The Air Force misplaced (or lost or had stolen) a laptop computer with personal identification information, including social security numbers, for more than 10,000 current and former airmen, all either in public affairs, bands, or the Air Force Honor Guard. A bandsman had the laptop in a band office at Bolling AFB, D.C. and discovered its loss after returning from a trip in November. The band conducted an internal search from Nov. 19 until Dec. 5 and then set in motion a notification process that included various agencies and senior Air Force leaders. The commander of the 11th Wing at Bolling sent a letter to all 10,501 individuals (10,001 retired and 500 active duty) informing them of the theft. He indicated that “the probability is low” the data will be used “for an unlawful purpose.” Still, the question remains: Why did a bandsman have this data? USAF says he was tasked with maintaining a database to prepare a unit history and contact alumni. So, why would the band need social security numbers? An 11th Wing release dated Jan. 4, 2008, states: “It is not yet known why PII information was included in the database.” Pardon us, but that seems mighty lame after the huge outcry over recent multiple data breaches at the VA and elsewhere. There is at least one Senator who must feel the same. Associated Press reports that the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has launched an investigation.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.