IIA-ACCA helper - ACCA CIA Challenge Updated: 2023
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IIA-ACCA ACCA CIA Challenge
The IIA-ACCA ACCA CIA Challenge test is designed for individuals who hold the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification and want to earn the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). The test recognizes the prior knowledge and expertise of ACCA professionals in the field of internal auditing. Here are the test details for the IIA-ACCA ACCA CIA Challenge:
- Number of Questions: The test typically consists of multiple-choice questions. The exact number of questions may vary, but typically, the test includes around 100 to 125 questions.
- Time Limit: The time allocated to complete the test is 2.5 hours.
The IIA-ACCA ACCA CIA Challenge test covers the following topics:
1. Internal Audit Basics:
- Introduction to internal auditing and its role in organizations.
- Understanding the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards).
2. Internal Control and Risk Management:
- Understanding internal control concepts and frameworks.
- Assessing and managing risks within an organization.
3. Conducting Internal Audit Engagements:
- Planning and executing internal audit engagements.
- Performing audit fieldwork and documenting audit evidence.
4. Fraud Risks and Controls:
- Identifying and assessing fraud risks in an organization.
- Implementing fraud prevention, detection, and investigation measures.
5. Governance, Business Ethics, and Compliance:
- Understanding corporate governance principles and frameworks.
- Promoting business ethics and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
The objectives of the IIA-ACCA ACCA CIA Challenge test are as follows:
- Assessing candidates' knowledge and understanding of internal auditing principles and practices.
- Evaluating candidates' ability to apply internal audit concepts to real-world scenarios.
- Testing candidates' comprehension of internal control, risk management, and fraud prevention principles.
- Assessing candidates' understanding of corporate governance, ethics, and compliance requirements.
The specific test syllabus for the IIA-ACCA ACCA CIA Challenge covers the following topics:
1. Mandatory Guidance for the CIA Exam
2. Internal Control and Risk
3. Conducting Internal Audit Engagements
4. Business Analysis and Information Technology
5. Fraud Risks and Controls
6. Governance, Business Ethics, and Compliance
|ACCA CIA Challenge|
IIA Challenge helper
Other IIA examsCCSA Certification in Control Self-Assessment (IIA-CCSA)
CFSA Certified Financial Services Auditor (IIA-CFSA)
IIA-CIA-Part1 Certified Internal Auditor - Part 1, The Internal Audit Activitys Role in Governance, Risk, and Control
IIA-CIA-Part2 Certified Internal Auditor - Part 2, Conducting the Internal Audit Engagement
IIA-CIA-Part3 Certified Internal Auditor - Part 3, Business Analysis and Information Technology
IIA-ACCA ACCA CIA Challenge
IIA-CRMA Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)
IIA-CIA-Part3-3P Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing
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IIA-ACCA Real Questions
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ACCA CIA Challenge
According to IIA guidance, which of the following practices by the chief audit executive (CAE) best enhances the
organizational independence of the internal audit activity?
A . CAE reviews and approves the annual audit plan.
B . CAE meets privately with The CEO at least annually.
C . CAE meets privately with The board at least annually.
D . CAE reports to the board regarding audit staff performance evaluation and compensation.
An internal audit activity is using the auditing-by-element approach to audit the organization’s controls around
corporate social responsibility.
Which of the following would be an element for the internal audit activity to consider?
A . Working conditions.
B . Employees’ families.
C . Marketplace competition.
D . Shareholders and investors.
An internal auditor in a small broadcasting organization was assigned to review the revenue collection process. The
auditor discovered that some checks from three customers were never recorded in the organization’s financial records.
Which of the following documents would be the least useful for the auditor to verify the finding?
A . Bank statements.
B . Customer confirmation letters.
C . Copies of sales invoices.
D . Copies of deposit slips.
An organization is beginning to implement an enterprise risk management program. One of the first steps is to develop
a common risk language.
Which of the following statements about a common risk language is true?
A . Management will be able to reduce inherent risk because they will have a better understanding of risk.
B . Internal auditors will be able to reduce their demo sizes because controls will be more consistent.
C . Stakeholders will have more assurance that the risks are assessed consistently.
D . Decision makers will understand that the likelihood of missing or ineffective controls will be reduced.
Which of the following documents is most appropriate in promoting the objectivity of the internal audit activity?
A . Usage of IT system policy.
B . Risk management framework.
C . Acceptance of gifts policy.
D . Personal responsibility policy.
A headquarters-based internal auditor has been sent to a major overseas subsidiary to conduct various engagements.
Initially, the internal auditor spends time to become familiar with local customs and organization’s practices while
embarking on the first engagement.
Which of the following competencies does the internal auditor exercise?
A . Communication.
B . Persuasion and collaboration.
C . Business acumen.
D . Governance, risk, and control.
According to IIA guidance, which of the following must the internal auditor consider to meet the requirements for due
A . The training courses necessary to enhance the internal auditor’s knowledge, skills, and other competencies.
B . The appropriateness of assurance procedures necessary to ensure all significant risks will be identified.
C . The use of innovative technology and data analysis techniques.
D . The extent of work needed to achieve the engagementâ€™s objectives.
Which of the following types of fraud includes embezzlement?
A . Fraudulent statements.
B . Bribery.
C . Misappropriation of assets.
D . Corruption.
Evidence discovered during the course of an engagement suggests that multiple incidents
of fraud have occurred. There do not appear to be sufficient controls in place to prevent reoccurrence.
Which of the following is the internal auditor’s most appropriate next step?
A . Immediately notify management of the area under review and the other internal auditors involved in the
B . Discuss the situation with the engagement supervisor to determine whether fraud investigation experts are required
to investigate the matter properly.
C . Fully document in the workpapers the evidence that has been discovered and recommend appropriate controls to
address the fraud.
D . Provide the evidence that was discovered to local law enforcement for possible prosecution of the suspected fraud.
An internal auditor is reviewing the accounts receivable when she discovers account balances more than three years
old. The auditor was previously supervising the area during this time, and she subsequently advises the chief audit
executive (CAE) of a potential conflict.
Which of the following is the most appropriate course of action for the CAE to take?
A . Replace the auditor with another audit staff member.
B . Continue with the present auditor, as more than one year has passed.
C . Withdraw the audit team and outsource the financial audit of the division.
D . Work with the division’s management to resolve the situation.
A large sales organization maintains a system of internal control according to the COSO model and has updated its
code of conduct.
This change relates to which component of the COSO framework?
A . Control activities.
B . Information and communication.
C . Commitment.
D . Control environment.
Which of the following is an example of a management control technique?
A . A budget.
B . A risk assessment.
C . The board of directors.
D . The control environment.
While preparing for an audit of senior management expenses, the chief audit executive (CAE) learns that management
is unable to locate a number of original expense claims to support the related disbursements. She decides to defer the
engagement until they can be located.
Which of the following principles likely guided the CAE’s decision?
A . Objectivity.
B . Proficiency.
C . Independence.
D . Due professional care.
Which of the following responsibilities would fall under the role of the chief audit executive, rather than internal audit
staff or the audit manager?
A . Manage and support a quality assurance and improvement program.
B . Maintain industry-specific knowledge appropriate to the audit engagements
C . Set clear performance standards for internal auditors and the internal audit activity.
D . Apply problem-solving techniques for routine situations.
An internal auditor uses a predefined macro provided in a popular spreadsheet application to verify the present value
of the organization’s investments.
Which of the following is the most appropriate course of action regarding the auditor’s use of this functionality?
A . The auditor should accept the calculations generated by the function, as any further work or documentation would
B . The auditor should perform a manual recalculation of several results to validate and document the results.
C . The auditor should review the programming of the macro before its use to ensure that it is appropriate for the
D . The auditor should tabulate the results in the spreadsheet to ensure the macro has generated the correct results for
According to IIA guidance, the results of a formal quality assessment should be reported to which of the following
A . The audit committee and senior management.
B . The audit committee and the external auditors.
C . Senior management and management of the audited area.
D . Senior management and the external auditors.
An internal auditor completed an audit of a bank’s loan department and found all significant risks to be managed
adequately through effective internal controls.
Which of the following would be an appropriate conclusion to report to management?
A . The residual risk is lower than or equal to the risk appetite.
B . The residual risk is higher than or equal to the risk appetite.
C . The inherent risk is lower than or equal to the risk tolerance.
D . The inherent risk is higher than or equal to the risk tolerance.
Which of the following would not be considered part of preliminary survey of an engagement area?
A . Interviews with individuals affected by the entity.
B . Functional walk through test.
C . Analytical reviews.
D . Sampling scope.
According to IIA guidance, which of the following scenarios demonstrates an internal auditor exercising due
When auditing investments, the auditor identified instruments with which he was unfamiliar. He decided not to select
that type of investment in his sample, as he did not have the knowledge needed to
A . perform a proper assessment.
B . An auditor was reviewing inventory counts conducted by the warehouse staff. One truck containing an immaterial
amount of inventory was off-site and wasn’t Checked by the auditor.
C . An auditor visited a plant that produces a significant portion of the organization’s inventory. The day he arrived,
the plant manager was out sick, so the auditor issued the report without interviewing the manager.
D . An auditor in charge needed to have testing completed by the end of the month, but was behind schedule. He
identified a junior auditor to conduct the work for him on a complex area of the organization.
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) â€“ On this Veterans Day there's an exercise challenge raising money to help vets. It's called Burpees For Vets.
A burpee is like a jumping squat with a push up, very challenging to say the least. People around the country and here in Philadelphia are doing them for vets.
Coaches at F45 Training Bala Cynwyd are dung a burpee for every dollar donated by members to the Burpees For Vets campaign.
41 year old Juspin Jones is a navy veteran and also a trainer at F45.
Stahl: "How many burpees at one time can you do?"Â
Jones: "I think once I get to about 40 it's a tap out mode after that."
The burpee challenge is a national platform that different organizations and individuals have joined.
The money raised will go to organizations that help vets transition out of military service.
"It's very different coming from military service back into the civilian life so I think it's a pretty good thing, stuff like this is happening," Jones said.Â
The burpee challenge is especially popular here because the exercise is incorporated into most classes.Â
"A burpee is a full-body movement, essentially you're jumping back into a plank, lower your chest to the floor, you jump back in and you jump up," Marysel Jones the owner of F45, said.
Marysel says burpees are a whole body workout one of many incorporated into these 45-minute high intensity interval circuits.Â
"I was dealing with pre-diabetic obesity and high blood pressure. Since I joined I have lost 52 pounds," Apurva Bidja said. Â Â
Team training that's helping people get healthy now joining forces to help raise money for veterans.Â
"I think it's really important that we recognize the sacrifices that they've made and thank them," Marysel said.
F45 Bala has raised about $200 for the cause.
Nationally the goal is half a million dollars. So far the campaign has collected more than $260,000.
'The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion' star also addressed the ongoing US vs UK alliance situation.
The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion lost one of its biggest personalities on Wednesday night. After host TJ Lavin forced the competitors to make the elimination a men's round, Hughie Maughan found himself fighting for his place in the game amidst the ongoing US vs UK alliance drama within the house. After choosing to go up against Kyland Young, Hughie, unfortunately, was sent home in a tight battle. Following his time on The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion, Hughie spoke with PopCulture.com and spilled all the tea on these international alliances, his personal game, and the show he would have put on had he won that elimination.Â
While the show hasn't necessarily featured the international competitors coming together to go up against the US alliance, it was something that was definitely taking place. Hughie explained how after Chauncey Palmer's elimination, Callum Izzard told him that the Americans were sticking together and that they needed to do the same. However, the international faction didn't exactly hold as Hughie was the one voted into elimination. Hughie thus felt as though it was a "kick in the teeth" to see folks like Callum and Emanuel Neagu vote for him, particularly as they advised him to stick with their alliance by picking someone like Kyland to go up against. In hindsight, Hughie said that he may have picked someone with a little less elimination experience, such as Callum or Asaf Goren, given everything that went down.Â
Naturally, Hughie wasn't fully aware of everything that his fellow competitors were saying about him during their confessionals and such. But, he does have some words for them now after seeing it all play out during the episode. He said, "I will be speaking to people about all of this, because I find it weird. I get we have interviews. It can make people look two-faced and so forth. This was never said to me, about me apparently speaking too much." Hughie went on to remark that he'd definitely have something to say to the other challengers if he made it out of this elimination and into the "chaos" portion of the game.
"I feel like I would've stepped up a gear with really putting people into place. Because for now, I was trying to make sure that there wasn't a lot of animosity when we were going to a challenge, because we had to work together to help each other," he explained. "But if this had been singles, this had been doubles, this had been teams, I would've for sure let rip on a lot of people. I was waiting for that chance. Sadly, I left right before the time that I feel like I was made for."
Even though he left before that part of the game, he still has something to say about his fellow competitors now. In particular, he has words for Zara Zoffany, whom he unfollowed on social media after hearing that she apparently said that he doesn't "deserve to be on the show" because he's "not a sports person."
"Well, if you're going to read me, well, I'm going to read you back and say, 'Well, you shouldn't be on TV because you have no personality.' So you stay on your treadmill, and I'll stay over here turning up, if this is what you want to do, darling," Hughie said. It seems like there's still a lot that the Challenge: Spies, Lies, and Allies star has to get off his chest. Hopefully, the fans will get to see Hughie give his fellow challengers a piece of his mind, as the show may be gearing up for a spicy reunion.
The Challenge: Battle for a New ChampionÂ airs on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on MTV. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com forÂ ChallengeÂ coverage all throughout Season 39.Â
Plante Moran's newly elected managing partner, Jason Drake, will be taking the helm next July, and hopes to grow it into a $2 billion firm.
"We need to continue to grow," he said. "We do have target growth rates, just from an organic perspective. We're a billion-dollar firm. We're going to be a $2 billion firm not too far in the distant future. To me, that's all working together as partners and staff and team members to help grow the business. And part of that growth is bringing in new clients. But a lot of it is providing the right solutions and adding value to clients as well that will get us that growth."
Right now, the Southfield, Michigan-based firm ranks No. 15 on Accounting Today's 2023 list of the Top 100 Firms. Drake was elected earlier this month to succeed Jim Proppe, who has been managing partner for the past seven years (see story). Drake will be only the eighth managing partner in the firm's 100-year history.Â
He has a long history of his own at Plante Moran. "I've been with the firm since 1999," he said. "I interned with the firm between my junior and senior year of university. I went to Michigan State University, and in my senior year of college, I also worked part-time in our East Lansing office and started full time after I graduated from MSU in 2000."
His current role is group managing partner of the firm's Chicagoland, Ohio and international region. "What I do on a day-to-day basis is work with our offices on office-related strategies, implement firm-wide initiatives, and really around people-related items," said Drake. "What are we doing to attract, retain and recruit the best and brightest?"
Prior to joining the management team, he led the international practice at the firm and has stayed involved with it.
"That's a practice area that I've been involved with from when I interned with the firm," said Drake. "I spent most of my career between our audit practices and our consulting practices. We have a consulting practice called Global Services that helps our middle-market clients as they expand overseas. During my career, a lot of my time was spent with our internationally active clients, helping them understand how to do business internationally and simplify the complexity of doing international business. I've done on-the-ground work in about 50 countries, helping U.S. middle-market companies expand around the globe. And I also have spent a lot of time with foreign-owned companies as they set up operations in the U.S."
Among his greatest experiences at Plante Moran is helping open up its consulting offices in China, Mexico, India and Japan â€” but even though Drake has worked at expanding the firm internationally, that isn't one of his main goals ahead.Â
"We rely heavily on our partners internationally through Praxity," he said. "We have many boutique firms in many countries that we partner with. We've looked at our international practice as really a platform to help our clients where they need it. We know how to do business internationally. We know how U.S. companies want to do business, so how can we partner with firms internationally to make that an easy connection, make it a lot easier to do work internationally? We've grown into those office locations because that's where we've had clients that have had needs. We're always looking at different international locations. We would love to have something in Europe at some point. But again, it's very client-driven. Where do our clients have those needs and need the help?"
He feels similarly about expanding in the U.S. "The fortunate thing about us and our practices is we go to where clients need our help. We already do work in pretty much all 50 states in the U.S.," he said. "We have clients in Hawaii. Even though we don't have bricks and mortar on the ground, we have clients all over. And our teams travel and work with our clients wherever they need and operate. Do we want to continue to grow our geography? Yes, we do. But again, it's really dependent on where our clients need help. Fortunately, with the use of technology and traveling, we can help clients really wherever they have a need."
The firm is nevertheless continuing to look at merger opportunities. "To me, that's not our primary growth objective, through mergers, just because we care so much about our culture," said Drake. "Our culture is what got us to 100 years, and our culture is what's going to get us to the next 100-plus years. To me, it's culture first, people first, client service first. And if we find the right opportunities from a merger perspective from a growth perspective, that's an added benefit, but it's not our primary driver."
In terms of services, he sees the firm continuing to invest in areas like technology consulting, and environmental, social and governance reporting.Â
"Where do we see clients that have needs right now? A lot of it is around the digital landscape, around cybersecurity, around data analytics and machine learning, and how we can help clients in that space," said Drake. "That's something that we're investing in now, around innovation. We have a Client Solution Center as well. And a lot of things that are coming up in our Innovation Center and Client Solution Center are around the digital landscape, and how we can help our clients in that area. We're investing in ESG as well. ESG right now in the U.S. landscape is heavily dependent and driven by what's happening in Europe. We're continuing to invest in that area, but a lot of that depends on the adoption rates from our clients in the U.S."
'A very strong pipeline'
Unlike many accounting firms, Plante Moran has been able to keep hiring enough young accountants to fill its pipeline.
"Fortunately, to date, we've been very successful in that area and continue to be," said Drake. "We have a very strong pipeline. If you asked me to take over this position, and we didn't have the firm that we have, I would be hesitant, but fortunately, we have a great team, and we have a great pipeline of future partners and future candidates."
He believes the firm's culture helps attract and retain young accountants. "Part of it is just our involvement around our culture and investing in people, giving them meaningful experiences and meaningful opportunities," said Drake. "That 'we care' culture has helped us retain people. Even during the heart of the pandemic, we didn't have the turnover that many accounting firms had, just because of our model and investing in that long-term nature for our people. When you look at the accounting profession overall, and the reduction of talent going into that pipeline, part of it is just us going into the community, working with the profession on getting to high schools, to show some excitement around the industry."
Plante Moran partners have been involved in campus recruiting efforts.
"The other thing that we're doing is really getting partner involvement on campuses to help recruit the top talent," said Drake. "To date we've been successful. Is that going to be a challenge and will it continue to be a challenge? Yes, but to me if we're intentional and meaningful, providing those meaningful experiences, getting on campus, showing the benefits of the profession and doing a good job recruiting, I think we'll be successful. But the flip side of it is, we're going to continue investing in technology and innovation as well so that we can make things more efficient for clients and leverage technology. If we leverage technology together, we can focus on what's important to our clients, and that's adding value."
The partners have also been visiting historically Black colleges and universities to build a more diverse firm.
"We continue to see progress from a diversity perspective," said Drake. "We need to continue to invest in diversity, equity and inclusion. Some of the ways that we're doing that is we're looking at different universities to continue to recruit at. Part of it is that recruiting piece, and can we get access to more diverse talent. We're recruiting at historically Black colleges and universities. We're going to continue doing that. So it's bringing in the right team. But the other piece that's so important is that retention piece, making sure we're investing in our diverse talent. We're giving that talent those opportunities, giving them meaningful experiences, and also sponsoring them, giving them leadership opportunities, showing the long term-progression that they can envision within a public accounting firm."
He hopes to continue to build the firm to provide opportunities for young accountants who began as interns and worked their way up the ranks.
"What's special at Plante Moran is our culture and that 'we care' attitude," said Drake. "We're very driven by our values and principles, and that's what got us here. A lot of people have invested in me and got me here. To me, our stewardship model, investing in others so we can create a better opportunity for others in the profession, is the route we're going in and will continue."
Thallion Pharmaceuticals announced that the first patient has been enrolled in its Phase II trial evaluating TLN-4601 as a second line, monotherapy treatment for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an advanced form of brain cancer.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Bayer HealthCare AG announced that VEGF Trap-Eye achieved durable improvements in visual acuity and in biologic measures of neovascular disease, including retinal thickness and active choroidal neovascularization lesion size, for up to one year in a Phase 2 study in the neovascular form of Age-related Macular Degeneration (wet AMD).
Several options for improvement of RTS,S-based vaccines are being investigated. Sequential immunization schedules with RTS,S/AS02 combined to prior PfCSP DNA vaccination[89,130] or CS-expressing adenovirus 35 or followed by CS-expressing live MVA have been investigated. A multistage, multiantigen recombinant vaccine based on RTS,S and MSP-1 from the 3D7 strain is under evaluation at WRAIR.
The Molecular Immunology unit of the Swiss Tropical Institute in cooperation with Pevion Biotech Ltd and the Institute for Organic Chemistry (University of ZĂĽrich, Switzerland) is developing a candidate malaria vaccine based on synthetic peptides displayed on the surface of reconstituted influenza virosomes. This new antigen-delivery system is based on phospho-lipid-anchored antigenic peptides mixed with nonbounded phospholipids and influenza surface glycoproteins, creating virus-like particles, supposed to be strong inducers of B- and T-cell immunity. The aim of this formulation is to be able to include several antigenic peptides and develop a multiantigen, multistage vaccine. Presently, two virosome formulations,both including a synthetic peptide mimicking an important part of the native protein, one comprising a CS-like sequence (PEV 301) the other an AMA1 like sequence (PEV 302), were taken to clinical evaluation. A Phase I clinical trial was conducted at the University Hospital of Basel, followed by a Phase IIa trial at the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, at Oxford University, UK. A rapid age de-escalation Phase Ib study will be conducted in Mali.[154,155]
The Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) has developed vaccine candidates based on a replication-deficient adenovirus derived from wild-type serotype 5 through several gene deletions that encode P. falciparum genes from the 3D7 strain. One construct expresses CS, another AMA1. A Phase I/IIa trial is ongoing in the USA. Volunteers seronegative for adenovirus serotype 5 will receive each construct individually or combined. Vaccine protection against experimental sporozoite challenge will be evaluated.
Investigators from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research and the Australian Cooperative Research Center for Vaccine Technology in Queensland, the Walter and Eliza Hall Research Institute and the Swiss Tropical Institute have developed a vaccine candidate combining MSP-1, MSP-2 and the ring-stage infected erythrocyte surface antigen (RESA) adjuvanted with Montanide. In a small Phase IIa challenge study, this candidate vaccine failed to induce a reduction or delay in parasitemia, but in a subsequent Phase I/IIb trial in children in Papua New Guinea, it showed a reduction in parasite density in some vaccinees compared with controls but the selective pressure was restricted to parasites expressing the 3D7 allelic form of MSP-2. To date, this was the first successful blood-stage vaccine to show some vaccine efficacy. Future vaccine candidates will include the opposite dimorphic form of MSP-2, FC27.
A chimeric molecule called PfCP-2.9, including MSP1-19 and the C-terminal region of AMA1, expressed in P. Pastoris, and formulated with Montanide ISA 720, is in development in China. Anti-PfCP-2.9 sera from immunized animals inhibited in vitro growth of two P. falciparum parasite strains. A Phase I clinical trial is ongoing with support from the MVI and the WHO.
The Statens Serum Institute (SSI) in Denmark has developed, with EMVI support, a malaria vaccine candidate based on a recombinant hybrid including the 85-213 sequence of glutamate-rich protein (GLURP) and the C-terminal part of MSP-3, expressed in Lactococcus lactis. GLURP is expressed both at the pre-erythrocytic and erythrocytic stages of infection. A Phase I trial using the GLURP vaccine candidate segment showed the induction of antibodies that exert in vitro a dose-dependent inhibition of parasite growth in the presence of monocytes. Adult trials with the combination vaccine ca-ndidate adjuvanted with aluminum hydroxide are ongoing. An EMVI-supported Phase Ia trial is ongoing in Tuebingen, Germany, and an AMANET-supported Phase Ib trial is ongoing in LambarĂ©nĂ©, Gabon.
In San Diego, the U.S. Navy is continuing a year-long struggle to limit public scrutiny of port operations. In early November, as the newly-refitted USS Pinckney (DDG 91), a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, left port for an initial shakedown cruise, harbor webcams tracked the vesselâ€™s every move through the port. Online, a viral frenzy dissected the Pinckneyâ€™s ungainly, â€śbug-eyedâ€ť refit. Days later, the U.S. Navy Criminal Investigative Service started shutting the webcam serviceâ€™s cameras down.
It was a strange incident. The USS Pinckney, testing an important electronic warfare system, sported a new topside geometry, modifying the distinctive Arleigh Burke silhouette. Commentators and internet observers employed San Deigo webcam images to help news of the destroyerâ€™s new refit go viral, detailing, discussingâ€”and sometimes disparagingâ€”the destroyerâ€™s top-heavy new look.
The Navyâ€™s apparent response to the USS Pinckneyâ€™s mixed online reception was swift. Barry Bahrami, the San Diego Web Camâ€™s long-time volunteer organizer, took to the site formally known as Twitter, reporting that NCIS personnel had â€śreached out to Kona Kai,â€ť a local waterfront resort currently hosting a few of the serviceâ€™s cameras. Citing a range of concerns and threatening the property with litigation, the investigators urged the resort to, essentially, stop the show.
According to Bahrami, the cameras are now down, but if NCIS fails to justify the legal basis for their verbal request in writing, the cameras will, in a few days, go right back online. Fed-up and frustrated by the Navyâ€™s actions, Bahrami is perplexed by Navyâ€™s refusal to engage directly with his Navy-friendly volunteer organizationâ€”or to even simply talk about ways to resolve any outstanding security issues. An irked Bahrami now seems ready to engage the Navy in a bruising legal action to affirm the publicâ€™s right to livestream harbor traffic.
The NCIS actions were oddly timed. After allowing the harbor cameras to go unmolested for more than a decade, NCIS has encouraged the shut down of Bahramiâ€™s unsparing cameras twice this year-but only after the webcam feeds fueled widespread viral scrutiny, likely discomfiting Navy leaders.
NCISâ€™ interest in the San Diego Web Cam can be traced back to November 2022, when the serviceâ€™s webcams caught two Navy ships going head-to-head in the San Diego port channel, narrowly avoiding a collision. The Navyâ€™s high-level investigation into the incident, fueled by public outcry over the viral webcam clips, detailed serious operational failings aboard both ships. As the investigation results leaked into public view in April 2023, NCIS encouraged the National Park Service to shut down San Diego Web Cam cameras located on National Park Service propertyâ€”the very cameras that had originally detailed the Navyâ€™s dangerous game of port channel â€śchicken.â€ť
While the San Diego Web Camâ€™s constant, highâ€”definition video monitoring is certainly jarring, the Navyâ€™s effort to cut San Diegoâ€™s harbor webcams seems, at this point, more punitive than prudent. Over the course of the Cold War, Soviet trawlers lingered outside key U.S. submarine ports, filming and monitoring military comings and goings. The Navy was pretty sanguine about that surveillance work, confident transiting subs and ships suffered few ill effects.
Today, surveillance trawlers are Cold War relics, and adversarial surveillance has likely moved ashore and online. China and Russia almost certainly maintain constant overwatch of San Diegoâ€™s naval infrastructure through sensors in rented housing, hacked cameras or other obscure technical means.
But the key difference is that the contents of rival surveillance is never made public.
And that is the point.
Aside from the fact that the Navy seems able to tolerate close opposing force surveillance, detecting rival surveillance and rolling it all back is really hard work. NCIS, for its part, certainly hasnâ€™t reported many instances of detecting and degrading persistent foreign surveillance of critical ports and naval infrastructure.
Instead of protecting the force from foreign monitoring, Navy security appears to be taking the far easier and higher profile path of protecting the Navyâ€™s reputation.
It is telling that, the moment webcam footage began informing public discourse, revealing some Navy fault or sparking other tough discussions, the Navyâ€™s security apparatus rolled into action, seeking to eliminate the reputational â€śthreat.â€ť
Reputation management and force protection are related, but they are two distinct activities that should not be conflated.
SEWIP Block 3 Has An OnlyFans Moment
The Navy has good reason to be sensitive about the USS Pinckney. As the first demonstrator of what may grow into a class-wide, $17 billion modernization project, upgrading the electronic warfare systems, radars and software aboard most of the Navyâ€™s large Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer fleet, the $121 million Pinckney upgrade is a big deal. After a disastrous Ticonderoga-class cruiser modification program, the Navy, obviously eager to couch the refit as a success, is likely to be somewhat oversensitive to the shipâ€™s public reception. If the ship is already top heavy and rolling in light seas, the last thing the Navy wants is for the public to highlight the issue.
Poor public reception aside, the Navy also likely has good reason to be bit shy about revealing detailed imagery of the shipâ€™s new structural modifications. The USS Pinckney is testing out a new electronic warfare system, SEWIP Block 3, known officially as the AN/SLQ-32(V)7 Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program Block 3. The last thing the Navy wants is a close inspection of the new weapon system as it goes through tests and trials.
The new system, emplaced in complex steel â€śbug eyeâ€ť structures on either side of the ship, that, according to Defense News, â€śhave to maintain just the right angles and flat surfaces for the systemâ€™s arrays.â€ť Adversaries, by getting a close look at the geometry beamed to them via the internet, can get a jumpstart on figuring out ways to defeat the new gear.
It is hard to underestimate just how critical SEWIP is for the U.S. Navy.
As a platform that enhances anti-missile defenses, while also providing counter-targeting, counter-surveillance, electronic attack and other interesting capabilities, the SEWIP Block 3 is rightfully wrapped in mystery. But the public can make a few simple guesses about what the new SEWIP can offer. With, for example, more confidence that incoming missiles wonâ€™t land, the Navy can shift the contents of the fleetâ€™s limited number of vertical launched missile tubes towards other missionsâ€”and that is a big deal as China and the U.S. square off in the Pacific.
Informed observers, eyeing the platform from a more adversarial point of view, can make inferences of their own, immediately employing the high-resolution images to start work to degrade the effectiveness of Americaâ€™s latest-and-greatest electronic warfare platform. Nothing is certain, but, given the systemâ€™s complexity and the Navyâ€™s constant struggle to integrate interdisciplinary systems engineering assessments into complex platforms, Navy engineers may well have overlooked security concerns, and, in the shipâ€™s structure, revealed more than might be advised.
Force Protection Does Not Mean Protection From Mistakes
In an increasingly crowded world, public encroachment on military bases and Navy operations is a fact of life. And with technology offering ever-more opportunities for constant, intrusive surveillance, the Navy is obviously struggling to adjust. The abrupt technology-driven empowerment of public scrutiny is a sea change for Navy officials, and the Navy is simply not managing it well.
Nobody likes being on stage all the time, but far from being a threat, interested outside observation is an asset. For decades, the Navy has paid millions to think tanks and consulting companies for â€śexternal assessments of performance.â€ť Today, webcam operators, bloggers and commentators are offering many of these insights up for free.
While disconcerting, these are opportunities worth exploiting.
But the Navy, where careers can end in a viral moment, hates being embarrassed and, as a result, the organization fears public engagement it cannot fully control. So, more often than not, the institution resorts to a sort of defensive crouch, lashing out at well-meaning observers and often refusing to engage observational stakeholders that are beyond the fence line.
Rather than engaging these interestingâ€”albeit hard to controlâ€”assets, and getting about the business of fixingâ€”or even exploitingâ€”things, the Navy resorts to a crude form of maladroit expediency. Time after time, the organization simply ignores the issue at hand and, instead, tries to limit or remove the means for public scrutiny.
Sadly, the Navy is comfortable using security as a reason to squelch domestic debate. With no public oversight, the organization simply circles the wagons and acts as if mishaps donâ€™t happen. It is how big Navy debacles like Red Hill, fire safety, bad barracks or other local problems are allowed to festerâ€”and by failing to percolate up the internal command chain, these issues were permitted to lurk until they exploded into something impossible for the Navy and Navy policymakers to ignore.
The San Diego Web Cam crackdown is not an isolated incident. In 2008, facing a blog-fed public uproar over the materiel condition of the fleet, the Navy closed off public access to vessel inspection reports, known as INSURVs. By classifying the already-redacted reports, choking off any external means for the public to evaluate the material condition of naval vessels, the Navy then let their vessels continue to decay. Ironically enough, it is why the Navy is so panic about the Pinckney refitâ€”the surface Navyâ€™s materiel condition has decayed to the point where, if the Arleigh Burke refits fail, the organization will have little left in reserve.
At the end of the day, public scrutiny from interested stakeholders helps the Navy get better. While wide public notice and viral discussion of mistakes, anomalies and accidents are embarrassing and may discomfit those in charge, few things encourage the Navy to change course faster than sustained public attention.
And yes, thereâ€™s certainly a line somewhere. The fight in Ukraine is demonstrating the value of real-time social media leaks. Information on vessel location can quickly get flipped into a targeting solution for incoming missiles. Technical information gleaned from video close-ups can give opposing-force researchers a leg up. Thatâ€™s nothing new, but, these days, Americaâ€™s cadre of public observers and commentators likely offer little information that Americaâ€™s sophisticated rivals havenâ€™t already discovered.
It is a big challenge, but the Navy certainly wonâ€™t resolve those threats if it continues the stupid business of conflating reputation management with the tough work of real, honest-to-God force protection.
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