with the acquisition of two helicopter carriers from France, four advanced submarines from Germany, and 50 MIG-29 planes and S-300 air defense systems from Russia. In the Gulf, the scope of arms purchases by Saudi Arabia and the Emirates exceeds those of all Western European countries together. Moreover, a large part of the acquisitions budget is directed at the purchase of offensive systems, both Western and non-Western: attack drones as well as ground-to-ground missiles (mainly short range), accurate guided munitions (GPS), including bunker-busting bombs, and air launched cruise missiles.

In recent years, some Arab countries have tightened their security ties with China and Russia, which have fewer restrictions than the United States on the export of weapons, and more advanced weapon systems made by them have been supplied to countries in the region, and at an accelerating pace. The acquisitions are intended to strengthen relations with Moscow and Beijing; to create pressure on the United States – in part as a response to the American refusal to sell certain systems; and to limit their dependence on a single supplier. To be sure, the acquisition of weapons from different sources creates the need for suitable spare parts, specialized training, and a specific maintenance setup, and thus places a burden on the acquiring militaries. However, varied procurement also reduces dependence on the United States and reinforces the ability of these countries to adopt a more independent policy. Some of the deals with China and Russia include technology transfer and joint production. For example, China – which supplies attack drones to Jordan, Iraq, Algeria, the Emirates, and Saudi Arabia – agreed to establish a plant to manufacture them on Saudi territory.
Israel Presented U.S. with "Red Lines" for Saudi Nuclear Deal
Israel has presented the Trump administration with its "red lines" for the nuclear deal the United States is currently negotiating with Saudi Arabia to build reactors in the kingdom.

The big picture: A senior Israeli official told me the Israeli government realized it will not be able to stop the deal — set to be worth billions of dollars for the U.S. — and decided instead to attempt to reach an understanding with the Trump administration regarding the parameters of the deal.

- Last March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised concerns about the deal during a meeting with President Trump and other senior U.S. officials. Netanyahu was concerned such a deal, especially if it also includes a "right" to enrich uranium, will lead to further nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Trump and his advisers told Netanyahu that, if the U.S. does not sell the Saudis nuclear reactors, other countries like Russia or France will.
- The senior Israeli official told me Netanyahu sent Yuval Steinitz, his energy minister in charge of Israel's atomic energy committee, to Washington two weeks ago to meet with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is leading the negotiations with the Saudis over the nuclear deal.
IDF fires on balloon arsonists, captures infiltrator
Earlier today, an IDF aircraft fired near a group of Gazans who were launching arson balloons in the southern Gaza Strip.

In addition, IDF troops detected a suspect who attempted to cross the security fence from the southern Gaza Strip in order to sabotage security infrastructure and attack IDF troops. The suspect was caught with combustible materials and a metal cutter and was transferred to security forces for further questioning.

Terrorists from the Gaza Strip have launched arson balloons and kites at Israeli territory for the last several months, burning thousands of acres of Israeli and and causing extensive damage to fields, crops, and nature reserves.
Does Israel act disproportionately in Gaza?
The Israel Defence Forces are often accused of disproportionate military activity against their opposition. Does this accusation stand to reason? Arieh Miller from the UK Zionist Federation explains.

Muslim leader faces death threats after meeting IDF spokesman
A French Muslim leader known for his work cultivating interfaith understanding and his efforts to combat radicalization has received death threats after he appeared in a video with a senior IDF officer and spokesman.

Hassen Chalghoumi, Imam of the Drancy Mosque in Seine-Saint-Denis northeast of Paris is founder of the Conference of Imams and a long-time advocate of interfaith dialogue in France.

Born in Tunisia, Chalghoumi immigrated to France in 1996, and was naturalized in 2005.

Last Wednesday, Chalghoumi met with IDF Brig. Gen. and senior spokesman Ronen Manelis in Paris, during which the two recorded a joint video statement which was later released to social media.

In the video, Chalghoumi condemned the Hamas terror organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Iranian government for their promotion of “violence and terror” in the Middle East.
Jerusalem mufti issues land transfer fatwa
The Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, on Tuesday issued a new fatwa (Islamic religious decree) banning Muslims from “facilitating the transfer of ownership of any part of Jerusalem or the land of Palestine to the enemies.”

The fatwa, according to Palestinian sources, came in response to an Israeli bill allowing Jews to purchase land in Area C of the West Bank. The bill, put forward by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi), aims to change a 1953 Jordanian law that prevents foreigners and non-Arabs from directly purchasing land in the West Bank.

The explanation for the bill states that it is “unacceptable” for Israeli citizens to be barred from buying land just because they are Israeli citizens.

The fatwa ruled that the “land of Palestine” was waqf – meaning an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law – and as such it is prohibited to sell, bestow ownership or facilitate the transfer of ownership of any part of it to non-Muslims.

“Anyone who sells his land to the enemies, or accepts compensation for it, will commit a sin,” said Hussein in his fatwa.
Hamas 'ready' for reconciliation with Palestinian Authority
Members of Hamas' intelligence department, led by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, met to discuss the main issue in the Israel-Hamas conflict and a possible Hamas-Palestinian Authority (PA) reconciliation.

Following the meeting, Hamas publicized a statement praising the efforts to remove the "siege" on Gaza and condemning the PA for "trying to ensure these efforts fail by falsely claiming that the efforts are part of the 'deal of the century.'"

Hamas leaders also publicized their agreement to an Egyptian initiative to create a new peace agreement and arrange a meeting in Cairo between Hamas and Fatah leaders.

The Palestinian Authority is led by the Fatah group. Last year, a peace agreement failed due to "obstacles."

Hamas leaders also said the terror group is willing to work towards a peace agreement based on partnership in the fight against Israel, as well as make decisions jointly with the PA. Hamas' conditions for such a peace agreement include immediate cancellation of the punishments inflicted on Gaza by the PA, reformation of the Palestine Liberation Organization via elections for the "Palestinian National Council," and full implementation of the agreement made in Cairo in 2011.
IsraellyCool: Hamas to Ban Israeli Fruit Imports
Hamas has reportedly banned Gaza imports of fruit from Israel, in response to Israel’s closure of the Keren Shalom crossing.

Hamas informed Gazan merchants on Tuesday that it would stop fruit imports from Israel from entering Gaza starting Wednesday, Kan Newsreported.

The move comes in response to Israel’s closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing for non-humanitarian cases and in an attempt by Hamas to cause economic damage to Israeli farmers who are exporting fruit to Gaza. On average, 30-40 truckloads of fruit enter Gaza daily, according to Kan News.

No word on whether the ban includes fruit juice.

In other news, that’s one hell of a failed “blockade” if 30-40 truckloads of fruit have been entering Gaza daily until now.

This is yet another example of the palestinians cutting off their nose to spite their face; back in 2012 when they halved fruit imports from Israel, it was reported just how damaging that was to some Gazans:
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Make 4-Item List Of Israeli Actions Not Considered ‘Declaration Of War’ (satire)
Officials of the Palestinian Authority that governs the entity’s West Bank self-rule zones and representatives of the rival Hamas movement that runs the Gaza Strip adopted time-saving measures today, under which instead of responding to individual Israeli actions characterizing the action as a declaration of war, the groups produced a brief list of actions they do not consider a declaration of war.

Spokesmen for the groups conducted a meeting today featuring rare instances of civility and cooperation, during which they determined that the only actions by Israel, and on occasion, the US, that would not merit being called a declaration of war against the Palestinians or Muslims in general would involve abject surrender, instant disappearance, mass suicide, or not moving out of the way of some cataclysm that would annihilate the Jews of Israel.

“We figured it would take less time and energy to just tell everyone what isn’t a declaration of war,” explained Nabil Shaath, a spokesman for Fatah chief and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “It should free us up to do other important things such as inciting our people to murderous violence and paying lifetime pensions to people who killed Jews, instead of having to meet each and every Israeli move with a separate such statement.”

Hamas officials present at the meeting seconded the necessity. “We’re very bust with making our people’s lives miserable and using that misery to exert pressure on the Zionists,” concurred Haswa Halila. “We realized yesterday when [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu announced the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing, and we had to respond by calling that a declaration of war, that we could be much more efficient by just putting out a list of the several things that if Israel did, we wouldn’t respond like that. It’s a load off our schedules. Now we can better focus on burning down the Kerem Shalom crossing again as we did last month.”
Israel's Support for Sunnis in Syria Was Not a Failed Investment
In the course of the war, the Syrian section of the Golan has been the scene of battles between government forces and an array of opposition groups including rebels, Islamist forces and militants affiliated with al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Israel sought to carve out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces by secretly supplying Syrian opposition fighters with aid, medical treatment in Israel and, according to the Wall Street Journal, cash payments for weapons and fighters’ salaries. It’s also providing humanitarian aid to the thousands of Syrians camped out in tents near Israel’s frontier, hoping to find sanctuary from the government onslaught.

“We were brainwashed for decades to hate Israel,” said Hani, a resident of southern Syria being treated for shrapnel wounds at Israel’s Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. “I now see that my enemy isn’t Israel, but the people who came and destroyed our village.” He declined to give his full name for fear of reprisal.

Shared enmity of Shiite Iran has allowed Israel to create quiet ties with Sunni-led Gulf Arab states that once shunned it. By that same token, Israel’s support for the Sunnis in Syria against government and Iran-backed forces wasn’t a failed investment, said Sami Nader, head of the Levant Institute for Strategic Studies in Beirut.

“They don’t hate Israel anymore or see it as a threat,” Nader said. “Israel is not seen as the worst enemy.”
'Iran must exit all of Syria,' Netanyahu tells Putin's envoys before trip
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met two senior Russian officials in his office Tuesday and told them Iran must leave all of Syria, just hours before flying to Moscow on Wednesday and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu told Putin’s visiting special envoy Alexander Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin that Israel will not tolerate a military presence by Iran or its proxies anywhere in Syria, and that Damascus must strictly abide by the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Putin is obviously well aware of Israel’s position on these matters, and the recent developments in southern Syria – where Syrian President Bashar Assad is poised to reassert his control over the area – will certainly be discussed in the Putin-Netanyahu meeting Wednesday evening.

However, Netanyahu does not need to travel to the Kremlin to tell Putin Jerusalem’s positions.
IDF delivers clothes, toys donated by Israeli Golan residents to Syrian kids
In overnight operations on Tuesday-Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces delivered hundreds of care packages donated by residents of the Israeli Golan Heights to displaced Syrian children in camps across the border, the army said.

The mission was part of the “Operation Good Neighbor” run by the IDF’s Bashan Division, which has been providing humanitarian aid to Syrians in the border area since June 2016.

Earlier this month, the Golan Regional Council opened a donation center that collected items from local communities, including hundreds of personal gift bags containing toys, crayons, games, candies and notes from the children of the Golan Heights, the army said Wednesday.

Sigal Gilboa, an official from the Golan Regional Council, said the drive targeted children aged 3-12. Israeli children living in Golan Heights communities were each asked to prepare a personal gift bag for a child in Syria.

The goods were then given to the IDF, and the military transferred the packages across the border in two military operations to “camps in the north and south of the Syrian Golan Heights,” the IDF said in a statement.
Germany charges Iranian diplomat detained in bomb plot
An Iranian diplomat suspected of involvement in a bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally in France, was charged in Germany on Wednesday with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder.

Assadollah Assadi, a Vienna-based diplomat, is suspected of contracting a couple in Belgium to attack an annual meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in Villepinte, near Paris, German federal prosecutors said.

He allegedly gave the Antwerp-based couple a device containing 500 grams (one pound) of the explosive TATP during a meeting in Luxembourg in late June, prosecutors said in a written statement.

Assadi was detained earlier this month near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after the couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car.

In their statement, German prosecutors allege that Assadi, who has been registered as a diplomat at the Iranian embassy in Vienna since 2014, was a member of the Iranian intelligence service “Ministry of Intelligence and Security,” whose tasks “primarily include the intensive observation and combating of opposition groups inside and outside of Iran.”
Iranian Woman Who Protested Islamic Headscarf Gets 20-Year Sentence
An Iranian woman who removed her obligatory Islamic headscarf out of protest in December says she has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Shaparsk Shajarizadeh posted on her personal website that she had been jailed for “opposing the compulsory hijab” and “waving a white flag of peace in the street.”

There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

Police in Iran arrested 29 people in February for removing their headscarves as part of a campaign known as “White Wednesdays.” Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer who represented Shajarizadeh and other women, was arrested last month.

Shajarizadeh, 42, was released on bail in late April. Her current whereabouts were unknown.
U.S. Treasury Sanctions Malaysia-Based Air Service Provider for Ties to Iran
The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned a Malaysia-based General Sales Agent (GSA) on Monday for collaborating with and acting on behalf of Iran’s government-operated and U.S.-sanctioned Mahan Air.

Mahan Air also faces sanctions for ties to terrorism.

Mahan Travel and Tourism Sdn Bhd, based in Malaysia, was sanctioned for “enabling Mahan Air’s international operations, especially in regards to conducting financial transactions on behalf of the airline,” according to the Treasury Department’s website.

As of Monday, all the property and interests of Mahan Travel and Tourism Sdn Bhd located within the U.S. jurisdiction have been blocked, in accordance with U.S. law.

Washington had previously sanctioned Mahan Air for allegedly transporting “operatives” of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), in addition to shuffling weapons and equipment to Syria. The United States has also sanctioned Caspian Air, Meraj Air, Pouya Air, and Dena Airways – all Iranian airlines, two of which had allegedly ferried weapons, fighters, and money to Iran’s proxies in Syria and Lebanon.
United States Designates Iran-backed Militant Group in Bahrain a Terrorist Organization
The United States designated an Iran-sponsored militant group in Bahrain a terrorist organization Tuesday in an effort to stop the Islamic Republic from extending its grip in the Middle East.

Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB) was established in 2013 with the primary objective of toppling the government of Bahrain. The terrorist group has received weapons and explosives from Iran in its efforts to desolate the Bahraini regime. AAB also adopted Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in January 2018 to mimic the Islamic Republic's military strategy and further demonstrate Iran's influence on militant groups operating within Arab states in the Persian Gulf.

"Al-Ashtar is yet another in a long line of Iranian sponsored terrorists who kill on behalf of a corrupt regime," coordinator for counterterrorism Nathan A. Sales said in a statement. "Today's designation serves notice that the United States sees plainly what Iran is trying to do to Bahrain through its proxy, the terrorist group Al-Ashtar."

AAB has conducted more than 20 attacks in Bahrain since its inception, including the deadliest attack in Bahraini history—a March 2014 bombing that killed three police officers. The Bahraini government officially declared the militant group a terrorist organization in June 2017.

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          Senior Surveyor - Lawson Consulting & Surveying Ltd. - Winnipeg, MB      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
We maintain an inventory of GNSS systems, the latest in UAV technology, robotic total stations and digital and laser levels to enable our surveyors to collect...
From Indeed - Wed, 27 Jun 2018 18:29:50 GMT - View all Winnipeg, MB jobs
           Digital Counties Survey 2018: Winners Prioritize Culture, Collaboration and Automation       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Click through the rest of our story for detailed write-ups on each winner.

A county IT leader may encounter any number of existential crises: Budget cuts shred the IT workforce. Wildfires literally burn half the county to the ground. A new business process dumps 80,000 new users on the system. These are the kinds of things that can break an IT shop.

The winners of the 16th Annual Digital Counties Survey, conducted by the Center for Digital Government,* have tackled these and a range of other seemingly mortal threats, and come out shining. They’ve learned to cope with the unexpected and seen their thoughtful investments bear fruit in the face of unexpected challenges.

When the going gets rough, this is how IT gets going.

Nevada County, Calif., 1st Place, up to 150,000 Population Category

In Nevada County, headcount is down 26 percent from pre-recession levels, and CIO Steve Monaghan is learning to do more with less. 

That means doing the big jobs first: Cybersecurity is critical and he’s attacked that. It also means leveraging IT assets. Investments in cloud have helped him to make the most of sparse resources. Mostly, though, Monaghan’s task as an IT leader has been to impart a sense of ownership to all involved in supporting the county’s technology needs. 

“We spend a lot of time building culture around taking an entrepreneurial approach,” he said. “We’ve done workshops, we have done a whole service-management initiative aimed at defining everything we offer, every piece of equipment we manage, so that everything has an owner within IT. Everybody knows who is responsible for what, and we ask people to be entrepreneurs over their own services. We want them to run with the ball.” 

Take for instance the network analyst in charge of the VMware farm. “His documentation is immaculate. He has a very tightly run ship. We know what we have, and as a result the service level is very high. We’ve never had an outage on that virtual farm, because he has really taken it to heart that those are his,” Monaghan said. 

Same goes for the analyst overseeing the replacement of the first-generation VPN platform. “He taps into other members to support that, but ultimately he owns that. There’s a sense of ownership that drives the project forward, which in turn leads to an enhanced, more reliable product for the customer,” Monaghan said.

How can a government IT leader spark that entrepreneurial spirit? Much of it comes down to setting expectations. “In the last six months we had a Ph.D. in organizational development come in for multiple sessions to refresh our Values and Expectations document, to do a workshop geared around what it means to take ownership,” he said. “As IT leaders, we have to build these cultural processes, something bigger than any one project. That’s the secret sauce of delivering excellent IT services.”

Click here to see all the winners in this category.

Arlington County, Va., 1st Place, 150,000-249,999 Population Category

CIO Jack Belcher doesn’t just want to be a back-end provider. He says his department’s job is to serve the public good, a mission he pursues with uncommon vigor. 

“If you make sure the network is running, that the servers are secure — well, that’s what you are expected to do,” he said. “Taking it to the next step is what distinguishes a CIO from an IT director. That next step is all about understanding your community.” 

It isn’t easy to know what the public wants or needs, or how IT can best facilitate. To meet the challenge, Belcher has gone right to the source, organizing a series of public gatherings around the theme of “Defining Arlington’s Digital Destiny.” 

“The idea is to bring together leaders from education, from the community, from government, to think about what might be possible,” Belcher said. He’s hosted events on the future of education, the nature of work, and what it means to be an intelligent community. 

These public gatherings have directly informed the IT agenda. Take for example the recently completed deployment of a countywide fiber-optic network. “These discussions transformed our vision of what to do with that asset,” he said. 

Sure, the fiber could spur development and drive economic growth — they knew that going in. But with community input, the vision evolved. “We saw that we could provide an immense value in the form of digital equity, providing people in affordable housing with free broadband access. That helps break the bonds of poverty,” Belcher said. “It took these discussions to bring that idea to the surface and make it possible.”

Community input likewise helped spur development of a mobile project-tracker app to help keep residents informed about civic undertakings. “We want to make that data available in a form where residents can easily find out what we are doing. How are we spending our money? We want to leverage the technology to provide that level of transparency.”

When the CIO seeks citizen input, there’s risk involved. What if they ask for something extravagant? What if they put something entirely unexpected on the table? Belcher said a strong relationship with county leadership gave him the confidence to open that door. “You can’t do this unless your elected officials have the confidence that you are doing the right thing. There has to be a level of mutual trust,” he said.

Click here to see all the winners in this category.

Dutchess County, N.Y., 1st Place. 250,000-499,999 Population Category

It’s not just that budgets are stagnant. It’s that, in a time of stagnant budgets, everybody still wants more. Towns want upgraded websites. Cops want cutting-edge technologies. For Glenn Marchi, commissioner of the Dutchess County Office of Central and Information Services, the challenge is to deliver on all that, without breaking the bank. 

“Shared services are key to doing that,” he said. 

This year Marchi’s team worked with public safety officials to bring online emergency 911 service, computer-aided dispatch, and new records managements systems for law enforcement and corrections. The initiative saved the police $500,000 by leveraging county IT resources, including existing hardware and multi-jurisdictional software licenses. 

Marchi has taken the same approach in beefing up the websites of half a dozen towns, police departments and fire districts. His IT professionals will design a site and host it on shared infrastructure. By leveraging these resources across multiple uses, “we can design to exactly their specifications, and we can do it at a lower cost than an outside vendor,” he said.

Towns are free to use outside vendors, and Marchi says isn’t looking to compete with local private-sector IT providers. But he adds that in many cases, the county’s shared-service approach will prove the logical economic choice. 

IT leaders looking to follow this model would do well to reach out actively to civic leaders. The Dutchess County executive hosts an annual Municipal Innovation Summit to ensure mayors and town council members know what is available to them. 

“Our county executive leads that discussion, and anytime an IT solution pops up, my job is to share how that technology can enable a business solution or solve a business problem. I’m there as the CIO for the county to share how technology can be employed to achieve our specific strategic goals,” Marchi said. 

Without such gatherings, it can be hard for a shared services initiative to pick up steam. “We have had seven newly elected town supervisors and mayors in the past year. They have no idea these services are even available,” he said. “It’s our job to tell that story.”

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Sonoma County, Calif., 1st Place, 500,000-999,999 Population Category

When wildfires swept through Sonoma County, Calif. in the fall of 2017, Director of Information Systems John Hartwig found the IT landscape as radically transformed as the rolling hills, now scorched and scarred.

“The wildfires put a lot of things on hold. Everybody had to step back and take a new look at the situation,” he said. Geospatial systems suddenly were front and center, along with document management capabilities. Website volume blew up exponentially.

“GIS, for example, had a huge responsibility in things like tracking the fire, tracking the road closures. All that had a spatial component to it,” he said. “The volume on the websites went up at least three times from everybody trying to seek information and find resources. With document management, suddenly everybody was processing requests that would be essential to us filing for federal aid. That means we needed a lot of forms and a lot of document-capturing tools to make sure our record keeping was clean, consistent and available for future reference.”

The key to success: an early investment in virtualization. 

“We had made an advance move early on to virtual machines, where we were able to shift resources on the fly — storage, memory and processing capacity — to the applications that were most urgent,” Hartwig said. 

The county had begun roughly three years ago to virtualize its server environment: An original inventory of more than 700 servers is now about 90 percent virtualized. That infrastructure delivered the flexibility and agility needed to spin up IT capacity and balance workloads in the face of the new, unexpected demands. 

“It put us in a very good position to add to or share resources. If we have 50 applications that are critical to the response, it’s nice to be able to slide resources over to those applications,” Hartwig said. “I don’t think we could have had all these services up and running if we were still on dedicated equipment.”

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Montgomery County, Md., 1st Place, 1,000,000 or More Population Category

In Montgomery County, Md., the county runs the booze business. Last year that became IT’s problem, and it triggered a renewed focus on cybersecurity.

“The liquor system needed automated support for warehousing, distribution and point of sale. So it was decided that we would incorporate that into our relatively new Oracle ERP system,” said CIO Sonny Segal. That meant a sudden leap in the user base. “We are up to almost 100,000 external identities in addition to the 20,000 county identities.”

Segal already had a watchful eye on cyberissues, but with the massive influx of non-county users on the system, security became the focus of renewed attention. The IT team put new mechanisms in place to guard against spam and phishing attacks. They also tightened end-point management, effectively cutting enterprise vulnerabilities in half.

“We have taken a very aggressive stance on eliminating endpoint vulnerabilities through continual scanning and remediation,” Segal said. “We are not shy about taking end points offline and pursuing replacement and reimaging on a very aggressive schedule. Those things have paid off in the form of greatly reduced risk.”

Segal upped the security game by implementing tighter controls around IT devices, ensuring that all devices that touch county systems are registered for IT security oversight. He also uses dashboards and other reporting mechanisms to hold individuals and departments more publicly liable for their role in supporting the cybereffort.

“We have implemented risk-based dashboards that include the number of people who didn’t take cybertraining, the number of security instances that can be assigned to specific business units,” he said. “That all connects to our dedication to managing by measurement. Our chief administrative officer has each of the department heads accountable in public sessions for measurements in their business areas. Now security is one of those measured scorecards, and as result we have seen significant improvements in risk reduction.”

Click here to see all the winners in this category, and click through the rest of our story for detailed write-ups on each winner.

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology’s parent company.


Up to 150,000 Population Category

Click points on the map above to learn more about each winner. Red indicates 1st place winners, yellow indicates 2nd place winners, green indicates 3rd place winners, and blue indicates winners that placed 4th through 10th.

1st Nevada County, Calif.

One of 10 Sierra Nevada agencies that were ground zero to the state’s formative Gold Rush, Nevada County, Calif., built on IT accomplishments to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the smallest population category for the second time in three years. Guided by a supportive Board of Supervisors that has set clear technology investment policy, a strategic plan focused on service and an enterprise technology reserve fund, the county of nearly 100,000 has expanded and refreshed online and tech offerings.

County supervisors prioritized innovation in their 2018 value statements, forming an innovation team led by the chief information officer. The county also held a Citizen’s Academy to educate residents on their government. It launched a new regional law enforcement activity map last month, and has created a new public communications position aimed at identifying ways to improve information pushed out to the public through social media and the Internet. The agency is in early stages on an enterprise-level contract management system and has implemented a new in-vehicle video system that fosters collaboration between its district attorney and sheriff’s office.

Nevada County's CivicPlus-powered public website went live in August 2017 with responsive design that eliminated the need for a separate mobile site. The MyNeighborhood app on the website offers parcel, land and property data with new layers documenting marijuana ordinance and roadway information; and the county’s Open Data Portal offers residents a better way to search 18 layers of GIS data. AskNevadaCounty, another app accessible through the website, uses Accela’s customer relationship management (CRM) system to sort questions in eight categories, submit service requests and get answers from six city departments. Plus, new kiosks facilitate residents’ access to probation, sheriff’s and building departments, enabling functions including probationer self-service and building plan submission.

2nd Albemarle County, Va.

Although it slipped from first to second place this year, Albemarle County, Va., (population 108,000) continues its success in transparency and efficiency for citizens. The county uses GIS-enabled apps to let the public view open building permits and important county records like building applications and parcel activity. Residents are also encouraged to give feedback on the county budget and stay up to date with e-newsletters, email and community meetings. The county Board of Supervisors authorized the establishment of a broadband authority to meet the area's growing Internet needs, and the authority has gotten a $430,000 grant to expand broadband and improve wireless coverage for first responders in rural Albemarle.

Albemarle considers cybersecurity an important concern. The county partners with the University of Virginia and the city of Charlottesville to discuss cybersecurity issues, and meets with other universities, school districts and localities statewide to publish the Cybersecurity Partnership for Virginia Cities and Counties report (funded by the National Science Foundation).

This region shares just one emergency communications center, and this year, the county successfully rolled out two records management systems for four public safety agencies to replace incompatible legacy systems. IT teams partnered to launch New World Systems for the police department and Image Trends for fire and rescue, as well as computer-aided dispatch system updates.

3rd Allegan County, Mich.

Third place is a familiar ranking for Allegan County, Mich., which finished in the same spot for counties of up to 150,000 residents last year. Despite this success, county leadership notes, however, that within its ongoing vision it needs to be “continuing to evaluate the technology itself to find efficiencies that will ultimately help offset increasing costs.” If there’s a simpler way to sum up the heart of gov tech efforts, we haven’t heard it. It all speaks to Allegan’s practicality. This is an efficient county that is, for example, prolonging the life of its PCs and laptops by using virtual desktops, thereby still enabling quick and responsive computing. Allegan has also redirected money saved there to cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, the county continues to use analytics and look at trends to tailor its website to customer needs, also using data to build new online services and improve upon existing ones. Data is also helping the county with law enforcement and emergency services deployment, for which it is using GIS and computer-aided dispatch mapping to enhance preparedness, noting emergency management events “rely on data sharing, real-time mapping and data system integrations.” This is especially important with an aging nuclear power plant nearby. The county is also engaged in smaller improvements such as replacing its online court calendar system and deploying digital signage that displays docket information in its courthouse lobby. It’s also improving its online veteran services site and its parks reservation system. Moving forward, digital inclusion is also a priority. The past two years, the county has worked with the Connect Michigan Public Services Commission to complete a broadband assessment. That info is now being used by local city leaders to guide projects aimed at increasing broadband access within their communities.

4th Mono County, Calif.

Mono County, Calif., is home to 13,981 residents, and while it may be small in terms of its population, it has big plans for the future. Mono County, which tied for fourth place in its population category, is currently working with the California Department of Transportation to explore using the Highway 395 corridor and the fiber-optic network that runs alongside it as a testing site for smart transportation technologies. The county is envisioning using Highway 395 as a testbed for autonomous vehicles and other emerging technologies, given its two-hour proximity to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Reno, Nev.

In addition to its smart transportation aspirations, Mono County has several Web initiatives as well. The Transparent Mono County website portal is expected to roll out this month and consolidate its open and transparent applications into one location, which will also feature the capabilities to allow users to retrieve information in three clicks or fewer. The county’s website also has an area for contractors and vendors to bid on its projects using a platform where they can enter their business profile, respond to open RFPs and receive notification of new projects.

4th Montgomery County, Va.

Montgomery County, Va., population 98,509, managed to hold onto its fourth-place spot for a third year in a row, this year tying with Mono County, Calif. The county continued its focus on cybersecurity with the completion of two cybersecurity assessments, one by the Virginia National Guard’s Data Processing Unit and the other with a private entity. Recommendations from those assessments will be implemented in a three-phase cybersecurity plan, the first phase of which has already been completed. The county also this year hired a full-time network engineer/security analyst to oversee software and system patches and address vulnerability concerns.

The county has opened a couple of new buildings, including a state-of-the-art dispatching facility for the newly established New River Valley Emergency Communications Regional Authority (911 Authority). The 911 Authority centralizes dispatch functions for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia Tech Police Department, and the police departments for the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg. The Authority has plans to implement next-generation 911 capabilities, including text messaging, into its dispatch services in the future. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office also got 30,000 square feet of office space in a new Public Safety Building, and the Animal Care and Adoption Center opened its new facility to the public in April 2017. Animal adoptions have increased thanks to the improved environment in the new facility, as well as the implementation of a cloud-based animal care management site and a pet finder site. The county’s dedication to social media paid off last summer during a dog food supply shortage — a “code red” Facebook post saw 1,500 pounds of food donated within two days. A second "code red" for kitten food a month later reached nearly 17,000 people and was so effective that some area stores were sold out.

5th Napa County, Calif.

Napa County has been through a lot in the past six months. Its population of 142,456 went through a month-long wildfire in October, where devastation eventually spread across multiple Northern California counties. Staying in fifth place for the second year, Napa County is working toward a citizen-centric approach for IT with constituent safety at the forefront. With the wildfire came shocking realizations about weaknesses in emergency operations. The Emergency Operations Center purchased additional GIS technology to gain more knowledge on pertinent geographical data. IT is also working with Health and Human Services to create a data warehouse to connect data analytics capabilities to different programs in Napa. The existing 911 system will also eventually be replaced, extending service to American Canyon and Yountville in the process. During the fire when people weren’t being notified of what was going on, officials knew change was needed. IT is in the process of purchasing InformaCast, a notification system, to provide enhanced staff notification during emergency events. Currently in place is a NIXLE channel used to communicate emergency alerts, recovery information and act as a key source for community messaging and connectivity. NIXLE is also used to send text alerts on road closures, evacuation orders, shelter information and recovery details.

And despite the focus on getting better prepared for emergencies, traditional IT also got some upgrades. The county website was redesigned and moved to a modern content management system, creating more efficient access to GIS data. Throughout the year, IT leadership will continue beefing up security practices to better safeguard county data, regardless of its location.

5th Roanoke County, Va.

Roanoke County, Va., retained its fifth-place spot this year, continuing to build on its impressive array of open data and citizen engagement efforts with a new app that provides its 93,655 residents with information about the new federal Mountain Valley Pipeline that will run through the county. Through the Mountain Valley Pipeline Viewer application, residents can use an interactive map to view layers of information about the project, including various routes, mile-post markers, workspace areas and tax parcels.

Roanoke County gathered some of the information for the Pipeline Viewer app through the efforts of its newly formed Drone Team, which did a flyover of the project site to map the area. Created under the auspices of the county Fire and Rescue Department in order to help evaluate fire areas and find lost hikers, the Drone Team has quickly proven that it has many more potential applications than were originally envisioned for it. The county is planning on using the team to conduct inspections and create orthomosaics, 3-D meshes and more that will assist in future projects.

The security breach that affected the city of Atlanta at the beginning of 2018 was enough of a wake-up call for Roanoke County to decide that it needed to take a serious look at its own cybersecurity posture. While the county received a good score on a vulnerability assessment conducted by the Virginia National Guard, just above a four on a five-point scale, it discovered that it needed to improve its security training for employees and is already making plans to do so.

6th Franklin County, Va.

In Franklin County, Va., supporting residents and government operations has most notably centered on public safety. These efforts include ongoing improvements to the fire and rescue radio system, and a 911 dispatch fail-over plan with neighboring Patrick County. Additionally Franklin County is leveraging mapping and data to assess response times and make improvements to how public safety crews are deployed. Mapping critical infrastructure, like gas lines, has also been an ongoing effort to keep the county’s 56,000 residents and public safety teams safe during emergency situations.

When it comes to Internet connectivity, Franklin County is taking a proactive approach to broadband through public-private partnerships. The county is currently assessing where technology and service is most lacking and using that information to prompt conversations with service providers about how to fill gaps and design an inclusive coverage plan.

Cybersecurity continues to be a work in progress in the county. Awareness training and cybersecurity insurance are part of the plan, but the county’s detailed strategy continues to evolve as its needs are identified and change. Like many other counties, Franklin is not doing this work unhampered. The state continues to add requirements while funding recedes, and changes to the tax base have prompted discussions about where to go next. A rapidly aging population is compounding the issue of revenue and taxable income. In spite of these challenges, the county is looking to redevelop a business park to move the needle and create more opportunity for tax revenue to make its way into county coffers.

6th York County, Va.

For a county in the smallest population category, York County, Va., has a surprising number of leading technology efforts underway. Many endeavors underline a strategy of upgrading and streamlining systems to operate as efficiently as possible. Examples include consolidating data centers and a new financial management system. York County’s commitment to transparency is demonstrated by a public portal now in development that will offer timely financial information, including tax and real-estate data, on a public dashboard. Engagement tools in regular use include online surveys, a resident notification service, video streaming and an active Facebook presence that has increased its followers by more than 200 percent over the past year and a half. When it comes to public safety, the county sheriff’s department is using drone technology to enhance crime-fighting efforts and lobbying to allow the use of drone-captured data in judicial proceedings. High marks also go to York County for its cybersecurity practices, which it has built upon significantly in recent months. An additional layer of intrusion detection now safeguards police bodycam video on its way to the cloud, as well as the county’s open Wi-Fi network. In-depth traffic analysis helps keep tabs on user activity and ongoing awareness training is continually enhanced to meet evolving threats.

7th Skagit County, Wash.

Located north of Seattle, Skagit County, Wash., faces a host of issues despite the state’s overall healthy economy. Technology is expected to play a key role in improving the county’s public health concerns, for example, with the deployment of a software tool that will evaluate the effectiveness of county health initiatives. New mapping and analytics software will also help the county prevent drug overdoses and deaths. Skagit is mounting a major community engagement initiative that will make meetings more productive and draw in underrepresented groups, and technology will make the county’s engagement more interactive. For example, the government expects to have an online survey tool that will allow commissioners to see how well they are engaging the community, and how they can improve engagement and measure feedback around such issues as new infrastructure for ferry service. The county has also modernized service operations with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library service models, and is the first county to implement a “one-stop” property search that integrates data from separate internal systems to provide a common view of information on its public website.

8th Summit County, Utah

With a population of just under 40,000, Summit County comes in eighth place in its population category for its work in public safety and emergency preparedness, among other initiatives. In reviewing its disaster recovery plan in 2016, the county found they it did have not the computer power to set up a hot site during a disaster. The county purchased the necessary equipment and installed it in late 2017. It included three Dell R630 servers running VMware VSphere 6.5 and a Dell Compellent SC4020 Storage Array with 30 TB of usable disk space. This was a small build, but major for a smaller county and significant, as the county can now run all its applications and storage on it if the main systems were to go down. The setup is a mirror image to the current one and can be flipped and installed in a few hours.

One of Summit County Council’s top strategic goals is to improve the transportation system by reducing traffic congestion. The Bike Share mobile app was a pilot started in 2017 in the hopes of reducing traffic in the summer. It allows residents to register by website or smartphone and pay for rentals, and the “electric bike share” was a huge success. The public signs up easily via smartphone and the website provides statistics on the usage of bikes.

9th Chatham County, N.C.

Chatham County, N.C., is a newcomer to the rankings, finishing 9th  for jurisdictions in its population category. Located in the Piedmont area of the state, just west of Raleigh, Chatham County adopted a new comprehensive plan in late 2017. The county notes that “until that plan was adopted the efforts of Chatham County tech efforts have been pretty traditional.” In the months since it has been put in place, however, the tech team has been rebranded "Chatham IT" and now includes representatives from all county agencies that service other departments. This helps to align tech efforts with ongoing work to improve the overall county government while also continuing traditional IT support. Technologists in Chatham have worked hard to make themselves more visible so that their work is included in all ideas and vendor efforts.

In terms of public-facing work, the comprehensive plan has been published online in its entirety to foster transparency and accountability. While discussions have been had around providing more open data, work has not progressed past the discussion phase. The county website, however, is being reworked with a citizen-centric vision that has already led to the additions of a permitting portal and e-notices. Chatham is also working to collaborate with local municipalities to help bring broadband to unserved and underserved areas, with one specific effort taking the form of grant applications for funding. Throughout the survey, however, what is perhaps most striking about Chatham is its potential for the future. Tech and innovation work at the moment is a bit modest, but with the comprehensive plan now in place, a commitment is being made to incorporating it into more efforts moving forward.

10th Gloucester County, Va.

A sparsely populated coastal region, Gloucester County, Va., cites developing wireless broadband throughout the area as one of its top priorities, an effort that recently resulted in a new public-private agreement with Cox Communications. And in January 2018, broadband was made available for 96 residential and 20 commercial properties in the northern half of the small county, home to a total of fewer than 37,000 citizens.

County meetings are streamed live to residents via the Granicus platform, while other avenues to encourage citizen engagement include text-to-voice Readspeaker via the county website, which also makes more information around budgets and compensation available. In additional engagement efforts, Gloucester County is active on social media, communicating with constituents on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. This year the county also updated its website, streamlining services to citizens and making content ADA compliant.

Gloucester County is in the process of syncing currently siloed databases and systems, an effort that could lead to the development of dashboards, data-consolidation and error-proofing. They are also working toward implementing a central ERP system to create efficiencies across the agency. In the interest of creating strong cybersecurity with a small footprint, the county has moved several key applications to software-as-a-service and other hosted environments.


150,000-249,999 Population Category

Click points on the map above to learn more about each winner. Red indicates 1st place winners, yellow indicates 2nd place winners, green indicates 3rd place winners, and blue indicates winners that placed 4th through 10th.

1st Arlington County, Va.

Arlington County is a first-place digital county for the third year running. Of note among an impressive array of comprehensive initiatives are the county’s engagement efforts, where they continually demonstrate a commitment to service delivery that aligns with citizen priorities. To standardize on their own proven strategies, the county has published a six-step public engagement guide outlining a process for capital projects guided by principles including inclusion and mutual respect, timely and accessible communication, transparency, and accountability. The county is also making strides on open data, with an advisory group weighing in on efforts like an inventory of countywide data, identifying data-sharing opportunities, establishing governance policies and partnering with local universities to extend analytics capabilities. New online tools include an internally developed library app that offers users geolocation, bar code scanning, notifications, meeting room booking and catalog search features.

Collaborative endeavors include serving as host to the first regional government chief information officer summit to facilitate coordination between local jurisdictions on technology and innovation-related issues. Along those same lines, the county is looking into a partnership with area public schools to share network and telephone systems to make operations more efficient. When it comes to cybersecurity, Arlington County has added many new and upgraded tools to its arsenal to guard against phishing emails, ransomware and malware, as well as other threats to the network. A “quick-step” button gives staff a simple way of passing suspicious emails along to IT staff as attachments. To fortify its disaster recovery posture, the county is transitioning from its two county-based data centers to an “active-active” data center setup off-premise in colocation facilities.

2nd Charles County, Md.

Advancing into second place since last year, Charles County has a long-running history with the Digital Counties survey — and 2018 is no different. The county’s ability to build upon its citizen-centric focus plays a large part in its success. Transparency between the locality and constituents is key — and making strides to connect broadband in rural communities is a big piece of the effort. Charles County has been working with cable TV franchises as well as private Internet service providers (ISPs) to help extend connectivity to rural areas.

Expansive online initiatives also help get citizens involved. The county website provides easily navigable resources, including a transparency page to view county budget information, audit reports, and salary data at any time and an interactive checkbook. The GetConnected program also became a mobile-friendly tool that helps connect residents and most of the county’s social media links, all on one page. Internally, the county’s Institutional Network (INet) connects over 120 anchor sites and city departments.

Strengthening cybersecurity efforts continues to be an area of focus for Charles County IT. The Cybersecurity Awareness Training program provides a curriculum for and assessment of full-time and part-time employees in best cybersecurity practices. As mentioned last year, the county chose to retain its cybersecurity insurance to guard against breaches. Taking it one step further, the county will test its own network by undergoing a Comprehensive Risk Assessment.

3rd Cabarrus County, N.C.

Though investing heavily in education and school construction, Cabarrus County, N.C., has continued to support and fund technology initiatives to automate and consolidate services, create shared services, and increase collaboration between departments and jurisdictions. The county partnered with SeamlessGov to transform the way citizens interact with the government and complete a mobile-friendly website redesign with user-optimized content. The new site offers an intuitive and consistent user experience that modernizes citizen/staff interactions. The site provides an integrated live chat feature with a chatbot that offers articles from a new help portal. And if the article doesn’t meet the citizen’s needs, they are connected to an integrated help desk contact form.

The county’s Open Data platform, using Esri ArcGIS online subscriptions, was redesigned for mobile access to provide county data; support local, regional and national collaboration; and provide self-service access to residents, businesses, municipalities, researchers and economic developers. The county also boasts new informational video vignettes to engage and inform citizens about government activities, services and events.

4th Boone County, Mo.

Boone County, Mo., home of the University of Missouri, rose from 10th place in its category in 2017 to fourth place in this year’s survey. Located in the literal heart of the state about midway between Kansas City, Mo., and St. Louis, Mo., Boone County is just a short drive north of the state’s capital. The jurisdiction’s most significant accomplishment in the past 12 months was perhaps the ongoing redesign of its website, more than half of which is now live and available to the public. Like many jurisdictions, Boone is using this redesign to make its overall Web presence more user-friendly, complete with enhanced access to services and data. To that end, the redesign is being guided by citizen-centric research, which has already led to new features such as embedded social media feeds, mobile-friendly functionality, and consolidated menus. Work on the website will continue moving forward in phases.

In terms of internal improvements, much has been done for emergency responsiveness. Last year, the city and county 911 services were consolidated, and they have now moved into a new centralized crisis management hub. Responders and adjacent personnel have also transitioned to new software and a new database that make it easier to share information and do things in the field such as record road closures with a mobile device for subsequent upload to public-facing platforms. Hiring processes have also become more efficient throughout the county, with many moving from paperwork to a digital portal. Although much of the work in Boone is practical, there is innovation underway as well. One such project includes a collaborative effort between Boone County IT, the University of Chicago and the Corporation for Supportive Housing to develop a data aggregation tool to identify citizens in need of homelessness assistance or other services.

5th Davidson County, N.C.

Davidson County, located adjacent to Winston-Salem, N.C., has been a leader in performance-based budgeting for more than 15 years. By focusing on outcomes and evaluating programs by measuring the relationship between resources and results, the county has saved over $29 million during that time period. A key driver in performance budgeting has been technology. For example, Davidson has invested in document management software for its human resources department that has eliminated inefficient paper management while freeing up valuable space once occupied by filing cabinets.

The county also attributes its open, transparent government policies and practices to the success of performance-based budgeting. Examples include live streaming of all commissioner board meetings and a public-facing budget and financial dashboard that shows citizens how and where county funds are being used. To bolster its IT security needs, the county has been carrying cyberinsurance for the past six years. This is in addition to several comprehensive cybersecurity measures taken by the county to protect its information assets.

5th Pitt County

When it comes to providing improved health care for citizens, Pitt County, N.C., which serves 175,842 residents and ranked fifth in the 150,000-249,000 population category, took on two health-care-related initiatives.

In a public-private partnership, Pitt County teamed up with Vidant Health to leverage the company’s investment in electronic health records. In 2017, the county finalized an agreement with Vidant to service resident needs by using the company's hosted electronic health record system. The county found it provided a better health outcome for residents while keeping a lid on costs. PulsePoint, which launched earlier this year, is a public-facing mobile app that lets CPR-trained residents volunteer as first responders in emergencies by connecting to Pitt County’s 911 data system. This app, along with the Vidant partnership, aids the county in its three-year Technology Strategic Plan, which aligns technology initiatives with the county’s mission and goals.

Other initiatives from Pitt County include the addition of a location-based open data platform from Esri, which features frequently-requested information in user-friendly formats. Self-service tools allow citizens to filter, sort and export many types of data, including planning and permitting, land records, education and parks and recreation. The tool is a vastly improved resource compared to the previous county data portal. In addition, a new complaint tracking tool for environmental health allows staff to better monitor conditions and predict future outbreaks.

6th Delaware County, Ohio

Delaware County has taken a number of steps to better communicate and engage with constituents. A farming community north of Columbus, Delaware County is also the fastest-growing county in the state, making improved opportunities to connect with residents all the more essential. Some of these improvements include rebranded visuals such as the county website, which was relaunched in April 2018 after a seven-month overhaul. Public meetings are live-streamed via YouTube, which allows for viewing on mobile devices. The county has also turned to Survey Monkey as well as social media platforms for feedback from residents related to county infrastructure needs.

In June 2018, the county plans to have launched its Text 911 service, which allows the public to send text messages to the Emergency Communications Dispatch Center. And in the Clerk of Court office, court documents can now be e-filed, and search capabilities are now available for attorneys and the public.

Meanwhile, the Delaware County Auditor is now using remotely sensed infrared imagery technology to detect crop types, total acreage and other information. The county is also putting drone technology to work, using UAV imaging tools to inform status updates for the public on various county projects. Other notable efforts include tangible steps toward reducing paper use, and tablet computers issued to county assessors to encourage increased productivity in the field.

7th Union County, N.C.

In Union County, N.C., technology is not about the shiniest new tools or throwing money at problems — it’s about meeting the needs of the more than 222,740 residents and county staff. With a dedicated IT team of just 14, the county has been able to meet the demands of a rapidly changing environment while investing in areas that will serve as the foundation for future innovations. One such example is efforts to implement data standards to ensure that digital records are not only secure, but accessible for future users. In a similar vein, IT staff are evaluating outdated legacy systems for retirement and pushing to digitize physical documents. County staff are also working to create an interdepartmental form and file structure for the planning, inspection, tax and registrar departments. This will improve efficiencies and simplify home purchase paperwork across the four departments.

When it comes to cybersecurity and resilience, Union County makes a valiant effort to defend its IT infrastructure — even in the face of harsh and sometimes dangerous weather. In addition to having a full-time cybersecurity professional dedicated to securing tech assets, an off-site location protects county data from the likes of hurricanes, tornadoes, severe winter weather and even earthquakes. Data is backed up nightly and checked to ensure it is intact and uncorrupted. Plans are in the works to relocate the backup center.

8th Onslow County, N.C.

Onslow County has appeared on lists of the places in the U.S. where opioid abuse is at its worst, and in response its leaders directed IT to help set up a detox center in cooperation with a group of public and private organizations. The department has helped establish the necessary IT infrastructure to run the center when it opens later this year.

The county has committed to opening its GIS data and has published some very utilitarian data sets online, such as permits, health inspections, flood ratings and video of county commission meetings. It’s on its way to a more general approach to open data beyond the geospatial offerings.

In an effort to drive innovation, the county has set up an idea incubator meant to act like an internal startup where employees can put forward creative suggestions. That atmosphere of support for thoughtfulness extends to IT’s methods for staff retention and growth; it prides itself on listening to employees’ ideas and treating mistakes as “paths to growth.” It is also working on setting up an academy where employees can hone leadership and management skills.

Going forward, performance measurement and management will be a big area of emphasis for Onslow County. It is planning to convene a committee that will work on aligning performance metrics with goals. The IT staff will support that effort by using cloud-based business intelligence software and setting up internal and external performance dashboards.

9th Paulding County, Ga.

Paulding County, Ga., which has nearly doubled in population since 2000, earned ninth place in its size category for an emphasis on connecting more than 152,000 residents to services around the clock, expanding its level of cybersecurity training to staff, and updating its existing Internet presence. Officials in the suburban county outside Atlanta already reach citizens via virtual town halls, live-streaming board meetings, and on social media, including via their Facebook site and YouTube channel. Residents can make service requests, register for programs, pay fees, and research voting, land and parcel data via the county website.

But officials are enhancing the city website to aggregate social media connections and include a blog from the chairman. The new site is expected to go live later this year. During the next 12 to 18 months, officials will also improve their expense transparency with the deployment of an Open Checkbook application; and make additional use of voice messaging apps. Also on the way in the next two years are self-service kiosks for citizens and expanded use of digital signage.

The county maintains 12 miles of fiber-optic cable underground and its fiber plant connects to a Tier 1 provider, but future plans are to use special tax monies to connect the plant to a second Tier 1 provider for redundancy. The agency backs up its data nightly, and maintains disaster recovery and continuity plans, but has hired an outside cybersecurity firm to assess staff — and has noticed improvement as a result. Additionally officials have secured their firewalls, and have conducted annual penetration testing.

10th Jackson County, Mich.

A shift in IT leadership this spring means Jackson County, Mich., is in a bit of transitional period, but it has big plans for using technology to help move the county forward. IT’s goals are aligned well with the county’s strategic plan, with particular emphasis on economic development, safe and healthy communities, and government efficiency. The agency is focused on making as many citizen services available online as possible to avoid any unnecessary trips to county offices. Going forward, plans include continuing to update online offerings, developing their GIS division, and implementing mobile apps and Google Home capabilities.

Strengthening the county’s cybersecurity posture tops the IT department’s list of priorities, and staff members are looking into cyberinsurance, as well as ransomware prevention tools, security-as-a-service and data encryption enforcement. Jackson County is also working on its disaster recovery plan, identifying what operations would be mission-critical in the event of a major outage and actively using GIS to determine points of need in its infrastructure and network. On the public safety front, the county has plans to implement next-gen 911 and video surveillance in the near future, along with some use of drones.


250,000-499,999 Population Category

Click points on the map above to learn more about each winner. Red indicates 1st place winners, yellow indicates 2nd place winners, green indicates 3rd place winners, and blue indicates winners that placed 4th through 10th.

1st Dutchess County, N.Y.

Dutchess County, N.Y., claimed the top spot in its population category this year by putting significant emphasis on connecting with residents and finding new ways to innovate and create efficiencies countywide. The county’s Office of Central and Information Services (OCIS) lists citizen engagement as its No. 1 priority, an effort clearly evident in its robust social media presence to communicate and maintain transparency with residents. Expansion of online services, including GIS, electronic payments and more, has created $15 million in annual savings for the public. Further, OCIS is working on redesigning its online presence with a focus on mobile-first and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as industry standard best practices for county Web applications, including headlines that can be read by Amazon Echo devices. Citizen-centric plans for the next one to two years also include texting, Google Home capabilities, chatbots and more.

Shared services are key to OCIS’ work and include the appointment of a county shared services coordinator and 32 shared services available for cities. The county also offers a $1 million annual grant program to incentivize cities to use more shared services. Along these lines, one of Dutchess County’s big projects for 2018 is to upgrade its Emergency Public Safety Program, including 911 computer-aided dispatch among other public safety technologies. The county has announced an agreement to partner with the city of Poughkeepsie Police on these upgrades, which has already saved the town $500,000 before the system even goes live later this year.

To strengthen its workforce, OCIS is expanding business partnerships with area colleges to recruit diverse tech talent and foster an inclusive environment. The agency has also invested heavily in cybersecurity training for county staff, and has made investments in cyberinsurance, as well as ransomware prevention and response to bolster its security enterprisewide.

2nd Chesterfield County, Va.

Chesterfield County recently updated its open data policy and created an enterprise data governance strategy, a backdrop on which it can encourage more information sharing between departments.

The county has worked with regional partners on several projects, including a cross-jurisdictional cybersecurity partnership, creating a website to promote education and awareness about opioids in the area, participating in a health and human services-related platform to share data and help cut down on duplicate entry, and police department teamwork on mapping crime.

Chesterfield IT has invested real resources into establishing a culture of creativity and relationships, setting up the technology infrastructure to allow telecommuting, which 65 percent of its staff takes advantage of for parts of each week. The department also uses a competency tool to identify specific areas where staff could use training or career development, and then recognizes and rewards them for pursuing that new knowledge. There’s also a mentorship program that pairs up employees with leaders. Since 2013, the vacancy rate has dropped from 18 percent to 7 percent.

The teleworking option, along with the county’s heavy use of the cloud for email, file storage and other applications, is also central to its plans to keep working in case of emergency.

The county’s budget for the next fiscal year includes a $1 million increase to support innovation and enterprise initiatives. Among the work it’s taking on: Setting up a cloud-based enterprise business intelligence platform, setting up big data analytics for police and fire department sensors and identifying commonly-FOIA’d information so it can be published on the county’s open data platform.

3rd Frederick County, Md.

Frederick County, Md., which ranked third among agencies with 150,000-249,999 residents in the 2016 Digital Counties Survey, leveraged agency collaborations, citizen engagement, key new tools and population growth to earn third place this year in the 250,000-499,999 population category. Its IT organization leads an IT Technology Council to further interagency collaboration between county and municipal public safety, library and education agencies. The Livable Frederick Master Plan offers a collaboration framework for other agencies, the private sector and community groups. In the next year, county emergency management will link its computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system to adjoining counties to reduce dispatch times.

The county executive has made citizen engagement a priority; the agency surveyed residents in support of the agency’s budget and streams budget presentations and town halls, addressing comments in real time via Facebook Live. It also held an online chat with parks and recreation and reaches residents through many social media platforms. The county, which now serves more than 252,000 residents, reaches them via a responsively-designed website; online apps that use mapping to enable the reporting and tracking of road conditions and issues; and a Notify Me app that offers text or email notification on specific issues, job and bid postings and emergency alerts. The county is seeking a consultant to identify key performance indicators that could be displayed in public-facing dashboards.

The county’s IT organization is using a project portfolio management tool to prioritize and assign staff to key projects. It recently deployed a security incident event management tool using artificial intelligence and machine learning to scrutinize real-time information for potential security issues, and stood up a new Cyber Security Operations Center offering real-time assessment and analysis. Going forward, security officials plan to procure penetration testing tools and mount a phishing awareness campaign.

4th Douglas County, Colo.

After finishing first in last year’s 250,000-499,999 population category, Douglas County, Colo., has dropped to fourth in the current survey, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t progress being made there. In fact, the jurisdiction has a pretty long list of new tech and innovation projects that have gone live or into development this year, including an Ask Douglas County skill for Amazon’s Alexa, a multitude of new GIS apps for both internal and public use, an elaborate expansion of its existing open data portal, a new GeoHub with a wide breadth of layered maps, integrated Waze data to help new transportation projects, and more. As Douglas County notes, its population is tech savvy, and 90 percent of constituents have high-speed Internet connections at home, which has led to a situation where citizen demands require that the jurisdiction’s tech and innovation work keep pace. This is varied work, ranging from publication of financial data dating back five years to expanding the range and speed of Wi-Fi available at the Douglas County Fair.

Internally Douglas continues to do important work in the area of cybersecurity, faced as all jurisdictions are by an ever-evolving set of more complex threats. To this end, Douglas County is using new security technologies, extensive security awareness training for its IT staff and improved cyberincident response plans. As many jurisdictions have, the county has also moved to using DocuSign, which enables electronic signatures that lead to more efficient internal workflows, as well as new e-procurement systems. In terms of the future, innovation work continues. Douglas County is, for example, working to grow its GeoHub into its primary open data site by 2019. Drone usage also continues to expand, with new uses for that tech including for search and rescue and weed control.

5th Durham County, N.C.

Durham County, N.C. — population 312,000 — has jumped from its previous 10th place to fifth place this year in the Digital Counties Survey. The county’s strategic plan focuses on five goals: Community and Family, Health, Secure Community, Environment and Visionary Government. The Computers 4 Kids program is part of the Information Services and Technology department’s commitment to Community and Family. The program refurbishes computers and partners with local organizations to redistribute the computers to area nonprofits, Durham Public Schools and North Carolina Central University.

New apps from Durham County indicate its extensive efforts to meet citizen needs. The county Department of Social Services launched a mobile app to let citizens submit documents for Food and Nutrition Services, Medicaid, Work First (employment services) benefits or Crisis Services applications. The goal is to help people avoid multiple in-person trips to county offices.

A joint city-county portal and app,