An incident of outage of a secure computer network at the Creech Air Force Base, north of Las Vegas, that took place in early September, is currently under investigation of the US Air Force.
The US Air Force is investigating an incident of outage of a secure computer network at the Creech Air Force Base, north of Las Vegas, Nevada, that took place in early September.
The Creech Base is one of the main military centers for global drone operations, as well as is used to operate the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
On Wednesday, the fact that the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPR), which is accessible only to Defense Department personnel, went down was confirmed by the US Air Force.
According to the Military.com informational website, spokeswoman for the Air Combat Command, Maj. Malinda Singleton, said that “as to concern about the Sept. 9th SIPR connectivity issue, the investigation into the issue is ongoing.” She also added that the specific impacts of a network outage are not discussed for operational security reasons and noted that the system is now “back up and running.”
As a solicitation, published on the Federal Business Operations website, reads, “on 9 September 2016, the SIPR system currently in operation at Creech AFB failed and critical services were impacted. The services were somewhat restored with the use of multiple less powerful devices. This temporary solution stabilized the services, but will not be able to maintain the demand for very long. If this solution fails, there is currently no other backup system.”
The spokeswoman for the Air Combat Command explained that although SIPRNet has no backup mechanics, “there are various failsafe mechanisms, redundancies and preprogramming that allow our aircraft to retrace flight paths and to communicate with terrestrial, space-based navigation and through air traffic control systems to safely carry out their mission,” and added that global operations take place in different locations all over the world, and that one node can take the helm of another should it become non-responsive.
There have been three recent incidents, when unintended targets have been struck by unmanned aerial vehicles. On September 17, 62 Syrian soldiers were killed and 100 others were wounded, when a US drone struck targets, located in Syria, south of Deir ez-Zor, which were mistaken for Islamic State (IS) terrorists. On September 28, more than 20 Somali troops were killed in the east African country, and about 15 civilians were killed in Afghanistan by US drone strikes.
All these incidents are currently under investigation, but, it seems that they are not unrelated to the system outage.