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NEED TO KNOW

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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by dscott8   » Sat Jul 02, 2022 7:14 am

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As a former Army officer whose duties included processing security clearances, I can describe the practical criteria we applied when evaluating "need to know":

1. What level of detail does this person require to properly perform their duties? This is fairly easy to judge when you're evaluating hands-on personnel, but it gets a bit fuzzier as you go up the chain to senior personnel who need more conceptual data.

2. What are the potential down sides of too much information sharing? This is specific to each bit of classified information. We also considered the upsides, in terms of greater synergy between people involved in the project.

3. Are there legal disclosure requirements? There are some cases where oversight laws mandate briefing in outsiders, including elected reps and non-military personnel from regulatory agencies. Deciding how much detail must be shared is an art form.

All of this is evaluated against the clearances and background check data of an individual. Often, clearances have to be upgraded for people whose talents are needed on a classified project, and if there are any doubts about an individual, they could be reassigned and replaced.

Someone made the point that Elizabeth II did not need the tech details of new weapons systems, but she did need to know what their effect would be. That's why she has a First Space Lord and people like Admiral Hemphill to explain things to her.
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by cthia   » Mon Jul 04, 2022 11:49 am

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dscott8 wrote:As a former Army officer whose duties included processing security clearances, I can describe the practical criteria we applied when evaluating "need to know":

1. What level of detail does this person require to properly perform their duties? This is fairly easy to judge when you're evaluating hands-on personnel, but it gets a bit fuzzier as you go up the chain to senior personnel who need more conceptual data.

2. What are the potential down sides of too much information sharing? This is specific to each bit of classified information. We also considered the upsides, in terms of greater synergy between people involved in the project.

3. Are there legal disclosure requirements? There are some cases where oversight laws mandate briefing in outsiders, including elected reps and non-military personnel from regulatory agencies. Deciding how much detail must be shared is an art form.

All of this is evaluated against the clearances and background check data of an individual. Often, clearances have to be upgraded for people whose talents are needed on a classified project, and if there are any doubts about an individual, they could be reassigned and replaced.

Someone made the point that Elizabeth II did not need the tech details of new weapons systems, but she did need to know what their effect would be. That's why she has a First Space Lord and people like Admiral Hemphill to explain things to her.

That is interesting as well. One thing K liked about Beth is that she could easily grasp the rudiments of technology. IOW, there wasn't a whole lot of moisture behind her ears.

But it begs a question, would everyone else besides perhaps the Fifth Space Lord over at the Admiralty have had a need to know about Apollo? Where did the buck stop?

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:04 pm

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cthia wrote:But it begs a question, would everyone else besides perhaps the Fifth Space Lord over at the Admiralty have had a need to know about Apollo? Where did the buck stop?

First - no. There's no way everyone over at the Admiralty (which would include mail clerks, janitors, cafeteria staff, etc.) had a need to know. But even most of the people in the technical branches of BuShips and BuOrd wouldn't have a need to know.

But also, as I mentioned previously, who needs to know changes with time and as the project moves along from pure research, to development, towards and into deployment. At each stage more and more people need to be read into parts of the project.


After all, BuShips can't have designers looking at what changes are needed to ship designs to refit (or build for) Keyhole II if they don't know about Keyhole II. Now those designers likely don't need to know the technical details of how Keyhole II works, and may not even need to know that it provides FTL fire control. But they will need to know that a newer generation of Keyhole, that's much larger, is coming and what it needs from the ship in terms of docking space, connections, data & power links, etc. etc. But they don't even need to know that when Apollo is still so early that they're trying to figure out whether or not they can even squeeze and FTL transmitter of useful range into something about the size of a missile.

I'm not sure if designing the Keyhole II would belong to BuShip or BuOrd, or someone else. The designers of that, as well as the designers of the Mk23E would need to be basically fully read into the program as they're designing the FTL fire control that is the heart of the program. (Though the Keyhole II designers don't need to be aware of the missile "AI" development, and neither do most of the missile designers -- however they do need to know either how capable a computer to include or else need to know the volume and power requirements for a plug-in guidance/"AI" computer some other team might be developing)


Going back to the Manhattan Project I'm pretty sure the that folks designed the Silver Plate modifications for the B-29s, to enable them to handle the atomic bombs, didn't know the actual type of bomb they were going to carry. They didn't need to know, they just needed to know that the bombers needed to be modified as requested.
And I'm very confident that once those design changes were finalized and a production contract handed off to the Martin's Offutt Field modification center that the workers there had no knowledge of the type of weapon the bombers were being modified to carry. What they needed to know was the changes that needed to be made. What the designers of those changes needed to know was the maximum dimensions for weapons to be carried, the maximum weight of those weapons, and other required changes to the aircraft; but not the capabilities or type of the weapons.
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by kzt   » Mon Jul 04, 2022 2:22 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
cthia wrote:But it begs a question, would everyone else besides perhaps the Fifth Space Lord over at the Admiralty have had a need to know about Apollo? Where did the buck stop?

First - no. There's no way everyone over at the Admiralty (which would include mail clerks, janitors, cafeteria staff, etc.) had a need to know. But even most of the people in the technical branches of BuShips and BuOrd wouldn't have a need to know.

But also, as I mentioned previously, who needs to know changes with time and as the project moves along from pure research, to development, towards and into deployment. At each stage more and more people need to be read into parts of the project.

To reference a topic I mentioned earlier - The US Navy's Bureau of Ordinance most cherished weapon, the Mk6 Exploder. Which was so secret that only senior officers were told about it a roundabout way. And the manual manuscript was stored in a safe with non printed. It was going to be the weapon that won the war for the US Navy.

And it was so secret and kept so close to the vest that it was a shock when it was revealed. And more so when they slowly realized it didn't work because, being so secret, nobody had actually tested it on an actual combat sub against realistic targets.
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Jul 04, 2022 3:04 pm

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kzt wrote:To reference a topic I mentioned earlier - The US Navy's Bureau of Ordinance most cherished weapon, the Mk6 Exploder. Which was so secret that only senior officers were told about it a roundabout way. And the manual manuscript was stored in a safe with non printed. It was going to be the weapon that won the war for the US Navy.

And it was so secret and kept so close to the vest that it was a shock when it was revealed. And more so when they slowly realized it didn't work because, being so secret, nobody had actually tested it on an actual combat sub against realistic targets.

Yep. Though, to be fair, everybody who tried them screwed up magnetic detonators for torpedoes in WWII - and nobody figured that out pre-war.

Other navies just figured out sooner, after their combat debut, that they didn't work reliably. (The British after they misbehaved in the Swordfish attack on the Bismarck -- except due to misidentification they actually dropped on the friendly cruiser HMS Sheffield; who let them know the torpedoes all detonated prematurely. So for the next strike, which actually found, and attacked, Bismarck they disabled the magnetic detonators and just used contact detonation)



And the other navies hadn't layered on incompetency in other aspects of torpedo design and testing -- like a barely functional backup contact detonator, or measuring pressure for regulating depth in a spot strongly affected by dynamic pressure from torpedo speed.

The depth keeping issue being missed due to a combination of poor calibration on the test range, test warheads that were lighter than the final live ones, and thanks the the magnetic detonator attack profiles that were expected to pass under the target anyway.



The general issue with magnetic detonators for torpedoes, whether the German WWI ones, or the German, British, or US WWII ones was a lack of understanding of how the Earth's magnetic field differed across the globe.
They also didn't realize that the relative speed of closure between the torpedo and the target changed how quickly the magnetic field changed and so when the detonator triggered -- the rise when firing head on at the target being quicker than a broadside attack, which in turn was higher than a closing attack; and whether the torpedo was set for high speed or long range also altered this. (So a head on shot, at high speed, on a fast target -- say a destroyer charging you -- was far more likely to premature and blow up before reaching the target)

So everyone ended up with magnetic detonators that, more or less, worked on their own testing range -- but due to differing magnetic conditions (which they were unaware of) became less and less reliable the further you got further from there. (For example the US Mk6 detonator worked fairly well at 41 degrees N, where it was tested and refined, but the magnetic signal it was looking for was roughly halved at the equator, which was too low to reliably trigger the detonator)

However the US was particularly resistant to admitting to the faults and working around them. (Pretty much everybody else just disabled or pulled the magnetic detonators and went back to contact ones. But their contact ones actually worked)



The the US contact detonator problem wasn't caused by secrecy though; but was left undiscovered due to lack of proper testing. (Admittedly because 'the Mk6 magnetic was the war winning wonder weapon and so who cares about the old contact system' led, in part, to lack of proper testing of it)
But it was basically an Ariane 5 problem -- reuse of a known working component from a previous (slower) design without carefully verifying it still worked in the new faster design. In the Ariane 5 rocket that resulted in the higher velocity of its launch causing an integer overflow in the inertial navigation system which caused it to crash, causing the first flight to veer off course and be destroyed. In the Mk14's case it was reusing the contact detonator design of the earlier, slower Mk10 torpedo, which turned out not to be able to reliably function at the higher impact velocity/energy of the newer faster Mk14. (or of its ship and plane launched Mk15 and Mk13 counterparts)
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by dscott8   » Tue Jul 05, 2022 10:54 am

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Jonathan_S wrote:
cthia wrote:But it begs a question, would everyone else besides perhaps the Fifth Space Lord over at the Admiralty have had a need to know about Apollo? Where did the buck stop?

First - no. There's no way everyone over at the Admiralty (which would include mail clerks, janitors, cafeteria staff, etc.) had a need to know. But even most of the people in the technical branches of BuShips and BuOrd wouldn't have a need to know.

But also, as I mentioned previously, who needs to know changes with time and as the project moves along from pure research, to development, towards and into deployment. At each stage more and more people need to be read into parts of the project.


After all, BuShips can't have designers looking at what changes are needed to ship designs to refit (or build for) Keyhole II if they don't know about Keyhole II. Now those designers likely don't need to know the technical details of how Keyhole II works, and may not even need to know that it provides FTL fire control. But they will need to know that a newer generation of Keyhole, that's much larger, is coming and what it needs from the ship in terms of docking space, connections, data & power links, etc. etc. But they don't even need to know that when Apollo is still so early that they're trying to figure out whether or not they can even squeeze and FTL transmitter of useful range into something about the size of a missile.

I'm not sure if designing the Keyhole II would belong to BuShip or BuOrd, or someone else. The designers of that, as well as the designers of the Mk23E would need to be basically fully read into the program as they're designing the FTL fire control that is the heart of the program. (Though the Keyhole II designers don't need to be aware of the missile "AI" development, and neither do most of the missile designers -- however they do need to know either how capable a computer to include or else need to know the volume and power requirements for a plug-in guidance/"AI" computer some other team might be developing)


Going back to the Manhattan Project I'm pretty sure the that folks designed the Silver Plate modifications for the B-29s, to enable them to handle the atomic bombs, didn't know the actual type of bomb they were going to carry. They didn't need to know, they just needed to know that the bombers needed to be modified as requested.
And I'm very confident that once those design changes were finalized and a production contract handed off to the Martin's Offutt Field modification center that the workers there had no knowledge of the type of weapon the bombers were being modified to carry. What they needed to know was the changes that needed to be made. What the designers of those changes needed to know was the maximum dimensions for weapons to be carried, the maximum weight of those weapons, and other required changes to the aircraft; but not the capabilities or type of the weapons.


Johnathan_S makes a couple of good points. One is that in a successful project, the need to know expands as you move from theoretical research to design and integration. The other is that "need to know" does not mean "need to know everything".
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by cthia   » Tue Jul 05, 2022 3:59 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
cthia wrote:But it begs a question, would everyone else besides perhaps the Fifth Space Lord over at the Admiralty have had a need to know about Apollo? Where did the buck stop?

First - no. There's no way everyone over at the Admiralty (which would include mail clerks, janitors, cafeteria staff, etc.) had a need to know. But even most of the people in the technical branches of BuShips and BuOrd wouldn't have a need to know.

But also, as I mentioned previously, who needs to know changes with time and as the project moves along from pure research, to development, towards and into deployment. At each stage more and more people need to be read into parts of the project.


After all, BuShips can't have designers looking at what changes are needed to ship designs to refit (or build for) Keyhole II if they don't know about Keyhole II. Now those designers likely don't need to know the technical details of how Keyhole II works, and may not even need to know that it provides FTL fire control. But they will need to know that a newer generation of Keyhole, that's much larger, is coming and what it needs from the ship in terms of docking space, connections, data & power links, etc. etc. But they don't even need to know that when Apollo is still so early that they're trying to figure out whether or not they can even squeeze and FTL transmitter of useful range into something about the size of a missile.

I'm not sure if designing the Keyhole II would belong to BuShip or BuOrd, or someone else. The designers of that, as well as the designers of the Mk23E would need to be basically fully read into the program as they're designing the FTL fire control that is the heart of the program. (Though the Keyhole II designers don't need to be aware of the missile "AI" development, and neither do most of the missile designers -- however they do need to know either how capable a computer to include or else need to know the volume and power requirements for a plug-in guidance/"AI" computer some other team might be developing)


Going back to the Manhattan Project I'm pretty sure the that folks designed the Silver Plate modifications for the B-29s, to enable them to handle the atomic bombs, didn't know the actual type of bomb they were going to carry. They didn't need to know, they just needed to know that the bombers needed to be modified as requested.
And I'm very confident that once those design changes were finalized and a production contract handed off to the Martin's Offutt Field modification center that the workers there had no knowledge of the type of weapon the bombers were being modified to carry. What they needed to know was the changes that needed to be made. What the designers of those changes needed to know was the maximum dimensions for weapons to be carried, the maximum weight of those weapons, and other required changes to the aircraft; but not the capabilities or type of the weapons.


dscott8 wrote:Johnathan_S makes a couple of good points. One is that in a successful project, the need to know expands as you move from theoretical research to design and integration. The other is that "need to know" does not mean "need to know everything".

Indeed, but the discussion has brought us full circle to what I envisioned that can happen on the very second page of this thread. When top brass -- ranking above someone who does have a need to know -- catches wind of something going on because of a whirlwind of activity and because need to know is expanding. And that higher ranking officer wants in on it.

The internecine politics of classified data even over at the Admiralty.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by dscott8   » Sat Jul 09, 2022 11:29 am

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cthia wrote:Indeed, but the discussion has brought us full circle to what I envisioned that can happen on the very second page of this thread. When top brass -- ranking above someone who does have a need to know -- catches wind of something going on because of a whirlwind of activity and because need to know is expanding. And that higher ranking officer wants in on it.

The internecine politics of classified data even over at the Admiralty.


Military officers are instructed on security procedures, and those who get to the "top brass" level come up though the ranks knowing the rules. Being human, some might get an inflated sense of their own importance, and try to get in on matters where they don't have a need to know. Officers on the inside of a classified project will politely tell them that the info is restricted, and if they push it, they risk being reported up the chain as having attempted to breach security. However senior, an officer with a security black mark on their record can expect their future assignments to really suck, or they may get invited to take early retirement.

It's difficult to distinguish between a self-important big wig with an excess of curiosity and an agent-in-place for a hostile power. History has given us plenty of examples of spies who worked their way up, biding their time until they were in a position to ferret out the really juicy stuff.
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by cthia   » Tue Jul 12, 2022 12:28 am

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dscott8 wrote:
cthia wrote:Indeed, but the discussion has brought us full circle to what I envisioned that can happen on the very second page of this thread. When top brass -- ranking above someone who does have a need to know -- catches wind of something going on because of a whirlwind of activity and because need to know is expanding. And that higher ranking officer wants in on it.

The internecine politics of classified data even over at the Admiralty.


Military officers are instructed on security procedures, and those who get to the "top brass" level come up though the ranks knowing the rules. Being human, some might get an inflated sense of their own importance, and try to get in on matters where they don't have a need to know. Officers on the inside of a classified project will politely tell them that the info is restricted, and if they push it, they risk being reported up the chain as having attempted to breach security. However senior, an officer with a security black mark on their record can expect their future assignments to really suck, or they may get invited to take early retirement.

It's difficult to distinguish between a self-important big wig with an excess of curiosity and an agent-in-place for a hostile power. History has given us plenty of examples of spies who worked their way up, biding their time until they were in a position to ferret out the really juicy stuff.

I can't argue with any of that, but my point is about the fear of the elephant in the china shop who might have the potential to ruin careers.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: NEED TO KNOW
Post by dscott8   » Fri Jul 15, 2022 12:55 pm

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cthia wrote:I can't argue with any of that, but my point is about the fear of the elephant in the china shop who might have the potential to ruin careers.


This is another aspect of the fact that humans are human. Yes, your high-ranking bull may smash up the china shop out of personal pique, and may retaliate against those who tried to protect the china from breakage. We've had plenty of examples of such self-centered pettiness to learn from, and what we've learned (or at least should have learned) is to construct a system that safeguards classified info and presents consequences to those who try to circumvent it, whatever their motive.

Neither humans nor systems can be made perfect, but in the words of one of RFC's favorite aphorisms, "All you can do is the best you can do."
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