Mercier, former Senate Agriculture Committee Chief Economist & Farm Journal Foundation Director of Policy and Advocacy, 15
[Stephanie, July 2015, AGree, “Food and Agricultural Education in the United States”, http://www.foodandagpolicy.org/sites/default/files/AGree_Food%20and%20Ag%20Ed%20in%20the%20US_0.pdf, p. 11-12, accessed 6-26-17, AFB]
In recent years, there have been some scattered efforts to connect agricultural education with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines and the broader STEM movement that links student learning to integrated projects that address real world challenges. There is a sense that the real world nature of food and agriculture lends itself to this learning model and that agriculture education should capitalize on the STEM focus in education. But based on an assessment of publicly available programs and resources, this seemingly natural connection has yet to be fully realized.
NAAE provides agricultural educators a process and products that integrate STEM education through their CASE Curriculum. CASE includes specific content pathways that cut across STEM disciplines to allow educators to connect agriculture and science through instruction, exploration, and activities. CASE is supported through professional development and NAAE’s Communities of Practice.55
STEMconnector was established in 2011 by a consortium of companies, non-profits, and professional societies to try to provide a central clearing house for institutions and efforts involved in enhancing STEM education in the United States.56 One of their projects, the Food and Ag Council, consisting of top officials from the public and private sectors in agriculture, released a report at the 2014 World Food Prize events in Iowa in October 2014 that highlighted some of the employment opportunities that will be available in the sector over the next decade or so.57 That report focused on the Millennial Generation that is now in college, but recommends that the movement to interest young people in agricultural science disciplines start long before that decision is made.There is a limited selection of STEM resources available on the NAITCO website58 and in a handful of states, such as Georgia, Oregon, and Minnesota.
Integrating agricultural education makes STEM education more effective and bolsters vital critical thinking skills
Elliott, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Director of STEM, 16
(Kristopher, 8/25/2016, The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, “Is Ag the Answer to STEM?”, http://www.agfoundation.org/news/is-ag-the-answer-to-stem, Accessed 6/28/17, VB)
There is no doubt that STEM has become a hot topic in education.Teaching science and math with a silo approach does not reflect the real world, and often falls short of giving students the ability to problem solve as critical thinkers; a vital skill set business and industry are becoming more and more vocal about. Moreover, the interest in STEM has started to materialize in the form of grants, private funding opportunities and block funding to many schools and districts across the country.
With all of this interest, it can seem like a no brainer to move toward more purposeful STEM instruction, but this is easier said than done. If you’ve ever done a search for STEM curriculum you will quickly find that the problem is not a lack of information. It is actually quite the opposite; your browser will be full of lessons, resources and activities, often to the point it becomes overwhelming. Additionally, cherry picking cool lessons without a comprehensive approach to STEM instruction can cause confusion among students - they need to know where it all fits together in a way that connects to their own lives.
Agriculture may be the answer.
One thing is for certain, in order to survive, your students need food, fiber, and shelter - all of which are provided by agriculture. Surprisingly though, most students don't seem to make that connection, and furthermore, many teachers don’t recognize how agriculture can be a useful context to teach STEM. But without an agricultural background, how do teachers use this context as a teaching tool? How does an urban educator connect students with agriculture when many of them are generations removed from the farm and live far from production areas? The answer is pretty simple actually: Know the resources available to you. Organizations like the American Farm Bureau Foundation, Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, and Beef Checkoff, offer numerous resources for teachers to incorporate agriculture and STEM concepts into the classroom. For example, when discussing genetics with students, teachers can explore how purposeful selection of breeding stock in beef animals has helped produce leaner animals with more efficient feed conversion ratios. Additionally, science, engineering, and technology has produced equipment that can sort sperm cells in order to produce female offspring, which are much more valuable to beef breeders. And if ethical concerns arise in such discussions, the use of socioscientific issues can help guide discussion of how ethics keep up with our scientific and technological developments.
The technological advancements in agriculture, particularly with regard to sustainability, GPS, and computers, are staggering. For example, computers and software can help farmers more precisely apply fertilizers, leading to less waste and potential runoff. Modern tractors drive themselves, can call the service technician when they need maintenance, and even give their exact location so the technician will have precise directions. With all of this in mind, teachers will find just a few clicks can help them locate lessons rooted in agriculture that have standards based scientific, mathematical, technological and engineering applications. Agriculture is a great option for teachers to engage students in STEM concepts in a way that directly and indirectly impact their lives.
Effective STEM is key to cyber security
Levy, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, executive director, & Plucker, University of Connecticut Neag School of Education professor, 15
[Harold O. Levy, Jonathan A. Plucker, 6-5-2015, US News & World Report, "Brains, Not Brawn," https://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2015/06/05/lack-of-stem-students-is-bad-for-national-security, accessed 7-3-17, TR]
The country's defensive capabilities often depend on brains, not brawn. Development of nuclear weaponry is but one example. And the biggest contemporary threat – one that could surface at any time and on an unfathomable scale – is the likelihood of a massive cyberattack. Study after study warns that our dependence on advanced technology in almost every aspect of communication, commerce and transportation makes us highly vulnerable to the armies of hackers in countries that wish us harm.
[SEE: Political Cartoons on the Economy]
Recent mini-attacks make clear the scope of the threat: It ranges from China's compromising our banks, critical pipelines and military to North Korea's recent disruption of Sony Pictures. Nor have we been able to bring the hackers to justice using traditional means. The Department of Justice actually indicted three members of the Chinese military for hacking. There have been recent hints that the hackers who stole data from JP Morgan Chase affecting tens of millions households were about to be extradited.
Yet too few students choose to study engineering, physics, computer science and mathematics, all necessary areas to shore up our cyberdefenses. One traditional solution for our shallow talent pool has been to import talent, but this strategy is showing considerable strain. Even when we still use this strategy – for example, by issuing H-1B visas (85,000 this year) or encouraging foreign university students (just shy of 900,000) to stay in the country upon graduation – it does not improve our national security:Government, defense, and aerospace companies can't hire foreign citizens for jobs requiring a domestic security clearance, yet increasing numbers of jobs in these fields require such clearances. It is literally impossible for us to "talent import" our way to a well-defended nation. As long as national security clearance is required for data warriors (and we think it should be), an army of mercenaries can't defend us from a cyberattack.
The way to start to deepen the American talent pool is to acknowledge that, for far too long, American education policy has primarily focused on basic proficiency, not academic excellence. The U.S. produces advanced students at a much lower rate than other developed countries, according to international assessments. The graduate programs in engineering and the hard sciences in our elite colleges are dominated by foreign students; government subsidies for these departments, properly understood, should be classified as a form of foreign aid. If it's true that "bright students can take care of themselves," then our bright students are doing a particularly poor job of it.
Meanwhile, we are overlooking a major source of home-grown talent. Thousands of innovative minds are sitting on the sidelines; they are the nation's high-ability, low-income children. Because we do not provide basic support programs, far too few of them are attending selective universities, earning advanced degrees or acquiring security clearances.
There is a measurable difference among lower-income versus higher-income students who reach advanced levels of academic performance – an "excellence gap." For example, 2 percent of low-income students scored at the highest level on a recent national math test in fourth grade, compared with 13 percent of higher-income students. High-ability, low-income students have difficulty pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, and often they backslide as they plod – largely ignored – through our schools. If they aren't given the support they need, we've lost them for good.
The lost potential is staggering. Even small improvements in the excellence gap will yield many more high-performing students who can form the next generation of innovators, leaders and home-grown cybersecurity scientists. Closing the excellence gap in math by just half would mean an additional 85,000 high-performing students entering high school each year. Put another way, over 1 million students in grades K-12 today could be moved from proficiency to excellence, flooding our society and economy with world-class thinkers, some of whom could help improve our cybersecurity.
Cultivating critical thinking is particularly key to cybersecurity
McAllister, Carnegie Mellon University, Software Engineering Institute, Senior Analyst, 16
(Jay, 2/15/16, Software Engineering Institute, “Cyber Intelligence and Critical Thinking”, https://insights.sei.cmu.edu/sei_blog/2016/02/cyber-intelligence-and-critical-thinking.html, Accessed 6/28/17, VB)
The importance of applying critical thinking to cyber intelligence cannot be overstated. In our work with organizations, we have noticed that when a new threat arises, instead of holistically assessing it, organizations often simply request the latest, greatest analytic tool or contract out the work to third-party intelligence providers. As a former intelligence analyst--prior to joining the SEI, I served as a counterintelligence and counterterrorism analyst for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)--I know from experience that the operational tempo required for intelligence analysts to keep pace with the ever-changing cyber environment is overwhelming at best. While technology and external resources offer value, analysts also need to critically assess the information they receive.
In 2013, the Defense Science Board echoed a similar sentiment. In their report, Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat they included the following among their recommendations to improve DoD systems' resilience: "Refocus intelligence collection and analysis to understand adversarial cyber capabilities, plans and intentions, and to enable counterstrategies."
Foundations of Our Work
Our work in cyber intelligence started in 2012 with a request from the government to assess the state of the practice of cyber intelligence. Our work on that initial project involved an examination of the cyber intelligence practices of 30 organizations (6 from government and 24 from industry), specifically their strategic approaches to cyber intelligence. Our work focused on identifying the methodologies, processes, tools and training that shaped how these organizations assessed and analyzed cyber threats. As detailed in an earlier blog post, our work on this project resulted in an implementation framework that captured best practices.
When this work concluded, several participant organizations approached the ETC about leading an effort that would research and develop technical solutions and analytical practices to help people make better judgments and quicker decisions with cyber intelligence. As a result, ETC launched the Cyber Intelligence Research Consortium.
The first year of this consortium focused primarily on continuing our research in cyber intelligence, as well as identifying best practices and challenges. Nearly four years after our initial research began, we have noted clear examples of a strategic shift among participant organizations with respect to cyber intelligence. They are investing resources in hiring intelligence analysts from a pool of vetted and qualified experts, and they are investing significant resources in acquiring tools and tradecraft. However, they are not yet making effective use of the intelligence provided by these resources.
In both government and industry, organizational resilience in the wake of an attack relies on an analyst's ability to holistically assess a threat. The remainder of this post proposes a three-step approach for holistically approaching a cyber threat.
Three Steps to Holistically Assess Cyber Threats
First and foremost, applying critical thinking--which brings together all the skills shown in the "conceptual framework" above--to cyber threats improves an analyst's ability to accurately evaluate and estimate a threat's potential to impact and expose its target. My ETC colleagues and I propose a three-step approach to holistically assess cyber threats:
Establish a baseline of how the threat will be analyzed. This step involves outlining the approach so that the analyst uses all the skills represented in the conceptual framework. Since the framework is non-linear, the components can be approached in whatever order makes sense.
Leverage creative brainstorming. When facing a potential cyber threat, analysts don't have the luxury of time to stare into space and wait for an "ah ha" moment. Creative brainstorming techniques such as those found in human-centered design accelerate the time it takes to get to an "ah ha" moment. To enhance an analyst's creative brainstorming skills, I recommend looking at recent brainstorming research including that by Luma Institute, specifically their 36 techniques for creative brainstorming and practice them daily.
Perform the holistic threat assessment. The assessment evaluates the threat from the three perspectives shown in the figures below (these charts are available as fillable templates):
The three steps outlined in this approach enable analysts to avoid intelligence tunnel vision and seek to understand all causes and effects of relevant threats, which can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cyber intelligence efforts.
Cyberattacks are increasing now – conflict escalation is becoming uniquely likely
Lindsay et. al 15 (Lindsay, Jon R., Tai Ming Cheung, and Derek S. Reveron. China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain. Print., Jon R. Lindsay is an assistant research scientist at the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego School of International Relations and Pacific Studies)
Cyber war, compared with conventional wars, is rather inexpensive; it can be initiated from anywhere and does not require large amounts of troops and weapons, but only a computer and Internet access. The “cyber conflicts” and “cyberwars” in which they can grow are among the greatest challenges of today and tomorrow. Because of the nature and speed of destruction may be affected thousands of targets across the planet. The cyberwar phenomenon itself is not discussed widely and availably for comparison and in this case even the Cold War would prove “an era of publicity and openness”. Therefore, the investigation and detection of problems related to the use of cyberspace as a platform for keeping secrets strife is more than obsolete. In the scientific literature it is accepted that for the first time the concept of “information war” was used in the publication by Thomas Rhona back in 1976 . Although the fact that the exact boundaries of the “cyber war” phenomenon have not yet beenidentified and are contested in research circles a more general working definition can be formulated as a “war waged in cyberspace, using information and communication technologies in order to destruct ICT probable opponent” . According to the security expert of the US government Richard Clarke in his book “Cyber Warfare” , “cyber war” – this is the action of a nation state intrusion into computers or networks of other national state in order to achieve the objectives of loss or destruction. The British magazine “The Economist” describes cyber war as a “fifth field of the war, after land, sea, air and space” . Assuming that “cyberspace” is a conceptual and physical reality, the escalation of conflicts in it to higher levels, leads to serious losses in almost all spheres of public life and allows us to introduce the concept of “cyber war”. Information environment creates new possibilities for military impact. It changes in a very high degree the preparation as well as the actual conduct of modern war. “New technologies have made it possible to increase the precision of weapons, to achieve an exceptional degree of complexity of military offensive and defensivesystems, to use ultra-modern, including spacecraft means of intelligence, to improve significantly, to the utmost degree the coordination of warring parties on the battlefield. Information from a supportive, tactical, operational maximum resource has turned into a resource of strategic importance” [5, 6]. Among the main objectives of fighting in the first phases of the war is already the achieving of information superiority: “To win wars today, one must first win the information war. Today the ability to collect, share, process and store information is the most important determinant of military power” . The intensive introduction of new electronic technologies increases to utmost degree the combat capabilities of conventional armaments and especially of the military equipment. This is the original cause that today military experts consider ICT as an extremely effective weapon, which is also the priority target for destruction because of the same quality, and assess cyberspace as a convenient area for the deployment of military action, like land and sea, air and space. As noted by a former general in the Armed Forces of the United States “These communication and information technologies that connect major economic, physical and social assets have been adopted and adapted by the military and paramilitary organizations, 262 Military Art and Science REVISTA ACADEMIEI FORĥELOR TERESTRE NR. 3 (79)/2015 thus bringing about revolutionary changes in warfare altering the way for planning, organizing and conducting combat operations. These quality changes include and at the same time increase the opportunities for intelligence, surveillance and evaluation, and for command and control of forces. They help optimizing the transport of forces and means, ensuring the accuracy of navigation using intellectual-saturated highly precise weapons and using «The Network» as an environment, with the assistance of which and between the limits of which are conducted military operations” . New information technologies allow multiple increase speed in processing large amounts of data, which eases making complex operational decisions and essentially creates new tactical methods of armed struggle. They sharply increase the combat potential of electronic systems, which turns them into a new type of information weapons intended to defeat both the military and the civilian infrastructure of the enemy by damaging or destruction of its computer networks. Using the cyber environment, the opponent may deploy information weapons (e.g. tools for data collection and analytical processing, stations for radio-electronic combat, impulse and electromagnetic weapons, etc.) and use it in a defensive or offensive operation together with traditional weapons. According to some expert data the invisible weapon is capable to end the conflict before the start of physical combat, because the escalation of information confrontation could lead to disaster for one of the opposing sides. In this sense it can be claimed that the possession of a high technology information weapon provides outstanding benefitsand if not today, then in the foreseeable future will successfully compete even with nuclear weapons. These two weapons will become a powerful factor for political pressure and threat. Information weapon gradually becomes one of the main components of the military potential of modern states and today many countries, especially the highly developed (the USA, China, the Russian Federation and many others) consistently and persistently prepare for keeping information wars. To this aim also not so technologically advanced countries as they strive to acquire options for keeping information wars. It is quite possible because the information weapon has certain characteristics that make its spread fast and difficult to control. It has relatively low prices and this makes it quite accessible to various malevolent entities. It can be developed, built, implemented and even used hidden to the general public from various aggressive regimes which raise it in rank of a too dangerous global problem.
Cyber attacks cause critical infrastructure failure and nuclear war
Tilford, Graduate US Army Airborne School, 12
[Robert, Graduate US Army Airborne School, Ft. Benning, Georgia, Examiner, "Cyber attackers could shut down the electric grid for the entire east coast", 7-12-12, Examiner, http://web.archive.org/web/20120812000707/http://www.examiner.com/article/cyber-attackers-could-easily-shut-down-the-electric-grid-for-the-entire-east-coa, accessed 7-3-17, AFB]
To make matters worse a cyber attack that can take out a civilian power grid, for example could also cripple the U.S. military.
The senator notes that is that the same power grids that supply cities and towns, stores and gas stations, cell towers and heart monitors also power "every military base in our country."
"Although bases would be prepared to weather a short power outage with backup diesel generators, within hours, not days, fuel supplies would run out", he said.
Radar systems that detect air threats to our country would shut Down completely.
"Communication between commanders and their troops would also go silent. And many weapons systems would be left without either fuel or electric power", said Senator Grassley.
"So in a few short hours or days, the mightiest military in the world would be left scrambling to maintain base functions", he said.
We contacted the Pentagon and officials confirmed the threat of a cyber attack is something very real.
Top national security officials—including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Director of the National Security Agency, the Secretary of Defense, and the CIA Director— have said, "preventing a cyber attack and improving the nation~’s electric grids is among the most urgent priorities of our country" (source: Congressional Record).
So how serious is the Pentagon taking all this?
Enough to start, or end a war over it, for sure (see video: Pentagon declares war on cyber attacks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kVQrp_D0kY%26feature=relmfu ). A cyber attack today against the US could very well be seen as an "Act of War" and could be met with a "full scale" US military response.
That could include the use of "nuclear weapons", if authorized by the President.
[Note – The senator = Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA]